Blog :: 06-2011

Are You Getting Your Money's Worth?

Buying or selling a home is one of the most complicated, expensive transactions most people will ever have to go through. Many go to the closing table without an advocate by their side. Having a professional represent your interests is critical.  A good place to start is to hire a REALTOR®. Not all real estate professionals are created equally. Selling real estate for a living doesn't make you a REALTOR®.  Only members of the National Association of Realtors can call themselves REALTORS®.

Being a REALTOR® means you subscribe to a very specific code of conduct.  The preamble to our National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics sets a high standard for brokers and agents: "The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal."

The industry manifests these principles in the articles of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and the promotion of educational standards-each evolving with changes in the marketplace. More importantly, it also encompasses the personal responsibility accepted by individual REALTORS® to adhere to these ideals.
Choose your real estate professional wisely. Make sure the office hires only REALTORS® and definitely make sure the agent you hire is a REALTOR®. Here at Windhill, every advisor is a REALTOR® and we all take the REALTOR® Code of Ethics very seriously.

Where Can You See the Fireworks This Weekend?

Town                  When                     Where               Raindate    
Amesbury -   7/4 - 9:00pm -     Woodsoms Farm - 7/5 Andover  -      7/3 - 9:00pm -    Andover High School - 7/5 Beverly -        7/4 - 9:15pm -     Barge off West Beach - 7/5 Click for full Beverly Farms schedule. Boston -          7/4 - 10:30pm -  Charles River Barge - 7/5 Click for Boston Pops Goes the 4th! Danvers -       7/3 - 9:30pm  -   Plains Park on Damon St. - 7/5 Click for full Danvers event schedule. Edgartown -   7/4 9:00pm -      Chappaquiddick Beach - 7/5 Gloucester -   7/3 - 8:30pm -    Stage Fort Park Click for full Cape Ann event schedule. Lynn -             7/3 - 9:00pm -   Barge near Red Rock - 7/5 Marblehead - 7/4 - 9:00pm -   Barge off mouth of harbor - 7/5 Middleton -     7/9 - 9:20pm -  Town Transfer Station - 7/10 Click for full Marblehead event schedule. Nantucket -     7/4 - 9:00pm -  Barge off Jetties Beach - 7/5 No.Andover -  7/3 - 9:00pm -  Hayes Stadium Salem -            7/4 - 9:00pm -   Derby Wharf - 7/5 Click for full Salem event schedule. Salisbury -      7/2 - 10:00pm - Barge off Salisbury Beach Salisbury -      7/3 - 10:00pm - Barge off Salisbury Beach Salisbury -      7/9 - 10:00pm - Barge off Salisbury Beach Click for full Salisbury event schedule.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence Boston, July 4 Only once a year, Boston residents and visitors get to hear the famous speech read from the balcony as it was on July 18, 1776. Location: Old State House, State and Division Streets. 10 - 10:30 a.m.  Cost: free



Fireman's Parade, Rockport, July 4, 6 pm Independence Day Parade, Manchester, July 4, 12 noon Highlands Horribles Parade, Danvers, July 4, 9 am Back Bay Parade, Danvers, July 4, 11 am


Boston Harborfest!


Expanded Massachusetts, Cape & The Islands 4th of July Celebrations!


Be sure to check with your town for changes/cancellations.


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Was Your Home Built Prior to 1978? NEW Regulation You NEED to Know.

Do you own a home that was built prior to 1978?  Are you thinking about hiring a professional to conduct renovation, repair or painting activities in or around your home?   Under the Residential Lead-Based Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed strict regulations regarding renovation, repair and painting activities in single and multi-family homes built prior to 1978.  This new regulation effective on April 23, 2010 was enacted to better prevent lead paint poisoning by reducing exposure to dust containing lead paint.  This regulation requires contractors, renovators and property managers to receive training and certification in the EPA's new lead-based paint work practices.  There is a very low threshold for the applicability of the new regulation. Any home improvement project disturbing more than 6 interior square feet of paint or 20 exterior square feet of paint requires compliance with the new regulations.  If you are hiring a professional to conduct renovation, repair and/or painting work in your home, make sure to request a copy of their Certification prior to hiring them for the job.

Nothing in the new regulations requires owners to evaluate existing properties for lead or to have existing lead removed but it is important for Massachusetts property owners to note a rental property owner can be held legally responsible for a lead poisoned child if she/he is poisoned by lead hazards where the child lives.  An owner cannot avoid liability by asking a tenant to sign an agreement accepting the presence of lease and cannot evict or refuse to rent to a family with children under six if there is lead paint in the home.  Discrimination is against the law and carries penalties.  



Atty. Judy Field


Legal Insider Content Contributed by Attorney Judy A. Field.


Contact Atty. Field at

Reviewing Online Reviews...

Anytime I'm thinking of travelling whether its to a B&B for the weekend or a European vacation, I find myself on sites like TripAdvisor for the layperson's opinion on accomodations. More frequently, simply because I eat more than I travel, I find myself on sites like Yelp for the low-down on that restaurant I'm considering. I'm aware of the so called "fake reviews" and I certainly don't believe everything I read but I have gained a certain level of trust that the authors of these reviews are for the most part, authentic and honest. Shame on me for being so naive! Read this Boston Globe article and be enlightened about current trends in online reviews!

After I read this, it got me thinking about the testimonials we post on our website; each one hand written by the consumer, in ink, and mailed (yes, with a stamp). I personally open each one and manually add it to our testimonials page on our website, word for word, exactly how I see it. Click to read our testimonals; nothing fake here!

Although our business thrives because of our cutting edge technology, it turns out  that sometimes just plain good old fashioned customer service, paper and a stamp trumps the fancy gadgetry.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (or didn't want to know) About Title V



Atty. Rich Kallman


In Massachusetts, the law governing septic system installation and maintenance is known as Title V.  Whenever a homeowner is going to be selling his home, he will need to get what is called a "Title V inspection" done.

In order to close on a property in Massachusetts, you will need to have a passing Title V.

If a Title V test reveals that the septic system has failed, a seller has two options in order to get to the closing table.  He can either replace the system prior to closing, or he can put an appropriate amount of money in escrow guaranteeing the system will be fixed.  A third option could be to get the buyer to pay for the septic system, although this is less likely to occur. A buyer who agrees to assume the cost of replacing the septic system will factor the cost of replacement into his bid price for the property.

Who is responsible when the septic system fails and needs to be replaced, the buyer or the seller?The owner or operator of the system is the legally responsible party required to upgrade a failing system.  Prior to transfer of the property, this is typically the seller.  Often, the buyer and seller work out the financial issues as part of the sale of the property.  Title V does not require that a system be in passing condition prior to the sale, but most lenders will not issue a mortgage until the failing system is upgraded or funds to perform the upgrade are escrowed.

How long is an inspection valid for?Inspections required in connection with a property transfer generally are good for two years.  If a property is sold more than once in the two-year period, the single inspection is valid for all transfers.

How do I have my system inspected if I am selling the property in the middle of the winter?If weather conditions prevent an inspection before a sale, Title V allows the inspection to be done up to six months afterwards, provided that the seller notifies the buyer in writing of the need to complete the inspection. (However, no lender will make a loan secured by a property if there is no information on the status of the septic system so this scenario is unlikely to occur).

I'm selling my home and the septic system has failed the Title V inspection.  If I decide not to sell as a result, am I still obligated to repair the system?Yes.  Once an official inspection is performed on a system, the results must be submitted to the Board of Health within 30 days.  Whether or not the homeowner decides to sell, a failed system typically must be upgraded within two years, unless the local Board of Health or Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) authorizes an alternative schedule.

For example, the Board of Health may require a shorter timeline in the case of an imminent health hazard, or under certain circumstances may allow use of the system for up to five years under an enforceable schedule for repair, replacement, or connection to a sewer or shared system.

Who is responsible if a system passes inspection before a property transfer, but fails soon after that?The system inspector is responsible for determining that the system meets or fails Title V standards as of the date of the inspection.  The inspection is not a guarantee that the system will continue to function adequately and is not a guarantee that it will not fail at a later date.  If a system fails shortly after a sale, the buyer may have legal recourse, but it may be very hard to prove that the system was in failure at the time of the inspection.  If an improper inspection was done, MassDEP can take enforcement against an inspector, but property owners must pursue claims against the inspector in court.

What is a voluntary inspection?Even if an inspection is not required, a system owner may have a voluntary assessment of the condition and operability of the system performed.  Results of voluntary inspections do not have to be submitted to the Board of Health of MassDEP and do not trigger the repair requirement in the event of a failure. For many homeowners, a voluntary inspection can be helpful as it will let homeowners know that they have to budget for replacement when they actually decide to sell their house.

Are there special inspection requirements for condominiums?Yes.  Condominiums with five or more units must be inspected once every three years.  Those with four or fewer units must be inspected every three years, or within two years prior to the sale of one of the units.

The condominium association is responsible for the inspection, maintenance, and upgrade of the system or systems serving the units, unless the governing documents of the association provide otherwise.

Legal Insider Content Contributed by Attorney Richard M. Kallman. Contact Atty. Kallman at 978-356-2934 or

Another Advisor Joins the Windhill Team!

Help us welcome Jeff Silva!

Jeff Silva, an 18-year veteran in residential real estate, is now a Real Estate Advisor with Windhill Realty. Jeff's vast experience in the field and his passion for the North Shore make for a winning combination and a wonderful addition to our team. His unwavering integrity and devotion to his work has earned him the reputation of being his client's greatest ally.

After graduating from St. John's Preparatory School, Jeff earned a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College. In 1993, he became a real estate appraiser, and in 1998, founded his own residential appraisal company, Commonwealth Realty Advisors. Throughout his two decades appraising residential real estate, Jeff has developed an unparalleled knowledge of the local market and its distinct characteristics. He is licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is a member of the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers. Jeff is a member of both the Ipswich Rotary Club and Ipswich Business Network International Gold Coast Connection.

Jeff lives in Ipswich with his wife, Betsy Frost, and their two sons, Connor and Rowan. Jeff enjoys coaching his boys in youth lacrosse, baseball, and basketball, and he is active in the Doyon chapter of F.R.I.E.S. (Friends of Ipswich Elementary Schools).

The Windhill Team is very excited to welcome Jeff to the team!

Jeff can be reached at 617-548-0402 or

Rowley Real Estate-What Sold in May 2011?

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
230 Wethersfield St, Rowley, MA 4 3 $399,900 $389,900
545 Newburyport Tpk #20, Rowley, MA 2 2.5 $459,900 $432,000


This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

Topsfield Real Estate-What Sold in May 2011?


Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
14 Washington St, Topsfield, MA 2 1 $247,900 $215,000
19 Woodside, Topsfield, MA 4 2 $335,000 $332,500
25 East St, Topsfield, MA 3 2 $357,000 $348,000
24 Mansion Dr, Topsfield, MA 3 2.5 $429,000 $415,000
1 Pond St, Topsfield, MA 4 3.5 $499,000 $470,000
158 Ipswich Rd, Topsfield, MA 4 3 $539,000 $524,000
281-18 Rowley Bridge, Topsfield, MA 2 2 $319,000 $305,000


This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.


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Ipswich Real Estate-What Sold in May 2011?


Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
4 Sixth Street, Ipswich, MA 3 1.5 $249,900 $244,500
13 Peatfield St, Ipswich, MA 3 1 $279,000 $270,000
151 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich, MA 3 1 $349,900 $356,000
93 Topsfield Rd, Ipswich, MA 4 3 $464,900 $430,000
9 Court Lane, Ipswich Country Club 3 2.5 $570,000 $568,200
500-312 Colonial Dr, Ipswich, MA 2 2 $192,000 $194,000


This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.


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Hamilton Real Estate-What Sold in May 2011?


Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
44 Sagamore St, Hamilton, MA 3 1 $275,000 $255,000
294 Asbury St, Hamilton, MA 3 2 $299,000 $299,000
36 Norman Rd, Hamilton, MA 3 2 $409,500 $400,000
55 Meyer Rd, Hamilton, MA 3 2 $509,900 $495,000
10 Anthony Rd, Hamilton, MA 3 1.5 $429,000 $474,500
5 Donald Rd, Hamilton, MA 4 2 $549,000 $537,000
1R Horseshoe Ln, Hamilton, MA 4 2.5 $579,000 $550,000


This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by our MLS partners. These entities neither guarantee nor are responsible for data accuracy. Data maintained by MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.