Friday, April 29, 2011

Price Reduction - Open House Sunday 12-4

Tech sector lifts Mass. economy to start ’11

By Megan Woolhouse
Globe Staff / April 29, 2011
Massachusetts’ technology sector is fueling strong growth, helping the state’s economy expand more than twice as fast as the nation’s in the first three months of this year, the University of Massachusetts reported yesterday.

Global demand for technology products and increased business spending on software and equipment have provided a strong boost in Massachusetts, which has a high concentration of companies that sell high-tech equipment, components, and services, particularly to other businesses.
Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economics professor at Northeastern University and a senior contributing editor to MassBenchmarks, the UMass journal that released the analysis, said despite struggles with high unemployment and a stagnant housing market, the state’s “robust’’ technology sector has been an economic bright spot.
“It’s the reason we have a stronger economy than the country as a whole,’’ Clayton-Matthews said. “We export a lot of science and technology-based goods and services to other countries around the world, especially developing countries like China and India.’’
The global tech boom helped the Massachusetts economy grow at a 4.2 percent annual rate, accelerating from 3.3 percent in the last quarter of 2010, UMass said. The US economy expanded at a 1.8 percent rate in the first quarter, after growing at a 3.1 percent rate the previous period, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.
In March, the state’s 8 percent unemployment rate, though historically high, remained well below the national rate of 8.8 percent.
Reflecting technology’s strength, some Massachusetts companies are fiercely competing for skilled workers, offering cash bounties to find them.
Hubspot, a Cambridge marketing software start-up, recently offered $10,000 to anyone who could recommend the company’s next software development hire. Not to be outdone, Performable, another Cambridge marketing software start-up, offered $12,000 for a referral leading to the hiring of a software engineer.
“We basically have to offer cash to the public to help us find people,’’ Performable chief technology officer Elias Torres said. “Our recruiter cannot get us enough candidates.’’
Those extreme lengths might come as a surprise to those coping with job losses and sudden increases in gas and food prices. Hiring in many sectors has been slow, particularly in blue-collar industries such as construction and manufacturing. The housing market continues to struggle: sales are sluggish and prices are declining again.
Michael D. Goodman, the chairman of the public policy department at UMass Dartmouth and editor of MassBenchmarks, said the tech industry’s growth is good for the state, though the benefits are spread unevenly.
“The folks that benefit from technology growth are generally located in the Greater Boston area and work in firms where you have to have a level of training or technical skill,’’ Goodman said. “Underneath this robust growth remains a lot of inequity.’’
Technology’s relatively fast recovery from the recession was driven by strong business spending on equipment and software. Corporate spending on tech products and services accelerated in the first quarter, increasing at a 12 percent annual rate, after growing at an 8 percent rate at the end of 2010, the Commerce Department reported.
The Massachusetts economy has benefited from this trend. Two bellwethers of the state’s technology industry — Teradyne Inc. of North Reading and EMC Corp. of Hopkinton — both recently reported first-quarter revenues that grew nearly 20 percent from a year ago.
Teradyne, which makes semiconductor test equipment, said orders for its advanced machinery, which tests electronic components used in smartphones, tablets, and automobiles, increased by 30 percent while profits nearly doubled from a year earlier. Data storage and software giant EMC saw a 28 percent increase in first-quarter profits over last year.
Acme Packet Inc., a Bedford company that sells Internet voice and video delivery systems, recently reported that its revenues surged 45 percent from last year. Profits during the same period grew 65 percent.
Andre Mayer, senior vice president for research at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the state’s largest employer group, said corporate profits, including successful high-tech companies, have been very high, yet many companies are sitting on their cash, preferring to spend it on new equipment rather than new employees.
“They’re not using it to hire a whole lot of people,’’ he said. “But they are investing in their production capacity and making themselves more efficient. They’re retooling for an economy that looks different than the one we’re used to.’’
Megan Woolhouse can be reached at

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why you should look at Framingham as your next home.....

Click here to learn more about why you should Choose Framingham as a place to live.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget: Tips & Ideas

The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in a home, so why not make yours really stand out? Whether you’re selling or simply want to upgrade, here are some simple tips and ideas to get you started without breaking the bank:

1.Plan ahead and find patterns, colors and textures that you like from magazines, home improvement stores and the Internet.

2.Set a budget! Know what upgrades will give you the most value for your money and do your best to stick with your budget.

3.Make a plan and do one thing at a time, especially if you’re going to do it yourself.

So where should you start?

Repaint or stain your cabinet doors and add new hardware. This is one of the easiest and least expensive upgrades you can do that makes a big difference. If you need advice on what works best with the cabinets you have, take a door into your local home improvement store and ask for professional advice.

Kitchen Counter Tops
Counter tops can be expensive if you’re going for granite, but that’s not your only option. You can opt for concrete or granite overlay. Do your research to find what suits your budget and style best.

Kitchen Floors
Your choices are endless when it comes to updating your kitchen floors. From peel-and-stick tile to laminate wood flooring and travertine, the sky is the limit— but be mindful of your budget! Bring home samples of the flooring based on your style and budget before you make a final decision. Many real estate professionals agree that a kitchen remodel splurge should be saved for the countertops and not the floors, so keep this in mind when deciding. You want to make sure you get great value from any upgrades you do.

Saving Money on Kitchen Appliances
If your appliances are in good working order and match in color and style, save your budget for more beneficial upgrades. If your appliances look really dated or don’t match the new look of your kitchen, you may want to consider finding some great scratch and dent deals.

Did you know that appliances can be painted? A professional paint job can turn your white appliances into fresh, new-looking ones. You can also buy appliance-safe paint at your home improvement store and do it yourself.

Kitchen Lightening
Installing modern lighting is amazingly simple if your kitchen is already wired for overhead lighting. A new chandelier can make a big difference, and you can find options for less than $150! To make an even bigger impact, be sure to install a dimmer switch. You’ll be surprised what a difference a little “mood switch” can make.

The options are endless for remodeling your kitchen on a budget. The hardest part is deciding which upgrades will make the biggest difference on the smallest budget. Just be sure to do your research and to set realistic goals. And last, but not least, enjoy the project by making it your own.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of MLS on your Cell Phone

I want to tell you about a great new way you can search for homes – right from your mobile phone. I have partnered with Smarter Agent, the nation’s leader in mobile real estate technology, to provide this mobile search capability to ALL of my clients!

My tool will allow you to search homes for sale anytime, anywhere - right from your cell phone!

Wherever you are, driving, or walking around looking at properties, you’ll have access to all of the MLS information on the homes for sale around you, with just one touch of a button on your cell phone. Hit “Call to See” and you will be put right in touch with ME, ready and waiting to serve all of your real estate needs.

It’s so easy to do! Just text EDREMAX to 87778, and the application will be sent to your phone by text message. Just click on it and the application downloads right away.
I know you will love this great new way to look for homes. So don’t delay – start searching for your dream home TODAY!

Always at your service,Ed

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home Sales Increase across New England in March 2011

RISMEDIA, April 18, 2011—Spring is in bloom this month as home sales increased an impressive 37.7% across New England with each state experiencing an upswing. Pricing also showed signs of stabilization with a slight overall decrease of -1.1% primarily driven by Rhode Island.

“After one of the toughest winters in history, we are certainly seeing an uptick in activity and lots of strong energy around the housing market. Buyers understand the long-term benefits of homeownership and are recognizing now is the time to take action,” said RE/MAX of New England Executive Vice President Jay Hummer.

Massachusetts experienced the largest increase in home sales in New England in March, 49.9% vs. February, 2011. The Bay State may finally be experiencing some stabilization with prices up 1.9% after two straight months of declines. While inventory has increased month-over-month, it is down significantly year-over-year from 38,316 in March, 2010. Massachusetts remains a ‘pocketed’ state with urban towns such as Milton, Needham and Winchester experiencing stabilization and growth while the suburban and rural towns are still not in recovery.

After two straight months of declining sales and prices, the Connecticut housing market has experienced a breath of life. Unit sales soared 22.5% vs. February, 2011. However, average days on market (DOM) has increased both month-over-month and year-over-year; up to 124 from 110 in March of 2010. This, coupled with an increase in inventory, could force prices to change direction.

Maine is one of the only states in New England whose market has experienced true stability. For three months now, Maine’s prices have remained stable at -0.8%. Home sales are reaping the rewards of buyer activity, up 32.0% vs. February, 2011. Maine is one of only two states where inventory has decreased month-over-month as well as year-over-year, down from 16,632 in March, 2010. Unless inventory grows in the coming months, Maine’s pricing could steadily increase.

New Hampshire
New Hampshire home sales saw a significant increase of 36.0% in March with 1,023 homes sold. Prices have begun to stabilize with a -1.1% decrease from $175,000 in February, 2011 to $173,000 in March, 2011. New Hampshire’s days on market is shifting down from 145 in February, 2011 to 141 in March, 2011. If DOM continues to decrease, with inventory increasing and prices continuing to stabilize, the spring market in New Hampshire could be strong.

Rhode Island
For the first time in three months, Rhode Island’s median price declined -9.8%, the largest decrease among all New England states. While prices dropped, home sales increased 44.0%, second only to Massachusetts. The Ocean State is also the only state where inventory has increased year-over-year from 6,726 in March, 2010 to 6,979 in March, 2011 suggesting that the number of distressed properties is on the rise.

The state of Vermont experienced the highest month-over-month price increase this month, 2.4%, and was the only New England state to see a year-over-year price increase at 5.4%. Vermont’s prices have been stable the last two months. The number of homes sold in Vermont spiked from 246 in February, 2011 to 325 in March, 2011, a 32.1% increase. The decrease in inventory may have contributed to the increase in prices.

Copyright© 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.

Friday, April 15, 2011

State jobless rate falls to lowest point in two years

By Megan Woolhouse
Globe Staff / April 15, 2011

The state unemployment rate fell in March to its lowest point in nearly two years, as Massachusetts employers added jobs for the sixth consecutive month, the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported yesterday.

The state jobless rate slipped to 8 percent from 8.2 in February and remains well below the national rate of 8.8 percent. A year ago, the state’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent.

Andre Mayer, senior vice president for research at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the state’s largest employer group, said that the lower rate is another sign of the improving economy, but that unemployment remains high. About 281,000 people were counted as jobless last month, and many employers, Mayer said, appear in no rush to hire.

“It’s a positive report, but certainly short of exciting,’’ Mayer said. “We’re moving ahead slowly. It looks as if maybe this very slow progress is the best we can hope for at the moment.’’

Improvement in the national labor market has come slowly, too. Yesterday, the US Labor Department reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits jumped to 412,000 last week, up 27,000 from the previous week. It was the first time since earlier March that weekly jobless claims have climbed above 400,000, but they remain well below the levels of a year ago.

Massachusetts employers added 3,200 jobs in March, following gains of more than 14,000 jobs in February. Leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants and hotels, led the March gains with the addition of 2,100 jobs. The sector has increased employment by 13,100 jobs over the past year.

Professional, scientific, and business services — which include a variety of technology, research, and consulting firms, as well as lawyers and accountants — also posted strong gains, adding 1,500 jobs last month. The sector, a key driver of the state’s economy, has accounted for some of the biggest gains over the past year, adding 7,500 jobs since March 2010.

The construction sector also gained 1,500 jobs, yet employment levels remain below those of a year ago. The state reported that the industry lost 1,000 jobs since March 2010.

“Those folks with lesser skills and lower educational attainment continue to suffer,’’ said Michael D. Goodman, chairman of the public policy department at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. “In this environment, you take your good news where you can.’’

Information industries — which include newspapers, software publishers, and telecommunications — gained 800 jobs. The state added 300 manufacturing jobs last month, but job growth has been flat over the year.

Retailers shed about 1,500 jobs in March, the state reported, and financial services lost 400 in March and 700 over the year.

Elliot Winer, chief economist for the Northeast Economic Analysis Group in Sudbury, said that while the state’s overall economy is moving in the right direction, “those two sectors are not doing too well.’’

Additional job losses occurred throughout government. Local governments shed 500 jobs, the federal government 400 and state government 300. Over the year, government employment fell by 4,500 jobs, with local government experiencing the biggest losses.

Mayer said local government has collected less in property taxes due to the weak real estate market, forcing cutbacks. He said state and local government have been squeezed because of declines in tax collections and rising health care costs.

“That’s likely to continue,’’ Mayer said of the job losses. “We’re seeing serious fiscal pressures on state and local government.’’

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to save with solar energy

Solar Energy Seminar at Newton Cultural Center: How to save with solar energy

Date: 4/21/2011
Address: Newton Cultural Center, 225 Nevada Street, Newton, MA
Time: 7:30pm
Cost/Cover: Free!
Contact Info: For registration and information, please call (617) 332-1870 or send an email to
Details: Sunlight Solar Energy will host an informational seminar about solar energy and the various incentives that make solar more affordable for Massachusetts homeowners. The event will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. at the Newton Cultural Center, located at 225 Nevada Street in Newton, MA.

The presentation will provide an overview of solar technology and will explain how Massachusetts residents can avoid rising utility rates and reduce their energy consumption, while spinning their electric meter backwards. Sunlight Solar representatives Ryan Fitzsimmons and Amy Levine will discuss the various state and federal incentives that reduce the cost of solar energy for homeowners.

Attendees will learn about the ideal site conditions for solar energy and the average payback period for solar energy systems in Massachusetts. Homeowners are encouraged to bring their electric bills to receive an on-the-spot usage evaluation. A question-and-answer session will follow.

This event is free and open to the public; food and drink will be provided. Pre-registration is recommended, as space is limited. For registration and information, please call (617) 332-1870 or send an email to

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Power of Belief and Expectation

By John Boe
RISMEDIA, April 8, 2011—While you may not always get what you want, you will always get what you expect! Surprisingly, the power of belief and expectation work just as effectively on your feelings of self-doubt and limitation as they do on your thoughts of success and achievement.
Think thoughts of defeat or failure and you are bound to be discouraged. Belief is an incredibly powerful state of mind. Your belief system not only defines and shapes who you are, but it also determines your potential. Henry Ford was correct when he said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” Your belief system, like your computer, doesn’t judge what you input; it simply accepts it as the truth.

Earl Nightingale, cofounder of the Nightingale-Conant Corporation, concluded that life’s strangest secret is that you become what you think about all day long. If you want to know where your predominant thoughts lie and what you believe, look at what you are experiencing in your life. Your thoughts are creative by nature and express themselves through your emotions, which in turn, drive your actions.

Everything you say, both positive and negative, is literally an affirmation. Consider this well-known quotation:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
- Anonymous

Many years ago, I heard about an eager, new insurance agent who had just received his license and was looking for prospects. He met with a successful businessman who had agreed to provide him with referrals. As the businessman handed the insurance agent 10 referrals, he asked him to contact the prospects immediately and get back to him with the results.

Two weeks later, the enthusiastic salesman dropped by the businessman’s office to give him feedback and ask for more referrals. The insurance agent was pleased to announce that he had been very successful! He proudly stated that he had already contacted and sold insurance policies to seven of the referrals and was still attempting to contact the other three. After thanking the businessman for giving him the 10 prospects, he asked him if he had thought of any other referrals.

The businessman smiled and said that he was very busy at the moment and surprised the insurance agent by handing him a phonebook. The businessman informed him that the previous 10 prospects were not his personal contacts, but rather names that he had selected at random out of the phonebook. He suggested that the salesman go ahead and get the next 10 prospects out of the phonebook himself!

The astute businessman taught the new salesman an extremely valuable lesson in the power of belief and expectation. The salesman had made those sales on the belief that he had been given 10 preferred prospects. Therefore, he was confident and eager to contact those leads and expected to make the sales with little or no difficulty. What is your belief about your market and what expectations do you have for your success? Yes, belief is indeed a very powerful state of mind!

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit or call 937-299-9001. Free Newsletter available on website.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'It's Time to Buy Again,' says Fortune

TIME TO BUY: The cover story in the April edition of Fortune magazine trumpets that "housing is back."
"After four years of plunging home prices, the most attractive asset class in America is housing," proclaims Fortune magazine, one of the world's premier business publications, in its April cover story.

The article, headlined "The Return of Real Estate," explains that several market forces have created a more promising outlook for the industry. An excerpt:

So let's state it simply and forcibly: Housing is back. Two basic factors are laying the foundation for dramatic recovery in residential real estate. The first is the historic drop in new construction. The second is a steep decline in prices, on the order of 30% nationwide since 2006, and as much as 55% in the hardest-hit markets. The story of this downturn has been an astonishing flight from the traditional American approach of buying new houses to an embrace of renting. But the new affordability will gradually lure Americans back to buying homes. And the return of the homeowner will start raising prices in many markets this year.

The author, Senior Editor-at-Large Shawn Tully, acknowledges that demand has been extremely weak in recent years, but notes that a "remarkable shift in home affordability" and the cost of owning vs. renting bode well for housing's immediate future.

The second measure, the cost of owning compared with renting, should also inspire potential buyers. In 28 out of 54 major markets, it's now cheaper to pay a mortgage and other major costs than to rent the same house. What's most compelling is that in all of the distressed markets, owning now wins by a wide margin -- a stunning reversal from four years ago. It now costs 34% less than renting in Atlanta. In Miami the average rent is now $1,031 a month, vs. the $856 it costs to carry a ranch house or stucco cottage as an owner.

Some cities, especially those not immersed in foreclosures, will rebound sooner than others, Tully writes, but even the hardest-hit markets have reason for some level of optimism. One big reason: Investors.

"People always want to live in those sunny locales, and their job markets are starting to recover, albeit slowly. In foreclosure markets, the inventory problem is far greater because it includes not just traditional resale homes but millions of distressed properties. Fortunately those houses are now such a screaming deal that investors, including lots of mom-and-pop buyers, are purchasing them at a rapid pace."

The bottom line, Tully concludes, is that it's a great time to buy. His article's final advice for those on the fence:

Beat the crowd.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today's Real Estate News

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lego Club: Castles

date: Thursday, April 7, 2011

time: 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Morse Institute Library

address: 14 East Central Street, Natick, MA 01760

Lego Club is open to children in grades 2-4.

Theme: Castles

Location: Children's Room