The Stow Independent... Online                                                         Sept. 28, 2011

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Stow Offers Real Estate of All Kinds
By Nancy Arsenault

    The fall season showcases all that Stow has to offer and that’s why, for many realtors, autumn is a great time for real estate sales in Stow.  While seasonal visitors are often attracted to the town’s apple orcha
rds, rural character, and golf courses, the unique properties are also a big draw. 
   Last week, the Board of Assessors released their annual assessments, and according to their estimations, Stow properties have held their value far better than other communities in the state.  With a new school on the horizon, a consistently balanced municipal budget and a variety of housing choices, living in the town of Stow is an option being explored by many homebuyers. 
   Presently, 63 single family homes are on the market in Stow, averaging a price tag of $482,847.  The lowest price is $204,900  for a 1300sq ft ranch on Old Bolton Road, while the high end of the market is offering an elegant home of over 5,000 sq. ft  for $1.1 million with options to purchase 100+ adjacent acres.  
    The commercial market has two listings for sale, a historical property on Gleasondale Road  and the former Beef ‘N Ale restaurant, along with  several opportunities for leasable space.  
    Buildable land is at a premium, 
with only three large options on the market, two of which have been listed for over two years.  The newest listing is a former farm parcel in Gleasondale for $429,900.  Two homes have been sold at auction while a bank foreclosure is now available on Wheeler Road. 
   According to local realtors, Stow’s inventory now includes all price points, with everything from new construction to historical properties, to fixer uppers.  Here are some highlights:Real estate

Spring Hill House  $1.1 million
g for privacy and luxury? An estate high atop a hill is available, surrounded by 100 acres . The house sale can be negotiated to include a 5 or 10 acre parcel, with purchase of additional land an option as well. “There are multiple ways to configure the land,” said Realtor Nancy Valentino of 495 Realty in Hudson, of the land that was explored for residential development several years ago.
    The h
ome is surrounded by meticulously landscaped grounds with a gunite swimming pool, brick patio and screened porch.  Two fireplaces, a state of the art kitchen, spa room and stained glass windows are just some of the interior features of this modern day mansion, built in 1995. “You can see the Prudential and John Hancock Towers from the driveway,” said Valentino, adding that the views from the top floors of the home are even more expansive.  “This is definitely at Stow’s highest point,” she said.
    The owner currently hosts overnight guests in a portion of the home that she maintains as the Spring Hill House Bed & Breakfast.

Foreclosures  Bring  Opportunity Real Estate
    While the economy may have fewer buyers looking in the $1 million price range, the downturn has made it possible for homes normally priced much higher, to be available at more affordable prices.  Wheeler Road has an example of such an opportunity with a foreclosure property, now owned by a bank.  Custom built in 1999, this 4 bedroom, 2 bath house is considered very aggressively priced at $409,900.
     Realtor Pam Cooper of Zain Realty and Management Inc. of Westborough said, “The property has been continually maintained, even though the bank is essenti
ally an absentee owner.”  While there is no one to speak about the history of the property when an institution is the seller, Cooper said that in most other cases, a foreclosure sale is like any other traditional sale.  “There can certainly be conditions placed on the P&S based on financing and home inspection. A potential buyer could get their deposit back if those conditions aren’t met,” she said.
    Cooper said that in the past, foreclosure sales were very rare in this area. Today, she is seeing 10-15% of the market made up of foreclosure listings, including high end homes as well as lesser priced models. “Banks are 
not in the business of owning properties. In these types of sales, they are just trying to recover their investment,” she said. Real Estate
Ready to Set up Shop
    The light green clap
board home-style building at 23 Gleasondale Road is one 
of just a few commercial spaces currently for sale in Stow. Situated across from Warren Insurance Company, it was the former headquarters of Quilting Arts Magazine and has 3600 sq. ft of space on two levels.
   This 1800s era  structure has retained many of its original architectural elements, including wide pine plank floors and exposed beams in the oldest wing of the building.  Reported to have been a sle
d making shop at one time, there is even original iron rigging and remnants of machinery still attached to the walls. An antique wooden sled rests against one of the interior walls, similar to what was produced there.
    Realtor Fred Scopa of Bostonia Realty said that the space is ideal for offices or soft retail. Current DEP regulations would restrict some restaurant options according to Stow Building Inspector Craig Martin, but would not pro
hibit the serving of food. A retail store or offices for law, accounting or design would be ideal, said Scopa.  The $549,000 price tag brings a property that has been carefully maintained by owner and Stow resident John Bolton, including new and updated HVAC and other related utilities.

Give Me Land, Lots of Land
Real Estate
   At the bend in the road where Gleasondale meets Marlborough, just behind the church, hides fourteen acres of buildable land, according to Realtor Bob Young of A Better Way Realty in Acton.  An estate sale, this listing includes a house described as a tear down, and land that is mostly flat, and much of it cleared, with about 200 ft of frontage on Marlborough Rd, priced at $429,900. There is also frontage on Railroad Ave.
     Set far enough back from the road, the sound of passing traffic is nearly unnoticeable. Bordered by woodlands, the property is just a short walk from the shore of the Assabet River, with a portion
of the land falling within the town’s recreation/conservation zone.
    If you’re looking to spend more and get more, a second estate is selling 45 acres of farmland on Walcott Street, nearly adjacent to the Sprin
g Hill House property, for $1.7 million.  Described as having  rolling hills and wide open meadows, the seller feels this site presents multiple opportunities for development, including “a subdivision of prestigious homes with lots having plenty of acreage,  a cluster-zoned community aimed at the mid-priced range buyer, a community of townhomes or condominiums  or  a specially permitted or 40B project.”
    Real estate reporting statistics for Stow show a marked difference from that of surrounding towns. The number of sales in Stow as of August 31 2011, are up significantly at a 29% increase over last August,  and year to date, there is a  30% increase  in Stow , even as market time has increased to an average of 198 days. 
   In contrast, Bolton has seen a significant drop in sales and as of August was only at 67% of its prior year to date mark with average time on the market at 234 days. Sales are also down in Maynard, Hudson and most of the surrounding towns.  Realtors attribute the larger inventory of mid-range priced , good quality homes in Stow to attracting those customers who are ready to buy in these frugal times.