The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 15, 2007


Downsizing from Carlisle to Concord

Maureen Tarca is typical of many of Carlisle's baby boomers who will soon be looking to downsize. "When my son left for college, the house became too big." And with a remaining daughter at the high school, "I was sick of driving back and forth." So when she and her husband Peter saw a small yellow house on Sudbury Road right in the middle of Concord, they were hooked. They proceeded to purchase the home and put their 5,000 square foot Partridge Lane colonial on the market. "It was May 2005 and things were pretty rosy. We thought we'd sell within four or five months." This was their fifth home sale, and up to now, "we had been pretty lucky."

This time, it took over eight months to sell, and the Tarcas ended up with a bit less than they had hoped for, taking $1 million for a home listed at $1,199,000. It was a learning experience for Maureen on several levels. "Our house lost out to Tall Pines every time. We had three interested buyers who wanted a neighborhood (and later bought in Tall Pines). Tall Pines has lots of kids, lots of houses, and a beautiful neighborhood community. People moving to town for the schools are looking for that." In addition, their house, originally built in 1958, had been massively expanded and renovated, with the exception of one bathroom. This proved a bigger sticking point than expected. In her past selling experience, Tarca had found buyers willing to put some work into a home, but now "nobody wants to redo things." Finally, "buyers took their time." The purchasers saw the home in October and did not put an offer on until January. "They kept coming back to look, but they had the luxury of time."

But the biggest piece of advice Tarca has for sellers is "Before putting your home on the market, check your septic system." When all the pieces seemed to be in place, the ten-year-old septic system failed Title 5. "It took over two months to resolve. Everything was time-sensitive, but the Board of Health made no attempt to accommodate us. It was very frustrating." When I questioned if Tarca's long service to the community (she was recreation chair for many years) and knowledge of Town Hall didn't help her, she laughed, "There is no favoritism, absolutely zero. But I guess that's fair."

All in all, though, the process was "quite a challenge," Tarca would do it over again. "Our daughter loves the new house and hasn't looked back. Her friends are here. We've become the Carlisle stomping grounds." She advises other sellers in a difficult market, "I would be patient. The right buyer does come along."

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito