Blog :: 03-2015

Choosing a Local Real Estate Team

Buying or selling a home can be one of the biggest, sometimes most overwhelming, endeavors you will take on. But it doesn't have to be the headache that many assume it to be.

We've talked about some warning signs when working with real estate professionals (beware the 'Yes' REALTOR®). And we've shared feedback direct from clients about the characteristics they value, as well as what separates the best from the rest.

With the right help, buying or selling a home can be a smooth, successful and rewarding experience. Choosing a local real estate team to get you there is the first step, and these important concepts will get you started: CHOICE. LOCAL. TEAM.


CHOICE. Choice is a beautiful thing. It means that you're not stuck, and that you have options. But choice also means you have to do your homework. When it comes to finding someone to represent your real estate needs, you want to choose someone with the skill set and expertise to get the job done.

Not only that, but you want to feel good about your choice. A real estate professional might be good at what they do, but if they come across as abrasive, distracted or not in tune to your specific needs, then it might be time to look elsewhere.

LOCAL. We can't emphasize this enough. Sure there is a proliferation of information about neighborhoods, schools, demographics and real estate data for any given town. But fact of the matter is, that information is just the tip of the iceberg.

Theoretically, any real estate agent from Sudbury, Weymouth or Peabody could come in and help you buy or sell an Arlington or Medford home. But the nuances of knowing a town include critical things like having good connections to partners and vendors you can trust (think handyman, contractor, cleaning person, etc.) and a deep understanding of the pool of buyers that's out there.

TEAM. Real estate is a 24/7 job. There are no weekends. It is challenging enough for one person to manage the ins and outs of a real estate transaction, much less one person handling all of that as a side gig. A real estate team with experience, skills and knowledge (buying, selling, marketing, transactions, negotiating, scheduling, follow-up) ensures that the burden of buying or selling a home falls squarely on their shoulders - not yours.



Photo via: yurolaitsalbert, DollarPhotoClub

Spotlight: Arlington Homes of the Week!

TGIF! March is winding down and real estate is picking up. Before you get caught up in the March Madness of Home Buying, take a look at these fantastic new listings.

Why have a kitchen when you could have an 'ultra-gourmet' kitchen will all the bells and whistles you can imagine at 119 Rhinecliff? And a condo with a gas fireplace, balcony, storage and plenty of space is an oasis in the heart of downtown Arlington living!

As the snowpack melts, these are the days of our lives.

119 Rhinecliff St.  

119 Rhinecliff

Exceptional Arts & Crafts Bungalow, beautifully renovated! Tasteful and smart, the ultra-gourmet kitchen, designed for the family chef, boasts a terrific lay out, double wall ovens, gas cook top, stainless appliances, abundant, granite counter space and exquisite custom cabinetry. The open concept kitchen connected to the dining room and family room, make this home perfect for entertaining! Two spacious first floor bedrooms and a spectacular bathroom, offer flexible living space, and an additional two sizable, second floor bedrooms, provide plenty of space to add a third and complete this spacious home. Finished, lower level playroom and full bathroom is perfect for guests. Beautifully landscaped gardens beckon with the promise of spring. The extensive list of improvements includes roof, windows, exterior painting, new deck, updated heat, electrical and central air! Don't miss this terrific, move-in ready, home, close to parks, schools and transportation! (MLS#71807023)

Listed: $769,000

What's Nearby: Arlington Heights shops and restaurants, Robbins Farm Park, public transportation, Route 2, Dallin School.

374 Massachusetts Ave., Unit 2   

374 Mass Ave.

Open House:

Sat, Mar 28, 11:30-1:00 pm

Sun, Mar 29, 11:30-1:00 pm 

In the heart of Arlington Center, the Avenue Condominiums offer a terrific location, close to shops, restaurants, the bike path and everything downtown Arlington has to offer. Both spacious and convenient, this 8 room condominium, located on the second floor, boasts an abundance of windows and natural light. Three bedrooms provide plenty of space for family, friends or a home office! Perfect for entertaining, you will enjoy the sizable living room, with faux fireplace and a gas (fireplace ready) connection, formal dining room with butler's pantry and a spacious kitchen with the convenience of additional pantry storage! Natural wood work, hardwood floors, central air, ample closet space, great storage and 2 parking spaces, make this pet friendly building, a wonderful place to call home! Enjoy relaxing on your own, oversized, private balcony, while watching the sun set! Arlington center at your doorstep, a great place to live! (MLS# 71807056)

Listed: $459,000

What's Nearby: Arlington Center shops and restaurants, public transportation, Minuteman Bikeway.


Arlington Real Estate 




Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
43 Thesda St. 7 3 2f Colonial $679,900
24 Princeton Rd. 7 3 1f Cape $630,000
91 George St. 10 4 3f 1h Colonial $929,000
119 Rhinecliff St. 8 4 2f Bungalow $769,000
155 Scituate St. 6 3 1f 1h Colonial $639,000
553 Summer St. 6 3 1 1h Colonial $539,000
24 Robin Hood Rd. 10 4 3f Shingle $949,000
115 North Union St. 8 3 2f Other $499,000
115 Sunnyside Ave. 5 2 2f Other $400,000
58 Paul Revere Rd. 9 5 2f 1h Victorian $789,000


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
70 Lake St. U:70 7 3 1f  2/3 Family $438,000
54 Melrose St. U:1 6 2 1f  Detached $449,900
975 Mass. Ave. U:401 4 2 2f  Mid-rise $399,900
88 Park Ave. U:402 5 2 2f  Mid-rise $499,900
374 Mass. Ave. U:2 8 3 1f  2/3 Family $459,000
55-57 Amsden St. U:2 7 3 2f  Detached $649,000
55-57 Amsden St. U:1 5 2 1f 1h  Detached $549,000
36 Park St. U:36 6 3 2f 1h Townhouse $743,800


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
67 69 Fairmont St. 11 total 4 total 2 Unit $729,900
135 Medford St. 13 total 5 total   2 Unit $639,000


What Separates the Best From the Rest

Being a REALTOR® is not rocket science, nor is it brain surgery.

When you're sick, you want the best doctor, from the best hospital, with the best reputation. You want someone who has book smarts - went to medical school and has all the appropriate accreditations. And you want someone with street smarts - experience in the field and knows how communicate the best options for your situation.

Being a REALTOR® is easy. Being a great REALTOR® is what separates the best from the rest.

Annie Kelly has that unique mix of credibility, integrity, smarts, and people-skills. She has the book-smart background and street-smart experience that delivers results with a personalized approach for each and every client.

But don't take our word for it. See what Annie's clients have to say about her job well done.

Steve, Seller on 3 Johnson Ave. in Medford

From my initial meetings with Steve McKenna and Annie Kelly, to closing on the sale of my home in West Medford, I was greatly impressed by the market knowledge, expertise and professionalism of The Home Advantage Team. They are well-connected and know the neighborhood well. What's more, they are sincere, genuine and incredibly hard-working. As my primary contact, I particularly appreciated Annie's astute judgment, attentive follow-through, and thoughtfulness in helping guide the process smoothly from preliminary steps to a successful conclusion.

Mike & Melanie, Sellers on 33 Oakland Road in Melrose

I wanted to thank Steve McKenna and Annie Kelly of The Home Advantage Team. They were with us every step of the way selling our home, offering expert advice and in the end getting us top results. I completely trusted and committed to their process. They brought in a professional stager, who gave me a lot of work, but I did it! Annie held a broker event at our home the Thursday prior to the open house. After our open house weekend we received 11 offers!

All their staging suggestions really paid off. Steve and Annie helped us sift through the offers and guided us with their knowledge and experience.   I remember being disappointed in the original list price but I decided to trust their process and in the end we sold for 16% over asking. I couldn't have been more pleased with our results, their advice and everything they did to get us to a smooth close. I would highly recommend Steve and Annie! Thanks for everything!

excellence concept


Photo via: Nenov BrothersDollarPhotoClub

The Word on the Street

Actually, it's not the word on the street. It's the words on the Arlington Streets. Words like: professional, fun, knowledgeable, accommodating, go-to...

Tracy Wallace has been with The Home Advantage Team less than one year and already she's knocking it out of the park. We know Tracy has what it takes to be a top REALTOR® in Arlington, and so do her clients.

Here's what a few had to say - in their own words.

Jane, Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington

Tracy responded to my initial request for information very quickly. That quick response was followed by quick responses to every one of my questions throughout the transaction. Tracy not only acted like a professional but she was also fun to be with. That combination does not always exist. I would recommend Tracy to anyone who is looking for real estate in the Arlington area.

Steve and Kalina, Appleton Street in Arlington

Tracy was great! Unfailingly pleasant, helpful, accommodating, and knowledgeable about the property and the market. Now that the deal is done, she continues to be a warm and friendly presence around town and a go-to person when we need advice or have local questions.

Micah and Amanda, Glenburn Ave. in Arlington

We were first time-time home buyers, and given how daunting the process seemed-- and how important making the right decision was-- we were looking for a partner with a deep knowledge of the market and who worked on our behalf to find the right home.   Tracy was exceptional to work with while she guided us to our dream home, and made the closing process as smooth as possible.



Spotlight: Arlington Homes of the Week!

IT'S SPRING! Can't you tell!? No? OK so maybe spring isn't exactly 'in the air' today, but real estate in Arlington is springing up everywhere.

We have two amazing listings this weekend - a beautiful Colonial in a desirable area as well as spacious two-family that would make a fantastic investment property.

What's a few more inches of snow among friends anyway?

9 Oldham Road

Open House:  

Sat, Mar 21, 11:30-1:00 pm

Sun, Mar 22, 11:30-1:00 pm 

9 Oldham Road

Stunning, young Colonial located in desirable Morningside neighborhood close to Winchester Country Club! Open the front door and be greeted by the open concept and abundance of natural light! Featuring a formal living room with fireplace, cathedral ceiling and dining room with wainscoting. Enter the large kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and center island overlooking a spacious family room with another fireplace. A large three season porch and outside patio are located directly off the family room. Gleaming hardwood floors throughout the first and second floors! The second floor offers 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and laundry, including master suite with walk-in closet, private master bath with double sinks, jetted tub, and glass shower. There is an open loft/office space with a dramatic flare. The third floor boasts a 4th bedroom or au-pair/teen suite with full bath. Beautiful, lush landscaping with fenced rear yard and a tranquil setting complete the package. (MLS#71802117)

Listed: $1,175,000

What's Nearby: Arlington shops and restaurants, public transportation, Winchester Country Club, Mystic Valley Parkway, Morningside area.

48 Maynard St.  

48 Maynard Street

Here it is! A spacious two family in a wonderful neighborhood that is close to everything. This 5/6 two-family home has many updates but will require some renovations. It's perfect if you want to roll up your sleeves and to do some renovations or if you are just looking for an investment. Are you a developer looking for a small project or condo development? This could be your next project. Each apartment provides two bedrooms and one bathroom, a kitchen, sun room, living room and dining room. There are plenty of hardwood floors and natural woodwork. (MLS# 71803550)

Listed: $619,000

What's Nearby: Arlington Center shops and restaurants, public transportation, Mass. Ave. Mystic Valley Parkway, Rt. 60.


Arlington Real Estate 


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
45 Oldham Rd. 9 4 4f 0h Colonial $1,049,000
64 Spring Ave. 7 3 1f 0h Colonial $525,000
75 Old Mystic St. 11 4 2f 2h Colonial $899,000
9 Oldham Rd. 10 4 3f 1h Colonial $1,175,000


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
27 Howard St. U:2 7 3 1f 0h 2/3 Family $475,000
9 Mott St. U:B 7 3 2f 0h 2/3 Family $579,000
63 Broadway U:1 5 2 1f 0h 2/3 Family $412,000
69 Decatur St. U:69 5 2 1f 1h Townhouse $389,000
100 Pleasant St. U:21 5 2 1f 0h 2/3 Family $350,000
99 Egerton Rd. U:99 5 2 1f 0h 2/3 Family $449,000
10 Russell Pl. U:10 6 2 2f 0h Attached $649,900


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
48 Maynard St. 10 4 2f 0h 2 Family - Up/Down $619,000
43-45 Beacon St. 12 5 3f 1h 2 Family - Up/Down $749,000












Top 5 Signs You Have the Wrong Real Estate Professional

Congratulations. You have decided it's time to sell your home. There's a lot to think about of course, and as you begin your foray into the land of for sale signs, there are a few things to consider when choose a real estate professional to help you along the way.

Just as it's important to know what you want, it's equally as important to know what you don't want. If you going to work with a real estate professional, these are a few red flags that should be on your radar.

5. They Don't Return Your Calls. This is the basic of the basic. If a real estate professional cannot return your call in a timely manner with relevant information, then don't expect much when the going gets tough (negotiations, paperwork, scheduling, follow-up, marketing, etc.).

4. They Oversell Their Skill Sets. The proof is in the pudding. If a real estate professional claims they are client-focused and 'the best around' they better back it up with proof and action. But this is also where you need to do your homework. Thoroughly research every real estate agent you are considering and be sure they can deliver on their promises.

3. They Offer a 'Lower' Commission. You get what you pay for.  Sure you could go with a friend, relative or someone who claims to offer a lower commission than the competition. But marketing and selling a home properly costs money, skimp upfront and you'll pay for it in the end. As we say, it doesn't cost more to use Steve McKenna & The Home Advantage Team, but it could cost you if you don't.

2. They 'Yes' You. You know what we're talking about. 'Yes! Your house is perfect!' 'Yes! We can sell your house for that high price!' 'Yes! You can skip the cleaning and staging. It's no big deal!' Real estate professionals are not there to tell you what you want to hear. They're there to tell you want you need to hear in order to sell your house quickly and for the highest price.

1. They Don't Have a Plan for YOU. Selling a home is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Each home must be considered individually when it comes to marketing, pricing and attracting buyers. A real estate agent must be able to fine-tune their strategy to fit your needs and timeframe specifically.

Wrong Real Estate Professional


Image via: natalipopova2011, DollarPhotoClub

Spotlight: Arlington Home of the Week!

Need a little help getting into the home buying spirit? There's nothing like The New England Home Show at Patriot Place to get the ideas flowing. Brush up on everything from your energy-efficiency knowledge to DIY and home improvement tips.

Take all that info and come to our open house at 111 Park Ave. - a beautiful Tudor in a fantastic Arlington Heights location!

111 Park Ave. 

Open House:

Sat, Mar 14, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 


Don't miss this terrific Tudor with spacious in-law apartment, on the prestigious Park Avenue. It is close to schools, transportation, parks, Minuteman Bike Trail and the convenience of Arlington Heights. This home boasts updated kitchen and baths, newer windows, systems, ample parking and a two car garage! Enjoy the fire-placed living room, sunny family room, eat in kitchen, dining room with French doors, custom built-ins and a flexible floor plan which can be tailored to your needs. There are three second floor bedrooms, a finished basement family room and great storage throughout. The bright and cheerful kitchen welcomes, with a convenient half bath, access to family room, sun room and views of the lovely, landscaped garden. The in-law apartment boasts a convenient, first floor bedroom, ample living/dining room combination, perfect for extended family, au pair, friends and guests. Enjoy the return of spring and all that Arlington has to offer from this updated and well maintained, gracious home. (MLS#71800498)

Listed: $879,000

What's Nearby: Arlington Heights shops and restaurants, public transportation, Mass. Ave. Arlington Reservoir, Route 2, School Dallin School.

Arlington Real Estate


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
55 Eustis St. 6 2 1f 1h Cape $649,900
119 Ridge St. 9 5 2f Multi-level $649,900
96 Jason St. 14 6 3f 2h Victorian $1,425,000
170 Crosby St. 9 4 1f 1h Tudor $749,900
167 Park Ave. 10 4 2f 1h Colonial $729,000
111 Park Ave. 12 4 2f 1h Colonial $879,000
54 Crosby St. 8 4 2f 1h Colonial $849,000
18 Chatham St. 7 3 2f Cape $509,000
20 Maple St. 14 8 2f 1h Colonial $1,399,000


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
26 Cleveland St. U:26 5 2 1f 2/3 Family $440,000
66 Freeman St. U:2 9 4 2f Garden $499,900
215 Mass. Ave. U:5 3 1 1f High-rise $282,000
62-64 Foster St. U:64 8 4 2f 2/3 Family $469,000


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
33-35 Wellington St 16 total 6 total   2 Family $987,000




Spotlight: Arlington Homes of the Week!

Things we are thankful for: The sun. Daylight savings. Of course those are just the tip of the 2015 iceberg.

Not only should you spring forward tonight, be sure to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors!

Even though you lose an hour of sleep, these two new listings are sure to add an extra spring in your step!

110 Thesda Street  

110 Thesda

Open House:

Sat, Mar 7, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Sun, Mar 8, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 

Situated on a corner lot this exceptional home is ready for you to move in and make your own! Undefined spaces on the first floor provide flexibility to fit your style of living. The kitchen features white cabinets and beautiful light granite. With an open layout you have views throughout the first floor from virtually every room! The distinctive design of the master suite features a very large bath and over-sized walk in closet. In addition to the master suite, the second floor offers two additional generous sized bedrooms with great closet space. The large laundry room is conveniently located off the main bath. The gleaming hardwood floors, central air, mud room next to the 2 car garage and large patio make this home ideal for all lifestyles. Ample closet space, additional storage space in the basement and attic give you lots options for storing all your stuff! Easy access to Summer St/Forest St and McClennen Park! (MLS#71798413)

Listed: $879,000

What's Nearby: Arlington Center shops and restaurants, public transportation, Mystic Valley Parkway, Alewife Station, Morningside neighborhood, Bishop School.


82 Summer Street, Unit 9 


Open House:

Sat, Mar 7, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Sun, Mar 8, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM 

The Village at Cutters Mill is conveniently located in front of the Minuteman Bike Path, and steps to all the vibrant shops and fabulous restaurants in Arlington Center. This spacious townhouse has 4 levels of living space with the flexibility to use it as 2 or 3 bedrooms with 2.5 baths. The main level is a wonderful open floor plan with a spacious living room and gas fireplace. There are sliders off the living room to a deck overlooking the bike path. There is a terrific master suite with private bath and great closet space. The top floor has a large room that can be the 3rd bedroom, home office or family room with vaulted ceilings, a skylight and a private, roof top deck overlooking the bike path. Added bonuses are the two car garage with storage space and central air. This is one of Arlington's most sought after complexes and is a great place to live. (MLS#71797847)

Listed: $579,000

What's Nearby: Arlington Center shops and restaurants, Mass. Ave., Public Transportation, Route 2, Alewife Station, Minuteman Bikeway.

Arlington Real Estate 


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
175 Pleasant St. 10 4 3f Colonial $965,000
107 George St. 6 3 1f Cape $439,000
92 College Ave. 7 3 3f Contemporary $695,000
76 Waverley St. 6 3 2f Cape $629,000
6 Knowles Farm Circle 9 4 2f 1h Colonial $849,000


Address Rooms Bed Bath Style Price
993 Mass. Ave. U:201 5 2 1f 1h Garden $369,000
82 Summer St. U:9 6 2 2f 1h Townhouse $579,000
63 Appleton St. U:1 6 2 1f Attached $459,000
5 Arizona Terr. U:1 3 1 1f Garden $155,000


New Construction in Arlington is on the Way!

Finding new construction in a populated town like Arlington is like trying to find a crocus this March. Pretty hard to come by. Well, we have good news for homebuyers long on the lookout for something fresh and new.

New construction is popping up all over town - from East Arlington to the Heights, condos to single families, we have something new for everyone.

Contact us today for more information on these properties. Anticipation is not the only thing building!


Single Family Homes

Appleton Street - Appleton Farms will be ready for occupancy in late summer/early fall of 2015. This is a fabulous new subdivision consisting of three custom-designed homes located on Appleton Street with close proximity to Route 2. There will be 4 or 5 bedroom options with 3.5 - 4.5 baths, open concept designed for entertaining, 2-car garages and large outdoor spaces. Location and layout have modern convenience in mind!

McClellen Park - We have two new single family homes currently under construction. These homes are uniquely situated with a feel of country living, yet minutes to bustling Arlington, Lexington and Burlington! You can bask in the quiet, yet still have easy access to all the best shops and restaurants around. Both homes feature open concepts, unique floor plans, master suites, garage parking and tranquil settings!


Park Street - Located between the Mystic River and Arlington Center, these two new townhomes feature an open concept, garage parking, and easy access to the beauty and attractions of the Mystic River, as well as top-rated restaurants and shops located in Arlington Center and East Arlington. They are also in close proximity to public transportation.

Broadway - Close to the Somerville line, this three-unit condo conversion offers the best location for urban/suburban living. With the proximity to Teele Square and Davis Square, public transportation is right around the corner which makes getting to work or play easy and efficient! These units will feature the best of everything with multiple bedrooms and baths, parking, central air conditioning, and fantastic location!

East Arlington - Completely renovated from two-family into two condos. Each condo will feature dramatic floor plans, great entertaining space, fireplaces, and spectacular finishes! Minutes to the Minuteman Bike Path and Alewife!


Image via: Romolo Tavini, Dollar Photo Club

Weather and Real Estate Poised to Heat Up

Sure it doesn't feel like it now (then again it's been so cold we can't feel much), but spring will come - and faster than you think.

According to Weather Wisdom on, "....[in] 1969 there was 30 inches of snow on the ground in Worcester on the first of March. Even with 7 inches of new snow during the month, there was only 1 inch left when April began."

Hope springs eternal.


Things are going to move quickly this spring - both in terms of the weather and real estate. Arlington and Medford in particular are poised to heat up as the temperature rises.

These towns are like two long-time best friends that are welcoming, easy going and fun to be around.

To start, they are both accessible with multiple modes of public transportation, close to Boston, walkable with many shops and restaurants, have plenty of parks, open space and good schools, and they're still relatively more affordable than neighboring towns of Cambridge, Lexington, Winchester and Belmont.

Among other pluses, Arlington recently reported a 25% drop in crimes from 2014. And if you're a seller, a Banker and Tradesman Report found that "...Arlington might be the only town in Massachusetts where when 100 percent of the inventory goes under agreement...." Those are some pretty compelling statistics.

Right next door, Medford is a hip place to call home. "After Somerville, where 43 percent of the population is in the age range of 20 to 34, the highest concentrations of millennials are in Waltham at 31 percent, and Medford and Brookline at 29 percent..." according to a article. If you wish that you could be like the cool kids, Medford is where you'll find them.

If you've had cold feet about buying or selling a home this winter, there are plenty of reasons to turn up the heat on your real estate plans.


*image via: Wikimedia Commons