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Smoke Detectors save lives!

I visit so many homes in which there are inactive or non-existent smoke detectors. Fire department officials have told me that many lives could have been saved if only the house was properly fitted with functional smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Your house should have 1 smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector on each level of living space, including your basement. There should be 1 detector for every 1200 sqft of living space. The current regulations call for detectors to be less than 10 years old and sealed units so that the battery cannot be removed. Did you ever remove a battery from a detector because it was setting off from cooking? Bad idea!

It is also a great idea to test your smoke detectors at least twice every year. A good reminder is to self-test the detectors when you change the clocks in the spring and fall season.


The Spring 2020 real estate market is chugging right along

We experienced a quiet month of March in the real estate market, due to the unkowns and uncertainties brought on by the CoronaVirus. During this initial period, many prospective buyers (and sellers) moved to the sidelines to understand the potential effects. As the stock market skid took place, and the economy slowed, the month of March seemed to be the beginning of a real estate downturn.

But, that was short-lived, as the next 2 months of April and May has turned into a typical spring market mini-boom. New inventory is in short supply, mortgage rates are historically low, and with buyers more confidently re-entering the market, many houses are flying off the shelf!

This is indicative of buyer confidence in their employment and economic future, and also reminds us that we can't predict the future. How do you know when is the right time to make a move? Should you wait for the market to improve? The best time to make a move is.....NOW, taking advantage of the current information on market conditions. 



The Spring Real Estate Market has arrived!

The market is very active as there are numerous buyers looking to buy their 1st home or move into a larger home. Many are trying to lock in a lower mortgage interest rate before those rates rise any higher. Due to historic low inventory of available property, many buyers find themselves competing with each other, thereby increasing pressure on appreciating values.

When is the best time to buy or sell?  Now, while mortage rates remain affordable and reasonable!


How has the Sharon real estate market performed over the past year? Contact me to learn about any other community.

The Town of Sharon has seen another year of appreciating home values, although less dramatic than the prior year. The number of real estate transactions has decreased significantly from calendar year 2013. Based on MLS data for single-family houses, here is a year-to-year comparison of houses sold in Sharon:


Houses sold: 247

Average days-on-market: 76

Average sales price: $521,750

Average selling price/list price ratio: 98%


Houses sold: 188

Average days-on-market: 62

Average sales price: $532,817

Average selling price/list price ratio: 98.7%

This chart indicates a stabilization of average selling price as well as a significant decrease in marketing time.

The following market data will give you a look at specific price ranges and market performance for houses sold in 2014:

Under $300k:   10  houses sold

$300-400k        44 houses sold

$400-500k        39 houses sold

$500-600k        33 houses sold

$600-700k        32 houses sold

$700-800k        19 houses sold

$800-900k         6 houses sold 

$900-1 mil         2 houses sold

Over $1mil        3houses sold

Almost every price range shows a decrease in # of houses sold in 2014 as compared to calendar year 2013.

So, what’s happening so far in 2015? The supply of houses available for sale in Sharon is very limited, as of 2/24/2015 there are only 26 houses listed for sale through  MLS database.

House inventory:

Under $300k    1

$300-400k       3

$400-500k       3

$500-600k       3

$600-700k       2

$700-800k       3

$800-900k       5

$900- 1 mil      4

Over $1 mil     2

This in part due to the harsh weather and historic snowfall and should result in more listings as we approach the spring weather and spring real estate market. The drop in mortgage interest rates has kept prospective buyers active in their search throughout the winter.



Is your property assessment accurate and correct?


Q. How can I find out if my property assessment is accurate ?


A.  Property values are established by the assessors office based on Mass Appraisal methods. This process analyzes properties grouped by similar market influences and characteristics rather than by performing individual appraisals on each property. Due to the large number of properties within a community, it is not financially or logistically possible to have individual appraisals for each property.

Property values are updated through the use of statistics based on annual market data, although current market assessed values are based on sales of properties within the community from the prior calendar year. For example, your current assessment would be based on property sales for calendar year 2013. This results in a lag in data and may not  reflect market trends for the current fiscal year.

Your property assessed value is based on features and amenities which are kept on a property record data card in the assessors office. This card will list the features such as style of house, condition, living area, basement finish, grade, and other features based on a property inspection, or building permits, or from historical data. You should check the accuracy of this data by requesting a copy of your property record from your assessors office to make sure that the data is accurate, as this record serves as the basis for your assessment.                                                                  

Town of Sharon real estate tax update

Sharon residents will be receiving their tax bills for FY2015 within a few weeks. I thought it would be helpful to learn what to expect and some of the reasons for changes in assessments and taxes. I met with Mark Mazur, the Administrative Assessor for Sharon, to answer some of these questions.

Q.   How have assessments changed from last year?

A.    In recognition of changes in the residential real estate market single family assessments were increased approximately 9.2% for FY2015.


Q.   What is the basis for the change in assessments?

A.    We analyzed sales from calendar year 2013 and found that sales prices have gone up significantly when compared to those of the previous calendar year.  There were 233 arms length single family sales in calendar 2013.


Q.   What is the new tax rate for FY2015 and how does it compare to last year?

A.   The fiscal 2015 tax rate is $20.30 compared to last year’s rate of $20.55.  That is an decrease of $0.25.


Q.   Why would the tax rate decrease?

A.   The tax rate is calculated by dividing the town’s tax levy (the amount the town votes at Town Meeting to spend for the year) by the total taxable assessed value.  This year the tax rate decreased because the tax levy increased by less than the assessments increased.. 


Q.   What is the average single family assessment this year and how does it compare to last year?

A.   The average single family assessment is now $473,760 as compared to $433,791 from last year.  That is an increase of about 9.2%.  Remember that this is an average, some properties went up and some went down and by different percentages too.


Q.   What is the average single family tax bill for FY2015 and how has it changed from last year?

A.   The average single family tax bill for FY2015 is $9,617.33 compared to last year’s average of $8,914.41.  That represents a increase of about 7.9%.  Again, remember that this is an average with some properties having more or less of an increase and in some rare cases even a decrease.


Q.   What will be the total revenues collected for the Town for FY2015 and how does that compare to FY2014?

A.   The town sent out tax bills totaling $60,056,129.00 in local property taxes for FY2015.  For FY2014 the town sent out tax bills which totaled $56,048,096.71.  So, the total tax levy  went up this year by $4,008,032.29 or approximately 7.2%.


Q.   How and when are abatement and exemption applications filed?

A.   Abatements are filed when someone disagrees with the assessed value of their property.  Note that for this fiscal year the assessments are our estimates of property value as of 1/1/2014 and are based upon calendar year 2013 sales.  Abatements need to be in the Assessor’s Office by 5:00 P. M., on Monday, February 2nd, which is the same day and time that the tax bills are due to be paid.  Exemptions are filed by a variety of individual who fit certain guidelines such as disabled veterans, blind people, widows or widowers.  Exemption application forms and guidelines as well as abatement application forms are available on line at the Town website, or in the Assessor’s Office.   For this fiscal year applications for exemption must be received in the Assessor’s Office by April 1, 2015.

The Assessors Office and Board of Assessors is always available to answer your questions. You can review your property information by logging on to and click on online assessment info. Questions and Concerns can be delivered on-line or at the assessors office.


Home burglaries are on the rise in many communities!

Q. What can be done to reduce the possibility of home burglaries?

A.  There has been a recent increase of house and vehicle burglaries in the area. Not only should you be aware of the increased risk of this occurrence, but also take steps to reduce the possibility of a burglary at your house or in your neighborhood.

Burglaries can occur at any time, but the majority take place during daylight hours when the house (and an unlocked car in the driveway) is left unoccupied for work or school or even quick errands. Burglars may look for an unoccupied house with easy access through an open window or hidden area around the house, or may watch for vehicles leaving the driveway. Be a good neighbor and keep an eye out for unusual activity in your neighborhood, and report any suspicious activity or vehicles to the police.

The most basic prevention is to be sure to lock doors and windows when you leave your house. If you have an alarm system, use it! Place visible decals on glass doors and windows indicating an alarm system or crime watch system is in place. Use deadbolts and security bars on patio doors, and don’t leave spare keys outside the house. An outdoor light left on while you’re away all day could attract a burglars attention, so install a motion sensor or timer, for both indoor and outdoor lighting.

You should take an inventory of your jewelry and electronics with photos and serial numbers (to be kept in a safe deposit box) and keep valuables out of sight, not on your dresser, but hidden or locked in a safe. When you engrave items for identification, don’t use your social security number.

If you find that your house has been burglarized, call the police immediately from a safe location.

Are you planning to hire a contractor for home improvement projects?


Q. When considering home improvements, what should you look for when hiring a contractor?

A. Most homeowners will need to hire a contractor for various types of projects. Remodeling projects can improve your lifestyle and living space while adding significant value to your house.

An excellent source of finding a competent and trustworthy contractor is a recommendation from a friend who might have recently had similar work done. You should interview with 2 or 3 contractors to review the project and request an itemized estimate/bid which will give you better control over the process and costs. Itemized bids with a breakdown of materials, labor, permits and fixtures, and scope of work will provide an easier way to compare.  It is important to review a payment schedule so that the contractor completes the work to your satisfaction. Ask how change-orders will be handled. This process will also give you some insight regarding the contractor’s communication and organizational skills.

Your contractor should provide references. You can ask to visit a current jobsite as well as recently completed projects. A contractor should provide their place of business (office/home address, not a PO box), and length of time in business along with their local materials suppliers so that you can check on their reputation for creditworthiness. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints on file or google search the contractors for additional information.

Although it is tempting to select a contractor based on the lowest bid, be wary of a lowball bid. Look for an experienced and licensed contractor with proof of current insurance coverage for worker’s compensation and general liability. Depending on the size of the company, ask whether the contractor will be on the jobsite everyday. Whether you are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a home improvement project, your diligent selection of the right contractor will go a long way to making your home improvement project more enjoyable and successful.



How has the Sharon real estate market performed over the past year? Contact me to learn about any other community.

A. The Town of Sharon has seen steady growth in the numbers of real estate transactions and increased values of houses for calendar year 2013 when compared to calendar year 2012.

Based on MLS data for single-family houses, here is a year-to-year comparison of houses sold inSharon:


 Houses sold:  209

 Average days-on-market: 112

 Average sales price:  $449,000

 Average selling price/list price ratio:  97%



Houses sold:  247

Average days-on-market: 76

Average sales price: $521,750

Average selling price/list price ratio: 98%

 This chart shows a significant increase in average selling price as well as a significant decrease in marketing time.

 The following market data will give you a look at specific price ranges and market performance for houses sold in 2013:

Under 300k  21  houses sold 

$300- 400k  56  houses sold

$400- 500k  53  houses sold

$500- 600k  40  houses sold

$600- 700k  43  houses sold

$700- 800k  19  houses sold

$800- 900k    7  houses sold

$900 -1mil     0  houses sold

Over $1mil     8  sold 

Almost every price range shows an increase in # of houses sold in 2013 as compared to calendar year 2012, with the exception of under $300k. The most significant improvement is found in the mid-range of $400k – 800k.

What’s happening so far in 2014?  The supply of houses available for sale is very limited, as of 1/28/2013 there are only 23 houses listed for sale through the MLS database. The available inventory is historically low which may result in continued upward pressure on house values in 2014.

Under $300k  0 houses

$300-400k     5 houses

$400-500k     3 houses

$500-600k     2 houses

$600-700k     4 houses

$700-800k     3 houses

$800-900k     1 house

$900-1 mil     1 house

Over 1 mil      4 houses

There are a number of reasons for the improved real estate market, both in Sharon which is renowned as the #1 place to live, and in the greater Boston area, as the economy continues to improve and mortgage rates remain at affordable levels.


Should you be more concerned about carbon monoxide in your house during the winter?

The answer is YES! Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas produced in your home as a result of incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene and propane gas. These are all prevalent in this region and can occur in fireplaces, gas stoves, and dryers as well as home heating systems.

During the winter season, heating systems are using more of these fuels while at the same time your house is less likely to be well-ventilated. These are prime conditions for carbon monoxide build-up and is another reason to have your heating system tuned up for efficiency and flues and chimneys checked for blockage or breaks.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, and nausea which are more severe while in the house and diminish when out in fresh air.

Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside the bedroom areas and in every level of living space. Don’t install detectors near heating or cooking appliances or in humid areas like bathrooms. More sophisticated digital detectors continuously measure the level of carbon monoxide rather than simply sounding an alarm with increased levels. Plug-in or wired detectors should have battery back-up and all devices should be tested regularly (at least once a month during the heating season). If a detector alarm sounds, be sure to open windows to ventilate the house and get fresh air. Suspected sources of carbon monoxide should be immediately checked by a professional technician.