Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Big Expectations for 2016 Housing Market

Do signs point to another housing boom? Perhaps — home sales are poised to zoom to the highest levels since 2006 next year, according to a 2016 housing forecast issued by®.
Gains in new-home construction and existing home sales are both expected to push total home sales to the highest levels in years. The new-home construction market is expected to see the most gains in 2016, with® forecasting a 12 percent year-over-year increase in housing starts and a 16 percent year-over-year growth in new home sales. The gains in existing-home sales are expected to be more moderate, with expectations of a 3 percent year-over-year gain.

“Next year’s moderate gains in existing prices and sales, versus the accelerated growth we’ve seen in previous years, indicate that we are entering a normal, but healthy housing market,” says Jonathan Smoke,®’s chief economist. “The improvements we’ve seen over the last few years have enabled a recovery in the existing-home market, but we still need to make up ground in new construction, which we could begin to see in 2016. New home sales and starts will bring overall sales to levels we have not seen since 2006 and will help set the stage for a healthy new home market.” 
Total sales for existing and new homes are expected to reach 6 million for the first time since 2006 next year.

2016’s Buying Force
Fueling the increase in total sales,® predicts three distinct segments of home buyers to dominate: older millennials (25 to 34 years old); younger Generation Xers (35 to 44 years old), and retirees (65 to 74 years old), Smoke says.

Millennials: Millennials are expected to make up the largest demographic of buyers in the coming year at 30 percent of the existing home market.

“Driven by increasing income, millennials will seek out homes that meet the needs of their growing families – putting the most weight on the safety of the neighborhood and the quality of the home,” according to®’s forecast. “Commute time and a preference for older homes have these buyers looking in city centers and closer-in suburbs.”® predicts some of the most sought-after markets for millennial buyers in 2016 — based on their large number of millennials, strong employment growth, and affordability — include:

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.
Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
Austin-Round Rock, Texas

Young Generation Xers: Buyers between the ages of 35 to 44 years old are likely to make up the second largest population of buyers in 2016.

“These buyers have rebounded from the financial crisis and are entering their prime family-raising and earning years,”®’s report notes. “More than two-thirds of the buyers in this age group already own a home. They will be moving out of a starter home into a larger home or more desirable neighborhood.”

The markets expected to see the most upticks from these growing families are:
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C.
Columbus, Ohio

Retirees: The third largest segment of home buyers in 2016 are expected to be individuals or couples who are looking to relocate or retire between the ages of 65 and 74. New retirees are expected to fuel a trend in downsizing and seeking out ways to lower their cost of living.
“They will likely put their home up for sale at the start of the home-buying season in March or April, and aim to make a home purchase following the sale of their home,”®’s report notes. “This age cohort has a very strong preference for newly constructed homes and put the most weight on their ability to customize their home.”

The markets expected to see the most retiree buying activity in 2016 are:
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif.
San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.

source from: 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Homeowners Insurance Can Cost You Twice as Much With Bad Credit

You’re probably already aware that credit scores are a major factor when you’re buying a Lexington home, because your credit score affects the interest rate you get on your mortgage. Considering how big home loans are, a few credit score points could translate into a slightly higher rate, which ultimately can add up to thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

Of course, there are many more expenses that come with buying a house than taking out a mortgage. Pretty much everyone takes out homeowners insurance, which can—on average—tack on nearly $100 or so to your monthly homeownership expenses. On top of that, you could be paying higher insurance premiums just because you don’t have a good credit score (here’s an explanation of what qualifies as a “good” credit score).

Across the U.S., homeowners might pay 32% more in annual homeowners insurance premiums if they have fair credit, as opposed to excellent credit, according to a survey from

If you have poor credit, your homeowners insurance can cost twice as much as it would if you had excellent credit. Most states allow insurance underwriters to consider credit history when determining home insurance premiums, though California, Maryland, and Massachusetts do not. In 38 states, plus Washington, DC, people with poor credit pay, on average, twice as much for homeowners insurance as they would if they had excellent credit.

“It’s hard to fathom that bad credit would justify such steep rates on homeowners insurance, but it often is a factor and clearly can be an important one,” said Gerri Detweiler,’s director of consumer education. “When I bought my current home a number of years ago, I was told I didn’t get the largest discount for my homeowners insurance due to my credit score, even though I had very little debt and a clean payment history. So I can relate to homeowners who are really frustrated by this practice.”

Insurance underwriters generally use credit-based insurance scores, according to the report from, and those scores are based on credit report data such as outstanding debt, length of credit history, late payments, collection accounts, bankruptcy, and credit applications.
There are many expenses that come with being a homeowner, so anything you can do to keep the costs down will likely add up to a lot of savings in the long run. If you didn’t get the lowest rates, consider asking your insurer to reassess your premium after you’ve had time to improve your credit after buying a home. You could also shop around for a new policy as a money-saving tactic, because underwriting practices vary by insurer. 
This article was written by Christine DiGangi and originally published on

Friday, December 18, 2015

Don't Let the Holidays Scare off Sellers

Some Lexington home owners may be tempted to delay putting their home on the market until after the holidays. But there’s plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t wait and use the holidays to their advantage and start the new year with a “sold” sign on the front lawn of your Lexington Home.

Here are a four reasons why selling during the holidays may offer them a better chance than right after the new year:

1. Buyers relocating for job purposes may be in a hurry to get settled into a new home before the new year, particularly if they have school-age children.

2. Buyers who are looking for a home during the holidays tend to be more serious and in a hurry to buy.

3. Some stagers argue that homes show better when they’re decorated for the holidays and welcome buyers in. (Read more: Add Some Holiday Charm to Your Listings)

4. Sellers will likely have less competition against other home sellers during the holidays. The supply of listings tends to increase after the holidays and new-home construction likely will pick up then so home sellers will compete against more homes for-sale.

Source: “Waiting Until After the Holidays Isn’t a Smart Decision,” Keeping Current Matters (Nov. 5, 2015)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winterize Your Lexington, MA Home!

Prepare your Lexington, MA home for winter!
In the midst of holiday shopping, wrapping, cleaning and events, you may have overlooked the steps you should take to winterize your Lexington home. The cold temperatures and snow will be upon us soon! Take a few hours out of your day or upcoming weekend to prepare your Lexington home for the upcoming winter months.

As your Lexington real estate agent, I've summarized a checklist from RISMedia that you can work your way through:

  • Clean your gutters free of debris so nothing blocks the drainage.
  • Make sure your downspouts are directed away from the house and are also free of blockages.
  • Put away your outdoor patio furniture if you haven’t already. It could age or get damaged if left out in the cold, wind and snow.
  • Drain and store garden hoses inside a shed, garage or basement. Any water remaining in the hose will freeze and expand, causing it to burst.
  • Winterize your air-conditioning unit.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Evaluate your home’s insulation, or hire a professional to do it. They can tell you where insulation needs a boost behind your walls or in the attic.
  • Boost insulation where needed. Energy-efficient foam insulation is cost-effective.
  • Seal air leaks around windows and doors. It’ll save you a lot of money on your energy bill!
  • Replace the air filter on your furnace.
  • Install storm windows if you have single-pane windows. This is another great way to keep the cold out.
  • Shift ceiling fans to clockwise motion, so they push the heat down and help warm up your rooms.
  • Learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing
For more tips, check out the RISMedia article in its entirety. Once you have this done, you can peacefully enjoy the holiday season and prep for your holiday parties, knowing that your Lexington home is safe, secure, warm and energy-efficient.

Ready to buy a Lexington home? Ready to sell your Lexington home? The holiday season is actually a great time to do so! According to Forbes, about one million consumers will purchase a home from November to January, taking advantage of softer home prices. At the same time, because there are fewer sellers on the market right now, you could gain an edge by selling right now.

Contact me, your Lexington real estate agent, for answers to all of your real estate questions, and to get started on achieving your goals in the Lexington real estate market. Happy holidays!

Theresa D'Antuono

12 Tips for Holiday Home Safety

As you're sprucing up your Lexington home this season, keep an eye out for these common holiday trip-ups, fire hazards, and other safety snafus.

1. Merry and Bright: Carefully inspect holiday light strings each year and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders, or loose connections. When replacing bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.

2. Lights Out: Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.

3. Fresh Is Best: Try to purchase a freshly cut tree, as they are more resistant to ignition. Keep your Christmas tree watered and away from open candles.

4. Timing Is Everything: Use an outdoor timer certified by CSA International to switch lights on and off. Lights should be turned on after 7 p.m. to avoid the electricity rush hour.

5. Check for the Certification Mark: When purchasing light strings, extension cords, spotlights, electrical decorations, gas appliances, or carbon monoxide alarms, look for the certification mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure that the products comply with applicable standards for safety and performance.

6. One and Done: Never connect more than one extension cord together; instead use a single cord that is long enough to reach the outlet without stretching, but not so long that it can get easily tangled.

7. The Great Outdoors: When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters. Use insulated tape or plastic clips instead of metal nails or tacks to hold them in place.

8. Climbing Up: Using a ladder when you put up lights? Choose the correct ladder for the job and double check for a certification mark to ensure your portable ladder complies with applicable standards.

9. Keep the Gas Behind Glass: Do not use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked, or broken, and only allow a qualified service person to replace fireplace parts.

10. Sound the Alarm: Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work, and be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home -- especially near sleeping areas.

11. Filter-Friendly Furnace: To help prevent CO hazards in your home, have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating seasons.

12. Clean the Clutter: Do not store combustible materials such as gasoline, propane, paper, chemicals, paint, rags, and cleaning products near your gas furnace. Gasoline or propane cylinders should be stored outside the home.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday Events Around Lexington

Holidays at Buckman
Buckman Tavern (1 Bedford St.) will be the center of a special holiday celebration and boutique with the Lexington Historical Society. Visit the Tavern decorated for the season and find special seasonal items at the holiday boutique. Enjoy music, light refreshment, and a scavenger hunt for children. The Tavern will be open to the public two weekends: December 5 & 6 and December 12 & 13 from 1-7 PM. Free to Society members; $5 entrance fee for non-members. Contact: Lexington Historical Society   781-862-1703

Kids Holiday POPS!
Sing along and celebrate the season with Lexington Symphony! Suited for families with children of all ages, this afternoon (4:00-4:45pm) concert features popular carols, sing-alongs, and a special visitor from the North Pole.
And then again from 7:30-9:30pm, sing along and celebrate the season with Lexington Symphony! Featuring popular carols and sing-alongs, this evening concert offers a festive atmosphere and musical favorites that evoke joyous holiday memories. 
Tickets, which are priced at $20 for adults and $8 for children/students -- can be purchased online at or by phone at 781-523-9009. Contact: Samantha Wade   781-523-9009

A Christmas Carol
Come join us December 11 at 7:00pm. Charles Dickens’ timeless classic is a perfect show for the whole family. Join Ebenezer Scrooge as he receives visits from the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come and transforms from a bitter man to one that understands the true meaning of Christmas. Contact: Peter Lally   6175311257

Model Train Weekend
Discover the magic of trains at the annual Model Train Weekend at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, 2015 (10:00am-4:30om). This family-friendly event is a perfect holiday-season outing for adults and children of all ages. The HUB Division of the National Model Railroad Association presents miles of track with trains running on multiple main lines as they chug up mountain climbs, past coal mines, through small villages and into tunnels. Some engines pull 50 cars past hundreds of charming venues including icy lakes with skaters, snow-covered farms, and urban skyscrapers. Admission is $7 per family; $5 individual; $4 for museum members and members of the HUB Division. You can call 781-861-6559 for more information, or visit the website. Location: Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library (National Heritage Museum) 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA

Lexington Tea Burning Re-enactment
Join the Lexington Historical Society on Sunday, December 13 from 1:30-2:30pm as they re-enact the "Lexington Tea Burning" of December 13, 1773 (which took place three days before the Boston Tea Party!). Protest British tea taxes and add your tea to the bonfire. The Tea Burning will take place on the lawn of the Lexington Visitors' Center. Colonial dress encouraged. Free and open to the public. Contact: Lexington Historical Society   781-862-1703

For more events please visit: