Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Weird Packing Tricks That Actually Work

Packing to move can be drudge work, but it’s an even worse task if your labor results in broken glassware, tangled jewelry, busted gadgets, and lost electrical cords. Leaving your home for a new one is stressful enough without these added woes.
To the rescue, here are some brilliant hacks that’ll get your stuff loaded up with nary a crack—and almost no sweat—from experts who live and breathe packing.
Don’t just grab your dinnerware from the shelf and stack it in a box—it’s more apt to break. As counter intuitive as it sounds, it’s better to pack them sideways instead. Just make sure the box is small enough so that the plates fit with only a bit of wiggle room on each side where you can insert bubble wrap or other cushioning.

Glasses and cups

Put your tube socks to good use: Insert your stemware into them (one per sock, of course) to prevent cracks. Turn the handles of coffee mugs and pitchers inward in boxes to save space. You can also pick up wine or beer boxes with the cardboard separators to pack glasses and other fragile items—liquor stores give these away for free.

Necklaces and bracelets

Don’t let all of those pretty chains get tangled in knots! To prevent bracelets and necklaces from ending up in this sad state, grab a few empty toilet paper rolls or drinking straws. Thread each chain through the roll or straw, and then fasten the clasp. Lay them gently in a box and cover with a layer of clothing to keep them in place.


These tiny objects need their own packing compartment—and your old egg cartons are just the solution. Pop a few pairs into each nesting cup and then top with a few cotton balls. Close the carton and seal it with a bit of packing or masking tape. You could also poke your earrings through a paper towel tube, secure them with backs and then wrap the whole roll with plastic wrap or a soft T-shirt.


Moving a dresser is easier without the drawers in it, but if you’re hoisting it full of clothes, take some heavy-duty plastic and wrap it around the entire piece so the drawers don’t slide out.


Soft items like towels, sheets, and dishcloths can do double duty when you pack them. Roll up wooden and plastic utensils and other kitchen items in dish towels, or use cloth napkins and T-shirts to wrap or separate fragile items. Pack pillows at the top of boxes to add extra cushion and wrap artwork in blankets.


Much like jewelry, cords might get balled up and separated from their devices, so make a special effort to keep these organized.
Repurpose those plastic tabs that come with loaves of bread to secure cords. Be sure to label them so you don’t lose track of which cord goes to which piece of equipment. You can also take a photo of your electronics before unplugging them so that you remember which cords fit into which sockets.

Your daily necessities

It seems so obvious—until you’re standing, exhausted, amid towers of boxes wishing you had your toothbrush and slippers. Pack this special box and fill it with the essentials you need on the first day and night in your new house, including toilet paper, pajamas, a spare set of clothes—and a bottle of Champagne!

For more packing tips, visit

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Starts Today!

Winter begins today, December 21, 5:44 A.M. EST.

Do you love or hate winter in Lexington?

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.

At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.
Find out the changing day length in your neck of the woods with our personalized Sunrise/set tool.

Winter inspires both joy and woe. Some people can’t wait for the cooler weather, snow, skiing and ice skating, curling up by a fire, and the holiday spirit. You’ll notice a peaceful sort of silence when you walk through the woods—a muffled kind of quiet. 
Other people dislike the frigid temperatures, blizzards, and wild weather. In colder regions, winter often means shoveling, snow blowing, dealing with bad roads, and sometimes unbearable temperatures.  In warmer regions, the winter temperatures become very mild and cool, and places such as Florida fills up with people escaping the harshness of a northern winter.

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” –Steve Martin

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

7 Tips for Holding an Open House During the Holidays

Many people think that winter isn’t the ideal time to put your Lexington home on the market. What can you do to make your wintertime open houses appealing amongst the holiday parties and events?
Here are 7 tips for holding an open house during the holidays.
1. Market early, market broadly, market creatively
Remember that the people who venture out in the wintertime might be the most serious buyers of all, so you should be extra-prepared to host a stellar open house. Start event marketing as soon as possible, and be sure to feature it in your blog and social media messages. If there’s a nearby holiday fair or festival, put up your signs in that area to attract even more attendees
You never know where a buyer can come from, so think creatively. Why not invite the neighbors into the home an hour early for a sneak preview and turn it into a holiday block party? Let them have a look around; maybe they’ll pass the word along to family and friends. You never know: People often host out-of-town relatives during the holidays, and perhaps some of them are interested in moving closer to family. If a buyer is relocating, they might be already planning a trip to your area, so make sure you post your open house information to as many online outlets as possible.
2. Stay safe outside…
Keeping the driveway, curbs and walkways clear of snow and ice is not only a safety tip, it makes the home approachable and inviting. Solar lights along the walkways illuminate the path for visitors, and a layer of sand keeps attendees safe when the walkways ice over. Knock any icicles off the overhangs and brush off any precarious clumps of snow that could fall on an unwitting buyer. Set a timer on the porch light to ensure that buyers can easily spot the house number. On the porch, provide a welcome mat for wet or muddy feet, along with a floor runner and coat rack in the entryway, to help keep the floors clean and dry.
3. …And inside
Although beautifully wrapped gifts and collectible seasonal decorations can create a festive ambiance, these items are prizes for sticky-fingered baddies who sometimes target open houses. Keep all valuables out of sight, including jewelry and prescription drugs. If you decide to have seasonal items as part of the décor, wrap empty cardboard boxes and use mass-market decorations as decoys — but keep it tasteful; you want buyers to focus on the features, not the festivities.
4. Update the exterior
The dead of winter is no time to paint the exterior of a home, but you can still make some off-season updates in preparation for your open house. Wash the paint or siding with warm soapy water to immediately spruce up the outside. Polish the windows to keep them bright and clean, and allow more natural light to shine through.
Prune the shrubbery and trim any tree branches that might be laden with snow. Not only does it make the home look maintained, it’s a safety measure against potential damage caused by limbs cracking under the weight.
5. Incorporate minimal seasonal décor
While most people will not be offended by seasonal décor, there’s sense in not going overboard with it: Less décor can be more elegant, doesn’t distract buyers from seeing the real features of the home, and is easier to clean up after the holidays. A tasteful evergreen wreath on the front door adds style, and a few white lights inside the home offer simple, but classic sophistication. Remember the shrubbery trimmings? Repurpose some of it as décor by arranging it in urns on the porch.
6. Keep it cozy and inviting
Vacant or not, it’s a good idea to keep the thermostat set at a comfortable heating level. Buyers aren’t likely to look around very long if the home is freezing; plus, you don’t want them wondering if there’s a problem with the heating system.
A plate of cookies and mugs of hot cider or cocoa are great incentives for buyers to stay and explore the home. Twilight comes sooner in the winter, so leverage as much natural lighting as possible by opening the curtains for daylight events. For security and curb appeal, use timers on the inside lamps. A crackling fire and candles also help to light up the home and add warmth.
Keeps scents to a minimum and stick with one; having pine, gingerbread, peppermint and vanilla scents battling each other can be overwhelming and might make visitors think you are trying to cover up bad odors.
7. Timing
You and your agent have to work around each other’s schedules, and it might be extra challenging during the holidays when weekends can be jam-packed with get-togethers. Holding an open house at a time other than a late weekend afternoon might better accommodate everyone and attract more traffic. Consider a weekday evening — perhaps catching the attention of commuters heading home. If you decide to keep your open house on the weekend, earlier in the day — when you can take advantage of natural light — is better. Try a Saturday morning and offer brunch snacks and have cartoons playing for the kids. Another idea is to hold it during a football game and give the event a tailgate party theme.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why Homeownership Is Smart Financial Investment in Lexington, MA

Perks of homeownership in Lexington, MA
If you are hoping to buy a Lexington home this year or next, you might have heard that mortgage rates have increased in the past couple weeks. This wek, a 30-year fixed rate rose to 4.13 percent, the highest it has been this year. As a Lexington real estate agent, I want to explain that while historically low rates might be a thing of the past, buying a Lexington home is still a smart financial decision!

Real estate experts predict that interest rates will continue to rise over the next four quarters. Therefore, the smartest time to buy in the Lexington real estate market would be now! It sounds like the sooner you buy, the more likely you’ll score a lower rate.

If you think a fixed rate around 4 percent is too high, let’s take a stroll down memory lane. In the 2000’s, 30-year fixed rates averaged 6.29 percent. In the 1990’s, rates averaged 8.12 percent. In the 1980’s, rates averaged a whopping 12.7 percent! 

So while 4 percent is slightly higher than where rates have been sitting for the past couple years, they are still much lower than what other homeowners dealt with in past decades.

Plus, a recent report from Trulia pointed out that buying a home is still cheaper than renting in 100 of the largest metro areas by an average of 37.7 percent! There are many reasons for homeownership being the smarter financial investment. Here are few:

1.  Mortgage payments are fixed. If you go with a fixed rate, you know what you’ll be paying as a monthly mortgage payment for the rest of your time as a homeowner. Average rent prices have increased 22.3 percent in the biggest 50 housing markets, and housing experts don’t predict that increase to end anytime soon! Rents will continue to go up, but mortgage payments are set in stone.

2.  Home equity is financial resource for retirement. If you pay off your home in your working years, you’ll unburden yourself with a huge expense in your retirement years. Imagine living without rent or a mortgage payment! You might even have the option of a reverse mortgage, allowing you to live off the equity of your home while living in it.

3.  A mortgage is like forced savings, with capital gains. When you rent, you throw that money away every month. You will never see it again. But with owning, you are investing in your future! Every month’s mortgage payment is like a forced savings account. Someday, you will sell your Lexington home, and most, all or more of that money will return to you! If you sell it for more than you bought it for, you don’t have to pay capital gains on that appreciation, unlike with stocks.

As you can see, there are still many reasons to buy a Lexington home. Homeownership is still the smart financial decision! Don’t let higher mortgage rates scare you away. Contact me, your Lexington real estate agent, with questions or to begin your home-buying process in the Lexington real estate market.

Theresa D'Antuono

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Home for the Holidays: A Lexington Tour of Seasonal Décor

Sunday, December 11th, 2016, 1–5 PM

Join us for the Lexington Field and Garden Club’s first house tour, celebrating our
diverse holiday traditions.  Peek behind the doors of six lovely Lexington homes,
each beautifully decorated for the holidays and offering a different theme.

Can you imagine putting up 26 completely different Christmas trees every year?
Curious what nativity scenes from around the world look like? Have you ever
thought of decorating to enhance your artwork?

This promises to be a magical day and a delight for the senses!

Advance tickets: $25 members ~ $30 nonmembers ~ $10 students (ages 5 - 18)
Day of tickets: $30 members ~ $35 nonmembers ~ $10 students (ages 5 -18) 
at The Church of Our Redeemer, 6 Meriam Street, Lexington.

Will call and day-of tickets: 
Please pick up your tour map and brochure on Sunday, 12/11, starting at noon, at the Tour
Headquarters at The Church of Our Redeemer, 6 Meriam Street, Lexington. 

Before embarking on the self guided tour, enjoy light refreshments and peruse our Holiday Boutique where a selection of decorative greens, hand-made ornaments, and small gifts made by Garden Club members will be available for purchase. 

The Tour Headquarters will be open 12-5 PM. Parking, restrooms. 

Thank you to the following businesses for generously sponsoring our inaugural house tour:
Barrett Sotheby's International Realty, Robin Gannon Interiors, The Inn at Hastings Park,
Wagon Wheel Nursery & Farmstand, William Raveis, Wilson Farm.
For more information please visit the website