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Upsizing your home

Upsizing your home

Unfortunately, our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof.

Remodelling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.

WHERE DO YOU NEED MORE SPACE?

The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense.

But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.

MOVING OUTWARD

If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

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Searching For Homes in Easton, MA

Searching for homes in Easton

Searching for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye.

To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing services (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.

Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.

See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

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5 Criteria For Pricing A Home

Pricing A Home

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.

Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.

Home building: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.

Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.

Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

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Ready To Move? Here Are A Few Real Estate Tips

Tips for buying a home

Ready To Move? Here Are A Few Real Estate Tips

For most families, move-in day in a stressful time in their life. That’s why we have listed key real estate tips for your benefit.

Eight weeks before you leave your present address

  • Remove unnecessary items from your attic, basement, storage shed, etc. Use things you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.
  • Obtain information about your new community.
  • Secure a floor plan of your new residence and decide what household items you want to keep.
  • Start a possessions inventory.
  • Solicit estimates from at least three moving companies.
  • Call your homeowner’s insurance agent to find out to what degree your move is covered.
  • Create a file for documenting all moving papers and receipts.
  • Arrange to transfer your children’s school records.

Six weeks before you leave your present address

  • Contact the IRS and/or your CPA for tax-deductible information.
  • Evaluate your possessions inventory. Can you donate anything? Do you need it all?
  • Notify your friends, relatives, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, etc.
  • Subscribe to a local paper in your new community and familiarize yourself with local government, community, and social news and activities.
  • Begin the off-site storage process (if applicable).
  • Locate high-quality health-care professionals and hospitals in your new location.
  • Complete post-office change of address cards for the following: banks; charge cards; religious organizations; doctors/dentist; relatives and friends; income tax bureau/Social Security Administration/union; insurance broker/lawyer/CPA/ stockbroker; magazines; post office; and schools.
  • Clean your closets.
  • Hold a moving/garage sale or donate items to charities.
  • Choose a mover. Contact your mover to make arrangements and inquire about insurance coverage.
  • If relocating due to a job, contact your employer to see what costs, if any, they will cover.

Four weeks before you leave your present address

  • Start packing! Find The Best Way to Pack for a Move here.
  • Send furniture, drapes, and carpets for repair/cleaning as needed.
  • Gather auto licensing and registration documents, medical, dental and school records, birth certificates, wills, deeds, stock and other financial documentation, etc.
  • Contact gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable TV and trash collection companies for service disconnect /connect at your old and new addresses. Also, ask for final readings.
  • Request refunds on unused homeowner’s insurance, security deposit with landlord, and prepaid cable/internet service.
  • Notify your gardener, snow removal service and pool service (if applicable).
  • Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowner’s, medical and life) to arrange for coverage in your new home.

Three weeks before you leave your present address

  • Make your travel plans.
  • Arrange to close current bank accounts and open accounts in your new locale (if necessary).
  • Notify your state’s motor vehicle bureau of your new address.
  • Arrange for childcare on moving day.

Two weeks before you leave your present address

  • Arrange special transport for your pets and plants.
  • Service your car for the trip.
  • Contact your moving company and review arrangements for your move.

One week before you leave your present address

  • Prepare detailed directions and an itinerary with emergency numbers for your moving company.
  • Settle outstanding bills with local retailers. Pick up dry cleaning, and return library books and rented videotapes.
  • Take pets to the veterinarian and get copies of their records.
  • Drain gas and oil from power equipment.
  • Give away plants not being moved.
  • Cancel newspaper delivery.
  • Buy two-weeks worth of medication and have your prescriptions forwarded to your new pharmacy.
  • Buy traveler’s checks.
  • Make arrangements to pay for your move.

Two to three days before you leave your present address

  • If you’re not doing it yourself, have your mover pack.
  • Defrost refrigerators and freezers.
  • Consider gathering all valuables and giving them to family or friends to hold until the move is completed.
  • Disconnect all major appliances.
  • Contact your moving company for any updates.
  • Pack first-night items and a survival kit. Keep them in separate boxes in your car. First night items may include sheets, towels, toiletries, phone, alarm clock, change of clothes and a flashlight.
  • Mover’s survival kit may include: scissors, utility knife, coffee cups, instant coffee/tea or a coffee maker, water and soft drinks, snacks, paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, pencils and paper, local phone book, masking and/or duct tape, trash bags, shelf liner and aspirin or ibuprofen.

Moving day

  • Be home to answer any questions your mover may have.
  • Record all utility meter readings (gas, electric and water).
  • Stay until your movers are finished.
  • Complete information on the bill and carefully read the document and the inventory sheet before signing it.
  • Keep your copies of the bill and inventory until your possessions are delivered, the charges are paid and any claims are settled.
  • Take one final look around to see if you forgot anything.
  • Give movers the directions to your new home, and an emergency number where you can be reached during the move.

At destination

  • Unpack first-night items and mover’s survival kit.
  • Be at the destination to welcome the movers and be on hand to answer any questions.
  • After the job is completed, pay what is owed. The driver is obligated by law (a federal requirement for interstate moves) to collect payment upon delivery.
  • Scrutinize the unloading of your items and account for each one on your inventory sheet. Check promptly and carefully for any damaged or missing items.
  • Place moving and other important documents in a safe place.
  • Go to the post office and collect held mail.

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View Marlene’s properties for sale. 

Source: Success! Real Estate

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Tips on Buying a Home

buying a home

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ll want to carefully choose the real estate professional you work.

You should commit yourself to work with one sales associate. This person can learn your likes and dislikes in homes to make your home-buying process easier.

Choose a professional who specializes in residential real estate and who has specific knowledge of the local real estate and mortgage markets.

The person you choose should listen to you and be interested enough in you to find out about your housing needs and preferences. Service first should be the motto of the professional you choose with services going above and beyond what you expect and need.

Doing some preliminary planning before you begin your home search will make the entire process more manageable and less overwhelming. As part of your initial game plan, you should check your credit rating.

If you’re sure you have excellent credit, it’s wise to double-check at the outset. Straightening out any errors or disputed items now will avoid troublesome holdups down the road. This will help when you’re waiting for mortgage approval.

You may see disputed items, in addition to errors caused by a faulty social security number, or a court-ordered judgment paid off that hasn’t been cleared from the public records.

If such items appear, write a letter to the appropriate credit bureau. Credit bureaus are required to help you straighten things out in a reasonable time (usually 30 days). Real estate professional Marlene Wasserstein has a reputable history of helping buyers and sellers. This is why local families turn to her for their real estate needs.

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8 Mistakes Sellers Make

Mistakes Sellers Make

8 Mistakes Sellers Make

Here is a list of 8 mistakes sellers make and how to avoid them.

  1. Basing the asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value.

    • Many times sellers base their pricing on how much they paid for or invested in their home. This can be an expensive mistake.
    • If your home is not priced competitively, buyers will reject it in favor of other larger homes for the same price. At the same time, the buyers who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads. The result is increased market time, and even when the price is eventually lowered, the buyers are wary because “nobody wants to buy real estate that nobody else wants”. The result is low priced offers and an unwillingness to negotiate.
    • Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible from the sale, but a listing priced too high often eventually sells for less than market value. An accurate market evaluation is the first step in determining a competitive listing price.
  2. Failing to “Showcase” the home.

    • A property that is not clean or well maintained is a red flag for the buyer. It is an indication that there may be hidden defects that will result in increased cost of ownership. Sellers who fail to make necessary repairs, who don’t “spruce up” the house inside and out, and fail to keep it clean and neat, chase away buyers as fast as REALTORS® can bring them.
    • Buyers are poor judges of the cost of repairs and always build in a large margin for error when offering on such a property.
    • Sellers are always better off doing the work themselves ahead of time.
  3. Over-improving the home prior to selling.

    • Sellers often unwittingly spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior to attempting to sell in the mistaken belief that they will recoup this cost.
    • If you are upgrading your home for your personal enjoyment – fine. But if you are thinking of selling, you should be aware that only certain upgrades to real estate are cost effective.
    • Always consult with your REALTOR® BEFORE committing to upgrading your home.
  4. Choosing the wrong REALTOR® or choosing for the wrong reasons.

    • Many homeowners list with the real estate agent who tells them the highest price. You need to choose an experienced agent with the best marketing plan to sell your home.
    • In the real estate business, an agent with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced.
    • That experience could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with a minimum amount of hassles.
  5. Using the “Hard Sell” during showings.

    • Buying a home is an emotional decision. Buyers like to “try on” a house and see if it is comfortable for them.
    • It is difficult for them to do if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you made. Good REALTORS® let the buyers discover the home on their own, pointing out only features they are sure are important to them.
    • Overselling loses many sales.
    • If buyers think they are paying for features that are not particularly important to them personally, they will reject the home in favor of a less expensive home without the features.
  6. Failing to take the first offer seriously.

    • Often sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come. There is a tendency to not take it seriously and to hold out for a higher price. This is especially true if the offer comes in soon after the home is placed on the market. Experienced REALTORS® know that more often than not the first buyer ends up being the best buyer, and many, many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process.
    • Real estate is most saleable early in the marketing period, and the amount buyers are willing to pay diminishes with the length of time a property has been on the market. Many sellers would give anything to find that prospective buyer who made the first, and ONLY, offers.
  7. Not knowing your rights and obligations.

    • The contract you sign to sell your property is a complex and legally binding document. An improperly written contract can allow the purchaser to void the sale, or cost you thousands of unnecessary dollars.
    • Have an experienced REALTOR® who knows the “ins and outs” fully explain the contract you are about to sign.
  8. Failure to effectively market the property.

    • Good marketing opens the door that exposes real estate to the marketplace. It means distinguishing your home from hundreds of others on the market. It also means selling the benefits, as well as the features.
    • The right REALTOR® will employ a wide variety of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones believed to work best for your home.

Think you can add on to this list of 8 mistakes sellers make? Let us know!

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