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Posted by Tina Bilazarian, Broker on 5/18/2019

Summer is coming soon!  Time for vacations and activities! Time for fun and relaxation! Do you know one very important thing you can do to guarantee your ability to relax?  Planning—in particular having a plan in place for emergencies while you are at home and away. 

When you are planning for children or even a new pet in the house – you look around and you start to see where the potential problems can be hiding.  You child-proof or puppy-proof your home in order to make it a safe place. We can’t really make the entire world outside our home a safe place, but we CAN agree on a plan as a couple or family or extended family group on what to do “just in case”. 

Of course,we all have cell phones that allow us to be in constant contact with our significant others, our children, our parents, our aunts and uncles, our friends.   Did you know that you can create a Contact Group in your cell phone that includes important people to contact in an emergency? You can include not just your local police and fire,but significant members of your family to contact, professionals you may need, your health and other insurers? Already built into most cell phone contacts app is an option at the top of the screen to create a “Group”.  Click on it and ICE – IN CASE of EMERGENCY group may already be there.   You can also put together groups of your choosing – Family, Close Friends, specific groups towhich you are a member.  If you only do one contact group in your phone, do ICE.

That’s it,we’ve got cell phones, we are all set. Not quite.  We also know that in some emergency situations, power will be out and the cell won’t be able to be recharged.  What if the cell service itself is out?  That has happened in some minor and major catastrophic events.  Do you have an alternate plan? All of your contacts should include email as well as phone and all of them should also be maintained somewhere on paper – yes, paper! 

As a household, do we always have a special place for important papers? Where are our birth certificates, passports and banking information kept for easy access in case of emergency?  Where is the deed to our house? Our homeowner’s insurance policy? Important contacts for repairsand legal or other professional needs?  Ofcourse, all of these items could be stored in scanned format in the cloud for access from any computer or eventually replaced, but who do you contact?  Do you have an emergency plan wallet card?  That seems the smallest, least inconvenient manner to maintain a list of important numbers “just in case”.  

Here are some examples of those types of cards to keep in your wallet from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management).  (click)

If you clicked the link you will notice some other important things to consider, in particular, a place to meet up during an emergency – a place in your home, a place in your neighborhood, a place in your town and a place out of town such as a relative’s home. If we all know where to go during an emergency situation to find our family, we will eliminate a portion of the anxiety that can slow us down during a natural or other disaster. 

Consider this as you are going on vacations to busy amusement parts or taking part in marches and gatherings of large proportion – do you have an event specific plan for that day?  Agree as a group on that plan before you leave the house or upon arrival at the location.  And don’t laugh at those families that dress alike at amusement parks – they can easily spot members of their group.

Once you contact a relative to get approval for making their home the out-of-town location to meet, offer to reciprocate. If you explain what you are doing, you can create a ripple effect of safety planning among those you know and care about. 

There are other things you can also do to prepare for emergencies – Click here for other free guides and plans from FEMA.   Please have the safest of Summers! 

#safety #familysafety #safeinacrowd #emergencyplan

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Posted by Tina Bilazarian, Broker on 4/14/2019



The Reverend Ward Cotton House, built in 1800 and located in the Boylston Historic District, is currently available for purchase in Boylston, MA.  Located on a beautiful forested property in this charming town center, visitors will feel transported in time.  This could be your new home!

The land on which the house now stands was at one time included in the holdings of one of the town’s founding families – Eleazar Taylor—along with the nearby Old Burial Ground, the town common and the land where the library currently is located. In those days, the mid 1700’s, there may have been several homes along Cottonwood Place once the main route to the town center (then known as Cottonwood Lane).  The land was divided in 1792 and in 1800, Reverend Ward Cotton built his home attached to the original Taylor home.

The current owners, under the supervision of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, SPNEA (presently called Historic New England), lovingly restored the home updating the modern conveniences tastefully along side the antique features. 

The Reverend Ward Cotton House boasts three levels of comfortable living with 14 rooms, 9 fireplaces, 2 Dutch ovens, 5 bathrooms,wide pine floors, and a screened porch. The updated Cherry kitchen has a convenient eat-in area, granite counters and French doors to the screened porch. Potential craft room or workshop located off mudroom and kitchen. Dual staircases. 5 rooms with closets.Replacement windows, security system, central vac system, new septic. Click here to view the entire selection of photos of this beautiful home.

A covered walkway makes access to the Spacious 4 bay garage(25x50) very convenient.  The garage includes a second level, ready to be finished - endless possibilities! This magnificent estate sets on 14 plus wooded acres. You will be surrounded by history and nature!  Contact us with any questions or to arrange for a private viewing.

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Posted by Tina Bilazarian, Broker on 2/27/2017

When buying a home, there are many costs to consider aside from your mortgage. Your regular home maintenance, for example, should be part of your monthly budget.


Improvements and repairs, like appliance servicing, hiring lawn care specialists, or home cleaning projects like steam cleaning the carpets, can quickly add up. When assessing home maintenance costs, it's a good idea to keep these factors in mind.

  • Who is doing the maintenance and repairs?

Doing all your home maintenance and repairs is not always a savings. Some home maintenance, like regular cleaning,yard care or keeping your appliances in good condition, can be easily handled by the homeowner as a part of your monthly home maintenance routine. But other projects like fixing the roof or inspecting the attic may be too dangerous for the novice homeowner. Many mechanical appliances should always be inspected and serviced by a licensed professional.

  • How much will the costs be?

A new home generally has lower maintenance than an older home that may be in need of upgrades.  Experts agree that setting aside about 1% - 2%of your home's purchase price annually will help cover the basic home repairs plus help you save for major upgrades like a new furnace or new flooring. They may not need to spend that money each year but remember that some repairs, like a new roof, can cost 3 to 4 times that amount. 

There are many factors that can affect your home maintenance or repair budget such as the age and size of the home, its current condition and the location/environment – where is it located in the country and what type of seasonal impact will it be subject to.

If you're looking for ways to do your own home maintenance, check out this handy collection of monthly maintenance tasks.

#homerepair #homevalue #updateyourhome

Posted by Tina Bilazarian, Broker on 2/18/2017


The photographs of your home are the first impression a potential buyer has of your house for sale.  It is vital that each photo makes the best impression possible, in order to create a desire for a potential buyer to want to visit your home in person.  Great photographs result from cooperation between Realtor®, photographer and homeowner.

You know your home best, therefore, the professionals do need your help in photographing your home for the MLS Listing, property websites, flyers, magazine ads and other print and online marketing.

There are a number of important tasks that will fall to your, the seller:


1. Staging Your Home - This can be done by professional stagers or your Realtor® might have the designation. 

a. Do a clean-up and clear out - now is a great time for you to clear out things before you move.  Ask yourself - Can I use this in my new home?  Should it be donated? Should it be thrown away?

b.  A fresh coat of paint can improve the look of interiors. Any repairs that need to be done that could affect pictures?

c.  Remove all personal photos and memorabilia.

d.  Create pleasant scenes using props displayed decoratively - a candle, a vase of dried flowers, seasonal items, a bowl of candy, etc. Keep it understated, neutral, and tasteful (less is more)

e.  Remove all animal bedding, food dishes and pet toys for pictures (and later for open houses and viewings).  It is imporant that the home be seen as a neutral pet-free canvas.

f.  Can you pre-pack anything for your move and store it?

2.  Make a list of the most unique features of your home for the Realtor® and photographer to note.

3.  At what time of day does the sun shine on the front or most appealing facade of your home?

4.  The time of day for photographing the outside of your home is not always the best time of day to photograph the interior.  A revisit might be necessary.

5.  A Closed Set - On a photo shoot where privacy and focus is important, it is vital that you step away from the house to allow the Realtor® and photographer to do this important work without your immediate presence.

Once you've done these things, the professionals can do their job, which is to serve you and show your home in the best possible light and angle. 

#sellingyourhome  #homeselling #marketingyourhome.

Posted by Tina Bilazarian, Broker on 9/18/2016


When taking on the responsibility of a home, you take on many monthly, seasonal or annual tasks that relate to maintaining the home for your and your family’s health, happiness and personal safety.  Many items are natural season items, like putting away patio furniture and pool maintenance in the Autumn, and reversing that in the Summer.  Painting or power-washing the exterior to maintain its appearance.

There are also many proactive maintenance items that can be done annually that often are not as obvious. Things such as inspections of plumbing fixtures, chimneys, security systems and fire extinguishers.  If we inspect before something goes wrong, we hopefully eliminate the urgency of an accident, sudden disaster or other dangerous issue.

One such item to have inspected that is often overlooked is the garage door. Imagine how many times a week, a month, a year, you pass in and out of your garage in your car.  You have your car inspected and serviced, what about the garage door? 

A garage door is a system of tracks, brackets, steel springs, and cables in addition to the door and the opener itself.  While a garage door itself can last up to 30years and the

opener mechanism between ten and fifteen, the springs and other parts may not.  Over time, parts can wear down, weaken and eventually break, creating potential safety hazards. Experts in garage door installation recommend an annual inspection to maximize the life and safety of the door and mechanisms.  At minimum rollers, hinges and brackets should be inspected to ensure that they are securely in place. 

Noise is not necessarily an issue.  If your garage door hasn’t been inspected  or inspected in a while, why not give an expert a call and meet with them?

We’ve added some seasonal tips on our website, with full lists and maintenance specialist contacts available upon request.  Click here to have a look.

#homesafety #safety #inspections #seasonaltasks #homeownertips #shrewsburyrealestate #boylstonrealestate

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