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Monday Morning Coffee: Have You Played The Family Game?

by Mike DelRose Team

    Monday Morning Coffee


It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.
~ Katherine Mansfield
Feel like you're losing touch with your children? Wish you understood your spouse better? Want to enjoy closer family ties without the background noise of X-Box games or loud music? Does everyone seem to scatter the moment their last bite of food is swallowed? Introduce them to "the family game!"
It's a fun way to bring your family together at the dinner table and keep them there - without complaints. Furthermore, you'll soon have them willingly sharing their dreams, disappointments, likes & dislikes, interests, successes, and innermost thoughts. Finally, you will have created a new family tradition your children will delight in passing on to their own families.
Introduce your version of the family game at the end of a dinnertime meal when everyone is present. Don't make a big production of it, just ask everyone to remain at the table. Tell them you've heard of a fun game and would like to play it with them. Explain that each person at the table gets one turn (and only one turn). You begin by asking a question that everyone, including yourself, has to answer. For instance, your question might be, "What's the most embarrassing moment you've ever had?" Go around the table and let each family member contribute.
Once everyone answers, let the person at your left ask the next question. It might be, "What's the worst birthday present you've ever received?" or maybe, "If you could go back in the past and live in a different time, when would it be and why?" You'll be amazed at the sharing your family will suddenly experience.
Once the "family game" becomes a regular part of meals, add this twist: Before being seated, tell family members that they may sit in any seat at the table except their normal seat. The catch is that they must also "act" like the person normally seated in the chair they choose. This can produce hilarious results.
If your family seems fragmented and scattered, play "the family game." It's a natural for bringing joy, depth, communication and understanding back to your loved ones.

Have You Spotted The RE/MAX Leading Edge Bike Around Town?

by Mike DelRose Team


Here’s How To Enter To Win:

1. Hashtag & Post Your Photo with RE/MAX Leading Edge Bike Online #remaxLEagents!

2. Like Our Facebook Page!

3. Follow Us On Twitter!

Win One of these Three $100.00 Gift Card Prizes:

– The Funniest Photo

– The Most Creative

– The Best Location!

Contest Submission Due By: 7/31/15 

(Helpful Hint: The Bike can be spotted around the Back Back & South End through July 2015)

Edamame Steak House & Fine Asian Cuisine

by Mike DelRose Jr.

I wanted to take a moment and share with you one of my favorite local eateries as Greater Boston is not short on awesome restaurants. I'm not much of a critic, I'm very easy to please, but this restuarant is up there on my frequent flyer destinations.

Edamame Steak House & Fine Asian Cuisine has a little something for everyone. The venue is conveniently located right outside Newtonville at 171 Watertown Street, Watertown, MA 02472  in the same plaza as Stop & Shop, Watertown Savings Bank, CVS, and Papa Gino's so there is plenty of parking is which always a plus. 

I originally tried Edamame for the Hibachi Experience. If you have never been, it is a live-action cooking show that's both entertaining as well as delcious. You eat as the next portion of the meal is being cooked and the Chefs are as much of a performer as they are a cook.

Alternatively, Edamame is great for Sushi. It's fresh, made to order, and just as good. Whether you are looking for a night out with friends or a quick fix, make sure you stop in. 

(Above: Hibachi Menu at Edamame. Below: A Sample From The Shushi Menu)

Monday Morning Coffee

by Mike DelRose Team

    Monday Morning Coffee


"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome trying to succeed." 
~ Booker T. Washington 
Ever get that “burned out” feeling? You’re operating at maximum capacity and doing a darn good job of it, but the inspiration and the motivation start to wane. Don’t feel badly about it – after all, you can only really hit a slump when you’ve been experiencing a streak of success! Slumps do not happen to “losers,” because frankly, they’re always in a perpetual slump! 
So what can be done when you hit a bump in the road? Dr. Robert H. Schuller once observed that “when you can’t solve the problem, manage it.” Maybe you can’t control whatever outside forces are weighing down on your ability to move forward. You can, however, take a break and take a step back to look at things you actually can control. 
If you’re banging your head against a wall, please stop and walk away! If success lies beyond that wall, you’ll have a much better chance of getting there by going around your obstacles and not through them. Walls are not doorways – you need to refresh your perspective and find passage back to your previously winning ways. 
Perhaps you’ve just gotten so good at what you do that you’ve forgotten “the basics” of your activities. It’s like you’re operating on “auto-pilot,” and there are a thousand little details that you don’t even think about anymore as you carry on your routine. Take some time to “re-train” yourself. Start by pretending it’s your first day on the job and everything is new. 
New employees who have to learn the ropes often bring a fresh perspective that exposes ways to do things more efficiently. Look through your “apprentice” eyes for new ways of working, and it’s a good bet that your performance will improve, and you’ll find yourself operating with renewed enthusiasm. Now, give yourself a bonus! 

Winning a Bidding War

by Mike DelRose Team

As the market swings from a buyer's market to a seller's, you may find yourself facing competitive bids for the home you want. Do not let this situation throw you off the track. Winning a bidding war may not be as difficult as you think. A little bit of knowledge and preparation on your part can minimize your frustration.

  1. Meet with your lender first. If you walk in to the home with a preapproval letter from your bank, you can move to the front of the line. A seller with multiple offers will often skip past a viable bid if the buyer cannot assure immediate financing. Knowing how much your lender is willing to finance will define your price range so that you can negotiate with confidence.
  2. Do not make an exceptionally low offer. Do not try bringing a house you cannot afford into your price range with a low bid. The seller will likely reject your offer immediately.
  3. Be flexible and creative with incentives. If a seller can stay in the house a little longer or avoid doing some minor repairs you do not mind making, let him know you are willing to make the sale easier for him. Your agent may be able to meet with the listing agent to determine what would motivate the sellers, such as a quick closing or rent-back arrangement. A non-cash incentive like a delayed move-out date can be just the motivation the seller needs.
  4. Provide proof of available cash. If you can make up the difference with cash if the appraisal comes in lower than the asking price, the seller may accept your bid. Beware of offering more than the home is worth. Consult with your real estate agent to consider the wisdom of this option. A higher down payment or a large amount of earnest money may also be attractive to the seller.
  5. Be prepared to meet the terms of a counteroffer. In order to do this, you must be fully prepared to make higher payments. Be sure you are capable of doing so and that your lender will still finance the transaction.

When you meet with your real estate agent, be completely honest about your resources and your willingness to negotiate. As your representative, your agent can advise you about creating an attractive offer. He will also help you find creative ways to sweeten the deal and make winning a bidding war a reality.

US Pending Home Sales Increase in March

by Mike DelRose Team

According to the National Association of Realtors®, home sales in March rose 3.4 percent to break a nine-month streak of stagnant activity. Although still 7.9 percent below the March 2013 figures, it continued to grow in April. The Midwest and Northeast gained momentum sufficient to outweigh declining activity in the West and South. The U.S. pending home sales increase in March is an indicator of slow, but positive growth in the real estate market. 

Economists predict that existing-home sales will continue to increase throughout 2014 to about 4.9 million in 2014, slightly below the 5.1 million recorded in 2013, but expect continued growth to about 5.3 million next year. Continued inventory shortages will drive existing-home prices up an expected six to seven percent in 2014.

The Pending Home Sales Index is based on sales of existing homes for which the contracts have been signed, but the sales have not closed. It is based on a national sample representing about 20 percent of the total number of transactions nationwide. It has proven to be a reasonably accurate indicator of the level of closed existing-home sales over the next two months.

NAR economist Lawrence Yun predicts a gradual increase in home sales as inventory levels give buyers more choices and mortgage interest rates have experienced a slight decline. He further states that this is not a trend, projecting an increase in mortgage interest rates to 5.5 percent in 2015. According to Yun, '€œAnnual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year.'€? The impact of the current increase on housing sales will largely depend upon whether income grows within the labor market. Possible changes to mortgage underwriting conditions could further impact sales.

Housing inventory increased in April by 16.8 percent. This means that 2.29 million existing homes are available for sale which translates to a 5.9-month supply. Existing home sales account for more than 90 percent of total home sales. The U.S. pending home sales increase in March continuing into April is good news for home sellers as the market gradually turns to their benefit.

The National Association of Realtors® is the largest trade association in the country with over a million members.  The newsletter provides current market statistics for the benefit of realtors and their clients.

Energy-Efficient Mortgages

by Mike DelRose Team

Going green is a laudable goal in today's world.  That being said however, going green can be an expensive proposition that saves money in the long run, but requires a significant investment prior to that payoff.  To expedite those long-term energy savings, new homeowners can apply for an Energy-Efficient Mortgages(EEM) to help cover the cost of these green initiatives.

What is an Energy Efficient Mortgage?

Sometimes referred to as green mortgages, an EEM mortgage allows homeowners to finance energy efficient upgrades by rolling the cost of the upgrades into their new mortgage.  Rather than shopping after more than one loan, the new homebuyer can affect their energy upgrades with just one loan package all rolled up into one deal.  An EEM package allows lenders to give qualified homebuyers an opportunity to take out a loan larger than the asking price on the property.

Upfront costs on an EEM mortgage are higher than a traditional loan due to the cost associated with making the improvements that will lead to a smaller carbon footprint for the home.  While the initial costs are high, the energy savings that the homeowners realize from the energy efficiency steps will pay back dividends in savings that are designed to be cheaper in the long run. 

Three Types of EEM

There are three types of EEM loans that are typically extended to homebuyers including conventional EEMs, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, and Veteran's Administration (VA) loans.

  • Conventional EEM — by far the most common green mortgage option, allows lenders to credit buyer's income by the estimated amount of mincome of $105,000 annually, which allows homebuyers an opportunity to afford more house than they otherwise would have.
  • Federal Housing Administration'The FHA extends green mortgages to those who have already met the underwriting qualifications set out for an FHA loan.  Borrowers can either borrow the lesser of the total cost of improvements, or borrow against the lesser 5% of the home's value.
  • VA Loans' The Veteran's Administration offers EMMs to veterans who qualify for VA financing.  These allow veterans to upgrade an existing home, but places a cap on total loans between $3,000 and $6,000 maximum.

Going green is good for the planet and good for the wallet, so prospective homebuyers should look into the advantages that a green mortgage can have on the cost of the monthly utilities.

New Home Maintenance Alternatives Designed to Save Money

by Mike DelRose Team

Buying a home is just the start of the expenses that a homeowner is going to have to fork out upon moving in to their new home. In addition to the cost of the mortgage, moving, insurance, and refurnishing, the new homeowner is also on the hook to pay for the maintenance regimen, which is designed to keep those home price values high. Whether it's putting on a new roof, or the house needs a serious coat of paint, these maintenance costs can become overwhelming unless the homeowner takes steps to minimize maintenance costs. Towards that end, here some outstanding ideas for reducing the costs associated with maintaining your property.

Fiber Cement Siding

Theses lightly flexible cement mixed shingles are made with an eye towards keeping them from rotting, warping, or cupping after they have been installed, and has an estimated life of 30-years. The pieces are normally factory painted before being nailed to the side of the house one by one, which gives it a natural and authentic look. The tiles will need to be repainted on average every seven to ten years, which compares favorably with having to repaint traditional wood siding every five to seven years.

PVC Trim

Utilizing the plastic pipes that are used for plumbing drains, PVC piping made with air added during the molten process results in natural looking trim that displays wood-like density. Contractors are able to cut, shape, form, and install each piece like any board of lumber. Whereas normal pine trim can expect to be around and looking good for ten to fifteen years, the PVC piping will virtually last forever requiring only the occasional touch up of paint.

Quartz Countertops

While once upon a time, granite was the rock star when it came to installing kitchen and bathroom counters, but a new act is threatening to supplant granite's reputation: Quartz countertops. Quartz is available in just about every color imaginable and is readily available at any local stone yard or online. Unlike the costs associated with caring for granite, for instance granite needs to sealed annually, whereas quartz simply requires a standard sponge cleaning without the heroic measures needed to care for granite, marble, or limestone requires to keep countertops looking their very best. Made from natural stone, one can expect that their quartz countertops will outlast every other feature, appliance, or appointment that can be found in a kitchen.

Having nice things is easy when they do not take an army of maintenance personnel keeping them looking their best. Remodel your home with maintenance free items and you will save countless hours and expense. 

National Existing Homes Sales the Strongest in 7 Years

by Mike DelRose Team

As the nation attempts to extradite itself from the grips of the Great Recession, existing homes sales indicate that 2013 may have been the strongest year for new housing sales in seven years. According the National Association of Realtors, the sale of previously occupied housing rose by a single percentage point over 2013 as pent up consumer demand pushed sales past 4.87 million units last year. 

Recent Slump in Sales

Home resale rates have taken a hit since spring due to a sharp rise in mortgage interest rates. These ongoing price increases have shut many house hunters out of the market now. Early estimates by economists pointed to previously owned home sales to reach 4.94 million units rather than the 4.87 million units that actually changed hands. Still, even with the last quarter slump, economists were pleased with the performance.

'For the year as a whole, it is a good recovery, but we lost some momentum towards the end of 2013,' admits National Association of Realtor economist, Lawrence Yun.

Lawrence points to two opposing forces that are having their impact on the vitality of today' s housing market, which includes fast rising prices that are coupled to weak income growth as the job market continues to trail behind other strong economic growth indicators.

Signs of Growth

Coupled to the strong housing market displayed last year, other recent indicators suggest that the sector is headed towards a period of vitality. Chiefly, economists point to a steady rise in household formations that have been lacking in recent years as college graduates delay making that first housing purchase in preference to moving back in with their parent' s house until the economy is more vibrant. 

Additionally, as noted above, rising mortgage rates have had a cooling trend on the market causing many to put their house buying aspirations on the shelf for now until the market gets friendlier. While the percentage of housing units on the market continues to shrink, median housing prices are on the march to rise by nearly ten percent as prices stood at $198,000 at the end of last December.

Also promising is the growth in demand for builders to undertake new development projects during the same time period that has surpassed decade long lows. Also, prices have remained inflated owing to a shortage of properties on the market as home sellers have removed their listings I n anticipation of an improving market.

Ten Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

by Mike DelRose Team

With the passing of winter' s snow and sleet comes the onslaught of spring' s rain and runoff. The brief respite between the two affords the homeowner a unique opportunity to perform needed maintenance to repair the damage caused by the former, and gird against the ravages of the latter. Since Mother Nature can prove to be a strict scheduler however, it is best to prioritize your property maintenance with these ten home maintenance tips for spring. 

Top Ten Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

Begin your inspection with the main structural components of the building. Starting with the roof, scan your property for any signs of damage or defects:

  1. Exam the Roof - any top down examination of the house will of course begin with the roof. Winter winds, snow, and hail can play havoc on roofing shingles, so conduct a visual inspection from the ground for missing or damaged shingles. A qualified roofing contractor should replace loose, cracked, or buckled elements immediately.
  2. Chimneys - Before taking your focus off the roof, be sure to check out the chimney for any outward signs of damage. This is also an excellent time to schedule a professional cleaning from a licensed chimney sweep.
  3. Windows and Door Jams - Inspect the trim around windowsills, decks, railings, and doors for signs of wear and tear. Once you have identified problem areas, be sure to make improvements before the spring rains have a chance to cause more damage to the exposed wood.
  4. Inspect Concrete Slabs - Check the concrete slabs for signs of cracks or indications of movement. Be prepared to fill in any cracks that you might find with silicone caulk or concrete crack filler, and if weather allows, now would be an excellent time to power-wash the surface and seal the concrete.  
  5. Clean A/C Coils - Hire the services of a qualified HVAC contractor to come service your A/C unit before the thermostat starts to rise with the summer months. An annual service call will guarantee that your unit is operating at peak efficiency.

Water breaks rock, paper and scissors, so be sure that you have taken steps against the onslaught of spring' s rain and runoff:

  1. Loose and Leaky Gutters - an improperly functioning gutter is perhaps worse than having no gutter at all. As such, make sure that your gutters are free from debris and functioning properly while verifying that the downspouts drain away from the home' s foundation.
  2. Swampy Areas - low lying areas in your yard that stands near the foundation should be filled in and leveled with compacted soil, so as to avoid damage to the building from flooding. As an added benefit, this will eliminate pools of water that serve as a breeding ground for insect outbreaks.

Make sure that your lawn care tools of summer are ready to fire up to begin cutting, edging, and pruning your yard:

  1. Tools of Summer - give your yard maintenance tools a once over to make sure your gas and electrically powered yard equipment will be ready to go when you are this summer. Change out fluids and sharpen blades to guarantee peak performance.
  2. Outside Faucets Damage - check your outside faucet pressure by turning the water on and placing your finger over the spout. If you are able to block the flow of water, then there is probably damage further up the line, and you should have a plumber come in and look at your system.
  3. Winter' s Firewood - as a move against fire danger, store any remaining firewood away from your home.

These ten home maintenance tips for spring will get your home prepared for summer!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 436