Blog :: 09-2011

Free Advice & Really Cool Tools from a Local, Third-Generation Family Business

I recently sat down with Jeremiah Lewis of Sullivan Insurance with a question we hear frequently from our clients, "What can I do to prepare for a catastrophic claim or burglary?"  Jeremiah had some excellent advice and recommendations.

As a local Independent Insurance Agency, our first response is to match our customers with the right insurance company to provide the 'right' coverage to meet our client's needs.  The next step is to make sure our homeowners and renters document a list of items within a home.  This list is referred to as a 'Home Inventory List'.

A complete list of valuables is an excellent way to expedite the claims process after a theft, damage, or loss. If someone experiences a property loss, their inventory list will certainly assist in the settlement of a covered loss or claim.   A recorded a list of valuables proves especially helpful when a property is damaged due to a catasphrophic event like a fire.  The preparation can be time consuming and tedious, but it makes the claims experience so much simpler if it is done thoroughly.

A good home inventory should include a record of your valuables detailing date of purchase and cost.  For larger and more expensive items like televisions and computers, it will prove beneficial to capture pictures of the item along with the style and model number - especially if you haven't kept receipts.  A good way to ensure proper documentation is to move from room to room, recording items as you go.  Be sure to document antiques and jewelry.  Also, don't forget to include items in your basement, attic, garage, and any detached structures such as tool sheds.

A hard paper copy of a home inventory and keeping it in a fireproof box at home or at an "off site" location is a common method of safe-keeping your list.  Although, technological applications have provided renters and homeowners with savvy alternative options. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has introduced myHOME, which is an iphone/ipad app that lets you take pictures, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers for all of your valuables. You can see a brief 2 minute video demo here and you can get tips from NAIC's InsureU on how to create a home inventory. And if you don't have an iPhone, go back to basics, as NAIC offers a Home inventory checklist.

I hope these tips were helpful. If you have any questions on home inventories or any other insurance matters, don't hesitate to call me, Jeremiah Lewis at 978-356-5511 or email me at Visit our website at

 Bernard Sullivan Insurance Agency located at 12 Market Street, downtown Ipswich, MA has been serving communities on the North Shore since 1935.  

Something ALL Homeowners Should Know!

New Home Heating Oil Law goes into effect Sepetember 30th, 2011.  

The new law requires that by September 30, 2011, owners of one- to four-unit residences that are heated with oil must already have or will need to install an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with a protective sleeve on their heating equipment. Installation of these devices must be performed by a licensed oil burner technician. Technicians are employed by companies that deliver home heating oil, or they are self-employed. It is important to note that heating oil systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 are most likely already in compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.   For those who need to install this equipment, state officials estimate that the typical cost of installing either an oil safety valve or oil supply line with a protective sleeve ranges from $150 to $350 (including labor, parts, and local permit fees). While it is an expense that is not insignificant, the costs to clean up a leak can be thousands of dollars.

It is important for home owners to remember that this rule applies to all home owners, regardless of whether they are selling their home or not. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has an excellent, easy-to-understand document that explains this new rule.  Click here to get the comprehensive details on the Home Heating Oil Law from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Recycling Extravaganza! This Weekend!

Saturday, September 24th! No cost to Ipswich residents. Proof of residency is required.

Clean out your garage, shed, basement and under your kitchen sink!

Bring your hazardous waste to the Transfer Station at 180 Town Farm Road between 9:00-12:00. Evil spirits list below!

DPW is also doing special, same-day collection at the Transfer Station for tires/oil based paints/thinners etc.  See list. Call for appointment!

Winthrop School is running a lawn electronics recycling this Saturday, September 24th. Open to ALL! : swap shop, book collection and more! The Winthrop School event will accept electronics -- at 50 cents a pound, alkaline batteries, CFLs, scrap metals and offer a swap shop.

The Winthrop School event will accept the following:

Electronics Collection: Virtually anything that plugs in will be accepted for 50 cents per pound, up to a max of $20 per item. No dehumidifiers, propane tanks, refrigerators or air conditioners. Televisions in a wooden frame will require an additional $8 and televisions in a plastic frame will require an additional $4. The Recycling Committee will use all proceeds, except the television frame fees, to fund on-going and future recycling events and initiatives.

Alkaline battery collection: Due to the significant weight and volume of alkaline batteries, the Recycling Committee is participating in an alkaline battery collection program called The Big Green Box. Through this program, the Committee purchases a box to collect spent alkaline batteries. The cost to participate in the program covers the return postage and recycling of the material.

CFL collection: The Electric Light Department will provide collection containers for spent CFLs. Residents may also bring spent CFLs to the DPW special collection at the transfer station. The tubular types of fluorescent bulbs will be collected at the transfer station only.

Scrap metal collection: Any aluminum, brass, copper, steel or large appliances.

Swap Shop: Bring audio/visual material, no encyclopedias or magazines, and clean and useable household items to the site and take others' unwanted items free. Household categories include kitchenware; small, working appliances; decorative item; outdoor/garage items; sporting goods, no skis, boots and poles; pet accessories, and children's games and toys, no stuffed animals; large, outdoor plastic toys or car seats. Furniture and large outdoor items may be left only if the original owner is willing to leave contact information should item go unclaimed. Leftover items will be donated to Got Books and the Salvation Army. Click here for article published in the Salem Evening News with full details about all 3 recycling events. Although they got the date wrong. 

Future recycling events: 

February 11th, 2012, Electronics Collection at the Ipswich Middle School parking lot. May 19th, 2012, DPW special collection at the Transfer Station (tires, oil based paints/thinners) and Rotary Club Electronics Collection at the Ipswich High School.

"Class Act" All Around!

You could try Yelp or Angieslist or a number of other websites offering honest (and not so honest) reviews but what's better than the most credible form of personal recommendation, word-of-mouth?

Our newest associate, Katie Finch, began her career with Linda O'Connor, broker and owner of Realpro Associates in Beverly. Linda is somewhat of a legend in the real estate world. She's been in the business for 28 years and has built a respected reputation as being an ethics and education guru.

Katie recently made the move from Realpro to Windhill. Typically those kinds of  "transfers" don't go so smooth. I always knew Linda represented the ultimate in standards, a pillar of ethics and professionalism. We are flattered to hear that Linda feels the same about Windhill, a substantial compliment coming from someone with such integrity. Linda's words are refreshing; not only words to work by but to live by.  Read the actual note below!


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How Do Your Schools Rank?

Boston Magazine recently set out on a mission to find out.  Here's how they did it..."We compared test scores from elementary, middle, and high schools in 135 districts, then looked within those districts to determine how schools were improving (or not) over time. Next, we called superintendents, principals, teachers, coaches, administrative assistants, and guidance counselors to ask: How many AP classes do you have? Can a kid play freshman sports? Do you offer pre-K of any kind? Will a child's passion for math, science, or writing be fostered here? (The vast majority were helpful, though we did get hung up on once because it was Field Day.) Finally, we crunched the data and came up with this, our exclusive ranking of the region's 50 best school districts."

Thank you Boston Magazine! Here are the results Part I - In The Classroom! Coming soon...Part II - Achievement Scores!


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Windhill Still Leads The Way!

Windhill is still the #1 Ipswich Real Estate office, doing more business in town than the rest. See for yourself, no smoke and mirrors here, just the plain old market share report from our Multiple Listing Service, run today, September 7th, 2011 for the year!


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Legal Insider - The Wake of Irene

Hurricane Irene has left her mark - trees have fallen- now what? 

In this day and age of our litigious society and our complete neglect to remain friendly with our neighbors, the issue of trees has become more and more problematic.  If we lived in a perfect world and neighbors actually got along, a simple conversation from one neighbor to another noting a diseased or decayed tree would be remedied by the property owner wherein the tree is located acknowledging the risk and removing the tree.  If the property owner chooses to ignore the risk, a decayed tree on their property poses the risk that he or she will be exposed to liability.  You as a neighbor and abutting land owner do have the right to remove limbs and branches so much as they overhang on your property.    The other remedy is unfortunately a court action wherein you would have to prove the tree poses a danger to you and interferes with your use and enjoyment of your property and request the court order the removal. 

If a neighbor's healthy tree simply falls on your property during a major wind storm your neighbor is not liable as this is considered an "Act of God".  You in turn will have to make a claim under your own homeowners' insurance policy.

Someone once said to me, "The best neighbor is a 6-foot fence." I personally prefer Judy's recommendation below.

The bottom line, do not ignore your trees nor your abutting neighbor's trees and keep the neighborly lines of communication open. 


Judy A. Field, Esq. Law Office of Judy A. Field, P.C. 900 Cummings Center, Suite 306T Beverly, MA 01915 landline (978) 922-0330 cell (978) 500-9530 fax (978) 922-0661 email:

Another Advisor Joins the Windhill Team!

Katherine, known to many as "Katie", grew up in an antique house in New York State, an hour northwest of New York City.  She has never been a Yankees fan. There was an acre of land and assorted animals including the usual cats and dogs, as well as a gerbil, a pony, goats, a pig and even a skunk. 

After graduating from college, Katie taught elementary school in Rochester, New York, and after four winters in the snow belt, went to Sydney, Australia to teach for the New South Wales Department of Education. Looking for a change, she worked in retail, an engineering library and the journalists' library for John Fairfax Newspapers. The next opportunity was working for two educational publishers as a Reading and Language Consultant, traveling around Australia and New Zealand.

While in Australia, Katie married a Brit and bought a condo on the North Shore of Sydney.  Their daughter was born in Sydney and after eleven years in Australia, they sold the condo and moved to the States, where their son was born before moving to Massachusetts and buying a home in Ipswich in '83. After years as a stay-at-home mom, Katie worked as a tutor, an adjunct English instructor at North Shore Community College, and in School-to-Work for the North Shore Workforce Investment Board/North Shore Career Center.

Looking for another new challenge, in 2006 she got her real estate license and has been busy with her real estate career ever since. She went on to earn her ABR, e-PRO, SRES and SRS designations. Utilizing her teaching background, she works on building trust and long-term relationships and helping clients to understand each step of the process, often beginning with a conversation around a kitchen table or in a coffee shop.

Katie is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Beverly, a supporter of the Ipswich Library and the Ipswich Museum, and a member of North Shore Women in Business and the North Shore Business Forum.  When not working on real estate, she enjoys reading, traveling to England to visit family, watching BBC News and HGTV, and being a fan of the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics.  One day, she would like to learn to play golf.

Katie can be reached at and at her direct line 978-857-0296. Please help us welcome Katie!

What Sold in August 2011? Ipswich, MA

Address #BR #BA List $ Sale $
Single Family        
6 Grant Court, Ipswich, MA 2 1 $279,000 $260,000
4 Oakhurst Ave, Ipswich, MA 3 1 $300,000 $300,000
24 Estes St, Ipswich, MA 4 1.5 $309,000 $304,000
8 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich, MA 4 2 $324,900 $315,000
15 Damon Ave, Ipswich, MA 3 1.5 $349,000 $342,000
6 Sagamore Rd, Ipswich, MA 4 3.5 $525,000 $515,500
67 Turkey Shore Rd, Ipswich, MA 3 2 $649,000 $630,000
400-67 Colonial Dr, Ipswich, MA 2 2.5 $149,900 $128,500
21 Mineral St, Ipswich, MA 4 2.5 $374,000 $368,000
6-8 N Main St, Ipswich, MA 2 Unit $199,900 $199,900


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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