Blog :: 12-2017

Tips to Keep in Mind for Buying a House in 2018

With the new year quickly approaching it’s time to start thinking about the future! A year can bring a lot of surprises, both good and bad, to the way we buy homes. Hans Brings, a Realtor from Waltham, Massachusetts, offers a few tips and tricks to make sure you kick off the new year the best way possible, and get the home you want!

December is the time to start planning! Get yourself primed and ready for the new year by checking off a few necessary to-do’s.

Suggest monetary gifts for the coming holidays

Buying a house will of course cost a lot of money. Keep in mind there are a few fees that that not be as obvious as the price tag shows. There’s the down payment, as well as any incurred costs involved with physically moving!

Check your credit score

Credit scores are one of the most important tools when it comes to buying a home, so checking early can help ensure a safe transition in the buying process. Scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher the score the better! Higher credit scores mean that your rates will be lower.

Considering potential agents
While there are many real estate agents out there, not all of them are Realtors. A Realtor® is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®. Realtors® are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics. You also want a Realtor who is intimately familiar with the area in which you want to buy. The details of the local community are an important part of any home buying decision. By making sure you choose a Realtor who lives and works in Waltham and knows about local schools, events, politics, etc., you know that you can trust them to provide the most comprehensive picture to help you make the best buying decision.

Always be checking interest rates
Don’t forget that the market’s rates aren’t entirely the same as yours will be. Everyone has rates that may fluctuate based on many factors, one being your credit score! Though it’s hard to predict the future, but keeping tabs on the trends of rates can help you make more well-informed decisions that will save you time and money.

Find a lender
Go to a mortgage lender before getting to deep into the home buying process to make sure you’ll be able to buy the home! The question then arises, where can you find a good lender? If you’ve been with a bank for a long time, ask them! If not, your realtor should be able to offer some potential lenders. After researching lenders, and before choosing, find out important information like their rates and how long to close.

Get approved early
After completing the above steps, talk to your lender about getting preapproved for a loan. Doing this can speed up the home buying process and will demonstrate to home sellers that you can really afford to buy.


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    10 Additional Holiday Home Selling Tips

    Earlier this month I explained three advantages of selling your home during the holiday season. With fewer homes being marketed during this “off-season” you can get the attention of serious buyers during the holidays. Here are 10 additional tips to implement to successfully sell your home this winter.

    Deck the Halls

    Decorating for the holidays is always a rewarding and exciting activity. While it can show how great the property can look for the holidays, try not to go overboard. As too much décor can be distracting as well as potentially turning off buyers if the decorations are religious themed.

    Hire a Reliable Real Estate Agent

    In Waltham, MA seeking out a reliable Realtor is extremely important. During the holiday season especially, you will want an agent who will not disappear. Find an agent, either by your own search or through recommendations, that will work hard to get your home sold to serious buyers. This will take the most stress out of the selling process during the holidays.

    Seek Out Motivated Buyers

    As mentioned in earlier blogs, buyers looking at the market during this time are very serious to close on a home. This is where you and your agent can strategize to seek out buyers with a deadline, such as people relocating jobs, investors on tax deadlines, college students, etc.

    Price to Sell

    No matter the season, a home that is priced low on the market will make buyers interested. Instead of gradually making reductions to the price, many Realtors suggest that sellers slash their prices before putting their home on the market. This way, during the holiday season, you will be one of the few on the market and listed at a price that will attract buyers.

    Curb Appeal

    Just like with any season for real estate, adding curb appeal before showings makes a huge impact on the success of your home being bought. Especially during the winter as plants and trees start to lose their leaves. Touch up the paint of your home, clean the gutters and make the yard look welcoming. Make sure all walkways and stairs are free from any debris, snow or ice.

    Quality Real Estate Photos

    First impressions are everything, and during the colder months, buyers will be looking at online listings first. This is where you can make your mark by highlighting your home with high-quality photos of your home. Make sure to include photos of all the season of the year so buyers can see how the home looks in the spring as well as the winter.

    Video Tour or Interactive Photo Floor plan

    Selling your home during the holidays runs the risk of having very little foot traffic for showings. To solve this problem, and to sell your home quickly, create a video tour or photo floor plan of your home that you can post on the internet and on listing sites. That way buyers can have their own showing without dealing with the colder climate.

    Give Potential Buyers a Place to Escape the Cold

    For showings, crank up the heat and make your home feel cozy and inviting for buyers to come in to take a tour. Play soft comforting music and offer holiday treats to make house hunters feel right at home. The longer they stay in your home, the longer they must admire and visualize their families in the home.

    Financial Holiday Cheer

    The holiday season is meant for giving right? If you know you have serious buyers on the table, why not offer a home loan? You can get a good rate of return on your money!


    Holidays are stressful enough with all the shopping, planning, and decorating. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t find the right buyer during the holidays there is always next year. The new year is right around the corner and you will have generated more interest as more buyers start to look on the market after the start of the new year.


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          Pros & Cons of Decorating Your Home to Sell During the Holidays

          As I mentioned in a previous blog, the real estate market does not close during the holiday season. It may slow down, but it is a great way to attract serious buyers looking for a home this holiday season with little competition. The question on selling your Waltham, MA home during the holidays is whether to decorate your home or to leave it empty for showings. Here are some pros and cons of decorating for the holidays while you are trying to sell your home in Waltham, MA.

          Why You Should Decorate

          Decorating your house during the holiday season can be beneficial for both your family and potential buyers. This is because your family will be able to celebrate the season while offering any buyers a festive experience. As they tour the house during the showing, they can envision how the home will look for the holidays if they were to purchase.

          In addition to your home, if your neighborhood dresses their properties up for the holidays, it is a great selling point to show potential buyers how festive and friendly the neighborhood is.

          Here are some home staging suggestions for when you are decorating during the showing period:

          • Avoid putting off potential buyers of different religions, keep it secular.
          • Stick to neutral colors and decorations that enhance your current décor.
          • Do not go overboard with the decorations as it could make your home appear cluttered.
          • Avoid blocking important features of your home with decorations.

          Why You Shouldn’t Decorate

          As beautiful as holiday decorations are, they can have a negative effect on your home’s appeal during showings. Your home could seem small and cramped with all the decorations or the decorations become a distraction for buyers who are trying to envision themselves in the house. Be mindful of your potential buyers and decorate accordingly.

          Reasons to not decorate while showing your home during the holidays:

          • Religious décor could potentially alienate buyers.
          • Protecting our privacy, as personalized decorations or cards could show personal information.
          • Decorations, or trees, could block off areas of the house while also showing a mess with shedding pine needles.


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            3 Advantages of Selling Your Home During the Holidays

            Everyone knows that spring and summer are the ideal times for the real estate industry. In an earlier blog we explained how buying a home in the fall can be beneficial. This is also true for selling your home during the holidays. Below are the top three advantages of selling your home during the holidays.

            Less Competition

            Much like buying a home, selling a home during the holiday season means there will be less competition. Most sellers will decide to take their homes off the market as this is considered the off-season, while others would rather wait until the new year. This is a great opportunity for you to get ahead of the curve and have your home in the “show” condition on listings. The smaller number of listings on the market means that you will have all the potential holiday buyers to yourself.

            Motivated Buyers

            Anyone who decides to shop for a new home aside from all their holiday shopping is serious about purchasing a new home now. No matter what reason they have for looking during this time, it is important for you to take advantage of the opportunity and get your home shown on the market. Be flexible with your showing times to accommodate the buyers so buyers can get a good look at your home. You will also want to be open to negotiating contract terms that work with their schedules.

            Your Home Looks Great

            When it comes to buying a home, a big factor in to the purchase is emotion. This factor can be capitalized on during the holiday season by making your home cozy and cheering during showings. Holiday decorations and a clean house removed from clutter will allow buyers to visualize their own families celebrating the splendid holidays in your home. The key with decorations is that you want to make sure they enhance your homes best features rather than distract.


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