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Archive for the ‘House Sales’ Category

Zillow, Realtors, Racism

Monday, May 6th, 2019

We have known for generations that the segregated neighborhoods that refuse to show any signs of integration, which cause segregated schools, which are enabled by redlining (although today there are more sophisticated names than redlining), are caused by the collusion between realtors, those serving the professional real estate community, banks and other financial institutions.

We am having an experience of what that is like in 2019 because one of our own is selling her house and is mind blown by what she is experiencing.

Her neighborhood is one of the “upper class” neighborhoods in Cambridge, MA. It is about 99% white and for the last 37 years that she has lived and owned a house in that neighborhood there has been no change. One black man lives in the neighborhood and has lived there longer by a fluke of government contracts. Architects built an apartment building using HUD money. Those HUD contracts were to bring “affordable housing” into the neighborhood and to help insure people with very little could afford to buy condominiums and live and raise their families in a really fantastic place.

Unfortunately, the HUD contracts were only for one generation of buyers, so once the condominiums were sold if the people who bought them were foreclosed on or met some other kind of tragedy which mandated they move then the builders were free to take back the condo’s and resell them at market rate to whoever, no matter their wealth or financial status.

Since the terms to buy were way beyond what most in the economic/financial situation to which those contracts were pointed and the terms under which the condo’s were being sold were generous to encourage such buyers – people bought who could not afford the condo’s they were put into and in short order the buildings units were being foreclosed or people were forced out by turning over their deeds or whatever arrangements they made to get out of what they bought as a dream, which was actually a nightmare. There were no safety measures in place under that HUD contract which could have helped many retain their homes.

One lone African American man remains in the neighborhood because somehow he managed to keep his condo and is still there today. Otherwise, it is like looking for hens teeth to find any other African American homeowners, unless they are temporary residents under the wing of Harvard University.

So now the stage is set. Along comes one of our leaders – an African American woman who buys into the neighborhood. That was horrific on its own. But that settled down and she lived a mostly peaceful, rewarding life making many friends of her neighbors.

She decides to sell. Looks up Zillow and find her house has a Zillow Estimate of about $4.9 million. And then the fun starts.

That Estimate stays for several months after the house is listed on Zillow and is close to professional appraisals of the house. Until, apparently, Zillow discovers the African American residents and the house tumbles in value on Zillow by almost $1 million dollars within two to three days.

How did Zillow do that? And what are they counting on to erase their attack? The way they set up their Estimate. In one to two months that history will be history and things will look normal – well, sort of.

To reach that Estimate, Zillow compared her property not to other houses in the Brattle Street, Gold Crown Historical District, but made a comparison of her house to homes in Brighton/Alston, Central Square, etc. and the size of the homes to which her home was compared were 1,000 to 2,000 square feet smaller. A comparative value, found from such circumstances would be much lower than one if the house was compared to those actually similar.

When Zillow was called and emailed to say – why? They did not respond.

What happened to the house that after a few months with the house on Zillow at $4.9 million approximately, the Zillow Estimate drops to $3.5 million – which is actually substantially below the value of the house in todays market and that drop happened within about 24 to 48 hours..

After more investigation, we discovered the answer. It has to do with race.

What is that called? Why are they allowed to do such? What are the alternatives?

That made us look around to ask – Zillow can’t be alone with these practices and are there official places which make this possible and Zillow comfortable in what it is doing?

Let’s investigate!!!!! Stay tuned for more. We have started some investigative work to look closer and deeper.


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Project 1 – Estate Sales after the Sale

Project 2 – #WellsFargoBoycott

Project 3 – Growing Bettina Network’s Blog

into a major media outlet bringing to the public news, recipes, thoughts, reviews of businesses, etc. from the perspective of those who belong to Bettina Network’s Lifestyle Community.

You can send a check to Bettina Network, inc. P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 to support this blog! Please make your check out to “Bettina Network, inc.” since the blog income is not the foundation income.

If you prefer your gift go to the Foundation, make your check payable to Bettina Network Foundation, inc. The money we receive for the Foundation currently is going to support the Wells Fargo Boycott.


Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to:

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Harvard Square House for Sale

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Fantastic historical house built by well known architect, Lois Lily Howe, at the turn of the 19th century. Ms. Howe, along with three other women, developed the architectural firm of Howe, Almy and Manning. This house includes many innovations which Lois Lily Howe designed into the building. She was one of MIT’s first female graduates and developed several houses well known in the area for the care and exquisite design elements which she incorporated into them. She also designed and built homes in New Hampshire and New York.

Anna Freud (Daughter of Sigmund Freud) was a regular visitor and the psychiatric journal, which is still published, was developed in this house by Anna Freud and Lydia Dawes, among others. For quite some time – about 50 years – it was the center of the local psychiatric community because it was the home of Dr. Lydia Dawes, who planted a magnolia tree outside a window in the living room so those she worked with could lie on the couch and be soothed by the wonderful flowers as they talked. There is a dark spot on the floor in the music room – not such a positive, but part of its history – where Dr. Dawes dropped her daughters diapers until she could take care of them and over time they stained the floor.

Many local psychiatrists were trained in this house over the years by Dr. Dawes. One stayed with us for a couple weeks because he wanted to be able to have free access to see the entire house at his leisure. He had been limited to the living room the entire time he trained with Dr. Dawes and he needed to satisfy that unfulfilled curiousity in his life.

Huge Master Bedroom

1/2 Bathroom

The house was built for Dr. William Augustus Maynadier – who taught at the college – well where else but Harvard College. He taught Arthurian Legend (King Arthur and the round table) – probably why there is so much sexism in the country. Every Harvard man and only men attended Harvard at that time, had to take this class because it taught them how to properly treat women – they learned to treat women just like King Arthur and his boys treated the women of their day. We are still trying to overcome that bit of history which is a part of this house. It is very fitting that a strong feminist now resides there and has for the past 36 years, so you can consider that bit of sexist history expunged.

To know more – to see the house – call Marceline Donaldson 617 497 9166

What is Bettina Network, inc. – i.e. Publications

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Bettina Network, inc. has several areas within its corporate structure.  Bettina Network Hedge Schools is one – to refresh your memory or read about the Hedge Schools see

Also included in Bettina Network, inc. are its publications: Bettina Network’s Blog and Bettina’s Menu of Events.  Both described below.  If you have questions don’t hesitate to email us at 

2.) Bettina Network’s Blog

is a conglomeration of conversations which take place around the breakfast table in one or another Bettina Network Hedge School/homes.                    


A Member or Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community sent us information which they would like disseminated to a large audience,


something happens which just strikes our fancy and we want to share it with all of you.

– all will go immediately to Bettina Network’s Blog.

Bettina Network’s Blog covers a wide range of topics —- With points of view you generally won’t find other places — you never know what will appear next — and that comes from the diversity within our corporation.  An article could come from one of the  Bettina Network Hedge Schools; members of Bettina Network’s Lifestyle Community; or our own quirky people who work for the Corporation; or from those who volunteer to help us achieve our goals to “make this a better world one small step at a time”.


3.) Bettina’s Menu of Events

provides a rich, curated list of activities that will keep you busy,


will add to your intellectual knowledge base,

and help create and expand your store of wisdom.

Use the “Menu” before your next stay in a Bettina Lifestyle Home!

Bettina’s Menu of Events also includes reviews of everything, critiques of events, places, restaurants, happenings and more.

To use Bettina’s Menu of Events you must be a member of Bettina Network’s Lifestyle Community.

As a member you will receive a password, which allows you access to Bettina’s Menu of Events, among other benefits.

Besides getting events to attend during your stay in a Bettina Network Hedge School you can also add events you find of interest so others can share what you found.  Some of our best events have been added to Bettina’s Menu of Events by members of Bettina Network’s Lifestyle Community.  We encourage you to search the world for just that perfect event to share.

……And so we grow.

You can interact with us by:

CALLING: when you next need reservations either for yourself or from visitors coming from other cities, states, countries who would benefit immensely from spending their time away from home in a Bettina Network Hedge School.

Our homes are wonderful places to stay – some reach the appellation of exquisite.

Not much can compare to what we offer.

Our rates range from $110 through $495/night. In other cities the rates also vary depending upon what is offered.

Call if you are moving, changing your lifestyle, settling an estate – we are able to sell furnishings, jewelry, automobiles, stocks, bonds, etc.

Call if you have a home and want to join Bettina Network, inc. as a Bettina Host Family sharing your knowledge with guests who come from around the world. If your home is not currently ‘exquisite’ we have people who will work with you to make sure you are on a par with everyone else in the network.

Call if you have a home you want to donate to Bettina Network Foundation, inc. that we can use to house those who are in need and so continue to expand our training and more, recovering someone who might not find their way otherwise.  Yes, we do offer a tax deduction through Bettina Network Foundation, inc. a 501(c)3 corporation.

Call if you just want to talk to get acquainted and know more about who we are, what we do and where we are going.

And in the future, coming as soon as our resources allow – Bettina Network’s Research Library.


All of us at Bettina’s Bettina Network, inc.

P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238

1-617-497-9166 (or) 1-800 347 9166 (toll free within the U. S. and Canada)




Bettina’s Menu of Events can only be accessed by members of Bettina Network’s Lifestyle Community via their personal password .

Check out our web site for more information at .

We are an exciting company which also includes Bettina Network’s Blog – Bettina’s Menu of Events – Bettina Network’s Sales – Bettina Network Research Library and Bettina Network Foundation, inc a 501(c)3 corporation.


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The Smiths – An Estate Sale Family!

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Most of us buy from all kind of stores to satisfy our needs and wants – retail, hardware, clothing, accessories, furniture, jewelry, etc.   Ever-so-often we come across a family or individuals or groups of unrelated people who live together, who have decided to try another lifestyle and live one step under the radar.

They do this through buying food from a commercial store and everything else from estate sales, garage sales, driveway sales, house sales, etc.

We have had many talks with people who think of this from time to time as they pay exorbitant amounts of money for things they want.  We also hear this from people doing wishful thinking when they see something they want, but can’t afford.

Well, this column, written by different people as they experience the ‘estate sale lifestyle’ fully, will tell you the stories of those who live via shopping only at these sales.  For some, they even step into buying food at estate sales.  They can only buy food that is sealed and have to supplement what they buy via going shopping at grocery and other food stores, but they stick rigidly to not buying anything else except at the sales which happen across the country.

We will attempt to give you a peek into how they manage this and you can decide if this is how you want to live.  It is recycle on steroids.

Meet the Smith Family.  Mother – Mary Smith.  Father – John Smith.  Daughter – Dorian Smith.  Son – Jackson Smith.  Mother, Father and two children with a van, living in a White House with black trim surrounded by a white picket fence.  The beginning story of the American dream.

The Smith’s however, are not who they appear to be.  We met them at the last estate sale we went to.  The  family in that particular house was selling everything.  The mother died recently.  She had been living in a nursing home for about two months before she died and now her house and everything in it was for sale. Her children – now grown – didn’t want to keep anything.  (This is the kind of sale we really love).  They didn’t think much of their parents taste.  Wanted everything “new” and were going to get their wishes fulfilled when the house and its contents were sold.

We felt so sorry for the woman who died and especially for her children.  She had some lovely things which would cost a small fortune if purchased from retail stores, but were being sold for a fraction of their “when purchased” price. She also had furnishings which would only escalate in value over the years.  We have met many people who talked about – “oh look, Mama had that and wow look at the price.  We sold it for a fraction of that when she died – we had no idea.”  We sent up a prayer for the woman and her children.  The woman who thought she was leaving a beautifully furnished house for her children to take over and continue to improve and live in graciously, and we prayed for her children who couldn’t wait to get rid of all that ‘stuff’ .

The Smith family showed up near the end of the sale and were very excited about what they found.  They have three fireplaces in their white home with black trim surrounded by its white picket fence.  One thing they were looking for was wood for the fireplaces.  They had been looking for a couple months and wondered if this wasn’t something they would not find and today, here they were beyond their greatest dream with this huge store of oak in front of them.

Before this ‘great find’ they had not used their fireplaces because the cost per fire was too much given their small income and the relatively high cost of fireplace wood.   At the house where we met they had just purchased a ton of wood – cut – dried – stacked on the side of the house and they paid $25 for all of it.

They were in the process of taking the wood home.  They were filling their van and clearly would have to make two or more trips to get the wood home, but that didn’t bother them at all.  They were very animated talking about how they could have a fire every night when the weather dictated that a fireplace smelling of oak would be sensational.  They could toast marshmallows that they made and spend long evenings in front of a blazing fire without hurting themselves financially.  Actually, they could enjoy this dream without even thinking of saving on wood or of burning just a little keeping the fires sparse and maybe only in one fireplace. The wood they were taking home would last two or three seasons.

As we talked further with the Smith family, they told us how they have been living like this for several years.  They were devoted estate sale shoppers and loved the friends they made going to different houses and meeting  people who are ‘estate sale people”  and exchanging stories.  They also loved walking through the houses to see what people had done and how they decorated – taking home as many ideas as ‘things’.

We asked if we could follow their adventures so you will be hearing more about the Smith Family.  Amazingly, their daughter Dorian was the most excited about this way of life because of the clothes, games and other such things she finds which her parents would not let her buy retail, but which she can enjoy via the “sales”.  Dorian is about 12 years old.  Jackson is about 16.

As we paid for our purchases, it was clear the Smith Family was not nearly ready to stop shopping.  We looked back on them filling their van and hoping they could made the trips home and still have time to shop.  Mrs. Smith just shook her head and said it would be next weekend before they did any more buying, but that was alright because it was exciting to find something they really needed and didn’t expect to find at a price they could afford.

So, next weekend you will find us traipsing around town following the Smith Family and writing up their adventures for you to experience through Bettina Network’s Blog.


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Everything talked about in this blog and in any other blog in the Bettina Network, inc. is the opinion of the person who wrote the blog and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Bettina Network, inc. It is the property of Bettina Network, inc. and/or the person who wrote the original blog.Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you. Please also tell us if you want your name as your byline or if you want your article to appear without your name.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to:



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