Blog :: 2019

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving can be so difficult! Whether it’s across the country or across town, the struggle to get everything together and moved to a new location can be exhausting. That’s why we’ve made this ultimate moving checklist for once you have finally bought your new home in or around Waltham, MA. Why has a hard time moved when you already spent enough energy on buying a new home? Make your life easier with this checklist!

 

 8 Weeks Before the Move

 

  1. Hire and set the budget for your mover. Remember to keep your moving budget realistic and stick to someone you know you can trust. Always read over any documents before signing!
  2. Don’t forget all this bustle means that you WILL need to request some time off. Let your employer know in advance what days you need in order to make the move!
  3. Make sure you find a new school for your kids. Some areas have multiple you can choose from. There may be vocational, public or private schools.  Look for one that you know will best suit your child’s needs as well as yours! Transferring schools may require transcripts so you might need to contact your current school!

 

6 Weeks Before Your Move

  1. Keep track of what you’re packing! It is easy for things you treasure to get lost in the move. You don’t want to throw away any valuables accidentally! It may help to keep an inventory sheet in order to log everything.
  2. Mark all of your moving boxes. This will help movers determine how to pack everything without breaking anything fragile. It will also make unpacking much easier!
  3. Make sure to measure your doorways! You will want everything to fit and you would NOT want to find out on the big day that it doesn’t.

 

4 Weeks Before Your Move

  1. Make sure all-important legal documents are stored somewhere safe and that all are accounted for. Carry them with you throughout the big move.
  2. Compile any health records for all members of the household.
  3. Request anything you may need for your vet and update their ID tags.

 

2 Weeks Before Your Move

  1. Make a separate moving file so that you can compile all receipts and bills from moving.
  2. Back up your computer so that if anything is lost, all of your important information will be saved.
  3. Set up the trash and recycle in your new town so that you’re not stuck with a bunch of trash bags the first week in your new home!
  4. Change your address for Social Security benefits and notify any government offices you may need to know about your address change such as the IRS.
  5. Update your driver’s license and any subscriptions.
  6. Contact utility companies to turn on/off.

 

The Week of the Move

  1. Clean your home.

  2. Leave a note for the new residents.

  3. Pack an essentials box with anything you will immediately need from the move.

 

Have any other questions about how to make the best of your next move or need advice on finding the perfect home for your, then be sure to contact your local Waltham Realtor.

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    What is APR?

    Whether it’s home buying, taking out a credit card or taking out a loan, APR is crucial in any borrowing type of transaction that you are interested in doing. It helps to know all about an APR, including what it actually is, how it’s calculated and its application. These factors can all help you in making an informed decision when doing certain business transactions that especially has to do with borrowing and lending. Let’s take a more detailed look at the subject of APR and what it could mean for you and your Waltham real estate journey.

     

    What is APR?

    The acronym APR stands for annual percentage rate, and it is a yearly representation of your interest rate. You can look at it as the actual cost of borrowing money to take out something like a mortgage. Moreover, the APR for a mortgage can also include particular loan costs, such as points and mortgage origination fees. These fees are what differentiates an interest rate, which is the percentage of the principal that is charged to take out a loan, from an APR. As such, when borrowing it’s important to pay attention to both the APR and the interest rate. The idea is that you’ll get a clear understanding of how much it will cost you to take out a loan of any kind.

     

    Types of APR

    There are different types of APR’s that can be applied to a mortgage that a real estate agent may tell you about. The most common ones you hear about are fixed APR and a variable APR.

     

    Fixed APR: The APR doesn’t fluctuate based on an index for the life of the loan. This makes fixed APRs a little more predictable and can easily be worked into budgeting plans. It is still possible for the interest rate itself to change, but the issuer typically has to provide some notification of the change.

    Variable APRs: The APR is tied to an index interest rate and can change and is less predictable. The agreement will highlight how the APR can change over the life of the loan. It can fluctuate to your gain, by providing lower interest rates, for example, or to your loss, increasing your interest rate.

     

    Importance of APR

    In the Waltham real estate market and other sectors, it’s essential that you have some insight into the type of APR that is applied to your mortgage, which essentially becomes new debt. A good Realtor will tell you that the price to borrow to pay for your home should not be taken lightly. When getting a piece of real estate through mortgage assistance, you want to avoid high APRs that could cripple your budget. This can be avoided to a certain degree by not taking out a lot of debt, to begin with.

     

    Things that Impact Your Interest Rate

    As much as you may wish you could set your own APR, the lender technically establishes the interest rate that is offered on a loan, and this will impact your APR. Still, there are other factors such as credit scores that could impact your APR. Excellent credit scores will carry more weight and be beneficial in getting a lower interest rate than if your credit scores were bad.

     

    Be it, home selling or buying, APR isn’t something that can be overlooked. It is important in Waltham realty when deciding to take out a mortgage. Borrowers should know the types that are available to them, why it’s important and factors that could impact APR. Contact Hans Brings today to learn more about APR and the overall home buying or selling process! 

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      Pros & Con of an HOA in Real Estate

      Some homes that are sold are part of a homeowners association, more commonly referred to as HOA. When you buy an HOA home, you are agreeing to live according to a specific set of rules established by the association. You pay a fee, typically monthly, that goes towards the general maintenance and management of the larger HOA community. Living in an HOA community has its benefits and downsides, and is not a living situation that appeals to everyone so if you are thinking about getting one of these homes off the real estate market then definitely do your research. We’ll look at some of the pros and cons of an HOA that you should know about.

       

      What Is a Homeowners Association (HOA)?

      A homeowners association (HOA) is described by the IRS as a membership organization formed by a real-estate developer to own and maintain common green areas, streets, sidewalks and to enforce covenants to preserve the appearance of the development. In essence, it manages a community of houses, condominiums or townhouses, enforcing the agreement, conditions and restrictions set by the association. HOA fees are not added to the monthly mortgage payment. A good Realtor will tell you that prior to buying an HOA home, it’s essential to consider the rules and whether you can abide by them, and if the benefits are right for your family.

       

      Pros of an HOA Home

      HOA Handles Conflict Between Neighbors

      Neighbors don’t always get along and sometimes the simplest things can lead to conflict. A neighbor may have overhanging trees, a dog that barks a lot, or the backyard barbeque party may have the music too loud. The HOA can step in and mediate neighbor-to-neighbor disputes of an alleged violation of the Association’s rules. The dispute has to be one that is a common area problem or one that violates the Covenants for the Association to intervene.

       

      HOA Manages Common Areas in the HOA Community

      You don’t have to worry about cleaning a swimming pool or any other common areas when you live in an HOA community. The HOA is responsible for the upkeep of all the recreational areas and shared amenities in the community. This helps to property values, keeping it clean, beautiful and safe for harmonious living.

       

      Cons of an HOA Home

      They Make the Rules that You must Follow

      It is the Association alone that gets to decide what is acceptable, be it your Waltham home’s color, where parking is permitted, how often you mow the lawn, your front-yard landscape design and even how you decorate the exterior during the holidays, such as Christmas. They make all the rules about your home’s appearance and the scrutiny rests with them, who can express their disapproval of something you like for your home. If you are home buying in an HOA community, you should know this bit of information.

       

      Falling Behind on HOA Dues Can Result in Foreclosure.

      It’s crucial that you factor HOA dues into your budget. Failure to pay HOA dues and/or associated late fees can compel the Association to proceed with a foreclosure on the property. Keep in mind that each state has its own laws related to the issue. For example, some state may place limitations on when an HOA can begin the foreclosure process. 

       

      Home buying and Waltham home selling require knowing how to get the most out of a piece of real estate. HOA has a specific appeal to certain people who are looking for some sort of lifestyle community. It’s important to know the pros and cons of an HOA before buying into the community. If you are ready to purchase an HOA home in the Waltham area, feel free to contact Hans Brings today! 

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        4 Reasons Summer is a Great Time to Buy!

        When it comes to the perfect times to buy a home in the real estate market in Waltham, MA or any area there really isn't a concrete "perfect time." While the warmer seasons are the preferred times to purchase a house, homebuyers can essentially look and make a purchase any time throughout the year with a Realtor.In addition, the warmer months are when the real estate market is in their "boom" stage as all owners looking to sell will have their homes listed around this time. Knowing that the summer will probably be the time you will start to look and go to open houses, here are four reasons as to why you should buy a home during the summer.

         

        4 Benefits To Buying A Home In The Summer

        1. Family
        If you have children, the summer is a good time to seek out a Realtor to buy a home in the Waltham, MA area. Rather than uprooting them in the middle of the school year, the school will be out in the summer. By waiting until the summer, your children will have the rest of the school year to say goodbye to their friends from their old school. When buying a home in the summer, your children will have the summer to get acclimated to the new home and community, so they feel comfortable before the school year begins at their new school. 


        2. Projects
        If the home you are looking to purchase looks like it may need some work, summer is the best time for it! Weather in Waltham and New England, in general, makes it very difficult to work on different home projects throughout the year. The nice summer weather enables painters, contractors, etc. to do their job without the hassle of the cold. If you need work done inside, why not have it done while your family takes a vacation! You don’t have to worry about anyone disrupting your daily life at home if you are away!


        3. Landscaping
        If you are interested in landscaping your new home, summertime is perfect! Make your new Waltham home truly yours by incorporating different kinds of landscaping projects that you will want to have on your property. Whether it is starting a garden, adding shrubbery or installing different masonry additions to your property. Not only will this make your home more aesthetically pleasing, but it can add value to your home if you are looking to sell on the Waltham real estate market in the future. 


        4. Become Familiar with the Area
        While school is out and the days are longer, this is a great time for you as a whole family to introduce yourselves to your new community and learn more about your new location. If you purchased your home with the help of a Realtor, reach out to him/her to learn more about the community. A reputable Waltham Realtor will have ample amounts of knowledge of the town you are moving in to help you feel comfortable. People will be out and about which will let you get to know your new neighbors and their families. You could even have a summer BBQ to meet everyone at your new home! Summer is also a good time to explore the town and seek out fun activities to do as Waltham and New England have so much to offer!

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          How Many Houses Should I Look at Before Making an Offer?

          Buying a house is a huge moment in any person’s life as it is a huge investment. Whether you are a new homeowner or a seasoned vet, there are always going to be a bunch of questions to be asked to ensure you get the home you are envisioning. For first time homebuyers, one of the most common questions that come up is “How many houses should I look at before making an offer?”

          How Many Homes on Average Do Home Buyers Look At?


          While everyone’s real estate process is different, the National Association of REALTORS states that the average homebuyer views about 10 homes before making an offer. In addition, they stated that the searching process for a home usually takes around 10 weeks. To some, 10 homes may seem like a lot while others may see it as too little. The truth of it is, is that there is no secret number or secret formula to how many homes you need to look at until you find “the one.” The important thing to focus on in your home buying quest is to find a home that fits your needs and a home you can picture yourself living in for years to come. The key to finding the right home is to hire an experienced Waltham REALTOR that specializes in the town you are looking in. This real estate agent will have the knowledge needed to give you all the details you need regarding other homes on the market in the area, the town’s highlights, the community, etc. Your agent will also want to know exactly what you are looking for in a home so they can find the perfect home that will fit your needs. Your REALTOR will formulate a list of homes to go visit for open houses so you can walk through each home and start visualizing yourself in them.

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            4 Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

            As a homeowner looking to sell your home in Waltham, you want to make sure that your home looks amazing as well as having the capabilities to fulfill the needs of potential buyers. There are a variety of things you can do from adding new amenities to installing a patio or implementing another décor to increase the aesthetics of your home. One way you can increase the likability of your home is to make it eco-friendly. With the more people looking to “go green” and wanting to save the environment and have less of a carbon footprint, this is a great way to not only enhance your home but attract environmental friendly buyers which could increase the amount of people looking at your home compared to others on the real estate market. Below are four different ways you can add an eco-friendly element to your home.

            4 Ways to Incorporate Eco-Friendly Aspects to Your Home

            Water Saving
             

            When it comes to saving energy on the house and trying to make a green effort, water usage always comes up. To be truly eco-friendly one needs to take a holistic approach and you can start with saving water. Go through your house and make sure there are no leaks coming from your pipes. This will not only save you money on water bills but also prevents buyers from pointing out a flaw like that which could bring down your asking price. In addition, try not to run the water while you brush your teeth and try installing a low-flow showerhead.


            Smart Meters

            In New England and specifically Waltham, the biggest ways your home will use energy is through heating as you will be using the heat to stay warm during the winter months. What tends to happen is that people may forget that they leave the heat on for longer than needed which leads to energy waste and more money spent on bills. A great way to avoid this from happening is by installing a smart meter. These great gadgets can be programmed to turn on during certain times of the day. One way to use it is to have the heat turn on just before you get home, so you enter a warm house and to shut off an hour before you leave. This way you are only using the heat, and energy, when needed and will be a great way to save money. This money can then be used to help buy your new home. 


            Energy Efficient Light Bulbs


            While these types of light bulbs have been around, not many people have come around to using them, but they are a great first step in your eco-friendly quest. Change out all the light bulbs in your home with energy efficient light bulbs to not only show that your home has up to date appliance but that you have the environment in mind. These lightbulbs use electricity and last longer than normal light bulbs which will also save you on money on buying replacements.

            Solar Panels


            If your home is in an area that gets exposed to a lot of sunlight, then you may want to think about installing solar panels on your home. These panels will provide clean electricity that can store so much that you could even make money and sell the energy back to the grid. One thing to keep in mind is that these panels should be considered a long-term investment. This is because, depending on your area, it may take up to 20 years for you to break even.

            If you are looking to sell your eco-friendly home in the Waltham, MA area be sure to contact Hans Brings today!

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              Spring– A Great Time to Make a Move!

              Spring is here! It’s a great time to put your house on the market, but it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed in the process. Being informed, staying focused, and knowing what to expect can help get your home sold faster. Finding an experienced Waltham Realtor will help you stay on track.

              A Season of Renewal

              Out with the old and in with the new - Springtime in Massachusetts brings the awakening of nature, sunshine, and invigorated buyers. It’s no wonder this season brings out potential buyers. Here are some great tips to help get ahead of the crowd as you prepare to sell your house:

              • Use landscaping and gardening to your advantage. Plant fresh flowers and trim or get rid of the old ones! – This will improve your curb appeal and first impressions are everything!
              • Let the sunshine in!  Tilt the blinds upward facing and choose sheer or light fabric shades for the windows.
              • Simple & Clean: No need to overdo the decorations, the fall, and winter holidays are over. Instead, clean up and declutter the space.

              Houses are in demand: Do you know your target buyers?

              From millennials to families to empty nesters, an experienced Waltham Realtor will know who’s looking to buy in your area and will make sure your home stands out among all the other homes on the market.  The market is still hot for sellers and a knowledgeable Waltham Realtor can advise you on how to list your home to maximize your sales potential and to attract the best buyers.

              Bottom Line: People are Buying

              Housing Inventory remains low, and the next several months are projected to see a splurge in buyers. Experts say if you are considering putting your house on the market, there’s no better time than spring.

               

              If you are looking to buy or sell a house in or around Waltham, MA be sure to contact Hans Brings today! 

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                3 Reasons Not To Cancel an Open House on a Rainy Day

                Selling your home often means picking the perfect unclouded day, that will illuminate the dining room and display the perfect radiance of your beautiful home. So, what happens when some unwanted rain comes to crash the party? With so much planning, staging, time, and effort that goes into an open house, the last thing we want is to cancel and the unexpected truth is that you shouldn’t!

                Hosting your open house on a rainy day can be a blessing in disguise! Find out with our 3 reasons not to cancel an open house on a rainy day:

                1. Rain doesn’t mean people won’t show

                Though rain might seem like a valid reason for not buying a home, the truth is people will be more inclined to go to your open house because they will less likely have other plans.  A rainy day usually means no fun outside, so it would be the perfect excuse for potential buyers to stop by.

                2. The serious buyers will show up

                Any good real estate agent will tell you just because you’re showing the house, doesn’t mean you will sell it. In fact, Waltham Real Estate top sellers claim that not every property sells right away, and it’s important to attract buyers that are serious about buying a home.

                Hans Brings, a top-ranked sales agent in Waltham real estate, says that real estate is not seasonal. If a buyer is serious about purchasing a home, a rainy day would not keep them away as they understand that the competitive buyers will show up if they skip out.  Keep in mind, your Waltham real estate agent is an expert on the market and will have some great tips for you. The key to successfully selling your home is to listen to your agent.

                3. Better insights

                The truth is people should be showing up to your open house regardless of the rain. If no one ends up showing, you may need to evaluate some of your selling factors. It could be possible that your pricing needs adjustment, your marketing need work, or you may need a different approach to reaching serious buyers.  When it comes to selling a house, it truly takes patience, persistence, and even trial and error. Do your best to take advice from your Waltham Realtor and they will do their best to lead you to success!

                If you are looking to sell your home in Waltham, MA be sure to contact Hans Brings today! 

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                  6 Tips For Selling Your Home During the Rainy Season

                  Don’t let the rain ruin your parade or in this case, your open house. We can’t control the market or the weather, but we can certainly make the best of it and still allow for a successful sale. Here are some great real estate tips on selling a home even in the gloomy season.

                  1.    Shed Some Light

                  Have you ever walked into a room after a somewhat gloomy day and immediately appreciated the ambiance? A well-lit room gives happy, warm vibes that could make us want to turn on some music or take out a book and snuggle up on the couch.  While showing your home a Waltham Realtor should allow the sun to beam through the windows or make sure the lighting is good in general as people will react with an uplifting mood. You’re more ought to sell your home if the potential buyer is feeling in good spirits.

                  2.    A Nice Welcome Mat

                  Let’s just put it this way if you don’t have a mat for your potential buyers, it’s not going to reflect a warm welcoming experience like you want to project. You’ll also want to keep the floor clean from the rainy weather!

                  3.    A Place to Store their Rain Gear

                  The real estate market can be competitive so every little extra detail can count towards making the right impression. Potential buyers will appreciate a place for them to put their wet rain gear. It’s not only a nice thing to do for your potential buyers, but it also saves you from cleaning up water in the walkway.

                  4.     I’m Here for the Food

                  Most likely people will be there to find their forever home-but snacks do help. Try to keep the snacks allergy-friendly and provide some refreshments like water or juice. It will be well worth the investment if people know ahead of time that there will be something to eat!

                  5.     Candles are a Nice Touch

                  Filling the room with the smell of warm sugar cookies without having to bake them is the definition of winning. Go ahead and light up those candles you’ve had in storage since Christmas, your visitors will appreciate it.

                  6.     Clean Those Gorgeous Gutters

                  Make sure the gutters on the home are working properly and are clean. Nice gutters are a home show the potential buyers that the house was taken care of. Additionally, make sure there are no leaks in the roof.

                   

                  If you are looking to buy or sell a home in or around Waltham, MA then contact Realtor Hans Brings.

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                    5 Ways Home Sellers Can Prepare for the Spring Market

                     

                    Spring is perhaps the best time to put a home on the real estate market. Winter is over, plants are blooming, and the temperature is finally warming up. It’s the time when Waltham, MA home buyers start hunting for a new place to make their own. Being proactive, acquiring some know-how and understanding of what buyers are looking for in a home can go a long way in a seller's preparation for the spring realty market. Here are five ways home sellers can get ready for the spring market.

                     

                    1. Don’t Forget the Home’s Exterior

                    When it comes to selling homes in Waltham, dressing the exterior of the home can make a great first impression to home buyers and get them excited about touring the home’s interior. Remember that the exterior is subject to much abuse from rain, sunlight, snow, and ice, which impacts the home’s aesthetics to a certain degree. Brighten a dull wooden deck with a fresh coat of paint, power wash the walls to get rid of built-up dirt, clean windows, and repair or replace damaged screens.

                     

                    2. Do Some Renovation

                    Just hearing the word renovation can scare some into thinking expensive and time-consuming, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Renovations can be mini-projects that sellers can do to increase the value of the home, especially one that has been sitting on the market for a while. Think simple improvements like updating worn flooring or swapping out light or bathroom fixtures and finishes.

                     

                    3. Make Use of Professional Stagers

                    The Waltham real estate market can get saturated, and sellers may find themselves scrambling to make the sale. Having a professional stager feature the best qualities of a home can be a big advantage in getting the home to sell quickly. A stager can make the home appealing, disguising flaws and transforming odd spaces and showcasing the home’s strong points, which will allow buyers to visualize it as the home they desire.

                     

                    4. Connect with a Real Estate Agent

                    Getting just any Waltham real estate agent to help in selling a home is not the best choice. Acquiring the help of the right one can make a significant difference in achieving a successful sale. Sellers should seek an agent that comes highly recommended and has solid experience. An agent with a notable marketing plan and extensive knowledge of the real estate market is an asset.

                     

                    5. Research the Housing Market

                    A Waltham Realtor would tell sellers that it’s important for them to understand the current housing market that they are working with and how similar homes in your area have fared. Doing some level of research on the housing market can allow sellers to get their home off the market fast and at a favorable price.

                     

                    Home sellers can get their home ready for the spring market by doing some prep work, utilizing a stager, analyzing the housing market, and doing small renovations. When in doubt, getting the help of a Realtor is worthwhile so be sure to contact Hans Brings today for all your Waltham real estate needs!

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