10 Secrets to Selling Your Home

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right

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Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets

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Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters

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You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show

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Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

If you need further assistance with any aspect of the selling process, please contact Steve from Coldwell Banker with any questions!   Always happy to help and advise.

Avoid Mistakes when Searching for Homes Online

Most Common Mistakes Home Buyers Make Searching for a Home Online

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http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com

For 42 percent of home buyers, the first step in the homebuying process was searching online. While technology has a number of benefits, it also comes with some potential pitfalls. Below include some of the most common mistakes home buyers made when searching for a home online.

Use a Real Estate Agent Even After Finding Your Perfect Home

With the vast amount of real estate information available online, some home buyers choose not to hire a real estate agent at all. While you may succeed in finding a home, an agent is extremely helpful in the negotiation process. He or she also helps to ensure you don’t miss relevant legal documentation or paperwork which could cause trouble later.

A good real estate agent can have years of experience in a local area and may know what the best neighborhoods are just from your description of your ideal home. In addition to their ability to find more listings and efficiently narrow things down, agents stay informed about current developments in a neighborhood, which may be difficult for home buyers not from the area.

Use Multiple Search Engines When Searching for a Home

Don’t rely on a single search engine or a few listings to find possible homes. All homes of interest are not necessarily listed on these sites, so this may eliminate many prospects from the search. This is also where a real estate agent can be useful.

It is recommended that you consider and use several search tools, including Coldwell Banker’s various property searches, and use them in tandem. This can fill in gaps and allow you to compare results.

Jessica Edwards, sales associate affiliated with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in Wilmington, N.C., says that she often is able to show her clients listings before they even make it online. In a hot market, this can be a major advantage.

Don’t Waste Time Looking at Homes You Can’t Afford

Many home buyers waste time searching for homes online that they cannot afford. Get pre-approved for a mortgage to determine what price range to shop within and once you have decided on a property in your budget, act quickly.

One resource home buyers may be unaware of is real estate RSS feeds or email alerts, which can help fill in knowledge gaps about a specific market and provide current information. This can shorten the amount of time you spend retreading old ground during a home search, and may present the opportunity to get to a good property first. Home sellers in a hurry may be inclined to make a good deal for the sake of promptness, so speed could be a significant advantage in negotiations.

If you would like to be set up with such a search, please simply let me know!   I am happy to help you.

Old vs New – Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of New Construction Homes and Older Homes

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Pros and Cons of New Construction Homes and Older Homes

When searching for your home, keep in mind that you are in control of the transaction. You choose your real estate agent, home inspector, mortgage provider and of course, your home. All of these decisions can sometimes be overwhelming, and for some people, turn what should be an enjoyable experience into something they dread. However, with the guidance from a knowledgeable Coldwell Banker® agent, the purchase of your next home will be something you celebrate and enjoy for many years. Your lifestyle and how much you enjoy the ongoing maintenance and upkeep associated with homeownership are key considerations to finding the best home for you. Most people prefer new construction over existing homes. But older homes have some advantages that should not be overlooked, and may make an existing home the right choice for you. Let’s compare the pros and cons of each:

Buying a New Construction Home – The Pros

new-home-under-construction

The vast majority of new homes are built in subdivisions with a unified style and restrictions in place to maintain the property values. The developers chose the location of the subdivision for one very important reason: it is where home buyers want to live. Developers factor in what people in the area can afford, amenities that most people want, and home features that are desirable to their targeted market. Simply put, they make the process as easy and enticing as possible for you. There are other advantages to opting for a newly constructed house:

  • During construction you can add the extras you have always dreamed of having in your home. A garden tub is an expensive modification in existing homes; not possible in some older homes.
  • New homes feature the latest styles like an open floor plan and large family rooms for entertaining guests.
  • Most new homes have low-maintenance exteriors such as vinyl-wrapped windows, trim, and railings. That means less time spent on routine maintenance. You are free to spend your off hours golfing, traveling, or just enjoying your home with a backyard cookout.
  • Architects design new homes to maximize space. Engineers develop construction materials for optimal energy efficiency. Highly efficient HVAC systems, windows, and Energy Star appliances equate to lower utility bills.
  • New homes come with a one-year warranty; some builders include warranties for up to 10-years.

Buying a New Construction Home – The Cons

There are often incentives and free upgrades if you use the builder’s recommended lender. But that may not be the best deal for you. A builder can require that you get qualified by their preferred lender, but they cannot mandate that you to use that company for your mortgage. They also cannot charge buyers who choose their own lender a higher price. But they can reduce the listed price as incentive for using their lender. While allowing the developer/builder to streamline the process is convenient, new constructions come with some drawbacks:

  • There is very little room for negotiation. Builders may work with you on some upgrades, but most stay firm on price. Some home buyers in large multiphase developments, who have attempted to sell their home after a few years, sometimes find themselves competing against the builder for potential buyers. They also may end up selling for less than they originally paid for their home.
  • New constructions often lack mature landscaping and may have smaller lots than existing homes. The developer generally maximizes available land. The result is limited outdoor space and extremely close neighbors.
  • It could take many months or years for the development to build out and new construction to cease. That means heavy equipment stirring up dust, mounds of debris or large bins, and the noise of saws and nail guns year-round.
  • You will be limited on possible modifications to your home and what you can have in your yard by tight subdivision restrictions.

Buy an Older Home – The Pros

older home

Large trees remind many potential buyers of their childhood home. The value of a spacious yard for pets and children to play in is difficult to quantify. There are no rigid homeowners associations or the costly dues that come along with them in most older neighborhoods. Typically, existing homes cost about 20 percent less per square foot than new construction in the same area. Some other advantages:

  • You have more styles to choose from. In your price range and selected area, you will find brick homes, single story homes, and many different floor plans.
  • Individual sellers are often more negotiable on price. They may be motivated by other life factors to sell fast.
  • Neighborhoods are more established. The final determining factor for many home buyers is which place feels most like home. There is a sense of community in older neighborhoods that is missing in some new developments.
  • They tend to have more character. Part of the joy of owning them is you can upgrade them and fix them up to your own preferences.

Buy an Older Home – The Cons

If you are handy and want a home you can make your own, make sure you the home is a fixer-upper home worth investing in. If you are not particularly handy at home improvement projects or knowledgeable about the cost of home repairs, older homes can become large money pits. The seller’s disclosure may offer some protection. Any known issues must be revealed, and if there were major problems like foundation issues or leaky basements, it should surface in this documentation. Additionally, a home warranty can protect buyers from expensive appliance repairs. There are still some other cons to owning an older home that you should keep in mind:

  • Typically much less energy-efficient than new homes. If they do have things like thermal windows, they are less efficient than modern windows. Retrofitting new windows to older homes is quite a challenge.
  • May have small rooms that you are stuck with. Load bearing walls will prevent you from making significant changes to the existing floor plan. Some mirrors and bright colors may make the rooms look bigger, but they will always be the same size.
  • Generally require ongoing maintenance that will quickly turn into costly repairs if not done. Additionally, older homes have less useful life remaining for things like the furnace, roof, and appliances.

With a knowledgeable real estate professional on your side, you can make an informed decision about your purchase of any new or existing home. You should have any house you plan to buy inspected by a certified home inspector. Make your decision based on a logical assessment of your needs. Ideally, you should have a second and third choice in case you need to walk away from negotiations on your ideal home. People who make objective decisions about their home purchase based on lifestyle preference and aptitude for home improvements are more likely to feel good about it in the years ahead.

Begin your search right here!    And if you need any help along the way, please feel free to get in touch.

Must-Have Moving Essentials

Must-Have Moving Essentials: The Big List

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When moving day rolls around, will you remember the moving essentials? You know, those items that will immediately make your new South Shore Massachusetts home feel like, well, home. Read on for a list of the essential items (broken down room by room) that you’ll want to have handy as you get settled in your new place.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home, and therefore, you’ll want to have some moving essentials ready to go before you prepare your first meal. Grabbing pizza at one of the South Shore’s great restaurants is great, but eventually you’ll want to cook in your new culinary haven. Paper plates and cups along with plastic cutlery can do in a pinch, but be sure to pull out these items first when you’re unpacking the kitchen:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Coffee maker
  • Oven mitt
  • Can and bottle opener (and maybe a wine opener, too)


In the Bedroom

When you’re moving into a new home, you’ll want more than a bed and some sheets in your personal sanctuary. Here are some items that many homeowners overlook — but can go a long way at enhancing your new bedroom. For inspiration on creating your best bedroom, check out our Pinterest board.

  • Clothes hamper
  • Hangers
  • Lamps
  • Curtains


In the Bathroom

There are many moving essentials you don’t want to miss for your new bathroom. Here are a few of the most commonly overlooked items:

  • Toilet paper
  • Bath mat
  • Shower curtain, liner, and rings
  • Plunger


In the Living Room

When it comes to moving essentials in the living room, there are a few things that will immediately make your living space feel like home. Here’s a look:

  • Wall decor and family photos
  • Coasters
  • Lamps
  • Throw pillows for your couch

moving laundry

In the Laundry Room

You don’t want to get set up to do your first load of laundry in your new home only to realize that you’ve forgotten some of the essential items. Make sure to keep these laundry necessities on hand as you’re getting settled:

  • Laundry detergent and bleach
  • Dryer sheets
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Laundry basket


Odds and Ends

Not all moving essentials fit into the rooms listed above. But that doesn’t mean they won’t come in handy. These are the items to unpack or purchase as soon as you move into your new place.

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Tool kit

packing

You have a lot to think about when you’re moving into a new home. But by remembering a few of the must-have moving essentials, you’ll be one step closer to making your new South Shore Massachusetts house feel like home!

Image Source: Flickr/John Benson

The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes

The Ultimate Guide to Winning the Battle Against Mosquitoes

Shoo fly don’t bother me – worth reposting from Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

No mosquitoes

One of the ultimate buzz kills of a backyard BBQis having party crashing, ankle biting, blood sucking mosquitoes as your “uninvited guests”. In addition to leaving their gift of an itchy bite in the most uncomfortable and hard to reach places their bites also leave a possibility of disease transmission. Take a look at these helpful hints for limiting their habitat on your property and other repellent options.

Remove Standing Water

Mosquitoes LOVE water because they require it to breed. This is why a rainy spring often leads to a mosquito filled summer. About.comsuggests these four tips:

Drill holes in the bottom, not the sides, of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors. Holes on the sides still allow enough water to accumulate in the bottom for mosquitoes to breed.

Keep gutters clean and unclogged. Be sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area. You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away.

Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use. Homeowners who go on vacation without chlorinating their pools may return to a veritable mosquito hatchery.

Dump anything that holds water twice per week if it has rained. Birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, footbaths, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes. Remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don’t leave water in pet bowls for more than two days.

Choose Your Lighting Wisely

Replace outdoor lights with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to mosquitoes. Products such as tiki torches, citronella candles, and lanterns will keep the pests away from the immediate area where you’re dining al fresco. (ivillage.com)

Guard Your Body

While some prefer to spray mosquito repellant others prefer an all-natural pest repellent. If you aren’t a fan of sprays like Off or Repel there are many natural DIY alternatives you can make yourself. One trick that has worked for me is sticking aBounce® brand dryer sheet in each pocket. Something about these fabric softener sheets repels them…and bonus…it smells awesome!

Don’t Bother Trying These

According to Wayne J. Crans, Associate Research Professor in Entomology at Rutgers University, these often-touted mosquito solutions are not worth your time or money.

Bug zappers. Though the satisfying sizzle you hear from this modern day insect torture device will convince you it’s working, don’t expect much relief from backyard mosquitoes. According to Crans, biting insects (including mosquitoes) generally make up less than 1% of the bugs zapped in these popular devices. Many beneficial insects, on the other hand, do get electrocuted.

Citrosa plants. While citronella oil does have proven mosquito-repellent properties, the genetically-modified plants sold for this purpose do not. In tests by researchers, the test subjects bitten as often while surrounded by the Citrosa plants as without them. In fact, mosquitoes were observed landing on the leaves of Citrosa plants during the study.

Bats and/or purple martins. While both bats and the colonial purple martins will consume mosquitoes, the offending insects make up a small percentage of their natural diet. Assertions about these insectivores being effective mosquito controls grew out of misrepresented and misinterpreted data from unrelated studies. While providing habitat for bats and purple martins has its value, don’t do it if only to reduce your mosquito populations.

Electronic devices that transmit sounds to mimic male mosquitoes or dragonflies do not work. Crans goes so far as to suggest “the claims made by distributors border on fraud.”

Learn the Facts

Every kid remembers an adult trying to console them in the midst of an itching episode with “they like your blood because you are so sweet” but I always wondered if mosquitoes actually have a preference for their victims. I found this Are You A Mosquito Magnet Infographic pretty interesting and hope you do too!

Mosquito Infographic

What steps do you take to keep mosquitoes away from your yard?

4 Genius Bathroom Hacks to Save You Thousands

Go ahead and treat yourself to some new plush towels with all that money you are about to save!

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Find out more about buying and selling Massachusetts Real Estate with Steve Faye/Coldwell Banker http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/
Guest Post by Andrea Davis

Your bathroom is a sacred space, but it may sometimes fall short of meeting your expectations. Rather than spending thousands on a remodel, think about what you can do to bring your substandard bathroom up to par on your own. Here are some genius bathroom hacks to consider:

#1 Cleaning Your Tub and Toilet

cleantoilet

Over time, your bathtub may accumulate grime, dirt, and even mold from continued use and moisture. You could pay to have your tub removed or refinished, but try these quick-and-easy DIY tricks first:

  • Grapefruit: To keep your bathtub clean, cut a grapefruit in half and sprinkle salt on the pulp. Get your tub wet, salt the bottom of the tub and scrub with the grapefruit half. Rinse, and your bathtub comes completely clean.
  • Cotton coils: Get some cotton coil from a beauty supply store, soak the coils in bleach, and place them over the mold overnight. Pull the coils away in the morning to reveal no more mold.
  • Coke: Pour Coca-Cola into your toilet bowl to scrub out tough stains. It works!

#2 Unclogging Drains

funny-dutch-shoe-think-sink-is-clogged-pun-joke-pics

Sinks, bathtubs and toilets can get clogged with hair and assorted other things over time. While you can use drainer chemicals to get some things out, others are a bit harder to remove. It’s not always practical to call a plumber. So, consider some of these alternatives:

  • Alka-Seltzer tablets: Put four tablets down the drain along with some vinegar. Wait 10 minutes and rinse with hot water (think boiling hot). If there’s still something stuck down there, you might need a quality plumber.
  • Soap and hot water: Boil some water and add dish soap. Then dump in the drain (or toilet). Flush or drain; it should work again.

#3 Organizing Bathroom Space

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http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/

Do you have more stuff than places to put it? This can be especially annoying if you don’t have a separate linen cabinet for all of your towels and washcloths. These hacks will help you make some space:

  • Put a magazine holder on a cabinet door: Depending on the size of the magazine holder, it could hold a curling iron, hair dryer, brush and many other items.
  • Roll your towels: Rolling your towels — believe or not — opens up a lot more space in a cabinet for other items, whether more linens or something else.
  • Use coat hooks: Towel racks only hold maybe a few towels at a time. If you hang coat hooks, you can potentially put four to five wet towels out to dry. In bathrooms shared by multiple people, this is very advantageous.
  • Adhere magnetic strips to cabinet doors: For those who utilize tweezers, bobby pins, nail clippers and other small metal items that are easily lost, magnetic strips can be the organizational godsend that keeps them in one place without cluttering up a drawer.
  • Add pull-out drawers: Since adding more cabinets is expensive and takes up even more room in your already-cramped bathroom, while not add pull-out drawers? You could potentially add more space, and it’s an easier way to access storage than rifling around in your cabinet for one particular item.

#4 Redecorating on a Budget

If you want to spice up your bathroom but lack the funds to replace everything, there are some small improvements you can make on a small budget. Some can add storage benefits, while others might be considered upcycling. These include:

  • Using a mason jar as a soap pump.
  • Adding an extra shower curtain rod for storage.
  • Placing a stacked plate holder on the countertop for added space.
  • Attaching more towel racks to the back of the door for storage.

Whether you decide to go the purely decor route or blend decor with reorganization or storage ideas depends on the size of your bathroom and what you need the most.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. 

Need bathroom decor inspiration?  Click here for dozens of ideas.

Steve Faye is a local South Shore Massachusetts Real Estate professional, helping buyers and sellers reach their dreams.   Call or email to find out more today!   617-372-1870  sfaye@cbzhomes.com

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The Top Five Trends in Smart Home Innovation

Coldwell Banker hosted a CNET-moderated panel on smart home innovation yesterday at the REAL Trends Gathering of Eagles Conference. These are the top five trends that emerged from it.

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Yesterday, Courtney Cochrane, global vice president of media sales and magazine publisher at CNET, asked some of the world’s biggest home innovators to define what they think constitutes a smart home. “It’s not the home of the Jetsons,” she said. “But it’s a home where I can invite people over, let a HomeBot vacuum my house, and sit back on the couch and read a book.”

This renowned panel, which included leaders from LG, Lutron, Nest, Sengled andTesla, spent the day together discussing what differentiates a smart home from a connected home, and how brands can achieve true integration.

The group then addressed the future home innovation to 300 of the leading real estate professionals in the United States at the REAL Trends Gathering of Eagles Conferencein Denver, Colo.

PANEL

It’s only a matter of time before the smart home – or the connected home – becomes a mainstay in the real estate market. And with 60 percent of real estate agents agreeingtheir buyers are asking for homes with smart home technology, that moment will be here sooner than you may think.

As smart home technology becomes more mainstream, we put together the top five trends to watch for smart homes in real estate.

  1. Smart homes will be the new normal. Homeowners will have batteries in their garage for their electric cars. Buyers will demand smart lighting, temperature and appliances. Smart technology is becoming more affordable and accessible, so it’s only a matter of time before it proliferates the market.
  2. Smart staging will reimagine home staging. Face it, smart home technology is really, really cool. Sengled makes a light bulb that streams your music. Nest knows what temperature the room should be at when you walk through the room. Listings with smart home technology are going to have an edge.
  3. Smart phones are your smart home remote control. “Do you have a smart phone?” Cochrane asked the audience. “Well then you have a remote control for your smart home.” She is right – and it’s a demand we’re already starting to see from our home buyers. According to our survey last month, 62 percent of real estate professionals say that buyers want to control their home from their smart phone.
  4. Brands will continue to integrate. “Products are going to begin to talk to each other,” said Ben Bixby, General Manager of Energy Products, Nest. The past year has been a major time of growth for the smart home market. New players are entering the space every day, and the industry is working to make all the pieces fit together.
  5. The smart home will become the connected home. You have smart products, like the French door refrigerator with smart cooling from LG, or the Caséta Wireless by Lutron. And then you have the connected home, which you can control from your smart phone. “The key is having appliances that make your life simpler,” said John Taylor, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for LG.

Original from Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

Making an Offer?

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When you’ve found a special house you want to call home, you’ll probably feel excited and a bit nervous. Let your agent know you’re ready to write an “offer to purchase,” which is a written document that declares how much you will pay for the home, provided that certain conditions are met.

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There is really no rule to use in calculating a realistic offer. Naturally, the buyer wants the best value and the seller wants the best price, but negotiations can be influenced by many factors, such as a seller who may be changing jobs and wants to sell quickly, or a buyer who really wants a specific home.

After you’ve looked at the home’s features, asked questions, checked comparable home prices and talked about it with your agent, you should have a good idea of what the home’s value is in the current market. Consider what you can afford, and make an offer that you consider to be fair.

It’s best to make your offer to the agent without sharing your willingness to offer a higher price if the seller does not accept your offer.

Your offer should have a time limit for the sellers to accept, reject it, or make a counteroffer. If a counter-offer is made, you’ll have some time to respond. Often, several offers go back and forth until an offer is accepted, or one party decides to end negotiations.

Because it’s a legally binding contract that you will sign and date, it may be a good idea to have a lawyer review it before you sign, or within the grace period noted in the contract. Your agent will help you through this.

During this time, you’ll also begin arranging for an inspection and applying for a mortgage.

When you sign an offer to purchase, your agent will ask you for earnest money—that is, money that shows you are serious about wanting to buy. Usually, you will be asked to write a check for 1% to 10% of the sale price. This money will be held in a special escrow account.

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If your offer is accepted, your earnest money will be included as part of your down payment. If your offer is not accepted, you’ll get back all your earnest money. But keep in mind that if you back out, you may forfeit the full amount.

Because the legal contracts and other paperwork involved in buying a home are complex, and can be confusing to the general public, many people prefer to work with an attorney. Your attorney will review contracts, make you aware of special considerations and potential problems, and can accompany you to the closing to help make everything go as smoothly as possible. If you don’t know a real estate attorney, ask your real estate agent for help. Agents work with many legal professionals every month, and can provide you with the names of several attorneys in the community.

Finally, you’ll also want to get an insurance agent—and the sooner, the better. Most insurance professionals have a lot of experience in working with homeowners, and can offer useful tips about homeownership, particularly regarding home safety and keeping your premiums low. Once you’ve found a home, work together to develop a homeowner’s policy that meets your individual insurance needs. You’ll need to bring evidence of a fully paid policy for your mortgage lender when you come to closing. We have professionals to help you with this, too.

Tracking your transactions online

Our HomeBase® transaction management system provides you with a safe, secure, user-friendly communication and documentation platform to keep track of your transaction, from start-to-finish.

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This dedicated, secure website stores your transaction-related documents so you can access them at any time, from anywhere.

  • Constant visibility into each step of the process transaction
  • Environmentally friendly, reduced-paper transaction
  • Convenient document retrieval during estate planning, renovations, financial planning or tax season

Your Coldwell Banker affiliated sales associate will help you get set up with a personal HomeBase system account when you’re ready.

I am here and ready to answer any questions you may have about this process!

Brilliant and Simple Low Maintenance Landscaping

Check out these tips on how to create an easy-to-manage landscape from HomeAdvisor.

How much time and money do you want to spend on landscaping? If it’s not a lot, steer away from water-gulping flowers and high-maintenance shrubs. Instead, look at creating a landscape with low maintenance plants that you can tend to on a biweekly or monthly basis.

Plants to Consider

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Find out more about buying / selling / maintaining real estate on the South Shore Massachusetts!
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Focus on adding plants that don’t require a lot of watering, pruning, trimming and mulching. Some to consider include:

  • Thyme
  • Daylilies
  • Hydrangea
  • Lavender
  • Roses
  • Peony
  • Hawthorn
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http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/

The key is to get more perennials than annuals, if possible, into your garden. Find varieties that will thrive in your local climate and the shading or sunlight conditions of the space. If you choose perennials that bloom from spring into fall, you can enjoy colorful blooms throughout most of the year.

Drought-tolerant perennials might be the best option if you live in a particularly hot climate. They’re good for keeping your water bills down and meeting any water restrictions during the summer. If you need more ideas for a low maintenance landscape, talk to a local gardener.

Additional Steps to Take

If you don’t have the budget or time to invest in a lot of new plants, focus on how you can rearrange or adapt the garden you have. Some options may be to:

1. Group plants of the same type: To cut down on watering, trimming and mulching time, group plants that need the same kind of maintenance. This lessens the amount of time and resources you need to spread across the garden.

2. Create borders: Building brick borders around your flowers and shrubs can create an attractive separation between the shrubbery and grass. This can be done professionally, or you can buy the materials yourself and do it over a weekend.

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http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/

3. Apply mulch: Laying mulch around your plants, and on top of the soil that covers their roots, keeps out weeds, helps them retain moisture, and adds to the natural nutrients they receive. Mulch can also be used as a decorative border.

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http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/

4. Install automatic irrigation: An automatic irrigation system will save you time watering the garden. The cost to install a sprinkler system averages between $1,900 and $3,300. You can program sprinklers to go off at certain times, which prevents you from having to replace dead plants down the road.

5. Consider rocks instead: Rather than spending money on high water bills and replacing plants every year, consider xeriscaping your yard. Rock gardens with a few plants spread out across them are just as beautiful, especially in drought-susceptible regions.

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http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/

Conclusion

Whether you decide to rearrange your current garden or spend a little extra money replacing some annuals with perennial alternatives, there are plenty of ways to create a low maintenance landscape that will save you time and reduce your monthly water bills.

Summer Selling

Is Summer a Good Time to Sell?

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Steve Faye at Coldwell Banker can help with all your Massachusetts Real Estate needs! sfaye@cbzhomes.com
http://stevefaye.cbintouch.com/

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With the spring selling season at an end and with so many taking their vacations during the summer months, we are often asked by sellers if they should take their home off the market until fall.  You may be surprised to learn that even though the temperature is rising and summer is the most popular time to leave town, the real estate market can be just as busy as spring. During this summer in particular, it may even be more profitable.

Though it is true that spring is the heavy selling season, this summer, there are plenty of buyers in the market right now who missed their opportunity to purchase their dream home during the frenzied months of spring.  There are many real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage who currently have qualified buyer clients ready to make a purchase decision, but who are interested in areas where listing inventory is limited.

    With historically less inventory in summer, there is a greater sense of urgency by buyers and some disappointment that their real estate dreams are out of their grasp. 

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Anxious buyers equal tremendous opportunity for sellers as there is less competition and more opportunity to get their home sold quickly and with very competitive offers.

To see if this trend is happening in the market you are interested in,  contact an affiliated Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales professional who can access information about recent sales, homes currently under agreement, and current homes for sale, and provide you with an analysis of how it impacts your real estate goals.

If you want to sell your home and fast, this summer is the perfect time to do it. I promise to ensure that your property is properly priced and positioned for this market.  With fewer sellers in the market during the summer months, be ready to move quickly.

If you would like more information about how to successfully market your property during the height of summer, please contact me at 617-372-1870 or sfaye@cbzhomes.com!