2019 Tax Rate Fun in the 'Burbs

As we turn the page and enter 2019, it’s a time of new beginnings, new adventures, new friendships, and when we get down to the nitty gritty, new property assessments and new tax rates too. On the latter note, the chart to the right provides a recap of the 2019 - and 2018 - tax rates in 22 towns/cities in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding area.

The 2019 average residential tax rate in these towns and cities is $14.04 per thousand, which is down $0.06 from 2018. If you click here, you’ll see details on the tax rates from 2019 - 2015, and you’ll see that this year’s average tax rate of $14.04 per thousand is the lowest it’s been since 2015. (In fact, it’s the lowest it’s been since I started compiling the tax rate information in 2013.)

Of the 22 towns and cities, Sherborn, at $19.62 per thousand, has the highest tax rate, which has been the case since 2013. And Brookline, at $9.37 per thousand, has the lowest tax rate, which has been the case since 2014. (Needham had the lowest tax rate in 2013.) The biggest increase this year was in Medfield which was up $0.84, and the biggest decrease was in Framingham which was down $0.94.

So what does this all mean for you? Well honestly, not that much…. If you are buying a home, the tax rate is not usually a determining factor in which town you choose to live. Perhaps it might come into play if you are on the fence between two towns, and there is a striking difference in the tax rates. But even then, likely not. And on the same note, if you are selling your home, the tax rate is probably not one of the compelling reasons that you’re doing so. After all, you bought your house knowing the town’s tax rate. That being said, if the tax rate increased alarmingly over the years, that’s a different story. But as you can see, the increases and decreases don’t change much from year to year. The average change this year from last was just a slight decrease of $0.06.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Did the tax rate of your town influence your decision when you were buying or selling your home? Did it play a role at all? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

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Fashion Fashionistas: The 76th Golden Globe Awards

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Last night - the airing of the 76th Golden Globe Awards - was big for tv, film and fashion fans like me. The award ceremony was broadcast on NBC from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA and was hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg. Taking place just after the New Year, The Golden Globes always serve as the kick off to the award ceremony season and so fashion fever is in overdrive to say the least. The awards, festivities and especially the Red Carpet were all fabulous!

But for our purposes, let’s focus on the fashion of the evening. This year once again, I’ve decided to highlight my Fashion Favorites and not dabble into the “Could Have Been Better.” No need for that…. But before I get started on my choices, I wanted to share the thoughts and perspectives of Zanna Roberts Rassi, E! News Style Correspondent. On this morning’s Today Show, Roberts Rassi said she had two favorites. The first was Emily Blunt in an Alexander McQueen gown. Roberts Rassi said the dress had “the most elegant embroidery…. You can’t see the detail in here, but it has horses and moons and stars; it’s so exquisite…. That belongs in a museum.” She continued by saying that the other person “who completely shut it down for me” was none other than Lady Gaga in Valentino Couture. She described Gaga as a “Fashion maverick. And she always brings it 1,000%…. I love the nod to Judy Garland in the original A Star is Born; it was actually a similar dress…. She just goes for a look head to toe.”

I couldn’t agree more on both counts. But before we get to that, it’s only right for me to add my disclaimer that I am no fashionista* but just a regular Realtor, mom, daughter, sister, etc. without any training in fashion or award show styling. I just like what I like. So with all that said, here are my five favorites of the evening (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Emily Blunt in Alexander McGueen – I loved the intricacy of the lace design and the chic look. I also loved that hers was 3/4 length and so different than many of the others but still quite sophisticated. And her stunning look was completed by her handsome husband (and fellow Brown University alum 👨‍🎓), John Krasinski, on her arm.

  • Patricia Clarkson in a Georges Chakra haute couture gown. After having just binge watched Sharp Objects two days ago, I have such admiration for this grande dame. She is elegance personified, and it was in clear view last night. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “After her win, she smiled in the gown, saying, ‘This is what 59 looks like.’” Impressive! And Congrats to her on her win for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series!

  • Lady Gaga in Valentino Couture. To me, Gaga had - by far - the most dramatic, show-stopping fashion look of the evening. In my humble opinion, no one was even close to comparing. And oh my gosh - the Tiffany Aurora diamond necklace to boot! That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the periwinkle blue hair dye to match the dress, but oh well…. And Congrats also to her on her win for Best Song, Shallow!

  • Thandie Newton in a Michael Cors collection gown. This was a Hot Wow given her metallic, shiny dress featuring form-fitting and skin-revealing cutouts. It was perfectly sexy and smoldering and yet understated all at the same time.

  • Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein by Appointment. My favorite part about her gorgeous blue gown was the way it moved and sparkled. One part fun, another part playful and a third part sensational. Bravo!

We can’t end our fashionista review without a shout out to the men of the evening because they looked dynamite too! We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Billy Porter’s colorful “lavishly hand-beaded and embroidered jacket with an attached, fuschia-lined cape layered over a form-fitting beaded and embroidered tulle shirt with a silk collar” as detailed by the Hollywood Reporter. Wow - I love the entrance he made! As you can probably tell, though, I tend to like a slightly more traditional look so some of my faves included Michael B. Jordan in Burberry, Viggo Mortenson in Dior Men and Sterling K. Brown in Brunello Cucinelli. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of the white head-to-toe tux that Bradley Cooper donned, he is a style icon no matter what he chooses to wear (no bias there 😉).

What an amazing night with incredibly elegant, fun and dramatic fashion choices! What did you think? What were your fashion favorites? Were they similar to mine? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.


* My other caveat is that unfortunately I wasn’t at the Golden Globes, and so I didn’t get a chance to see all of the participants and their fashion choices – only those that were on TV or online – nor did I see them in person with my own eyes.

weston’s First-Ever, Community-Building Winter Festival

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The Women’s Community League of Weston (WCL) is organizing a community-building event in Weston’s Town Center on Sunday, December 9, 2018 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. There will be an inspiring tree-lighting ceremony, caroling by the Weston Friendly Society and Weston High School students, and an ice skating rink (weather permitting)! The Weston Rotary will sponsor marshmallow roasting around fire pits, and the Weston Dads will grill hot dogs and hamburgers. Weston Town Hall will be decorated for the holidays, and participants can enjoy such activities as cookie decorating, face painting and balloon animals. The WAIC (Weston Arts and Innovation Center) will have an open mike night. Numerous businesses will contribute, and some stores will be open for a Sunday shopping stroll. And last but not least, Santa is rumored to be making an appearance….

The WCL is the oldest service organization in Weston, and 2019 marks its centennial year. As you may know, the WCL has donated nearly $1 million to Weston students and organizations over the years, living up to its motto of “building community since 1919,” while offering educational, social, and philanthropic programs to members of the Weston community. Historical contributions include:

  • WCL began the school milk and lunch programs in Weston.

  • WCL gave the first computer to the Fire Department in 1990. 

  • WCL originally purchased computers for three police cars.  

  • WCL donated $45,000 to the Weston Recreation Center building.

  • WCL has a named room within the Library in recognition of its $25,000 donation.

These are just some of the examples of how the WCL has contributed to the Weston community in the past. In current times, its members continue to give back in ways both big and small. The WCL Garden Club maintains the containers at the Field School and sponsors the Memorial Garden in the Middle School drop-off area. Social and educational programs are often hosted in the Barn or in private homes, including chef's nights, "Friendsgiving,” gardening programs, and Speakers Series featuring speakers on contemporary topics. Last month, the WCL partnered with the WCCA (Weston Children’s Community Association) and Weston PTO to have author Nataly Kogan, a TEDxBoston speaker, discuss her mission to help others find more joy in everyday moments.

The WCL has been in the Josiah Smith Tavern (JST) and Barn since 1952. In 1974, the WCL raised the money needed to renovate the JST Barn and Stalls. And for 44 years, the WCL Clothing Exchange has operated every Tuesday (September through June) from this building. Staffed by volunteers, all funds raised are designated for scholarships to Weston High School students. Weston residents can consign or donate clothes and household goods to the Exchange. Lunches are served on Tuesdays as residents gather to socialize and shop. 

 As the centennial year of the Women’s Community League approaches, we hope you will help us create a new community-building tradition in Weston by attending and enjoying the Weston Winter Festival. There will be something for everyone! Mark your calendars for the celebration - Sunday, December 9, 2018, 2-5:30 p.m. 

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

 

Soothing Your Soul

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We live in such a crazy world - getting bombarded throughout the day with emails, texts, phone calls, traffic, loud voices and more - that sometimes we just need a break from the chaos. I’ve talked to many friends and colleagues about this, and everyone concurs that in times like these, we behoove ourselves when we take action or shift our mindset in order to soothe our souls. It could be doing yoga, meditating, listening to soulful music, lighting a candle, kissing your children or walking your dog. Or perhaps it’s more thought-provoking like conjuring up a loving memory from the past, thinking of an exciting adventure in the future or just being in the present.

For me, what I find recently has been soothing to my soul - though I can’t control it when it comes and goes - is the hoot-hoot of my neighborhood owl. I’m not sure where the sounds come from, whether s/he is on my property or my neighbor’s, but I hear the sounds and I immediately smile, relax and feel comforted. I know over the years there have been many owl superstitions - some good and some bad. But for me, the hoot-hoots transport me to the importance and awesomeness of nature and animal life, and I am 100% soothed. One day I hope to finally spot my friend, but until then, I will remain wholly comforted by my sweet owl and her/his calming sounds.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do ever need a break from your fast-paced life and crazy reality? If so, what is your go-to for the soothing of your soul? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

 

 

Weston Boosters Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary!

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It’s an exciting year for the Weston Boosters as 2018 marks its 75th anniversary!  As the 75th anniversary is traditionally designated as a “diamond” year, the Boosters is bringing the bling to its annual fall fundraiser, “The Denim and Diamonds Bash,” which will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 7-11 p.m. at the Weston Recreation Center in Weston, MA. It promises to be an evening filled with sparkle, dazzle and lots of fun for all! But before getting into the details of the Bash, here are a few historic and impressive facts about the non-profit, all-volunteer organization that you might not know. 

 Founded in 1943, the Weston Boosters originally began as a group of parents and students who wrote letters to the 500+ boys, 9 girls and three Weston teachers serving in World War II.  These letters provided town news and reports of high school sports and gave an indescribable “boost” to those serving in the war. Weston parents and students met weekly to send out these letters, and when the war was over, the “Boosters” held a celebration to honor the Weston veterans upon their return. Ever since then, the Boosters has been fostering positive community involvement and generating awareness, enthusiasm and financial support for Weston’s athletic facilities and student athlete programs. 

Through its annual fall fundraising event, spring outreach campaign and apparel sales, the Boosters has consistently been able to generate funding for equipment, coaching aids, uniforms, supplies, transportation and other items for Weston High School and Middle School sports - a total of 24 programs in all.  The cost of these items go beyond what can be covered by the usual school budget process, but their presence makes a decided difference in the district’s ability to offer top athletic programs to its students.  

In 2016 and 2017, the Boosters raised approximately $65,000. With that amount of fundraising, the non-profit organization was able to double its funding for college scholarships last year plus fund field wraps for Field 1 and Proctor Field, purchase a new electronic scoreboard for Field 1 and new scoreboard tables for basketball and volleyball, help cover funding for the ski team, sport-specific clinics and equipment - to name just a few of the contributions.

And this brings us back to the “Denim and Diamonds Bash” Fall Fundraiser. The Bash is a special celebration - not only because it marks the Booster’s 75th Diamond Anniversary, but also because it offers incredibly exciting auction items and opportunities that will allow the non-profit to continue to significantly support the Weston schools’ athletic programs. In addition, AM DePrisco Jewelers in Wellesley, MA has very generously donated a Diamonds by the Yard necklace for an opportunity draw to raise funds. The necklace is an 18 karat, white gold necklace with 1.00 carat total weight of round brilliant cut diamonds. Valued at $2,450, the necklace will be drawn out of a pool of only one hundred opportunity draws!

There will also be a chance to bid on and potentially win some fantastic live auction items, including: 

         * a Nantucket weekend getaway for 2 with hotel as well as golfing and fishing excursions

         * a Celtics package with 4 tickets and 6 hours of limo service 

         * a custom-framed and signed Rob Gronkowski Patriots jersey

         * 2 sets of 4 front-row seats and parking for the 2019 Weston High School Graduation Ceremony

         * a 5-course Italian gourmet dinner plus wine for 10 at the home of a well-known Weston Restaurant Developer

There will also be two other opportunity draw packages – a Yeti cooler for him and a Lululemon bag for her – complete with spa-service and exercise pack gift cards, grilling tools and sauces, power beats earphones, Boston Cannon tickets, a night at The Mandarin Hotel and SO much more. 

The evening promises to deliver yummy food, songs, dancing galore and fabulous entertainment. Delight in farm to fork dinner options freshly and creatively prepared with seasonal ingredients by Weston Resident David Goldstone and his company Wildfire Catering. Dance to the high-energy club music of Siagel Productions – DJ Darren will be spinning. And of course, the bling of the auction items won’t disappoint.

Tickets to the Denim and Diamonds Bash are $100 per person and are available online – https://www.westonboosters.net/events. Last year, this event sold out so purchase your tickets ASAP and partake in a fabulous, sparkling and awesome evening. For more information or to donate to the Boosters, go online - https://www.westonboosters.net- or email the organization – info@westonboosters.net.

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

 

 

Your Favorite Time in Your Home?

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What is your favorite time in your home? Is it a certain time of the day or evening? If you have children, is it when they are there or when they are gone? Perhaps it’s a time when the kids have gone to school, the house has finally been put back in order, and you have some time to yourself in the quiet of your home? Or is it when the kids are home with their friends, running through the rooms, playing Wii in the basement or kicking the soccer ball outside? If you don’t have children or they have “left the nest,” is it when you are entertaining – the house is sparkling, in its most beautiful state, and you can show off your beloved abode to a degree? Or do you especially enjoy some quiet moments to yourself, like sitting on your front porch swing reading a book?

Do you prefer your home when it is quiet and in order? Or do you like it better when it looks lived in and shows the messes of the people and animals who live there? Does the answer to this question change depending on the time of the year? Maybe you love when people are around, and the house is crazy during the holidays. But a hot summer night enjoying the screened-in-porch by yourself is another favorite time.

There are certainly quite a few scenarios to consider. For me and my home in Weston, MA, I love the energy and chaos of my children and pets, but the older I get, there is something peaceful that happens when my house has a certain order to it. I find that I get overwhelmed when every room is filled with books, papers, pens, toys, stuffed animals, clothes, etc. My stress level goes down a bit when I can put my house back in order – it’s like I can clearly think again. This feeling is equalled when I am hosting and entertaining my closest friends, and their children are here with my children. I love having many of the people I love under my roof having fun and enjoying one another. The times when chaos, loudness and laughter reign supreme….

What are your thoughts? What are some of your most favorite times in your home, and why do you treasure them? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Favorite Sayings and Wise Words

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Given that we’re at the start of a new year, I figured what better way to enter it than to post some favorite sayings and wise words in an effort to keep our thoughts and minds positive, healthy, forward-looking, happy, productive and more. Of course, when formulating this, I had to get some input from my trusted group of friends and colleagues. And so here are a few of our collective favorites:

  • “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” ~ The Golden Rule, Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12. The golden rule is something to remember each day, one of the best rules of the universe both personally and professionally and a tremendous guiding philosophy to share with your children.

  • “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.” ~ John Ray’s A Hand-book of Proverbs. Having something certain is better than the possibility of getting something better. This adage comes to mind quite often during the home selling and offer process.

  • “If you’re bored, you must be boring.” ~ Author unknown*. I first heard this from my brother-in-law when we were at a wedding, and the kids were saying they were bored. I thought it was the best retort ever. (A similar quote is, “Boredom comes from a boring mind.” ~ Metallica.)

  • “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” ~ English Proverb. You can always get more and further by being sweet than by being harsh. And this is certainly a great thing to remember and will help you as you journey through life.

  • “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss. I just came across this saying as I was writing this post, and it was too perfectly said not to include it. Incredible!

  • “When you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you.” ~ Anonymous. Touché – and so true. When you find yourself blaming another for something, you might want to look at your own involvement as well.

  • “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” ~ English Proverb. To me, this is all about judgment and being critical. In other words, don’t judge others and call them names because we all have faults.

  • “You can’t get the new car in the driveway if the old one is still parked there.” ~ former Soul Cycle instructor Sal. What a perfect visual about not bringing baggage from our past on our new path forward.

  • “Right around the corner is love, happiness and success. And just because you can’t see these things, doesn’t mean they’re not right around the corner.” Thanks again to former Soul Cycle instructor Sal for that one too. I love this as many of us might be waiting for the other shoe to drop but this is a supremely positive way of approaching the uncertainty that lies ahead, especially as we enter the new year of 2015.

  • “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu. A good reminder to live in the present.

  • “The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.” ~ Japanese Proverb.

  • “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr, also known as The Serenity Prayer.

  • “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am, however, a product of my decisions.” ~ Stephen Covey. Power is in acting and making decisions.

  • “Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt. Love this – a well-said, no-nonsense reminder!

  • “You give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.” ~ Spoken by George Clooney in the film, The Descendants.

  • “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” ~ English Proverb. I think we all heard this as children. And there’s no need to interpret this as the words say it perfectly and succinctly.

  • “Not always right, but never in doubt.” ~ Commonly used for several decades*.

  • If you never try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.” ~ John Barrow. I’ll say!

  • “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” ~ Will Smith. That’s a fun one!

  • “And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” ~ Abraham Lincoln. Such true words from such a wise man.

  • “I would rather have eyes that cannot see; ears that cannot hear; lips that cannot speak, than a heart that cannot love.” ~ Robert Tizon. Isn’t that really the essence of life?

  • “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ~ Buddha.

  • “A monkey in silk is a monkey no less.” ~ English Proverb. No matter how one dresses, it is the same person underneath. This is a similar concept to the proverb, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

  • “Pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on you.” ~ Dave Ramsey.

  • “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” ~ A popular expression and song written by Jim Brown and Don Rollins and performed by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet. I love this saying, and it’s a perfect way to end this post….


On that note, are there sayings and wise words that you find yourself saying under your breath or uttering out loud to those around you? Are any of your favorites on the list above? If not – because there are thousands upon thousands of these types of incredible wise words – please chime in and add some of your cherished quotes, phrases and sayings. I can’t wait to hear…. And a final thanks to all my trusted confidantes who contributed to this…. xo

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Taking the Quiz of the Love Languages

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For those of you who know me know that I love the subject, discussion, analysis, concept and complexities of love! Years ago, I heard about the book – The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman – which details the five languages of love, specifically Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch…. And recently I was reminded of it by my great friend, Laura, who suggested I take the quiz to understand which of the five languages made me feel most loved.

Before we get into the quiz, though, I’d like to relay a sense of each of the love languages for a bit of foundation:

  • Words of Affirmation – For this person, actions don’t necessarily speak louder than words. Saying “I love you” and speaking kind and encouraging words are paramount.

  • Acts of Service – Vacuuming, picking up the kids, cooking dinner – anything you do to lessen the responsibilities for this person means everything,

  • Receiving Gifts – This person sees the thought, care and effort behind a gift and feels completely loved in this way.

  • Quality Time – Nothing says “I love you” like spending time together and giving this person your whole, undivided attention.

  • Physical Touch – A hug, kiss, back rub, touch of the arm – any kind of physicality – makes this person feel loved.

Now back to the quiz…. There were 30 questions asking you to choose your preference between two options. For me, it turned out that quality time was most important (10), followed closely by physical touch (9), and then words of affirmation (6), receiving gifts (4) and acts of service (1). Not only do these results provide valuable information in terms of understanding how you want to be loved in a relationship, they also allow you to communicate this vital information to your significant other.

And on that note, your partner and her/his love language plays an equally important role in this analysis. It’s crucial to understand how to love your partner the way s/he wants to be loved. If your partner hasn’t taken the quiz – and doesn’t want to – her/his love language preferences may be easier to determine than you would think as the signs are probably all there. According to Chapman, “How does your partner normally try to love you? The love shown you is probably how your partner wants to be loved…. What does your partner ask of you most often?  Help around the house?  More physical intimacy? Time together? The love they’re asking for most often is probably how they want to be loved… What aggravates/frustrates/saddens your partner the most in your relationship when it’s missing? The love he or she is missing probably indicates how he or she wants to be loved…”

As I pondered these five languages of love, I wondered if the importance and rankings of the love languages would change as your relationship with your significant other matures and changes over time. And how about as you change individually over the course of your life? I’m thinking at this point that it’s time to read the book because I’m guessing that these questions will be artfully and clearly answered by reading through the pages….

But before I do that, what are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever taken the love language quiz? If so, did it seem consistent with how you want to be loved? And did it help you in understanding your partner’s love languages? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.