Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Six House Hunting Tips for 1st Time Buyers

Whether you're looking for a Lexington home right now or plan to be on the hunt some time this year, don't just stumble into a house hunt unprepared. While the process is exciting, there might be a few things you want to make sure you have on hand during the search so you can hunt for the home of your dreams smarter.

1. A trusted friend
Even if you're searching with an agent (like me), you might still want to enlist a friend (preferably someone who's been through the home buying process before) to get sage advice from. And if they know you, your personality and your style, they might help you see clearly when you're being blinded by price or other charming home elements.
2. Your list of priorities and a checklist to run down
That assembly of dream home elements that are floating around in your head? Write them down as a list instead, organized by priority of what you and your family need in a home. It'll help you stay focused when you run into neat design elements in houses that while are great to look at, aren't what you need or even necessarily want. Also consider taking a physical list with you of the things you should look for when looking at homes — like the roof, plumbing, neighborhood — in case you get excited and forget all about it when you see big windows and real wood flooring.
3. A notepad and pencil
You'll want it with you to take notes and maybe even sketch floor plans. Don't trust your memory after looking at lots of properties; you might mix them up. And it'll be helpful to have when you do any second, third or more viewings.

4. A camera

Yes, these days real estate listings come with plenty of pretty photos to flip through, but bring your own camera (or use your phone)  to record the things that caught your eye — from beautiful design elements to flaws that you want to remember. It'll be helpful to take notes alongside the images so you have references to go back through.

5. Comfortable, easy-to-slip off shoes

House hunting is physical work, and you'll want comfortable shoes you can walk all over with. But since some open houses might require you to take your shoes off before viewing the home, maybe leave those lace-up, knee-high boots at home so you don't get frustrated every time you want to see the inside of a property.

6. Furniture measurements and a tape measure

For those with large or unusual furniture pieces they know they'll be moving with and those looking at particularly tiny homes for sale, you might consider bringing a few important furniture measurements to see how your style and furnishings might fit into the homes you're looking to buy. This shouldn't be the reason you pass on a great deal or location, but it could factor into the decision making process.
Happy House Hunting Home Buyers in Lexington!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Up Coming Lexington Events

Citizens for Lexington Conservation: Winter Walk in Dunback Meadow

Saturday, January 24 from 8:00-10:00AM
While this is a time of quiet in Dunback Meadow, there remain possibilities of viewing unusual birds such as perching owls (Northern Saw-whet Owl, Barred Owl, and Great Horned Owl), Common Redpolls and Rough-legged Hawks. Our usual feathered residents, the Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker and Blue Jay, will be there also. 
If there is deep snow wear boots, as the walking can be rough. Beginners and children are welcome. If there is rain or a snowstorm, the walk would be cancelled. 
Meet at the entrance on Allen Street, where parking is available. 
Contact: Walk Leader: Bobbie Hodson   781-861-9421

Chinese Culture Fair in Celebrating the Year of the Ram

Saturday, January 24 from 1:00-3:45pm  at  Cary Library, Lower Level Meeting Room  and also 7:00-9:00pm at  Lexington High School
The Chinese American Association of Lexington (CAAL), Cary Memorial Library, and the town of Lexington, are sponsoring a free Chinese New Year Festival this year, and you’re invited!  This year’s event, to be held on Saturday, January 24th, promises to be both special and spectacular. The Festival is so full of activities for all ages and interests that it had to be split into two parts! Experience a multi-sensory Chinese Culture Fair at Cary Memorial Library in the afternoon, from 1:00pm to 3:45pm. Spectacular performances will be on stage at Lexington High School in the evening.
Witness an artistic Chinese calligraphy demonstration, an interactive Chinese musical instrument exhibition, and try your skill in creating traditional Arts & Crafts. Get your phonetic Chinese name beautifully written on a souvenir bookmark. Join a festive parade to cheer as a lively and colorful dragon rhythmically roars through the library!
What’s a festival without food, one of the most important elements of any Chinese New Year celebration? Attend the festival and you’ll have a chance to sample traditional New Year snacks and goodies. Learn why these are favorites and some Chinese New Year rituals and “superstitions” that help assure good luck and good fortune in the New Year!
For more information about the festival, please visit CAAL's web site or Contact: Weidong Wang   781-325-5750

Winter Snowshoe Walk at Burlington’s Landlocked Forest

Sunday, January 25 from 1:00-3:30pm
Citizens for Lexington Conservation will be offering a first ever series of snowshoe walks this winter. The purpose of these walks will be to get outside and make use of those showshoes that you may have long neglected while enjoying the winter scenery of New England winter. The use of ski poles is recommended, and don’t forget to bring your water bottle to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Falling rain or heavy snow will cancel the walk. If snow cover is thin we will walk anyway but perhaps leave the snowshoes behind.
Meet at the parking area under the high-tension power lines on Turning Mill Road
Contact: Keith Ohmart   781-862-6216

Lexington Bicentennial Band Winter Concert

Sunday, January 25 from  3 :00-4:30pm
This concert is free and open to the public, with donations always welcome. The Lexington Bicentennial Band - Jeffrey P. Leonard, Director. The Lexington High School auditorium is located at 251 Waltham Street in Lexington, MA 02421 and is handicapped accessible.  For more information, call 781-862-8473 or visit our web page at or Contact: Karen Gill   617-291-5786

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Brings New Security Thoughts

The Internet of Everything heralds a new kind of world for everyone. But it also requires a new way of thinking about IT security.

Don't panic just yet: but in a few years, your fridge could become a target for cyber criminals. As the number of devices in the Internet of Everything grows, so does the likelihood that connecting these devices and networking them together could increase the number and type of attack vectors we will see in the future. And that means we need to think differently about IT security and the levels of protection needed for this new, connected world. Protecting all of IoE interactions is crucial in enabling people and organizations to benefit from these advances.

The IoE builds on the foundation of the Internet of Things, or IoT. By comparison, the IoT refers to the networked connection of physical objects (doesn't include the "people" and "process" components of IoE). IoT is a single technology transition, while IoE is a superset that includes IoT.

Dima Tokar, co-founder and chief technology officer at MachNation, an Internet of Things (IoT) consultancy, says: "IoT brings efficiency to processes and infrastructure while introducing new technologies that bear security risks which need to be considered and addressed."

He adds: "IoT devices create new attack vectors for hackers, which can be exploited to get access to sensor data and sensitive personal data. Hackers can also take advantage of poorly secured IoT solutions to interfere with processes and critical infrastructure."

Thankfully, right now the level of risk from IoT-connected devices is largely a matter of conjecture, according toProfessor Rolf H Weber, an IoT expert who is chair for International Business Law at the Faculty of Law in theUniversity of Zurich, Switzerland.

"In theory the risk is substantial, but so far I have not yet seen examples of IoT technologies being compromised," he says. "However, this could be since the IoT only has a limited practical volume for the time being, which makes it less attractive for hackers."

What is clear, though, is that the advent of the IoT and the Internet of Everything will demand a re-think on security strategies.

According to the Cisco 2014 Midyear Security Report: "To some, it might seem far-fetched to think something as mundane as a wearable device for tracking fitness or a digital video recorder could pose a significant security risk or would be of any interest to a hacker.

"But as cars and other nontraditional computing devices start to resemble standard computing platforms more and more, they could be vulnerable to the same threats that target traditional computing devices."

One of the security challenges with the IoT is that hackers could potentially gather much more personal data than at present.

The Cisco report warns: "When adversaries reach a point where they can begin correlating information from different sources … they will be able to gain a much bigger picture about a user than if they were looking at information from only one device, system, or application."

How to deal with this growing potential threat? Experts say security may need to be built into the fabric of the IoT in an integrated way. Piecemeal or silo-based systems won't do.

Organizations have a wide range of disparate technologies and processes to protect their information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) networks, as well as their physical spaces. The combined IT and OT networks are evolving to become IoT networks, equally affected by the wealth of devices and increased attack surface the IoT brings. Decision makers in enterprises need to shift their vision of security to recognize that since every aspect of the network is now working together, cybersecurity and physical security solutions must also work together with a coordinated focus on threats.

Tokar says: "The security risks of an IoT solution are a combination of existing risks from each component of the value chain, as well as new risks introduced by the solution as a whole."

Hence, he advises: "A secure IoT solution must not only rely on security best practices for each component used in the solution but also take a holistic pass at security end-to-end."

Research from the SANS Institute predicts the biggest challenge for IoT security could be patch management, implying that software updates and the like may increasingly need to be delivered in a fully automated way via the network.

The fear that IoT devices could spread malware to companies, or be subject to denial-of-service attacks, were concerns voiced by 26 percent and 13 percent of people surveyed by the SANS Institute.

About half of respondents thought devices might pose a risk by virtue of being connected to the Internet. Almost a quarter felt the command and control channel to the device could be an attack risk, while 10.7 percent cited the device's OS.

But the research also highlights how the IT community has got IoT security in its sights. About half of respondents said they were either completely prepared for it or could cope with minor modifications to their existing setups.

"Security professionals are already dealing with the first several waves of Internet-connected things and have begun to plan for the next wave of more diverse, more complex devices," says the Institute's report.

However, it adds: "The basic critical security controls . . . will face new barriers to success if manufacturers don't increase their level of attention to security and if enterprise security processes and controls don't evolve."

Weber agrees that infrastructure and service providers may need to improve security measures. "Furthermore, data protection rules in cross-border data delivery must be strengthened," he says.

MachNation's Tokar concludes: "The best IoT solutions have tight end-to-end security. This includes securing the entire IoT value chain, from endpoint devices to networking infrastructure, applications, platforms, and connectivity."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Upcoming Community Events in Lexington, MA!

Just because the holidays are over, that doesn’t mean life has to get dull here in Lexington, MA. There is always so much to do in the community! Whether you’re looking for a family activity that is suitable for all ages, or you’re looking for an adult-friendly night out or a kids-only camp or workshop, Lexington has you covered.

As your Lexington real estate agent, I’ve put together a list of some of the top Lexington events to mark in your calendar during the month of January. Bookmark the ones that sound most interesting to you!

1.  Register your whole family or group of friends for the 6th Annual 5K Road Race taking place this Saturday, Jan. 10, beginning at 11 a.m. The Resolution Run to Kick Cancer will begin at the Lexington High School Field House, and it includes a route that is fast and flat through historic Lexington. Registration is $30 per person, or $35 the morning of. Food from local restaurants and caterers will be available for runners to enjoy, and awards will be given out in numerous categories. It’s for a great cause! For more information, read our last blog post.

2.  On Saturday evening, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m., visit the Lexington Historical Society Depot Building for their annual gala fundraising party and dinner event. Mid-Century Memories and Tastes will honor Julia Child through a special menu straight from her cookbooks. Cocktails, dinner and dancing will be provided, and formal attire is required. A mid-century era dress for the ladies is encouraged! Reservations are now being accepted. Tickets cost $125, with $50 tax deductible. 

3.  This Sunday, Jan. 11, head to Katahdin Woods for a Winter Snowshoe Walk! Bring your snowshoes, ski poles and water bottles and join the Citizens for Lexington Conservation for the first of a series of snowshoe walks this winter. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of a New England winter! Other walks will take place Jan. 25 and Feb. 15. If snow cover is thin, the group will still walk without snowshoes.
4.  Mark your calendar for the Lexington Pops Chorus Winter Concert, which takes place Jan. 16 and 17 at Hancock Church. Advanced tickets cost $15 and $5 for children 13 and under. The first half of the concert includes intense, passionate music. The second half includes lighter selections from “West Side Story” and “The Fantasticks” and some Beatles pieces. 

5.  On Jan. 25, head to Lexington High School for the Lexington Bicentennial Band Winter Concert from 3 to 4:30 p.m. This concert is free and open to the public, but donations are always welcome. It will take place in the auditorium. This is a great way to relax and unwind on a Sunday afternoon!

Enjoy your January here in Lexington, and when you’re ready to buy a Lexington home or ready to sell your Lexington home, contact me! As a Lexington real estate agent, I am always ready and willing to help you accomplish your real estate goals.

6th Annual 5K Resolution Run to Kick Cancer

Registration is open for the 6th Annual 5K Road Race to take place in Lexington, MA on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 11 a.m. featuring a fast, flat route through historic Lexington.   The Resolution Run to Kick Cancer (RR2KC) kicks off the New Year on  Saturday, January 10, 2015 at the Lexington High School Field House with its 6th Annual 5K Run to raise funds to help “kick cancer!”  

To date, the race has raised and donated over $100,000 to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.  This year, RR2KC will be donating the proceeds to the same organizations.

This year’s event is welcoming several school teams, running groups, corporate teams, and family- and friend-based teams. This is a family fun event with awards and delicious food donated from some of our local wonderful restaurants and caterers. Registration is $30 ($35 day of event). Awards will be given for male and female top 3 finishers overall, top 3 in each age group, and top 3 cancer patients/survivors as well as top 3 teams.
Ipswitch, Inc. is proud to be the RR2KC Elite sponsor. Ipswitch is a Lexington-based software company that is committed to making a difference in its community.

Additional information and registration can be found at or on the RR2KC Facebook page.  Contact: Karen Kristin   781-640-9556

Monday, January 5, 2015

Flu Clinic at Avalon at Lexington Hills Apartment Complex

Flu clinic at Avalon at Lexington Hills Apartment Complex, 1000 Main Campus Drive, in the Community Room on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

All vaccines will be provided at the upcoming clinic free of charge to Lexington residents on a first-come, first-serve basis. Although insurance is not required to get vaccinated at the clinic, residents are asked to bring their health insurance cards, as the town can be reimbursed for administering vaccine at no cost to the resident.

Lexington residents three years and older are eligible to be vaccinated at the Flu clinics as long as supplies last.  “Influenza is unpredictable, and we don’t yet know how severe of a flu season this year will be. The CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine. However, public clinics typically only vaccinate those citizens who are three years of age and older.  
Vaccination is the single most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu - especially if you or someone you care about has a chronic health condition like asthma.” said Gerard F. Cody, Health Director.

Don’t get the flu, don’t spread the flu, and get vaccinated.

Once you reach the parking area outside of the main office at Avalon at Lexington Hills, there will be signage in the parking lot directing you to the clinic entrance.

Upon arrival you will be greeted by a Medical Reserve Corp volunteer. There will be Town of Lexington Health Division staff and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers wearing white vests and identification badges to answer any of your questions. Families should stay together, and will be vaccinated together.

If you cannot attend the clinic on January 7, 2015, and you would still like to get vaccinated, please contact David Neylon, Public Health Nurse by phone at (781) 698-4509 or by email at”    

For further information, contact the Office of Community Development, Health Division, Gerard Cody, Health Director at 781-698-4503. If you would like more information on the Flu and Flu Vaccine, please visit and