Key Questions for Buying or Selling a Home During the Pandemic

Forbes published an informative perspective that echoes what we are experiencing here in our neighborhoods, north of Boston. 

"It's important to remember that people have to buy and sell homes in any market." An accurate statement and why I believe the real estate industry was deemed essential in Massachusetts. Our experience thus far has been that there are a multitude of buyers out there, still needing and wanting to buy. Buyers who are willing to abide by stringent showing instructions necessitated by Covid-19 represent a new level of seriousness, eliminating the "lookey-loos" and tire kickers.

Forbes makes a good point, "working with a strong real estate agent is even more vital now than ever before". Why? Because, of course many sellers who have taken their homes off the market for various personal reasons due to the pandemic but that does not mean they don't want/need to sell. It more likely means that they do not want showings right now. A professional Realtor embedded in their community is a key part of that equation, more so now than ever. Forbes' Key Questions for Buyer or Selling a Home During the Pandemic offers some valuable insight and guidance for those of us who need it.

We've been here for you since we opened our doors 15 years ago and we are still here, for you. 



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My House Failed Title V. What Are My Options?

Here in Ipswich, MA as well as across the north shore, we have a high number of septic systems and Title V is commonly part of most real estate transactions. We make it a priority to be well-informed and current on all changes by having regular sessions with our board of health director and constant information sharing. There are many nuances to managing a transaction with a septic system and I highly recommend you hire an agent who truly understands Title V. Thank you to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors for sharing these important facts: 

Q. I am selling a home that has a failed Title 5 inspection. What are my seller’s options?

A. Aside from very limited circumstances, a property must have a passing Title 5 inspection within 2 years before a transfer takes place. An inspection is not required before a transfer in the following situations:

1.     Refinancing or any situation where no new parties are introduced;

2.     a transfer between spouses;

3.     a transfer between parents and child(ren);

4.     a transfer between full siblings; and

5.     where the property is held in a trust.

A property owner or buyer of a property with a failed inspection may also enter into an enforceable agreement with the Board of Health requiring them to upgrade the system or connect to the public sewer within 2 years following the transfer of title. If a property owner has entered into this type of agreement, they must disclose it to prospective buyers, and it must be binding on subsequent owners.

The most straightforward option available to sellers with a failed Title 5 inspection is to repair or replace the system prior to transfer. However, this may not be a viable option for all sellers because of the expense involved. In these situations, the seller and buyer may negotiate a resolution that satisfies both the requirements of the law as well as the financial well-being of all parties involved.

Mass Housing Down Payment Assistance for Gateway Cities

Have you heard the term "Gateway City" yet? Massachusetts has a relatively short list of cities that have been designated as such. Why is that important? In terms of first-time buyers working hard to break into this tight real estate market, it means they have two new options for down payment assistance. (Mass housing says you do not have to be a first-time buyer if you are purchasing in Boston, Chelsea, Cambridge, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn, North Adams and Somerville.)

Option 1: Qualified buyers who earn up to 100% of the area media income (or 135% of AMI in Boston or a Gateway City*) can get down payment assistance of up to 5% of the purchase price or $15,000, whichever is less. Eligible properties are single families, condos and 2, 3 and 4 family homes. Down payment assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage loan with a 2% interest rate and a 15 year term. 

Option 2: Qualified buyers who earn up to 80% of the area median income and who buy in Boston or a Gateway City* can get down payment assistance of up to 3% of the purchase price or $15,000, whichever is less. Eligible properties are single families and condos. Down payment assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage loan with a 1% interest rate and a 15 year term. 

I know what your next question is.."Where are the gateway cities in Massachusetts?" *PEABODY, SALEM, LYNN, HAVERHILL, REVERE, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, Worcester.

For more information give us a call at 978-356-8922 and work with one of our north shore real estate specialists in combination with an experienced lender

Boston's Mayor Supports Fee on Real Estate Sales

Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday that after months of working with the City Council, he signed a home rule petition that would give Boston the ability to implement a transfer fee of up to two percent on the purchase price of any private real estate sale over $2 million. Read the US News Report here.

If approved, the cost of the fee would be split between the purchaser and seller. The funding generated would go to the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund or would be appropriated through the annual budget process to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the city.

Currently Sellers pay for a mandatory real estate tax stamps at the rate of $4.56 per thousand for all Massachusetts sales with a few counties charging more.

My estimations show that in 2019 with 80,000+ sales in MA this year (not including auction or non-mls) with a volume of $41,581,812,351…Wouldn’t that be $189 million paid in tax stamps in 2019? Where does that money go?

Windhill Warriors Bowling for a Cause!

Team Windhill bowling for a great cause at Kings in Lynnfield. Our six strong bowlers Kathy Hughes, Tracey Berger, Aalin Hubbard, Nicole DiCarlo, Tim Lasquade and Shawn Cayer got a boost from Aalin with her strike streak and the entire Windhill Warrior team made the most noise at this sold-out evening! Sarah Winderlin, Andrea Della Valle, Jane Desrochers and Denise Mootafian heated up the 4-way Pac-Man table, Toni Riddle and Shawn Cayer ruled basketball, golf pro Jess Murphy impressed the guys, pinball wizard Tracey Berger broke the machine and foosball hockey champion Toni Riddle left Jenn Meuse and Betty Slatko in the dust! Making great memories with these amazing people.

Tracey Berger, REALTORĀ® and Sales Advisor - Windhill Realty, Ipswich MA

Born and raised in Ipswich, Tracey can appreciate the beauty of the North Shore and all it has to offer. Keeping her thumb on the pulse of Ipswich through work and play has kept her close to home and tied to the community. Once employed by Hills Family Store, The Clam Box, Agawam Diner and lifeguarding at Pavilion Beach, you could say Tracey has the local landmarks covered!  She also has a unique insight into the Ipswich school system as a volunteer and substitute teacher. Also, her humor and wit will undoubtedly make your buying and selling experience with her unforgettable!

Having purchased and sold 3 of her own homes, including one in-town and one on Great Neck, Tracey understands the importance of a positive customer experience and has often been complimented on her professionalism and genuine care for others. Maintaining friendships and family connections are important to her and are on the forefront of her mind when helping to select a home or neighborhood. Strong customer service skills will assure that she will always get back to you in a timely manner and will never leave you in the lurch.

A graduate of Westfield State College, Tracey began her career at Massachusetts General Hospital in procurement, contracts & accounts payable.  That experience has gifted her a key skill set of precise planning and attention to detail. Later, joining forces with a top-producing Windhill agent, as a marketing assistant, Tracey gained the knowledge needed to succeed in real estate. That’s how she got the real estate bug!

Experiencing the “sandwich generation” first hand, caring for her handicapped mother after her father’s passing, Tracey renovated her own home, which gave her insight into the building process and the care that needs to be taken so that no detail is overlooked.  Through that caregiver role, Tracey’s experience with delicate choices that sometimes need to be made along with her compassion will inevitably transfer over to the service she provides her clients. Everyone’s story is different.  There is no cookie-cutter approach to life’s curveballs.  Tracey knows that the buying and selling process can be stressful and her life experience compels her to ensure that the process is smooth and seamless. 

Tracey makes her home in Ipswich with her husband, Eric and their children, Audrey and Nathan.  In her spare time, Tracey enjoys traveling in her RV with her dog, Billy. 

Fireworks and Independence Day Celebrations 2019 - North of Boston

Parades! Fireworks! Concerts! 2019
Hundreds of ways to celebrate Independence Day!

Also... See our extensive list of outdoor concerts north of Boston - click here

July 2
Boston – Boston Harbor Fireworks 8:25pm

July 3

Andover – Andover High School, 80 Shawsheen Road 9:20 (rain date 7/5)
Gloucester – Gloucester Harbor – Fireworks, Concert & Horribles Parade 5pm
Gloucester – Fireworks Cruise
Gloucester – Red & White at the Beauport
Haverhill – Riverside Park, 163 Lincoln Ave. 9:15 (rain date 7/5)
Lynn – Barge near Red Rock Park 9pm (rain date 7/5)
Manchester – Entrain Concert at Masconomo 
Methuen – Barge on Merrimack River, The Loop – Riverside Drive 9:15
Milford – Plains Park on Cedar Street 10pm (rain date 7/5)
Millbury – Windle Field on Canal Street, Lions Club Carnival Dusk
Needham – Needham HS parking lot, 609 Webster St. 9:30 (rain date 7/5)
Randolph – Randolph HS baseball field, 70 Memorial Parkway 9:30 (rain date 7/5)
Salisbury Beach - Pet Parade 6-9pm
Stoughton – O’Donnel Middle School on Cushing Street 10pm
Swampscott - Ocean Bar at Mission on the Bay
Swampscott – Nahant Bay, Fireworks 9pm (rain date 7/5)
Walpole – Joe Morgan Memorial Field – 220 School Street 9:30 (rain date 7/5)
Webster – Webster Lake Memorial Beach 9pm (rain date 7/4)
Weymouth – George Lane Beach on River Street in North Weymouth 9:30

July 4

Acton – Nara Park 25 Ledge Rock Way 9:30
Amesbury - Woodsom Farm, 223 Lions Mouth Road 7-10pm
Amherst – McGuirk Stadium at UMass Amherst 9pm
Barnstable – Aselton Park, Bismore Park, Veteran’s Park Beach 9pm
Beverly – West Beach - all day $15 admission
Boston – Hatch Shell on the Esplanade 10:30
Boston Greenway – Atlantic Ave & High, simulcast of the Boston Pops Fireworks
Burlington – View from Burlington Town Commons or Simonds Park 9pm
Edgartown – Edgartown Harbor, Oak Bluffs Ave 9:15
Fall River – Waterfront/Battleship Cove 9:30
Falmouth – Falmouth Heights Beach 9:15
Hampton Beach, NH – Fireworks at dusk, 9:30
Hyannis – Lewis Beach, Hyannis Harbor/ W.Yarmouth Beaches dusk (rain date 8/31)
Ipswich – Parade 9am starting at the Winthrop School
Lowell – Edward A. LeLacheur Park 9pm (rain date 7/5)
Manchester-by-the-sea – Parade and Skydivers at Brook Street 10am
Marblehead – Harbor, 9pm
Mashpee – Golf course 20 Red Brick Road 9:30
Millbury – Windle Field on Canal Street, Lions Club Carnival
Nahant – Bailey’s Hill Park, Bass Point Road 9pm
New Bedford – Downtown New Bedford State Pier 9pm
North Adams – Joe Wolfe Field 9:30
Pittsfield – Pittsfield Cemetery Property, 203 Wahconah St. 9-11pm (rain date 7/5)
Plymouth – at Plymouth waterfront 9:15
Provincetown – MacMillian Pier, Provincetown Harbor 9pm (rain date 7/5)
Salem – Derby Wharf 5-9pm – Orchestra and fireworks
Salisbury - Salisbury Beach  - 4pm , Beachfront Concert Joppa Flatts, Fireworks at dusk
Springfield – Riverfront Park 9:30
Wakefield – Lake Quannapowitt dusk/9:30
Waltham – Leary Field 19 Athletic Field Road 9:30 (rain date 7/5)

July 6

Ayer – Pirone Park 36 Bligh Street 9pm (rain date 7/7)
Everett – Glendale Park 9pm
Franklin – Franklin High School 10pm
Pepperell – Varnum Brook Elementary School dusk
Salisbury – Salisbury Beach 9:30 – Beatlejuice Concert 7:30
Uxbridge – McCloskey M.S. 62 Capron St. 9pm
Wareham – Onset Harbor 9pm (rain date 7/7)
Wilmington – Wilmington Town Common 9:30 (rain date 7/7)

August 3
Newburyport -9:15pm

August 9
Essex - 4-9pm Biergarten, Big Band, 7:45 Fireworks

August 10
Rockport – Illuminations weekend, fireworks 8/10 at 9pm

Salisbury Beach – Beach concerts Wednesdays and Saturdays with some fireworks
Hampton Beach - Fireworks every Wednesday with special displays the fourth, labor day and seafood fest.

Please check dates and times before heading out – subject to error, change and rain date rescheduling.


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Summer Concerts North of Boston 2019

Music Festivals throughout the summer, not recurring - most of these require purchased tickets:

6/28 - Amesbury, Beer & Music Walk Festival
7/7 - Gloucester, Music at the Museum 
7/12 - Music Town Ipswich 6-10pm - one night only
7/20 - Newburyport, Reggae Fest
8/3 - Manchester-by-the-sea, Festival by the Sea
8/10 - Gloucester, Gloucester Blues Festival
8/22 - Topsfield, Annual BBQ & Blues
8/24 - Gloucester, Riverfest
9/14 - Gloucester, Harvest Music Festival

Recurring communty concerts 

Tuesdays - Ipswich Riverwalk 7:30
7/10 Orville Giddings Band
7/24 Sqeezebox Stompers
7/31 Sonomatics
8/7 Rhythm Method
8/14 Renee & Joe
8/21 Mood Swings
8/28 Marsh Hoppers 

Tuesdays - Masconomo Park Manchester-by-the-sea 6-8pm
6/25 The Lisa Love Experience
7/2 Riverside Renaissance Swing Band
7/3 (Wednesday) Entrain 
7/9 215th Army Band Operations
7/16 Spike the Punch
7/23 4Ever Fab
7/30 Conscious Reggae
8/6 East Coast Soul

Wednesdays & Saturdays - Salisbury Beach
Check website for times
6/29 No Shoes Nation 
7/3-7/6  Joppa Flatts
7/6 Beatlejuice
7/10 Stones Cry Out & Right Hand Shade
7/13 Entrain
7/17 Rock Worship & Two Bands
7/20 Joshua Tree U2 tribute
7/24 Hope Worship Band & Tenley Westbrook with Friends of Bethany Church
7/26 Buffet Beach Blast
7/27 James Montgomery Band
7/31 Raging Grace Brad Illian & Calvary Bible Praise Band
8/3 The Rebels Tom Petty tribute
8/7 Byfield Parish Praise Band & Live2Love
8/10 The Eagles Experience
8/14 The Thom Stolar Band & Crossroads Praise Band

Thursdays – Ipswich The Crane Estate (not free)
7/11 The Great Escape - Journey tribute
7/18 Beantown Swing Orchestra - Swing dance lesson
7/25 Disco Dream 
8/1 Soul City - Motown, soul & funk
8/8 Entrain - Rock funk jam band
8/15 Soul Rebel Project - Reggae
8/22 HELP! - Beatles tribute
8/29 Orville Giddings Band - boogie blues

Thursdays - Beverly on the Common 6-8pm
6/27 Civil Disturbance
7/11 Quintessential Brass
7/18 The Avocates Big Band
7/25 Ditto Trio
8/1 Variations
8/8 Cold Spring Harbor

Sundays – Gloucester Stage Fort Park 7pm
7/7 The Continentals
7/14 Grupo Fantasia
7/21 Compaq Big Band
7/28 Old Cold Tater & Down Home Swing
8/4 Martin & Kelly
8/11 4Ever Fab Beatles
8/18 Cape Ann Community Band
8/25 Cape Ann Big Band

Sundays - Georgetown Prospect Street
7/7 Brian Maes Band
7/14 Woodland Protocol
7/21 UC5
7/28 Rust Never Sleeps
8/4 4 Ever Fab
8/11 DeAngelis School of Music

Sundays - Beverly Lynch Park 6-8pm
6/30 Dane Street Pops
7/7 Decades of Rock
7/14 Overdrive
7/21 Legacy
7/28 Ditto the Band
8/4 Tiny Tots Day 1-3pm
8/4 Chin Friction 6-8
8/7 Wednesday, Lobster Festival noon -8pm The Reminisants, Ted Solovicos & Rosemarie, Rule of 3
8/10 Saturday, Teen Band Day 2-5pm
8/11 Final day with fireworks, Alton Bay Band 12:30-2:30, Grits & Groceries 3:30-5:30, Horizon 6:30-8:30

Sundays – Hamilton Patton Park 5pm
6/30 White Heat 
7/7 Broadway in the Park
7/14 Blue Heartache
7/21 Tree House Charlatans
7/28 4Ever Fab
8/4 Southern Rail
8/11 Soul Rebel Project 

Sundays - Peabody Leather City Common, all concerts 6-8pm
7/14 All that 90's Band
7/21 Decades of Rock
7/28 Tangerine
8/4 Eleventh Hour Concert & Fireworks - Peabody High School 7-9pm
8/11 Pizza Fest & Lisa Love Experience
8/18 Bare Bones
8/25 Renee & The Renegades

Mondays & Wednesdays – Danvers Rotary Pavillion Peabody Institute Library, all concerts 6-8pm
7/8 The Shana Stack Band - check website for rain dates
7/10 Good Stuff
7/15 Decades of Rock
7/17 Toe Jam Puppet Band
7/22 Steel Rhythm Band
7/24 Rhythmix
7/29 Big Band Swing
7/31 Ultimate Soul Band
8/5 Blue Rebel
8/7 The Groove
8/14 Shark Martin
8/19 The Merj
8/21 Northshoremen
8/28 UC5

Mondays – Rockport, Back Beach 6:30

Thursdays & Fridays at The Promenade at the North Shore Mall, Peabody 5-9pm
Thursday, June 27th – 5:30 – 9:00p.m. – Qwill and Joe Cardoza
Friday, June 28th – 5:30 – 9:00p.m. – Nick Consone and Friends
Monday, July 15 - 5:30 - 9:00 pm - Greg Coles Line Instruction and Dance Party
Thursday, July 18 - 5:30 - 9:00 pm - Greg Coles Line Instruction and Dance Party
Friday, July 19 - 6:00 - 9:00 pm - An Evening with Frank Sinatra!
Friday, August, 16 - 5:30 - 9:00 pm - Katrina Gustafson


Every day of the week at Hampton Beach Seashell

JUNE 2019

Wednesday, June 26: Ray of Elvis – Elvis Tribute
Thursday, June 27: King Kountry – Country
Friday, June 28: “The Visitors Band”
Saturday, June 29: Magic Moments Band
Sunday, June 30: Revolver

JULY 2019

Monday, July 1: The Reminisants – Oldies
Tuesday, July 2: HELP – Beatles’ Tribute Band
Wednesday, July 3: OVERDRIVE
Thursday, July 4:  The Continentals
Friday, July 5: 39th Army Band
Saturday, July 6: Soulmate Band – Motown, FUNK, Soul, & Disco
Sunday, July 7: Angela West and Showdown 3 p.m. / No Shoes Nation Band a Tribute to Kenny Chesney 7 p.m.
Monday, July 8: Martin & Kelly 3 p.m. / Kevin White’s Tribute to
Garth Brooks 7 p.m.
Tuesday, July 9: Maddi Ryan 3 p.m. / Nick Drouin 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 10: Houston Bernard Band, 3 p.m. / Timmy Brown 7 p.m.
Thursday, July 11: Kevin Herchen 3 p.m. / Old Town 7 p.m. / William Michael Morgan 8 p.m.
Friday, July 12: Neurotic Gumbo
Saturday, July 13: Neurotic Gumbo
Sunday, July 14: Acoustic Radio
Monday, July 15: On Tap Band
Tuesday, July 16: The “All You’ve Got Tour”
Wednesday, July 17:  The Continentals
Thursday, July 18: Tequila Bonfire – Country
Friday, July 19: Mark Shelton and the Jailhouse Rockers
Saturday, July 20: George Hosker (noon) B Street Bombers (7 p.m.)
Sunday, July 21: The Nevers Band
Monday, July 22: Apathetics
Tuesday, July 23: Mike & Me The Vic Paul Show
Wednesday, July 24: The Salem Boyz – Classic Rock
Thursday, July 25: The Darren Bessette Band – Country
Friday, July 26: Brandy / Talent Application Deadline
Saturday, July 27: Miss Hampton Beach / Rico Barr and the Jumping Jive Review (7 p.m.)
Sunday, July 28: Miss Hampton Beach / The Reminisants – Oldies 7 p.m.
Monday, July 29: Bobby G
Tuesday, July 30: Little Big Shots
Wednesday, July 31: Ayla Brown – Country


Thursday, August 1: The Mychael David Project – Country
Friday, August 2: The Reminisants – Oldies / Charlie Thomas and the Drifters
Saturday, August 3: Soulmate Band – Soul, Classic Rock, Top 40
Sunday, August 4: Talent Auditions (12-3 p.m.) Bel-Airs (7 p.m.)
Monday, August 5: Manchester Music School
Tuesday, August 6: HELP – Beatles Tribute Band
Wednesday, August 7: (Four Part Country) Mark 209
Thursday, August 8: Goat Ropers – Country
Friday, August 9: Brandy Band
Saturday, August 10: Brass Attack of Springfield
Sunday, August 11: Ian Black Band

Monday, August 12:The Reminisants – Oldies
Tuesday, August 13: Little Big Shots
Wednesday, August 14: The Continentals
Thursday, August 15: Martin & Kelly – Country
Friday, August 16: Mark 209
Saturday, August 17: Heritage Pop Orchestra
Sunday, August 18: Strafford Wind Symphony
Monday, August 19: All Summer Long
Tuesday, August 20: Little Big Shots
Wednesday, August 21: Legacy Swing Band 
Thursday, August 22: The Mychael David Project – Country
Monday, August 26: Amity Drive
Tuesday, August 27: Mike & Me – The Vic Paul Show
Wednesday, August 28: HELP
Thursday, August 29: Angela West and Showdown – Country
Friday, August 30: GOOD STUFF
Saturday, August 31: Boston Circus Guild


Sunday, September 1:  The Continentals
Monday, September 2: The Reminisants – Oldies

Check websites before heading out, subject to change. Also look for rain dates and locations.


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Windhill Builds a Bed for Every Child

 Together with the North Shore Association of REALTORS® and this amazing community project, team Windhill pitched in and built a bed for a child. The recipient was an 11 year old girl from Swampscott and she will receive not only the bed frame, but a mattress and bedding set! It was an amazing experience to participate in something so basic yet so profound. 
A Bed for Every Child began over five years ago, when a public school teacher reached out to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. She was concerned because many of her students were coming to school tired and unfocused each day, and she knew the reason was because they did not have a bed of their own. Knowing beds were financially out of reach for their families, the teacher was looking to access beds free of of cost for these children. This one simple request launched A Bed for Every Child Initiative, which sets out to provide new twin beds sets to children living in poverty throughout Massachusetts without a bed of their own.  
A bed may seem like a simple piece of furniture, but for a child who goes to sleep each night on a couch, an air mattress, or sharing a bed with a parent or a sibling, it makes a huge impact on their health, well-being and their education. A Bed for Every Child is presently partnering with over 70 school districts across the state to get beds to their students. We know that a bed is not going to solve poverty, but we do know that it is one of the tools needed to ensure a child comes to school rested and ready to learn, and able to reach their full potential.
A Bed for Every Child on Facebook