Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Jan. 24, 2019

Which Debts Should You Pay Off First?

Dec. 4, 2018

So You Want to Live in Mattapan (A Boston Magazine Neighborhoods Feature)

Willie Mandrell of The Mandrell Company was asked by Megan Johnson of Boston Magazine to discuss the Real Estate market in Mattapan. The article featured below was originally posted on and linked below. Please reach out if you would like to consider your options in Mattapan: (617) 297-8641 or

So You Want to Live in Mattapan

Navigate the market with our trusty neighborhood guide, and spend your weekends eating hot dogs from Simco's.

by Megan Johnson of


Photo by Ed Lyons on Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s not all that common to find a neighborhood within the city limits where it’s affordable to purchase a single-family home—but Mattapan is one of those places, and people are noticing. Brimming with history, the land was originally home to the Mattahunt tribe. After Europeans colonized the area, Mattapan later became one of Boston’s thriving Jewish neighborhoods (more on that later). By the 1980s, it evolved into a vibrant immigrant community, and today is a Haitian, African, and Caribbean immigrant stronghold.

Mattapan is anchored by Mattapan Square, a bustling commercial center with residential communities that stream off of it like tree branches. Victorian houses, along with lovely smaller brick homes, cascade off Blue Hill Avenue. Triple-deckers are, of course, everywhere, and in varying condition—it’s not unusual to see a dilapidated one right next door to a pristinely renovated home. There are countless places of worship, too—some are basically tiny storefronts, while others, like the Jubilee Christian Church, are so large they could double as an IKEA.

The neighborhood’s public transportation options continue to grow. The historic Mattapan Trolley, which serves as a vital connector to the Red Line at Ashmont, is particularly charming, though some residents would prefer a faster commute over antique flair. There are several bus routes that head to the Mattapan loop, but you’ll certainly find yourself waiting a while for some of them (looking at you, bus 30).

When it comes to Mattapan real estate, there’s no doubt an elephant in the room. When residents say they live in the neighborhood, the immediate reaction seems to be a question of safety. Certainly, instances of gun violence have rocked the community in recent years. But some locals say this couldn’t be farther from their experience, and that a lot of that criticism has very clear racial overtones. In reality, Mattapan is largely quiet, and the hilly streets off Blue Hill Avenue are peaceful, beautiful neighborhoods where most residents have no qualms about walking their dogs around the block at night.

Prices at a Glance

Median single-family home price: $430,000

Median condo price: $304,000

Average rent price: $2,250 per month

What You Can Buy

Photo via Keller Williams Elite

A Renovated Single Family Home
163 Greenfield Rd., Mattapan
Price: $499,000
Size: 1,629 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 2

Photo via One Call Realty

A ’40s Abode with a Deck Over the Garage
755 Cummins Highway, Mattapan
Price: $418,800
Size: 1,214 square feet
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 1.5

Public Transit Options

The Mattapan stop on the Mattapan Trolley

The Morton Street stop on the Commuter Rail

What a Real Estate Agent Says

Mattapan is a haven for diversity and community, both culturally and commercially. Buyers and sellers love Mattapan not only for its desirable location and convenience, but also for the expanding market. For buyers, especially, this expanding market has not yet usurped the fact that it is one of the last remaining affordable markets in Boston.

The current development found throughout Mattapan has allowed for more opportunities for buyers, both residential and commercial, from the condo-developments in the highly desirable Lower Mills area to the overhaul and boom of commercial development in Mattapan Square. While Mattapan remains predominantly a single-family home area, the market is strong for multi-family investors. Bordering on Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and Milton (a multi-year winner of the “Best Town in America” award), Mattapan is a no-brainer for those looking for a deal in the Boston area and those looking to sell. Prices are extremely affordable by Boston’s standards and, for sellers, the properties are not lasting long on the market as buyers are becoming strongly aware of the draw to ownership in Mattapan. Investors and individual savvy buyers are aware that the multi-family market is hot, with the affordable prices and the large rental population, making the opportunity to collect extra rent a huge draw and a smart move.

One final, important note: Mattapan is no different than the rest of the Boston area. Single-family and multi-family properties commonly date back to the early 1900s, so making sure to utilize the contingency section of the offer is crucial, particularly when it comes to the home inspection.

—Willie Mandrell, The Mandrell Company

Grocery Stores

America’s Food Basket
926 Cummings Highway, Mattapan

Photo by Megan Johnson


Mattapan has several iconic food destinations, ranging from Ali’s Roti and Brother’s Deli to Simco’s, which is probably the only place you’ll find a giant ice cream cone that says “hot dogs” on it.

But one of the best parts of buying a home in Mattapan is its price tag. The neighborhood is one of the last affordable communities in Boston, and residents say that prices are already beginning to spike, particularly where Mattapan borders Lower Mills. It’s a great bet if you’re looking to avoid the condo route, and want a single-family home in a diverse neighborhood within the city limits. For the price of a one-bedroom condo in Savin Hill, you can purchase a single-family Victorian with four bedrooms.

Did You Know?

Along with parts of Dorchester and Roxbury, Mattapan was a thriving Jewish enclave in the mid-20th century. It’s here that we see the obvious cultivation of neighborhoods along racial lines, as the practices of block-busting and redlining became de rigueur. While some Jewish families prospered financially and headed out to the suburbs, real estate agents intentionally scared others out of the neighborhood. At the same time, they consciously pushed black families into specific areas. Their shady tactics worked, and racial tensions ran high. Synagogue arsons and street altercations occurred, and in just one year, 1969, the Jewish population of Dorchester-Mattapan dropped from 50,000 to 6,000. These days, Mattapan has successfully repurposed several of its former synagogues into churches, maintaining its historic architecture while evolving to support the needs of the current community.


Dec. 4, 2018

Boston is Ranked #3 Most Expensive Rental Market

Boston is Ranked #3 Most Expensive Rental Market

Article & Photo Source:

Zumper ranked Boston as the third most expensive rental market in the United States.

Boston moved up two spots, with one-bedroom rent growing 3.3% to $2,480. Two-bedroom rent saw no fluctuation at $2,700/month. 

A major benefit of working with one of our Real Estate Agents is the access you will have to our exclusive, elite list of preferred contacts, from lenders and attorneys to home inspectors and handymen. Being ranked #3 on the list of most expensive rental markets in the United States means renting is becoming more and more difficult for many people living and working in and around Boston.

We speak to people daily about whether or not they have ever considered purchasing rather than renting. Most of the responses we hear are that people don't think they can afford it. Let us be the first to tell you: With the right guidance and patience, buying is a real possibility for everyone

We work with only the best lenders and our lenders are on stand-by to walk you through the pre-qualification process. Even if you don't qualify for a mortgage loan today, our lenders will work with you to guide you towards home ownership, from daily, actionable money-saving tips to rectify your credit score. 

We're here to help! Contact us and we'll connect you with one of our lenders: (617) 297-8641 or

Nov. 30, 2018

Real Estate Partnerships :: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Transcript of Webinar:

All right. Good morning everyone. We're at the top of the hour. It's exactly 10 AM so we want to go ahead and get started. I appreciate the people that were able to hop on with us this morning. Hopefully, we can share some good information with you regarding partnerships. That's today's topic. We're going to be talking about partnerships, some of the dos, the don'ts, some of the things to look out for, some of the things to consider as you're going through your partnerships, you're working in current partnerships, or you're considering future partners and relationships in the business.

As always, if you have any questions, there's a question box on your right-hand side, please stick any questions in there. As I go through, I'll have periodic places where I'm able to stop and see if I can answer any questions. We're probably going to go about 45 minutes this morning depending upon how many questions we have, so this shouldn't take along. I'll try to get you off of here relatively quickly this morning.

Let's get right into it. First I'm going to, for those of you who I've not met or are not familiar with, or just joined in the group, first of all, welcome to Boston Wealth Builders if you're just joining. My name is Willie Mandrell. I'm one of the organizers of the group, and today I'm going to be the presenter as well.

A little bit about me, I've been a buy and hold real estate investor since 2006. I bought my first multifamily then, just been buying and holding properties since. That is my primary focus. I've done most of the things I've done on my own, but in recent years I've had to leverage myself out a little bit and start using partnerships. Learned a lot over the last few years working with other people and building relationships and learning, and we're going to talk a little bit about that today.

My primary focus is the Buy and Hold business. I do condo conversions here and there and dabble in a couple of different things. I also own a real estate brokerage, The Mandrell Company, our focus is the investment property business working with landlords, working with new developers, working with new people that are just looking to get into the multifamily space and learn a little bit, and then again, the founding member and one of the organizers of Boston Wealth Builders which you are a part of today.

So a little bit about me, and then like I say, we'll jump right into today's topic. If you have any questions ... I see a few more people have hopped on. If you have any questions, please throw them in the questions' box as we go along, and we'll stop periodically to see if we can answer those for you.

What are we going to talk about this morning? We're going to breeze through it pretty quickly. The 10, actually there's 8, excuse me, so 8 topics we're going to discuss this morning about business concerns or partnerships' concerns.

Number 1 is Your Team Value. What do you bring to the partnership? We're going to talk a little bit about kind of stepping back and evaluating, what do you bring to the table? What do your partners bring to the table? The reason that's a concern is that not every partnership if there are two people, not everything should be broken up necessarily into a 50/50 split. If you're bringing a lot more to the table or a lot less to the table, then maybe there's some negotiation there about dividing up that 70/30 or in another method.

So Roles and Responsibilities. One of the things that I've won't say struggled with, but one of the things that I didn't pay as much attention to as I should have in the beginning is breaking down roles and responsibilities. At the beginning of partnerships having those tough conversations right in the beginning.

Then your Business Goals. We're going to talk about business goals, and it seems silly. Most people would say, "Well, my business goal is to make money." There are so many other different goals and variations of that endgame, and I didn't realize that, again, until I got into it and started talking about a timeline and everything else. So we're going to talk a little bit about that as well.

Do you have a similar work ethic? I've had some great partnerships. I have some existing relationships that are just terrific. I've had some failed partnerships, and one of the reasons that the majority of them fail in my opinion is for two reasons. One is, like I said, I pride myself on my work ethic. I put in a lot of time, and when I commit to something, I really go after it, and that's not always the case for some people. So you have to look at yourself and look at your partners and say, "Do we have a similar work ethic and is this going to work out?"

There's a lot of excitement on the front end, a lot of, "Yeah, let's go ahead and do this. Let's build this house. Let's go into this thing and buy this piece of property and rent it out," but taking a step back and really evaluating where you fit in, and where your partner fits in is key.

Great Communication. You have to be a great communicator. One of the things that we're going to talk about is having those tough conversations. A lot of people hate controversy. They hate to poke and prod and ask the tough questions, but if you ask them on the front end, you won't have to have an attorney ask them on the back end.

The Best Legal Structure. I am not an attorney, but we're going to talk to you a little bit about how I set up my stuff and if you have any questions there, I can help you as much as I can. But again, some of those, I'm not an attorney so when we talk about specific legal structure, we'll have to refer to somebody with a law degree.

What do you do when trouble comes? And then planning for the future. As your partnership works out, it's a year, it's two years down the road, what happens? Are you still on the same path? What are the things that you run into five years down the road, 10 years down the road? And can you continue to get over those hurdles and continue to work together?

So those are the 8 topics that we're going to go to, excuse me, not 10.

We'll dive right into it, and we'll get into our first topic is, what do you bring to the table? I've had, in my experience several partnerships, quite a few partnerships. I tried to do things with friends. That's always the first case as we try to say, "I have a friend, he's in construction, or she's an electrician, and we're going to partner together, and we're going to ..." That's a great thought, but you really have to step back and think about what does that person bring to the table? What do you bring to the table? There's a lot of different aspects of it, right? We're talking about real estate partnerships here.

There's the financing aspect of it, and we talk about flips in general or buy and holds or whatever it may be. You have your primary banking financing. You might have some private financing in there. Do you have cash yourself that you're putting into the deal? Does your partner necessarily have that same cash to bring to the deal? Do you bring some type of construction knowledge to the table? Do they? Are they an electrician? A plumber? A general contractor? Or have they just run other jobs before, and they familiar with that?

Again, taking a step back and writing all those things down, and assessing what each partner brings. Are they a marketing professional? Are they out there finding the deals? There's a good value in that as well. Some of the partnerships that I have were 50/50 split, although I financed the deal and ran the construction, it was an excellent deal that was brought to the table or brought to the partnership. So finding the deal sometimes if you're excellent at going out there and marketing and talking to sellers and putting deals under contract, that could be a very valuable skill as well.

Are they in the real estate business? Do they have a good grasp on the market, and the knowledge that you need to end up selling these things, or renting these apartments out or whatever it is that you're doing? But are they in the sales business? Are they a realtor? Do they have that specific local knowledge that most people don't have?

And then stepping back and looking at all that, and saying, "Okay, I'm a realtor. I financed the deal." Maybe it's not a 50/50 split and those are the tough conversations that you have to have on the front end, because if not, what you run into is, "Wait, I did X, Y, and Z, and you participated just A, B, and C," or whatever it may be. Those are the reasons that most partnerships work out is because you're not having those conversations. Don't work out, excuse me, because you're not having those conversations on the front end. So taking a step back, looking at what each partner brings to the table, and assessing where you are and whether it should be a 50/50 split or a 70/30 or a 60/40 or whatever it may be, and hopefully, that makes sense to you guys.

Who does what and when? Who does what when? The next thing that I've run into trouble with over the years is not, again, having those tough conversations right from the beginning. There's a lot of excitement. We found a deal. We're ready to get into it and let's just go and let's just get it done.

It's very important in a real estate partnership, or in any business relationship, that you talk from the beginning about who's going to be responsible for what? What are your roles and responsibilities throughout this partnership? Is one person going to be doing the financing, and are they going to be talking to all the lenders? If it's construction project, meeting the lenders onsite, communicating with your private money people about the progress of the property, and when they're going to be getting their funding back, and everything else.

Who's going to be onsite? Who's going to be managing the property, managing the Manager. Even if you have a General Contractor, a lot of people fail to see that. A General Contractor, you can't just hand them a check and walk away, and six months later the property is rehabbed and ready to go. You really need to be onsite, paying attention and making sure that they are executing your vision on that site as well.

I'm in a partnership right now where my responsibility is more the back end. My responsibility is to make sure that our funding is secure, to make sure that I'm communicating where we are with the banks, while, as I said, I'm not the main person responsible to be onsite because I live a little bit further away, and that was one of the tough conversations or not tough conversations, we had it. But one of the things we had to talk about in the beginning. It's like, "I'm not going to be onsite all the time, but I can do our bookkeeping. I can do our accounting."

We're collectively making the design decisions. That's another thing. Do you have a good grasp on, is it high-end fixtures that you're going to be using? Is it some of the ... Was it Home Depot and Lowes and some of the more expensive or less expensive stuff? So having that tough conversation about who has an eye for that type of stuff? It might not be an eye, maybe it's just a certain standard that you want to go through and just having that conversation on the front end.

When it comes down to hard decisions, when it comes down to two people in a relationship that just don't agree, the hard decisions and the final decisions, it might make sense to have the conversation on the front end of your partnerships about who's going to make that final decision? If it's three people in a partnership, then maybe everyone has a 1/3 vote, and two people are going one way, and somebody goes somebody else, and they just get outvoted. But who makes that final decision when it's just those two people? That's probably something that you should talk to.

Maybe when it's a budgeting thing, it's whoever's handling the budget and the financing, and when it's a design choice, the cost is the same, but it's more or less the color, maybe it's the person that's onsite and spending more time. The hue doesn't really matter. 

There's no right or wrong answer, it's just you have to make those decisions on the front end before things get sticky. And that's, we're going to talk a little bit about what happens when trouble comes, but trouble tends to resolve itself when you've had those conversations on the front end. You worked out and, like I said, you really dive in and did your due diligence and kind of, before had the foresight to see all the problems that could come in on the front end. Things tend to be a lot smoother down the line.

What are your partnership goals? Most people would say, "Yeah, it's just, I want to make money. I want to buy and hold. And I want to become wealthy." That's very generic. When I say partnership goes, I mean specifics. You really have to ... And one of the ... I've been, for those of you who know me in or for those of you who don't, I'm 35 years old right now. Been in the business since I was 23. I've have it, like I said, there's been a lot of people I've bumped into and had to try to form relationships and do and had partnerships.

In my mid twenties or late twenties, good friend of mine, he's an older gentleman, he was at the time, I think late fifties, early sixties, we tried to get into a real estate partnership together. And one of the things that we failed to talk about right from the start was timeline. And what do I mean by that? I was in my late twenties. I was investing for the long haul. I was investing for 10, 20, 30 years down the line. There was no intention of me selling. When we went to go buy a property, I was, my intention was to go in there and we were going to own this property. Or do a ten thirty-one exchange and put that money ...

Whereas he was a little bit older. He was thinking, and we didn't have this conversation until it was too late, that hey, we were investing for two to five years down the road. He was planning on cashing out and using those debt funding for his retirement. So we were in this property or in this deal together where our timelines didn't really match up. So that's one of the things that you really have to talk to your partners about or your partner is, are we on the same page in terms of our goals, in terms of timeline?

Commitment. Do we have the same time commitment when we're putting into your partnerships? I guess the easiest way to kind of explain this is through an example. If I'm, again, 20, 25, 26, no kids at the time, I'm willing to put in 70 hours a week. Whereas my partner has three children at home, wife, a couple of mortgages. They're heavily involved in the church, heavily involved in the community. Whereas he's looking at putting in 10 hours, I'm looking at putting in 30 or 40. We didn't have that discussion on the front end. And those are the types of things where resentment starts to form. I'm primarily on the project, doing all these different things, running around. And while I respect the fact that you have a family and your involvement in the church and everything else, like I said, it's just not sitting well with me and it's just not fair. So those are the types of things you have to talk about on the front end as well.

You're also investing for different things. I mean, we, one of the other things that I've run into over the years, my partner, we buy a property together. Everything goes well and we get a little cash flow. And let's say we have twenty or thirty thousand dollars in a bank or whatever it may be. And we want to go and reinvest that money now. One partner may say, "Well, yeah, I want to go and reinvest in something for cashflow." Another partner's, "Hey, I want to go and reinvest in something that looks, has a little bit more appreciation opportunity." So when you get into partnerships, you really need to talk on the front end. What are we getting into this for? Are we getting into this to generate short term gains? Are we get into this for longterm gains? Is it cashflow? Is it appreciation? And really just understand your partnership's investment goals or your partner's investment goals right from the start. Those are one of the, definitely, one of the conversations that you really want you to have.

One of the things I've also run into over the years is you have that same scenario where you build up a little cash in the bank and you've got twenty, thirty thousand dollars. One partner wants to go out and leverage that money again and say, "Let's go buy the next property." Where one side of the equation is saying, "Well, no, let's go put a new roof on this property or improve and change the siding or improve our existing investment." So again, it's hard. It's very difficult. I know some of you are probably thinking, how are we going to possibly have all these conversations? You're probably going to scare your partner out of the relationship right from the start. But as your partnership evolves or you bring on new partners, these are the conversations, these are things that you have to consider as you're forward.

Do you share the same work ethic? And we just talked about that, briefly. Work ethic is important and, I mean, there's no really, there's no real way. It's not like you can say, "Hey, what's your work ethic? Is it a six? Is it a nine?" Or whatever, but I mean, I would encourage you to have or go into partnerships where you have some type of history with that person. If you're meeting somebody that's relatively new and you share a same, a similar passion, that's great, but you really want to have, in my opinion, some type of history with that person and understand the type of work ethic that they have. Have they been successful in other projects?

Have you seen them kind of ... One of the things I noticed that there are a lot of people out there that work hard, so in conjunction with work ethic is focus as well. I know a lot of people that work really hard and they have a really good work ethic, but they lack focus. They're involved in nine different projects. All of them are 25 percent complete. They never really seem to finish anything. They're always working. They're always working diligently, but nothing ever really gets done at the end of the day. So you want to make sure that your partner is someone who not only has a great work ethic, but also has the focus to actually, or a similar focus to you, to actually get things done at the end of the day.

Being a great communicator. This is, again, having those tough conversations and being able to articulate your gripes, your resentment, your whatever it may be or your worries or whatever, in a way that your partner can understand at the appropriate time. Anticipating problems before they come up. Seeing kind of having a little bit of a foresight, looking into the future and like, "This is going to be an issue. Let's talk about it now before it gets out of hand." Or, "Hey, I just realized I'm uncomfortable with the way that X, Y, and Z is going." Most people are, they steer away from tough conversations.

I read somewhere success is measured by the number of tough conversations or hard conversations that one is willing to have. And I find that to be true. It's, there are a lot of times where I'm put in a position where I have to terminate a relationship, I have to fire an employee, or I have to break away from a partnership. Or everything is going smoothly and some new information is introduced and I have to back away because the deal no longer makes sense. Those are really tough conversations to have.

But think about, I mean, think about the opposite side of it though. Think about the, "Hey, I keep that employee on for another six months and they don't want to be there." I mean, I don't want them there. They don't want to be there. It's just not a good situation for anyone. So I have to have that conversation. That tough conversation and let them go immediately. Or I'm in a partnership or relationship where I'm like, "This doesn't make sense financially." But I don't want to have the tough conversations, so I'm going to continue to go down the line and a lot of people do that. If you want your partnerships to work, often, I can tell you guys that very often the other person, or the person on the opposite end of the equation is also thinking the exact same thing. It just takes the courage of one of you to initiate that conversation. And just go ahead and dive in. And often it ends up being a much smoother conversation and there was a lot less worry than you thought.

And the second side of that is to document as much as you can. I try to do everything through email and then, I'm in several partnerships right now and when we're communicating about money or site work or whatever it may be, we're trying to do it through emails. So there's no he said, she said. There is, "Hey, this is exactly what we put in the email and this is exactly what we're going to go off."

I mean, if you're going to do things through text message, often if it's involving money ... Sometimes my contractors text, call me up and say, or text me and say, there was a change order and it's going to be $2,000 more than what our original bid is. I'm going to make sure that I screenshot that text message on my phone and I'm going to save it. I'm going to put it into a file somewhere. HR Ventures who you guys are probably familiar with. They do a lot of great stuff. They use a great system. I can't remember the ... Buildertrend. And Buildertrend keeps documentation of all of their communications with subcontractors and communications and change orders and everything else like that within that system. So document as much as possible, making sure that things are written down. That things are in an email communication where it can be captured.

The other side of it is not all partnerships work out. Sometimes people get angry, sometimes people you said this, you didn't do that or whatever it is. If you have as much documented as possible, it's a protection for you as well if things get ugly, if things go to court, if attorneys are involved. You want to make sure that you have as much as possible documented.

So one of the things I know that people like, "Well, what if I'm on site and I'm having ..." Anytime I'm on site and I have a conversation, a very detailed conversation with a contractor or a partner or whoever it is ... I also, I'm like, "Hey, when I get home can or when you get home, can you also summarize or give me a quick ten bullet points of today's meeting?" To make sure that they interpreted everything that we had talked about earlier in the same way that I did. So I'm saying, "We've had this conversation verbally. You're shaking your head. I'm shaking my head. It seems like we're in agreement, but I still, just to make sure, when you get home this evening or when I get home this evening, somebody's basically going to send a summary to the other person about the things that we discussed today." And then I want to hit reply, "Yes, this is exactly what we discussed. Let's go ahead and make it happen." Or vice versa. If that makes sense to you guys.

So just being ... One of the things that I've learned is you can, enthusiasm is great. Work Ethic is great. There are a lot of hard working people. I imagine that most of you are hardworking people since you're, like I said, you're waking up at 10:00 on a Saturday or you've been up already and you're hopping on this and trying to improve what you're doing. The work ethic is there. Communication is the one thing that most of us fail at or suffer with. And we're not necessarily good communicators or born as good communicators. So it's one of the things that I've tried to work on and I encourage you to work on it as well. I've read books, I watch YouTube videos, as much as I can. And just try it again. Have those hard conversations and things will work out and hopefully that makes sense.

Legal structure. Again, I'm sure there's gonna be some questions on this. I'm not an attorney. What I can tell you that is-

, what you want to do is have that conversation with your partners, have that conversation whoever you're going to be in a relationship with. Document as much as you can, talk about the details, hire an attorney, and then everything into a contract. I do the majority of my stuff in an LLC, a limited liability company, own quite a few of them now. I can tell you that the limited liability company it's actually structured, so it's exactly what it sounds like. It limits my liability and your liability from one entity to the next, so each of my limited liability company or LLC has its own tax ID, has its own entity, its own structure. If I have an issue with 123 Main Street, it does not affect 456 Main Street.

The reason we do that is I own ... I'm 50/50 partner on 123 Main Street with one individual, and I also own 456 Main Street as 70/30 partner with another individual. If I have issues at 123, I don't want to have them affect me over at 456, if that makes sense to you, right? So you're limiting your liability. They're separate entities all together, two separate people, you can almost look at them like. But in terms of our discussion with partnerships, you really just want to have as much documented in an agreement with an attorney, both parties sign.

The reason you want to have an attorney is if you're first getting into the business, you think attorneys are unnecessary, they're really expensive. I can tell you this, court fees are very expensive as well. If you hire an attorney on the front end to do your contract, let's even call it, 700, 800, let's call it a thousand bucks to put a contract together, ask you a series of questions, making sure that you're documenting everything, anticipating all the things that can go wrong, putting it into a contract. I can tell you that that a thousand bucks that you spend is minuscule compared to what you would spend in court defending yourself or when somebody attacks you on the other end or your partnership doesn't work out.

Like I said, I would do my ... Do your due diligence. Anticipate the things that can go wrong, have a little bit of foresight, really drill in and have those tough conversations with your partner, do a little bit more research about the business, talk to an attorney and then put everything under contract. And then again, whether it be corporation, an S corp, and LLC, you can decide that, and LLP, a limited partnership. You can decide that with your attorney based on the things that you discussed with your partnership and with your attorney and what they decide is best. But again, most of my stuff is very simple and held within a LLC.

What do you do when trouble comes? What do you do when you're talking to your partner and you guys just can't get on the same page? A lot of times we, as people, we take hard lines. We feel attacked. We're trying to defend ourselves. I mean, and this is just a basic thing, but I mean it's ... You would think that most people, this is kind of something you don't really have to tell people, but I put it in here because you often do have to tell people this.

If you're in a tough negotiation or if your partner is asking for more money and you don't feel like they deserve it or they're trying to ... I often try to take a step back and walk in my partner's shoes or walk in the other ... I mean, I do this through the real estate sales side as well. I'm in a tough negotiation with another broker. I'm trying to look at it from their point of view. I'm trying to look at it from, if I'm representing the buyer from the seller's point of view. This goes back to the communication, just being savvy and saying, "If I'm on the other side ..." Again, I'm trying to win for myself. I'm trying to win, win, win, and just continue to do what's best for me and my family.

While I understand that that's not always going to get you over the hump and it's not always going to smooth things over and it's not always the best way to look at things. Sometimes you have to take a step back and say, "If I was on the other side of the equation, how would I be viewing this? Well, yes. My partner does bring contracting experience and has been on the site more than I have, and has a lot more experience and has been able to beat up our contractors and get them to ... Maybe, though that I feel like I've been spending a lot of time on the books and everything else, maybe that person does deserve a little bit more equity split or whatever there is they're asking for.

But the point is, to always, when trouble comes, take a look at the other side, see what you can ... If you were in their side, would you still feel the same way? Would you still be asking you for the things that you're asking for? Would you agree to it? And hopefully that makes sense. It's a little tough to articulate, but always taking a step back, walking the other person's shoes, and I tend to ... You find that it tends to smooth things over a little bit. And if not, then that's what attorneys are for.

Last, but not least, you want to think about the long-term. And partnerships in business, I think, the statistics say the average business doesn't last more than five years or somewhere along there. I am pretty sure that that's probably just all businesses in general. I'm pretty sure when there's multiple cooks in the kitchen, they probably last even less than that. It's difficult when you have a lot of people making decisions and two people ... I don't know if you have any more partners than that. You do tend to have a lot of cooks in the kitchen and I'm pretty sure they feel more often.

But let's talk about when they succeed and you're three years into the business or you're 10 years into the business, these are the things that you probably didn't talk to your attorney about initially. You didn't know whether this was going to be successful. You didn't know how long you were going to be in the business. Now that things are moving and you're profitable and things are happening, you have your CEO and your CFO and things are kind of ... You understand. Now, there are some other things that start to pop up, right?

We're currently running this business in Boston right now, but one of our partners wants to move to California. Well, what happens now? They can't be on site from California. They don't really ... The things that they brought to the table initially, it doesn't necessarily hold now from the other side of the country, right? Life changes. That person was putting in 40 or 50 hours a week and it was great at the time, but now they're pregnant with their third child and now they're putting in 20 hours a week. Those are the things that we want to anticipate. The growth of the company.

When do we hire new employees? Or, right now we're both working 70 hours a week. How do we hire somebody else to take some of the load off of our plate? Or we're growing and it's kind of ... Do we take on additional partners? And what percentage of equity do they get? One of the most important things, or like I said, I hope I spelled that last word right. I know somebody is going to be on there like, "Yeah, no." But death and incapacitation or incapacitated, now I hope that I'm pronouncing it right. What happens if one partner dies? Is there a clause in your contract that where ... There are a couple of things that can happen.

Does the remaining partner or partners take over the entire business? Does the equity of the old partner move to the family? Or is that an inheritable asset or an inheritable part of the company? Is there a buyout opportunity for new partners to come in? One partner wants to move to California. Is there an opportunity for me and the existing partners to buy that partner out since they are no longer able to produce something for us? It gets a little bit more sticky. Just starting a partnership is one thing. Having a successful partnership and especially when it's in a business that's ongoing. If you're basically just flipping homes, that's one thing. It's like every six months you shut down the LLC or you shut down the business and move on. Or maybe you're flipping homes all within that one LLC, depending on how you structure it.

But if you have something that's ongoing, something that's building and something that's growing, it can get very difficult if one person is at a position, or a health position, where they can no longer make decisions on their own. In most families, there is somebody designated as what's called a healthcare proxy. They're making decisions for that individual or they have a power of attorney and they're making decisions for that individual [inaudible 00:33:31]. Does that spouse, or whoever that other person is, now also make decisions within your business? Are you now, if that part of your business is inheritable, are you now making business decisions with the child of your old partner or the POA of your old partner who doesn't necessarily know anything about your business?

Those are all the things that you have to think about, discuss, as things go on and if you have those hard conversations, I know death is morbid, most people don't want to talk about it, but it's a real part of life. We're all going to meet our end at some point, so you have to talk about those things. It could happen tomorrow, it could happen 20 years from now. It could happen 50 years from now, but at some point, like I said, if it's tragic and it does happen in a short time, or something leaves you incapable of making decisions, does the business fail at that point? Or does it continue in a successful manner?

That's my time. Hopefully, this was helpful. It was a very short one today, we're looking at 10:35. I'm available for another few minutes if you'd like to talk about some questions. I mean, if it's not partnerships, we could talk about anything real estate related, while I have you on here. I don't see any questions in the question box at the moment. But if you have something, I'll be around for a couple minutes. Again, hopefully this was helpful for you. It was really quick one today, and hopefully, like I said, we were able to explain some things to you that at least get you thinking about some things that you weren't already thinking about.

Nov. 28, 2018

The #1 Reason to Sell Your Home This Winter

Why Wait? The #1 Reason to Sell Your Home This Winter

It is a common, long-standing theory that the best time to sell is in the Spring.

Many sellers believe this because of several factors, including a traditional increase in buyer demand and the seasonally better weather (especially here in New England!). What sellers are overlooking, however, is that this is a common, long-standing theory, and that means if most homeowners believe this to be true, then the Spring is when sellers have the most competition! 

The #1 reason to sell your home this Winter is LESS COMPETITION!

Across the nation, the supply of properties (market inventory) habitually and dramatically spikes in the Spring and continues through the Summer and, in some places, the Fall. Come October/November/December, the inventory of available properties takes a nose-dive, shrinking to the lowest numbers all year, limiting buyers' choices. We believe this creates an unchallengeable opportunity for sellers! A buyer's need to purchase in December, January, and February doesn't change; the only change is in the number of choices they have to choose from.

Limited seller inventory = Limited buyer choices. 

Here at The Mandrell Company, we consider the "Sweet Spot" for sellers to be from late-fall (November) to late-Winter (February). 

Theories often are entangled with myths and we like to dispell myths with our clients. The most common myth we hear from sellers about selling in the Winter is that there aren't as many buyers so they'd rather wait until the Spring when there is a larger buyer pool. Here's the thing: the strongest buyers of the year are the ones braving the Winter conditions to see property. These buyers not "lookie-loos;" these buyers are serious. This creates an added bonus to selling in the Winter months! 

Your home, most likely, will find its buyer in these cold months much easier (less competition!) and much more conveniently (fewer lookie-loos!). 

We're Here to Help! 

Have you been debating whether or not to wait until the Spring to sell your home? Why wait! We'd love to offer you a professional analysis of the current market and provide you with a FREE property valuation. Call us today - (617) 297-8641 -to schedule an appointment! 

July 16, 2018

How to Build a Massive Real Estate Portfolio w/o Going Crazy

We're gonna talk a little bit about building a massive real estate portfolio without going crazy and how to use leverage. What exactly is leverage and how do you use it?

So, a lot of landlords, a lot of rental property investors, get into the business, they buy a property, they buy their second property, or maybe it's just their first, and they immediately become an accountant, a maintenance person, a landscaper, a bookkeeper, an attorney.

When you're buying your first and second property, you tend to do a lot of things yourself to keep costs low. You're cutting the grass, you're trimming the hedges, you're collecting rent, you're knocking on doors, you're negotiating with tenants about rental increases.

You're doing all of these different things yourselves, and you're driving yourself crazy. It's hard to keep up with, and in order to continue to build your portfolio, there's no way that you could ever operate like that.

So, we're gonna talk about four ways to leverage yourself, or use leverage, to continue to build. Number one, we'll get right into it, number one would be building systems. The system is a, a perfect example would be McDonald's. A McDonald's restaurant would never be able to be as big as they are without systems.

When you go in and you work for McDonald's, you knew immediately from day one, or within the first week, how long a hamburger should cook for, how long the fries should be done. They're not hiring people and second-guessing, or people coming and trying to figure out how long the fries go down for. There is a system, a manual, a handbook in place that already tells you exactly how long those fries should be down for.

So, creating your business or building your rental property business like McDonald's, and creating systems and checklists for everything for yourself, would be step number one, or excuse me, leverage use number one is systems. Going in and, if you do something correctly, if you do something well, you're creating a move-in checklist for your tenants. Your tenant's moving into the apartment, you wanna walk through each bedroom, you wanna walk through the kitchen, you wanna turn on the dishwasher, you wanna make sure all these things are working in a good working order. You create that checklist, and now that checklist is something you can hand off to somebody else in the future, so you can do something more important later on.

So, if you're one of those people that believe you do everything right yourself, and you do it yourself because you do it right, that's great. Document what you do, and then hand that system off to someone else later on. Create a repeatable process for yourself, and you can do that with almost everything.

Number two, use tools. Tools as a form of leverage. Just like a plumber uses a plunger, he's using a tool. He or she is using a tool to unclog that toilet, or that tub, or whatever it may be. Use tools in your business to build that portfolio as well. An example of a tool would be accounting software.

If you're using, if you have one property right now, or two properties, and you can use a yellow legal pad to take all of your income and expenses down, that's great. But you're never gonna get to 30 units or multiple properties, 30 properties, doing it that way.

So, implement an accounting system into your business now while it's small, to allow yourself to grow. A good accounting system are things like QuickBooks, Quicken, and then personal finance software, like Microsoft Money, can also help you out with a lot of your rental property stuff as well. And then management software as well, using a system to track your leases.

When are your leases due, when are your tenants going to need to renew, stuff like that can all be taken care of with some type of tool, some type of software for your rental property business. I would say, last but not least, on the tools note, is potentially building a website for yourself. Websites are very easy to build nowadays and they're very cheap.

Two things that you can do with your website are to help you collect rents, if it allows that feature, if that website allows tenants to do so on the website, and then two is continuous marketing. If you are trying to build now, you can put photos of your rental properties on this website, and people can go and they'll see when the lease is being renewed, it's up in September. They look at the photos, maybe there's a spot for an application to be filled out right on your website as well.

So, leverage point number three would be using people. People leverage. So, instead of trying to do everything yourself, if you are great at accounting, but you suck at cutting the hedges, or landscaping, then shell that job out to someone else. If it takes you four or five hours to do landscaping work at your rental property, but you can shell it out to someone else who's gonna get it done in an hour, yes, of course you have to pay them, but that's four or five hours, or three hours, or whatever it may be, that you could be doing something else that you're actually good at and that you enjoy doing. Maybe it's going out and looking for other properties, or maybe it's taking care of the books, or something that you can actually do efficiently.

Now, the couple other people you'd wanna have on your team, to consider hiring, is a property manager and snow removal. Again, is it worth your time to go out and shovel snow, when you can potentially get neighborhood kids to do it, or a professional company to handle that for you? A handyman, a personal assistant, a bookkeeper, and then a rental agent.

You find a lot of landlords are still taking calls on their vacant rentals. Here in the city of Boston, I would suggest that you hire a rental agent. They are going to do the lease for you, they are going to do the tenant vetting for you, they are going to do the showings, and take the calls, they are going to vet the tenant out in terms of background checks, and all the other, employment verification, and everything else that is taking up a lot of your time, and doesn't allow you to grow. Doesn't allow you to build that massive portfolio, if you were doing all those things yourself.

Last but not least is financial leverage. Money leverage. So, building a massive portfolio takes money. It takes some money, and most people say, "Well, I don't have any additional cash to invest." So, using financial leverage in terms of, maybe potentially finding partners. Maybe you have $20,000 to invest, and you can find another partner with $20,000, or maybe multiple partners with $20,000, and now you are all in a similar space, where your portfolio hasn't been able to grow, but combining together your resources, your financial resources, you are able to take that next step.

You could also barter for services. Going back to, hey, I'm really good at accounting work, I'm really good at keeping the books, but I don't like the psychical aspects of landscaping or snow removal. But do you have another landlord within your network, or another friend, that you could barter for services? Maybe you do their taxes or help them with some of their accounting work, and they do some snow removal for you, creating that barter opportunity there, versus you trying to, and them trying to do everything themselves.

So, in conclusion, decide what you're good at, decide what you like doing. Decide what you're not good at, decide what you do not like doing, and then shell out those things that you don't like doing. Stick to what you're good at, you can be really efficient at, and use leverage. Leverage is, again, systems. It's tools, it's people, and it's financial leverage. If you do those things, you'll ultimately grow a massive real estate portfolio. 

July 16, 2018

5 of the Best Things You Can Do to Build Wealth in Real Estate

Number 1: The number one thing that you can do is work on patience. Wealth in Real Estate is not built overnight. You have to continuously think about the long game, continuously look at the future, and stay focused. True wealth isn't built in a couple months. It isn't built in a year. It takes time. It takes continuous focus over the long haul to get to where you want to be in Real Estate. So, that's number one. Staying patient, staying focused, looking at the long game.

Number 2: Probably the most important is good credit. Good credit if you don't have it, work on it, improve it. Good credit is imperative to success in Real Estate and long-term wealth building. And the reason being, a lot of deals, people look at real estate as, "Well, I can't succeed in real estate, or I can't buy real estate because I don't have enough of a down payment, or I don't have ... Even if I get the first one, how do I get the second one?" Good credit is often a bypass through a lot of the hurdles. Good credibility. If you have credibility within a market, you can solve a lot of financial problems using leverage. So, making sure that you understand what your credit score is, how credit is affected, and paying attention to your credit score over the long term can really help you build wealth through Real Estate.

Number 3: Continuously searching for opportunities. Telling everyone you know what you do. You're a Real Estate Investor. You buy real estate. You're looking for opportunities. So, always, whether it be at a Super Bowl party, a baby shower, whatever events you go to, working with your local Real Estate agent, finding a good Real Estate agent, and letting that Real Estate agent know this is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm an investor. I'm constantly searching for opportunities. Again, even if you don't have the money at the moment, people say, "Well, I don't have the money, so I don't want to go out and search for opportunities." Things will work themselves out if you are continuously being presented. You don't have to take every opportunity, but if you're continuously being presented with good opportunities from your network, this is one of the keys to building wealth long term.

Number 4: Continuously educating yourself. There is so much to learn in Real Estate, and what separates a lot of successful people from the people that don't quite make it is their continuous hunger for education, a continuous hunger for knowledge. So, I'll give you an example. It's not just about reading Real Estate books all the time, but within Real Estate, you're reading sales books on negotiating techniques. When you're buying, and you're selling, you want to be very versed in the sales field. You want to read some legal. You don't have to become an attorney, but especially if you're buying rental properties, you should know the basics of landlord-tenant law. So, you want to spend some of your time reading a little bit and staying up a little bit about legal matters that have to do with Real Estate.

Financing. The more you understand about financing, and financing is big. It presents a lot of opportunities to you when you understand different types of mortgage from FHA to commercial mortgages to interest-only to balloon payments. Knowing and understanding what all of these things are allows you to create different opportunities for yourself and allows you to understand how you could finance opportunities that are being presented to you.

You should also be educating yourself a little bit about the construction process, the renovation and rehab process, and then marketing as well. If you are continuously networking and putting yourself out there, finding a good Real Estate agent that you can work with, that's great. But you can also do some marketing yourself and go out there and find deals directly, too. If you're a buyer, potentially people that want to sell, and if you're a seller, potentially people that want to buy.

Number 5: Again, one of the big ones is taking action. If you're doing the first floor, you're staying patient, you are working on your credit, you're continuously educating yourself and searching for opportunities, then it just comes down to taking action. When an opportunity is presented to you, and you've done your research, you've educated yourself, and it's now time to pull the trigger. It's now time to stop overthinking it and listen to your gut at some point.

So, those are the five things that you can do to continuously build wealth in Real Estate. Again, it's being patient, working on your credit, always be searching for opportunities, continuous learning, and then finally, last but not least, taking action. 


July 3, 2018

When Standard Isn't Enough: 5 Lease Agreement Clauses You Need to Know

So you finally found the perfect tenants to rent your property (yay!), and now it is time for them to sign the lease agreement. Before you let the ink dry on that, it might be good to consider these few extra details. Most landlords opt to use the standard Boston lease agreement, which in most cases, suffices. But as time passes by and tenants settle into their new surroundings, you may find that their habits fly in the face of what you had originally intended for your property. Hanging laundry on the porch? Not so good for curb appeal. What then can you do to avoid having these potential conversations once the lease has been signed, sealed, and delivered?

On the whole, our approach is to be proactive, rather than retroactive. We talked about 5 key lease addendum clauses that every landlord should consider in an earlier post, but here are 5 more items you can make explicit to your tenants about how to (peacefully) inhabit your rental.

  1. Basements: To Store or Not? – Depending on your preference as a landlord, you may choose to allow your tenants to use the basement as storage space. In that case, be clear about the space that they are allotted by designating bins or shelving for each respective tenant’s use. Remind your tenants to keep these areas clean and free of clutter, particularly if they are near access points for utilities. What is more, tenants should respect each other and contain their belongings in their own space.
  2. Pets and Pet-Sitting – Many standard leases make some mention of a tenant’s pet ownership i.e. type of pet, size, registrations, and vaccinations. But something to consider adding to the lease would be a specific statement about pet-sitting. While this may not seem like a big deal, think about it from a legal standpoint. Say one tenant’s friend’s pooch is an absolute love-bug and you are totally fine with it, but what do you do if the tenant brings around a less friendly or larger animal? Avoid any confusion and potential damage by letting your tenants know your stance on pet-sitting g. absolutely no or yes, with conditions, etc., for their sake and those around them. Give as much detail as you can, and you’ll never have to worry about your tenant’s pets or them sitting again.
  3. Rent Payment: All for One, One for All – This is always a good sentiment from The Three Musketeers to keep in mind when dealing with tenant groups. What do we mean? Well, let’s say for example you decide to rent an apartment to a group of 3 friends for the price of $2100 per month. They, in turn, ask if you would accept 3 checks in the amount of $700 from each of them. Same thing, right? Actually, no. It can be far more difficult to receive and track payment from 3 separate sources that are consistent AND on time. The same goes for the couple that (unfortunately) splits up partway through the lease, and one of them decides not to pay his/her share of the rent. Skip the hassle and headaches by letting your tenants know that one rent payment is expected from all of them, as it is one lease agreement that they will sign.
  4. Subleasing aka Subletting – Your tenants may find themselves with an extra room or an extended period of time when they won’t be living in your rental property. In times like these, they may turn to subleasing (leasing the rental to a third party/subtenant) to fill these voids. Additionally, services like Airbnb present tenants with attractive ways to pay their rent and earn extra income, especially when they can’t live in the space themselves. Definitely address this in your lease addendum, particularly whether you will allow it, and under what circumstances.
  5. Renter’s Insurance – We typically recommend that our tenants obtain this additional policy to help protect them against any loss of personal belongings that may occur in the apartment i.e. theft, water damage, fire. If tenants don’t have this type of insurance and the worst case scenario happens, they may look to you for reimbursement of the items lost. Even if you don’t believe they would, encourage them to get renter’s insurance anyway because it really can help to smooth the transition from a terrible event to normal life. Most major insurance companies offer this type of coverage, and some even bundle it with auto insurance for fewer complications.

 While this list is not exhaustive, it is a good place to begin, regardless of your experience as a landlord. If you feel like you don’t have the skills or the language to draft a lease addendum, reach out to a lawyer and have them help you get it done. At the end of the day, adding these types of clauses to your standard lease agreements will make your life easier when speaking with your tenants, and save you from (some) awkward conversations.

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 21, 2017

10 Task Every Boston Landlord Must Complete To Find The Perfect Tenant

Cheryl Ricketts and Kate Brennan of The Mandrell Company take you through "10 Things Every Landlord Must Do Find Great Tenants". While the information is geared toward Boston area landlords, most of the tips and tricks can be used anywhere in the state of Mass. For more information or for questions, you can contact them at or