Massachusetts Real Estate News

 

Aug. 1, 2022

What Can I Do on a Weekend with $1000?

 

Everyone wants to improve on their home. The list is usually a mile long. But most people don’t have an endless supply of money and time to make this happen. Hence the FAQ:

 

What can I do in one weekend with a $1000 budget to make an improvement?

 

Many projects are brought to mind but your house has an exterior, too. Remember that everyone can see your yard and the outside of your house. If you want to impress the neighbors, this might be the place to start.

 

  1. Paint: With a $1,000 budget, painting is the only exterior option that works. Whether your home is brick or siding, it can still be painted. Even vinyl siding can be painted with the appropriate paint. All that’s required is a few brushes and a ladder, in most cases.

  2. Mulch: Mulch is cheap, or even free in some cities during certain times of the year. Those old flower beds will look a lot better with a layer of mulch.

  3. New numbers: Every house ought to have the address clearly posted. It’s easier for the pizza delivery person, fire department, and the police to find your house. There are even a variety of different font options that add to the overall look of your house.
  4. New mailbox: It’s not uncommon to see a beautiful home with a mailbox that looks like it was run over by a truck. If the mailbox is in good structural shape, consider giving it a coat of paint.

  5. Flowers, shrubs, trees: Depending on the variety and season, these are inexpensive ways to add to the curb appeal of your home. Ensure that you’re purchasing plants that will thrive in your particular soil and climate.

  6. Planters: Whether under a window or sitting on your patio, planters are attractive, mobile, and inexpensive.

  7. Clean up: Many yards would benefit from a simple clean-up. Trim the grass around the house, trees, fence, and driveway. Pick up all the sticks. Then, plant grass seed on the bare patches. Pull the weeds. Fertilize the lawn. Keep the grass cut to the proper length. Pick up anything else that doesn’t belong in the yard. Throw out the broken porch swing and toys that nobody uses anymore.

 

Many of these tasks are entirely free and only require sweat equity.

When the weather is nice, landscaping and other outdoor projects can be very enjoyable. Consider the weather and season when planning your outdoor makeover activities. It can be tough to do gardening or painting in the middle of a thunderstorm.

 

“The house has to please everyone, contrary to the work of art, which does not. 

The work is a private matter for the artist. The house is not.”

- Adolf Loos

 

Those are all great but what’s the damage?

Again, landscaping projects are the first thing people might notice. But, we said our budget was only $1,000. Let’s see how the above might break down:

 

  1. Clean up the yard – Free: Take the time to clean up around your yard and make it look great! 
  2. Grass seed - $10 – Five pounds of grass seed is enough to cover 500-1,000 square feet.

  3. Trees - $90: Five, 2-gallon trees will set you back roughly $18 each. This is the average price for various pine and fruit trees.

  4. Flowers - $75: A decent sized rose bush is $20, depending on the variety. Chrysanthemums are only $8 each, which would cost $40 if you bought five of them. A fifty-pack of tulip bulbs is $15.

  5. Mailbox and post - $60: Pick one you like. A new post is around $25.

  6. Exterior paint - $160: A 5-gallon bucket containing a combination of paint and primer is $70 for white. Colored paint will set you back $160 for 5 gallons. That’s enough paint for a 2,000 square foot home.

  7. Mulch - $15: Two cubic feet of mulch can be found for $3. This price is by the bag. A truckload would cost much less per cubic foot. A large 4x15 flower bed would require 10 cubic feet of mulch to have 2” of coverage. Five bags would cost around $15.

  8. Planters - $150: Planters can range from less than $1 to several hundred dollars. A very nice planter is in the $50 range. Let’s use three of them.

If you add that all up, the total is only $560! When you’ve physically recovered from all the hard work, you could spend the other $440 on a few more beautifying projects. 

 

A lot can be done to enhance the landscaping and exterior of your home without spending a bundle. With the weather getting nicer, now is the time to tackle the outdoor projects. 

Posted in News
July 11, 2022

$1000 Mini-Bathroom Makeover

 

Every Sudbury home has at least one bathroom. Fortunately, most bathrooms are relatively small, which cuts down on the cost of materials and time needed to do a makeover. The kid’s bathroom can be a safe place to start your first remodeling attempt.

 

Keep in mind that different bathrooms have different decorating needs.

 

A bathroom for the kids needs to be functional and easy to clean. Your master bathroom can be more luxurious. A half-bath for guests might require a bit more formality.

 

Check out these great ideas for the bathroom:

 

Vanity: The vanity is the centerpiece of any bathroom. Some vanities come with sinks, and others allow you to choose a sink. Some provide storage. Now might be the time to try something daring.

  •  Vanities can be very easy to install, depending on what you’re currently using. Investigate the amount of work involved. If you can avoid tearing into the wall, your life will be much easier.

Sink and tub faucets: Just like in the kitchen, a new faucet can be an inexpensive way to update the bathroom.

Toilet: Toilets are surprisingly inexpensive and also very easy to install. Turn off and disconnect the hoses at the toilet, remove a few bolts, and lift it out. The new one goes in the same way, but you’ll need a new wax seal. Have you always wanted to try a bidet?

Towel racks: New towel racks and a new toilet paper holder are simple and inexpensive to replace. Try to find something unique.

 

Shower door: Those sliding shower doors eventually reach the point of needing replacement. Or perhaps you have a shower curtain and want to go to doors. While replacing an entire shower or tub can be a big job, replacing or installing doors is relatively easy.

 

Flooring: Now is the time to remove the carpeting that the previous owners installed. High moisture and indoor carpeting don’t go together.

  • The bathroom is a great room to tile. It’s a smaller room, so the material costs are low. Specially treated tile provides excellent water resistance and good footing.

  • Linoleum tile is another option. While a rollout floor is a possibility, there’s a lot of precise cutting involved to work around the vanity and toilet. One mistake can put you back at square one.

 Miscellaneous decorations: Most bathroom walls are pretty bare, so consider using the space for something. Keep in mind the humidity levels. For example, photographs tend to curl in such conditions.

  • Come up with something unique for the back of the toilet besides using it as a place to stockpile toilet paper.

 Most bathrooms are small, can be made over quickly, and will only require a minimal outlay of cash. Remember that anything in a bathroom is likely to get wet at some point. Certain items don’t fare well in the bathroom.

“As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time, that doesn't work for me. I'd just rather sit at home and read, or go out to dinner with someone, or talk to someone I love, or talk to somebody that makes me laugh.”

- Daniel Radcliffe

Posted in News
June 13, 2022

Tips for Stress-Free Family Vacations

 

That time of year when we all start planning our summer vacations.  Although family vacations can be a little frustrating at times, they’re the source of many comical and pleasant memories. Whether you plan to go to the beach, the mountains, or even the big city, you can take a memorable family vacation that’s low-stress and fun for everyone. 

 

Keep these tips in mind to reduce stress on your next family vacation

 

Plan ahead. Planning is a very important part of any vacation. Take into account the individual needs of your kids and arm yourself with whatever is necessary to take care of them while on vacation. 

  • For example, if your four-year-old takes naps, bring along the stuffed animal they sleep with at home as their “comfort” item. For your teen, ensure they have their favorite hand-held electronic device to pass the travel time. 

 

Set up a flexible schedule for each vacation day. When you have a day-to-day plan, kids can look forward to things they want to do. Plan a special kid activity for each day. 

  • Work in an hour or so of swimming in the hotel’s pool each day or going to play miniature golf. Exercise keeps stress levels low and expends excess energy, especially for kids. Think of play time as de-compression time for kids.  
  • To see some sights, consider taking a bus tour. Everyone sits down, which relieves aching feet from walking, while still exploring the new surroundings. 
  • With kids, visiting just one museum per day may be your best bet. If it rains on a day you planned to go to the water park, switch to another day’s plans to see a movie or do another indoor activity. Also, every third or fourth day, plan an easy day where you sleep late, hang out at the hotel, or take short walks around the area. Plan some low-stress days. 

Expect the unexpected. It’s a positive experience for kids to learn that, sometimes, even the best planning is affected by weather, mistakes made by the hotel, and other events out of your control. Talk to your kids in advance about these unplanned possibilities. 

 

Delegate responsibilities to each child. Maybe your twelve-year-old can be assigned to keep the eight-year-old occupied while at the airport. Or your teen can be in charge of watching over Mom and Dad’s luggage when they go to the restroom or magazine shop before take-off. 

 

Before traveling, brainstorm with your kids about how to solve potential challenges. Ask ten-year-old Johnnie what he can do to ensure his fourteen-year-old sister, Corrina, gets along well with him. Talk to Corrina about what she might do to make Johnnie happy. 

  • Tell your kids that you’re counting on them to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. 

Change seating arrangements during travel. Whether you’re flying, taking a train, or traveling by car, switch up the seating every half-day or so. Sit in the back seat with your five-year-old daughter while your eleven-year-old son sits in the front with Dad until lunch. 

  • Then, change seats after lunch. Consistent seat-changing can freshen up conversations and ease tensions between the kids. 

Take surprise items. For each child, pack new, unseen items to thrill and distract them from the monotony of travel. Trinkets like sticker books for younger kids, word puzzles for eight- to twelve-year-olds, and magazines for teens help the time pass.

  •  A book about a child’s favorite subjects or even a new game for their hand-held device can be a godsend when stress starts to trickle in. 

Apply these strategies on your next family vacation. Everyone will be happier and your trip will be virtually stress-free. Start planning a family get-away now. 

Posted in News
May 16, 2022

Give Your Kitchen A $1,000 Mini-Makeover in a Weekend

 

 

The kitchen is a unique room. There’s a lot of traffic coming and going at all times of the day, and there are also many expensive appliances that could potentially need to be replaced. It’s impossible to change everything with only $1,000.

 

Fortunately, there are numerous creative ideas that can be done to spice up a kitchen in Sudbury, MA, even with a strict budget.

Try these weekend kitchen projects on for size:

Paint or wallpaper: Most people know how to paint. Fewer know how to wallpaper. With a little effort, anyone can make their kitchen walls look new. Kitchens can be challenging to paint since there are so many things to paint around. But on a positive note, there’s usually only a small amount of wall space.

Backsplash: It’s possible to make a simple or fancy backsplash with a small investment. The cost is determined by the tile and the size. A backsplash is a great way to create a kitchen with a custom appearance.

  • A backsplash does a much better job of protecting the wall than paint or wallpaper. It also provides a great visual impact.

New countertops: High-end countertops can often be found in the used market. Many of these fancy countertops come out of larger homes, so there’s probably plenty of material. You might need an expert to cut it for you, but the cost is minimal.

  • Depending on the material, new countertops can be quite inexpensive. Fortunately, they are easy to install. Assuming everything was level when you removed the old top, there’s little to do besides some gluing and cutting.

New light fixtures: Many people are afraid to deal with anything electrical, but there are only a few wires to connect. Turn on the old light and trip the breakers until the light goes out. Then turn off the switch and you’ll be super safe.

  • Find a video online or a book at the library on simple electrical projects. If you can use a screwdriver and join a few wires together, you’re all set.

  • Electrical projects can actually be among the easiest to complete. There’s nothing to cut or anything else that requires significant talent or skill.

New flooring: Flooring projects can be challenging for two reasons. First of all, ripping up old flooring can be exhausting and frustrating. Furthermore, installing new flooring usually involves crawling around on your hands and knees for prolonged periods of time.

  • There are tools designed to scrape up old floors, particularly anything laid with adhesive. It can be worth the expense to invest in these tools. Renting is also an option. Kneepads are another worthwhile investment.

  • Check out books or videos on flooring to learn all the tricks of laying down tiles. However, choosing a random-patterned rollout floor eliminates this burden.

Paint cabinets or appliances: You may have seen people paint kitchen cabinets, but you may not know that it’s possible to paint your refrigerator or other appliances, too! A fresh coat of paint is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to spruce up the appliances in your kitchen.

Install new cabinets: Maybe a coat of paint isn’t enough for the plans you have in mind. New cabinets are pretty easy to install, as long as you get everything straight and level. Depending on the cabinets, it can cost more for the installation than for the cabinets themselves.

New hardware: If time or money is tight, consider just changing all the hardware on your cabinets. New pulls, knobs, and hinges can bring cabinets up to date.

Build a bar. A cool way to update a kitchen is to add a bar. Even though they can be fairly easy to build, you’ll probably need a book or friend to help, unless you’re experienced with construction. The cost of the materials is minimal.

 

A kitchen is a great place to start any home makeover because few rooms are used more. If you can simultaneously make the kitchen more functional, it’s win-win.

 

Since kitchen makeovers are common, it’s possible to find a lot of used items at great prices. Are you planning a kitchen makeover? I’d love to know how it goes.


“It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, 

so that when I've gone and come back, I'll find it at home.”

 

- Rumi

 

Posted in News
April 24, 2022

The Top 6 Home Improvements with the Best Return

The Top 6 Home Improvements with the Best Return

 

Many home improvements are little more than money pits. Some improvements don’t even appeal to many homebuyers. Over $200 billion is spent every year on home renovations, but how many of those dollars are spent in a way that truly improves the value of the Sudbury, MA home?

 

Many people are shocked at how little their improvements added to the sales price of their home.

 

Some home improvements can boost your home’s resale value and the level of comfort you experience while you're still living there. Unfortunately, there are other improvements that can cost thousands of dollars and provide little to no return.

 

These home improvements are likely to pay off better than any other:

 New siding. From an investment standpoint, fiber cement siding is the way to go. Vinyl siding can crack over time, and aluminum siding ultimately ends up with dents. Even with professional installation, this is still a cost-effective upgrade.

New front door. Fiberglass doors are very expensive, but a mid-range steel door looks great and can easily be painted to match your home. The more simple the door, the lower the cost. But steel doors are so inexpensive that you can afford to pick up something nice.

Garage door replacement. While no one gets excited about replacing their garage door, some jobs just need to be done. A mid-quality garage door will add to your curb appeal and improve the functionality and sales price of your home. Garage doors are easily painted, too.

Wood deck. Nearly everyone loves to sit out on a deck when the weather permits. It’s the perfect transition between indoors and the outside. It effectively adds living space, and the material costs are quite low.

 If you’re handy with a circular saw, tape measure, and hammer or drill, you might be able to install your deck yourself.

New windows. Newer windows eliminate drafts, reduce radiant heat in the summer, and provide much better insulation than older-style windows. They look great, too! While windows can be expensive, the payback is quite good. Compare costs and the amount of insulation. The utility savings can be impressive.


Fresh interior paint. Although paint is relatively inexpensive, the labor can be pricey. Fortunately, anyone can tackle this task on their own. You’ll save a lot of money and your house will look great. Take your time and you can do a great job.

 Stick to neutral colors that everyone can accept. If you’ll be selling soon, now isn’t the time for unusual colors.

 

Unless you’re planning on staying in your home for an extended period of time, it’s important to consider how your improvements will affect the sales price of your home. Many improvements do little to increase the value of your home. However, if you’ll be in your home for many years, it’s completely reasonable to place a priority on the enjoyment you’ll receive from the upgrade.

 Being the nicest house on the block might be great for the ego, but it’s hard on the pocketbook. Avoid adding features to your home that aren’t appropriate for your neighborhood. If you’re in a middle-class setting, remodeling projects common to luxury homes are likely to be financial disasters.

 A little forethought will ensure that your home improvements make your home more attractive, livable, and valuable. Research the costs and expected payback of any improvements you’re considering. Remember to examine the cost of labor. Nearly any project can provide a nice return, especially if you can do the work yourself.

 

Have questions? Let’s talk about it. Reach out any time.

Posted in Market Updates
April 13, 2022

Starter Home or Forever Home: Choosing Your Path to Homeownership

 

If you’re in the market for a home, you need to decide whether to buy a starter home or spring for your forever home. What you choose will depend largely on your current situation and long-term goals. 

 

The Starter Home

Starter homes have two distinguishing features: affordability and size. A starter home costs lower than the average home due to its smaller square footage (1,400 square feet or less) and less than ideal particulars such as:

Homeowners generally keep a starter property for 3-5 years or until they’re able to afford a forever home. Experts recommend staying in your first home for a minimum of five years to maximize your return on investment.

 

The Forever Home

A forever home is one that’s seemingly made just for you. It may boast a larger yard, spacious bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, and other desirable features. Forever homes are pricier and although residents may not occupy them literally forever, they tend to move in for the long haul.

 

Pros and Cons

Each type of home has benefits and drawbacks that can influence your decision.

 

Starter Homes

A starter home is a good option if you’re at the beginning stages of your career with flexible plans for the future. You may not find everything you want in the first digs you buy, but there are plenty of perks to owning a starter including:

  • Greater affordability: Since starter homes are cheaper than forever homes, it takes less time to save up for a down payment. Other home expenses — property taxes, insurance, maintenance, heating, and cooling — are all lower.
  • Less upkeep: With fewer and smaller rooms, there’s less to clean and maintain.
  • Potential passive income: When you’re ready to move, you can sell and apply the accumulated equity towards the purchase of a new home or rent and earn additional income.

Be mindful of disadvantages such as:

  • Lack of space: You may quickly outgrow your home.
  • Repairs: Some starters are fixer-uppers, so get an inspection for a thorough report on the home’s condition.
  • Difficulty selling: Starter homes contain deal breakers for some prospective homebuyers, drawing out the selling process.

Forever Homes

A forever home may be preferable if you’re financially stable and ready to plant roots. The advantages are:

  • Increased space: More square footage can accommodate a growing family and even a hobby room.
  • Customization: You can make any modifications you want to enjoy for years to come.
  • No more moving: You won’t need to endure the expense and exhaustion of moving for a long time, if ever.

On the flip side, some negative aspects are:

  • Higher costs: A bigger house is more expensive to buy and maintain.
  • More upkeep: There’s more space to collect clutter and dust, making cleaning longer.
  • Slower equity: Move-in ready homes gain value more slowly.

Rachel Bodner, your real estate agent, can help you weigh your options.

 

Moving Day

No matter which home you choose, ease the moving process with these four tips:

  1. Research local moving companies by reading online reviews in Angi.
  2. Schedule in-person inspections with several movers.
  3. Communicate your needs and specific requests. 
  4. Only accept written estimates provided post-inspection. Avoid companies that offer over-the-phone estimates.

Choose What’s Best for Your Situation

 

If your future has a lot of unknowns, a starter home may be your best bet. If you want to settle down and start a family, you’re probably ready for your forever home. Before purchasing any house, be sure it fits your budget and lifestyle.

 

Guest author Katie Conroy is the creator of AdviceMine.com. She particularly enjoys writing about lifestyle topics and created the website to share advice she has learned through experience, education, and research. 

Image via Pexels

 

 

Posted in News
March 16, 2022

Sorting Out Your Tax Documents:

Pitch or Keep?

 

Even though dealing with tax season is probably old hat by now, there are some things about taxes that continue to perplex. Specifically, what should you do with tax documents and the supporting paperwork?

 

Your aunt says to throw it all away after 2 years. Your banker friend says to save everything for 7 years.

 

So what should you do? Are there reasons you should save tax documents forever?

 

Use this handy guide to help you determine which tax-related documents to save and which to pitch:

Save tax returns. Many financial experts recommend never throwing away tax returns. They might come in handy in the future when you need to reflect back to determine the cost basis of prior investment figures, if you wish to apply for loans, or if you want to file for disability insurance.

  • If you don’t have room to store tax returns, scan them and keep them in computer files. Be sure to back them up, though, in case your computer crashes.

File stock and mutual fund confirmations for safe-keeping. Because you’ll likely someday sell your stock market purchases, you’ll need the original information about your purchase of those items, such as when you bought them, how much you paid, and how many shares you bought.

  • As long as you have the stock, you’ll need those confirmations. So save - don’t pitch.

Throw away monthly statements from all financial institutions if you receive year-end reports. Be careful with this one, though, because some major brokerage firms recently stopped issuing year-end summaries and expect their customers to save monthly reports for tax time.

Pitch salary paystubs after the year’s end. If you saved paystubs all year, it’s okay to get rid of them after you’re sure your W-2 reflects properly the amount you earned. The only exception here is if, for some reason, you need the final paystub of the year (to claim how much money was deducted from your pay all year for donations to charities). 

 

Before you dispose of copies of household bills, ensure you don’t need them. If you have a home office, you’ll likely need your utility bills and other types of receipts to claim the home-office deduction on your tax return. 

  • Electric/gas bills, internet connection fees, homeowners’ insurance, HOA maintenance fees, and others may help you get a hefty tax return if you have a home office.

Save credit card bills. Although some financial experts recommend pitching them, many reasons to save them exist. For example, these days, credit card companies often ensure anything you’ve purchased with the cards. 

 

Home improvement receipts.  According to Turbo Tax, while you can’t deduct the cost of home improvements on your yearly taxes you can use them to offset the taxes you’ll pay when you sell your home and increase the amount you keep as profit. 

  • Under current tax laws, most home sellers will avoid paying taxes on their profit, but it’s always wise to know exactly where you stand.  You can find some of the exceptions HERE
  • And HERE is one of my past blogs covering this topic.  

Expect exceptions to these rules. If you have room, it’s wise to save any important records.

  • For instance, in 2010, the government offered the Longtime Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to home purchasers who could furnish proof they’d resided in their previous home for 5 of the prior 8 years. 
  • Sound easy? It wasn’t, as many applied for and didn’t receive this credit. Why? Many homebuyers were unable to prove they’d resided in their home for 5 years to the satisfaction of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • One couple that did receive the credit got it because they had saved their monthly utility bills for the home and sent copies with their application for the tax credit. So, saving their utility bills ultimately helped them receive a $6,000 credit from the IRS. 

If you take this information into account, you won’t get caught without a receipt you need or using up precious space to store papers you don’t require.



Posted in News
Feb. 23, 2022

How to Win a Real Estate Bidding War

 

It’s great to see the Sudbury and Wayland housing markets recover after a big letdown and enjoy the hot new market. But, with the recovery comes a tight supply of homes, multiple offers – and bidding wars. Knowing a few tricks of the real estate trade can help you emerge with the best bid and be the winner in a bidding war.

 

Get in Early

For one, you should try to get in as soon as possible to see the house and be the first offer – but don’t insult the seller with a lowball offer – especially with so few listings on the market today. This is assuming they are not holding offers to present at a later date.

 

Bid over asking

Most Sellers today are pricing their homes on the lower end of the range and expecting them to get bid up. One trick of the trade that really works is to add an escalation clause to the bid. Have your Realtor ask the Listing Agent if they are accepting them. 

 

For example, if the price of the home is $500,000 and you think it might rise as high as $550,000, add a clause that says you will go as high as $560,000 (if that’s true and you really want the home). The clause should state that if the Seller has an offer from your offer price to $560,000, you will go $5000 over any offer with proof of the offer up to your cap.

 

For example, if the bids on the home only go as high as $530,000 you would be willing to pay $535,000 and won’t be expected to pay $560,000.

 Make Your Offer Stand Out

Another tip to make your offer stand out is to send the seller a letter (with your offer). Tell the seller how much you love the home and mention something about the home that you particularly like and how your family will enjoy and take care of the home. Some Listing Agents are not allowing these so-called “love letters” anymore since they could put the Seller in a position that could be perceived as favoriting a buyer due to something other than their offer. As long as the Listing Agent is willing to take them, it can’t hurt to let your feelings known.

 

Use Cash

Plan to spend as much cash as you can on the down payment and be sure to get approved for a loan ahead of time. Sellers are leery of loans that aren’t a sure thing and bringing as much cash as you can to the table makes a difference.

 

Get a Pre-inspection

Go in armed with a pre-inspection. The few hundred dollars it will cost is well worth the time and money. And the seller will know that you’re serious about wanting the home. Have the pre-inspection performed before making an offer on the house. 

If you don’t have the time to do this, just know that in this market lots of your competition will be doing so or simply waiving the Inspection Contingency to make their offer stand out knowing that most Sellers are not willing to help with issues that may arise. This depends completely on your knowledge of homes and comfort level.

Count on Your Agent

Your real estate agent can be a huge asset in a bidding war. She can let the seller know that you’re completely enamored with the house and be specific about what you like about it. Chances are, the seller will appreciate that you noticed the touches he was responsible for.

 

Research Ahead

Finally, be smart during a bidding war. Compare the most recent comps and research the market before getting into a bidding war and don’t let your emotional attachment to the house empty your wallet.

 

It’s easy to overpay when you get caught up in the emotions of a bidding war, but remember there’s always another house that you’ll love and enjoy. Too many buyers get caught up in the emotional aspect of purchasing a home and go overboard in a bidding war.

 

My advice has always been, after looking at the comparable homes that have recently sold, give the price that you will be so happy if you get the home and ok if you don’t. You may not have a second chance so you do not want to leave with any regrets!

Posted in Market Updates, News
Feb. 14, 2022

Have You Gone Nose-Blind to Your Home?

 

Are you worried that you have gone “nose-blind” to the scents of your home?  Or do you know just how your house smells and you worry that it could turn off potential buyers?

 

I’ve put together a few ideas to help you…

 

If you aren’t a smoker or an animal owner and your home doesn’t have any strong offending odors you may just want to entice buyers with a pleasant-smelling open house.   You can freshen up the air with some candles or potpourri placed around the home.  And, there is always the tried and true trick of baking cookies.  These tricks won’t do anything to get rid of anything stinky but will give the potential buyers a happy pleasant smell as they tour your home.  

 

Of course, if you have actual odors that need to be addressed then cookies can only mask so much.  Before you start with the cleaning process, open up the windows and let Mother Nature help air out the house.  If you can get the air fresh it will help lead you to the offending items in need of cleaning.

 

The first step is a thorough cleaning.  Scrub the floors and walls with either a cleaning solution or a mixture of water and vinegar.  Or a bleach solution if you’ve got more stubborn smells.  

 

If you have low-level odor then sprinkling some baking soda in the carpets and on the furniture before vacuuming can help absorb the bad smells.  Baking soda is a proven odor absorber, let it sit for about 15 minutes before vacuuming.  You can also leave bowls of baking soda on shelves or in cabinets, and an open box in the fridge, to help absorb odors.  Here’s a fun project you can use to semi-hide what you’re doing.

 

https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/DIY-Scented-Coffee-Filter-Sachets-32107228

 

There are other carpet deodorizer powders that you can use but these sometimes leave an artificial smell behind.  But, they may be necessary if the smells are too strong.

 

https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-deodorize-your-carpet-naturally-with-baking-soda-252554

Simple clean not enough?

If you have more stubborn smells from smoking or pets you may need to hire a professional to clean the carpets and the fabric furniture and window coverings.  And, you may even need to freshen things up with a new coat of paint.  Fresh paint adds an odor of its own but it’s definitely better, and cleaner smelling, than cat urine.  

Once you get the smells gone you want to make sure they stay gone.  

  • If you have smokers in the house make sure they keep it outside.
  • If you can’t relocate the pets while you’re selling, then seal off a few rooms to keep them clean.
  • Invest in an air purifier.  You can always take that with you in case your new home didn’t go through the same odor removal process.
  • Put dryer sheets in dresser drawers or in closets to keep them smelling clean. (Yes, homebuyers will look almost anywhere) 
  • Don’t fill the home with plug-in air fresheners.  You may think these will keep everything smelling good, but they are often too overpowering with artificial smells.  And, buyers may wonder what you’re trying to hide.

 

As always, if you have any real estate questions or would like help in buying or selling a Sudbury or Wayland, MA area home, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to assist you.

 

If you prefer video, feel free to head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe.

 

Posted in News
Jan. 17, 2022

How Smart is Your Home?

 

Technology seems to be an always changing and evolving thing to consider in your home.  Once upon a time, a home was thought to be advanced if it had a telephone connection in multiple rooms. Then bedrooms with cable hook-ups were all the rage, especially if you were house shopping with teenagers.  Has anyone ever come across an intercom built into the wall?  Things that once felt like luxury now seem quaint.  

 

Today people want their refrigerators to buy their milk for them.  Just how “smart” do people want their homes to be?  And, what’s the best way to make your home a smarty-pants?

What are you looking for in a tech-assisted home?

The first thing you really need to ask yourself is what are YOU looking for out of these devices.  Are you looking to make your home more secure or more convenient?  

 

It’s not too difficult to make your existing home smart.  You can use Alexa or Nest devices with smart plugs and smart bulbs and control them either with voice or apps on your phone. When you move you will most likely take these devices with you so you don’t have to worry about tech compatibility with new buyers.

 

But what of more permanent devices? Such as appliances or security systems.  Amazon, Google, and Apple all have devices to help you control every aspect of your home.  Of course, you want to tailor your devices to your preferences but it’s a good idea to stick with the major players, the companies that you know are going to be around and updating their software a year from now, to make the home transfer easier.  You don’t want to be trying to sell your Betamax home in five years.  (Points if you know what I’m talking about). 

 

If you are planning on upgrading your kitchen with Wi-Fi enabled appliances you can feel pretty comfortable with most manufacturers, as they are working to make each of the major smart home hubs able to integrate into their products.  This means that while you may have an Apple device running your home you don’t have to worry about selling to just Apple users.  

 

https://www.consumerreports.org/appliances/smart-appliances-that-work-with-amazon-alexa-google-home-and-more/

 

The same can be said for most Smart Door Locks and Security Cameras and Doorbells.  Though, those you can also take with you if you’d like to reuse them in your new home.  

 

https://www.schlage.com/blog/categories/2019/05/moving-with-smart-locks.html

 

https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038010351-I-Would-Like-to-Take-Over-Change-Ownership-of-Ring-Devices

 

**If you are selling or buying a home with these Smart Home devices make sure you include the login information in the transfer paperwork.  As a buyer you don’t want to have to track down the previous owner, or go through the support headache, just to control your home.**

 

If you are building a new home you want to keep all of this in mind, but today it’s not telephone or cable connections you need to plan for, but Ethernet Ports.  Also, to make sure you avoid bad network pockets a mesh network is suggested. 

 

For an existing home, there are apps you can download on your phone to test your Wi-Fi signal and if you find you have bad pockets you can upgrade to a mesh network.  

 

https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-wi-fi-mesh-network-systems

 

I know this is some bare-bones advice but hopefully, the information I’ve provided will start you on the best “education” for your smart home.




 

Posted in News