Monthly Town Edition: Mendon, Massachusetts

At Custom Home Realty, we have decided to start a community theme in which we will dedicate a monthly post all about a particular town in which some of us may or may not call home. We have found that a lot of our home buyers are looking for information on particular towns that come directly from it’s residents. We hope that this informal Monthly Town Edition will provide some information needed in order for a curious buyer to make an educated decision about a particular town of interest.

As some of you may or may not know, both Naomi and I have called Mendon home for the past few years, and prior to my Blackstone Valley hop (Northbridge, Douglas, Uxbridge), and Naomi’s Hopedale and Milford hop, we both grew up in Mendon as well. We’d like to share a little bit with you about the town of Mendon and delve into it’s most popular attractions and features. We have added Facebook/website links to most of the businesses listed below.

  1. Restaurants: Mendon has some of the best restaurants in the area. To name a few: Alicante, New England Steak and Seafood, Muffin House, Mendon Diner, The Greenhouse Wood Fired Pub, Galifords, Lowells, Willowbrook and George’s Surf & Turf.

  2. Local parks, beaches and trails: Mendon Town Beach (Nipmuc Lake), Memorial Field, Mendon Playground and Tennis Courts. Looking for a great view and or trail? Mendon has many scenic areas and trails, especially those found on North Ave, Inman Hill Rd, Quissett Rd, Providence Rd and Cormier Woods (to name a few).

  3. Town Sponsored Community Events: These events are usually held by the Mendon Parks Dept, Brothers of the Brush, Library, Historical Society, the Mendon Festival Committee and local business sponsors. A few fun events for the community include, the Christmas parade and tree lighting event, the Mendon Easter Egg Hunt (mendonegghunt.com), the cardboard boat race and more. Be sure to Join us on July 27th at the mendon town beach for our 2nd annual movie night!

  4. Town sport sponsored events: including but not limited to, softball and baseball opening day festivities and Soktoberfest.. (my favorite yearly event).

  5. History: Mendon is filled with historic features and buildings. The Historic Commission and Historical Society are always busy improving our towns historical records while working toward the preservation of architecture and more.

  6. Zoo: Southwicks Zoo is the largest zoo in New England. This popular zoo is conveniently located in our small but amazing town of Mendon, Massachusetts. The owners take pride in their animals and create the best habitats possible. In addition, they rehabilitate some animals and release them back into the wild.

  7. Maple Farm Sanctuary: The owners of Maple Farm take in unwanted animals that have been treated poorly and or would have otherwise been euthanized. They provide a beautiful life for their furry and feathered friends while promoting vegan awareness and providing volunteer opportunities.

  8. Farms: Mendon is made up of many local farms and we are fortunate to have such fresh local produce, honey and meat. Cedar Hill Farm, Quisset Hill Farm, The Hosta Farm and Peregrine Gardens to name a few.

  9. Vandervalk Tree Farm and Winery: LOVE THIS PLACE. The Vandervalk farm is nothing short of the best. Great Christmas trees, good wine, great events, and fun for all age levels. Follow them on Facebook and find out about their latest and greatest scheduled events. My favorite is their monthly “Full Moon Friday” event.

  10. The Mendon Drive-in: This place is the best! Bring the kids to watch a great outdoor movie or two and enjoy a beer at the Beer Garden.

  11. The Lions Club: The Lions Club is an organization meant to promote the well being of our town and it’s residences. They are always working towards creating a better community.

  12. Schools: Mendon is part of a regional school system with Upton. Mendon is home to the Clough Elementary School and Miscoe Hill Middle School, both great schools filled with amazing teachers. Mendon Upton Regional School District is award winning and offer children the opportunity to become bi-lingual through their Spanish Immersion program. All in all a great school system. Mendon residents also have the opportunity to apply to local tech schools, including the award winning Blackstone Valley Tech, located in Upton.

  13. Library: Mendon has a beautiful new Library with many programs for our youth and adults alike.

  14. Mendon Senior Center: an amazing facility with programs and resources to help keep our seniors safe, happy, and socialized.

  15. Police and Fire: Mendon’s officers and firefighters are made up of the friendliest and most thoughtful crew. We are lucky to have them!

  16. Do you think there should be a “16, 17, 18, 19 and 20? We’ll let you decide! Leave feedback and let us know if we’ve missed another great feature to the town of Mendon, and we will go ahead and add it into the article.

As always, thanks for reading! Custom Home Realty is a local brokerage offering residential real estate services to all of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Local Market Update

It’s Spring and we are beginning to see more and more properties coming on the market! Values are holding steady, but it is important to note that we are seeing longer days on the market and some price reductions. All in all, the market is stable and it’s still a great time to list your home and or buy a home. Scroll through the March market report for Mendon, Upton, Hopedale, Milford, Holliston and Hopkinton. Don’t see your town? Leave a comment and we will upload the requested report. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for our next blog article later this week!

Cross Roads: The Modern Age of Real Estate.

As the years roll on, as does the evolution of home buying and selling. We have gone from a time where face to face communication was a requirement to a time where text communication is an expectation. Twenty five years ago the internet was a tool rarely used by consumers to search for homes, cell phones were only used by the privileged and social media was non existant. Now, we live in an age where the internet makes the earth spin, smart phones are a necessity and social media is the key to connection. Strictly speaking, in regards to the world of real estate, the internet is a means to an end in which we we are all connected 24 hours a day. We use the internet to distribute listings to the masses and it’s how buyers find their favorite homes and sellers find their favorite agents. Large real estate companies have built home search platforms which depend on buyers for their usage and sellers for their curiosity. As big box corporations continue to grow and dominate the real estate world, agents are drawn towards these companies for the promise of lead generation and local recognition, which for most, does not provide the promised ROI. 

This leads me to the universal predicament agents are now finding themselves struggling with; how can we reach sellers and buyers without lining the pockets of these large corporations? Some of which have an end game to actually put agents out of business with the use of automated and artificial representation. Millennials are blindly following the notion that an automated app used to submit offers is the bee’s knees. Simply put, agents need to be able to maintain an independent status offline. As realtors, we have a fiduciary duty to our future home buyers and sellers that goes beyond an app. Essentially, we need to show our millennials that there’s value to be had with utilizing an agent to represent their best interests, online and offline. Real estate agents are a knowledgeable resource for the average buyer and seller, and when implemented, can negotiate the best deals, assist in transaction management and ensure a smooth sale while maintaining communication between all transactional parties involved, included but not limited to: co-Broker, attorneys, title companies and lenders. 

We are currently seeing a huge shift in the industry because of our modern age struggle to secure clients when competing against huge corporations and the internet. Agents and brokerages are moving from one franchise to the next hoping for an “easy button” to conquer social media, ever changing algorithms, marketing and lead generation. With this shift, we are seeing a division between agents in our area with opposing mindsets. Some agents feel the only way to press forward in this industry is to join the big box brokerages and receive leads from the franchises who are aligning themselves with the mega real estate search engines. While others, like myself, feel the flexibility of an independent brokerage permits us to embrace modern tools while simultaneously maintaining our roots, by marketing ourselves on the internet and off the internet, without any franchise restrictions and without lining the pockets of said RE search engine companies. This is a sink or swim industry, and as such, it’s important for us to avoid becoming a lost fish in a deep sea of false promises.

Surely, we can all agree to find a happy medium between tradition and modern day technology. But, do we give in to the mega corporations who are trying to program us to think failure is imminent without their latest and greatest artificial intelligence app? Information and education is key, and through our efforts as an independent brokerage, I do believe we can make a difference in the mindset of buyers and sellers for generations to come. 

If you are looking to buy or sell and would like proper representation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our agents. Our CHR agents prioritize lasting relationships with our clients and we hope to continue our top notch service for many years to come. Thanks again for reading! -deb

To Build Or Not To Build

To build or not to build? This question finds itself on the mind of so many of our clients. As an experienced agent working alongside new construction buyer clients as well as the typical buyer client, we can show you both pros and cons, but the decision is ultimately up to you and your bank account. There are many variables involved with new construction, and many unknowns when jumping into a renovation, so it’s always important to make sure you are working with a buyer’s agent who is knowledgeable of the building process. Amidst the chaos of buying a home or building, the one constant, however, just so happens to be the outcome. At the end of the day, whether you build, renovate or buy, everyone… well almost everyone, finds fulfillment and peace in their home sweet home. 

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Let’s build a house!

Generally speaking, if you want to go the new construction route, buying an established lot with a plan and builder already in place, will equate to standard financing, faster approvals and a smoother transaction. On the other hand, if you are thinking of buying a raw piece of land and then building a custom home with the help of a construction loan and a hired builder, just know that most banks may not even finance the land without engineering, town building approvals and or a home plan/construction loan in place. That being said, it’s important to understand the upfront costs associated with a new build. So whether you buy the land raw or purchase a home to be built, you can assume you will need a hefty amount of cash ready to purchase upgrades and or to float construction costs between loan installments. I could go on and on about the logistics of new construction, but I think I’ll spare you the nitty gritty for now. Should you like to explore your options with building, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced and knowledgeable CHR agents for a detailed explanation of the process depending on your desired route. 

Let’s renovate!

So, you’ve nixed the new construction fantasy and you’ve decided a home in need of some repair is more your style. This option is certainly the green route of the spectrum and we absolutely love a good renovation at CHR. Our advice to those looking to become the next “rehab addict”, is to watch your wallet and understand the value added per each project. It’s certainly wise to consult with your agent before making any major renovations especially if you intend to sell within the next few years. To this I mean, don’t go installing a fifty thousand dollar kitchen in a 1500 Sq Ft property located in an area with low to moderate priced homes. You want to make sure that your renovations are in line with the neighborhood. In other words, it’s never in your best interest to be the nicest home on the block. The theory behind this, is.. well basically, you will never fully make your money back and the definition of investment will get lost in that gorgeous WOLF range. Don’t get me wrong, your home will definitely sell quick and most likely for top market value, but no more than an appraisers highest local comp. However, if you are looking to stay in the property for a lifetime, we say, go for it! As long as you intend to thoroughly enjoy your newly renovated property, and you don’t plan on selling anytime soon, go ahead and “over improve” all you want. Who knows? Maybe one day the neighborhood will catch up in terms of value. 

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Let’s just buy it and move in!

After exploring all of your options in regards to your next home purchase, you’ve decided to buy a property that’s move in ready. By that I mean, not a thing to do, but park your furniture and take off your shoes. Basically, if knocking down walls intimidates you and dust in the air creates anxiety, this will be your best bet. It’s important to remember, however, that your move-in ready property will not save you any money and you’ll likely need to offer over asking if it’s strategically priced on the low side. When buying in a sellers market (low inventory and high demand), this type of property will almost always go for top market value or sometimes even more.  Once your home search begins, you’ll want to hit the ground running with an iron clad pre-approval from a well known lender. This way, when you find a great home, your buyers agent can get your offer submitted ASAP.  Remember though, there is always the chance your offer is outbid or pushed to the side due to another “perfect” offer consisting of a cash purchase, above asking offer, or an offer without appraisal or inspection. Don’t worry though, the perfect house will find you even if it takes a few missed offers. Again, this is based on the demand of the specific property and will not always be the case. Generally speaking we are only seeing this type of activity with move-in ready properties in a hot market location. Don’t fret though, if your offer isn’t accepted, just keep searching and eventually the perfect home will find you. 

This bring me to the importance of hiring a buyer’s agent knowledgable of the local markets. This is essentially a no brainer! At no cost to you (Sellers broker pays buyers agent), your agent will ensure all language, contingencies, dates and deposits sit well with the sellers. Whether you are looking to build a home or buy a home, it’s important to have an informed agent to represent you from beginning to end. Contact one of our knowledgable agents today and let us help you find your way home!

Why Real Estate?

More often than not, we are asked by so many, Why Did You Choose Real Estate as a Career? We are forced to ask ourselves whether or not we should provide full details or just give a mundane response. For example,

Real Estate chose us!

Real Estate was my first love!

Real Estate has and always will be my calling!

We love working with buyers and sellers!

We love looking at homes!

So there you have it, a few typical responses you may have heard from your friendly neighborhood agent. If you want to spare yourself from my full explanation, now would be a great time to head on over to the CHR search page and browse some fantastic properties. Otherwise, read on and let us know why you admire real estate, chose real estate, or why you would love to choose real estate as your career of choice (please don’t tell us it’s because HGTV’s House Hunters found itself in your living room at late hours of the night.. or please tell us it did.. ha ha ha).

The truth is, real estate wasn’t my first love and it certainly won’t be my last! So, why is that I chose real estate, and why is it that I allow it to consume almost every waking hour of my life? I admire and respect real estate and all that it encompasses! When you take 10 different fields and combine it into one well rounded role with endless possibilities and a compass pointing in every which direction, that’s real estate and that’s why I choose to conquer and master all that it has to offer myself and so many others out there! When you couple end to end transaction management with marketing, advertising, website design, interior design, customer service, business management, networking and (insert one of your many roles below), you are left with a consistent complexity of careers all bundled into one broad category, known to so many of you as, the one and only - Real Estate - . So what does this all have to do with my decision to choose real estate as my career of choice? Well, it’s simple really. Real Estate provides me with endless possibilities all the while filling every need to challenge myself and conquer different fields without moving careers. Once I’ve mastered one field, I can maintain that knowledge, nurture it and continue to build on it. Meanwhile, developing new skills to further myself and benefit all those who live and work around me.

Are you still reading? I’m impressed! I’m so impressed that I’m about to attempt to recruit you! As a Real Estate agent working at CHR you will learn to apply and successfully implement a minimum of at least 10 different roles throughout your day. I’d love to tell you we can have you trained and ready for battle within a week. Thats just not the case and I’m sorry if you’ve been sold on that elsewhere. As an agent at Custom Home Realty we will provide you with individualized training to ensure your competence and confidence leads to your success. It doesn’t happen over night and it’s not a path you will succeed in unless you’ve made a conscious decision to completely dedicate your time to this field. If you are passionate about growing your career and willing to dedicate your time to this industry, we will help you master each role and conquer your local markets. A wise agent once told me,

What you put into Real Estate is what you’ll get out of Real Estate.

I took those words to heart and jumped in feet first. What will you do?

* Remember to comment! (let us know why you admire real estate, chose real estate, or why you would love to choose real estate as your career of choice. Also, if you have a role that you’ve mastered as an agent and would like to share, we’d love to hear!)

Home Inspections and Radon

As most homeowners know, buying a home not only consists of working with an agent and the bank, but also hiring a home inspector. Typically a home inspection is completed within 10 days of offer acceptance. This allows the buyer to accompany a licensed home inspector throughout the property and investigate all accessible utilities and appliances while ensuring the structural integrity meets standard code. A home inspection basically serves to assist the future homeowner in making any post inspection repair requests, and ultimately determines whether or not the home is an acceptable fit for his/her future purchase. As a buyer, he/she may be alarmed or confused when the home inspector asks if a radon kit will be part of their home inspection package. Heres the truth of the matter, Radon exists, and living in the northeast where ledge is found on every corner of every lot, we see this radioactive gas above the 4.0 EPA limit in about 35% (give or take) of our sales!


Rest assured, while this gas is common and can be scary, it is quite easy to mitigate. As a CHR agent, we are always sure to mention radon to our clients, no matter the side of the deal we are working. Basically, there is always a chance this gas is going to show up in a transaction, and it’s important to have it on your radar. When found, a buyer typically will request the seller to mitigate. Depending on the deal, typically the seller will agree, however, there are certainly times when a seller refuses. Heres the issue though; should both buyer and seller refuse to pay for mitigation and the deal falls through, we as agents have to disclose it on the listing from then on out. So, it’s always in the sellers best interest to mitigate prior to close, or, offer a closing credit to the buyer to avoid going back on market. If not, the odds are, the property will sell for less money the second time around.


The cost to mitigate is usually falls in between $900 - $1400, depending on the company and the size of the property. So what does the mitigation entail? It’s simply a PVC pipe that begins beneath the concrete foundation and fans air up and out of the property. The radon mitigation company will include a radon meter on the pipe that constantly measures the radon level, which if functioning properly, should never make its way above 2.5. In honor of national radon awareness month, Sue Reider, a Certified Inspector and owner of KeyStone Home Inspections, recently added this great explanatory image to her facebook page to help prospective and existing homeowners understand the movement of radon. While most people tend to test for radon in the air, it’s also important to note that radon can be found in well water as well. However, this is typically not as common. This would entail a much more costly mitigation and would be performed by a well water professional. Should you choose to have radon tested, please reach out to your local home inspector, and to test the water, a well servicing company. As always, thank you for reading and pass along this useful tidbit to anyone you know who may be considering their next home.

FIVE MONEY-SAVING GREEN UPGRADES

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.

  1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
  3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
  5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.
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5 Negotiating Tactics That Kill Sale

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.
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