Special Report: McMansions
In a section of Needham, long-term residents are looking at the new construction and getting worried.
Joanne Fraini, a Needham resident said, "You have no idea how many people have been to my door, asking if we would be interested in selling." Her neighbor, Louise Chapman added, "I just can't imagine building your own house, then having it knocked down."
In real estate circles it's what's called a "tear-down," where a small two-bedroom ranch is bought, knocked down and replaced by a so-called McMansion.
Linda and Ann Flueckiger, of Flueckiger Realty sell many of these homes, because they say this is what the market calls for. Ann Flueckiger told 7 News, "They don't want fixer-uppers anymore. They want everything done for them. Move in condition. Itís just a matter of time before all the small houses are taken over."
So what was once a $500,000 ranch, is now a 1.2 million-dollar showplace. "It's definitely changing the character. I don't know who can afford 1.2 million dollars," Chapman said.
But some homeowners are realizing that tearing down their old house is the only way to build their dream home. Roy Brazao, a Whitman homeowner said, "We found that because we owned the land, we found it would make more since for us to build it on the lot." Brazao is building a bigger home on the same lot where he's lived for 9 years. But some are trying to stop him, even resorting to violence. He set up surveillance cameras. And he said, a video shows his next door neighbor physically assaulting his wife. He told 7 News, "She punched my wife in the face."
And he also said, a mysterious fire was set on his back fence, "You can try to burn me down, but you aren't going to burn me away."
The neighbor on the surveillance video did not want to talk to 7News on camera. But that same person will appear in court this week on charges of assault and battery. As for his new home, Brazao expects to move in by the end of the month.
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