Our Advice for First Timers, as Featured on PureWow.com

by Gabrielle Henken on March 29, 2016

in Buying

Honored to have been asked for advice for First Time Buyers from PureWow. Enjoy!
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And please, as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your future home purchase and/or sale.




Multiple Listing Service provides Real Estate Agents/Brokers with exactly 1000 character spaces to use in the description section in MLS. This is typically a challenge, as we are attempting to convince you, in 1000 characters or fewer (including spaces) why you should spend six or seven figures and move into that specific house. In a previous post, “Translating Real Estate Ads” I provided my own interpretive glossary for all the abbreviations we use when describing a home. 1000 characters (and spaces) are not a lot – especially when we want to share with you all of the wonderful features about the house – so, I will use all of the characters I want, using our own internet real estate, to communicate to you why you should buy one of the homes we have on the market. We also like to use this opportunity to tell you about the intangibles, the features of the house that you wouldn’t know by looking at the photos online or visiting. The stuff that you would only know if you lived there.

I would typically write about all of the great things I appreciate about this house, but after receiving the Seller’s thoughts, I realized I couldn’t do justice to what she wrote. It just goes to show, once again, that the house you buy is not just a building – it is a place you will call home. It is where memories are made and friendships will grow. It is not about the color of the wallpaper, but the use of the room. I hope you enjoy reading about 388 Willis Road and of course, please call/text or email to schedule an appointment to see this home.

We found this house in 1976 after looking at dozens of houses in more than twenty towns, on a lightning weekend trip from New York, where we lived before.  Something about it spoke of “home” to me.   I remember being moved as I looked out the car’s back window as we drove away.  In fact, we were driving back to NY in a near blizzard and had to stop in a real flea-bitten joint for the night.  The next morning, we turned around in southern CT and went back to put in an offer.  It still says home to me.  

Our favorite view of the house is of the varied dormers seen from the back though it is quintessential New England from every angle.  The most important bonding happened as we sat in the southerly facing kitchen, watching a February sunset.  That seat at the end of the kitchen table became my favorite roost.  Though my husband was a busy lawyer, he always came home for dinner with our two kids. There was so much humor around that table.  He actually made much of the furniture, again reproduction style. Christmas became the star moment for the kitchen.  We always imported our cousins for that holiday and hung the stockings in the kitchen, oldest first while Revels records served as the sound track.  Our Christmas tree was always big and fat and often spanned the two front windows of the living room. Part of the ritual was for guests to check out the tree to see if we’d done it yet again.  For Christmas dinner, five more families joined us and we had tables end to end for the long length of the kitchen — for decades.  Only when marriages took our regulars to new relations did the custom begin to change., Everyone brought part of the meal and we did a turkey.  There is an extra electric convection oven in the kitchen to accommodate those big meals. We did festoon the house very simply, a lot like the Wayside Inn

I was a prime mover in getting a walkway for Mossman Road, making two presentations at town meetings.  It gives me profound joy to see it so well used all these years later.  My kids and the neighbors rode their bikes to the Greenwood Club right down the street where they spent most summer days.  We all knew one another and met up at swim meets.  

The kids were always outside in those days, and so was I.  Although we had the bones of the property laid out by our neighbor Ron Boucher, a landscape architect, I myself spent countless hours planting.  I think the mature shrubs that I started by cuttings will be hard to leave.  

Haynes School was a warm community then and I think that continues. (Yes, it does)

We put a room over the garage for me to have an art studio.  Eventually, it became the TV room and I painted in my favorite room, the kitchen.  The porch,made this my dream house.  We used that room almost year round.   I had a serious illness for several years and the porch was my refuge, even in February one year.  

It was a coup to put the laundry on the second floor, saving so much schlepping.  Also, there is a nice cedar closet in the attic.  

One thing I love about our dining room: the same exact chairs, wallpaper and drapes were used in a scene in a Hugh Grant movie called Notting Hill.  We felt our decorating was validated.  

388 Willis Road is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath New England Colonial situated on one of Sudbury’s most beautiful country roads. Tall trees, mature plantings and expansive lawn frame the portrait for this Colonial Reproduction. As you will have read above, the heart of this home is the country kitchen with its breakfast bar and spacious dining area open to the warm fireplaced Family Room. The fireplaced Living Room and formal Dining Room are ideal for entertaining and holiday gatherings. The unique and appealing floor plan offers areas that present a wonderful surprise.There is a separate first floor office, generous size Mud Room with a second staircase to the cathedral ceiling, skylit Bonus Room, and cathedral ceiling enclosed Porch with wide pine floors and sliding glass doors to the gorgeous level backyard. The Master Bedroom has two closets (including a walk in closet) and Bath.  If summer ever arrives, you’ll enjoy your central air conditioning.

If you’re not in the market to buy, please do your friends a favor and share 388 Willis Road with them. You’ll love visiting!


photo credit: Stuart Beeby

I’ve heard from many that not everyone in town knows about the power line issue. So, to summarize – Eversource has introduced what they are referring to as a “Reliability Plan” that will (if it happens), run an overhead high voltage transmission line through the heart and soul of Sudbury. This would require clearcutting trees for over 4 MILES in length and 82 feet wide. Needless to say, no one in Sudbury is willing to allow this to happen, and everyone in 01776 is fighting against the Eversource plan. I’m hardly being hyperbolic when I say “everyone”, as it is an undisputed fact that this project has ZERO benefit to Sudbury.

What we are seeing is what I, and so many already knew about Sudbury, and what I love about this town. You don’t just get a sense of community here, you actually have a community. This is a community filled with people who love and appreciate everything that Sudbury has to offer. We’re not just about great schools and easy proximity to Boston – we’re an educated, unpretentious, united community and willing to fight for what needs to be done to protect Sudbury.  We appreciate our acres and acres of conservation land, our neighborhoods, our local businesses and our fellow residents. Sudbury has formed an Organization – Protect Sudbury in order to ban together.

If you are a member of Facebook and/or Twitter, it would be great if you could join the Facebook page – Protect Sudbury – No Power Lines and @ProtectSudbury

PROTECT SUDBURY, INC. a not for profit 501(c)(4) has hired Attorney Richard Kanoff from the Law Firm Burns and Levinson to represent our interests. There will be a meeting at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School at 7pm on Tuesday, March 22nd.

Letters have been written and sent to Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karen Polito, Representative Carmine Gentile, Senator Barrett, Senator Eldridge, Jay Ash, CongressWoman Nikki Tsongas, CongressWoman Katherine Clark, Senator Ed Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren. They may be read here:

Letter from Sudbury Conservation Commission

Letter from Board of Selectmen

Letter from Sudbury Historic District 

Letter from Sudbury Town Manager

We’re not 01776 for nothing… Stay tuned.


71 Newbridge Road, Sudbury, MA

It’s almost the end of February and its 61 degrees outside (yesterday). For those not accustomed to living in New England, 61 degrees in February means that the top is down on the convertible and winter jackets were left behind when the kids went to school this morning. It also means that we are hopeful that what little snow we can still see is the last of it (or maybe I just jinxed it) and that Spring is actually almost here.

(Home pictured above is 71 Newbridge Road in Sudbury, MA – please click here or the photo for more information)

Regardless of the weather, the Spring Real Estate market is upon us. It typically lasts until June. More and more houses will be hitting the market within the next few weeks, with Sellers very ready to sell. Many homeowners have spent the past few months getting their homes ready for the Buyers to see them at their finest, and they hope that you love it as much as they do. And if you do love a house, then what? Are you ready to buy? And by ready, I don’t mean “We love the house, we want to live there and start decorating” ready.

Being ready to buy means:

You are pre-approved to purchase a home in the price range in which you are looking.

  • Just like every business, all Mortgage Brokers and Lenders are not the same. We KNOW with certainty, which banks will make the process a living nightmare for everyone involved in the transaction and which Mortgage Brokers you will be hugging at the closing.
  • Please, ask us (or your Realtor) to recommend a Mortgage Broker. Why? Because we have been through more Real Estate transactions than you and your friends have and we know, first hand, who will close the deal painlessly and successfully. There is absolutely no incentive for us to recommend anyone except to make the transaction as smooth and easy for YOU as possible.
  • A pre-approval means that you have an actual letter, on Lender letterhead, that states that the bank has reviewed your qualifications (not just had a phone call with you), and it is prepared to loan you $X to purchase the house that you love. We (or your Realtor) will need to submit that letter along with your offer to purchase. 

You are working with a Realtor who not only knows the process, but knows the town in which the house is located. A Realtor who has your best interests in mind.

  • 99% of the time, hiring a Realtor to work with you to buy a house does not cost you ANYTHING. In Massachusetts, the SELLER pays the fees to the Real Estate offices involved in the transaction. Why on earth anyone would want to make one of the biggest purchases they will ever make without sound professional advice – especially when it is “free” is beyond comprehension.
  • Our job is not to just open doors and write offers. Hire a Realtor who knows the town. You’re not just buying a house – you’re committing to a lifestyle. Your Realtor should be able to help you answer any questions that you have. What will your routine be like? How long is your commute? How far are the schools? How are the schools? What times do school buses come? Where are kids going to play? Are there kids in the general area? How many times has the house you like been sold? What is the turnover in the neighborhood? What is the value of the neighborhood in comparison to others? Where is the closest coffee shop? Do people walk around the neighborhood or is seeing a neighbor a rarity? How busy is the street? What don’t you know that you should know?
  • Does your Realtor know what to look for and what to ask the seller when you are seriously considering the house? We aren’t home inspectors, and I can only speak for the Daniels Team, but after participating in HUNDREDS of home inspections, we do know the general anatomy of houses and we certainly know what questions to ask of the seller/seller’s Realtor.

You Are Living in REALity

  • HGTV, Bravo, etc. are PURE entertainment. Houses cannot be renovated or redecorated in 48 minutes and the buying process is different everywhere. Comparing your home search process to that of a TV show is akin to comparing your dating life to the Bachelor.
  • There is no such thing as the “perfect” home. Even new construction isn’t perfect. Please be realistic about your search. If you love the things that you can not change – the location, neighborhood and floor plan – you are 75% there. And if the house has been maintained well and you don’t need to replace every major system, you’re 90% there. The rest is intangible. If you don’t like a house because of a few brass doorknobs or powder room wallpaper or other easy, inexpensive fixes, it’s not really about the house. That’s an entirely different conversation.
  • You understand and accept that there will be issues that arise from a home inspection. It is the job of the home inspector to find these things. Very rarely does a house have nothing that can be addressed by the seller or the buyer. Trust your Realtor to advise you on what is and what isn’t important. Please don’t be a pain in the you-know-what and expect the seller to deliver to you the most perfect house you can imagine. You are buying the house, and if there is paint that is chipped in a bedroom, or one baluster on the staircase is a little loose, or a door that squeaks or a little wood rot near the garage – please, deal with it once you own the house.

Although actually moving is about as much fun as a root canal without anesthesia, the process of looking for, and buying your new home can be fun and really enjoyable – especially if you are prepared.

As always, Carole and I would love to work with you. Please don’t hesitate to call/text or email us at any time.

Good luck!


SUDBURY Property Values – 2016 Assessments

January 20, 2016

Tweet With the anticipation ALMOST as exciting as the upcoming Patriots game, or waiting to buy Billy Joel or Pearl Jam at Fenway tickets – here are our 2016 property assessments. BEFORE (yes, I’m yelling) you click on the link and scroll down looking for your address – please remember that your property assessment is […]

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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? How to Decide If Moving Or Renovating Is Best For You.

March 21, 2015

Tweet   I wrote this piece about 4 years ago, when Winter seemed to end when it was supposed to (in January). Now, with the Spring market rearing it’s snowy head, SO many people are begging the question “do we renovate or do we move”?  I won’t tell you what to do, but I hope […]

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Hibernation, Shmibernation – It’s Time to Get MOVING!

February 26, 2015

Tweet Earlier today, Real Estate Attorney, Richard Vetstein of the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, inquired with some of his favorite Realtors about the impact the Blizzardterrible Winter has had on the Massachusetts Real Estate Market.  I was happy to be included and offered my input on the Sudbury market. Click here for the article. Or, […]

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Why We LOVE Sudbury! Reason #2

October 21, 2014

Tweet There is no particular order to this list, just what comes to mind each day.  It’s only numbered so that it’s easier to keep track. Reason #1 – The foliage on Route 27. Reason #2 – HOPEsudbury From my experience, Sudbury families, really, truly care about each other. Founded after 9-11 by Sudbury residents, HOPEsudbury […]

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Beyond MLS™ – Why You, Or Someone You Know Should Buy… 347 NORTH ROAD, SUDBURY, MASSACHUSETTS (MLS #71693294)

October 18, 2014

Tweet If you are thinking about buying a house that has privacy, tremendous character, a fantastic yard, many updates in a very convenient location in Sudbury, I encourage you to read on — what you have seen online up to this point couldn’t possibly begin to tell you about how great living at 347 North […]

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Why We LOVE Sudbury! Reason #1

October 9, 2014

Tweet Buyers always ask us what we love about Sudbury. There are so many reasons why – most of which are intangible.  But, every day, there is at least one thing that happens that easily makes the “Why We Love Sudbury” list.  The reasons are pretty simple, but when they are all added up, it […]

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Beyond MLS™ – Why You, Or Someone You Know Should Buy… 109 KIRKLAND DRIVE, STOW, MASSACHUSETTS

September 11, 2014

Tweet Multiple Listing Service provides Real Estate Agents/Brokers with exactly 1000 character spaces to use in the description section in MLS. This is typically a challenge, as we are attempting to convince you, in 1000 characters or less (including spaces) why you should spend six or seven figures and move into that specific house. In […]

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Beyond MLS™ – Why You, Or Someone You Know Should Buy… 442 ELM STREET, FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS

July 13, 2014

Tweet UPDATE: Sold with multiple offers the first day on the market. Closed in August 2014. Read fast – this one isn’t going to last. There are SO MANY buyers for whom 442 Elm Street is suited, I hope you have a chance to read this. First time buyers, those who are downsizing, those needing […]

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Beyond MLS™ – Why You, Or Someone You Know Should Buy… 36 RED OAK DRIVE, SUDBURY, MASSACHUSETTS

July 12, 2014

Tweet Interested in an absolutely gorgeous Creighton Hammill colonial reproduction in the most historic area in Sudbury that happens to have a great deal of privacy AND be in a wonderful neighborhood? Feel free to call us while you are reading. Multiple Listing Service provides Real Estate Agents/Brokers with exactly 1000 character spaces to use […]

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Beyond MLS™ – Why You, Or Someone You Know Should Buy… 340 DUTTON ROAD, SUDBURY, MASSACHUSETTS

June 27, 2014

Tweet TOO LATE! Multiple offers the first day on the market. I kindly suggest that you read this one fast, as I don’t think the house is long to last on the market. Multiple Listing Service provides Real Estate Agents/Brokers with exactly 1000 character spaces to use in the description section in MLS. This is […]

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June 25, 2014

Tweet                                  JUST REDUCED! NOW $925k – AND, the very wonderful, reasonable, and motivated Sellers have already installed NEW hardwood floors in the kitchen AND the NEW granite countertops are being installed this week! We are hosting an Open House on […]

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What is the “Safest Place” in Massachusetts, You Ask? SUDBURY!

March 11, 2014

Tweet This post is short and very sweet – I am very excited to tell you that of all the 301 Towns and 50 Cities in Massachusetts, our fabulous Sudbury was ranked #1 as the “Safest Place in Massachusetts” by Movoto, a Real Estate website (not ours). Wayland is very close at #9, and Weston, […]

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Applications Available for The Coolidge At Sudbury

March 3, 2014

Tweet B’nai B’rith Housing is proud to announce that the application process for the affordable units at The Coolidge at Sudbury is now underway! Please click here to visit the development’s new website. Information about The Coolidge At Sudbury (as copied from their website): The Coolidge at Sudbury, a 55 & better community of one and two […]

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Best Way to Celebrate the Patriots Win? Buy a New House!

January 12, 2014

Tweet We are hosting two Open Houses today, January 12. In Sudbury, 18 Trailside Circle. 1:00-3:00 – $1,399,000 (Tall Pines Neighborhood) This is the Premier cul de sac setting in Tall Pines – adjacent to 4.5 Acres of Conservation Land. Dramatic brickfront Colonial with breathtaking twin bridal staircases, additional rear staircase, two story Great Room with full […]

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Happy New Year! Time to Move!

January 10, 2014

Tweet Now that “Blue Monday” is almost so-last-week, and any far-fetched resolution one may have dreamt (i.e., making school lunches the night before school) lasted maybe, a day, it’s time to prepare for, and create, the reality that is 2014. For so many of you who have thought about moving, THIS  is your year. I […]

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Daniels Team Ranked In TOP 1,000 of 41,000+ Agents Nationwide!

January 9, 2014

Tweet WE ARE SO HAPPY! We were informed today that we ranked within the top 1,000 (top 2%) of over 41,000 Agents in NRT nationwide, for the 3rd Quarter of 2013.  We are honored to have received this ranking several times during past years and strive to remain in the top 1,000 every year. Thank you, thank […]

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