Jennifer Meuse

Boston is the Most Gridlocked City in the Country! Move to a Commuter Town!

Boston, MA is the most gridlocked city in the country! It's hard to believe we outrank Washington D.C., New York City and Los Angeles for traffic congestion but according to a new annual global traffic scorecard by Inrix and reported by WGBH, we are at the top of the list! What can you do about it? Why not move to a commuter town? Ipswich, MA and many other northshore towns are home to the commuter rail. Let us help you make the north shore your home. Leave the city grind behind. 

New Short-Term Rental Laws in Massachusetts

New Short-Term Rental Laws in Massachusetts Q&A


Massachusetts adopted a new law taxing and regulating the short-term rental market. The following information should help Realtors® navigate the short-term rental market under these new laws and regulations. For additional information, see the Department of Revenue's FAQ page.  

What does this new law require? 
The new law expands the state's hotel and motel tax to include the short-term rental of homes (condominiums, single family, multifamily, etc.). Massachusetts is one of the last states to adopt this type of tax. The tax applies to all rentals for a period of 31 days or less, regardless of whether the rental is for recreational, personal, or business use. At the insistence of MAR, the new law only applies to short-term rentals, meaning ordinary tenancies, such as an annual lease or a tenancy-at-will, are not covered by this bill. 

Tax Structure
The short-term rental rate varies by locality and is the total of the following rates: 

  • State: 5.7%
  • Local: up to 6% (Boston 6.5%) Look up your city/town's local tax rate here.
  • Cape Cod & Islands: includes additional 2.75% to fund Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund 
  • A community impact fee of up to 3% may be assessed locally on professionally managed properties (Owners of two or more units in one town).

The law requires regulations to minimize the administrative burden on tax filings for those who only rent their unit five (5) months or less each year. 

Are there any exemptions in the law?
The tax imposed by the new law does not apply to properties rented for fourteen (14) days or less per calendar year. It is important to note that these properties are still subject to the other requirements of the law, such as insurance and registration. 

When will this law take effect? 
Rental contracts that were signed on or after January 1, 2019 for stays on or after July 1, 2019 will be subject to the tax. We anticipate that the Department of Revenue will issue guidance on how to handle the tax on bookings made on or after January 1, 2019. The law exempts from tax any 2019 rental contract that was completed on or before December 31, 2018.  

Does this apply to the units I rent? 
As stated above, the new law applies to all rentals for a period of 31 days or less. Ordinary rentals, such as an annual lease or a tenancy-at-will are not covered. The new law applies regardless of whether the owner rents the property themselves, hires a Realtor® to rent the property, or uses an online platform to facilitate the rental. 

Do I need to collect the tax? 
Most likely, yes. The tax must be paid on or before the 20th day of the month following the month in which it is due. DOR will issue regulations to clarify this process. 

Do I need to carry insurance for the listed properties? 
Owners are required to maintain $1 million dollars in liability insurance to cover each short-term rental as of July 1, 2019. The coverage is required to defend and indemnify the owner or operator and any tenants in the building for bodily injury and property damage. 

Do the properties need to be registered with the state or city/town? 
Each rental unit will need to be listed with the state short-term rental registry. Additionally, each city and town is permitted to create a registration requirement for short term rentals. Check with your municipal government office for details. 
 
Are there any inspections required? 
Cities and towns may implement a health and safety inspection requirement and set the frequency of inspections. Short-term rental operators are required to cover the cost of inspections and will likely face a fee to cover registration costs as well. 
 

Thank you to the Masschusetts Association of Realtors for providing this important information.

Are you prepared for rising mortage interest rates?

"The Fed had been raising interest rates slowly for two years, but the strong numbers suggested it might keep doing so — and at a faster rate than before. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell added to those fears in October with comments suggesting more hikes were coming." 
Read the full NPR article here on the stock market and hints as to how it will affect interest rates and homeownership

Thinking about buying or selling? Take advantage of our 200+ years of cumulative expertise. Contact one of our real estate professionals! Interested in speaking with one of our trusted lenders to get the latest on mortgage rates and trends, click here.

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Haunted Houses - Buyer Beware!

Ipswich, Massachusetts is home to 59 houses that were constructed in the First Period, or 1625-1725, of English settlement. Essex County is home to more First Period homes than any where else in the country. That kind of history means your chances of coming across a "haunted house" in your home search are higher. Would you buy a home that was suspect of a poltergeist or that cabin in the woods? Fall in love with a house that looks like the one from Amityville or Beetlejuice? Interestingly, whether or not the property has been the site of an alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon shall not be deemed a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction. SO ASK! Sellers are required to answer truthfully IF ASKED! Buyers BEWARE!!!

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Ipswich Illumination 2018

Another successful year of community spirit at Ipswich Illumination! Andrea Della Valle, despite her broken ankle, handed out over 250 light sticks and the word on the street is that they were a huge hit! The look on this little girl's face tells the story! 

Ipswich Illumination Ipswich IlluminationIpswich IlluminationIpswich Illumination

Where is the BEST Clam Chowder?

Best clam chowder ipswich maWell, that depends on who you ask! 5 judges agreed on one clam chower and the people voted for another at this year's annual Ipswich Chowderfest - 2018. Despite the rain, the turnout was impressive even including visitors from Stokholm, Sweden! Read the full story and read about the winners of the Ipswich Chowderfest here! Ipswich clams are famous!

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Ipswich MA Haunted Happenings and October Events 2018

IPSWICH EVENTS in OCTOBER 2018

Thursday 10/4

Ipswich Rotary/Chamber Annual Legislative Breakfast at Ipswich Country Club

Thursday 10/11

6:30-9  Spirit Readings by Beth 

Friday 10/12

6:30-8:30  Music of the Sea at Ipswich Library

Saturday 10/13

12:00-4:00  23rd Annual Ipswich Chowderfest 

7:00-9:00  Jeff Warner - Along the Way Coffee House

Friday 10/19

Ipswich Cultural Council 32nd Annual Community Art Show

7:00-11:00  North Shore Swing Dance, Dan Gable & The High Society Orchestra

Saturday 10/20

10:00-1:00 Ipswich Fire Department Open House

10:00-4:00 Annual Trick or Treat Hayride at Marini Farm

11:00-2:30 Ipswich Harvest Marketplace 

11:00-4:00 Essex Clamfest 

12:00-6:00 Notch Traveling Beirgarten at Appleton Farms

Ipswich Cultural Council 32nd Annual Community Art Show

5:00-9:00 Ipswich Illumination - Visit our office from 5-7 for Illumination goodies! 

6:00-8:00 Got Poetry? at Zumi's

Sunday 10/21

10:00-4:00 Annual Trick or Treat Hayride at Marini Farm

Ipswich Cultural Council 32nd Annual Community Art Show

12:00-6:00 Notch Traveling Beirgarten at Appleton Farms

1:45-3:00 Fall Foliage Paddle Ipswich Watershed Association

Friday 10/26

3:00-5:00 Family Halloween Party at Ipswich Museum

Halloween Parade starting 6:30PM

Saturday 10/27

10:00-2:00 Walk for Wolves by Wolf Hollow

2:00-4:00 Ipswich Downtown Trick or Treating 

Wednesday 10/31

Town-wide trick or treat

Events all subject to change - please confirm directly.

Come Home to Hamilton, Massachusetts

Come home to Hamilton, Massachusetts, home of the Myopia Polo Club, Bradley Palmer State Park at Willowdale State Forest, the Wenham Museum, Patton Park and the Veterans Memorial Pool at Patton Park. Call this spacious, open, 4 bedroom home your own and be part of the desirable Hamilton community. The Hamilton-Wenham schools are top notch and the Hamilton Wenham recreation department features a new, resident-only pool. There are summer concerts at Patton Park and Hamilton just received a brand new fire truck. Small town feel with very easy access to Route 128. Full details on 27 Margaret Road, Hamilton, Massachusetts!