Archive for Gloucester

March Madness 2013 in Real Estate

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It’s no secret at a certain price point ( under $400k)  in many Essex county communities (Gloucester, Rockport, Beverly, Danvers, Salem, Essex, Ipswich and Peabody), buying a home  has become quite  competitive.  Purchasing real estate in 2013 has its own  level of “March Madness“. There are 20, 40 or 60+ people viewing well priced properties at open house(s). There are multiple offers and yes people are paying above asking price. Every house? No, just  homes priced appropriately for their age, condition, location and size. Buyers are not offering crazy amounts of money because we all know at the end of the day it must appraise, since most purchases are contingent on buyers receiving a mortgage.

So what will tip the scales in the favor of your offer being accepted, if you are a buyer ? There are four practices I use with consistent success when I know there is a  chance that there will be multiple offers.

1) View the house and make the offer ASAP. The early bird gets the worm. Yes it may be inconvenient and you may have to cancel a previous appointment to go view a house. Sorry, this is  about getting the house you want, not living a balanced life.

2) Offer asking price at a minimum. If you know potentially there will be multiple offers, forget about “stealing” a property. You like the house, you want it, now get it! Offer above asking to a level your agent or lender feels it will appraise at (and you are pre approved for).

3) Have your agent write the “magic letter”. People like to do business with people they know and like. Share with the buyers how much you like their house. Compliment them about their decorating or cleanliness. Find out what is motivating the sellers to sell and speak to that. Be real and be personal. Don’t laugh this works, I have had several clients achieve their home in a competitive situation because the sellers felt like they knew them and liked them after reading the “magic letter”.

4) Last but not least, always ask the sellers agent for a final and last opportunity to submit a final bid if there are multiple offers. Don’t assume that the list agent will automatically give everyone a chance to rebid; they may not. If a buyer does not want to offer more, they don’t have to, but at least they have the opportunity to make up their own mind about their final bid.

The “other” March Madness? All the way with Syracuse for me!



Pick of the Litter Wednesdays!

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The Legendary Tomato Release Day at Goose Cove Gardens

Just planted tomato plant

First time I heard this phrase “tomato release day” I was “what the heck does that mean”. In my mind I visualized tomato plants running on their roots (feet) with their branches swaying back and forth, as if they were set free from captivity….kind of like an “end of the world” scene from a movie. I was at Goose Cove Gardens in Gloucester and I was inquiring when the tomato plants would be ready for purchase. Tomato plants like warm weather, the hotter the better! Planting them earlier then consistent warm (60+) temps (day & night) does them no favors. Interestingly, you can plant them earlier, but they will produce no more tomatoes than when planted later!

Happy Tomato Plant

They pretty much just sit in the ground and shiver :) Barbara Dombrowski (and husband Hilary), the owner(s) and operator(s ) ( CEO) of Goose Cove Gardens for over 20 years does her best to insure the success of her customers and impart her plant wisdom to all of us Cape Ann gardeners.  One of the ways she has done this is by making sure we don’t plant her products at the wrong time. Goose Cove Gardens grows organically and features a fabulous supply of heirloom tomato plants. This philosophy has resulted in the famed “Tomato Release Day” at Goose Cove Gardens. Tomato Release Day is the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend. Yes, it is very busy, yes the small parking lot is jammed, yes it is the best time to plant your tomato plants on Cape Ann and yes there are plants left to buy on Thursday! Not around the week before Memorial Day or too busy? Not only does Barbara do an excellent job of meeting demand, she does another tomato release day two weeks later!

Garden tomatoes

Tax tip for property owners in Gloucester MA

Rounding up tax info?  It always seems I have most of the information but not all of it…:) The Gloucester MA city site: is a great resource to view & gather information on your total property taxes and sewer/water costs (for landlords).  In case you are like me and can’t always find this information easily in my own home, the city website has it all neatly filed in one location. Once you are on the city site:

City of Gloucester Website - Home page

“click” on the tab (left side of page) that says “online services”.  That will bring you to this page:

City of Gloucester Website - Online services page

The property tax records and water/sewer bills can all be accessed by “clicking” on the highlighted type.

The next page will then ask you for your address or parcel ID number.

City of Gloucester address page for online tax records

If you are unfamiliar with your parcel ID number, it can be found in the “assessors” records online , on a tax or water bill or by calling our helpful Gloucester assessors office. Fill in the address and voila the computer does what computers do and you have your annual records in front of you!

East Gloucester Cultural District Approved by the City Council!

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Karen Ristuben describes the East Gloucester Ma 01930 Cultural District concept, boundaries and purpose in the Gloucester Ma arts community.

My favorite parade …

Gloucester MA’s Horribles Parade. Usually the night before the 4th, followed by fireworks. Doesn’ get more patriotic than this.

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Greasy Pole at Fiesta

We caught some video Saturday afternoon: Gloucester’s unique Greasy Pole contest.

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Dogtown anyone?

New off leash for us! Inland and off Cherry St., look for the Dogtown Common sign 100 yards from the Cape Ann Sportsman’s Club. There’s another entrance off Gee Ave. but we’ve yet to use it. Click for map.

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How NOT to stage a house for sale …

I just came from an open house here in Gloucester. Nice property, expensive, great ocean views. But someone forgot to tell the seller that a huge “no no” is displaying any of the following:
  • Clowns
  • Dolls
  • Shrunken heads
  • Stuffed game, birds or pets
  • Guns
  • Any clown, doll, shrunken head or stuffed animal HOLDING a gun.

If you’re selling, it’s a good idea to hire an agent that uses a professional stager. Then take the stager’s advice and remove the things that could turn off a potential buyer. In this market, you can’t afford to offend anyone.

Flag’s up!

I love it when the big flag goes up on the Boulevard. Means “no more snow”. Does anybody know who put’s it up? Is it the city?

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