Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall

Owning a home is a huge responsibility and with it comes constant maintenance.  When we bought our first house my mother-in-law always said "a house is like a gonif and robs you blind".   When budgeting to purchase a new home it is always a smart idea to factor in maintenance and operating costs.    For protection against the unexpected repairs, some real estate companies are able to offer a home warranty such as AHS to help mitigate this uncertainty.  No matter the age of a home is it always a good idea to set aside a reserve fund.

Home repairs and maintenance always end up being more expensive than estimated.  I am constantly doing small repairs that spiral into larger ones. See Proactive maintenance tips for preventative care.  Several home care issues can be minimized with proper preventative care but to be honest things always happen and often when least convenient.  Below are some links to common home care tips.

Annual On an annual basis there are things that should be routinely checked as detailed in the article.

Winter is Coming and it is not the next season of Game of Thrones yet.  Here are some suggestions to winterize your home

Spring Forward as it will soon be time to clean the closets and your interior.  Martha Stewart Magazine has some great tips room by room.

Summer Loving, Time to get the BBQ and yard ready for those backyard parties.

Fall as you fall forward here are some ways to ready for winter

Moving Day tips to prepare for move-in day ahead of time

Holidays with Thanksgiving and the Holidays approaching here are some fun suggestions to make your space clutter free and guest friendly.

I hope these tips and links will help you enjoy your property to its fullest and make your house a home for whenever you choose to have family and guests visits.  "You've Got a Friend".

Wendy is a realtor in the Metrowest and lower Cape area.  She has a primary and second home that constantly need to be maintained and is often scheduling appointments on both sides of the Bourne Bridge.  To help her manage her routines she has developed a spreadsheet that she will share if you email her at

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Empty nest or full hand?

Although figuratively my kids are all out of the house,  they still use our home as their primary address.  This is the permanent home they grew up in and since none own a permanent residence it makes more sense to have one constant address, right?.  

Tied to the home address are driver's licenses and car insurance, health care providers (covered until age 26 on parent plan),  cell phones as part of a family plan, cable access tied to our host plan and a credit card for home related expenses.  Most recently transportation such as Uber and Lyft have been paid by this card in the name of safety ( mom- you don't want me to take the train late at night).  Vacations are taken at our beach house and laundry is brought home in an overstuffed suitcase whenever they visit.

When I moved out after college,  I kept my driver's license to avoid paying NYC auto-insurance rates but other than that the cord was cut.  I remember having to install my own phone line.  Cable TV and cell phones hadn't yet been invented and transportation was via yellow cab, train or the subway.  Trips home were all paid by me.  Life was simple.  

Next on to cell phones-is the last semblance of family life the smart phone.  My kids are on our family cell plan and we can talk, text or face-time.  We post and snapchat if we have a quick funny but not savable moment.  We all communicate and text as things come up.  It is great now that my kids live out of state.  If one of us is traveling we are always aware and keep informed.  If there is a news event we will text and let each other know we are safe.  

In a few weeks I look forward to having my entire family home for Thanksgiving.  The nest will be temporarily filled.  New i-phones are out and my kids already floated the idea of shopping for upgrades on Black Friday.  My husband says the kids are all grown up and can afford to divest to their own phone plans. We will probably have a dispute about when to cut the phone cord.   I will fight to continue the family plan as it somehow keeps our nest in the palm of my hand.
Wendy is a mom and a realtor with Coldwell Banker.  She is always only a phone call, text or email  away.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I now appreciate the many lectures from my Dad- History Does Repeat Itself

Throughout my life,  I was raised with a very strong sense of ethical values.  My now deceased Dad taught Jewish history and ethics at a synagogue in Newton Massachusetts to 6th grade Sunday School students.  He had an in-depth knowledge of both American and Jewish history and a very strong sense of Judeo-Christian values.  His knowledge of history was mostly self taught and he was very proud to embark both cultural and religious history to both Jewish and Christian students through an acumenacle program with a local church.  As an American he was proud that much of the laws governing our Country were based on the values based on the Ten Commandments.  He always emphasized the importance of history and said it was cyclical.  If people didn't study the past the same mistakes would repeat themselves in the future.

When I was in the 6th grade as awkward as it was I sat in my Dad's class.  As a student I would often appear to zone out to him when I would glance or pass a note to a friend.  He once called me out for not "paying attention" and yelled at me when we got home from class because he thought I wasn't listening.  Perhaps during that one lesson I missed a few words concerning the Pharisees and the Saducees, ancient Jewish sects, but overall I actually was a good student and now realize close to fifty years later that I did absorb much of what he taught.

My parents generation grew up during the hard times of the depression, WWII and McCarthyism as well as the Korean and Vietnam War.   As the country rebuilt itself after these wars,  they experienced a sense of freedom and renewal.  They were proud that they could bring children into a war free world and began to focus on ways to improve the life for citizens within the US.  They were the generation that fought for many of the liberal freedoms and rights many of us share today.  They began fighting for individual freedoms including the Civil Rights Movement and Women's Lib.  They fought hard to ensure that our generation would grow up free from the economic and policy burdens of their generations.

Highly principled both of my parents were actively involved in community and educational programs throughout their middle age and retirement years.  After retiring from teaching at the Temple,  my Dad taught adult education classes in both Newton and later Florida where they retired in 2001.  My Mom was active in B'nai B'rith and Jewish Women International, a large fundraising organization benefitting a Children's Home for orphan children in Israel.  Although they didn't have a lot of money they would always be the first to donate to worthy causes to help people out.  My Mom had a Z'dakah box where she put change every evening and when my Dad passed she bought a special one to put donation money in memory of my Dad.

In addition to teaching,  my Dad was a major collector of historic artifacts and ephemera.  He built a museum quality collection that defined his life.  He was extremely proud of each item and understood the history and original of both his Judaica and Americana Collections.  Each time I would visit him he would have me spend time learning the significance of his latest acquisition.  To him, the collection represented his way of commemorating the past history.  Many items were displayed behind glass cabinets and he had documentation detailing the history and how the item correlated to history.  Some items were commemorative to honor heroes and some were ephemera to not forget the troubled past.  I admit my brain was not able to absorb each of his lessons but their significance was part of who my Dad was and he was able to use his collection as a tool to impart his knowledge.

Sadly many of my parents generation are starting to pass away.  I have lost both of my parents over the past three years.  As I watch the changes going on in the country they had loved and found hard to build for us I am saddened to see the world they built disappear.  Many of the hard fights that defined their generation are being reversed.  There has been a strong move back towards conservatism and many of the current government policies are reversing the progress of the past 50 years.  It is a challenging time and I am hopeful that I am able to carry on my parent's legacy as best I can by continuing to stand up and confront the challenges to the values they fought so hard to embrace. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Welcome to my coffee house

Those who know me know that I am a coffee drinker and I confess that I do have a daily addiction.  I actually get a headache if I go a prolonged period of time without a cup of joe.  How did my "habit" start and why do I continue,  you may ask?

In today's Wall Street Journal there was in interesting article on the history of the coffee house and its evolution since ancient times.  My history does not have such longevity but I would suggest typifies many amongst my peers.

Coffee and I go way back to childhood.  As a kid I hated to drink milk.  I was not into the fake syrupy additives like chocolate syrup or coffee-tyme.  Instead my Mom used to give me a glass of milk that was half milk, half Maxwell House.    Since that was also my brother's first name I came to think this was common place.  I gradually began to add more coffee and less milk as I aged through high school.  Once I began college,  my true love for coffee began.  It became a way to stay up late at night and study for an exam.  It became a way to take a quick study break at the Campus Center and an easy inexpensive way to meet up with friends.

As I moved through young adulthood and parenthood,  the local coffee shop became an easy venue to meet up with friends and other new parents.  It was a place to sit, talk and sip a warm drink when it was too cold to be outside.  As the Coffee Connection and soon Starbucks emerged into my geographic area this quickly became part of my daily routine.  Since that time there have been many new entries to the coffee shop market but I have consistently looked forward to each visit to the nearby Needham or Wellesley Starbucks.

To this day, Starbucks is still a place I visit frequently.  I have expanded my geography to also now include the Starbucks at Mashpee Commons during my summer months on the Cape.  Particularly in the warmer months it is a welcoming place to sit outside and schmooze with my dog.  She too enjoys our little visits and gets very excited when I bring her water in a Starbucks plastic cup.  I also admit I love the Starbucks App as when it is just the two of us I can preorder a coffee, run in, grab it and stake a table outside.  I also use it often if I am in a rush to take a cup to another venue.

Of late I have been sitting at my local Starbucks to do work on my laptop.  As a realtor it has become the perfect offsite office for me.  Instead of sitting in an isolated cubicle it is a great place to meet with potential clients and colleagues to network.  I have in fact spent hours scheduling back to back meetings.  I will often have a few work related meetings and then a few social catch-ups back to back.  An additional hidden benefit of  this venue is that it allows me to be in the midst of conversation about the local area and trends.  I like to always be aware of what is going on in my marketplace.

If you see me sitting by myself at Starbucks always feel free to pull up a chair and say hello. Likewise if it looks like I am in a meeting a quick hello is always welcome in my coffeehouse.

Wendy is a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She shares her time between her base office in Needham and Mashpee/New Seabury on the Cape.  You can often find her at the local Starbucks.  For more information on how to connect with her click here

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Decluttering today, less stress tomorrow

Since writing this original blog in November 2017 professional organizer and author Maria Kondo has created a Netflix series "Tidying Up with Maria Kondo".  If you don't have Netflix don't worry, many of the tips can be found in today's Washington Post article reviewing the show or by continuing to read this blog.

Admit it, we are all guilty of becoming packrats.  My husband often says if there is an empty surface I will fill it.  A home full of stuff becomes overcrowded and the process of purging can be daunting.  It takes discipline to keep a home clutter free.  Little inactions and bad habits can lead to a messy cluttered environment.

Studies show that clutter and disorganization decrease productivity and efficiency. To learn more about the health impacts of clutter click here. Another thing my husband always says is that "everything has its place".  He gets upset with me if I take something out and don't return it to the cabinet or drawer.  I know he is correct as I have often misplaced my keys or forgotten where I last left an item.  This seems to happen when I am in a rush or desperately need to get out the door.  Sound familiar?

After going through decluttering and organizing my deceased parent's home last year in Florida,  I came to realize how burdensome the disarray of accumulated papers and things really is.  There were so many things acquired and held on to that were totally useless and unpurposeful.  I came home from an intense period of deep cleaning and made a promise that I would not do the same with my own home.  Over the past several months I have been in a constant tug of war of keeping up with cleaning and avoiding unnecessary new acquisitions that just take up space.  I think to myself "do I really need this now" before making any purchase.

If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you may also share this problem.

*Do you grab your mail from the mailbox, give it a quick skim and set it aside on your kitchen counter?

*Do you have to dig to find your dining room table before hosting a dinner party?  How about your workdesk?

*Do you throw everything in a pile in your garage when you need to make space?

*Do you have all of your kids art projects from their first day of school through college graduation?

*Did you save magazines but never get around to reading them?

Fear not, there is great advise out there on how to declutter.  To start you may want to check out these articles:

Tracy McCubbin, a professional organizer from dClutter has five easy areas to tackle in your house.

Vermont mother and author, Eve Schaub recently published a book called Year of No Declutter for advise on how to keep your children's things organized.

Lastly, Japanese organizer Maria Condo's book shares advice from her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up  on  You Tube.

If you don't have the time or energy to tackle organizing on your own or need a jump start there are professional organizers available to help.  As a realtor, I have a network of great 
If you can't find my contact info in your cluttered address book you can simply contact me at