Tuesday, September 7, 2021

New Beginnings for a New Year 5782

Today is the start of the Jewish New Year 5782.  The Jewish faith has been around for a very long time. Although I do not consider myself very religious I do embrace the traditions and cultural values that have been passed down from generation to generation. In this blogpost I will share a bit about this.  

As a child this holiday was a time to reflect on the past year and changes we may make to start the next one.  The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the time to think about things that we can do to become a better person in the upcoming year.  This period is termed "The Days of Awe". It has been said that if one passed away during this time they would be considered holy.  Time for proper repentance is opportunity for renewal for the next year by being "inscribed in the book of life".  

I always looked at this as an opportunity for positive change and new beginnings.   I would usually attend religious services with my family in Newton Mass, where I grew up. The sound of the Shofar was considered the awakening for this journey.  Coincidentally the holiday was near the start of the academic school year.  While in grade school this was a time to catch up with old friends we hadn't seen all summer.  As a child the sense of renewal began with wearing your best and newest holiday outfit to Temple.  (As a young age this did become a bit of a fashion show, however, it was a sign of new beginnings which became embedded in me throughout my life. ) 

After services it is customary to have a holiday feast.  Often the meal would be a gathering of multiple generations of family and old recipes including brisket, kasha varnishkas, tsimmes, knishes, potato latkes or other traditional Jewish foods. Click here some recipes.  It is customary to have a round sweet challah as the bread served during the meal.  Of note, the above photo is the one I baked last night. Although we would arrive for the meal with a large appetite we would overindulge and end it with "we can't eat another thing".

As I grew older, the tradition continued first by attending services at UMass Hillel in college on years when, due to timing, it was difficult to return home to Newton. This became an opportunity to learn who else was part of the Jewish community on the college campus.  This always gave me a sense of finding my "community".  After college, until married, I would return to Newton to be with my parents and grandparents.  

After I got married, the tradition continued. Sadly my Grandfather, who we always celebrated the holiday with passed away a few months after our wedding.  The holiday began to have new meanings as it also became a time to reflect on close family members no longer with us.   To commemorate them, we recite a series of prayers during the religious service.  Also, it is customary to visit the cemetery during this holiday season to keep them as part of one's spiritual foundation. Visiting, I talk to their gravestones to update them on my life and reflect on the special memories shared during their lifetime.  

The years have passed and the traditions have continued.  I raised my family to celebrate with services, a holiday feast and of course new outfits. This pattern evolved until they grew up and fled our family nest. Over the past ten years we have had fewer generations older than I am with which to celebrate.  This is a transition time and with this decline will soon come renewal. I am thrilled that one of my daughters will marry this year and see a family expansion in the future!!

Last year marked a major change to me personally to this pattern.  At this time of reflection, I began to assess where my life was going and if I was happy with the status quo.  I began to think about one's lifespan and the limited time we have on this planet.

One can follow the same pattern year after year, take the easy path for a smooth journey or step back and reroute.  I knew I needed a new path.  I was caught in a pattern that could no longer continue.  

Although challenging at first, I now know this year was important.  I have grown a lot and have learned a lot about myself and my own needs. I was always the one to lean upon to get things done in my family.  I did not take much time for myself. I was totally off balance in my approach to many things.  I felt somewhat stifled and unable to be true to myself.  I felt stuck.  I knew I had a more creative and more spiritual side that needed tapping into.  I have been exploring this side of me over the past year.

It takes practice to keep balance.  I am a yogi and have worked hard to find this balance.   With this comes a much happier me and I look back at this past year now with gratitude. I hope you will take the time to see where you are and where you also are going.  Change can be good if you allow it to enter your heart.  I wish all of my readers a La Shana Tova 5872 and "May You Be Inscribed in the Book of Life. " 

Wendy recently began a new path as a freelance writer to support small businesses that service the real estate sector in addition to her role as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  In addition, she will soon be publishing afirst book "Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground with My Daily Brew".  Please check out her new website wendy-bornstein.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Cape Cod Fashionista

A place where Girls Just Want to Have Fun.  Stop by at Mashpee Commons.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Is the Grass always Greener Next Door? It doesn't need to be....

How do you deal with water conservation while still procuring a green grass?  Can you have both a naturally beautiful space while ethically needing to use valuable resources to maintain it.  A recent article in the Boston Globe said Massachusetts is ready to expand water use restrictions as summer approaches.  Most property owners will have to confront this challenge if they want to adhere to local mandates but still have green backyards.   To see the article click here. This is a trend that is happening across the country.  

I spoke to Jackson Madnick, a Wayland Entrepreneur at a networking event with the  Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce last week. His company Pearl's Premium Lawn Seed may offer the perfect solution.  

After much personal inspiration Jackson set out on a journey  to develop a special slow-growing deep-root grass that requires significantly less water than more typical backyard lawns.  It grows well in all climates of the world. By investing in this product a property owner is able to cut lawn maintenance costs without compromising quality. This product has won several awards including and can be seen in front of the Boston Museum of Science. Click here (see "An Evening of Big Ideas" on page 26).

As seen in these photos you will be the envy of your neighbors with a guilt-free, more environmentally friendly green lawn.  Perhaps your neighbors will start asking "why is the grass always greener at your house?"

Wendy is a Realtor and has just also started to write Copy for real estate related businesses. When selling a home,  she advices her clients that curb appeal is the critical first step in appealing to potential buyers.  Perhaps this is a product that could help enhance yours.   To learn more about Wendy's writing services click here.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest

We all remember Lumiere singing these words during the scene in Beauty and the Beast when Beauty first enters the Beast's magic castle.  When one becomes a guest there is a moment of escapism when one sometimes forgets the rules of etiquette. As rental agreements are signed, and expectations are outlined between guest and landlord however boundaries and expectations are formally agreed to.  A clear set of expectations by the landlord must be met for the tenant to have the privilege of staying at the property.

In today's real estate world there are both short- and long-term rental arrangements.  Short term rentals can be defined as hotels and or Airbnb type stays.  Long term may be extended term month to month or annual lease terms.  Each type of rental is subject to an agreement of expectations of both the tenant and the landlord.  The tenant must respect the boundaries of the landlord for the agreement to work. Violations may be caused to terminate the stay.  A third less formal stay may be a personal one with family or friends visiting for a period of time.

Since the COVID pandemic there has been some crossover between the traditional and longer term stays as travelers with work at home options seek to visit new travel destinations for longer than usual time periods.  In addition, there have been longer than planned personal visits while family members may work from home to reduce paying rent in high-risk areas. 

When someone does rent using one of the short terms apps, they are subject to review by the landlord.  There are social norms that should be followed to be a good "renter.".  There may be consequences of not being able to rent again in the future if the set boundaries are not met.

In an apartment rental there are guidelines that must be adhered as detailed by the landlord in the rental contract.  If these are not adhered to the renter may have his or her lease terminated either early due to a violation of the contract or upon its renewal.  It will be the landlords decision whether to extend or end the tenant/landlord relationship.  

On the personal front although not specified in a formal contract if a guest extends his or her stay or does not abide by the house rules, he or she may risk a future invitation.  I wrote a blog post a few years ago about how to be both the perfect guest visitor and how to be the perfect host which I recommend referring to on each link.

In each of these scenarios the common thread is that boundaries need to be set by the party who controls the property.  The guest has the privilege of visiting or renting the property and will be paying to use it in agreement to specified guidelines.  As we head towards the summer season and travel begins to open up please read the recommended rental guidelines as suggested in the Boston Globe article here.  The lyrics to Lumiere’s song may continue ring in a guests ears if they follow the appropriate etiquette and are welcomed back for future stays.

Wendy is Realtor with Coldwell Banker and an upcoming author of her first book.  "COFFEE CONNECTION: A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH MY DAILY BREW".   Travel is one of her greatest passions.  In addition, she enjoys coffee, walking her dog, theater/arts, reading, writing and meeting new people.  She always welcomes the opportunity to have a virtual coffee now that we are amidst the “new normal”.  

Check out her website at www.wendybcb.com or her FB page @wendybcb as she posts up to date content to meet the ever-changing marketplace.  

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Protect your rights, baby boomers and seniors, have an Estate Plan

I saw the movie "I Care A Lot" last weekend.  The title is a spoof on the concept of caring for elders.  The premise of the movie is that a court appointed guardian was given the role of moving a wealthy aging woman into a senior care facility.  It was required that the woman pick up and move into this facility leaving everything in her life behind.  She had no choice and was carried out from her home and moved to the facility.

The backstory is that this movie was actually based on similar true incidents that have occurred in the State of Nevada.  This is an example of major exploitation of senior adults.  There actually are enterprises in that state to allow for-profit guardians to target unwilling rich seniors. Then under court mandates they can require the senior to move to a care facility.  Their assets are sold off and the senior has zero say in the matter.  The court appointed guardians are there only to ring in the money.  Read the feature article in The New Yorker here.  

Each of us should have an estate and retirement plan to protect our rights and acquired assets as we age.  We hear stories of seniors being taken advantage of all the time.  As the population ages, more and more, persons are living longer and with greater independence.  There is greater risk of exploitation as people may become vulnerable to health care issues.  If one does not have a family support system in particular it is important to document health care proxy and estate plans and inform those you feel comfortable with while you are able.  I wrote about this subject and performing due diligence before hiring anyone to care for a loved one, a few years ago in June 2019 but the subject at hand is the same.  Click here for the original post.

If you truly do "care a lot" please take the measures necessary to protect your family and your loved ones.  A little homework will go a long way for a safe and worry free future.

Wendy is an SRES Realtor with Coldwell Banker and an upcoming author of her first book.  " COFFEE CONNECTION: A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH MY DAILY BREW".  She enjoys coffee, walking her dog, theater/arts, reading, writing, travel and meeting new people.  She always welcomes the opportunity to have a virtual coffee now that we are amidst the “new normal”. 

Check out her website at www.wendybcb.com or her FB page @wendybcb as she posts up to date content to meet the ever changing marketplace.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

You need to make a call and your cell phone crashed!!

Has this ever happened to you?  Last week I upgraded my iphone to the 12.  To set up my new phone I had to pair it with my old one.  Both phones locked up and were unusable for several hours.  I did not have a working landline.  I asked myself what would happen if I had a real emergency.?  

Have you recently moved or tried to set up land line service? Do you know that most major phone carriers do not offer simple phone service.  Particularly on Cape Cod the phone carriers try to upsell you a package that combines internet, cable and phone service.  Sometimes you only need the phone.

This past summer we opted out of an expensive bundling package with Comcast because we had duplicate service at both a primary and second home.  We learned that we could reduce our expenses at the second home by simply installing high speed internet service to stream from our primary home.  With this efficiency, however, came the cost of discontinuing our landline.  As I tried to set up my new phone a few days ago, I realized I was unable to call Apple support since I did not have a landline.

I now recognize the importance of having a dedicated landline for emergencies such as cell service not working.  There are times when the internet can be down and although I recently added a Google voice line on my laptop this would not be useful in such a situation. I am in the process and ordering service from a company called Community Phone.   

This company was started by the founder whose own grandmother needed a landline and instead was sold an expensive bundled package that she could not afford.  This is a common occurrence for many individuals.  

As an SRES Realtor I often work with seniors who are rightsizing to a new home or apartment.  Often they do not have a need for high speed internet or a cable package.  These are expensive and may not be practical particularly for those on a limited budget.   Now that I have become familiar with Community Phone I will now advise them about this service.  I honestly believe all home residents should have a dedicated installed landline for emergency call use.  I am looking forward to the installation of my new phone and will share an update once it is installed.  

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys coffee, walking her dog, theater/arts, reading, writing, travel and meeting new people.  She always welcomes the opportunity to have a virtual coffee now that we are amidst the “new normal”.  Check out her website at www.wendybcb.com or her FB page @wendybcb as she posts up to date content to meet the ever changing marketplace.  

Friday, February 5, 2021

Real or Staged- Fake or Famous?

Last night I watched the new HBO MAX movie titled "Fake Famous".  The premise of the movie was to highlight the role of influencers on our social media and the steps taken to achieve this status.  Those who desire to become influencers generally want to grandularize their own fame and recognition.  This is achieved by getting an increased number of likes and followers.  

As I watched the development of the documentary it became clearly apparent how significant image is in adding value to what we perceive as superiority. Many of the influencers highlighted were selected to represent the face of a physical product or tangible idea.  These individuals were shown in carefully procured photos to convey the actual location or setting mode when in fact, often this is a total snow job. 

(spoiler alert- watch the film to see what a coach seat on an airplane and a toilet seat have in common)

As a Realtor we are taught the importance of Curb Appeal when we prepare a new property listing.  The ideal photos will portray a home that looks picture perfect both when seen online and in person to potential buyers in the marketplace.  Increasingly there are Real Estate sights that promote no-show online listing abilities.  In addition there are companies that do virtual staging.  Virtual staging allows a buyer to visualize how a space may look but should not be allowed to create a false reality of the in-person viewing.  How would a consumer know if the property actually has the same physical presence as the online image?  Although the convenience of doing the entire process virtually may sound appealing I encourage all buyers to find the proper professionals including a Realtor and Legal Counsel to guide one through the process.  

As I watched the documentary I became more skeptical about what I see online in media posts. I believe we can observe images online but if one is a serious consumer it is important to make an informed decision based on true due diligence.  Don't just look at the pretty pictures.  Do your research.  

As a Realtor part of my job is to help and educate my clients.  I have been working virtually since the start of the pandemic.  During this time I recently earned the NAR e-Pro Designation. I took courses to develop my skills for the latest technologies and security tools. I have learned that what you see isn't always what you get.  In real estate, in particular one cannot rely on online images alone. I am always encouraging my clients to learn as much as they can about their intended purchase.   

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys coffee, walking her dog, theater/arts, reading, writing, travel and meeting new people.  She always welcomes the opportunity to have a virtual coffee now that we are amidst the “new normal”.  Check out her website at www.wendybcb.com or her FB page @wendybcb as she posts up to date content to meet the ever changing marketplace.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Home Inspections and How to Avoid Becoming an Bad IG Rap

I read a great article in last Friday's Boston Globe about Home Inspector, James Brock who captures and shares the absurd oddities he uncovers during the home inspection process.  If you are somewhat socially aware or have family members who may be, chances are you may not feel proud to have your home featured on his Instagram "IG" posts.  

To avoid such public shaming you may be asking what can one do to prepare their home prior to photos, a sale and an eventual home inspection?

First let me share a bit about the Home Inspection process.  

A home inspection is a visual exam of the structure and systems of a house. It details problems with the property and if serious enough may prevent the sale. The three main points of an inspection are physical condition, items in need of repair or replacement, and the remaining useful life of major systems.

James Brock, of Boston Home Inspections had been known to take photos of unique items he uncovers during this process.  He does this for fun and not to point out defects.  I just learned of his services and reached out to connect with him.  We had a Zoom chat last Friday night to meet and learn about each others business.  My MO is to be able to provide my clients with the best resources to make their transactions in the buying and selling process as seamless as possible.  We are hoping to join in some fun informative Home Buying conversation on Club House in the near future so look my room up @wendybcb.

Typically an inspection is a part of the due diligence of purchasing a property. It is used a negotiation tool for the buyer for any visible defects.  The inspection typically takes  2-5 hours (old homes may take longer), and prices vary depending on size and scope of the inspection (ie: radon). The information disclosed during the inspection is for the buyers purposes and is not typically shared with anyone other than the parties involved in the transaction. 

The point of the Globe article was to highlight visible unusual items that may be discovered outside the box.  The article and this blogpost were written to introduce one to the inspection process in the vien of purposeful awareness.

If you are easily embarrassed or want to have your inspection go as smoothly and minimally intrusive as possible I recommend assessing your property and repairing any potential defects ahead of time.  In addition, if you have any items such as a hanging TRX you may want to store it away.  Likewise if an IG legacy moment of your sold property is your thing, here is a link to Boston Home Inspectors.  Perhaps you have an oddity that will be a featured as Jame's daily post.

To hire an inspector, get recommendations from a trusted Realtor or from others who have used a particular referral. I also suggest looking at the Mass.Gov website for reputable licensed professional home inspectors.  I once had a buyer of my own home, pick ABC Inspectors, the first one in the phone.  They were awful and their report basically said they were unable to examine any of the items per the report because they were obstructed.  First of all this wasn't true and they basically charged the buyer $300 not to do anything but get them out of the sale.  It appeared the buyer wanted an excuse to get out of the sale and buy another property.  We reported them to the BBB and there had been other similar complaints.  Lastly, you may also check online reviews on Angies List or Yelp.  Be sure to ask about references, memberships in professional associations, professional training, and experience.

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys coffee, walking her dog, theater/arts, reading, writing, travel and meeting new people.  She always welcomes the opportunity to have a virtual coffee now that we are amidst the “new normal”.  Check out her website at www.wendybcb.com or her FB page @wendybcb as she posts up to date content to meet the ever changing marketplace.