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Pros and Cons of Living in Sudbury, Massachusetts

Pros and Cons of Living in Sudbury, Massachusetts

Sudbury is a gorgeous town with lovely homes and an excellent school system. It is best suited for people who like a little more rural feel but want their entertainment, shopping and services nearby. I’ve lived in town for 20 years and based on my experiences the people are very friendly. The community protects open space, has wonderful active/passive recreation opportunities and feels like a world away from Boston, yet is close to the Mass Pike and has multiple train stations nearby.

 

Pros:
1. Easy access to Mass Pike, Rt 128 and Rt 495.
2. Most people don’t want to take time out of their day to drive to the next town to grocery shop or to grab some lunch …
Restaurants in town: Foodies will love the many, varied fare and price points, some deliver, plenty of parking.
Shopping in town: Many small boutique, specialty stores in town but no big box stores. Those are nearby in Natick, Framingham and Marlborough. The shopping mecca of the Natick Collection/Shopper’s World is less than 15 minutes away.
Grocery Stores in town: Sudbury Farms and Shaws, Whole Foods and Stop & Shop in Wayland, Trader Joe’s nearby in Framingham.
3. Excellent police force, extremely low crime rate.
4. Lots of local concerts, sporting events, theaters & amenities
5. Excellent library facility includes on-line reservations & downloads of e-books
6. Commuter rail stations nearby: For South Station closest is Framingham.
For North Station closest is Acton. For Green Line closest is Riverside in Newton. Express bus to Logan airport in Framingham.
7. Although the school system is highly ranked (Boston Magazine ranks it high and the schools have earned recognition multiple times in U.S. News & World Report for college readiness), it doesn’t come across as the pressure-cooker that Lexington and Brookline are. Many parents I have talked with say it delivers “as advertised”.
10. Lots of great community organizations – both civic and social
11. A medium-density population with large lot sizes… ¾ to 1 acre minimum zoning, smaller lots grandfathered, up to 5 acre zoning in historic wayside inn district
12. Schools belong to the Metco program, exposing the kids to diversity.
13. Gleaming new/renovated schools built when State assistance was high.
14. Low town debt load and high bond rating.
15. Home to many fitness centers, yoga studios, hair and nail salons, and larger organized indoor/outdoor sporting facilities.
16. Summer farmer’s markets, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) with different levels of commitment, community gardens and the Sudbury Grange with it’s educational programs.
17. A wide choices of houses of worship nearby in almost any religion you practice
18. Oldest continuously-running Town Meeting
19. Robust senior center with many programs, activities and opportunities for active seniors.

Cons:
1. No commuter rail station/public transportation to speak of in town.
2. Housing tends toward larger size homes and prices are high.
3. There definitely is a lack of walk-ability here.
4. High taxes
5. No town curbside trash pickup. You can pay for pick up or use the transfer/recycling station.
6. There is a lack of socioeconomic diversity.
7. There are restrictions on livestock ownership.

Our mosquito situation is no better or worse than any town outside of Boston. In the interest of conservation we don’t always spray for mosquitoes, but when conditions are extreme in all of eastern Massachusetts we have sprayed for them. That being said, you don’t want to buy a house with a swamp or a pond in your back yard.

Backyard Chickens … in Sudbury?

Backyard Chickens … in Sudbury?

You’ve moved to the suburbs to have some land, lots of house, and great quality of life. You’ve started a vegetable garden and have enjoyed the puttering and the fresh produce. Now you’re thinking of getting a few chickens so that you can feed them an excellent diet and have fresh eggs of your own. You’re not alone, it seems to be that this hobby is growing exponentially in popularity over the last year. In Sudbury, you’ll have to know a few things before you buy the chicks.

 

FAQ  for those thinking of raising backyard chickens in Sudbury:

  1. Is an Annual Animal Permit Required? yes, a special permit is required, issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals, cost is $100 first year, $50 annual renewal
  2. Is a Building Permit for the Coop Required? not if the coop is less than 120 s.f. footprint
  3. Is there an Annual Board of Health Inspection Required? yes
  4. Are Roosters Permitted? no
  5. Are there Lot Size Limitations? no
  6. What are the Coop Setbacks from Property Lines? There is a 5′ min distance from lot lines.
  7. Are there Manure Pile Storage Limitations? This would be dictated by the conditions of the special permit
  8. Is there a specific section of the Zoning Bylaws that I can read regarding this? see Sudbury Zoning Bylaw Section 2313/6200
  9. Is there an Agricultural Commission or Committee that I can join? yes email: agricultural@sudbury.ma.us
  10. Is there an Agricultural Group that I can contact to get help/info/advice? yes, Sudbury Grange No. 121 Pomona No. 16 , Meetings: 1st & 3rd Wednesday 8 pm, Grange Hall 326 Concord Rd (beside Town Hall), Contact: Brenda Chamberlain 508-429-5458
  11. How do I contact the Board of Health? 978 443-2209 x1379 email: health@sudbury.ma.us
  12. How do I contact the Zoning Board of Appeals? 978-639-3387 email: pcd@sudbury.ma.us
  13. How do I contact the Building Inspector? (978) 443-2209, x1361  email: building@sudbury.ma.us)
Does a Swimming Pool ADD Value to a Home?

Does a Swimming Pool ADD Value to a Home?

I’ve been asked “how much value does a swimming pool really add to your home?” many, many times, and my answer always is … it depends.

If you’re thinking of adding an in-ground pool or buying a home with an in-ground pool you’ve probably heard that tired old saw that a pool adds $10-15k value to a home and limits the buyer pool for your home when you go to sell it. While true as a sweeping generality, there’s more to this topic than meets the eye.

 

high-end-poolNobody will argue that the swimming pool in the photo shown to the left will add considerable value to the home it accompanies. The reason is that it speaks to art and craftsmanship and quality … three important considerations for a pool or for that matter any addition or expensive home improvement. The design marries absolute unity with absolute variety and will be almost universally considered beautiful by most who encounter it. The scale also suggests that it is attached to a larger home on a larger piece of land … the other two key considerations when discussing similar improvements and their value.

Now most pools look like the one showninexpensive pool to the right. They are pretty ordinary, well-done, and cost somewhere in the under $50k range depending on it’s liner (plaster or vinyl). Included is a small hardscape area, cast concrete, pavers or exposed-aggregate concrete, and fenced enclosure around the pool area or the yard, depending on the local building codes. This is your classic in-ground pool and this one does add the $10-15k that any realtor will tell you. If you look at this picture you will see it is located in a fairly good sized yard, so it’s value would be in the upper end of the range. If it were on a small lot and took up most of the back yard it’s value would be in the lower end of the range.

mid-range-poolThe pool shown to the right is one that while costing in the $50-150k range will not add it’s full cost to the value of the home will add significantly more than the $10-15k typically bandied about. The natural stone hard-scape and the addition of an integrated hot-tub and gas-fired outdoor fireplace are desirable features that add value individually and add more combined value when integrated into a unified design. Again, as you can see, the pool is a small part of a larger yard and suggests it’s attached to a larger home with superior fit and finish.

Okay, so how can one determine what a pool adds in value.

For this exercise I took the price per square foot for homes sold in the last six months for million dollar properties in the inner suburbs of metrowest Boston.  If you compare the price per square foot across the six selected towns you will see that there is a significant increase in the price per square foot in the selling price of homes sold with pools. You will also see that the overall increase for all the towns is pretty constant. So, as you can probably imagine, for these towns, pools that have a high degree of fit and finish and are in not outsized in proportion to their lot size add about 11% to the value.Pool-Charts-PSF

Then if we take the number of homes sold with pools and compare them to the total market for their towns, we see a strong desire for them in some towns, in other towns not so much. For example, in Lincoln homes with pools represented almost half of the market, Weston homes with pools represented about a quarter of the market,  while in Lexington they represented only about 10% of their market. So it could be figured that putting a pool in Lincoln or Weston is a much better investment than putting one in Lexington.Market-Share-pools

So as you can see, the real answer to the question is determined by two things: 1. how nice the pool is and 2. is it considered a valuable feature in the town where it is located.

Should you have questions about a specific application and location feel free to give me a call, I will be glad to help you out. Call or text 978-580-1069.

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