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Griffin Agents & Bios

The many skills possessed by our real estate agents are built upon the wide variety of successful backgrounds and experiences that they bring to Griffin Properties and its clients. Each of our agents is known and respected for their local knowledge, expertise and commitment to our communities, as well as their success in the Real estate market place. As a member of the National Association of Realtors®, we subscribe to their Code of Ethics, a set of values that guide us through every transaction.

Biographies

Christopher J. Griffin, President

Christopher J. Griffin | President of Griffin Properties

Phone: 617-354-5888 x 201
Mobile: 617-501-4333
Email: Chris@visitgriffin.com

Chris Griffin began developing his business savvy at the age of 18 when he started his own wholesale and retail clothing business. After several successful years in this marketing and sales arena, he sold his five retail stores and transferred his considerable energy and enthusiasm to Griffin Properties where he has grown to be one of the top agents in the Cambridge real estate market. Chris possesses tremendous negotiating skills, and maintains long standing working relationships with many local developers. He also has extensive experience in condominium development projects and award-winning historical home restorations. Chris is also active in many charitable organizations and serves on the Board of Overseers at Mount Auburn Hospital.  A life-long resident of Cambridge, he lives in the Avon Hill neighborhood of Cambridge. He holds a B.A. in English from Salem State University.

Paul D. Griffin, J.D, Vice President

Paul D. Griffin | Vice President Griffin Properties

Phone: 617-354-5888 x 202
Mobil: 617-413-6299
Email: Paul@visitgriffin.com

Having worked as an attorney specializing in the conveyance of real estate, Paul brings extensive legal experience to Griffin Properties and to the zealous representation of its clients. He recognizes that, underlying considerable emotional elements, the purchase or sale of a home is a significant business transaction that must be continually nurtured and monitored up until the time of the deed’s recording. The foundation of Paul’s business acumen and negotiating skills began during his work in the Tax Division of Price Waterhouse, and has continued to grow during his many years at Griffin Properties where he evidences the concern of an attorney, the care of a doctor, and the compassion of a counselor. Paul holds a B.A. in Economics/Finance from Saint Lawrence University in Canton, NY, A Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law in Boston, and graduate degrees in Canon Law and Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. A native of Cambridge, Paul lives in the Peabody School neighborhood of Cambridge.

Joanna C. Kirylo

Joanna Kirylo

Phone: 617-354-5888 x 204
Mobil: 617-669-5893
Email: Joanna@visitgriffin.com

A native of Somerville, MA, Joanna has evolved into a true Anglophile after having spent her junior year of college in London. A trip “across the pond” is a casual event for her, as she has developed close ties to many people in her adopted city.

Although Joanna has been associated with Griffin Properties for several years, her exposure to the world of real estate development began in her previous position as the office and purchasing manager for a large construction company, a post that led to her becoming a licensed construction supervisor. The skills that she developed while helping to coordinate large scale construction projects in a timely and cost efficient manner have been transferred to her work at Griffin Properties, where she is known and respected in the real estate community as a diligent and efficient salesperson who takes pride in the level of detailed attention that she affords to her clients.

She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Westfield State College, and lives in the Porter Square neighborhood of Somerville.
 

Lance Greene  

Lance Greene

Phone: 617-354-5888 x 219
Mobile: 617-999-5658
 
For over ten years, Lance and his family made their home in New York City.  There, Lance was actively engaged in the theatre and film industries as both an actor and a producer.  He has successfully produced and acted in several critically acclaimed and award winning films.  Concurrently, Lance applied the business acumen that he learned in the film industry to the real estate world, where he was a successful agent in the highly competitive Manhatten market.  Lance's affability, enthusiasm, integrity, diligence, work ethic and negotiation skills have well served his Buyer and Seller clients over the many years in both the residential and commercial arenas.
 
Lance's intimate knowledge of Greater Boston and its real estate market is a tremendous asset for Griffin Properties and its clients.  In addition, he possesses an innate scene that, in many ways, the purchase or sale of a property is like a film production -- the quality of its preparation is seen in the final product.
 
A native of Cambridge, Lance currently lives in Arlington with his wife and two children.
 

 

Roger O'Sullivan

Roger O'Sullivan

Phone: 617-354-5888 x219
Mobile: 617-905-9336
Email: Roger@visitgriffin.com

A native and lifetime resident of Cambridge, Roger has worked in the real estate field for over 20-years, during which time he has successfully brought to completion well over two hundred transactions in Cambridge and its surrounding communities.

In addition to his deep knowledge of the real estate market, Roger's kindness and affability has transformed many of his clients into friends, who have enriched and strengthened his bond to the Cambridge area.

A strong voice for education, Roger's association with the community is also rooted in its public school system, where he was both a teacher and past President of the Cambridge Teachers Association. He has also served as a delegate at two Democratic National Conventions.

Roger holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Education, each from the University of Massachusetts. He also holds an advanced degree in Educational Administration, and has been a homeowner in Harvard Square for 30-years.

 

Adam Levesque

Phone: 617-354-5888
Mobile: 978-821-6022
Email: adam@visitgriffin.com

Adam Levesque comes to Griffin Properties after 20 years in the computer game industry. Adam used the knowledge gained working at Infocom and Papyrus Design Group to start his own company, Blue Fang Games. Blue Fang experienced considerable success for 10+ years, recognized most notably the game Zoo Tycoon published by Microsoft. At Blue Fang Adam was a Lead Designer, Executive Producer and Manager of over 50 people.

As the game industry went through a transition Adam realized it was time for a change. Since Chris and Adam have known each other for over 35 years and already worked together on real estate development projects it made sense for Adam to come work with Griffin Properties.  Adam’s patience and ability to listen and solve problems will help him transition into the competitive world of real estate.

A native of Cambridge and a product of the Cambridge school system, Adam currently lives in Sudbury with his wife and two teenage children. 

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Griffin Properties in the News

The Alewife
June 15, 2007

Griffinproperties delivers service
by Pete Corbett

A partner in a family-owned North Cambridge real estate brokerage spoke at the May 12 contributors meeting of The Alewife held at the back table at the Porter Square Books store.

For many years North Cambridge was a poor cousin in relation to the rest of the city, said Paul D. Griffin, who owns Griffin Properties with his brother Christopher. “The Red Line changed all that."

Griffin said his family’s roots in North Cambridge are on his father’s side. One of his paternal ancestors emigrated from Ireland in 1892 and purchased a house on Massachusetts Avenue in 1895.

Griffin’s grandfather started in the family’s dairy business pulling a wagon on foot to Concord to pick up fresh milk and dairy products and bringing them back to city, he said. Later, the business grew and the family delivered door-to-door in traditional milk trucks.

When his father, Kevin A. Griffin returned from military service in World War II, he found out the family was out of the dairy business and that his grandfather turned the house into a funeral home.

Both Paul and his brother grew up in the funeral business and as adults pursued their own interests, he said. Chris built a company of retail clothing stores and Paul practiced law and earned an advanced degree in canon law and sacred theology from the GregorianUniversity in Rome.

In the 1990s, the brothers joined up to start Griffin Properties, he said. “We developed skills growing up in the funeral business that were a natural fit to the real estate business.”

Often, when someone is buying or selling residence, it was prompted by an emotional event, such as a death or children moving away, he said.

There is a heightened sense of propriety that the family carried over, he said. “There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.”

By bringing these personal skills to the real estate business, the Griffins have built a people business, instead of a business business in the neighborhood they grew up in, he said.

A recent example of the personal bond that develops between the Griffins and their customers was when a French couple popped the cork on a bottle of champagne at their closing, he said. “It was the first time we had champagne. But, they do things differently over there.”

Griffin said that while most North Cambridge homebuyers are 35 to 45-years-old, a significant number are couples with adult children. These people tend to sell the home their children grew up in, and use that income to purchase a smaller home in North Cambridge.

Although home prices have fallen, this appears to be the market’s trough, he said.

The real estate market is cyclical, but it also governed by calendar, he said. The busiest times are in the spring through the summer as families try to be in and out of their homes before the beginning of the school year and the slowest season is during the winter. “Since Thanksgiving our business has been non-stop.”

There are four major factors bolstering the neighborhood’s real estate market: a relatively static inventory of housing units and its proximity to universities, he said.

The vast majority of the housing units in the neighborhood were built before the Second World War and there is little of no space to build new units, he said.

North Cambridge, like most of the neighborhoods in the city, benefits from the strong demand from students and employees at HarvardUniversity and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as other educational institutions, he said.

There are three regions in the Boston real estate market are relatively immune to sharp downturns, he said. In addition to Cambridge, they are Brookline because of its proximity to the Longwood hospitals and medical schools and Beacon Hill/Back Bay because of popularity with the Boston’s financial services professionals.

Another factor is the lack of speculation in North Cambridge market that tempers price volatility, he said.

Griffin said that his firm does not deal with investors or speculators, people who are buying to profit instead of looking for a place to live.

The first three factors lead to the fourth, which is the flight to quality, he said. Even in bad markets, neighborhoods with price stability will do better.

Griffin said the most expensive area in the city is the Brattle Street neighborhood.

In North Cambridge, the houses around Fairfield and Hollis streets have emerged as wealthy enclaves, he said.

The price ceiling for homes in the neighborhood is around $2 million, he said. Most of the larger homes need expensive upgrades to bring them up to date with modern expectations. “Many people buying homes today grew up with centralized air-conditioning.”

Buyers with the resources to purchase an expensive home often don’t have the time for or interest in dealing with a six-month renovation, he said. “I had a buyer from India who wanted to spend $1.5 million, but he wanted to move his family in right away. I couldn’t find him anything in the city, so he bought somewhere else.”

Griffin said Griffin Properties is different from most real estate agencies because they bring a full-service approach, but use a lower commission structure.

Traditionally, there is a six percent commission on a transaction, he said.

Griffin said they charge three percent on transactions, where they represent the buyer and the seller and four percent, when they represent just the seller. “This gives added value to the customer.”

There is more information about Griffin Properties on the firm’s Web site griffinproperties.com.

For sale: one island, uninhabited

Owner hopes land will remain in natural state

By David Desjardins, Globe Staff | November 26, 2006

ARLINGTON -- The listing for sale of a 2-acre island in the middle of Spy Pond has residents and officials buzzing about what will happen to one of the town's few remaining pieces of unspoiled open space.

A haven for waterfowl and a destination for canoers, Elizabeth Island has been owned for 45 years by Elaine Sacco, whose home sits roughly 100 feet away on the shore of Spy Pond. Sacco has taken care of the island all that time, rowing over to it periodically and removing trash there, but she says it is time for someone else to take over stewardship. Griffin Properties is marketing the island for Sacco, with a listing price of $999,000.

"My first choice is to keep it natural, and I think it's going to happen, but I'm not going to give it away," said Sacco. "I'm getting along in years, and I could use the money. I don't want the responsibility anymore. I'm getting too old to row over there and haul away trash from the island."

What uses any prospective buyer could make of the island are unclear. Sacco said her deed to the land states that two houses may be built on the island. William Hartford, a salesman for Griffin, said, "We've had all sorts of inquiries about different uses for the island," from putting up tennis courts to constructing a house with a helipad.

However, according to Kevin O'Brien, the town's director of planning, development options are limited. "It's residentially zoned, but it doesn't meet the criteria for a residence." He said town zoning bylaws require residences to have 60 feet of frontage on a street to allow service by utility and emergency vehicles.

The listing for the property says it "offers a myriad of possibilities," but also notes that the land is being sold "as is" and that the "buyer is responsible for all due diligence matters." The island has no connection to town water and sewer and to electricity.

"I don't think that anyone would pay $999,000 for it," O'Brien said, "but nobody should."

Brian Rehrig, treasurer of the Arlington Land Trust, said Elizabeth Island has long been considered environmentally important; roughly 15 years ago, he said, the MDC's (Metropolitan District Commission, a predecessor of the Department of Conservation and Recreation) prioritized list of parcels for acquisition for conservation ranked the island third among several hundred properties.

He said the land trust has been negotiating with Sacco to try to keep the island undeveloped.

"She's made it clear that her preference is to see the island preserved in its natural state," Rehrig said. "She and her family feel that it is an important natural resource that is important visually and environmentally."

There is "zero" likelihood, Rehrig said, that the town would pay the asking price, but he thinks the land trust could broker an agreement that would keep the island as is and still satisfy Sacco.

"There are tools available from nonprofits like the land trust that might help her sell the property in ways that are tax-advantaged, and we are exploring those options with her and her attorney." Such a deal, he said, might include a payment to Sacco from a combination of state, private, and town funding sources.

"She's testing the waters by listing her property," Rehrig said. "I applaud her for doing that, because it will help her, the town, and the state get a realistic picture of the land's value."

Over the past 21 years, the island has been used as a launching ground for fireworks displays held during Town Day each fall; the town pays Sacco for that use.

The island is not known to ever have had a permanent settlement, according to Arlington historian Richard A. Duffy, but was used sporadically for camping in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Also, Duffy wrote in an e-mail, "In 1810, the local West Cambridge [as Arlington was then named] militia joined with then-neighboring Watertown's militia to hold for military training purposes what was then called a 'sham war.' "Elizabeth Island was designated as the supposed site of a hostile American Indian village, Duffy said, and "those on the militia side of the exercise were reported to have attacked Elizabeth Island with rounds of 'cannonade' and to make a 'naval' attack to burn the wigwams and send the 'Indians' fleeing by canoe."

News of the island's potential sale inspired a range of responses on the Arlington e-mail list, a popular forum used by residents to discuss anything from town politics to restaurant reviews.

"Now there's a unique opportunity for the right person or organization," wrote Alan Jones, referring to the real estate listing. "Wouldn't it be nice if some conservation group could buy it?"

Another resident, Judith Hicks, said she didn't want the town to try to buy the island, at least at the listing price. "It would be great for the Town of Arlington to remember it has schools, roads, evidently sidewalks to fix," wrote Hicks. "$999,000 could make a dent somewhere in all of that."

Other residents speculated as to possible uses for the island: Wind turbines erected there could generate energy for the town, for example. One resident humorously suggested it could be used as a locale for the popular "Survivor" television series.

Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

July 12, 2006

Hollis-Wood!
by Neil W. McCabe

For one North Cambridge native, the trip home was the commute to work as he walked onto the set of the new film “On Broadway” on 20 Hollis St.

"It was such a good feeling to be able to come back home and work with so many of my friends," said Lance Greene, who grew up on Fairfield Street.

The movie is about a Boston Irish carpenter, who resolves to write a play about his late uncle at the man’s funeral, said Greene, a 1987 graduate of MatignonHigh School.

Greene plays Billy O’Toole, the cousin and best friend of the main character, Jack O’Toole, played by Joe McIntyre, from the New Kids on the Block.

The play inside the movie “God Willing,” was actually performed in 1997 in the backroom of Davis Square’s The Burren pub, he said.

In the movie The Burren scenes were shot at its sister pub, The Skellig, in Waltham, where the part of the bartender is played by Robert Wahlberg, the brother of the New Kids’Donnie.

Both the play and the movie are the brainchild of David McLaughlin, who Green said has a gift for capturing the spirit of the Boston Irish family.

One of the characteristics that make the Boston Irish a distinct sub-culture is their use of language and humor, McLaughlin said.

The language is very colorful and full of metaphors, he said. "Humor is used to both avoid and engage emotions," he said.

It creates a spiral that is played out in the script. The same humor that pushes emotional involvement away has a way of bringing it back when the time is right to deal with it, he said.

Greene, who is also one of the film’s producers, said he admires how McLaughlin wove the characters together.

"Of the 20 speaking parts, 14 have critical scenes that are really vital to the telling of the story."

"The film is about love, life and friendship—and sticking to your dreams," he said.

The scene shot at 20 Hollis St. was the post-funeral gathering in the house’s adjoined living room and dining room. The front hallway leading past those two rooms and into the production command center in the kitchen was paved with heavy cables and wires.

Sitting in front of the video monitors and consoles was McLaughlin. Surrounding him were members of the production crew dressed mostly in jeans and tee-shirts.

On the other side of the reality wall, the actors were dark suits, white shirts, black ties and dresses. The actors were surrounded by active and brimming ashtrays and a stunning array of adult beverages.

Before the cameras rolled for a specific take, there is a hubbub of activity and conversations. When McLaughlin is ready, he gives out his instructions, then climbs into his chair, "Start on: Whose rough, mighty hands."

All talking stopped. Cell phones were put to sleep. On both sides of the reality wall, everyone stilled. Then, abruptly, came the voice of an old man in a throaty Irish brogue: “Whose rough, mighty hands.”

The scene had begun.

McLaughlin said the play “God Willing” was inspired by an actual family wake, which he fictionalized.

Another actor coming home to be a part of the movie is Mike O’Malley, who starred for six years on the CBS sitcom “Yes, Dear.” The actor, who is also known for his character, Rick, for ESPN commercials, was born in Somerville on Halloween 1969.

"This role is a departure from things I have done in the past," he said.

"I’ve known Dave for years and I did a reading of the screenplay with him at Venice Beach, Calif." O’Malley plays Jack’s older brother, Father Rolie O’Toole.

O’Malley said he liked playing a priest and while he took his cues more from Spencer Tracy than Bing Crosby, he mostly drew on real priests he has known in his own life.

McLaughlin said he also has local ties. The director and his wife, Beth n McNamara lived for a time on Prentiss Street and his wife has many connections to North Cambridge and the parish of St. John the Evangelist.

When it played for a two-month, sold-out run in The Burren’s backroom, it was an experience of the actors interacting with the audience members, McLaughlin said. “It is a feeling that is lost in a larger theater and it is much more informal in the atmosphere of a pub.”

What makes the feedback from the audience especially useful is when someone points outs something about the lighting or picks up on an important line that was considered a throw-away line, he said.

If all goes well the film will be in the theaters by the spring of 2007, said Kristofer W. Meyer, another one of the film’s producers. The movie, which finished shooting May 26, has a budget of roughly $1 million.

All of the actors were paid on a union wage scale approved by the Screen Actors Guild for independent projects of this side, he said.

Meyer said the house on Hollis Street, as well as other locations around Boston were secured by Christopher Griffin of Griffin Properties at 2267 Massachusetts Ave. “Chris was crucial getting us properties around town.”

Another big help was Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves. The mayor, his staff and Maryellen Carvello worked with the production company to get the right permits and get through the paperwork, he said. “Ken was great.”

The movie was shot on 16mm film, which with new technology, McLaughlin scans into a computer, he said. The new process combines the quality image of film with all of the editing and enhancement possibilities of digital.

Now that the shooting is done, McLaughlin said he is preparing the final print in time for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival this fall at faculties donated by his alma mater BostonCollege.

In the meantime, if you were thinking about calling Griffin Properties to put an offer in on that house on Hollis, you are too late. It is all ready under agreement.

July 12, 2006 in Neil W. McCabe,

Cambridge Brokers Sell for Commission of 3%

Compiled by Globe correspondent Thomas Grillo | December 23, 2000

Motorists who drive by Griffin Properties on Massachusetts Avenue in North Cambridge can’t miss the giant “3 Percent Commission” sign at the corner store that was the longtime home of the FlagCenter, a Cambridge landmark. Paul D. Griffin, 39, co-owner, has been offering the relatively low rate since he launched the real estate business with his brother earlier this year.

“The sign is an eye-catcher and the low rate is a real competitive advantage,” he said. “Our overhead is low, and we can still sustain a profit at that rate. When you consider that many Cambridge realtors are charging 5 percent, the sellers would have paid $32,250 in commission, but at 3 percent, they paid $19,350, a savings of $12,900.

To qualify for the 3 percent rate, a seller must list and sell the property with Griffin and the property would have to be sold by one of the firm’s Realtors .

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Client Testimonials for Griffin

WHY DO PEOPLE CHOOSE GRIFFIN PROPERTIES FOR THEIR REAL ESTATE SERVICES?

..."I was frankly amazed at how comprehensive your service and care was, and you solved many difficult problems for me being so far physically from the scene. Again, I am enormously appreciative both of the commercial side of our dealings and the extraordinarily personal service you gave."

..."I did shop around for a Realtor before ultimately choosing Griffin Properties. Whereby most Realtors were offering to list and show our house, you did a great deal more."

..."As a family, we couldn't be more pleased with the sales process and its outcome. You made the process very simple and personal; it was like working with two friends from the neighborhood." 

..."professionalism in your business does have a heart, which you expressed to us as we reluctantly gave up the setting of fifty-one years of our lives.  It was a trying and emotional experience for us but abated considerably by your deft and pleasant handling of every detail."

..."I am thrilled to say that you met all my expectations flawlessly.  In fact, you went above and beyond."

..."I highly recommend Lance Greene at Griffin Properties.  We worked with him for months and months to find a property we liked (we are really picky!) and he never seemed frustrated or put pressure on us to buy... He really always was out for our best interests."

..."We sold our house in May of 2008, and in this market, Griffin mananged to sell it within 8 days of putting it on the market!  We even got within 5K of asking price.....Griffin handled everything, we just sat back and waited for the closing..... We feel lucky that we can still call/e.mail whenever we need..."

....Perhaps what I appreciated most was that they approaced every detail with genuine care and consideration, answering all my questions and making me feel like I was their only client.  Being far away, I needed someone who could offer me the peace of mind that the process would be handled smoothly and that's exactly what Griffin Properties delivered."

 

Testimonials that have been sent to us by our clients are always available at our office, and we'd be glad to share them with you.

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Our Policies (3% Commission)

Because of the independence that we possess, we are able to provide our full service sales representation at the outstanding value of only a 3% commission rate for in-house sales, and a 4% commission rate for cooperating sales.

If you are thinking of selling your home or investment property and would like more information on how Griffin Properties can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always pleased to provide people with a no-cost, no-obligation comparative market analysis of their property, as well as further information on our extensive experience and marketing plans.

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About Us

The year was 1948 when Cambridge native Kevin A. Griffin entered the real estate business with an entrepreneurial spirit and pioneering vision. Griffin Properties, an independent, full-service real estate firm located in the heart of Cambridge continues to grow upon the business values and integrity that Mr. Griffin began to establish more than 50 years ago.

Although our highly regarded reputation has remained constant over the years, the internet has radically altered the manner in which this industry operates, and our Realtorshave been committed to utilizing every technological advantage available to assist our clients in the attainment of their real estate goals.

However, while the capabilities of the internet can be quite fascinating, each of our associates knows that there is no substitute for the personal touch in the significant and sometimes emotional transaction of buying or selling a home. Griffin Properties affords our clients the best in each of these realms - the latest technologies blended with the personal and professional attention that we have built our company's success upon.

As an independent, full-service real estate office, we answer only to you, our clients. That's why approximately 80% of our clients come to us by way of personal referrals.

OUR POLICIES (3% COMMISSION)

Because of the independence that we possess, we are able to provide our full service sales representation at the outstanding value of only a 3% commission rate for in-house sales, and a 4% commission rate for cooperating sales.

If you are thinking of selling your home or investment property and would like more information on how Griffin Properties can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always pleased to provide people with a no-cost, no-obligation comparative market analysis of their property, as well as further information on our extensive experience and marketing plans.

>> Read More