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What It's Like to Live in Johnston, Rhode Island

Teri Degnan Real Estate agent Ariana Interiano is proud to call Johnston, Rhode Island, home. “I absolutely love living in Johnston,” she says. “I feel like we are in the suburbs while only being a 12 min drive from Providence.” Buying a home in Johnston inspired Ariana’s career in real estate, and today she’s a licensed agent in Rhode Island. 

History

An 18th-century farming community developed by English settlers, Johnston was incorporated in 1759, but one of its historic attractions predates the town itself. The Clemence–Irons House was built in 1691 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s best known for being a rare surviving example of a "stone ender" – a building type in which the entirety of one wall consists of a stone chimney. The style was common in colonial Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

Types of Housing

Today, Johnston is a great place to live in Rhode Island. Considered a close knit, predominantly but not solely suburban community, you’ll find a spectrum of places to call home here in all sizes and styles — raised ranches, single levels, and loft apartments in a renovated historic mill building, luxury apartments, century-old traditional Cape Cods, and affordable multi-families. Comprising 25 square miles, the population in Johnston is nearly 30,000 and the town is part of Providence County.

The median listing home price in Johnston, Rhode Island is $375,00. The median home sold price was $390, 000 (Realtor.com). Rental rates in Johnston, Rhode Island typically range between $1700/month and $2,350.  

Education

There are eight public schools – a preschool, an early childhood center, four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school – serving more than 3,100 students In Johnston. The town is also home to St. Rocco School, a parochial elementary and middle school. 

Quality of Life

Though bigger cities including Cranston and Providence are nearby, Johnston holds its own when it comes to creature comforts. Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, family farms with hayrides and markets, a local family-owned winery, and the annual Apple Festival in September offer a slice of pure Americana in this suburban-meets-bucolic town. One of Ariana’s favorite new spots is the just-opened Market Basket, the New England supermarket chain with a cult-like following. 

Health Services

When it comes to health services in Johnston, there are a number of resources. In January 2023, Lifespan Health System opened a new urgent care center, and you’ll also find a Rhode Island Medical Imaging Center here. Johnston Medical Center on Atwood Avenue is part of Ocean State Medical and offers comprehensive primary care, telehealth/telemedicine along with preventative medicine. Plus, Johnston is a short drive to the major hospitals in downtown Providence. 

Recreation

Outdoor enthusiasts will love the many parks and green spaces throughout Johnston. One of Ariana’s favorite places is Snake Den State Park. It's one of the largest with 1,000 acres complete with walking trails, mature trees, and a working farm. “Snake Den has tons of trails. My fiancé and I walk there with our dogs three times a week,” says Ariana. 

Johnston War Memorial Park is a town landmark well-loved for its clean appearance, athletic fields, playground, and scenic paved walking paths alongside Pocasset Pond and the Pocasset River. Here you’ll find a 1.1-mile loop trail that takes about half an hour to complete at a steady pace. Birding, fishing, and running are popular activities here. 

Wood Lake Park is also a popular recreation area in Johnston with several ballfields and beautiful trails around Almy Reservoir, but it might be most popular among folks with their four-legged friends. The half-acre Johnston Dog Park here includes an off-leash dog run, clay surface, a good amount of shade, and benches for dog owners to relax.  

Employment

Johnston is home to Citizens Bank headquarters, a state-of-the-art campus completed in 2018 with 424,000 square feet of office and meeting space, including a call center, with more than 3,000 employees. You’ll also find ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and walking trails here available for not just employees to use but the local community as well. 

Johnston is also the corporate headquarters of FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. More than one-third of Fortune 1000 companies work with FM Global and the Johnston headquarters, with thousands of employees, is housed inside a LEED-certified building. 

With an active school district, ample restaurants and coffee shops, shopping, beautiful parks, health services, and an active senior center, Johnston offers an affordable and extraordinary quality of life in Rhode Island and is a great place to call home. 

View Homes for Sale in Johnston

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    Top Home Buying Myths & Facts

    Real Estate Agent Answering Home Buyers QuestionsThe best way to buy a home is to partner with a trusted real estate agent. Your buyer’s agent will be working in your best interest every step of the way. Their commission is typically paid by the seller. You don’t save any money by not working with a buyer’s agent. But you can definitely lose a lot of money in both the short term and the long term by making uneducated or uninformed decisions in the real estate market. 

    Your buyer’s agent will also answer all of your questions and debunk common myths. Here are some of the top home buying myths & facts to consider when purchasing a home in Newport, Rhode Island. 

    MYTH: You need 20% for the down payment. 

    FACT: While there are advantages to making a 20% down payment (lower monthly payments, smaller loan amount, less interest paid over time) it isn’t necessary. There are loans available to veterans for 0% down, conventional loans available to first-time home buyers for 3% down, conventional loans for 5% down, and FHA loans available for 3.5%-10% down depending on your credit score. You will simply need to pay for PMI (private mortgage insurance) when paying less than 20% down. This will be added to your monthly mortgage payment. 

    MYTH: A 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) is the best choice. 

    FACT: There are benefits to a 30-year FRM (your monthly payment will be smaller than a 15-year FRM mortgage, your monthly payment will be the same for the life of the loan unless taxes or insurance premiums increase and you can pay off your loan faster) but everyone's financial picture is different. Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) will sometimes be the best choice for borrowers looking for low introductory rates who plan to refinance or sell in the foreseeable near future long before paying off the entire loan. A 15-year FRM might be the best choice when your finances permit, as you will likely have a lower interest rate (as shorter loans are deemed less risky by lenders). A 15-year FRM is also considered a type of forced savings, where income goes into building equity that might be spent otherwise. 

    MYTH: You need great credit to qualify for a mortgage. 

    FACT: Your credit score is a reflection of your financial history. It will be considered during the loan application process. 850 is considered a perfect FICO score. 740-799 is considered a very good score. 670-739 is considered a good score. 580-669 is considered a fair score. 300-579 is considered a poor score. 

    You don’t need a perfect score to qualify for a mortgage. You don’t even need a good score. Most lenders require a score of 620 for a conventional loan (a fair score) and FHA loans require a FICO score of 580 (a fair score) to qualify for a loan with a 3.5% down payment. But you will pay a higher interest rate with a lower credit score. You will typically qualify for better interest rates and better terms when you are financially responsible, as reflected by a good or very good credit score. Spend wisely and pay your bills on time. 

    MYTH: You won’t be able to relocate. You’ll lose a lot of money by selling too soon. 

    FACT: Buyers are often told they need to stay in their homes for 5 years before selling. This is a guideline. It is only an estimate of the time needed to cover the closing costs, agent fees, and mortgage interest you have already paid so you don’t lose money when you decide to sell. Sometimes the math will work itself out in as little as two years if the value has grown considerably. When you do the math and the numbers aren’t in your favor to sell, renting your home can be a viable option. Depending on the local market it might be profitable. 

    MYTH: You need a real estate agent to buy a home. 

    FACT: You don’t need a real estate agent to buy a home. But we don’t recommend this to buyers or sellers. There is a lot to know. What you don’t know can cost you money: a lot of money. This is our profession. We know real estate. 

    We help you find the perfect home using your preferences and criteria, navigate the home inspection process, draft formal offers, handle negotiations and work with you every step of the way. Sellers typically pay the brokerage fee to both the seller’s agent and buyer’s agent, so you won’t be saving money by not working with an agent. There is a lot of information, and it can be very costly when not handled correctly. 

    We look forward to helping you with all of your home buying needs in Newport and the surrounding areas of Rhode Island. Contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting, LTD today!

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      How to Create a Bidding War for Your Home

      Sell Your Home in Rhode IslandNot unlike a game of chess, real estate has an established set of rules. It’s relatively easy to learn the rules and play a game of chess, but mastering the game can take many years. The best players will develop a strategic opening and anticipate an endgame long before the end of the game is in sight. Patience is required. 

      When planning to create a bidding war for your home, partnering with a real estate professional is an excellent opening strategy. Real estate agents have years and years of experience. A seller’s agent will help you navigate the subtleties of the real estate market, and quell the anxiety that may come from trying to sell a home too quickly. They understand the complexities involved in the variables of a successful bidding war. Patience is required. 

      Think ahead. Plan your strategy. Create a bidding war for your home with a few basic moves, and expert guidance from the agents at Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting, LTD. 

      Price Slightly Lower than Market Price: Your seller’s agent will help determine the fair market value of your home. They will then advise you to price the home slightly lower, to create a sense of good value. Pricing 5% below market value will bring a large number of interested buyers to your listing. But be careful. There is no guarantee a bidding war will follow. You don’t want to list your home at a price that is much lower than you are willing to accept. 

      List Your Home When the Time is Right: Listing your home at a time when there aren’t very many similar homes for sale in your area will always work in your favor. Your seller’s agent will know the local market very well and determine the best possible time to list. 

      Set the Stage: Staging a home is always important before selling. The home needs to look its best inside and out. Everything should be immaculate and ready to photograph for an impeccable online appearance, compelling video walkthrough, and for the very first person who walks through the door at the open house. 

      You will hire a staging professional to make your home look its best. You will also hire a professional photographer to capture your home's most intriguing qualities: interesting angles and features in addition to the full front view of your home. Your online listing, and presence, will sparkle: creating excitement and interest when the right players are working with you. 

      Show Your Home When the Time is Right: Hold off on the open house. Carefully schedule it after interest has built up from the online listing or video walkthrough. If you wait a week or two and schedule an open house with a small window of time (a 2-hour weekend event will do the trick) you will create a sense of urgency. The idea is to try and get a lot of people to view your home at the same time. You can serve food, and beverages and hire a string trio or pianist (depending on your local market) to generate more traffic. Buyers will know there are others looking at the home and be motivated to submit an offer before losing out. 

      Set a Deadline: You should only set a deadline when your home is priced correctly, you have a lot of showings scheduled, and have been told by agents that offers will be coming in. Your seller’s agent can add to the MLS listing after a few offers are on the table: stating you have received multiple offers, and that interested buyers should submit their best and highest offer by a specified day and time. That will get the ball rolling.

      We look forward to helping you with all of your home selling needs in Newport and the surrounding areas of Rhode Island. Contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting, LTD today!

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        Neighborhood Spotlight: The Point Neighborhood, Newport, Rhode Island

        Newport's Point neighborhood is home to the highest concentration of Colonial houses in the country. Many of the homes here were built in the early 1700s and have been meticulously maintained for centuries.

        One of Newport's founding fathers, Nicolas Easton, settled in The Point in the 17th century. Today, the neighborhood offers panoramic views of the Newport Pell Bridge best enjoyed from off Van Zandt Pier. Also, the Point offers ample public waterfront access, ideal for launching kayaks and dinghies. The Point also offers easy proximity to points north with easy bridge access and access to major roadways

        Although this preserved historical neighborhood is just steps from the heart of Newport's bustling downtown, The Point is a mostly quiet part of town.

        Walking through the neighborhood, you'll spot plaques on homes from Operation Clapboard, which saved more than 80 houses in the 60s and 70s. Others have the plaque of the Newport Restoration Foundation, which was created in 1968 by Doris Duke. NRF restored and currently owns 27 Colonial homes here.

        In today's market, homes for sale in The Point are rare opportunities and receive competitive above-asking offers.

        If you have any questions about Newport's Point neighborhood or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

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          Neighborhood Spotlight: Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island

          The southernmost coast of Aquidneck Island is arguably the most photogenic. When you call the Ocean Drive Historic District home, you’ll be closest to Brenton Point State Park and its 89 ocean-facing acres, Castle Hill Inn and all the spoils of its million dollar views (and amazing menu and cocktails), and of course, you’ll be able to call Jay Leno and Judge Judy neighbors.

          But the Ocean Drive area is so much more. Most observers only see the gargantuan homes on large lots overlooking the sea or Narragansett Bay, but the various nooks and crannies of this area lend character, most especially with its diverse array of interesting abodes including Gilded Age carriage houses, coastal cottages, and a host of condos and townhomes.

          If you have any questions about Newport's Ocean Drive Historic District or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

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            Neighborhood Spotlight: Mansion District, Newport, Rhode Island

            Mansion DistrictRivaled in legacy perhaps only by its maritime history, Newport is synonymous with its legendary Gilded Age mansions, or "summer cottages," as they were ironically dubbed at the time. Bellevue Avenue is the main artery of this irrefutably jaw-dropping part of the City by the Sea, peppered with seasonal homes built by the nation's most celebrated architects. These include Carrère and Hastings, best known for building the New York Public Library, but also Vernon Court in Newport. Today the home does double duty as both a private residence and home to the National Museum of American Illustration. 

            Horace Trumbauer, who built much of the campus of Duke University, also built The Elms on Bellevue Avenue. Stanford White, who built the famed ornate arch at NYC's Washington Square and the Boston Public Library, also designed Rosecliff on Newport’s Bellevue Avenue. Finally, the famed Richard Morris Hunt built the John N. A. Griswold House, a National Historic Landmark and the current home of the Newport Art Museum. It is regarded in architectural history as one of the first American Stick Style buildings. 

            While many of the homes in the mansion district are still single family, a good portion has been divided up into condominiums, thus a coveted Bellevue Avenue address isn't as far out of reach as many may think. Sky-high ceilings, ornate moldings and architectural details, and oversized windows are commonplace in these homes and condos, plus many dwellings are converted carriage houses and in some cases, former stables, which makes this neighborhood one of Newport, Rhode Island’s most unique.

            If you have any questions about Newport's Mansion District or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

            Mansion District in Newport RI

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              Neighborhood Spotlight: Historic Hill, Newport, Rhode Island

              Historic Hill in Newport RIOne of the most desirable (and priciest!) neighborhoods in Newport, Historic Hill does not have formal borders but generally refers to the area quite literally on the hill encompassing Bellevue Avenue, Spring Street, Touro Street, and Mill Street.

              One of the oldest sections of Newport, here you’ll also find centuries-old structures-turned-attractions, including the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, which was founded in 1747. It has the distinction of being both the oldest lending library in America and the oldest library building in continuous use in the country. You’ll also find Touro Synagogue, a National Historic Site and the oldest synagogue in the U.S. In addition, the neighborhood is home to the 2.25-acre Touro Park, home to the Old Stone Mill (also called the Newport Tower) which has been investigated many times over by archeologists in an attempt to confirm its origins.

              Many Historic Hill homes date back to the Colonial Era, punctuated by gambrel roofs, pediment doorways in the Georgian style, and original 24-pane windows. These contribute to Newport’s distinction of having more 18th-century buildings than any other city in America, and countless homes here have been lovingly restored. 

              Historic Hill homes typically sell quickly as the properties are unique and the neighborhood is centrally located, making it easily walkable to Bellevue Avenue as well as the heart of downtown. The majority of homes on Historic Hill are single family but you will find some multi-families and condominiums scattered throughout. You’re also likely to find some residences in repurposed buildings, including former stables and carriage houses.

              If you have any questions about Newport's Historic Hill neighborhood or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

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                Neighborhood Spotlight: Van Zandt and Kerry Hill Neighborhood, Newport, Rhode Island

                Van Zandt & Kerry Hill in NewportLocated on the northern end of Newport, Rhode Island, homes in the Van Zandt - Kerry Hill neighborhood include single family homes with front- and/or backyards, duplexes and multi-families, condos, cottages, and apartments. Many homes along Malbone Road and Van Zandt Avenue, the main arteries through the neighborhood, were built around 1910-1920, though you’ll find plenty of homes here built before and after the early 20th century.

                According to Realtor.com, the median “sold home” price in Van Zandt - Kerry Hill area is $504,000. It’s not uncommon to find first-time homeowners here as well as homes passed down in the same family for generations. Conveniently located and just minutes to the Navy base, Pell Elementary, shopping, and Newport Bridge, the Van Zandt - Kerry Hill area in Newport is a great place to call home.

                If you have any questions about Newport's Van Zandt and Kerry Hill neighborhood or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

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                  Neighborhood Spotlight: Eustis-Easton's Pond Neighborhood, Newport, Rhode Island

                  Eastons Pond In Newport RIYou’ll find a wide range of homes in the Eustis-Easton’s Pond neighborhood of Newport, Rhode Island, including Capes, split-levels, cottages, raised ranches, some historic homes, and a few duplexes (though the area is dominated by single-family residences). A good portion of Eustis Avenue in Newport enjoys panoramic views of Easton’s Pond and is emblematic of the renovations, remodels, and rebuilds happening across the City of Newport.

                  Many of the original homes here were built around the 1940s. According to Realtor.com, the median listing home price in the neighborhood was $825K in June 2022, trending up 30% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $568.

                  At more than eight acres, there’s ample green space to enjoy at Braga Park, where you’ll find a playground, picnic area, and basketball courts in addition to both a soccer field and softball field utilized by local youth sports leagues and Newport County Public Schools.

                  A number of desirable features of the Eustis-Easton’s Pond neighborhood include off street parking, good sized front and backyards, native trees and shrubs, and being within walking distance or close proximity to Easton’s Beach, Cliff Walk, and of course, the walking path around the pond itself. The path around the pond regularly welcomes walkers, runners, and no shortage of neighbors pushing strollers or walking dogs.

                  If you have any questions about Newport's Eustis-Easton's Pond Neighborhood neighborhood or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

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                    Neighborhood Spotlight: The Fifth Ward Neighborhood, Newport, Rhode Island

                    One of the best known and most tight knit communities in Newport, Rhode Island, the Fifth Ward has deep roots in the City by the Sea. Dating back at least two centuries, this family-friendly neighborhood located on the southern edge of Newport Harbor was where many of the Irish laborers who built Fort Adams made their home, in addition to many Irish domestic workers who worked at the mansions and large estates.

                    Today, the neighborhood still boasts plenty of Irish pride, especially as the annual Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade ends here, but it’s also a melting pot with people of many different backgrounds. The neighborhood is mostly made up of single family homes but you’ll also find duplexes, condos, apartments, and even one of the larger apartment complexes in Newport County here.

                    If you have any questions about Newport's Fifth Ward neighborhood or real estate opportunities in the area, contact Teri Degnan Real Estate & Consulting or browse current listings in Newport.

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