Donald Van Dyne
WESTLAND HOME– $415,000 3bd/1.5bth/3.16 acres
Upgraded kitchen and bath, new carpet, fresh paint, newer furnace, windows, roof, siding. Porch on the front, deck for entertaining in the back. This home boasts a beach area, coy pond, fire pit, Snack Shack, electronic dog fence, security and camera system and plenty of parking and storage.
What is the best state in the country?
According to a new series of rankings released by U.S. News and World Report, that title actually belongs to Massachusetts. Yep, It looks like we’ve been right all along.
The inaugural rankings were compiled by evaluating all 50 states across a range of criteria from education and healthcare to infrastructure and the economy. The rankings were developed using McKinsey and Company’s “Leading States Index,” which combines thousands of data points across 68 specific metrics.
After Massachusetts, the best states are our northern neighbor New Hampshire, followed by Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington.
The 68 metrics in the “Leading States Index” were separated into 20 groups, which were further arranged into the following seven categories: Health Care; Education; Infrastructure; Crime and Corrections; Opportunity; Economy; Government.
All categories were weighted based on a national survey that asked people to prioritize seven categories in their state, such as education, crime and others in the order of most important and least important. Health care and education received the highest weightings nationwide — and were the two best showings for the Bay State.
In the seven categories, Massachusetts is No. 1 in education, Hawaii is No. 1 in health care, Oregon is No. 1 in infrastructure, Vermont is No. 1 in crime and corrections, New Hampshire is No. 1 in opportunity, Colorado is No. 1 in economy and Indiana ranks No. 1 for government.
So why is Massachusetts the best? Here’s how the Bay State ranked across all seven categories:
Health Care: 2
Crime and Corrections: 7
How did we rank so high in some of the major categories?
Well for health care, we are No. 1 in health care enrollment and child wellness visits, No. 2 in adult dental visits and medicare quality and No. 3 in adult wellness visits, low infant mortality rate and low suicide rate.
For education, we are No. 1 in educational attainment, college readiness, NAEP math scores, No. 2 in NAEP reading scores and No. 3 in preschool enrollment.
We were No. 2 in patent creation and No. 3 in low unemployment rate, leading to a strong showing in economy.
And for infrastructure, where we ranked just 19th, we are No. 1 in the all- important Internet Access category, thanks to a second-place showing in online download speed and third-place showing in households with internet access.
NOTE: The data was pulled from various sources, with government data being favored over other sources due to its reliability.
Chelmsford Prepares for the Future with Approval of Route 129 Zoning Overlay
On October 24, 2016, the Town of Chelmsford overwhelmingly voted to take a significant step towards reinventing itself to re-establish its regional leadership role as the center of community and commerce for northeastern Massachusetts.
Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Chelmsford’s town meeting representatives voted to approve a zoning overlay for its Route 129 business corridor. The 623-acre area is already home to multiple local, regional and world headquarters, such as Hittite, Sycamore Networks, Lockhead Martin and Comcast. The adopted overlay provides new opportunities for comprehensive (re)development aimed at blending amenities such as restaurants, retail, indoor recreation, entertainment, hotels, and housing to foster a “live, work, and play” environment.
A broad outreach of stakeholder’s voices was sought to ensure the overlay would meet the needs of all constituents. Chelmsford’s Planning Board used data compiled by the Chelmsford Economic Development Commission from focus groups with commercial brokers, company leaders, industrial property owners, and the community to craft smart zoning designed to support current and future market needs.
The resulting bylaw creates a flexible and responsive zoning overlay that enhances the “129 business corridor” by enabling broader use and larger scale (re)development. It promotes increased building heights, parking garages and integrated amenities to stimulate multi-use site development. Further, the overlay introduces opportunities for the development of multi-family housing to address changing trends and stakeholders needs.
The 129 overlay plan received unanimous endorsement by key governing and regulatory boards, demonstrating the depth of Chelmsford’s commitment to economic development and its desire to compete regionally. The Planning Board sponsored the zoning change and the Economic Development Commission actively canvassed the support of the community. The Finance and School Committee unanimously endorsed the initiative as did a majority of the Board of Selectmen.
Chelmsford’s “129 business corridor” is further enriched by its distinct location at the intersection of Route 495 and Route 3 which strengthens the competitive advantage of all businesses in the corridor. Likewise, the overlay’s increased building heights abutting Route 3 offers an incredible opportunity for highway visibility and promotion. With Boston, just 20 miles to its south, and New Hampshire only minutes away, Chelmsford can truly be described as the Crossroads of Community and Commerce.
Interested in learning more about new development opportunities in Chelmsford? Visit chelmsfordbusiness.com to learn about our streamlined and expedited permitting process and put this incredible location to work for you. Evan Belansky, Economic Development Officer can also be reached directly at 978-244-3444.
HOME BUYER ACTION TEAM
Your personalized Buyer Action Team represents all the real estate professionals that will make your home purchase seamless and efficient. The team members are the 2Way Realty facilitating broker, a home LENDER, a real estate ATTORNEY, and a home INSPECTOR.
When you BUY DIRECT with 2Way Realty, we will help orchestrate all of your professional needs in the process of successfully purchasing a 2Way Realty home listing. In addition, you will capture further savings in list price and we’ll give you $2,000 credit at closing to defer the cost of your home inspection and legal counsel.
From the below list choose an industry expert or introduce us to a professional you prefer and we will make them a member of your Buyer Action Team:
- Maria Hamilton
Senior Mortgage Officer
NMLS ID# 612610
- Tony Cardinali
Branch Manager, Senior Loan Officer
MA LIC # MLO21336 / NH LIC # NH21336
- Len Richards
Mortgage Equity Partners
Real Estate Attorney
- Cheryl A. Manahan, Esq.
50 Middlesex Road
Tyngsborough, MA 01879
- J.R. Bovill Home Inspection
7 Village View Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824
What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent
To start, not all real estate agents operate equally. An effective real estate agent must be passionate, persistent, knowledgeable and work full time. An agents #1 goal is to meet the seller’s expectation by taking the time to understand the seller’s needs. The agent must sell a home timely, at the right price and with little burden to the homeowner as possible. To this end the following qualities are universally demonstrated by successful real estate agents and demanded by home sellers.
According to a current survey by Qazoo.com and reported by the National Real Estate Post, the #1 complaint from consumers about a real estate agent is their lack of communication skills. A real estate agent must be balanced. They must be a good listener and a good teacher. As important, a real estate agent must be responsive. At your first meeting the real estate agent should inquire how you best like to communicate- by telephone, email, text or other.
HONEST & TRANSPARENT
Honesty is the best policy and it helps to keep life simple. The truth will always be revealed. Honesty is about being transparent sharing the truth no matter the cost. Sadly, at times the truth is stretched or not shared because a real estate agent hopes to protect their self- interest or the seller’s feelings. For example, a real estate agent will advise a seller their home is worth more than the market will bear. The agent does this to either secure the listing (self-interest) or to not upset the seller. Either way ultimately the seller loses as their home will linger on the market for too long and inevitably sell for a reduced price.
A real estate agent needs to have a strong understanding of market dynamics and people. Your real estate agent must help you identify your needs to successfully navigate the selling process for your advantage. It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise when selling a home, for example, how to work with a demanding buyer or the consequence of not disclosing known impediments.
Once you are confident a prospective real estate agent embodies the above qualities make sure to inquire about a sales and marketing system. Studies confirm home sellers want to work with real estate agents that apply a comprehensive system to sell a home.
In a recent InMan News* survey members were asked: In your opinion what are the major challenges the real estate industry is facing?
- 77% of the respondents reported it is Low Quality Agents.
*Inman News is the industry’s leading source of real estate information for real estate professionals.
This finding from Inman News is consistent with the DANGER REPORT from the National Association of Realtors which also found that “masses of marginal agents” were the no. 1 threat to the industry.
3 Reasons for Incompetent Real Estate Agents:
- Part-Time Agents
- Low Barrier of Entry
- Agents have been in the business for too long and have not kept current with technology and consumer needs.
11 proposals for weeding out shoddy real estate agents (Inman News)
- Increase Realtor association dues
- Raise Realtor education requirements
- Increase real estate license fees
- Require real estate agents to demonstrate productivity
- Require real estate agents or Realtors to graduate college
- Make it harder to qualify for a real estate license
- Require agents to apprentice under a broker
- Beef up regulators’ real estate complaint process
- Beef up Realtor ethics complaint process
- Make it easy to find out if an agent has committed infractions
- Educate consumers on how to choose a real estate agent
The very best approach to weeding out an incompetent real estate agent is to remove the absurd monetary incentive (commission) associated with a single real estate transaction. The occupation of real estate is a profession and we should charge a professional FIXED FEE, like a doctor.
The above 11 proposed ideas help but a surefire way to discourage incompetency is to make it impossible for an agent to craft enough commission from a single real estate tranasction to supplement an income. Real estate is a passion exemplified by a full time professional REALTOR. Real estate is more than a nine to five job. REALTORS live, breathe and continuously think how we can make the selling experience better for home sellers and buyers.
The benefits to reducing the transaction cost is 2-fold:
- It weeds out incompetent agents and guarantees home buyers and sellers a more profitable experience.
A real estate professional (REALTOR) competing on price and delivering a high level quality service should be encouraged and rewarded by the industry with longevity and consumer loyalty.