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Does the thought of moving make you want to run for cover? Are you overwhelmed with “stuff”? Are you tired of carrying the expenses of a house full of empty rooms? Downsizing can improve the quality of your life! This is a great opportunity to meet a panel of 5-star professionals. Garner great tips breaking down the process into manageable bites.
Don’t be fooled by names that sound “environmentally friendly.” You need to be cautious and skeptical to avoid being poisoned.
A company named “EnviroGreen” or “Organo-Lawn” doesn’t mean that you are safe. Don’t be fooled by a picture of a tree, a child, a rabbit, a dog or a sunrise on the label.
Don’t trust claims such as “safe” or “natural.” Words that sound tame but mean “poison” include “weed n’ feed,” “pre-emergent,” “grub control,” and “fungus treatment.”
These products can give you, your family, and your neighbors headaches, rashes, nausea and breathing difficulties as well as a variety of chronic health problems.
Don’t believe any contractor who suggests that chemicals are the only answer to pest problems. Be wary of special deals, free offers, and high-pressure sales tactics.
Avoid any contractor who suggests using pesticides on a fixed schedule or ”four-step” programs to “prevent” pests or as a general treatment regardless of the extent or location of the pest problem.
Many contractors market their services as “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) to appeal to your good intentions or to take advantage of your trust and ignorance.
NOFA, the Massachusetts Organic Farming Association (www.nofamass.org), is the only organization that has organic land care standards and a training and accreditation program for organic land care professionals (organiclandcare.net).
BE A PROBLEM SOLVER
Trustworthy professionals take the time to learn about your family, your house and yard. What is the pattern of sun and shade? What is its history of problems? What are your family’s patterns of use? Do you have children or pets? Is anyone in the family especially vulnerable (very young, elderly or have allergies, asthma or cancer)?
If you have a pest problem, the experts first identify the pest. Then they can suggest how to remedy conditions to prevent the weeds or bugs.
For example, in the yard, you might need to fix poor drainage or compacted soil. Inside you may need to fix a drippy faucet, caulk a crack, or clear clutter to deprive pests of food, water, entry and hiding places. A plan for your lawn or garden needs to start with a soil test for soil fertility and lead or other contaminants.
BEWARE HIDDEN INGREDIENTS
What you don’t know can hurt you. If they suggest using a chemical or synthetic product, ask for the product label and manufacturer’s safety data sheet (MSDS).
Watch out for “inert” ingredients. These so-called “inerts” are trade secrets (by law). Manufacturers do not disclose them to the public or even to the US EPA yet they may be more toxic than the active ingredients on the label.
“Inert” does not mean biologically inactive. Inert ingredients transport or carry the active ingredient, amplify its toxicity, increase its active life, and/or increase its ability to stick to or penetrate your skin.
NO PESTICIDE IS SAFE even when it is used according to label directions. A “pesticide” is any product used to kill insects, weeds, rodents or fungus.
The US EPA registration does NOT mean “approved.” And, Federal Law prohibits safety claims that directly or even indirectly imply that a pesticide is approved or endorsed by any federal agency. The law prohibits claims such as “non-toxic to humans and pets,” “safe when used as directed” or even “all-natural ingredients.”
Contractors who dismiss your concerns or downplays the risks of any product, even “natural pesticides,” should not be trusted with the health and well-being of your family. Even “natural” products can be irritating to eyes, nose, lungs, and skin so caution is always appropriate. (Remember poison ivy is natural. www.poison-ivy.org)
RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE AND PLANT LOVERS
Books: The Chemical-Free Lawn by Warren Schultz Common Sense Pest Control, by Olkowski, Daar, and Olkowski.
Send your questions and comments to Ellie Goldberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
PEST CONTROL – The OLD way 1. Relies on poisons (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides). 2. Ignores the source of pest problems. (Allows conditions to get worse.) 3. Kills off beneficial plants and insects. 4. Pollutes water, soil, food, and air and contaminates buildings and landscapes. 5. Harms people, pets and wildlife.
THE INTELLIGENT WAY 1. Relies on a plan. (Don’t spray ’em, outsmart ’em!) 2. Prevents and corrects the source of pest problems. (Improves conditions.) 3. Protects soil fertility and biodiversity. 4. Protects the quality of water, soil, food, and air and enhances the quality of buildings and landscapes. 5. Protects the health and safety of our families and community.
Step back in time with this stunning Victorian era Gothic/Greek Revival lovingly restored and updated and modernized over the years.
Exterior The sheltering wrap-around porch is supported by a set of hand-turned Doric columns. The pitch of the roof is steep with deep curves and at the peak of the front façade, a diamond-shaped window echoes the sharp roof point. The grounds have been professionally landscaped with mature flowering, plantings, tiered gardens, brick walkways. a stone fire pit, and a stone patio water fountain.
Interior The living room surrounded by original Richardson ceiling to floor summer windows which are unique as described by the current owner.
“The lower sash, larger than the upper sash, is designed to lift up into the wall cavity, maximizing the opening for fresh air. The main part of the house is shaped like a fat “T”, which results in almost all rooms containing windows on at least two faces. The tall ceilings, large windows, and shade from the large trees kept (and keeps) the house cool, even in the heat of the summer.”
Floor to ceiling windows
Beautiful archway and restored stairway
Spacious eat-in kitchen with Granite Counters and fully functional 1939 Glenwood Stove. Seller offers an allowance for the buyer to have the stove replaced. Oak floors replaced and finished to period detail, features eco-friendly bamboo flooring, some original sweetheart pine floors, the kitchen is finished in Ash and Dining room in Brazilian Cherry.
Antique stove fully operational
Ash and Brazilian Cherry
Sun-filled bedrooms feature original moldings and ample storage. The second floor Juliet Balcony was designed to bridge across to the backyard terrace.
Bedroom with Juliet Balcony
Ornate Bay Window
Second floor laundry room
All full baths have heated radiant tile flooring.
Updated baths with marble and large shower
The History Around 1864, an unmarried woman named Priscilla Frothingham built her summer cottage in the style of a Greek Revival. She referred to the property as her “Woodside Cottage.” Since the Boston and Worcester Railroad created a Newtonville train stop in 1860, many Bostonians found Newton to be the perfect summer destination. The railroad system made ornamental architectural details and metal parts affordable. This beautiful home is filled with many unique decorations and flourishes. History has it that Priscilla lived in the home for many years with her companion, Hannah Allen. The 1855 state census and 1870 federal census indicate women, born in Ireland, lived in the maids’ quarters as housekeepers. She also had maids living in the quarters located over the
kitchen. When the home was built, it was pre-Victorian and over the years, the house was “modernized” more in the Victorian fashion. As was done in the day, the house was originally heated by fireplaces. Later there were hot water radiators installed which were fueled by coal. In the heat of summer, the tall ceilings, large windows, and shade from the large trees kept (and keeps) the house cool. It is rumored that during the Civil War, Priscilla’s nephew, a minister in Salem, was involved in the Underground Railroad. In the 1920’s Betty Davis was reported as having slept in the house occasionally while attending Newton North High School. Listed on the National Register of Historic places, circa 1846, this beautiful home is a treasure.
MLS # 72530283 480 Walnut St, Newton, MA 02460 Offered at $1,649,000 12 rooms 5 bedrooms 2x full baths 1x half bath Living area 3,648 sq. ft. Lot size: 24,342 sq. ft
The listing broker is Greer Tan Swiston
If you would like a Buyer Agent’s advice as you tour the home, contact me at Janet@JanetPorcaro.net or call 617-797-9497.
For many people, owning a home is the quintessential American dream. However, without due diligence and a financial plan, it’s easy to lose sight of the true costs of homeownership. While some costs can be accounted for up-front, such as a monthly mortgage and home insurance, the unknown costs that are the hardest to budget for are the various updates and repairs that will eventually come with time.
A house is not too different than a living organism in that it’s made up of many elements that work together harmoniously. Whether it’s electrical, structural, or mechanical, each component requires specific care and maintenance to keep it running at optimal performance and to prevent premature breakdowns. Over the years, these items will eventually need to be addressed as newer, more efficient systems come to market or a breakdown leads to a major repair.
Scoping Out Repairs
When assessing any work on your home, you’ll need to make a determination on the scope of the repair. If your home requires major repairs, you should budget accordingly, as larger scale projects generally require more materials and labor. Some cities require permits and inspections that are meant to meet city code and safety standards. Other factors you’ll want to consider are the age of your home, the builder grade of the materials, and even the environment where you live. These factors can impact the life expectancy for some of your home’s larger items, like the roofing.
Replacing a Roof
Despite your best efforts to maintain your roof, even the strongest, best-kept roofs could need replacing. Ice can wreak havoc, and if you’ve had your current roof for more than ten years, imagine its condition after weathering the unforgiving New England winter climate. Once you’ve determined that your roof needs to be replaced, you’ll need to budget for materials, labor, and disposal. While the costs of the raw materials will vary depending on the quality, it’s estimated that labor will most likely account for 40 to 50 percent of the overall cost.
Hiring a Contractor
Who you hire for any major repair work is a big decision to make. You’ll naturally want to find someone who offers the highest caliber of craftsmanship at the best rate. It can be difficult to find someone who does both, but referrals from friends, neighbors, and a local realtor can help you narrow down the best options. Be sure to do your homework before talking with any contractors, and know what questions to ask them as you shop around for quotes. The estimates will help you set expectations for how to budget for repairs. If the replacement is not an emergency, you might want to schedule the work for late winter or early spring when roofers might offer off-season discounts.
Saving Up for a Rainy Day
Sometimes the unexpected happens, and a tree may come crashing down and damage part of your roof. In the event of an emergency, you’ll have to address the problem immediately. While financial emergencies do happen, you don’t have to be caught off-guard. A rainy-day fund for repairing the damage from an actual rainy day can help ensure that you have some capital available to pay for the unexpected. This doesn’t mean you have to siphon off large amounts of your paycheck, but ways you can save include asking your parents for help, taking out a personal loan, or even taking out a home equity line of credit to borrow money for the repairs. You might also find that incremental savings ultimately add up and make all the difference as you weather the financial storm for when those rainy days hit.
Although homeownership has many costs associated with it, a little preventative maintenance can help prevent those costs from swelling to unaffordable amounts. Yet, even the most well-maintained homes are eventually faced with expensive repairs. When that happens, it’s best to be prepared.
Everyone can use a little personal assistance now and then, whether it be help with down-sizing, support during a life event, business organization, or some senior concierge services. I highly recommend WilsonPerkins for any of the above.
The first time I met Shelia Perkins, I was impressed by her demeanor, her engaging presence, her graceful style, and her warm smile. Her company, WilsonPerkins, provides personal life management services for your individual or business needs. When my husband suddenly passed this year, I hired Shelia to come in and assist me with the organization of the family business. I was overwhelmed with papers. Shelia rolled up her sleeves with a calm and focused approach she sorted, organized, filed, and recycled. Her high tech background was evident when she dug into my Quickbooks account and brought all entries up to date and balanced the account. She left no stone unturned, collected all questions, and followed up on time with excellent communication throughout. I felt safe and confident in her ability to perform, maintain confidentiality, and waste no time on my project.
Call me anytime, and I will be happy to give a full testimonial about WilsonPerkins and especially Shelia Perkins.
Personal Assistance for Smart Living Live Your Life Your Way. Let Us Do The Rest.
WilsonPerkins is a full-service lifestyle management company based in Massachusetts. We provide the highest level of service to clients and personalization down to the most intimate detail. Clients include busy families, working professionals, seniors, and businesses of all sizes, who use the company to manage their day-to-day lives. https://www.wilsonperkins.life/