Massachusetts Real Estate News

 

Aug. 4, 2020

5 Things to Prepare for Downsizing

Have you been wondering how to down-size and now with the pandemic you are wondering if it makes sense? 

I am going to talk about How to Downsize and what you can do now to get ready to move on from the home that you have been in for many years.

If you are like me, you have been in your current home a long time and perhaps your children are about to move out or have already. You have accumulated a lot and do not plan to bring it all with you to your next location. I am going to give you five things that you should do now to get ready:

#1 Start Early! Minimally you should start about three months in advance. I have clients who want to downsize in a year and have begun the process now. Some tasks, like going through old photos, can take a while. Plan ahead.

#2 Access your needs. Go through each space in your home and get rid of what you know you can live without. Make piles for donating and others for the trash. Maybe consider holding a garage sale.

#3 If you have already purchased your new home, then make sure you have the measurements so you can plan where your furniture will fit. The rest can be easily sold or donated. I have names of people that can sell items of worth for you and get rid of the rest. Just let me know!

#4 Donate, Trash and Sell. Now that you have piles of items to give away, trash and sell, just get it done. 

#5 Adopt a “no clutter” policy in your next home! Now that you have gone through the trouble of getting your living space in order, try to keep it that way. As we get older, we have a much better idea of what we need and since your new home will be much smaller you will find it can get filled quickly if you let it!

Downsizing is a great strategy, as it often means fewer expenses and less trouble overall. Follow the steps I just mentioned above and hopefully, your move will be easier and less stressful. 

Let me know if you have questions or would like help with the process. Stay safe and as always I am here to help! 

 

If you prefer to watch rather than read your information, check out my video on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe while you’re there and don’t miss further news. 

Posted in News
Aug. 1, 2020

Helping Your AC Work Better

They don’t call August and September the “dog days of summer” for nothing. It’s when the Metrowest area typically endures the hottest temperatures of the year.  Interestingly enough just having a big AC may not be your ideal answer to cooling off. 

When dealing with a central air-conditioning system for your home make sure that the fan shuts off along with the compressor, that is, do not make the central fan circulate the cool air, use circulating fans for each room instead.

Following are a few cooling tips which can save your air conditioning systems from breaking out in a sweat:

  • Use whole house fans. This helps maintain a cool temperature by dragging cool air through the whole house and throwing out the hot air through the attic. Whole house fans work best during night time when the outdoors is cooler than the indoors.
  • In the summer months, your thermostat should ideally be set as high as possible. The closer the temperatures outside and inside are the less your cooling bill will be! If your thermostat is set at a colder setting your cooling rate will slow down, the temperature will fall to an uncomfortable level AND your cooling expenses will mount.
  • Let your fan’s speed be high unless of course, the weather is particularly humid in which case you will be better off setting it at a lower speed.
  • Use an interior fan to complement your window AC. This will give your AC a helping hand and distribute the cool air better without unnecessarily increasing your electricity bills.
  • Putting your lamps, TV sets, etc. near your thermostat is a big no-no. The heat from these appliances can be detected by the thermostat making the AC run unnecessarily long.
  • Consider shade near your exterior windows. It’s ok to put trees or shrubs near your air conditioning unit to help shade it but make sure they don't get in the way of the airflow. An AC unit functioning under shade is known to use almost 10% less amount of electricity than one functioning directly under the sun.
  • Lucky number 7 is, of course, to be sure and perform regular maintenance checks on your HVAC unit. By keeping an eye on your unit, you can catch small problems before they become larger, more expensive ones. And, by keeping your unit running at its most efficient, you will also save on that electricity bill.

 

If you have more questions or are in need of an HVAC specialist, let me know. I can help point you in the right direction.

Posted in News
June 30, 2020

Choosing A Contractor For Your Home Improvement Project

 

One of the most important decisions you'll make when doing improvements on your Sudbury or Wayland home is selecting the contractor to do the work. Although they may not be the least expensive bidder, a good contractor can save you thousands of dollars on your project.

 

Here are some tips on choosing a good contractor:

 

 

 

Beware of these types of contractors:

  • The disappearing contractor. If you choose unwisely, you might end up with a contractor that starts the job, does a little work, and then disappears with your money and never comes back to complete the job. Word of mouth recommendations are the best way to avoid getting involved with a vanishing contractor.
  • The contractor who hires unskilled labor. Another unsavory tactic used by bad contractors is hiring cheap, unskilled labor to do the work on your home. Unfortunately, the result can be disastrous. Not only will you have lost your money that you paid the contractor for the work, but you'll have to hire a second contractor to come in and repair the damage.  This expense can be easily avoided if you hire a reputable contractor in the first place. Although the more skilled contractor's rate will be higher, it can save you thousands of dollars to hire him from the start.
  • The thief. Theft of your personal property in your home can be a concern if you use a disreputable contractor or if he hires unsavory characters to do the work.

  

It's important to find out what you can about any contractor you're considering doing business with. 

Checking the better business bureau in your area for any complaints on the contractor you're considering can alert you to any unstable business practices. Places like Angie’s List and a general Google search can also prove helpful.

 

Following the above tips can help you choose a contractor that can save you money and do a beautiful job on your project. Choosing a contractor for your home improvement project requires some research and due diligence on your part, however, when you follow these action steps, you'll save money and be pleased with the renovation. 

 

 

Have more questions on using contractors or are you looking for recommendations? Shoot me an email rachel.Bodner@nemoves.com. I’m happy to help.

 

Also, you might consider getting a copy of my book Tips To Increase The Value of Your Home. It can help you to make decisions on what home improvement projects may benefit you most. Request a copy of that HERE.


 

 

 

Posted in 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