7 Tips To Prepare Your Home for Winter

woodsWinter is coming and it is the season to get properties preserved and ready (especially in New England, never know what you’re gonna get!)

As the leaves fall and the daylight gets shorter there are some important things to do, most of them are often overlooked so here’s a starter list of tips to protect your property from the cold:

1. Gutters! Be sure to have them cleaned or if you are handy, clean them yourself, to protect against damage from ice damning.

2. Exterior water lines (sprinkler systems), hoses and faucets must be completely drained and left open for any possible water/ice to escape.

3. Fall fertilizer is really one of the most important ones, because it nourishes the root systems and gets it prepared for early growth in the Spring.

4. Snow stakes along edges of road and driveways, for plowing and snow blowing protection of the landscaping.

5. Lawnmowers, add stabilizer to fuel or even better run till completely emptying gasoline.

6. Make sure that you have some sand or ice melting material–before you need it.

7. Be sure that your electricity lines are not in danger of limbs coming down on them.

Feel free to comment with questions and share any of your own tips below or reach out via email and I will be happy to answer them!

Also check out my site to see what else is currently on the market.

Motivation of Brokers

Real estateWhile all brokers and agents need to earn a living, the motivations of anyone’s broker can have a huge impact on the value that broker brings to the table. Many agents are motivated by greed and only see their “clients” as $’s. Often those agents are heavy closers and often do a high volume of sales.

Other, more humanistic agents see their clients as themselves, as someone they have a fiduciary responsibility to protect and take care of. Obviously, there is a huge range of agents in between on a continuum. This is important to know for those who haven’t yet chosen their agent.

It can mean thousands of dollars of difference. I have seen many transactions where, for the same amount of money, in the same town and even comparable location, 2 different properties with a huge difference in real value, sold for the same price! And this happens largely due to the greed of a pushy broker. So make sure you choose a quality agent who views their clients as fellow citizens, who want the best value and quality property for their budget!

Have any questions? Please comment on this post or reach out via email and I will be happy to answer them!

Also check out my site to see what else is currently on the market.

Timing is Everything

fallContrary to popular belief, with Fall clearly in the air, it is a great time to buy! Many people think that when daylight gets shorter and the leaves start falling that it isn’t a particularly good time to buy a property.

However, the fact that only really serious sellers have their homes on the market, and that there are few competing buyers checking out those houses really can be advantageous to buyers. Heating systems, insulation, energy efficient windows and all components of properties show their true functionality.

Landscaping can look a little drab, but you can always tell the difference between well maintained grounds and those that are in rough shape. So if you are considering investing in real estate I suggest looking now, when there are fewer competing buyers. Interest rates are still at historical lows and only really motivated sellers are on the market at this time of year.

Have questions about a house you saw or anything else real estate related? Please comment on this post or reach out via email and I will be happy to answer them!

Also check out my site to see what else is currently on the market.

Not All Square Footage is Created Equal

sqftLayout has a huge impact on the usability. A well laid out floor plan of 1200 sq ft can be better than a poorly laid out 1350 sq ft. Furthermore, it’s important to know that “living” sq ft is different, sometimes very different, from gross square footage.

High rise buildings show this by valuing the higher units more than same square footage at a lower level. Think Penthouse vs. basement! Same square footage in same building, with same layout can have vastly different value based on views, light, privacy, etc. With single family dwellings “walkout” lower levels are much more usable and desirable than basements below grade. So when you are looking at square footage be sure to get the real living square footage and the layout to make sure the space works for you!

Have questions about square footage or anything else real estate related? Please comment on this post or reach out via email and I will be happy to answer them!

Why Own a Home Anyway?

Besides the beneficial tax write-off of all the interest that one pays on their mortgage, it’s nice to be in control of your own moving schedule without having to worry about renewing a lease. gloucesterIn addition, it’s nice to be able to make your own house rules, to paint the walls or even the house whatever color you like. It’s a good way to build a significant asset to cash-in on later in life. Plus you never get rent increases!

Have any questions? Please comment on this post or reach out via email and I will be happy to answer them!

The 6 Best Ways to Make Buying or Selling a Home a Good Experience

1. Find a top notch broker who is a good listener. The best way to do this is by asking a friend or relative who has recently sold or bought a home. Otherwise if you know an agent – call them!

2. Get pre-approved by a local lender (bank or mortgage company) that you are comfortable with. Again friends or relatives is always a great place to start – being pre-approved means you are ready and able and qualified to spend a certain amount on a home and can comfortably afford it.

3. Meet with the agent you choose (sometimes you have to interview more than one sometimes you just know “this one” is the right person for you.) Have them sit down with you and talk about your price range, house style, location, etc.home_for_sale

5. If you have little children looking at multiple homes can get boring for them and also it will not allow you to focus on the home and all the amenities. I suggest you find a babysitter or a relative or friend to babysit.

6. Attend Open Houses and be sure to sign your Buyer Agents’ name. This protects your relationship with them and you will be able to view several homes in one day. Also as a courtesy make sure the agent running the open house knows you already have an agent and let your agent know of any homes you think you are interested in.

Feel free to ask me any questions about Real Estate and I will be happy to reply.

5 Key Steps to Buying the Home That’s Right for YOU.

1. It’s vitally important that you know your real budget. So it is wise to get pre-approved by a local lender. Get a referral from your Buyer Agent or from someone you know who recently obtained a mortgage and was happy with their terms and service. This means providing the most recent 2 years of your tax returns, along with other savings, debts and investments. Looking at homes without a pre-approval can result in one either falling in love with a house they can’t afford or buying too little house and outgrowing quickly.

2. Find a no pressure agent who is experienced knows the ropes, pitfalls, red flags, and a fair amount about construction. While great agents aren’t home inspectors they will have keen eyes for critical components of properties.

3. Be sure to pay close attention to the contour of the lot and abutting properties, as water, although we all need it and love it, we don’t want to have it in our basements or anywhere it can do damage to a home. Driveways are of particular concern for safety in the icy winter months, inclement weather, and for convenient access with the groceries.

4. Another critical factor in selecting a home is the clearance between the foundation and any siding. There should be a minimum exposure of the foundation of at least 8 inches. Poured concrete is always preferred over concrete block as termites can much more easily find access to the wood in the dark!

5. Once one finds a home they want it is important to get the utility costs. Energy efficiency can often be improved, but you will want to know what your heat, hot water and electricity costs will be on annual basis.

Please send me any questions you have about residential real estate, condominiums or multi- families.

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