#Howto Order A Duplicate Drivers License

A valid drivers license or other government issued identification is one of the only items you must bring to your real estate closing. Massachusetts does not provide notice to its residents when its time to renew.

If you have a closing coming up, check your wallet or purse to make sure your license is valid. Your closing will not happen if you can’t produce a valid government issued form of identification.

If you have recently purchased a new home, it is well worth the $25.00 expense to order a duplicate drivers license with your new address. Especially if you have recently renewed your drivers license. Otherwise, you will walk around with that old address on your license for as long as 4-5 years!

The expense will pay for itself when the local police give you a warning for a moving violation when a non-resident would have received a ticket! That is money in your pocket!

Who is going to believe you somewhere if the address isn’t on your license?

Click the photograph below, or the link above to order a duplicate drivers license online.


Jack O’Donohue is a Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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9 Helpful Websites For First Time Home Buyers

Don’t waste your time watching HGTV! The internet is the best place to learn the ins and outs of the real estate market. Thankfully, we have LTE, WiFi, tablets, laptops and smartphones, and we don’t have to rely on old computers and dial up modems.


Here is our list of the most helpful and informative websites for first time home buyers in Massachusetts (in no particular order):

1. Massachusetts Land Records

All documents related to the ownership of real estate in Massachusetts can be found here.The site has links to each of the twenty-one registry districts.

2. Inman News

Don’t be overwhelmed. This is a news site for Realtors and Brokers. Take five minutes to scan the “Todays Real Estate News” section and you will be well informed about what is happening in the real estate business.

3. Zillow

I know most readers know about Zillow, but in the off-chance someone stumbles across this article who has never heard of the site, check it out! The simplistic home page allows the user to enter a property address and instantaneously view an approximate valuation. The site has some room for improvement when it comes to evaluating multi-family properties, but it is a wonderful tool for the average user searching for a home. The iPad app is fantastic.

4. HotPads

Hotpads was recently aquired by Zillow. The foreclosure heat map is a great tool to see which areas were hit the hardest by the housing crisis. The rent vs. buy calculator is an excellent tool. Its a great website to see what the rental market is across the state without browsing on Craigslist.

5. The Niche Report

This is another site intended for industry professionals. What an incredible wealth of information you will find here. The latest news, in-depth articles, charts and chatter from across the country. I highly recommend subscribing to the RSS feed.

6. Twitter

We already know how to use Twitter to find real estate. Interact with other users, search for updates about communities, and learn about whats trending in your local #realestate market. Don’t forget to follow @RealEstateLawMA!

7. Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA)

CHAPA’s mission is to “encourage the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development.” CHAPA offers pre-purchase and post-purchase homebuyer workshops several times per week. In addition to the workshops, the organization provides information about lotteries and resales, and links to community based homebuyer counseling agencies.

8. Facebook

Facebook is one of the few sites where you might learn about a property before its even listed! You never know who in your network might post something that could lead to a sweetheart deal for your first home. Even if you don’t use facebook often, skim or search your news feed for chatter about houses and real estate. If you catch a property pre-market, it will be a win for everyone except the real estate agents…

9. Real Estate, Real Problems

Here is the shameless plug for Real Estate, Real Problems! We may not be the best yet, but we are working hard to be the best resource out there for first time home buyers in Massachusetts. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook if you haven’t already!

Jack O’Donohue is a Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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Twitter Lists and #RealEstate

Attention spans are short. We have limited time to browse online.

The days of turning the pages of a newspaper are over. We don’t have to wait for the Sunday Globe to see what open houses are this weekend in our targeted communities.

Today, we can scroll through a custom twitter feed or RSS feed on an iPad or iPhone and view hundreds of headlines from across the globe in minutes. The organizational tool Twitter offers its users are Lists. Here is a snapshot of our national real estate list.

Lists allow you to view a stream of information and headlines without distractions. If you are already searching for real estate on Twitter, why not follow our Real Estate, Real Problems lists?

We’ve been strategically assembling lists of active twitter accounts for various local real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and attorneys. We are also working on a national list of real estate agents. We will also work to create lists of ancillary services related to first-time homebuyer needs (movers, inspectors, independent appraisers, etc.). These lists will continually evolve and grow over time. We want you (the reader) to subscribe and use them as tools in your real estate search.

I would encourage other twitter users to create your own lists to enhance your experience with twitter.

Don’t forget to click on the hyperlinks above in blue to subscribe to our twitter lists!

Jack O’Donohue is a Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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#HOWTO Find A Home On Twitter

Looking for a new home? Have you looked on Twitter?

Twitter is widely accessible, free, and powerful. Most importantly, the site provides valuable content and access to the internet in an incredibly creative way.

If you do not have an account, visit Twitter to create one. All you need is an e-mail address. I define Twitter as a stream of information and conversations.

A hashtag is simply a way to communicate with people about the same topic. #Election2012 was widely used these last few months and more than 32 million messages were “tweeted” on election day itself.

The #HOWTO hashtag is one of the most widely used hashtags, hence the subject of this post.

Here is a snapshot of our twitter profile from the date of this post in early November, 2012.

We launched the website in September and we have been slowing “mining” the twit-o-sphere to find and learn from the most influential people in the real estate business, both locally, and nationally.

We recently discovered an absolutely incredible resource that we want to share with you. Perhaps we could write a whole separate post on this one discovery, but instead we’ll share it now! Followerwonk allows its users to search twitter profiles. Simple concept. Incredible result.If you go to the “search profile” option on the site and click “more options” you can search profiles for location, keywords, # of tweets, # of followers, etc. If you want to find real estate agents in Boston, MA with more than 500 followers and more than 100 tweets, you can do it…for free.

In the same way that you can use google search as discussed in a prior article, we recommend that you use twitter, followerwonk, and these other twitter resources to learn about communities and analyze market trends.  Or just read about gardening…its your account…do whatever you want! I’m not in charge of it.

Most articles about twitter share strategies to accumulate more followers. What do you care about followers? you are searching for #realestate!!!

Another important note: twitter is not facebook. If you show up at the twitter party expecting to see all of your high school friends, you won’t. But you will find a collection of intelligent and talented individuals. You may also find a link to an open house you didn’t see on the MLS. Or you may see a post about a price-drop on that property you’ve been sitting on for months.

Follow local brokerage companies. Follow local real estate agents. Follow mortgage professionals. Follow Real Estate Attorneys. See who they follow. Watch what they share and how often. Check out Bottlenose to see who influences them.

Look at the profiles and see exactly how much information the person or company shares on twitter. Are the posts consistent? are the posts interesting? or are they simply self-serving and boring. Do the “tweets” add value to your real estate search? If the answer is “NO” then keep searching. I promise you there are thousands of twitter accounts that will add value to your search.

Here is the worst use of twitter I have seen, and it belongs to a highly recognized company in the industry.

In fairness, I’m not sure if this is just an old account they don’t use anymore. But either way, its out there and came up on a followerwonk search. Most mortgage professionals and real estate agents on twitter are far more creative.

The topic of our next article is about how to use twitter lists to find a home. Stay tuned for that…and thank you for reading this one.

Jack O’Donohue is a Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP

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