Massachusetts Real Estate News

 

May 14, 2020

FREE Workbook: Tips To Increase The Value of Your Home

 

It's Home Improvement Season

 

Many people are hard at work right now looking at what sort of home improvements they want to do over the summer. In my latest video, I offered you my FREE e-book on what projects will increase your home equity. (Click HERE for that book.)

 

Whether your plans are to do improvements inside or out, there are some improvements that will increase the value of your home.  At the link below, you can download and print our FREE workbook on planning your tasks. This and the e-book go together to help you to get the most bang for your buck.

 

 

And, remember, if you need help with any real estate questions or needs, feel free to reach out to me. I'm happy to assist.

 

Click HERE to download the workbook and watch the video below for more tips.

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
April 21, 2020

FREE E-book: How To Improve The Value of Your Home

How To Increase The Value Of Your                          Home

Download your free copy today!

                                                     

It is times like these that we learn about how much we either love our homes or realize the things we can do to make them better!

I am excited to promote a book I have been working on over the past year called “Tips to Improve the value of your home”. I am giving E-Copies of the book away free today. In this book, I will cover all the different things you can do to your home to increase its value when you go to sell even if that is not for many years.

 

Too many times homeowners spend money they won’t get back when they sell. Did you know that certain renovations can really give you a big return on your investment when you go to sell while others, not so much.

 

Before starting any renovations, think about the following:

1)When are you planning to sell? Are you looking to renovate specifically to make money when you sell or are you looking to stay in your home for a while and want to enjoy the upgrades first? This is an important distinction since if you are specifically looking to sell you want to make sure that you are using materials and colors that are what most Buyers are currently looking for. Your selections should be as neutral as possible but also keeping a specific budget in mind.


 

 

 

2)What is the current value of your home? Your budget should be in line with the value of your home. If you own a home that is in a lower price range you want to make sure that you don’t over-improve it so that you can’t recoup your money. I would be happy to help answer that question with an analysis that will compare your home to others in your town, just let me know!

                          

 

3) The most important question is where to spend your money to get the most ROI or Return on Investment.

You may already know that Kitchen and Baths generally give the most Return on Investment but again you want to keep in mind the first two questions, How long do I plan to stay in my current home and what is my home worth before deciding on the final question.

                             

4) What will my budget be? Home renovation projects can easily get out of hand so I always recommend planning upfront what you want to spend and stay within your plan.                        

                                                         

If you are thinking of making improvements to your home, get in touch and we can walk through your house over facetime or skype. I have done this recently with Sellers and it works quite well until things get back normal!

Don’t forget to click on the link below and I will send you an e-Copy of my book!

                            

Posted in News
April 21, 2020

Setting Up a Work at Home Office

More and more people are working from home either full time or part of the time. If you want to boost your productivity levels when working from home, it helps to set up an office. Having an area purely dedicated to working will help you [and your family] to separate work from leisure.

The question becomes “how can you set up an effective home office environment?” Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to set up a work at home office and the key things to consider when planning. 

Consider how long you’ll be working from home

The first thing you need to think about is how long you’ll be working from home. If it’s only a very short period of time, it would be pointless investing in an entire home office set up. In this situation, it would be better to invest in just the essentials. 

However, if you have the budget it could be worth setting up a permanent home office. That way, you’ll always have somewhere set up to work at home if needed. 

Make sure you have the right equipment

You’re going to need some level of equipment to work from home. At the very least, you’re going to need a laptop or desktop computer and a desk. If you aren’t all that comfortable with long-term typing on a  laptop, you can consider adding a mouse or a keyboard. You can also even add a larger monitor, depending on the laptop you have. Comfort is key.

If you aren’t setting up a permanent home office, you can use things such as the dining room table or a makeshift bedroom office. Some people are even getting creative and using an ironing board as a stand-up desk option. Whatever works for you is what you need to do.

Other things you’re going to need include a good internet connection and online security. If you are at home and sharing the internet with others in the household, you’ll want to make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle everyone’s needs.

Ensure the space has plenty of natural sunlight

When you’re stuck indoors, you won’t be getting as much natural sunlight as you usually would. This can have an impact on how productive and motivated you are. Numerous studies have revealed the damaging impact limited natural daylight can have on workers in an office setting and the same applies at home.

So, make sure you’re going to be working in a part of the home which benefits from a lot of daylight. If there isn’t a space available, you might want to consider investing in a daylight bulb. These are designed to replicate natural daylight. And, of course you want to take plenty of breaks from working and maybe even step outside a few times a day or take a walk.

Ensure Privacy if needed

Are you going to need to be making phone calls or participating in online conferences? If so, you will want to be sure the space you choose has the privacy needed to make that happen. You obviously don’t want to have your kids blaring Star Wars on the big screen in the same room you are trying to make a sales call. And, you will want to beware of video calls that could have someone walking by or in the background doing something you wouldn’t want the world to see. Zoom Bombs are are a real thing people! Obviously a room with a door would make the best choice but if that’s not an option in your home, make sure to have “boundary” discussions with your family. 

Focus on comfort

Your home office should be a comfortable place where you can work. This means, providing plenty of support for your back if you’re working at a desk for example. 

If you aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to get much work completed. You’ll also find it beneficial to surround yourself with things that make you happiest, such as photos of the family and plants or flowers. If this is a permanent home office, make the space yours. It will make working much more enjoyable.

These are just some of the basics you should consider when setting up a home office. Whether you’re setting up a permanent or temporary office space, you need to ensure it has everything you need and it’s quiet and comfortable to work in.

 

 

Posted in News
March 17, 2020

Staying Healthy Today

 

Every year we hear the same advice--wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, stay home when you are sick--this year the advice seems to have more meaning.  As the information and misinformation, about COVID-19 swirls around we can all take extra precautions and a little more care as we wash our hands.  

 

If you are taking care of someone who is sick

  1. Wash your hands frequently, especially after coming into contact with something they have touched.  
  2. Wear a face mask, or have the sick person wear a face mask, when interacting with each other in close proximity
  3. Wipe down all shared surfaces.  Especially kitchen and bathroom countertops, cabinet handles, faucet handles, and shower and toilet surfaces.  
  4. Wipe down shared items, such as phones, computer keyboards, remote controls, and door knobs.
  5. Launder shared blankets.  And launder the sick person's sheets/blankets more often.  If the sick person is a child, wash their toys, even the stuffed animals.
  6. Make sure the sick person has their own hand towel to use in the bathroom and launder it often.
  7. Once they are healthy do a deep clean of the house.


Trying to keep germs out: 

  1. Take off your shoes when you enter your house.  Dirty shoes can spread germs through the house, though your risk of getting sick from them is low.  They can also spread dirt, dust, and other allergens.
  2. Change your clothes once you get home.  It’s possible you came into contact with an infected person while you were out, though germs only stay on porous materials for a few hours, it’s better safe than sorry.
  3. Change your sheets at least every 2 weeks.
  4. Vacuum carpets and mop floors weekly.
  5. Wipe down counters and hard surfaces daily

Extra notes:

  1. When washing your hands- soap and water are all you need.  Hand sanitizer is good to use in a pinch, but isn’t a better alternative.  
  2. When cleaning with a solvent or bleach you’ll want to use a clean rag or sponge, or better yet paper towels.  Oftentimes using the same rag/sponge for cleaning just moves the germs around rather than eliminating them.
  3. Also, bleach-based cleaning wipes are good because after wiping down a surface you generally let it air dry which gives the germ-killing agents more time to work.  
  4. When it’s warm enough open windows for air circulation.
  5. Run an air purifier to help cut down on allergens.
  6. A humidifier can help add humidity to the air and help prevent sinus infections and bronchitis.

 When you are Out and about:

  1. Don’t shake hands or hug.
  2. When using the public restroom use a paper towel to open the doors after washing your hands.
  3. At work wipe down your phone and computer a few times a day but especially right when you come in and after you have left it. You never know who may have had to use it while you were away.

 Hopefully by practicing good general hygiene, taking extra cleaning precautions and following the suggested practices regarding social distancing, pretty soon the COVID-19 scare will be a thing of history books.

 

Stay safe, AND healthy friends.

Rachel

 

Posted in News
Feb. 16, 2020

What Should I Do to Prepare My Home for Showings?

 

You've made some repairs, you've listed your home and now someone wants to see it. What do you do now?  There are a number of things you can do to prepare your property for showings that can help you create a great impression and drum up interest in your Sudbury home. Some of these things will be inside, while others will be outside your home. Here is a basic checklist to follow:

Exterior

This is your chance to make a great first impression.

  • The lawn - It should be well-kept. Keep your grass to a couple of inches high at most.
  • The garden - It should be well-tended. Consider adding a few colorful plants to cheer things up. Prune trees and shrubs, and get rid of old leaves.
  • Fencing - All the fencing around the property should be in good repair and freshly painted.
  • Fresh-looking blacktop - Your driveway should look well-tended and not be stained. 
  • A great garage - De-clutter your garage so people get a sense of spaciousness. Consider donating, selling or storing items you rarely use. Ask the neighbors if they will be willing to stow things for you to help make things less cluttered. Also, consider investing in a stand-alone tool shed. It's an inexpensive way to add valuable outside storage to your home.
  • A fresh paint job - The entire house should be painted a bright, clean color and should not be peeling. 
  • A fresh front door - Consider painting the front door, or replacing it. It's the first thing they will see upon entering your home so it's really important that it's beautiful.
  • New numbers - Add bright and shiny new door numbers for your address.
  • Check any siding - Make sure your siding is in good repair.
  • Roofing - Replace all broken roof tiles. Be sure to also clean the guttering of leaves and other debris.
  • A new welcome mat - Put out a new welcome mat to make your place took more inviting.

Inside Your Home

There are lots of things that can help buyers picture what life will be like in this house.

  • De-clutter - Now is your time to sort out what to keep, sell, donate to charity, or pass along to someone who could really use the item. Be ruthless. Remember; whatever you keep will have to be put in storage or moved to your new home, when you eventually find one.
  • Paint every room - Once you have de-cluttered, it will be a lot easier to paint the house. Choose neutral colors, not ones that make a bold statement. Strong colors might put off buyers, or give them the impression that they will have to put a lot of work into the house to get it just the way they want it.
  • De-personalize - Remove all the family photos, knickknacks and so on from the house. Again, you want them to feel that the house could be theirs. They won’t be able to do that if they see the stamp of your ownership all over it.
  • Organize all storage spaces - Don’t think you can hide anything from prospective home buyers. They want to make sure they are getting the best deal and will have no qualms about going into your closets, kitchen cabinets or drawers.
  • Hire a professional cleaner - A professional cleaning service can work wonders to make every surface in your home shine. While they are working, you can be focusing on other things, such as packing up things to put in storage.
  • Get rid of the rugs - Hardwood and vinyl flooring are cheap, durable, pet-proof and allergen free. They are far better than your mildewy old carpet full of pet soil.

 

Follow these tips to make sure prospective buyers see your home in the best possible light.

Are you ready to show your home off? Let's get it listed. Feel free to call or text me at 978.505.1466.
Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 22, 2019

Stay Warm This Winter While Slashing Your Electric Bill

 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, you can expect to pay a higher electric bill to stay warm this winter. Statistics show that 90% of Americans experienced a sharp increase in the cost to heat their home last year, with costs for all fuel types projected to continue to rise this winter! 

 

With such dramatic increases in the price of electricity and other fuels, it's difficult to stay warm in the winter without breaking your budget. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to dramatically cut your heating bill and still feel warm and cozy! 

 

Try these strategies: 

 

Save on the cost of your hot water.

The cost to operate your hot water heater can contribute to a large percentage of the energy consumption in your home. Heating water and storing it accounts for up to 25% of your monthly electric bill! 

 

  • Install a timer so you aren't paying to keep water hot when you’re asleep or away from home. 
  • Lower your bill by swapping your older electric hot water heater for a more energy-efficient model. 
  • Consider upgrading your hot water heater to one that uses an alternative, renewable energy source, such as solar power. 

 

Plug the leaks.

Air escaping from cracks and leaks in your home dramatically increases your energy costs. 

 

  • Repairing broken window panes, installing storm windows, and adding extra caulk around the sash are easy ways to reduce your heating costs. Take the time to reduce the amount of warm air that escapes from your home. 
  • Many homeowners are unaware that their HVAC unit's ductwork can leak. Ensure that it’s inspected regularly and make the necessary repairs. Our yearly Maintenance Agreement can help keep costs down with inspections and prevention. 
  • Small fans in your kitchen or bathroom can quickly pull out all of the warm air in your home, so turn them off when not in use. 

 

Consider using smart appliances and online apps to remotely control your sources of lighting, heating, and cooling.

This way, you can turn off lights and unused appliances at the touch of a button if you forget to turn them off before leaving your home for the day. 

 

Take advantage of passive sources of energy.

The sun is a powerful (and free) form of energy. Be on the lookout for easy ways to harness its power. 

 

Installing a simple kit to safely vent your dryer's exhaust into your home can block lint while allowing additional warm air to flow into your home as you dry your clothes. 

 

Install insulated curtains to reduce drafts and block out the cold. 

 

On sunny winter days, open the curtains to windows that face south to allow the sun's energy to increase the temperature inside your home. 

 

Be certain to prune any branches or bushes that might block the sun from entering your windows. This boosts the heating power of the sunlight and increases natural lighting, which can also help boost your mood! 

 

Turn down your thermostat, just a little.

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, turning down your thermostat just one degree for a whole day will help you save 3% on your heating costs. 

 

Add additional blankets on your bed and lower the thermostat from 78 to 68 degrees while you sleep. You probably won’t notice the difference in temperature while under the covers, and it will help you save an additional 14% on your electric bill! 

 

Rising energy costs make it difficult to afford to stay warm during the winter. These tips can help you keep cozy while lowering your electricity costs!

 

Posted in News
Nov. 25, 2019

YES You Can Sell Your Home in the Winter Months

 

Have you heard it’s best to wait until the spring to sell, even if you’re ready to move now? Well, keep reading because I have news for you! I’ve got six reasons to get your home on the market right now - no need to wait for spring to come around.

 

1. Less inventory means more attention to your home.

Since many sellers feel they should wait until the spring, there are fewer homes on the market in the fall and winter months. This means your home is likely to get a lot more interest because there are fewer to choose from!

2. Buyers are more motivated.

Although there are fewer buyers in the fall and winter months, those that are out there are usually more motivated and not just looking. Many companies are relocating their employees during this time, and these buyers are also very motivated and less picky because they need a home.

3. Real estate agents are motivated, too.

Because there is less inventory coming in, real estate agents tend to have fewer listings in the fall and winter months. Great news for you, because they’ll have more time to focus on your home and getting it sold!

4. Not having landscaping is not a problem.

When you list in the spring or summer, your landscaping needs to look good! In the fall and winter months, you just need to keep your yard raked and snow removed from the driveway, but that is about it. Buyers are less picky about landscaping since the weather often has a major impact.

5. Have a faster home sale.

It’s counterintuitive but true: homes actually sell more quickly in the winter months. Why is that? Well, as we talked about earlier, inventory is low and buyers are motivated. When they find a home they like, they’re ready to make it happen.

6. Post a higher listing price.

Another surprise: statistics show that homes actually sell at a slightly higher price in winter. Motivated buyers might submit a price that’s too good to refuse. Buyers also may have a fear of rising mortgage rates since rates tend to go up in the spring, so they may be willing to pay a bit more now. Whatever the reason, fall and winter home sellers tend to be happier with their sale price!

If you are thinking of getting your home on the market and have questions, as always I am here to help! Have a great home buying and selling day! If you’re interested, head over to my YouTube channel to see tips like this in video form.

 

 

Posted in News
Nov. 18, 2019

Should I Sell My House As-Is or Fix It Up?

 

Have you ever wondered if it makes more sense to fix up your home when you are ready to sell or to sell it “as-is” with no renovations? Then you are in the right spot! Let’s dive into the decision to fix up or sell your home as-is!

 

You first want to sit down and decide if you actually have the time and money to get the repairs done. If the answer is no, then selling as-is will, of course, be the way to go. 

 

Selling as-is will probably get you less for your home, but it’s less risky because it can be done without the hassle of making upgrades. You also don’t have to wonder if the money invested will yield a positive return!

 

You’ll also want to consider the overall condition of your home.

 

If your home has not been touched in years, then a little paint will not do much to the overall value of your home. Chances are buyers will most likely be planning to gut it and therefore selling as-is once again is the way to go. 

 

Shows on HGTV about buying fixer-uppers have really brought a resurgence to buyers that want to do everything themselves! If this is not you then leave it to those who want the challenge.

 

Now let’s say, however, your home is in relatively good shape but may feel a bit lived in with scuffed walls. Maybe there are a few outdated rooms, but major items like the roof and heating system have been replaced. 

 

In this case, I will recommend that my sellers invest in projects that don’t cost much but will go a long way. These are projects like some new paint, counters, refinishing floors and sometimes replacing bathroom vanities. These are minor upgrades that will certainly be worth making. Not only will they give your home a fresher look, but they will also increase your return on investment (ROI). 

 

On the other hand, if you have an updated home that needs very few cosmetic upgrades but a major system or roof is near the end of its useful life, it may make sense to replace prior to going on the market if you have the money to do so. Even if your house looks beautiful, these big-ticket critical systems should probably be up-to-date. Buyers will likely estimate that items cost a lot more than they actually do, which will be reflected in a much lower offer price.

 

If you’re wondering about your home and what (if anything) you should do prior to listing, give me a call. I’d be happy to take a look! I have helped many home sellers over the years with these questions many times, sometimes meeting with them years in advance so that they can be prepared.

 

Have a great home buying and selling day! If you’d like to listen to me talk about this topic, head over to my YouTube channel and click subscribe!

 

 

Posted in News
Nov. 11, 2019

Kitchen or Baths? Which should you remodel first?

 

Are you thinking of remodeling your home but don’t know where to begin? You’ve probably heard that kitchen and bath remodels will both bring a good return on investment, assuming they are done correctly. But if you only have the money for one right now, which do you choose?

Lucky for you, I have some tips about how to make a decision on whether you should start with a kitchen or bath renovation!

The answer is… Drum roll, please… IT DEPENDS! Here are four things to think about:

#1 Which Can You Most Live Without, Your Kitchen or Your Bathroom?

Choosing either a kitchen or bathroom renovation will add thousands of dollars in value to your home. When looking to sell, these two rooms get the most attention out of the whole house.

Making sure they are looking fresh and well-designed will impress your buyers.

Before finalizing your choice, it’s worth thinking about which room you can do without during the renovation process.

Setting up an improvised kitchen is easily done with a minimum of stress. If you happen to only have one bathroom, you will need to consider finding another place to live while work is being done.

As a side note, if you only have one bathroom, you should also consider having a second bathroom installed.

 

#2 Return on Investment

A kitchen renovation will be the more expensive option, but the return on investment can be almost 80% of the money spent.

In other words, if you spend $25,000 on a kitchen renovation, you can expect the value of your house to increase by about $20,000. 

Keep in mind that if you are able to be the general contractor on your job and do it correctly, the return on investment could and should be much greater than the money you spent to renovate since your labor costs have been drastically reduced.

However, kitchen renovations can be a matter of taste, and while the value will go up, there’s no guarantee the next owner will like your dream kitchen.

Bathrooms, on the other hand, will cost less, but the ROI on bathroom remodeling is about 65% on the investment.

This means that a $15,000 remodel will net you around $10,000, assuming again that you are hiring people to do all the work. When it comes to bathrooms, people are less fussy. This means that the right renovations like a new countertop could be more valuable.

#3 How much should you spend if you are planning to sell soon?

The answer to that has to do with the value of your home. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) says to spend 5% to 15% of the home's value on this project and no more than 10% if you plan to sell right away. 

You could bring your costs down by considering refacing or refinishing your cabinets instead of replacing them to start.  

Regarding bathrooms the NKBA says, you should expect to spend 5 to 10% of your home's value on a bathroom renovation. Try to keep it closer to the 5% end of the scale. Again, if you are willing to be the general contractor on the project and hire and coordinate the sub-contractors yourself, you should be able to regain the cost of your project and then some if you plan to sell quickly.

#4 Last but not least: Should I sell “as is” or remodel my kitchen or bath before selling?

I was just asked this question and again the answer is, it depends on many factors such as the overall value of the home and condition of the rest of the house. 

If you are thinking of renovating your home and want to know how it will affect the value of your home give me a call and I would be happy to help! 

 

Have a great home buying and selling day! If you’d rather listen to my blogs, make sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel.

Posted in News
Nov. 7, 2019

Winter Happenings Around Town

 

Just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean you have to stay inside and hibernate, you aren’t a bear.  There are plenty of fun things to get you out and about this winter near Sudbury and Wayland.

 

As always the Wayside Inn in Sudbury offers plenty to do.

 

Friday, November 15, from 6pm-9pm they are hosting a Ladies Night Out.

For $50 you get a fun night out of shopping, dinner, and wine.  They have a delicious menu planned and will have a variety of “cash and carry” vendors on site for your holiday shopping needs.  

 

Friday, December 6 at 7pm and

Saturday, December 7 at 2pm they are presenting A Christmas Carol 

$15 treats you to this holiday classic performed by the Sudbury Savoyards. Reservations open on November 1.

 

Sunday, December 8 at 5pm and 7pm the Bell Ringers of the Memorial Congregational Church will be ringing in the holidays.  Tickets are $15


Gore Place in Waltham also offers a variety of Holiday fun.

 

Gore Place is a 50-acre country estate featuring an 1806 mansion and a 1793 Carriage House.  

 

November 20 and 21 from 5pm-8pm they are hosting a Handmade for the Holiday Shopping Party.  A variety of vendors will be on hand to help with all your holiday shopping needs.

 

December 10, from 6pm-9pm they will host An Evening in December.  This year’s party will offer fabulous hors d’oeuvre, music, and a holiday boutique of American made crafts and gifts.  

 

Santa Teas

December 14, 10am and 1pm

December 15, 1pm and 3pm 

Families enjoy sandwiches and sweets in the Carriage House.  Kids can do fun holiday crafts, you can take family pictures in front of the tree, and Santa is there for songs and stories.  Tickets are $45/person. $35 for members.     

 

They also host Holiday Teas

December 14, 4pm

December 21, 3pm

Adults and older children enjoy sweets and sandwiches in the Mansion while playing Jane Austin era games and listening to period stories.  Costumed guides will also take guests on tours of the Mansion’s upper floors. Also, the Handmade for the Holidays boutique will be open. Tickets are $45/person.  $35 for members

 

December 17 at 7pm will feature Music for the Holly Days.

A great variety of Celtic music, folk songs, and holiday favorites, will be played by the Moody Street String Band in the Carriage House.  

Tickets are $20.  $18 for members. $15 for students (with ID)

 

Another fun winter thing to do at Gore Place is snowshoeing--snow permitting.  Snowshoes available for rent at the Carriage House.


If that’s not enough to get you into the holiday spirit, here are a few more suggestions.

December 15 from 10am-4pm is the Dickens Holiday Festival at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham.  This fun holiday event will really help you get you into the festive mood.  Costumed actors from the Hovey Players will be reading scenes from the Christmas Carol, Marci Diamond will be portraying Mrs. Dickens as she shares stories of her life with the famed author, and musical performers entertain with holiday music.  And, while you are being entertained you can browse the offerings of a variety of vendors on hand to fill your holiday shopping needs.  $10 adults/$5 seniors (65 and over)and students/Kids under 5 are free.


Again this year the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, in Wellesley, is hosting their Festival of Trees.  They display dozens of beautifully decorated trees that will be raffled off on December 15. This annual fundraiser could be your (raffle) ticket to winning an already decorated Christmas tree.  Along with the trees they also have a model train display, a Snow Village, visits with Santa, and horse-drawn carriage rides. The event runs from November 29-December 29.   Days and times vary so be sure to check the link when planning your visit.


You can hide inside, or you can embrace the beauty of the season.  Massachusetts knows how to embrace the season.  

Posted in News