Real Estate and *stuff *

Real Estate and *stuff *

A real person helping real people with real estate

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99-Cent Store Solution: Scuffed Countertops

April 24, 2019

Here’s how to make short work of this common countertop ailment with finds from the dollar store.


If you’ve ever had a scuff mark on a colored countertop, you know that it sadly becomes the room’s focal point. But we found the right supplies to save you any embarrassment.

Easy Fix for your Scuffed Countertop


  • Crayons, 99 cents
  • Spatula knife, 99 cents
  • A microwave-safe bowl, 99 cents (If you have one you’re willing to sacrifice to melt crayons, you just saved another 99 cents.)

Total: $2.97. $3.96 if you throw in a weak lemonade-type drink.

What you do:

  1. Pick the Crayon whose color comes closest to matching your countertop. Peel off the paper and place it in the bowl.
  2. Pop the crayon and bowl in the microwave.
  3. Pour the hot, melted crayon onto the scuff mark and work it into the indentation with the spatula knife.
  4. Scrape off the excess with the spatula knife.

The Crayon mixture will harden and dry quickly, erasing your countertop flaw.

Open House-3 Carey Rd, Sturbridge, MA

April 23, 2019


This Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Come view this unique property on nearly 2 acres of land.

Can’t make the open house? View an interactive 3-D tour NOW!


99-Cent Store Solution: Torn Window Screen

April 21, 2019

Get rid of one of life’s greatest annoyances for less than a buck.

Among the things that make us nuts:

  • An empty carton of milk in the fridge
  • A flat tire
  • A torn window screen. That tiny hole is just the invitation bugs need to break in.

No need for a handyman or a replacement screen.

You’ll find the right bug deterrent at the 99-cent store, if it’s not already on hand in your bathroom cabinet. But going to the dollar store is fun — you never know what you’ll find. Like cheap soda.


  • Clear nail polish, 99 cents
  • Two slightly dented cans of soda, 99 cents
  • Total: $1.98

What you do:

  • Apply the clear nail polish on both sides of the torn area. Slather it on so it builds up a nice barrier.
  • Watch it dry transparently.
  • Enjoy your soda.


Coming Soon in Paxton, MA

April 20, 2019

Take a 3-D Interactive Tour before it’s available!


Contact me now to get dibs on this one!

Land Lot on Peach Tree Drive, Sutton MA

April 18, 2019

Welcome to Sutton!

Tired of not finding the right home?

Build your home oasis!

This 17.7 acre retreat lot is in Orchard Estates – one of Sutton’s best loved neighborhoods!

This scenic lot is located off of Leland Hill Road on the Grafton side of Sutton. Enjoy coming home to your new construction in the country! Quick access to Routes 146, 395, 290 and the Mass Pike. Commuter friendly to Worcester, Boston, Putnam and Providence. Convenient to the Blackstone Valley Shoppes and Restaurants. Sutton has a newer school system, new Police Department Building and newer shopping center with Market 32, Starbucks and more!

Buyer to perform all due diligence necessary for intended use with accepted offer.

Effects of Pyrrhotite on Home Concrete Foundations

April 17, 2019

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Division of Professional Licensure
Office of Public Safety & Inspections
This information is forwarded to provide guidance to home owners, building officials, engineers, architects and other interested parties who may be affected by or have experience in the reference subject. Please review contents of the message below. If questions remain after reviewing, please forward a message requesting further assistance to:
Pyrrhotite is an iron sulfide mineral that has been found in at least one quarry in northeastern Connecticut. Over the years, materials extracted from this quarry have been used in concrete mixtures and the concrete has been used in varied construction projects in\around Connecticut and central Massachusetts regions. Pyrrhotite that is exposed to oxygen and water may react and cause severe swelling and cracking. As the concrete continues to deteriorate, concrete foundations may become structurally unsound.
The cracking is not normal settling or shrinkage and it may take 15 – 20 years for the pyrrhotite damage to appear. Cracks are typically horizontal, on a 45° angle, or appear in a spider pattern. A white powdery substance may be noticeable in\around the cracks, brown stains or drips that resemble rust may also be evident.  (See Image 1 below.)
Image 1
Many Connecticut residents have experienced the effects of pyrrhotite damage to foundations.  (See Image 2 below.) Some Massachusetts residents are seeing or suspecting damage due to pyrrhotite as well. Concrete mix originating from a batching plant located in Stafford Connecticut used in structures circa 1983 through 2015 are of greatest concern. Concrete trucks may only travel about 20 miles beyond the plant location before the concrete begins to harden. Therefore, structures located in cities and towns identified below are where difficulties are likely to occur.  (See Image 3 below.)


Image 2
Damage caused by pyrrhotite is irreversible. The most effective repair is to replace the existing foundation with a new one that does not contain pyrrhotite. The cost to replace a foundation can vary greatly based on multiple factors, but estimates range between $150,000 and $250,000 per home.
What can be done?
The first thing to do is determine whether or not there is reason to be concerned. Concrete may and does crack for a number of reasons, settling, excess moisture content, so just because there are cracks in a foundations does not necessarily mean it is due to the presence of pyrrhotite. A few things should be considered:
  • Is the structure located in the region identified in Image 3?
  • Was the structure built between 1983 and 2015?
  • Is there visible cracking beyond the norm?
If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions, there may be reason for concern and further investigation should be done.
 Image 3
Visual Inspection and Core Sampling.
First, a visual inspection should be done by a qualified person and findings should be memorialized in a report. If the inspection concludes that there is no evidence of pyrrhotite damage, nothing further is required.  Continued cracking should be monitored since, as mentioned earlier, pyrrhotite damage may take years to become evident.
Next, if a visual inspection is inconclusive or the inspection reports evidence of pyyrhotite damage, a core sample should be taken and tested for more definite results.
Who is considered qualified to perform visual inspection
and report finding?    
A Massachusetts licensed:
  • Engineer;
  • Architect;
  • Construction Supervisor; or
  • Certified Building Code Enforcement Official are all considered qualified for such work.
Are engineers, architects, construction supervisor, or building officials licensed in Connecticut considered qualified
to perform inspections?
Certainly each of these individuals, by education and\or experience, may be consider qualified. However, Massachusetts law requires such individuals to be licensed in the Commonwealth.
Many engineers and\or architects (collectively referred to as Registered Design Professionals or RDPs) are licensed in multiple states. If you are interested in using an out-of-state RDP to perform an inspection, please be sure that they are appropriately licensed in the Commonwealth. Licenses may be checked @
Are reciprocal\comity or temporary licenses available through the Commonwealth to out-of-state RDPs?
Yes. Recognizing the unique situation related to the effects of pyrrhotite, the Commonwealth’s Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) has established an expedited approval process for applicants.
Out-of-state RDPs who wish to apply to the Commonwealth should start by emailing the Licensing Board directly at or by calling the Board at (617) 727-9957.
Additionally, an applicant who submits a complete application to the Board will be granted a temporary permit.  This permit, which is valid as long as a complete application is pending before the Board, allows an applicant to legally work in Massachusetts using the seal of his/her home state of licensure. Please ask the Board for more information.
If preferred, an out of state RDP can also qualify by working under the license of a Massachusetts licensee without having to obtain a temporary permit.
Is assistance available for homeowners affected by this issue? 
Yes.  The Massachusetts legislature has established a reimbursement fund to help assist with visual inspection and\or core sampling costs.
How can I apply for assistance?
Download an application @
All applications must be accompanied by:
  • Proof of Home Ownership (For Condos: proof of foundation ownership – usually the association declaration – Examples of homeownership include mortgage statements, tax bills, copies of deeds, etc.).
  • Testing and\or Visual Inspection Report and Results.
  • Pictures of Foundation Damage (If not in Report).
  • Invoice or other Documentation of Costs (Such as a cancelled check).
  • Dated Records of House Addition (If applicable).
  • List of Other Units that Share Foundation (For Condos) .
Completed applications and support material shall be returned to:
Office of Public Safety & Inspections, Crumbling Foundations
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710, Boston, MA 02118
Questions directed to or call 617-826-5202.
Are there other eligibility requirements to be considered?
  • The home must have been constructed on or after 1983 up to 2015.If the home was built before 1983, but there is an addition that was built after 1983, the addition is eligible for consideration under the program. The homeowner must supply proof that the addition was built after 1983 (building permit, CO or other similar documentation).
  • The home must be located within a 20-mile radius of the 10 Meadow Lane in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
How are applications approved and what benefits may I expect?
Applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility.  If approved, applicants will be reimbursed at a rate of:
  • 100% for visual testing conducted by a licensed professional engineer up to $400 maximum; and
  • 75% for the testing of two core samples up to $5000 maximum.
Please remember, this is a reimbursement program, so monies have to be expended first and evidence of expenditures must be submitted with the applications. Applicants cannot prospectively request reimbursement for costs.
Who is considered eligible to draw core samples?
No specific license is required to draw concrete core samples from home foundations, but specialized tools and knowledge are essential. The best way to find qualified companies is to perform a web search of concrete core sampling in Massachusetts; numerous results will appear. Caution should be exercised to be sure that the company and its personnel are reputable and reliable.
Where can core samples be tested?  

Testing for the presence of pyrrhotite is specialized. Again, a web search for concrete testing laboratories in Massachusetts will reveal several results, but Massachusetts laboratories may not be equipped to perform necessary tests. Since no special license is required for pyrrhotite testing in Massachusetts, you may wish to consult a list of available vendors in Connecticut @

What about business owners who suspect that pyyrhotite may be causing damage to their commercial business buildings?
Are they eligible to apply for expended testing costs?  
No, not at this time.
What if I find out that there is significant damage to my foundation requiring replacement, is there additional monetary assistance available?
At this time, the answer is no. However, pyyrhotite damage to home foundations is a relatively new issue in Massachusetts. Depending on the extent of damage and number of homes involved, further assistance may be available in the future.
Robert Anderson

Division of Professional Licensure
Office of Public Safety and Inspections
Chief of Inspections – Building & Engineering

Best 6 (Secret) DIY Home Repair Tips

April 12, 2019


Common problems. Genius solutions.

This article was contributed by Mandi Gubler, a DIYer and home decor blogger, who writes “Vintage Revivals” and believes “your house should look like you and no one else.”

As a DIY home repair junkie, I’ve learned lots of tricks … most of them the hard way. Here’s a compilation of my favorite tips to take your project to the next level.

#1 Pre-Painting Prep

Before you paint, use a floor duster to remove all the dust from your walls. Because of the long handle, you won’t even need to pull out a ladder, and your paint result will be a million times better.

#2 Perfect Paint Lines

I have a secret for you. Even if you have texture on your walls, you can achieve perfect paint lines! You can’t stop paint from bleeding, especially if you have heavy texture like popcorn walls. So the trick is to make the bleed invisible.

After you’ve painted your base color on the wall and taped off your pattern, use the same base wall color and paint along the edges of the tape. This will make the bleed invisible. Then after it’s dry, paint your accent color over the space. Perfect paint lines every time!


#3 Smooth Caulk Repairs

Getting a smooth finish on caulk can be maddening. And since it’s one of the most common DIY home repairs, knowing to do it easily is key. The chunkiness and unevenness of the caulk can be quite the headache, but luckily, you’ve got everything you need in your house to resolve this problem, and it won’t cost you a thing.

Grab a disposable cup from your kitchen and fill it with water. After you’ve squeezed the caulk onto the seam, dip your finger in the water and run it along the caulk. The water creates a perfect lubricant for your finger. This will give you a smooth finish, and it’s virtually mess free. See how easy here:

#4 Easy Wood Refinishing

Let’s say you just came across the score of a lifetime at the thrift store: a wooden mid-century dresser that’s in great condition, but the finish isn’t up to your standards.


Don’t worry about having to sand and restain it — just use a product called Danish oil. It’s a cross between a wood conditioner and a stain and will fill in and disguise the places where the color of your finish is all wrong.

#5 Paint Preserver

If you find yourself mid-paint project and have to take a break, roll your roller in the paint to get a nice thick coat and then wrap it in a garbage bag and put it in the fridge. This will keep the paint fresh for up to a week until you can start again.

#6 Art Straighteners

Do you have a problem with the art on your walls staying level? There’s nothing more distracting than having one or two crooked pictures in a gallery wall.

Buy a package of adhesive strips, cut them into small sections, and place them on the back of the frames. It will keep pictures straight and not damage the walls.

I hope that you’ll use these tips to make your DIY home repairs a little bit easier!

Open House in Sutton MA

April 11, 2019 1 Comment

Wonderful single level living with in-law potential on nearly 3 acres in a great location in Sutton!

01 Front-5.jpg

This is not a drive by with over 1,800 sq ft of flexible living space!

You WON’T wait to miss the Open House this Saturday! Come to 77 Central Turnpike from 11AM-1230PM and see for yourself.

The main level features a cathedral ceiling family room

04 Family Room-3

The eat-in kitchen has a move able island.

03 Kitchen-5

Or go directly to the 3 season room because summer is coming quickly and this house has an amazing yard!

05 Three Season Porch-2

The front room has large windows and hardwood flooring and can be a formal dining room, sitting room or formal living room.

02 Living Room-1

Generous sized bedrooms with hardwood flooring and closet organizers.

07 Bedroom 2-2.jpg

The lower level is finished for a media room, rec room or additional living space with a second full bathroom.

10 Recreation Room-1.jpg

Storage area and utilities are tastefully separate from the living space. Recent updates include septic, well, heating, oil tank, roof, Basement 360, window and central a/c!

Can’t make the open house? Take an interactive 3-D tour by clicking the photo below!

77 CT tour

10 Things You Should Never Say To A Real Estate Agent

April 10, 2019


Let’s be clear on one thing: by nature, real estate agents are not fragile beings. We’ve heard it all. And for the most part, we have a great sense of humor about things. In other words, you can tell us virtually anything — in fact, you should if it’s pertinent to buying or selling your home.

It’s just that there’s a handful of things clients say that can rub us the wrong way. These things aren’t offensive, per se’, and you probably mean no harm when saying them. But we need to discuss these things. Thus, this list. Let’s file it under “edutainment” — important enough to warrant a dialogue, but light enough for you to realize it’s not the end of the world if you’ve said these things to an agent in the past.

Here they are.

1. “I want to buy a home, but I don’t want to commit to one agent.”

Loyalty is a two-way street. If you want an agent’s help, understand that he or she will spend a considerable amount of time, money, and effort shuttling you from house to house, scheduling home viewings, and previewing listings on your behalf. The tradeoff for this hard work is to sign a buyer’s agency agreement, allowing them to formally represent you as a client (versus merely a customer). There are major differences between the two. Learn more about agency relationships here.

2. “Don’t show my home unless I’m available.”

Look down. See a hole in your shoe? That’s because you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Real estate agents are busy. Therefore, if you want to maximize your home’s exposure, you’re gonna have to be flexible (i.e., as “hands off” as possible). I get it, though. You cringe at the thought of muddy shoes dragging across your beige carpet (or whatever else your concern may be). You naturally want to be present to keep an eye on things, but try to control that urge. Buyers get uncomfortable with sellers standing over them while they view a home — and that’s if you’re lucky enough to draw the buyer inside in the first place, considering all the hoops created by stipulating that other people’s schedules must align with yours.

3. “But Zillow said…”

Stop listening to Zillow. Relying on Zillow to determine your home’s value is, at best, a crapshoot. Zillow itself even encourages buyers, sellers and homeowners to conduct other research such as “getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent” and “getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser.” Sure, Zillow’s Zestimates® are quick, easy, and free… but so is dating advice from your thrice-divorced Uncle Larry. The point? Just let a local real estate professional (who will actually see your home’s unique features in person) determine its fair market value.

4. “I’ll get pre-approved for a mortgage later.”

This puts you at a huge disadvantage right out of the starting block. First, an agent worth his or her salt won’t agree to invest countless hours showing homes to someone who isn’t approved for a loan. Secondly, it’s an unfair burden on the seller to bring tire-kickers into their home (which is how you’ll be perceived). Therefore, listing agents and sellers will often require a pre-approval letter alongside your offer. This letter strengthens your offer by instilling confidence in all parties that you’re financially capable of purchasing the home.

5. “I don’t want to bother my Realtor®. Can you just show me the house?”

Not just no, but heck no. To be clear, you’re more than welcome to view it, but there’s a protocol in play here. Contrary to what you think, asking your agent to see a home is not “bothering” them. It’s their job. It’s how they get paid. It’s what they love doing. If there are extenuating circumstances preventing your agent from showing you a home, let him or her call the listing agent directly. Don’t worry, you’ll get to view the home one way or another. But if you’re already represented, then going straight to the listing agent is considered is a faux pas in this industry (and a bit of a slap in the face to your agent). Just don’t do it.

6. “Real-a-tor”

The correct pronunciation is Real-tor. No need to throw that extra syllable in there.

7. “Oh, you sell real estate? You must make good money.”

Hold your horses… not necessarily. According to NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), the median gross income of REALTORS® was $42,500 in 2016, and that’s before expenses like MLS fees, marketing, insurance and everything else. Also, keep in mind that commissions are split between the brokerages representing the buyer and seller. In other words, of that X% you paid your agent to sell your home, he or she saw only a tiny fraction of that.

8. “I’m planning to sell my home by owner. I just want to know how to do it.”

We all know that time is money, but so is knowledge. It’s not always free, and it certainly can’t be passed from one brain to another through osmosis — especially not how to sell a home. So if you ask this question to an agent, don’t be offended if you don’t get the answer you were seeking. It’s not that agents want you to fail… it’s just that advising you how to sell a home isn’t as easy as, say, forwarding a recipe for chocolate pound cake. I should know. Many people tried to replicate my grandmother’s chocolate pound cake. They even had the recipe. But they all failed miserably, every time. Bottom line? If you want to benefit from experience, be willing to pay for it (especially when it comes to real estate).

9. “I’ll only sell my home to a buyer who is (insert race, gender, religion, etc. here)”

This is a big no-no, and one that’s liable to get you sued (unless, of course, you list with a real estate professional who’d certainly know better than to discriminate). Federal equal housing laws were passed in 1968 in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, and they prohibit renters and home sellers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, sex, religion and other factors. So in a nutshell: focus on getting your home sold, and forget about to whom.

10. “I’d love to get paid to look at pretty houses all day, every day.”

So would agents. “Looking at pretty houses” is only one of about 184 things real estate agents do for their clients.

Paradise in Sturbridge, MA

April 9, 2019

Oasis in Sturbridge!

A commuter’s dream!

Sitting on 1.5+ acres with deeded lake rights you can enjoy country living AND an easy commute.

This house has been tastefully updated to open concept living with character.

The chef style kitchen with granite, stainless steel appliances, double wall ovens, center cooking island and gathering island is open to the fireplace living room and upper deck.

Full pantry and plenty of storage!

The main level Master has a walk in closet, accessory office space, separate side entrance and private bath with tiled shower and jetted tub.

The lower level has been updated with a fantastic family room.

The double fire place wall accents the room with a separate entrance, granite, wet bar and stove.There is also additional space for a guest room or office.

Two generous sized bedrooms and a full bath complete the top floor!

Click the photo below to take a 3-D Interactive tour!

The property is also being sold with a .78 acre lot on Leadmine Road for additional frontage! (Optional bomb shelter in basement)