Blog :: 12-2011

The Top 5 Blog Posts (From the Past Eight Months) of 2011

You like ice-cream, we get that. You also like photos, voting and opinion polls. The YourHomeForSale Team has been reflecting on the past year and taking a moment to assess the interests and preferences of our community. In doing so, we pulled together the top 5 posts of 2011, or, given that we just started this blog in May:
The Top 5 YourHomeForSale Blog Posts (From the Past Eight Months) of 2011
1.      Summer Hill Circle: A 'Site' to See. It's always fun to see a project take shape. And in Arlington - a town that has been under development for roughly 380 years - you don't see a ton of new construction. This was a voyeur's view of the 'Before' photos of custom attached homes being built from the ground up. 
2.A Scooper-Cool Guide to Local Ice Cream. Ah, summer. It seems so long ago. This was one of our very first posts and what better way to relive warm breezes and long walks on the beach than with a little ice-cream. Put on an extra sweater and go savor your favorite flavor. 
3.Just a Click-Per-Day Keeps the Votes Coming Our Way!Aw shucks. Thanks, everyone. While we didn't actually win Boston's Most Valuable Blogger Award, we appreciated you pretending that we could beat out HubSpot, who (deservedly) took home the prize. 
4.Spotlight: Arlington Home of the Week, Summer Hill Circle. True to form, you saw the 'Before' photos and you wanted to see the finished product. The 'After' pictures of Summer Hill Circle show why you just can't beat starting fresh with a new home and a clean slate (btw, there are a few units still available if you're looking to make a move in 2012!). 
5.The Results Are In: Where Were You Left Turning?Arlingtonians (Arlingtonites?) are a vocal, educated bunch. You're one of the many reasons we love to live here, and there's nothing like a poll to tap into the thoughts and inclinations of its residents. In this quick poll on Facebook, you made your voices heard.
Bonus post! YourHomeForSale Welcomes the Newest Member to Its Team. He missed the Top 5 by a nose, so we couldn't leave out the popular post about our canine colleague, Cooper!


So there you have it. Did you have any favorite posts that you think should have been on the list? Let us know!
And given the popularity of these posts you can bet you'll see more photos and polls in 2012. In the meantime, let us know what else you'd like to see more (or less) of. We are always open to input!


Take a Peek Behind the Curtain: Realty Times Covers the YourHomeForSale Home Selling Process

tech <p><br /></p> <div><span><span>Anyone who has bought or sold a home has a story to tell. It is such a complex, emotional process that if you were to chronicle the activity you'd probably have some really good content.<br /> <br /></span></span></div> <div><a href= "" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="98" src= "" width= "200" /></a></div> <p><span><span>So that's what we did.</span></span></p> <p><br /> <br /></p> <div><span><span>The YourHomeForSale Team recently sold the home of Carolyn MacNeill, our very own social media manager, and she wrote about her experience with the team. <i><a href= ""><span>Realty Times</span></a></i>, a leading online Real Estate News site, ran the article.<br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span><span>Take a moment to read her story. At the very least you'll get a chuckle out of it, but you'll also get an inside peek at the YourHomeForSale Team operations, and what it takes to sell a home in Arlington, Massachusetts.<br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><b><span><a href= ""><span>My Home For Sale: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Home-Selling Process</span></a><span>, <i>Realty Times</i><br /> <br /></span></span></b></div> <p><br /> <br /></p>


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    If Santa Were to Hold an Open House...

    tech <div><span><span>Nestled in a cozy village near the Candy Cane forest and the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, this is a unique post and beam home that shines with true pride of ownership. This home has custom details throughout - including a lovely wood burning stove that is energy efficient for the long, cold winters, and a recently renovated workshop which makes for a perfect man-cave or playroom. An open floor plan with an updated kitchen makes entertaining easy, and baking gingerbread cookies a snap.</span></span></div> <p><span><span>For those with a large extended family, there's plenty of room for seasonal visitors. Included with the home is a nine 'horse-like' powered vehicle with plenty of cargo space, and boy can it fly. Located just steps to candy shops and toy stores, this home offers the best of North Pole living.</span></span></p> <div><span><span>The first open house will be on December 26th. Prospective buyers must be on the 'Nice' list in order to be considered.</span></span></div> <p> </p>


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      Q&A with Arlington's American Alarm

      Protecting securing the homes and businesses of New England is serious work, and it's a job that American Alarm has accomplished for 40 years. There are a number of ways to ensure the safety of your loved ones and your belongings, so we took a few minutes to check in with James Cook, Sales Manager at American Alarm and Communications, headquartered here in Arlington, to find out how.

      He shared some interesting facts about the company, the security industry, and a few revelations about how people choose to protect themselves. Here are a few highlights:

      ·         Your first line of protection is actually locking the door behind you (you'd be surprised how many people don't).

      ·         Don't leave your holiday boxes out at the curb. It's like giving thieves a shopping list of what is in your home.

      ·         It's a local company. When you have an emergency on Park Street, American Alarm is not going to send dispatch searching for 'Pahk' Street.

      ·         American Alarm is not the Crazy Eddie of the security business. They don't offer special deals or promotions, but tailor a security solution that's right for you.

      American Alarm has also been in the spotlight for some recent achievements. The company was consulted by the Travel Channel for an episode of "Hidden City" which focused on The Great Brinks Robbery of 1950. The Travel Channel sought their expertise on the latest technologies deterring modern robbers. Take a moment to check out the story and see how American Alarm catches the bad guys today. The episode was just featured on 12/13/11.

      The company is also one of 138 Massachusetts companies that will benefit from more than $11.3 million in grants for workforce training. American Alarm will receive $56,805 and will use the money for workforce training to maintain its high level of client service. 


      American Alarm has been an Arlington home security staple since the 1970's. How many homes have you serviced over the years?

      We have approximately 16,000 accounts throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We just celebrated the company's 40th anniversary and we're going strong.

      On average, how many security calls do you get per year? How is American Alarm equipped to maintain both volume and a high level of service? 

      On average, we receive about 1.2 calls per account, and we are equipped to handle any volume, and any type of natural emergency.

      We also have a five star UL listed monitoring station. For those not in the know, UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) is a strict industry regulator, and the leading third-party certification agency for security and signaling products and systems. American Alarm is one of only a few that have received a five star UL listing, which is a reflection of our commitment to providing the best possible service.

      Most 'big box' security companies outsource their monitoring. This means a customer might be calling California - where the customer service is outsourced - about their emergency.

      American Alarm is staffed by the people in your community - we know the streets and the communities, and we know your dialect. So when you have an emergency on Park Street, we're not going to send dispatch searching for Pahk Street.

      What are some trends you're seeing in the home security business?

      Like most businesses in the service industry, we are customer-driven. Our customers want more custom, technology-driven systems, rather than the generic offerings you may see advertised on television. You know the ones, 'Sign up today for a $99 special!' 'Our prices are so low we're practically giving it away!' These deals typically provide your basic protection so they can upsell. We are not the Crazy Eddie of the security business. If price is a potential client's foremost concern, we send them to another company.

      Our clients also prefer to have everything integrated and online - they want text updates, or an email indicating who in the family turned a security system on or off. Home security has gone mobile, and now people can power lights, turn on heating, adjust cooling - all from their iPhone or other mobile device.

      Which demographic tends to be most interested in home security? Is it older residents, families, or younger first-time home buyers that are looking for additional security and peace of mind?

      We see all types, at all different levels.  Security systems are not just burglary-oriented anymore.  Most clients are as much concerned with smoke and carbon monoxide detection, low temperatures and video monitoring, as they are with anything else.

      Everyone is different. We often ask potential clients, "What is most important to you? Are you more concerned about your home when you're there, or when you're not there?" For example, someone with a family and small children wants to go to sleep at night knowing they are all safe and secure, as opposed to someone who travels often and has a home full of antiques and valuables they want protected while they are away.

      For those not in the know, what's the most important aspect to consider when selecting a home security system? Is it redundancy? Response time? Location?

      Response time and service are two of our key differentiators. Our team will pick up the phone in less than 24 seconds from when alarm goes off.  We dispatch within 60-90 seconds. In this industry, those response times are hard to beat.

      False alarms are also a big concern in the industry, so often companies build in a 2-5 minute delay.  Some larger national players have as much as a 3-5 minute delay built into their systems.  That is not what our clients want when seconds count during an emergency.

      Do security risks change with the seasons? What should residents think about as we enter the winter months?

      Carbon monoxide poisoning is always a greater risk in the winter months, as well as low temperatures which can cause pipes to freeze and burst. Flood and temperature sensors alleviate some of the security- stress associated with the winter months.

      And of course we have holiday-related security. One of our biggest tips for clients during the holidays is to beware-the-boxes. Putting boxes from your new flat screen TV, laptop, or iPad out at the street just gives thieves a visual shopping list of what is in your home. Take the time to break boxes down and turn them inside out so the labels are not showing.

      Fires related to candles and Christmas trees are also a big concern this time of year.

      Is American Alarm offering Arlington homeowners any deals or special insurance discounts?

      We always have packages that are available and we welcome the opportunity to conduct a free home review for anyone who would like one. We have clients in price points that range from $500 to $95,000, so we can accommodate a wide range of security needs.

      We don't pester people with special deals and offers, it's not who we are. But we do work closely with clients to find the right mix of security solutions for their particular situation.

      Finding Good Help in Arlington Just Got Easier

      It's hard to find good help these days. Not because good help isn't out there -but because it is mixed in with the not-so-good help, and the downright not helpful at all.

      Go to Google and search for a plumber near Arlington, Mass. and you get back 44,400 results. How do you know who is reputable, or even still in business? Sure, you could go to Craigslist, or Angie's List, which have helpful references and reviews, but nothing beats a real recommendation from a real person or group in your town that you know and trust.

      Search no more - good help is on the way.  View the YourHomeForSale Home Information Guide.

      The YourHomeForSale team has compiled a list of trustworthy and reputable vendors to help you with all of your buying, selling and home-related needs. You need not spend hours vetting a lawyer, a lender, or a landscaper - just check out our list and scan for a vendor or resource that has a stamp of approval from the YourHomeForSale Team and our clients, including:
      ·         Real Estate Attorneys
      ·         Banks
      ·         Mortgage Companies
      ·         Contractors
      ·         Home Helpers
      ·         Carpet Cleaners
      ·         Floor Refinishing/Installation
      ·         Electricians
      ·         Landscapers
      ·         Landscape Suppliers
      ·         Roofers
      ·         Movers
      ·         House Cleaners
      ·         Plumbers
      ·         Insurance
      ·         Fuel Companies
      ·         Utilities & Other Numbers
      ·         Removal Companies/Organizations
      Do you have a recommendation? Let us know! We're always keeping an eye out for quality resources. And don't forget to check back often - this document will be updated regularly.

      View the YourHomeForSale Home Information Guide.

      Spotlight: Arlington Home of the Week, The Children's Room

      tech <p><span><span>The YourHomeForSale Team has a special Spotlight this week. This home is not for sale, but it is an integral part of our community. This week our Spotlight is</span> <span><a href= "" target="_blank"><span>The Children's Room</span></a></span><span>.</span></span><br /> <br /></p> <div><a href= "" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="67" src= "" width= "320" /></a></div> <div><span><span>The Children's Room is a wonderful organization, right in Arlington, dedicated to helping grieving children, teens and families in our community. The Children's Room educates teachers, counselors, youth workers and other professionals about how children and teens grieve - and enables them to facilitate the growth and healing process.</span><span><br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span><span>What volunteers and staff offer these children and families is priceless - and yet their service is free. They do not burden grieving families with cost, even though actual costs are about $1500 a year for a child or teen to participate in the program. Over two-thirds of their income comes from individuals like you.</span><span><br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span><span>So much about the holidays is focused on children and families. For those that have lost a loved one, this is a particularly difficult time of the year. If you are looking for a meaningful way to give back this holiday season, you need look no further than your own backyard.</span> <span><br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span><span>You can support this local service through any number of ways:</span><span><br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span>·</span> <b><span><a href= "" target="_blank"><span>Run the Marathon</span></a></span></b><b><span>!</span></b><span><br /> <br /></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span>·</span> <b><span><a href= "" target= "_blank"><span>Donate</span></a></span></b><span><br /> <br /></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span>·</span> <b><span><a href= "" target= "_blank"><span>Volunteer</span></a></span></b><span><br /> <br /></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span>·</span> <b><span><a href= "" target= "_blank"><span>Participate</span></a></span></b><span><br /> <br /></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span>·</span> <b><span><a href= "" target= "_blank"><span>Take a Tour</span></a><br /> <br /></span></b></div> <p><br /></p> <div><br /></div> <div><span><span>And you know what will happen then? Well, in Whoville they say - your heart will grow three sizes this day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas comes through, and you'll find the strength of *ten*, plus two.</span><span><br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><span><span>"<i>The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children</i>." -</span> <span><a href= "" target= "_blank"><span>Dietrich Bonhoeffer</span></a><br /> <br /></span></span></div> <p><br /></p> <div><br /></div>


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        YourHomeForSale Party is a Holiday Hit

        tech <p><span><span>There are a lot of reasons to choose Steve McKenna and the YourHomeForSale team: great personal service, a knack for pricing to sell, attention to detail, exceptional marketing and, perhaps, the most important of all: <i>The Annual Client and Business Partner Appreciation Holiday Extravaganza Event, Thing.</i></span></span></p> <div><span><span>Each year, Steve McKenna and the YourHomeForSale team invite clients and business partners to kick off the holidays with some food and fun at</span> <a href= ""><span>Flora Restaurant</span></a> <span>in East Arlington. Our business is based on trust and personal relationships, so this is one small gesture to say, "<i>Thanks, we appreciate your support</i>."</span></span></div> <div><span><span>You may not always see the people behind the scenes of a home sale or purchase - those that handle the transaction documents, get extra keys made, write up the P&S, supply building materials, or fix your leaky faucet. So the holiday gathering is not only a great way for us to catch up with you, it's also a great way for you all to catch up with each other.</span></span></div> <div><span><span>The hors d'oeuvres and drinks were delicious, your company made our spirits bright, what fun it was to see everyone at the holiday party that night!</span></span></div> <div><span><span>Best wishes for a happy holiday season!</span></span></div>


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          A Different Kind of Hat Trick

          They say things happen in threes. Three can be a charm, company, or a crowd. In this case, three clicks of the mouse can score you seats front and center at a Bruins game.

          In an effort to grow our online community and build a network of fans, followers, and subscribers that have like-minded interests in real estate, Arlington, and other local events, we are offering two free Bruins tickets - with seats so close you can hear Patrice Bergeron ask Tim Thomas what he had for lunch that day - to a lucky winner.
          Complete this Social Hat Trick and you will be entered to win tickets to see the reigning Stanley Cup Champions:
          It's that easy - just because we want to get connected and give a little something back as thanks to you. Contest participants must fan/follow/subscribe to YourHomeForSale to be eligible, and we will randomly select a winner on Monday, January 2nd.
          For additional details, see below:
          Game Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 vs. the Winnipeg Jets.
          Game Time: 7:00 p.m.
          Your Seat: 4th row center, behind the Bruins bench
          Good luck!

          Spotlight: Arlington Homes of the Week

          Cloudy With a Chance of Price Adjustments

          Arlington real estate is changing like the weather - it's up, it's down, it's swirling all around. Even though Arlington remains one of the top real estate markets in the country, we, too, can have our fluctuations.

          Tis the season for sales and getting the most value for your dollar, so take advantage of these recent price adjustments and ring in the New Year from your beautiful Arlington home.

          1 Watermill Place #528. The rarest (and fairest) of them all at Watermill Place, one of Arlington's most sought after buildings! This highly desirable 1 bedroom 1 ½ bathroom unit is located on level five with beautiful city views from a private balcony. There is parking for one car in the carport. This building is conveniently located close to the Minuteman Bike Path, Arlington Heights, public transportation, shops, and restaurants. Now listed at: $265,000

          30 Addison Street. Not just a unique home but a unique location too. Surrounded by nature, near Spy pond and Arlington Center, take your pick of activities with boating, the bike path, shops and restaurants right nearby. This home features high ceilings, oversized windows, lots of natural light, front and back staircases, three beautiful levels of living space, a wood burning fireplace, deck, and period details. The oversized kitchen was thoughtfully laid out and every attention to detail was given when renovating the main bath. This truly amazing home must be seen to be appreciated. Now listed at: $799,000

          9 Stony Brook Road. This is a stunning new home on a cul-de-sac in the sought-after Jason Heights section of Arlington. It is in close proximity to Menotomy Rocks Park where you'll find an idyllic pond, walking trails, playground, and woods, and it is also located a short distance to Arlington Center shops and restaurants. Features include master suite, custom details, open concept, chef's kitchen, 2 car garage, deck, patio and yard. Now listed at: $949,000

          Ho-Ho-Hold It! Read this Before Putting Your Home on the Market for the Holidays

          tech <p>It's that time of year again. I'm not referring to the sparkly lights, the 'one for you, one-two for me' shopping, or the abundance of eggnog and fruit cake. I'm talking about the debate over whether to put a home on the market over the holidays.</p> <div>Like clockwork, the debate comes around this time every year - <a href= ""> some say yes</a>, <a href= ""> some say no</a> - but both sides present a good case. We broke down some of the top <i>Yes vs. No</i> considerations so you can see more clearly the pros and cons of each:</div> <div> <table width="457"> <tbody> <tr> <td width="235"><strong>No! Wait to sell your home until after the holidays</strong></td> <td width="222"><strong>Yes! Put your house on the market during the holidays</strong> <p><strong> </strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">Buyers will think you are desperate.</td> <td width="222">Buyers are serious.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">It is inconvenient.</td> <td width="222">It's going to be inconvenient anyway.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">There is a smaller inventory, and you're less likely to find the right buyer.</td> <td width="222">There is less competition from other similarly priced homes.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">It's difficult to close when everyone is on vacation.</td> <td width="222">Brokers, bankers and lenders are motivated to close, too.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">You can put your home back on the market in January as a fresh new listing.</td> <td width="222">There will be more competition after the first of the year.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">Don't decorate (it looks cluttered).</td> <td width="222">Festive houses show better.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="235">Buyers are too busy shopping and visiting friends and family to look at homes.</td> <td width="222">Buyers have more time to look because they generally take time off over the holidays.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <p>If you're under the gun and need to sell sooner rather than later - then go for it. You'll feel better knowing you're doing everything in your power to get the process moving.</p> <p>Whether you are home for the holidays, or preparing your home to sell, be sure to take the time to asses what's best for you and your situation.</p>


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