A Home On Display – In A Museum!

When I first stepped foot inside the beautiful home on 3 Kent Circle in Gloucester, I was in awe of its unique Stacey Boulevard location and stunning harbor views and amazed by its distinctive architectural beauty. I didn’t then know who the architect was who created this beautiful home, but now I do, thanks to a wonderful exhibit currently underway at the Cape Ann Museum, showcasing the work of one of the most creative and important architectural firms of the late 19th and early 20th century, Phillips and Holloran.

The exhibit features some of the most significant buildings on Cape Ann designed by this esteemed firm, including the T.S. Eliot house on Eastern Point, sections of the Cape Ann Savings Bank on Main Street, Spiran Hall in Rockport, the Pulsifer building at the corner of Beach and Union Streets in Manchester, and, much to my happy surprise, 3 Kent Circle! The corner towers, cone shaped roof, and decorative carvings that are among this home’s unique features were not designed by just any ordinary architect, they were designed by this Gloucester based firm, founded by Ezra Phillips who later partnered with Timothy F. Holloran and went on to create a wonderful inventory of signature buildings.

When one of Gloucester’s famous fishing captains, Charles Harty, approached Ezra Phillips in 1899 to design his home on what is now 3 Kent Circle, he set an example of what a first generation working-class American fisherman could accomplish. And now you can own this historic home, which is currently listed for sale by Tobey Seaport Properties, LLC (MLS #: 72003266). If you are interested in obtaining more information on this historic Queen Anne Victorian home or would like to schedule a private showing, please contact listing agent, Jennifer Maniaci, at 978.317.5368.

A House and A Heritage

An older house can be so much more than simply a building. It can be a place that holds the memories of those who lived there while reflecting the living heritage of the community of which it is a part. 3 Kent Circle is such a house.

On one hand, it is a beautiful Queen Anne home built sometime around 1900 with many classic features that remain intact: a grand foyer, dual grand staircases, original wood flooring and mantels, and a working fireplaces. But it is something more: it captures the spirit of its original owners, Captain Charles H. Harty, one of Gloucester’s famous skippers from the era when fishing schooners dominated our working harbor, and his wife, Mary. And it thereby reflects the living history and legacy of Gloucester.

Historical records and classic Gloucester histories such as Gordon Thomas’s Fast and Able refer to him as “one of the greatest sailing masters out of the port,” and Captain Harty was a major player in a great period of the City’s fishing history. A participant in the first fishermen’s races in 1887, he skippered over the following decades some of the finest vessels that sailed out of Gloucester Harbor: J.J. Merritt, Jr., Fredonia, Grayling, Golden Rod, Marguerite Haskins, Mary E. Harty, Clintonia, Constellation, Oriole, and Stiletto.

His reputation as a superior captain meant that many vessel owners asked him to take the helm when their schooners journeyed out on maiden voyages. With its commanding view of the Outer Harbor and the mouth of the Inner Harbor, it is not hard to imagine why Mary and Captain Charlie built their home at 3 Kent Circle: so Mary could watch for her husband’s safe return to his homeport and Captain Harty could watch the comings-and-goings of the fleet during the days he spent ashore.

For the Tobey Seaport team, this grand house brought history alive – as we learned the history of 3 Kent Circle, we quickly saw it intersect with the history of the Tobey family – while Captain Harty was the first skipper of Stiletto, my great grandfather, Captain Howard Tobey, was her last. We are fully confident it will continue as a monument to Gloucester’s vibrant legacy while housing other families who, like Captain and Mrs. Harty, call it home.

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6 Questions to Ask Before Searching for Your Dream Home.

1.  How much can I afford to buy a house?
Typically, you can afford a home priced two to three times your yearly income. Consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees.

2.  What are my needs?

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Come up with your top five “must-haves” and top five “wants” to help you focus your search and make a reasonable, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3.  Where to I want to live?

Make a list of your top five community priorities: commute time, schools, restaurants, entertainment, community stats, unique qualities and more should be considered. Ask your Agent to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4.  Do I have enough money for a down payment?

Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a down payment, but some lenders allow as little as 3.5% down with a FHA (Federal Housing Authority) or 5% down with Mass Housing. Keep in mind if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (aka PMI). Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Also, cities and towns sometimes offer a 1st time homebuyers grant to put towards a down payment. The City of Gloucester offers $10,000, for example, and other north shore towns offer compelling rates, too.

5.  What are all these costs?

A down payment is just one of the many home buying costs. Your Realtor can tell you what other costs buyers generally pay in your area, including: home inspections, attorneys’ fees, transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price, and other legal considerations. Add up the extras you may want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings, new appliances or even the patio furniture for your new yard, but keep a budget central to your plans.

6.  Am I credit worthy?

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, which typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. The minimum credit score you have to qualify for a loan depends on many factors, including the size of your down payment and gift letters. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

Now that you’ve reviewed these 6 essential questions, there’s one last question you have to answer: Am I ready to purchase a home? If so, get a free pre-approval with guidance from Tobey Properties!

Tobey Properties can help you navigate all these steps, including lender matching, pre-approval, budget assessment, neighborhood breakdown, house matching, negotiations and much more! With Tobey Properties, we bring a modern approach with a community focus that sets our Realtors apart. It’s a great time to buy or sell and we’d love to help you with your housing goals. Give us a call, send us an email, post a message on our Facebook page or even text us – we’ll start working toward your needs and find that dream home!

Helpful Pointers to Sell Your Home in Record Time

Here are a few helpful tips to make sure your home is sold in no time!

 Price it right

Let’s face it we all hold sentimental value in our homes and see greater value in it than most.  Working with a trusted realtor who knows and understands the market is important.  An overpriced home can sit on the market longer than you’d like.

De-clutter

Removing extra nick knacks, family photos and storage can open up a room and make it look much bigger.  It’s sometimes tough for a buyer to envision their idea of a dream home if all of your stuff is taking over.

Staging

If you are flipping a house staging can cut the time on the market in half.  Often buyers have a hard time visualizing the potential of an empty home.  Not everyone has the mind of an interior designer.  Consignment shops and yard sales are great places for picking up some furniture, paintings, etc. and won’t break the bank.  Remember you don’t have to overdue it, having a few pieces of furniture in the focal rooms of a house like the kitchen, family/living room and master bedroom will go a long way.

Lighting

Having a bright home provides for an uplifting feel to the home.  Take down your shades, clean your windows and cut bushes that may be blocking out the sunlight.  Increasing the wattage in your light bulbs also makes a big difference.

Curb Appeal

A nice freshly mowed lawn, mulching around your bushes and in your flower beds and adding a few potted flowers can do wonders.  Also, giving the exterior a nice power wash and painting the exterior of the door can make a home look like new.

 

These are just a few of the useful tips we have to offer at Tobey Seaport Properties.  I hope you found these tips helpful!   If you are looking to buy or sell your home, Tobey Seaport Properties is here to help you every step of the way.

Thoughts On The Coming Year

With the first anniversary of Tobey Seaport Properties in our rearview mirror, our team is looking ahead to a busy and productive new year of service.  Our goal for the coming months remains unchanged: helping Cape Ann buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.

The key to our continued success will be to build on the work habits that led to our success during our first year.  They are simple to recite: good communications, hard work, attention to detail, and a constant focus on customer service.  

But making those habits a reality on a day-to-day basis is a much more difficult matter. It requires discipline and constant effort and a new beginning every day and and with every client. It is all about constant commitment, and it is a commitment our team takes very seriously.

I say this with 100% confidence, because I have seen during Year #1 what our team can do.  Emily, Frank, Melanie and Jen have proven themselves to be top-notch real estate professionals, getting the job done and getting it done right. Their commitment is real, and I am very proud of them.

For me, this adventure has been first and foremost about empowering a new generation of Cape Ann business people as they begin their own careers. It is about giving them a chance to show what they can do and to strut their stuff. 

If the achievements of our team are indicative, and I know they are, it is a generation that will achieve great things for our communities this year and in the years ahead.

Navigating Change

Up until now, my own personal real estate transactions have always been about my husband Sal and me being on the buying side of things.  I have never had to sell my own property.  But over the last few weeks I have had a small taste of what it would be like to sell my home.  

 

Let me explain….

 

My family will soon be going through some major changes as we move to North Carolina for a couple of years as Sal undertakes a new Coast Guard duty assignment.  All very good changes, but changes nonetheless, and change has always been something I have struggled with.  

 

(But don’t worry, friends: I will be telecommuting from my new home, working with my real estate partners in our shared adventure, and I will definitely be back during the prime real estate season to work with our wonderful clients!)  

 

Based on this temporary change, Sal and I decided to rent out our home in East Gloucester.  At first, I thought this process of renting our home would be a piece of cake – boy, was I wrong!  As I think back over the last couple of weeks, I now realize it was easy to get potential tenants in the door, but I had no idea how I would struggle emotionally with our decision to rent.  

 

The first hurdle was keeping my house organized for showings.  Having a 2 year old and a 3 year old made this quite the task.  I morphed into a lunatic with a vacuum, mop and Windex!  I became emotionally drained and stressed.  

 

My second challenge was coming to terms with the fact someone else was going to be living in our home.  This house is full of so many memories, so many firsts.  This was my grandparents house; my father and uncle were raised here; we remodeled this house specifically to our liking; we brought both of our baby girls home to this house.  Would people not like my house?  Would they judge and critique it negatively?

 

I would lay in bed at night agonizing over all of this.  I was driving myself nuts!  But one day I had an epiphany and it just clicked.  knew I would find someone to rent our home who would love it just as much as we do; and I’m proud to say I did.  I could not be happier with our decision.  It all played out beautifully.

 

Now, you may be asking why I felt the need to write this blog.  Well, the answer is simple – I now have a deeper and more personal understanding of the deeply rooted emotional aspect of selling your home.  It is not a cut and dried process.  It can be intimidatingscary, and emotional.  But at the end of the day, there are buyers out there who will love your home as much as you do.  

 

I get it, change is scary, but this is a fear that we can overcome together, and I promise the end result will be well worth it!

The American Dream…

I had always dreamed of owning my own home one day, and that is why I started the process of buying my own home a couple of months ago.  It was exciting and fun.  Not only was I a first time homebuyer, but I was also representing myself as my own realtor.  But I wasn’t alone: I had the help of my sister and partner in our family real estate business, Emily Tobey-Dimercurio.

When I finally narrowed down my search to a handful of multi-family houses, I took the plunge and put in an offer in on a two-family fixer upper here in Gloucester.  I was so excited and anxious for the seller’s response and, after a series of counteroffers back and forth, we finally settled on a price.  From there I scheduled my home inspection, which I have to admit, I was a little nervous about.

Needless to say, my feelings of nervousness were dead on because my home inspector uncovered WAY too many problems.  After receiving my home inspection report I found myself extremely overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done on the home; repairing termite damage, mold, and water damage, to name just a few. I ended up backing out of the deal because of all the work that needed to be done.

I learned a lot from this first attempt to buy a home. First, I realized how stressed out I had been about the potential transaction and how overwhelmed I felt by having to deal with potential tenants.  However, I did admire the respect that the seller had for the current tenants in the home.  I know how stressful it can be for tenants when the homeowner decides to sell the home.  In this situation, the seller really had the tenant’s best interest in mind when considering offers and potential buyers.

Second, I realized I had moved on from this first attempt feeling really discouraged because it didn’t work out.  However, I’ve always been the type of person that believes if it’s meant to be, it will be.  From here I found myself stepping out of my “realtor” role and really leaning on my sister Emily to help me with my home search.  I’ve always been a very independent person, but in this situation I really needed to know that I had someone on my side and helping me along the way.  I finally felt what it was like to be the “buyer” in the situation and needed my realtor to help me try again.  I appreciated her opinion and guidance as I continued to look at more homes.

After shopping around a little bit more, I found a home in Gloucester that I fell in love with.  This time around it was a single family home, a cute little cape style house on a side street.  Every time I went into the house I felt a sense of comfort.  After much consideration, I decided to put an offer in on the house.  After another round of counters, the sellers accepted my offer.  Then came the dreaded home inspection.  I went to the home inspection expecting the worst after the first time around but was relieved when only a few minor issues came up.  So I decided to continue on with the transaction.

Then came the signing of the P&S, which I have to say was the scariest thing for me so far.  When I printed out and read the P&S it made this deal so real for me.  I have obviously dealt with purchase and sales agreements before, but I had never been the one signing them as the buyer.  I found myself really scared and questioning whether or not I would be able to do this.  Buying a home is a BIG deal; it’s the biggest most important purchase you will ever make in your life.  At the age of twenty-four, I really questioned whether or not I would be able to handle it all.  As I pondered all of these thoughts running through my head what did I do?

I called my realtor.  After talking with her, I signed the P&S and sent it to the seller’s realtor.  Emily gave me the reassurance I needed, and she recognized I was scared and needed to talk about it.  With her by side, we moved ahead, secured financing, and closed on the purchase of my first home of my own.

As things continue to move along, I still find myself ridiculously stressed out with homeownership, but it is stress in a good way.  I’m excited and ready to move on to the next phase in my life.  From the pre-approval process, to putting in offers on houses, to signing the P&S, to completing the deal at closing, it has all been stressful for me.  But the entire time I had someone helping me and there when I needed them, my realtor and my sister Emily.

My greatest “lesson learned” from this process is a simple one: stay on top of things when it comes to getting your financing.  Whether you do it yourself or through your realtor, double check, even triple check that your bank or mortgage company has EVERYTHING that it needs.  Similar to just about everything else in life, communication is key in the home buying process.

Over the past couple months I’ve dealt with so many different emotions as I’ve bought the “perfect” home for me and my three dogs.  I have to say though that the one thing that kept me sane throughout this entire process was the help and guidance that I have received from not only Emily, my realtor, but my entire Tobey Seaport Properties team.  As I enjoy this new chapter of my life in my new home, I am excited to be experiencing “The American Dream”.

 

 

Young Professionals Networking Event

On Thursday, September 18th the North Shore Association of Realtors is holding their first ever Young Professionals Networking Event.  I am honored they asked me to be one of their featured young professionals.  My job at this event is to talk to attendees, in this case other young real estate professionals and those exploring a possible career in real estate, about my experience in the business.  Needless to say I am very excited about this upcoming event and look forward to connecting with and building relationships with many new people!

 

A few months back event organizers emailed their featured young professionals a questionnaire that would later be used for advertising the event.  These questions allowed me to explore my personal choices in my new real estate career.  In lieu of the upcoming event I wanted to share with you some of these questions and my responses.

 

Why did you decide to pursue a real estate license and what did it take to get said license?

For me a career in real estate was a no brainer.  Being born and raised in Gloucester, the city I love, I have always had an interest in the local real estate market.  Gloucester’s rich history and culture is directly reflected in the local real estate.  This can be found in homes architecture, interior design and in many cases historic locations.  To obtain my real estate license took dedication and focus to achieve an overall understanding of the field and to pass the state exams.

 

How did you prepare for a life in real estate?

It is hard to fully prepare for a life in real estate.  This industry constantly keeps me on my toes.  I read daily market publications, attend open houses, meet with clients, and network around the clock.

 

Have you experienced or witnessed the benefits of a team to new agents?

At Tobey Seaport Properties we have a team of new agents that work very closely together.  Working as a team allows us to learn from one another, and allows each of us to display and build upon our individual talents.  We all bring something fresh and unique to the table.

 

With your average age of a REALTOR being 56, do you think that presents an opportunity for the younger generations interested in real estate?

The fact that the average age of a REALTOR is 56 most certainly presents an opportunity for the younger generation, like myself, interested in real estate.  I am a REALTOR but also a homeowner; my husband and I own our home as well as a multifamily rental property.  My life experience combined with my knowledge of the real estate market makes me someone who can appeal to members of my own generation.  I am a REALTOR they can readily relate to; I have already done what they are looking to do, buy a home or an income property.

Off To A Busy Start!

Our blog has been silent these last three months for good cause – we’ve had a very eventful first summer season at Tobey Seaport Properties!  And it has been the dynamic beginning we had hoped for: listing our first set of properties, engaging sellers and buyers alike, and preparing for our soon-to-occur first closings, too!

I am so very proud of our team: whether it has been staging our first residential listing for showing, managing the paperwork flow that is the bread and butter of our business, making the follow-up calls that keep a transaction on track, or doing all of the other tasks required in our trade, Emily, Frank, Mel, Jen and Bob have done all it takes to accomplish our successful launch.

But we’re all very grateful to all who have helped us – those of you who have trusted us with your listings, all who have reached out to us as prospective buyers, our brother and sister real estate professionals, and our many friends who have wished us well, spread the word of our new venture, and offered referrals and ideas for new opportunities.

Without your assistance and support, Tobey Seaport Properties could not have in our first four months laid the foundation for the work we look forward to doing for years to come.  From all of us, please accept our sincere “thank you!”

Explore, Dream, Discover

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” – Mark Twain

Since we launched Tobey Seaport Properties on April 1st, we have received positive feedback from countless people throughout our community – it has been truly amazing. But with all things new, there have been a few well-meaning naysayers, too, people who wish us good luck but who ask “now isn’t the right time, so maybe you should wait?”

To those naysayers I say, “thank you.” Thank you for motivating me and driving me to work even harder than I could ever imagine. Because my answer to their question is another question: “is there ever really a right time?”

There’s always a reason not to act. Something will always come up that can stop you from moving forward with your dream if you allow it to be delayed. It would be easier for me to list excuses and reasons not to move forward with this new adventure, but where would the fun or the chance for fulfillment be in that? I am a strong believer in jumping into projects full force, totally committing myself. I enjoy challenging situations; in fact, I thrive on them.

Our ultimate goal at Tobey Seaport Properties is to make a difference. We want to have a positive, long lasting impact on the city we all love and call home. What better time than now to get started?