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The Importance of Having Your Home Tested For Radon During a Real Estate Transaction

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that cannot be detected without a radon test. The EPA strongly urges homeowners and other property owners to test for radon and to install a radon mitigation system if radon levels are at or over 4 pCi/L. When inhaling this much radon, overtime, you could potentially develop lung cancer.

I Had Low Levels of Radon Two Years Ago, is This Necessary?

The short answer, yes. Two years ago, your radon level could have been 2 pCi/L, last month it could have reached 4.5 pCi/L, and today your home could have a radon level of 6.1 pCi/L. Radon isn’t a static measurement, rather, it tends to fluctuate depending on changes in the outdoor environment, renovations to your home, and other factors.

If you’re ready to sell your home and think your radon level is fine, you really need to update your knowledge. Of course, you can always leave this in the hands of the buyers when they have a home inspection. But why wait? If you’re a home seller, you’ll want to fix up your home to prepare it for sale, so why not test the home for radon prior to listing the property?

Why It’s Such a Smart Move to Test Your Home Before Listing

Nothing is more frustrating than finding the home of your dreams only to hit a stumbling block during the home inspection, such as finding out it has a serious radon problem. So, if you don’t want this to occur for potential buyers of your home, go ahead and get your house tested and mitigated, if necessary. Even though taking care of radon is often a quick and relatively inexpensive fix with the right radon contractor, you really want to avoid having home buyers back out of the deal when you could have made radon a nonissue.

I Found High Levels of Radon – Now What?

Radonaway logoIf your radon test results show a radon level at or over 4 pCi/L, get in touch with RadonAway for a referral to an expert radon mitigation contractor. RadonAway has nearly 30 years of experience in the industry and has compiled a network of the best radon contractors in the country. Each radon mitigator has undergone extensive training and is fully certified. These radon professionals will work with you to make you feel comfortable about the mitigation process.

Fill out their contact form to get in touch with a radon contractor in MA today.

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    Choosing The Right Realtor In Waltham, MA Does Make A Difference

    When you're looking to hire a Realtor in Waltham Massachusetts, sometimes it's hard to know where to even begin. Buying or selling a home is not something to be done lightly, and having the right professional in your corner will make all the difference when it comes to giving you options you didn't even know you were missing. Of course, you want a Realtor with experience and expertise, but we'd like to tell you a few more things to consider before settling on your real estate representative.

    The first thing to consider is whether you are hiring a real estate agent or a registered Realtor. Believe it or not, there is a difference. A real estate agent is anyone who earns a real estate license by taking a certain number of classes required by their state. A Realtor however, is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.

    Another aspect to consider is whether they work full time or only part time. Jumping on the perfect deal usually requires a constant eye on the market. If your Realtor has another job, or is only active on the weekends, for example, chances are they you'd be missing prime opportunities in their off time. As a client, feel free to look as far ahead as you can and even ask them to lay out exactly what their marketing plan is. The dedicated Realtors are the ones that are going to be constantly putting themselves out there for you and your family's needs.

    One of the other important factors is how familiar the Realtor is with your area. Make sure they understand the local market, and feel free to verify that they know what they are talking about by asking plenty of questions. You want a Realtor that knows the area they work in, or lives in the town they serve. You need an agent that knows their area inside and out and can answer your questions about school, local restaurants or who can provide local services. It's also always a good idea to search for references, and see what others say about the agent in question.

    Try to find out their listing to sold ratio. Especially these days, it is easy to find reviews and information on a Realtor. Which brings us to the next thing to make sure your Realtor has; a strong web presence and use of today's modern tools. Ask about what networks your potential Realtor has access to, in order to ensure that your home is actually being seen, and that you see absolutely everything available in the area you are looking for.

    Finally, the most important thing is to find a Realtor that you trust. It's tempting to go with someone you know or are related to and sometimes that works out just fine, but your priority should first be to find the right person to get you the most that you can. And when you find the right person for the job, you'll know because you'll feel relaxed knowing that your future is secure.

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      Preparing Your Home For The Real Estate Market In Waltham, MA

      Putting your home on the real estate market in Waltham, MA can be strenuous, but there are many steps you can take to make it easier and more effective. Ask any Realtor about this and they are likely to tell you that one of the most crucial steps is preparing the house for sale.  This is when you rearrange and decorate your home for the purpose of enhancing its appeal to the potential buyers. It's a demanding, yet interesting process, but before you begin, there are a handful of factors you should consider in order to ensure you receive the interest you are hoping for.

      Decluttering is the first step.  Chances are that you are moving to a new home anyways, so this is a good opportunity to get a head start on packing, while more importantly improving your homes marketability.  Decluttering is also an important way to show that your home hasn't experienced any neglect. If anything is broken, it is of course helpful to fix it. Painting can be helpful however it is best to stick to light, neutral colors to appeal to a wide variety of tastes and decorating styles. To get an idea of what colors are current and popular, you can research or visit model homes used by home building companies. They typically have designers who pick colors that appeal to the widest set of audiences.

      What sells a home best is its kitchen and bathrooms. These rooms also happen to be the rooms that get the messiest and are the hardest to clean. Try to employ a 'leave only footprints' mentality when living in a home on the market (but also don't leave any footprints!). Clear your kitchen counter tops and stove of nearly everything, including appliances you generally leave out. You can relocate your kitchen and bathroom counter top items to a drawer, but remember that the buyer is likely to open those too. They will want to get an idea of the storage space they offer so keep it clean and organized. If your dining room table have leaves in it, remove them to create a more open impression. It would also help if you set the table. The nicer the room looks, the more likely the buyer is to picture themselves enjoying the space in the future. If you have a china cabinet, you may want to remove its contents and dust the surfaces before they arrive.

      Many people have bedroom furniture that is too large for the size of the room. If this is true of your home, you may want to consider removing a piece or two to open up the room. Of course, you want to make your bed before each showing, but it may also help to buy a new set of sheets and covers. Perhaps you can use this as an excuse to buy a new set you would like to bring with you to your new home. If you have a home office it is important to remove any personal items like calendars, bulletin boards, or documents. Not only do you want to keep these items private, but you again want to depersonalize the home for the benefit of the buyer’s imagination. There is a chance that the buyer doesn't even want to use that room as an office so, in this case, less is more. The same is true of hallways, walls, and entryways. Clear the stairs of anything you may keep on them and limit decorative fixtures so that they are neutral and minimal. Mirrors are good as they add light and give the buyer an impression that the home is larger than it is.

      Many first-time sellers are under the impression that a successful arrangement is all about the home's appearance, when in fact there is much more you can do beneath the surface. For example, it is very important to remove any and all odors. Whether a smell is unpleasant or not, it's important to offer the perspective buyer a blank slate of smell by completely eliminating odors, and not simply covering them up with fragrances. You can also play soft music in the background to create a comfortable and inviting setting. Many realtors provide warm food and cold drinks in order to make the buyer feel more comfortable. Make sure to turn on every light in the house and set the rooms to a comfortable temperature. Set your home apart by catering to all five of the buyers senses and create for them, not only a tour, but an experience. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

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        Tips on How to Downsize Your Home

        Whether you’re looking to downsize your home because the kids have grown up and moved out or you’re a renter with a two-bedroom ready to transition into a studio, downsizing takes some serious planning. You must consider where you are going to move, what to do with your valuables, the benefits of downsizing, etc.

        Make Note of Items You Can Do Without

        When you make a list of items you can’t live without, it’ll be much easier to see what should be thrown out.

        Start Discarding Items Three Months Prior to Moving

        Take a little bit of time out of each day to go through your coat closet, filing cabinet, kitchen drawers, or bureau to remove any unwanted items. Paper surprisingly is a real time-killer so through it one box at a time.

        Label Your Bins & Boxes

        Keep between one-third to one-half of your belongings and label your bins and boxes with “to keep,” “to sell,” and “to be donated.”

        Prearrange Your Furniture

        Sketch in a furniture layout prior to your move. If you have to cram side tables, armoires and chairs into your new place, this can become very problematic.

        So, What are the Benefits of Downsizing My Home?

        Below are several benefits for those considering downsizing their home.

        •  You won’t need to clean a big house anymore
        • Less cooling & heating required which means less expensive utility bills
        • Less yardwork
        • You might not have a mortgage on your new home if you have money left over from the sale of your home
        • Expendable income which means more money for daily purchases and traveling

        Both selling and buying a home can be overwhelming but when you hire an experience real estate agent, you’ll be relieved to find out how simple it can be! Once you move into your new home and find that cleaning and doing housework is much easier, you’ll be thrilled that you downsized. If you need assistance buying or selling a home in Waltham or the surrounding towns, call me at 617.968.0022.

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          How to Buy & Sell a Home in Waltham at the Same Time

          Spring is almost here which means the real estate market will be picking up! In most cases when homeowners are selling their property, they’re usually on the hunt for a new home. Whether they’re looking for a fixer-upper, a downgrade or a larger home, buying and selling a home simultaneously can be a bit stressful. However, if you plan ahead, the process will be absolutely seamless.

          1. Get Educated About the Housing Market

          Once you’ve received the hard numbers on your home’s sale, you need to follow these steps for the purchasing aspect. Think about your priorities and what it is you’re looking for in a new Waltham home. You need to understand what you will get for your money and how financing will work. It’s critical to know how competitive the housing market is where you are living and how long it will take to search for a home.

          2. Think About Your Finances

          You should always have enough capital for the offer and purchase of a new home as well as the sale of your current home (ie: staging, preparation, etc.). Although some closing costs can be paid in escrow, it will be extremely stressful if you don’t have enough money for expenses.

          3. Keep in Touch with Your Lender

          While searching for a new home in Waltham, make sure you stay in touch with your lender so you can get prequalified or preapproved for a loan. You can apply for a new loan while also carrying out the original loan or you can qualify based on a pending sale status.

          Work with Hans Brings When Buying & Selling a Home in Waltham

          If buying a home prior to selling your current property is the best option, then make sure to stick with your decision! The same holds true if you want to sell your home before buying one. I typically recommend selling your home before buying one to make the process much less complicated.

          I have been working with Waltham residents for over 27 years and would be happy to assist you in the home buying/selling process. Give me a call at 617.968.0022 or fill out my contact form.

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            How To Get Your Waltham House Sold In Preparation For The Spring!

            It is finally time to prepare your home to be sold, but the harsh winter elements can really take a toll on your home’s value. It’s important that you take the necessary steps needed to fix up your home because with the warm weather comes an excess of pent up buyer demand and we can tell you how to take advantage!

            Outside Cleaning

            First impressions are everything, especially when selling your home. If you can wow your audience right away, this will drastically help your chances of closing the sale. Things you can do include power washing the house, driveway, walkways, and trimming any the hedges and bushes. Even planting flowers in the front yard to give the property some color. Another option is to paint your front door, as it is the focal point of the house. Putting mulch down where needed will boost your home’s appearance. Your buyer is not expecting to see a home that looks brand new, but you still want to make a lasting impression!

            Preparing The Inside Of Your Home

            Once the outside is neat and tidy, you’re going to want to begin eliminating clutter inside your home. This includes closets, cabinets, furniture and anything lying around that might make rooms appear messy. Buyers take space seriously when making their final decision. This is a great way to show off your home while effectively meeting their standards. We also recommend painting the inside of your home in bright colors to illuminate the rooms. It also does not hurt to vacuum the floors and air out the home to rid it of any discouraging odors. Pets and kids can leave a lasting impression, and more than just meets the eye. Perhaps the most important step to take when preparing to sell your home is to perform any repairs that are needed. We recommend to hire a home inspector to perform necessary maintenance checks.

            After the house has been prepped and is ready to hit the market, you want to find a realtor that can help take you the rest of the way. Don’t let the weather fool you because spring is right around the corner. Make sure your home is ready for the spring market!

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              Waltham Ranked as One of the Best Commuter Towns

              Boston is a highly-recognizable city, not only to residents in other states but across the globe. Boston played a major part in the American Revolution and the city had a significant impact on several major historical events. Boston has truly flourished economically and the education system ranks as one of the best in the world.

              Living in the city, however, can be a bit pricey and noisy. When families and individuals are seeking a quiet lifestyle with access into the city, they choose Waltham.

              Waltham is not only affordable but the commute time into the city using the commuter rail is only about 20 minutes. For those who drive into the city, the commute is roughly 30 minutes. The real estate in Waltham is truly ideal as this town doesn’t limit residents to mostly apartments or one style of single family homes, as some other towns do. There are endless options including older colonial homes, condominiums, ranches, split levels, multi levels, capes, Dutch colonials, contemporaries, and more.

              Not only is the real estate in Waltham top-notch, but it was ranked as one of the best college towns in the country. According to Movoto, Waltham is also ranked as one of the best towns for young professionals. Young professionals can find charming homes, and still shop or dine along Moody Street. With a slew of boutiques and 250 acres of natural woodlands, both the shopaholics and outdoor enthusiasts will be satisfied.

              Contact Realtor Hans Brings to Help Buy or Sell a Home in Waltham MA

              I have been assisting Waltham residents buy and sell homes for over 27 years.  I strive to provide each one of my clients with unrivaled personal attention to insure them a smooth, stress-free, and successful real estate transaction. Feel free to contact me at 617.968.0022 or fill out my contact form.

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                Benefits Of Listing Your Home During The Holidays

                When we think of the holidays, holiday parties and spending time with loved ones is at the forefront of everyone's mind. With all the events taking place during the holiday season, we all are bound to get very busy, which means moving is probably something you will put on the back burner, if you can. Don't overlook many of the benefits of putting your home on the market during this time.  You might be surprised to learn some little-known facts about listing your home during the holidays.

                When you sell your home during the holidays, the inventory of the competition decreases. Many sellers take their listings down during the holiday season, which leaves the homes that remain on the market to be shown to the serious buyers that are out shopping during this time. Having very little competition means that your home will stand out. If you wait until after the holidays, you will be competing with everyone who waited and there is the chance that your home could get lost in the shuffle. During the holidays, your home may not get as much exposure as say, during the spring, but you will be well positioned to sell.

                These serious buyers may want to show off their new home to their family and friends when you invite them over for holiday parties and as such have an immediate need to move in. If anything, your home might sell faster during the holiday season than it will during the months right after the holidays end. Another bonus about selling to these serious buyers during the holiday season is that these buyers might want the home quickly so they can enjoy their new home for the holidays.

                The ambiance that comes with the holidays could also make your home look more attractive to a buyer. During this time, you can take advantage of seasonal décor give your home that warm fall feel, which helps those buyers envision themselves in the home. In the winter, you can showcase pictures of the freshly fallen snow on your home to enhance its beauty and capture the essence of the season. When marketing the home, you will want to showcase pictures of the fireplace with a roaring fire (if you have one) or any non-denominational decorations that you have put up for the holidays. These small touches can leave a lasting impression on a potential buyer.

                These are just a few of the many reasons that you should consider listing your home for sale during the holiday season.  Even if you still would rather wait until after the rush of the holidays, it makes sense to meet with an agent now, so you are prepared to be first to market when the holiday season concludes. Rarely does a house go on the market without some important preparations, so better to know what to expect than wait and miss an opportunity.

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                  How To Sell Your Waltham Home When You Have Pets

                  While there’s no better feeling than coming home to your furry friend’s tail wagging or having your precious kitten nuzzle up to you, pets can be a setback for home buyers in Waltham. It’s critical to remove any trace of your pets from the home especially if you have an open house coming up. The focus should be on the beautiful interior and exterior of your home, not the constant barking from the dog or strands of cat hair covering the rug.

                  Make Sure You Have Insurance

                  Even if you have a well-trained pet, you should play it safe by making sure you have insurance. If you do decide to keep your pet around and it accidentally bites someone, you could get in some serious trouble. Look at your homeowner’s insurance to see if it covers these types of occurrences.

                  Clean Up Your Yard

                  Your yard should be as well-maintained as possible so make sure to clean up after your pet. Potential home buyers in Waltham will be attracted to a bright green yard, not one that has yellow stains in some areas.

                  Remove Any Odor

                  It can be difficult to notice any smell from your pet lurking in the home but those walking in will notice a different scent. Moving the litter box is important but you need to do a deep cleaning of the rugs and hardwood. Use a bacteria-eating pet odor to permanently remove signs of your pet. 

                  Vacuum The Pet Hair

                  Pet hair should be completely removed from the home as potential home buyers in Waltham may have pet allergies. 

                  Hide Pet Toys & Accessories

                  Since you don’t want Waltham home buyers to know you have pets, it’s important to store away all the pet beds, leashes, toys, etc.

                  Have Someone Take Care Of The Pet

                  If you have a friend or relative nearby, see if they can take care of your pet. If you have a dog and no one to take care of it, put it in a crate in a specific area of the house. If your dog is constantly barking, you’ll want to bring it to a doggy daycare so your home is pet-free.

                  In need of a Realtor to help sell your Waltham home? Give me a call at 617.968.0022 to get started. I have years of experience providing professional and expert knowledge so your Waltham move goes as smooth as possible.

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                    Tips For First-Time Home Sellers

                    Even though selling a home is a much different process than buying a home, both can be tricky and overwhelming for residents doing so for the first time. Not fully understanding the process, sellers could end up selling their home to unqualified buyers not willing to pay the best price. I provided some tips for first-time sellers that will make the selling process stress-free.

                    Need The Right Agent

                    Choosing the right agent makes a Difference.  Please make sure that your agent has a great reputation and is very knowledgeable of your local market.  Your listing agent's name recognition in your area is also very important as it will help you get more exposure for your home and therefore get a better price for it. This agent needs to know the market inside and out to help you sell at the proper value of your home.

                    Ready To Sell

                    Before embarking on the selling journey, you need to be ready to sell your home. Many first-time sellers think they are ready to sell their home when they are still attached. Some signs of being too attached is setting an unrealistic price tag for their home. Making the first impression is the most important factor in life and with selling a house. Make sure to have good quality pictures that show the house is in good condition.  

                    If you resist your agents price range for your home, then the number of days on the market (DOM) can increase which could be detrimental in the long run. As buyers looking for homes on the market will question why the house has not been bought yet. To avoid this, make sure you talk with your agent on the best price as well as getting a good portfolio of quality pictures on the listing site.

                    Agents Over Brokerage

                    When selling a house, it is always good to go with a well-known brokerage as it can increase your probability of selling your home. No matter what brokerage you decide to go with, the agent you choose is the person you will be in contact with throughout the selling process. Make sure you choose an agent that you trust completely and have a good repertoire with. That way you know they will do a good job no matter what brokerage they are affiliated with. Buyers will recognize the brokerage on your listed house, but it is the agent who will sell the home to those buyers. 

                    If You Get An Offer, Move Swiftly

                    Once you get an offer that meets you and your agent’s specifications, the window to closing the deal starts to close.  Many people do not realize the time it takes to list, sell and close a home, as different markets are quicker than others. Makes sure you know everything in your market so you can plan properly before you put a listing for your home. Your agent will inform you if the market you are listing in is fast moving or not. This should give you enough time to plan properly so you are not left selling a home without a place to go.

                    I recommend to plan everything in advance to contacting a great local agent. That way you have a place in mind to go for once the house is sold, you know how fast the market moves and that you are completely ready to sell. 

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