Blog :: 03-2020
When the reality of the pandemic set in last week, we searched for something we could do to bring some positivity to our community. We hit upon the idea of posting a banner outside our office in Winchester town center with messages of hope, positivity and kindness. It has made us so proud to hear people commenting on the banners and see people sharing photos on social media. The icing on the cake for us was when our local Everything Is Free Facebook Group chose this banner as their cover photo. This is a great resource for residents to share goods and services with their neighbors in an attempt to save money, reduce waste, and build community. We highly encourage you to join your local Everything is Free group and support their activities. Many groups have suspended posting for goods during the pandemic but we encourage you to set aside those unwanted items you find when clearing out your basement / attic / shed /closet and, instead of trashing them, share them on the group when it restarts. Your community will benefit in so many ways - less waste, more resources for those in need, and a greater sense of togetherness and sharing. As the saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure"!
To find your local group, type "Everything is Free" and your town name into the search bar within Facebook. We have found groups in Winchester, Melrose, Arlington, Woburn, Medford and Stoneham but there are many more!
The health of our communities is the top priority for us at Waterfield Sotheby’s International Realty. We are following the stay-at-home advisory from the Governor’s office and all our agents and staff are working from home. We are fortunate that we are able to do this, and are grateful for all the healthcare professionals, first responders, grocery store workers and others who are working tirelessly to keep our communities running. That being said, we are still willing and able to help our buyer and seller clients who want or need to buy a home. Our agents have been coming up with new and creative ways to service their clients while following advisories and keeping everyone safe.
Open Online - you can view all the currently listed properties in MA on our website, with exclusive content such as 3D tours. In addition, if you are searching further afield, sothebysrealty.com has properties from across the USA and the globe.
Virtual Meetings - our agents are happy to connect via Zoom, FaceTime, Teams or your online meeting tool of choice. Our presentations are all available online and we have tools at our fingertips to provide up-to-the-minute market analysis.
Virtual Showings - many properties now have virtual tours so you can view a property online to see if it fits your needs. If this isn’t possible, we have had owners or (in the case of a vacant property) a broker take a video of the home, or use technologies such as FaceTime to show clients around a home.
Leveraging Technology - we are fortunate to live in an age where we can manage the majority of our business remotely. We use an online system to manage all the documentation that goes along with a real estate transaction, so you can sign and upload documents from the comfort of your home.
Being Flexible - we are working with highly experienced and collaborative attorneys and taking advice from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors to ensure any agreed real estate transactions can be closed in a timely manner. Some things to consider are virtual home inspections, clauses that allow for a sale to be agreed subject to an “excused COVID-19 delay”, and rent-back agreements to allow properties to close and postpone moving. Your agent will work with you to find the best solution for your particular circumstances.
Whatever your need, we are here to help. You can contact us via our website or call our office to be connected to an experienced realtor who can answer your questions. Whether you are contemplating a move now or in the future, they’ll be happy to offer advice and suggestions so you can make an informed decision.
The term ‘social distancing’ did not feature in our vocabulary a week ago, but now it’s on everybody’s lips. But what does it mean? The Federal Government has issued guidelines which include avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, cancelling unnecessary travel and curbing shopping trips and social visits. As the week has gone on, further restrictions have been introduced at a local level - restaurants are closed to diners, hairdressers, nail salons and gyms are being asked to close and shopping malls are shutting down. So what can you do to stay active? Well, unless you or someone in your household is showing symptoms of the virus (in which case you should contact your healthcare provider about self-quarantine or isolation procedures), getting outdoors is one of the few remaining options. In fact, it has been encouraged by many health professionals for the benefits it brings - fresh air and sunshine are good for boosting the immune system as well as improving mental health. We are fortunate to live in an area with many beautiful outdoor areas to explore right on our doorstep. Here are some of our favorite places where you can get out and explore while still observing social distancing protocol. Grab your coffee or pack a picnic and make a day of it!
Middlesex Fells - the reservation has parking lots and entrances in Winchester, Medford, Melrose and Stoneham and offers over 100 miles of mixed-use trails. You can download a map or pick one up at one of the main entrances. Note that the visitor center in Stoneham is closed.
Horn Pond - located in Woburn on the Winchester line, there is a paved route around the pond suitable for strollers and bikes, plus other rough trails off the main route if you are looking for more of a hike (try the trail to the top of Mt Towanda for great views of the Boston skyline). The main parking lot is located on Pond St, with further parking available along Arlington Road and Sturgis St.
Tri-Community Greenway - running from Stoneham to Woburn via Winchester, this is a paved route for cyclists, runners, walkers, rollerbladers and everyone else!
Minuteman Bikepath - the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway (to give it it’s full name) follows a 10 mile route from Alewife station in North Cambridge to Bedford, passing through Arlington and Lexington on the way. Check out this map for places to join the path and points of interest.
Walden Pond - located a short drive away in Concord MA, explore the site that was the inspiration for Henry David Thoreau (note the Visitor Center and Thoreau House Replica are closed).
The Trustees outdoor properties remain open, and are for the most part free (donations gratefully accepted at the self-pay parking kiosks). Some of our favorites are deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Crane Beach in Ipswich, Agassiz Rock in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Weir Hill in North Andover.
Hit the beach! No need for bathing suits but you can still head for the coast to stretch your legs and feel the dual benefits of fresh air and an ocean breeze. Bonus - at this time of year there are no crazy parking fees! Try this list from Northshore Magazine for some ideas.
PLEASE REMEMBER - the idea is to stay away from crowds, so remain at least 6ft away from other people even when outdoors. Also be aware that many playgrounds have been closed due to individual city / town ordinance - so stick to walking or hiking rather than swings and slides. Check here before heading out for the latest guidance on staying safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over the course of a week our daily lives have changed immensely, and there will be more change to come in the coming days and weeks. In these uncertain times it’s important to come together as a community and help each other when we can. We are putting together a list of resources, both for people who are looking for help and those willing and able to give it. This list will be updated as we hear about more resources so check back for the latest info.
Locally, the Winchester Town Hall is the hub for information on how COVID-19 is affecting services in town. Visit https://www.winchester.us/566/COVID-19 for the latest, and sign up for Winchester Aware to be alerted by email / text on new developments.
Winchester Got Lunch, Council for Social Concern and EnKa Society are working with Winchester Public Schools to make sure ALL families who need some extra help can access food while the schools are closed. You can help by donating here - https://winchestergotlunch.org/donate/
Medford is also hosting information relating to the coronavirus outbreak on the city’s website, including a list of food resources and local restaurants and cafe’s offering take-out and delivery. Go to http://www.medfordma.org/
Boston.com have launched an initiative called #bostonhelps to link individuals needing help or support with someone in their local area who can help. Go to https://www.boston.com/boston-helps to sign up. They also have a list of organizations serving people in need of food.
Here are also some very basic suggestions for you to consider to (safely) help your immediate community -
- Check in on neighbors (pop a note through their door or use this template) - offer to fetch groceries or medications and leave on their doorstep
- FaceTime or Skype other family members, especially if they are older and concerned about meeting in person. This way they can still feel connected without risking infection.
- Consider buying a gift card to a local store or restaurant that you can use at a later date - this could help them pay their bills in the short term.
- Nursing homes and other facilities are closing to visitors - ask the kids to write a letter to a resident or color a picture that you can mail to the home to brighten their day.
As we adjust to our new (and ever-changing) normal, many local businesses are having to come up with new and create changes to the way they operate - offering online shopping, home delivery, curbside pick up and so on. We want to support those trying to adhere to social distancing but keep themselves afloat. Check back to get the latest info as we are adding businesses daily.
Home Winchester has closed the store for two weeks but is offering shopping from home - contact the owner with what you are looking for and she’ll send you pictures with options and even deliver.
Studio on the Common has also decided to temporarily close but will have someone in the store most days who can take order via phone or even FaceTime you so you can choose your gift.
Winchester Pharmacy offers delivery so you can get your meds delivered direct to your door.
Book Ends Winchester has an online order service and can deliver within Winchester.
Wilson Farms in Lexington are now offering grocery delivery to Winchester, Arlington, Melrose, Woburn and many other local towns via the app Mercato.
Sweet Surprize are putting together "Busy Bags" for Elementary and Middle School age kids - you can send them a message via Facebook or call the store and they will arrange to get them to you.
Pairings Food and Wine are offering a delivery service for their wine - free with orders over $50 within Winchester
Kickstand Cafe are offering phone ordering (and soon online ordering) - pull up your car and they will bring out your order with minimum contact.
Bistro 5 are offering take-out and delivery Tuesday - Saturday.
Lilah-Rose has books, puzzles, games, toys, art supplies and activity packs and can offer curbside pick up or deliver within Melrose.
If you are a local business owner and are adapting the way you do business, let us know - we'll help you get the word out via our social networks too. We can all help each other to keep our community thriving during these challenging times!
With the current outbreak of COVID-19 and the obvious concerns around this virus, we want to reassure our clients about the measures we are taking to keep everyone safe during these trying times. We understand that home buying may not be top of everyone’s priority list, but for some people there is a need to buy or sell a home at this time. We are here to assist you.
Open Houses – hand washing and/or sanitizing facilities will be available at all our public and broker open houses. We will be encouraging small groups to tour the homes one at a time to limit the number of people in a space. Private showings can always be arranged; please contact the listing broker to set these up.
Videos and Virtual Tours – some listings have videos to allow you to take a virtual tour without leaving your own home. You can view these on our website or through the Sotheby’s International Realty app on Apple TV.
Our Office – if you do intend to visit our office please be assured we are undertaking an increased, daily cleaning schedule to keep staff and guests safe. All surfaces are wiped down at least once a day and we have hand washing and sanitizing facilities readily available.
Our Team – at this time we are asking our team members to stay away from the office if they are not feeling well for any reason. Anyone who may have a compromised immune system or fall into one of the identified vulnerable groups has also been advised to stay home.
Our Community – we are fortunate enough to live in a wonderfully supportive community where people are willing to help each other. We can all work together to lessen the impact of this virus and protect the most vulnerable members of our society. If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbors, check-in and make sure they are ok and have all the food and medications they need. Consider offering to run to the grocery store or pharmacy so they don’t need to expose themselves to potential infection. If you have a friend or family member who is self-isolating, offer to drop their groceries on the doorstep. Use online delivery services where you can to reduce your risk of exposure. As recommended, practice social distancing, stay away from large crowds and limit non-essential travel.
There is a lot of information out there, particularly on social media, and it can be hard to get the true picture. We found the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site to be particularly useful to get the latest facts and up-to-date advice. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also a verified source with daily updates and information.
Above all, stay calm, be kind to each other and WASH YOUR HANDS!!
For our latest marketing piece we decided to do something a little different from the usual facts and figures about the housing market, and instead focus on the amazing people we have in our office! We are fortunate to have a team of highly qualified and experienced realtors and staff at Waterfield Sotheby's International Realty, but we wanted to share more about the personalities behind these professionals. So we asked everyone to tell us something about themselves that they thought the people of Winchester would like to know - and got some really interesting responses!
We have loved hearing from our friends and clients about how this piece has been a talking point all across town! Maybe you've found you have something in common with one of our team? Feel free to reach out and make a connection.
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