Blog :: 2018

Make Sure Your Home Blooms This Spring!

Getting your Waltham home ready to sell starts with a good spring cleaning. Florals and a good thorough cleaning can transform your home into a buyer’s paradise. Here are a few easy steps to prepare your home for the spring market and attract a flood of potential buyers.

It All Starts with the First Impression

Welcome your guests with an appealing entrance. The first thing potential buyers are going to do is walk through your front door. Make it warm and welcoming, after all, you are trying to convince them this will soon be their home. An inviting entrance is a key to winning over your buyers. Little touches such as adding a simple decorative floral wreath will do wonders. Clip back any overgrown branches that make be blocking the entryway. If need be, you may want to freshen up the front door with a new coat of paint to stand out from the rest on the block. First impressions really do count.

Always Have Fresh Flowers

Switch up centerpieces to cater to bright spring colors. Try to keep fresh flowers on the counter, or as a centerpiece to give a fresh welcoming feel to the home. The fresh flower aroma is so enticing. Not only is it a good idea to keep fresh flowers inside, but also make sure your landscape is kept up as well and plant some flowers to add to the curb appeal of the home to draw those buyers in.

Brighten it up!

Allow natural light to come in and light up your home’s natural beauty. Wash all the windows, drapes, curtains, and blinds. A good soak of the blinds and they will look brand new. The smell of the fresh springtime breeze coming through the freshly cleaned windows is sure to create the feel of a cozy home.

Declutter!

This can never be stated enough. Buyers want to see a fresh clean home that looks well taken care of. The fewer distractions the better. This is not only a good way to appeal to potential buyers, but it also helps you with the moving process. The sooner you start getting rid of things and organizing, the easier it will when it comes time to move to your new home.

Scrub those floors!

If your floors need some extra TLC (tender loving care), give them what they need and refinish them. Make sure your floors are clean and polished. Springtime rain can bring in some muddy shoes. Make sure the floors are always clean and shiny. If it is going to be a rainy day, have a welcome mat for people to wipe their shoes off and a place for them to leave their umbrella while they tour the home.

So, remember, there is no such thing as cleaning too much! To stay on top of it, make a list of a few things you can do each day to maintain that clean, like decluttering and always making sure your counters are cleared off and washed. Other things may only need to be done once a week or even less often. If you maintain these cleaning tips, you won’t have to stress, and your home will sell in no time! For other tips and to get your home ready to sell, an experienced Waltham Realtor will ensure you the most success when it comes to selling your home.

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    4 Preparation Steps to Buy A Home in The Spring

    It is common knowledge that the real estate market starts getting busy in the spring and summer time as nice weather starts to take over. This is when open houses start to be more common and houses fill up real estate listing websites and directories. Purchasing a home is a big moment in one’s life and should be prepared for properly if buyers want to have success on the market. Below are four ways you can properly prepare yourself for buying a home in and around Waltham, MA.

    Save As Much as You Can

    Money is the only way you will be able to purchase anything in life including a home. Making sure you have enough money is one of the most important steps to the home buying process. One of the first steps to making sure you have the money needed for a home is to get close to being completely debt free as possible.  Debt will take your focus away from saving for your dream home so make sure you have as little debt as possible, so you can start saving your money. Once debt has been taken care of, compile as much money as you can for the following expenses you could be subject to during the buying process.

    • Emergency fund with three to six months of expenses.
    • 5-20 percent down payment on your new home.
    • Closing costs, which can take up to 3 percent of your home’s value.

    In addition to these costs, you should keep in mind how much it will cost to move into your new home as well as accessories you will need once you move in.

    Secure Financing

    As mentioned before, preparation is key to a successful home purchase. Therefore, it is recommended to have all paperwork and other necessary documents ready at any stage of the home buying process in Waltham, MA. Not only does it show your seriousness about the transaction, it will also make the process go along more smoothly. Some of the finances you should check on include:

    • Checking Credit Reports – Review your credit report before a lender does, so you can fix any minor issues that might be pointed out. That way the report checking process can move quickly.
    • Gather Documents – Getting a mortgage requires certain documents such as recent bank statements, proof, and balance of retirement accounts, most recent W-2 form, recent paystubs, and driver’s license. Having these documents at the ready will help you close on your dream home. 
    • Get Preapproved – To further show how serious you are to buy a home to sellers, getting preapproved for a loan is a great way to do so. It shows you are ready to take out a loan as soon as possible to finance the house and show you want to be the next owner of the home.

    Tune Your Wishlist

    Buying a home is a big investment, which is why preparation is so important. A way to help your real estate agent in Waltham, MA find you your dream home is to fine tune what you are looking for. That way your Realtor will know exactly what to look for and place you in open houses that suite your needs. Some of the factors on your list include:

    • Set Your Budget – Narrow down your budget to what is reasonable for you as well as keeping in mind it the mortgage payments. The mortgage payments should be about 25 percent of your monthly take-home pay. You will also want to keep in mind maintenance costs into your budget.
    • List of Features – You always want to keep the end in mind when purchasing home. Work with your Waltham real estate agent on features that you like, and your agent can inform you which features help or hurt your chances of reselling your home if you need to do so in a couple of years.
    • Choose a Location – Once you are set on a location and or school district, pass the information to your Realtor and they will set up a portal into the MLS. That way you can get notices when homes in your area are up for sale.
    • Open Houses – A walkthrough of homes not only helps you envision your family in the home but also helps with finances. You can see if your budget can get you the home you are looking for or not as well as determining if you need to save more.

    Find the Right Agent For You

    One of the most important aspects to entering the real estate market is finding yourself the right Realtor for you. Finding a good Waltham Realtor is important as they can tell you all the ins and outs of the market’s current situation. They also have ample amounts of community knowledge to help with your search. Find an agent that makes you feel comfortable and one that you can work with so finding your dream home happens as soon as possible.

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      5 Ways to Up Your Home's Spring Curb Appeal

      When it comes to selling a home in Waltham, having a home that offers an experience for the potential buyer to envision themselves in with their families is usually a good way to beat out the market. With the real estate market fluctuating so much with different homes on the market every week, you will need to stand out from the crowd if you want your home to get noticed. This is where curb appeal comes in to play and acts as a vital factor in the real estate industry. With spring finally here, it is especially important to make sure the exterior of your home is in tip top shape, so buyers can picture themselves living in your home during the warmer months. Below are five ways to increase your home’s spring curbside appeal.

      Keep Everything Clean

      Having an overgrown lawn or lawn with a lot of belongings and junk on them will turn away potential buyers as no one will want to go through an open house if the outside does not look up kept. First impressions are everything in life and this includes real estate. Before you have an open house, be sure to mow your lawn, take out any weeds, trim down trees so they do not look overgrown. It is also a good idea to clean your windows and any areas of your home that may show dirt. Using a power washer is a quick fix to cleaning dirty areas of your home but be sure to not stand to close as the pressurized water could chip away at your home's exterior.

      Make Sure Your House Can Be Found

      One of the most frustrating things is when you are looking for a house and you cannot find the house number then end up missing the house you were looking for. For an open house, if potential buyers cannot find your home then you could be missing potential sales. This runs the risk of your home being on the market longer than you wanted, which counts against your chances of selling your home. There are different designed, patterned, and colored house numbers you can put on your home or signpost. When picking them out, just make sure that they are not too distracting and blend well with your home.

      Accent the Exterior

      To help with the siding of your home, try adding some color to make your home pop and stand out from the other houses in your neighborhood. If the siding of your home is a simple gray color, try painting the trim or shutters a brighter color. By accenting the trim and shutters, the house will look more colorful and appealing which will increase a buyer’s first impression of your home.

      Enclose with Fencing

      When it comes to fencing there is a difference between the front and back yard fences. Backyard fences serve a purpose of keeping things in and being defensive while front yard fences serve more of a decorative purpose. As front yard fences are typically shorter to show the area beyond the fence while adding to the character and flow of your home. Examples of these fences include white picket fences, short brick fences with gates, and a short latticework fence.

      Porch Décor

      To increase your home’s spring curb appeal even more, try adding some décor to your front porch. This décor will make your home look comfortable and open to visitors which will attract buyers to want to see the rest of the home. Welcome matts, potted plants, and having the porch area swept clean is a good starting point.

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        Is Your Home Ready for the Spring Market?

        Are you considering selling your home in Waltham, MA in the next six months? If so, the time is now to get it ready for the spring market. Spring market is a term used by real estate professionals for that time of the year that is especially busy when it comes to buying and selling houses. The spring markets for the last few years have been especially robust, so it is more important than ever to make sure your home stands out among all the others. Here are a few tips to help separate your home from the rest.

        Spring Cleaning – This is the perfect time to get rid of clutter and really do a deep dive on getting your home sparkling. It is so vital to show potential buyers a home that is well taken care of and getting rid of extra junk will also accentuate the potential of space.

        Minor Repairs – Take a walk around your home with a clipboard and make sure everything works. From changing burnt out bulbs to tightening up leaky faucets to everything in between. There is nothing worse than a potential buyer not seeing a room because the lights won't go on.

        Get Out The Paint – How do your walls look? Do they need a little touch up? What is your existing color scheme? If it's somewhat bold or a little out of the norm, you may want to consider a different color. Neutral tones are best as they do not distract from the rest of the home.

        Organize Your Paperwork – Make sure you have all your manufacturer's warranties and operating manuals in one place. This includes anything from your furnace to your dishwasher. Basically, anything that is going to stay with the house.

        Less Is More – In your kitchen, make sure to have a minimum number of appliances on your counters. Get rid of all and any of your tchotchkes and other knickknacks. You really want to emphasize the counter space. Make sure your ovens and ranges shine! Do the same in your bathrooms; curling irons, shavers, and blow dryers should be stowed away. As with the kitchen, your bathrooms should be immaculately clean.

        Bedrooms and living spaces need to look livable, not lived in – In the living room and other common spaces, get rid of clutter and make sure there's good flow and that the furniture is arranged to emphasize maximum space. Remove family pictures and knickknacks. It is so vital that the buyers don't feel like they are invading someone else's home. In the bedrooms, make sure beds are made and closets are spacious and organized.

        Make a grand entrance! - First impressions do count. Make sure your yard is sharp and tidy. If there is still snow on the ground, ensure driveways and walking paths are cleared. If the climate has improved, ensure lawns are trimmed and think about planting a few flowers for color. Porches should be cleared of debris and swept. Make sure entry way is warm and inviting and welcoming!

        Finally, and most importantly, find an established Waltham area Realtor. A Realtor is held to higher standards than real estate agent. You want a Realtor who is intimately familiar with Waltham and has a record of success.

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          Good Homes Are looking for Millennial's

          The sooner you start saving the better.

          Every little bit helps to put you in a better buying position. Set goals to have enough money saved up for more than the minimum down payment. Also make sure your income makes it possible to afford the monthly payments for a minimum of 5 to 7 years to lessen the chances of defaulting on your loan.

          Make sure you consider extra home purchasing costs that you may not initially think of.

          Often times through the inspection and closing processes, extras costs may arise. To keep yourself in your budget, include a bit of a buffer to ensure you don’t exceed your limit in those extras as well as any extra moving costs, or unexpected maintenance that may be required.

          Do your research.

          Make sure you are keeping up to date with mortgage interest rates. Calculate your current financial circumstances to figure out what you can and cannot afford. With all the information on the internet now, it is much easier to have access to information about homes, mortgage rates, and interest rates. Do your research, so when negotiating, you have points to back you up.

          Renovation costs.

          They are not exactly what they seem and can quickly become much higher than anticipated. It cannot be stressed enough to know the extent of repair needed on a property and how much extra money to include in your overall budget for things like this.

          Don’t rush into things, work with an experienced Waltham Realtor who knows the current market. 

          A Realtor with years of experience can help you determine things like which neighborhoods to aim for and what are fair and reasonable asking prices in a particular area. If a property seems overpriced, they can provide helpful negotiation skills to get you in the right home for your needs and budget. Realtors can also help you navigate the overwhelming amount of paperwork that is involved in a home purchase and they are able to explain some of the details that may seem like a foreign language to you. Realtors are there to answer questions you may have after the closing as well and are professional when handling confidential information. Working with a local Waltham Realtor is a great way to make sure you don’t end up making a big mistake through a very confusing process.

          Stay motivated. 

          Don’t let little financial setbacks throw you off course. Make sure you stay informed about the current market and the neighborhoods you want to be in. Demonstrate that you are serious about buying and are ready to take on the challenges. Don’t forget to do your homework including finding a reputable Realtor that will be by your side every step of the way.

          Remember, buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. If you have already saved enough for a conservative down payment and all the other miscellaneous cost outlined above and are staying up to date on the real estate market in your desired location, it may be time to contact an experienced agent in your area to begin the process. Finding that first dream home may take some time, but if you follow these tips and do your homework you will be on the right track and ready to become a first-time homeowner.

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            8 Reasons Your House Is Not Selling

            If you are selling your home on the market, then you know how overwhelming the process can be. This is especially so when your home is on the market for some time and it seems like all hope is lost at trying to sell your home. When it comes to selling your home in Waltham, MA, there are a lot of factors that go into the selling process to come out successful. While there are many reasons your home could be sold, there are also reasons why it may not be currently selling. Below are eight reasons why your home is not selling.

            You’re Overconfident

            When it comes to putting your home on the market, you believe you will find a buyer who will pay the absolute premium price for your home ASAP. However, this is a strategy you should not lean on. From day one you should be realistic and not over confident that your home will sell immediately. While you may love your home, it could be seen in a different light to others and you should prepare for your home to sit on the market for a little bit.

            The House Is Priced Too High

            When it comes to the real estate market, there is a bit of a supply and demand condition. If there is a high demand for houses but not a lot of listings, then you can probably sell your home for a high price.  Knowing this, many sellers feel comfortable with pushing the asking price too high and this is a big mistake. When selling your home, it is best to determine the best asking price for your home with your Realtor. That way, you can get the most money for your home based on the true value your home has.

            The Home Needs Touching Up

            Although home improvement can be costly, it is something you must consider if you are looking to have your home get taken off the market quickly. To sell, and sell for a great price, you will need to make sure your home is in the condition that buyers are looking for. Buyers want the most bang for their buck, so they will want a home with updated appliances and amenities. Some simple upgrades could include new kitchen cabinets hardware, painting some walls, or buffing hardwood floors. They may seem simple, but they can go a long way with showing value to your home.

            There Is a Problem with The Title

            One of the biggest factors that will spook a potential buyer from purchasing your home in Waltham, MA is that there is something wrong with the title. While most of these problems require just a little time to resolve, you should contact the title company to find out what you need to do to fix the problem. Some title problems include:

            • A paid-off mortgage hat is still showing up as valid linen on the house.
            • A mechanic’s lien that was filed for work done on the house by a subcontractor.

            Advertising Photos Are Subpar

            When it comes to almost anything in life, first impressions are everything, and this is especially true in the real estate market. About 90 percent of buyers will start their house hunting journey online which means the photos on your listing should be top notch. These photos will determine if potential buyers are to come to your home during an open house. If your listing is filled with bad quality photos, no photos, or photos that show clutter then buyers will likely move on to the next listing. To make sure your home sells quickly and catches the eyes of buyers, get photos staged and taken by a professional for the best results.

            Your Agent Doesn’t Seem to Care

            At times, your home could be in great condition with amazing photos to highlight the value and is priced correctly, but still is sitting on the market. Your home may still be sitting on the market because your agent could be turning buyers off. Just as it is important to have good photos for your home, it is good to make sure you pick an agent who will be helpful. Some agents seem to be burnt out, lack personality, or seem to have no social skills. So be mindful that your agent can talk to buyers and have a passion to get your home sold. Customer satisfaction is a huge aspect I take pride in as a Realtor as it makes the process for both parties much smoother.

            The Home Smells Bad

            When things smell bad, it is usually a turn off and this goes with selling a home. All homes after a while develop a certain smell based on a multitude of factors, but when you are selling your home, you will want all the smells to go away. Nothing is better than entering a home with a nice refreshing smell to it. Be sure to take care of and mold issues or pet urine issues if you have any pets. As these two factors can cause permanent bad smells to your home. On the day of the showing or days prior, try using incense to freshen up the smell of the home. You can also bake some cookies to give a warm welcoming smell of baked goods to your home.

            Your Appliances Are Old

            Just like with touching up your space with home improvement, it is always better to have the latest and most updated appliances in your home. A home with a stainless-steel refrigerator is more likely to sell than an old, yellowing-white refrigerator.  If you have appliances that seem to be outdated, buyers may think that there is a lot more that needs to be replaced which will cost them. This in turn, will make the buyers want to look at other houses instead of yours. Be sure to update your appliances so they do not look like they are on their last legs.

            If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in Waltham, MA or are interested in my Realtor services, please feel free to contact me

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              Three Benefits of Putting 20 Percent Down On A Home

              When it comes to buying a home, buyers need to be prepared for every aspect of the process. From finding a reliable Realtor, to settling on a price and closing the deal, there are a lot of important pieces of the puzzle. One of these is deciding how much money you will be using for the down payment of a house. A downpayment on a home is money that the homebuyers provide for the house upfront. This is separte from the mortgage they will be paying monthly after they have compelted the buying process. Determining how much to put as a downpayment is always a challenge as you have to examine your finances to make the best possible solution. Just like with anything you need to pay off, the more you put down upfront the less you will pay later on. It is good to put 20 percent of the sales price as your down payment. While the general rule of thumb is between three and 20 percent, putting down 20 has many benefits.

              Three Benefits of A 20% Downpayment 

              1. You'll Have A Small Loan - By having a large down payment, you borrow less money from the bank in loans. In turn, you will then have to pay less on your monthly payments. If you have a smaller downpayment then you will have a much higher monthly mortgage rate. 
              2. Lower Overall Costs - When you borrow less, by having a 20 percent down payment, you will pay less interest on your loan. This is because your interest will be calculated using a lower loan amount. In addition, with a 20 percent down payment you will typically not have to pay for mortage insurance which usually increases the monthly rate.
              3. You Start With More Equity - By putting down a larger down payment, 20 percent, you not only save yourself on monthly payments, you also save yourself in the long run. When you make a larger down payment, you have a cushion in case home prices decline. If you have a smaller down payment then you end up owing more than your home is worth which will make it harder to sell or refinance your home. 

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                5 Strategies for Pricing a Home To Sell

                Whether you are buying or selling, any part of the real estate market can be stressful and overwhelming if you do not know the proper strategies. With selling, one difficult aspect is determining a price range that works for both you and your Realtor while being true to the home’s value. To have a better grasp on how to set a price range for your home, you will need to talk with your agent and determine the true value of your home. In addition to this, you will want to make sure the house can get off the market soon as we know that the longer a house is on the real estate market, the less likely it is to sell at a good price. Here are some strategies to keep in mind when pricing your home to sell.

                Appeal To the “Heard Mentality”

                With the real estate market having high stakes a buyer does not want to be the only one interested in a house. If they feel they are the only ones, they may start to question why is there something wrong with the house? Am I missing something that everyone else is seeing? To avoid this, try pricing your property on the lower end of the value range.  This will stimulate interest among more than one buyer and create a herd mentality. This strategy is also a good one if you are trying to sell your home quickly.

                Price your home to Be Found in Real Estate Searches

                When it comes to buying a house, buyers will tell their agent that they want a certain type of home in a neighborhood under $500K or any other amount. Their Realtor will then set up an automated buyer search in their local database for homes with the qualifications asked for. However, if a home is listed at $510K in that example then that buyer will miss out which is why I recommend that you don’t have a high list price out of the gate. Knowledgeable and experienced agents will help set these search parameters but include properties that are listed somewhat above the price ceiling set by the seller. Sellers should know that buyers believe home prices are flexible, and buyers consider homes that are slightly above their looking range if they are a good match. By listing slightly higher or lower than intended you will attract more interested potential buyers which you can help you negotiate down the line.

                Don’t Get Creative with Your Asking Price

                When selling a house, some sellers can get ahead of their selves and try to get an exact price amount of what they want. For example, you can have a home that is valued between $750K and $800K, a seller could ask for $787,777. If a seller is asking for a specific price, then it will bring attention for no good reason. Buyers will question why the seller chose that figure and then wonder who the seller is and further investigate which could hurt the chances of your home being sold.

                Work Out a Pricing Contingency Plan

                The best-case scenario for selling a home is to sell at top dollar, and some sellers believe this is a possibility, so they set that high expectation. All Realtors have a goal of selling a home at a higher price or close to the seller’s desired range. They realistically know that those cases don’t always happen so a contingency plan should be made.  By having a plan B on pricing, you will save time and help set appropriate expectations for selling your property.

                Pricing Is an Ongoing Discussion

                If you are selling your house, you should listen carefully to your agent's pricing strategy, as they have the experience and knowledge of what works and what fails. In addition, no matter what the strategy is, be prepared to have an ongoing discussion about pricing. The process is not a “set and forget” procedure as a lot of factors come into play and nothing can be anticipated. Whether you are buying or selling a home there will be obstacles you are not prepared for. If you can be flexible and react quickly to the market's fluctuations, you are more than likely going to get the best price with the least amount of stress.

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