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February 2010 - JANET PORCARO

Brookline home tells a story

Brookline home tells a story

67 Winthrop St, Brookline, MA

 “Home is the centre and circumference, the start and the finish, of most of our lives…” -Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Some open houses are more eventful than others. Last Sunday I assisted my colleague, Susanna Stiefel, at her open house at 67 Winthrop Road in Brookline, MA.  This gracious home is a terraced Philadelphia style condo with a spacious front-to-back layout.  The home is absolutely beautiful with lots of architectural details and seasonal views of the Boston skyline.

See www.67winthrop.com

The open house was busy with buyers and agents exploring the amenities of the home. A delightful gentleman, named Mr. Solomon, signed in and told us grew up the house. He quiety wandered through the rooms with his companion and spoke of warm childhood memories. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon before at other open houses–people love to return to the homes of their childhood.

Mr. Solomon was full of details about 67 Winthrop. He talked about how his brother’s toe got nailed with a hammer on this step and how they had a special machine set up in the pantry for soda. He  made a point of telling us that the house was in a book by E.L. Doctorow. I headed to the library and re-reading the passages, I completely enjoyed the description of this home and the surrounding neighborhood. I love Doctorow and appreciate how he wove this home in Brookline into his story.

“The three-story house, grey stucco with maroon trim and a roof of slate, was situated on Winthrop Road. This was a quiet residential avenue that curved up the hill from Beacon Street with its stores and trolley tracks. ..:Like many of the houses in the neighborhood, number 67 was built for two families and designed to look as if it contained only one…”  -excerpted from The Book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow

There is more but this gives you a feel for the accuracy of the description. It is amazing the surprising connections that occur on a day to day basis!

Mr. Solomon of the Solomon FamilyMr. Solomon of the Solomon Family, former resident of 67 Winthrop Road reminising about the pantry of his childhood home.

Chief Economist For National Association of Realtors spins optimism

Chief Economist For National Association of Realtors spins optimism

National Housing

On Feb 1, 2010, I attended a presentation by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the NAR to Boston area Realtors on the Spring Housing Market.  The housing price bubble has passed and we can expect continued recovery in the year to come. Illustrating this point was a chart with the red line for 2009 indicating that sales have almost returned to the pre-boom sales volume.

He continued to note that “consumer fear” has contributed to the delay of the recovery. He clarified that some buyers are holding off on buying because they fear that prices will drop further. Hopefully as we move into the spring and this fear passes, we can move into a solid recovery period.

Dr. Yun believes that the Massachusetts Housing Market leads the nation, although I found that curious since I have heard other economists say the reverse. Yet we are all in agreement with his point about the shortage of housing in Massachusetts, as well as the “bifurcated recovery” with the lower end properties moving more quickly. Massachusetts Housing


After reviewing the many charts and statistics and listening to words about a hopeful recovery, Realtors must return to the realities of the field. We are working with buyers who are motivated to make a move, yet may be unable secure a mortgage commitment and to find a property in their budget. On the other hand, we need re-emphasize to sellers the importance of pricing and condition to attract qualified buyers. Closings are still happening and we sense an early spring market.

The crystal ball is tucked away in the wicked witch’s castle and no one really knows what will happen once the housing stimulus package expires. I enjoyed Dr. Yun’s presentation of existing market data to paint an optimistic view of the future. Judging from the market activity I see myself, things are really starting to move.

Girl 2 Girl Leadership Conference at Simmons College

Girl 2 Girl Leadership Conference at Simmons College

Show me the money!Last Sunday, Jan 31, I was please to participate in The Girl 2 Girl Leadership Conference held at Simmons College located in the beautiful Fenway. Sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the lively events targeted to girls in the 6, 7, and 8th grades, featured a variety of creative arts, dance, local and global women’s issues, service and the environment. What an amazing day.

The class I taught was called “Show Me the Money!” The course was designed by my partner Judy Moses and me to help teens become financially literate. Topics include personal values v. dollar value, earning power, banking, and budgeting. The underlining message was that by setting goals and developing a plan, you can live your dream, get what you want, be who you want to be, and give back to your community. It all begins by digging down deep and deciding what you what. What are your priorities?Does money equal happiness

After two sessions, with somewhere between 20 and 30 girls in each class, I walked out of the Fenway totally energized. I had a blast. I was so impressed by the attendees who were so engaged especially on a Sunday afternoon when most teens want to be “chillin’.” They were cheerfully attentive and we had some really good discussions about whether money was good or bad and how to develop good money habits. Beginning with some brainstorming what do you want?

The event was so rewarding, we plan on offering this class to the community on an on-going basis, extending the curriculum for older teens as well. If you or your organization is interested, please let us know, we would love to come and talk to you about setting up a class. Many thanks to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and Simmons College for sponsoring such an enriching event. nike air max bw nike air max bw