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Additional Fees to Remember When Starting Your New Home Search

Purchasing a new home is a big decision. For most people, it is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. As you start your hunt, don't forget there are other costs associated with your new home purchase aside from the price of the home. 

Here are 5 fees to keep in mind as you start to develop a budget:

1. Home inspection. 

This is a crucial step in the home buying process. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate price and repairs. Generally, you can expect to pay between $300 to $1,000 depending on the home and the location.

2. Title services. 

Title services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property’s records to ensure to no one will pop up with a claim to the property. Additionally, you may need to buy title insurance which will protect the lender or your investment in the home.

3. Appraisal fee. 

Before getting a loan, you may be required to get an appraisal of the home to determine its estimated value. This will be conducted by a third-party company and the cost can land anywhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the size of the home.

4. HOA / Condo fees. 

Many communities have a homeowners’ association that enforces monthly fees. This money is used for general maintenance and updates to areas like pools, parks, and more. HOA fees are dependent upon the type of property, the amenities, the expenses covered by the fees, etc.

5. Taxes. 

The taxes each buyer pays at the closing table differ, but it is not uncommon for it to be up to two months’ worth of county and city property taxes. Additionally, there may be taxes for the transfer of the home title.

If you would like more information or need help planning for purchasing a new home, CONTACT US, and we’ll put you in touch with an agent who can help you get your ducks in a row!

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    Tips for Properly Storing Your Wine at Home

    Let's face it. Since March, we've all been spending A LOT more time at home. We've binge watched our favorite shows. We've had Zoom calls with friends and family. And perhaps even imbibed on some quarantine cocktails.

    There are countless online recipes for "quarantinis." But maybe traditional cocktail recipes aren't for you, and you've been enjoying some of your favorite red and white wines while in lockdown.

    Whether you are a big wine connoisseur, just saving a few bottles to crack open on special occasions, or keeping a stockpile for evenings in the backyard, it’s important to understand how best to store them safely until you’re ready to partake. Here are a few guidelines for keeping your wine in tip-top shape at home.

    Temperature

    To ensure each wine bottle maintains the proper flavor and aroma, storing it at the correct temperature is essential. Regardless if it is red, white, or sparkling, storing your bottles at 53°F to 57°F is most ideal. Keeping your bottles in a room where the temperature is much warmer than that may cause the flavor to become flat. Keep your wine in the dark and away from direct UV rays as much as you can to protect the wine’s flavor. 

    Moisture

    Controlling the humidity in the room is important if you plan to store bottles for more than a couple of years. The ideal humidity for storage is between 50 to 75 percent and anything below that could cause the corks to dry out, letting air seep into the bottle.

    Positioning

    Generally, it is advised to store wine bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to stay up against the cork which should aid in keeping it from drying out. However, if you don’t plan to store the wine for long or if the bottle has a screw top or plastic cork, this is not required for safe storage.

    Timing

    Not all wine is designed to have a long shelf life or be aged. Make sure you know what the winemaker’s intention was for that particular bottle. It is always better to open it a little early and enjoy it!

    We hope you continue to stay safe and enjoy your social distancing time, and if a glass of wine is your thing, we say "Cheers!"

     

    Buying Strategies in an Age of Multiple Offers, Bidding Wars, and Above-Asking Sales

    We are in the midst of a very unique time in real estate. The pandemic has led to lower interest rates, homeowners are hunkered down in the comfort of their own homes – opting to stay put –  while long-time-city-dwellers are looking to escape the close proximity of the city for the renewed comfort and safety of the suburbs.

    That means it’s an attractive time to buy, financially. There is low inventory availability, and there’s exceptional demand for properties outside of the city.

    Bottom line: It is a complicated time for buyers!

    Homes are selling fast, with multiple offers, for as much as 20-30% over asking price.

    As a realtor, the first thing I do when working with prospective buyers today is set expectations. By setting expectations about the reality of the current environment, we mitigate the potential for frustration while helping the buyer understand how they can best position themselves for success when the right property comes along.

    There are a number of guidelines that can help make buyers more attractive to sellers, especially if they are looking at a multiple offer situation.

    1.  Plan ahead and get a pre-approval with a well-trusted, local bank.

    As a realtor, I look favorably at local banks and lenders that are trusted by realtors and the local community. Ask your realtor who they trust, and if your comfortable doing so, ask other realtors and friends within the community.

    Using a reputable, local lender, with a good reputation in the community can help move the process along faster, with fewer approval and closing date delays. This can give you an edge in a multiple offer situation.

    2.  If you can do a pre-inspection before making an offer, do it!

    Personally, I would never recommend that my clients waive a home inspection. That can be a risky proposition, but you may be able to do a home inspection prior to making an offer!

    In the current real estate market, many sellers are delaying reviewing offers for days, which may present an opportunity for buyers to conduct a preemptive home inspection. Essentially, this is a home inspection before the offer is made, and this allows you to waive the home inspection when you make your formal offer.

    If a seller won’t give you permission or access to the property to do this prior to making an offer, you can schedule your home inspection prior to the offer deadline, meaning you could make it happen faster than the typical 10 days. Sometimes, cutting this down to 5 days can be attractive to a seller giving you a potential upper hand.

    3.  Have your realtor find out what’s important to the seller.

    Maybe the seller wants to stay in the house for 4 months. Maybe they would rather not be bothered by having to clean out the contents of the shed. Have your realtor try to find out what would make the sale and transition easier for the seller. There may be small things that you can do, if you have some flexibility, to make you a more attractive buyer.

    4.  Don’t get caught in the feeding frenzy.

    Homes are selling quickly and for over asking prices. You don’t have to get caught up in that frenzy. This, too, shall pass.

    If, however, you find the property of your dreams and you’re prepared to really go after it, make sure you are fully informed. Determine what the house is worth on paper by talking to your realtor and reviewing comps to justify the price. Then, determine what the property is worth to you! Because we’re in the midst of a unique time in real estate, knowing what the house and worth, and what it’s worth to you personally, is essential to make an educated decision about your offer.

    If you’re going to make an offer above asking, do it for your own reasons, not simply because you feel like the market demands it, and you have to.

    5.  Hire an experienced, full-time realtor.

    When things are selling quickly, you need a full-time realtor who is always available, ready to move fast, and is on top of all of the important details. 

    Realtors, who have been at it for a long time, also have other tricks of the trade. They may not publicize their trade secrets – but experience brings knowledge and strategies for making things happen. When you are considering a realtor, ask if they have any strategies or tactics that they employ to help their buyers look more attractive to sellers.

    6.  Pick up the phone. 

    Yes, texting is convenient, but it never paints the full picture. Be prepared to speak to your realtor as frequently as needed to ensure you are working together to execute a flawless search and attractive buying strategy.

    Following these steps can help put any buyer in a more attractive position in this unusual real estate market. Be diligent, thorough, and don’t get frustrated.

    If you’d like more information, reach out to Jessica Tully at jessica@molisserealty.net or 978-835-3879.

     

    Your Online Home Search – Be Prepared!

    In the age of Covid-19, we all find ourselves doing things a lot differently than we did in the past, including searching for our dream home.

    Hunting for a new property online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Realtors who have listings for what they expect will be high-demand properties as scheduling weekend appointments – often in 15-minute increments – in lieu of the traditional open house format.

    This is a great safety precaution, but it makes it especially important that new home buyers stay on top of new listings, open houses, and appointment schedules for properties they are interested in.

    With historically low interest rates and historically low inventory levels, many properties are selling in record time, with multiple offers above asking price. While it may be tempting to make a quick offer to avoid a bidding war, we always recommend seeing your prospective purchase before making an offer.

    Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

    • Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
    • Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
    • See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

    If you’re trying to formulate your buying strategy, our certified Realtors can help you put a plan in place to find your dream home! If you’re looking for an agent to guide you through your home-buying journey, you can find all of Molisse Realty Group’s professional agents RIGHT HERE!

     

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      What to Repair to Maximize Your Sales Potential

      We see clients struggle with the age-old question whenever they are preparing to list their homes: what should I invest in repairing before I list?

      When you’re getting ready to list your home, of course, it’s very important to ensure you are showing your property in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. At the same time, over-investing in unnecessary repairs should be avoided.

      Here are four recommended repairs to make before selling your home – and they won’t break the bank!

      Repaint walls.

      Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure to cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

      Repair floors.

      Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

      Refresh the landscaping.

      Show buyers your home is the complete package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, and fill in mulch and gravel. It’s important that your home look as desireable as possible from the curb!

      Fix your fixtures.

      Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. 

      If your property is very tired, and you want to command top dollar, updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment

      If you have questions about what repairs you should invest in, reach out to one of our agents. We’ll make sure you only put as little in as necessary to ensure you get the most you possibly can out of your home sale!

      Creating a Staging Strategy for Your Home

      Did you know that homes that are setup (staged) to sell reap far greater rewards than those that are not? 

      According to Forbes, every $100 invested in staging can result in a potential return of $400. Staged homes often sell faster, and they frequently sell for more than un-staged homes, which can mean big returns if you are looking to optimize your selling price.

      Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your next open house or viewing!

      1. Help them visualize it as their own. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décors, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.
      2. Think sleek instead of comfy. Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset, and incorporate bright colors and metal accents.
      3. Deep clean the small spaces. It's obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
      4. Spruce up your landscaping. The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.
      5. Set the mood. A home is so much more than just the way it looks, so you need to appeal to the other senses. Prior to having potential buyers over, set the mood by burning delicious smelling candles and selecting an upbeat, happy soundtrack to play in the background.

      Molisse Realtors are experts in staging homes. Contact one of our agents – they can be found HERE – to determine the best strategy for staging and selling your home in an unprecedented sellers' market!

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        Six Easy Ways to Prepare Your Property for Sale

        So, you’re thinking of selling your home? 

        Maybe it’s time for something larger to accommodate your growing family, or perhaps you’re looking to downsize later on in life. No matter what your reason may be, it’s incredibly important to prepare your house before listing it, so potential buyers walk in and say, “wow, I need to have this!” 

        Showing your house in the best possible light will increase your likelihood of selling fast!

        The key to preparing your house for listing is to be sure you highlight its strengths and fix up some of  the areas that can use a makeover or improvement. This can make a big difference in how quickly your property sells. 

        Here are five easy, relatively inexpensive ways, to prepare your house for listing:

        1. Repaint the walls.

        Giving your home a fresh coat of paint can be one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Be sure to spackle or fill any scratches or dents and consider updating any funky accent walls with a more neutral color to allow potential buyers to envision what they might do with the property.

        2. Fix your floors.

        Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home! It’s critically important that they look as good as possible, so consider fixing scratches or dull areas. Sanding down and refinishing floors may not be necessary, but a fresh coat of polish will go a long way. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing it. Kitchen or bathroom tile should also be considered. Again, you may not need to replace the tile, but re-grouting can go a long way in making tired tile look brand new!

        3. Spend some time on your landscaping.

        Show buyers your home is the complete package by improving the outside areas as well as the inside. Clean your walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim the edges and trees, and be sure mulch and gravel are fresh. This will ensure the outside of your property doesn’t feel tired.

        4. Fix your fixtures.

        Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose handles? Discolored air vents? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. 

        5. Improve your kitchen. 

        An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry with a fresh coat of paint, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment to help your property move quickly.

        6. Declutter

        If you think your property may need to be decluttered, don’t wait for your agent to tell you so! Less is always more when it comes to presenting your home for sale. A clean property photographs better, shows better, and sells faster!

        Use this as an opportunity to improve your space – even if you decide not to list your property – no one has ever done this and said, “Geez, I wish I still had all of that unnecessary stuff lying around.”

        These are just a handful of ideas to prepare your home for listing, and of course there are other that may be right for your property. You may have some ideas of your own.

        Before investing too much in updates, reach out to one of our realtors, and they will be happy to tell you which updates will yield the greatest return and which ones are not worth investing in at all.

        For more information, email us at info@molisserealty.net.

         

        55+ Active Adult Communities on Massachusetts' South Shore: Boston's south coast offers something for all tastes

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        Active Adult Communities began to spring up on the South Shore about 20 years ago. This beautiful area is now home to over 35 communities with close to 2,500 residential properties. 

        People often wonder why these lifestyle homes have become so popular in recent years. The number one reason that my clients give me is that they are looking to eliminate the exterior maintenance that comes with traditional home ownership so they can free up time to fully enjoy their retirement years. It’s also appealing to move into a community where people are at the same stage in life which creates a seamless transition by offering the opportunity to make new friends easily – with shared-interests – and, again, to take full advantage of the retirement years. 

        The South Shore’s Active Adult Communities have a lot of things in common. Most have everything you need on the 1st floor so that you can age in place. These amenities include 1st floor master bedrooms and laundry rooms. Most homes have at least a 1 car garage, central air, gas fireplaces, hardwood flooring and granite kitchens and baths. In addition, a good number of homes also include a 2nd floor that houses a guest suite and loft or a second living area. 

        One of the questions I get most often is “why do the builders put 2nd floors on these 55+ homes?” The answer is twofold. First, the builders can build more homes and therefore make them more affordable by building vertical rather than horizontal. A builder can fit more homes on the land if each home is 2 stories instead of having all the living space spread out on one floor. The second reason is that most buyers want an area for their visitors, especially out-of-towners, – family, friends, kids or grandkids – to spread out in a private space without impinging on the main living area. 

        Some of our South Shore communities do offer strictly one floor living. Most of the communities have homes that are attached in duplex or triplex buildings, but there are some communities that offer detached homes. 

        What else sets this area’s communities apart? The most diverse qualities include the size of the community, the price range, the number of group amenities that are offered, and the size of the homeowners’ association fee.

        For the purposes of this article, I am going to highlight four of the active adult communities on the South Shore. If, however, you are interested in learning more about any or all of the communities, please feel free to reach out to me anytime. 

        Plymouth | Great Island by Del Webb 

        If activities are important to you, then Great Island located within The Pinehills in Plymouth is definitely the place to be!

         With 600 homes located within the woodland beauty and towering pines of this community, Great Island also boasts a 12,000 square foot clubhouse that includes a full time activities director, an indoor pool, fitness center, pool tables, activity rooms, gathering rooms, kitchen, grand ballroom, outdoor patio with grills, bocce courts and tennis courts. In addition, there are miles of walking trails and two ponds for canoeing and kayaking. Residents also have access to the amenities within the Pinehills including two championship golf courses. 

        There are a dozen different floor plans to choose from, and there are attached and detached models as well as some homes that are one level only. Alas, this community is all sold-out for new construction, but with such a large community, there are usually some resale homes available at any given time. Lately, resales have been selling anywhere from the $400s to $600s, depending on the size and features of each home. 

        Weymouth | The Village at Weathervane 

        Are you looking for a community closer to Boston? Then, look no further than the Village at Weathervane in Weymouth. 

        This stunning community is one of the South Shore’s best kept secrets. This community offers beautifully designed, detached homes that are bordered by a nine-hole golf course. Many of the homes overlook sweeping fairways while other homes enjoy views of the luscious landscaping. 

        You don’t have to be a golfer to live here as golfing is separate, but you do get to enjoy the views regardless! Prices at The Village at Weathervane are at a premium with recent resales commanding from the mid $600s to the low $700s. 

        Marshfield | Spyglass Landing 

        Looking for a neighborhood location in the seaside town of Marshfield? Spyglass Landing is a beautiful community located on Telegraph Hill. 

        These 84 townhomes are ringed by wooded views, and the high vistas allow for gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Although there is no clubhouse, make no mistake, there are activities if you desire them. This community is very well organized and there are tons of opportunities to get exercise, to socialize, and to stay active and involved. 

        The location affords you access to all of the beaches in Marshfield, as well as being close to the highway for those getaway trips to the Cape, Boston and skiing up North. 

        Oh, and the homes are lovely! 

        Designed by the award-winning builder, Pulte, every home was thoughtfully designed and contains all the bells and whistles that you won’t be giving up for retirement living. Resales here are generally in the low to mid $500s. 

        Plymouth | Sawyers Reach 

        Do you have your heart set on new construction? This is a beautiful community currently under construction in an ideal location in Plymouth. 

        Situated just behind the Colony Place shopping complex, you will have access to an abundance of nearby options for groceries, retail, restaurants, recreation and healthcare. It is also convenient to the Rt 44 extension connecting Routes 3 and 495. The Cape or Boston or Rhode Island are all within easy reach. 

        In the words of the builder, “Prepare to be wowed by our contemporary sophisticated condominium homes inspired by the Back Bay.” 

        There will be 224 homes upon completion. This community offers traditional townhomes or condos that are located in a building that is serviced by an elevator. That is a great option if stairs are not your thing. And, the community will have a large clubhouse containing a saltwater heated pool. 

        Homes here are selling in a very broad price range of $300s to $600s depending on whether you are purchasing a condo or townhome. This community will offer something for everyone! 

        About the author, Mary Mabey:

        Mary Mabey, Molisse Realty Group’s resident Active Adult Community Expert, has been with MRG since our inception in 2008, and she took an interest in 55+ communities right from the start. She would be thrilled to answer your questions and help you find the right home for your needs. You can reach Mary at 617-688-0358.

        Happy 10th Anniversary, Mike Molisse!

        Today, we celebrate our friend and colleague, Mike Molisse's 10th year working in real estate with Molisse Realty Group. Aside from being the brother of our founder and broker, Brian Molisse, Mike is a beloved member of our team, an incredible mentor to other agents, and a great giver to his local community.

        Several members of our team had these kind words for Mike:

        "It has been a pleasure to have my brother, Michael, work with MRG for the past 10 years. Mike was a perfect fit for real estate from day one, achieving top producer status in his first year, and each year since. His passion for helping people is remarkable. 

        Mike is very involved in the town of Weymouth, having served as a Town Councilor for many years and spending countless hours volunteering his time for numerous local causes. He is most passionate about helping the elderly and is always there for his constituents, and his clients.  


        Mike has been a huge asset to MRG, and he is always willing to help in anyway he can. I couldn’t be prouder to call him my brother and couldn’t be happier to have him as a full time Realtor at Molisse Realty Group.” - Brian Molisse, Broker/Owner

        "As a fairly new agent at Molisse, Mike was one of the first people to reach out and welcome me to the team. He is always so willing to help and give advice on a deal, as well as offer support. Mike is a true pro and we couldn’t be luckier to have him at MRG - Happy 10 years, Mike!" - Ronnie Beaudoin, Agent

        "Happy Anniversary! Always there for support and information, couldn't do it without you.....miss you!" - Jeanne Melvin, Agent

        "Mike has been a great role model for me in real estate. He is literally always available for guidance or answer a question. He is incredibly generous with his time and information for everyone." - Jim O’Sullivan, Agent

        "Happy 10th Anniversary to a great guy to know both professionally & personally!! Toast to Mike ... Here's to you and those like you ... Darn Few!!" - Jeannie Mulvaney, Agent

        Happy Anniversary, Mike!
         

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          5 Good Things from The Age of Coronavirus

          In these uncertain times, it can be challenging to find daily bright spots among so much daily news of rising infection numbers and the vagueness of how long this might all continue. As a small business owner, I find myself contemplating additional layers of worry – like how my family of agents is holding up, how our long-term clients are doing, and how might this impact the housing market once the worst is over.

          At the same time, I have found some unexpected comfort and improvements in my day-to-day life, and I wanted to share some of those with you.

          1. I pick up the phone more.

          As a society, I think we have become so quick to fire off a quick text or check in by email. Lately, I find people are more willing to pick up the phone for a check-in call, myself included. There is comfort in picking up the phone and hearing the familiar voice of family or friends that I may typically send a text to. At the same time, with limited in-person interactions, the conversations I have with my team and clients take on a renewed importance to me – not just professionally, but also as a means of fulfilling the basic need for one-on-one, person-to-person contact.

          2. I’ve been able to clean, declutter and prioritize.

          While most of us are still busy working from home, we have more down time in the comfort of our own surroundings. I have been able to create checklists of things that we need to get done, and in some cases, I have skipped the list and just completed projects that have been long overdue but have sat on the backburner. The funny part about so many of these things is that they don’t take a long time, but procrastination has pushed them off. From touching up small spots on walls to taking a feather duster to the edges of the ceilings throughout the house, all of these little things have provided a profound feeling of accomplishment.

          3. Who knew I could cook?

          Without the ability to go out to dinner in a pinch, suddenly, we find ourselves doing a lot more cooking at home. While this isn’t an unusual thing at face value, I have found that I am enjoying the art of cooking more and have enjoyed my time planning, preparing and savoring the meals we make at home.

          4. I am getting more fresh air than ever.

          Walks are a staple of social distancing. The dog loves it, and it gives us a chance to get outside and see familiar and unfamiliar faces who are all experiencing the same unfamiliar time in their lives. There is reassurance in seeing life continue at a very basic level and knowing that we’re all going to be okay.

          5. People are kinder.

          Whether I am at the supermarket, on a walk, or working in the yard, I have realized we are all in this together. People are kinder, gentler and more personable.

          Let’s face it: New Englanders can be a bit salty and speak only when spoken to, however, I have found myself saying more hellos and receiving more “hello, how are you doing’s” than ever before. 

          Hopefully, in the course of the coming weeks, we will find ourselves emerging from this unexpected and unfamiliar and uncomfortable public health crisis, but I hope we remember the best parts of it – the parts that have reminded us of our own humanity and the simpler parts of being good people.

          In the end, the economy will recover, and the housing market will be fine. The bonus just might be a renewed appreciation for human connection and time with the people who mean the most to us.

          Be well, everyone.

          Brian Molisse