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Seller's Market Driving Buyers to Suburbs

Single-family homes in Medford are currently selling at a $385,000 median selling price, which is about 1.7% less than when the market peaked back in 2005. But one real estate broker said that he recently listed a home in the area and had 22 confirmed showings on a Friday and eight offers by Saturday. The home ended up selling for about $450,000, nearly 8% above the asking price. The agent told the Boston Globe that there are plenty of able and willing buyers out there, but there aren’t enough houses. As a result, buyers are venturing farther out of Boston and into areas like Medford and other suburbs in order to find a home. As mortgage rates rise and the supply of properties remains limited, this is a trend that could persist, if only for a while.

Fall Landscaping Checklist

This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook has prepared a do-it-yourself checklist for fall cleanup, beginning with aerating the lawn. If rainfall pools up on the grass, it is time to aerate compressed soil water so water and nutrients can reach the roots. A garden fork may work for smaller yards, but Cook suggests using a walk-behind aerator to pull out deeper soil plugs, which will break down naturally by the spring. Next, apply a high-phosphorus (12-25-12) mix to your lawn so that the turn greens up earlier the following spring. Lastly, and this won’t be a popular one, but be sure to mow your lawn one last time. Disease has a harder time with shorter grass, plus fallen leaves blow across the lawn easier with shorter grass. Continue reading these fall preparation tips from This Old House.

Embrace Fall Colors

In keeping with the concept of the changing of the season, here are some tips from MyHomeIdeas on how to make use of the changing colors of the leaves (which, by the way, has already started!) First on the list is to create your own autumn wreath. Buy a straw wreath base and collect whichever leaves or clippings you desire. Gather the stems in bunches of four of five and pin the first bunch to the wreath base with a U-shaped floral pin, which you can buy at the craft store, with leaf tips facing clockwise. Take a second bunch of leaves and overlap the first slightly to cover the pins, continuing to do so working counterclockwise until the entire base is covered. Not sold on a wreath? How about filling a window box with your favorite-colored foliage? Continue reading instructions on creating your own window box and more by clicking here.

Halloween Decorating and Preparation Ideas

Believe it or not, Halloween is just around the corner. (I know, I know. Summer just ended.) But with that in mind, it’s not too early to start thinking about decoration and party ideas to get the kids ready and festive. HGTV’s Halloween hub has everything you need, from outdoor decorations to Halloween snacks. Want to transform your front porch into a spooky trick-or-treat destination? Try wrapping mason jars with medical gauze or cheesecloth and gluing plastic spiders on the outside while placing a pillar candle or flameless luminary inside. Don’t stop there, though. Try putting some fake ravens throughout the yard to create an ominous graveyard feel. Secure the birds with wire tires so they don’t blow away in the wind. If that’s not enough, grab some red glass paint from your local craft store and turn your window or front door into a crime scene-inspired scare. In addition to these, check out the rest of the HGTV Halloween ideas, which include festive cocktail recipes, foam tombstones, wreath ideas, and pumpkin carving concepts.

Foreclosure Crisis Nearing an End

Foreclosure filings in August fell 44% to 55,575, the lowest level hit in eight years. Rising home prices and a decline in underwater borrowers have helped drive the trend, according to a CNNMoney article. In addition to this positive news, the number of homes repossessed by lenders rose 6% compared to July, to 39,277. While this may not seem like good news, it actually represents a drop of 25% year over year, and is more than 60% below the peak of repossessions in September 2010. Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac said in the article that this is a strong indicator that the crisis is over, and that "The foreclosure floodwaters have receded in most parts of the country, although lenders and communities continue to clean up the damage left behind."

Local Musician/Horror Director lists Mansion for $3.95M

Haverhill, Massachusetts’ own Rob Zombie, a founding member of 1990s heavy metal band White Zombie and a director of a number of horror films, has listed his Hancock Park, California mansion for $3.95 million. The home is a brick-lined Tudor which features a remodeled kitchen with a butler’s pantry, a formal entryway, a large dining room with wood paneling and hardwood floors, a pub room and six bedrooms and five bathrooms. Outside of the 6,249 square foot home on the half-acre of land re a guest house, a pool house, a swimming pool, and a spa. The home was purchased in 1999 for $1.799 million. Zombie broke into film making with his 2003 and has directed remakes of the "Halloween" movie franchise and most recently directed “The Lords of Salem,” which was filmed in and focuses on Salem, Mass.

10 Unique Household Projects Found on Kickstarter

While many of the projects or products on Kickstarter may never see the light of day, or even reach funding for that matter, there is no shortage of interesting ideas floating around. Yahoo Homes has put together a list of some of their favorite household projects on Kickstarter, beginning with a bed you don’t need to make. The creators of Smart Bedding, who reached their funding goal, estimate you’ll save a month of your life with their product, which involves snaps that attach the comforter to the sheet. While it sounds like something you can do at home, the project’s co-founder suggests that it’s more difficult than it might appear. What about a solar-powered grill called SolSource? The grill, originally developed to help rural Himalayan families, runs on the sun instead of costly fuel. Check out the rest of the list from Yahoo Homes by clicking here.

Hosting Hit Parties on a Budget

Labor Day Weekend is upon us, or at least it will be in just a few hours. So with that in mind, I thought it may be helpful to include on here a list of nine budget-friendly party ideas from MyHomeIdeas. So whether it is for this weekend, or for any other time you might be hosting company, these inexpensive wine and food pairings will be a hit. First, if you are looking to have some friends or family over for a mid-day brunch, serve Roquefort quiche with a crisp, refreshing Washington State Riesling. The wine will pair well with the saltiness of the bacon and richness of the quiche. If you are looking for perhaps a less formal affair, host a happy hour at your house and serve crispy dumplings and sparking Prosecco wine. You may find that the contrast between the wine and the dumplings works better than you’d expect. Continue reading the list and see more recipes by clicking here.