Million Dollar Reading!

Long known for excellent schools, small town feel and a central location near Logan Airport and commuter routes, Reading has recently joined the ranks of North Shore town boasting homes for sale in excess of $1 million dollars.

Currently - buildable lots wth or without existing homes are attracting 8, 10 or more offers,  often cash,  and somtimes wildly in excess of listing prices as deeper pocketed builders target Reading for their next projects.  So far these upscale projects have been concentrated on the North and West sides of Town - but values and homes sizes are also rising in areas like Van Norden where residents enjoy easy access to the Birch meadow area.  Birchmeadow is home to Reading Memorial high School, Coolidge Middles School and Birch Meadow Elementary school, The YMCAand also hosts Reading Town Day and multiple sporting events throughout the year.

The North End of Reading has seen consistent housing upgrades since the opening of Wood End Elementary School in the Early 2000's and is mostly zoned for half acre lots which can generally support larger 3500-4500 sq foot homes with attached garages.

Correspondingly, lot prices have been rising dramatically from just about $300,000 a year ago to a recent high of $390,000 for a 1 acre lot on Curtis Street.  That builder is reportedly expected to be constructing a $1million dollar spec home which will eclipse the neighbors - but is not out of line for other gracious West Side homes.

Currently there are two Million plus properties available on Dividence Road with direct access to Wood End School and one home in the Woburn Street Historic District.  (See link below.)    Opportunities are under development on other North Side properties as well.  Key differences in this area abutting acres of Town Forest include access to natural gas and proximity to wetlands which requires adherence to Aquifer District rules and sometimes a very creative approach to be successful.

Properties under $1million are also selling well with 4 homes in the $800-$1million price range having closed in 2014 and a half dozen Under Agreement.


This SOLD HerrickHomeTeam listing is destined to be transformed into a Million Dollar Spec Home in 2014.

Reading Library Hosts Family Event "The Big Read Kick off" March 28th", 7pm!

Thanks to suppoert from the National Endowment for the Arts - RPL is proudly kicking off "The Big Read" program on March 28th at the high school field house!  This unique event is prefectly timed to showcase how important the library is as a community resource as Reading voters head to the polls on April 1st to approve a much needed and much anticipated renovation project!

"Be a part of something BIG!

Enjoy literature, the arts, and community in celebration of our Big Read title: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. 

•    Classical Indian Dance Performance by the Triveni School of Dance 
•    Children’s Crafts
•    Henna Artists
•    Appetizers from the Ambassador Indian Restaurant
Pick up your copy of The Namesake and a full calendar of BIG events!

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest.

Friday, March 28

Reading Memorial High Performing Arts Center

Happy Home Sellers in Lynnfield see Median Prices Rising!

All real estate is local and right now is a good time to be a local seller.   Lynnfield has certainly rebounded from the dark days of the housing crisis and remains very desirable for families and other homebuyers looking for a great schools and a low key lifestyle North of Boston.    We've calculated the median price for you for 3 time periods in the accompanying chart.  

Reading Median Values Rise!

All real estate is local and right now is a good time to be a local seller.  Want to buy a home in Marblehead? Fine - you have 76 choices.  Want to purchase a single family in Reading - well that's a bit trickier with just 13 options.  Further good news is that Reading has rebounded from the dark days of the housing crisis and remains very desirable for  families and other homebuyers looking for a great community just North of Boston.    We've calculated the median price for you for 3 time periods in the accompanying chart.  

Real Estate Lingo: Maisonette

Yes- it rhymes with Raisonet!   I discovered this new term in NYC land of the luxury co-op/condo experts.  Further research shows that it is very common lingo in the UK and can represent a one level (flat) or multi-level townhouse style home.

As a term used to sell street level homes in one of the world's busiest cities, maisonette will likely start to appear locally as well - particularly for luxury buildings.  Granted - while the idea of living above it all in the penthouse sounds wonderful - apparently there are drawbacks that maisonettes do not have.

1. Noise:  Curiously - you may not realize that street level noise travels upward wiht minimal loss of quality and volume.  Apparently it hits the sie of the building and changes course intact giving upper floor dwellers no escape from honking horns and sirens.

2. Time:  When pitching a maisonette - it is key to ask the buyers how how of their life they would like to spend waiting for and standing in the building elevators.  Maisonettes generally avoid all of these delays woht direct secure acces to the street level.

3. Value:  Maisonettes may have a lower price than upper level units and may also have a lower share of the association fees.

On the cons - improper sound proofing between floors can result in your knowing too much about your neighbor's lifestyle - but this can apply to all floors not just non-penthouse homes.   

Three great tax Incentives for homeowners!

Homeownership always comes with great tax benefits - the trick is to keep track of them!  

Below are three great tax incentives that are set to expire after December 31st courtesy of The National Association of Realtors.  

If you’re eligible, tax year 2013 is possibly the last time to claim the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction, the energy tax credit, and debt forgiveness benefit, all of which all expire on Dec. 31, 2013. 

At least there’s one piece of good news for homeowners: If you have a home office, there’s a new, simpler option for calculating the home office deduction for which you may qualify on your 2013 taxes.

Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about those expiring benefits as you ready your taxes:

PMI Deduction

This tax rule lets you deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance, which is what you pay your lender each month if you put down less than 20% on a home. PMI protects the lender if you default on the home loan. Your deduction could amount to a couple hundred dollars depending on your tax bracket and other factors.

Find out if you qualify for and how to take the PMI deduction.

Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

This sweet little tax credit lets you offset what you owe the IRS dollar-for-dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades, from insulation to water heaters. On the downside, the credit is capped at $500 (less in some cases). But on the bright side, the right improvement could lower your utility bills indefinitely. 

Related: Take back your energy bills with these high-ROI energy-efficiency practices.

Debt Forgiveness

When you go through a short saleforeclosure, or deed-in-lieu, your lender typically lets you off the hook for some or all of what you owe on your mortgage. 

That forgiven mortgage debt is income, on which you’d typically have to pay income tax. 

New Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction

This may be the last year for the benefits above, but a new one kicks in for the 2013 tax year. If you work from home, you may qualify to use a new, simplified option for claiming the home office deduction when you file your 2013 taxes.

How much simpler is it? It lets you claim $5 per sq. ft. for up to 300 sq. ft. instead of having to compute the actual expenses of your home office using a 43-line form. To calculate the square footage of your office, just multiply the length of two walls. For example, an 8-by-10-foot room is 80 sq. ft. And at $5 per, that’s $400.

Although using the simplified option is obviously easier, the basic requirements for claiming the home office deduction haven’t changed. Your home office still must be used for business purposes:

  • Exclusively, and
  • On a regular basis.

Related: Which Home Office Set-Ups Qualify for a Deduction?

Why Might the Tax Benefits Not Be Renewed?

Although the expiring tax benefits were renewed retroactively in past years, that may not happen in 2014 because many in Congress would like to see comprehensive tax reform rather than scattershot renewals of individual provisions. This could delay a decision on the homeownership tax benefits until the big picture budget and tax issues are resolved.

So if you can, enjoy them now!