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North Reading Town Day - A Fun Community Event Not To Be Missed

North Reading Town Day LogoBeing a homeowner has so many wonderful benefits. From financial -- building equity and capitalizing on tax deductions -- to creating a space that you're proud to call your own. Perhaps the most important benefit (that can often be overlooked) is the sense of community that comes along with homeownership. When you purchase a home, you have an opportunity to develop friendships in a new neighborhood, get involved in town or community causes, shop at local businesses and take part in all of the fun community events that take place throughout the year.

As representatives for the area, we make it our business to know the ins and outs of what's going on in and around North Reading and the surrounding towns. One of our favorite events is the Annual North Reading Town Day hosted by the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce.  

This annual event brings the community together just before summer vacation season, and features local businesses and organizations, free entertainment, kids’ activities and great food. Last year's event included pony rides, bounce houses, a climbing rock wall and a bike parade. The event is a true community gathering and celebration of everything that North Reading has to offer.

Bike Parade Pony Rides North Reading Town DayBounce House

 

prize wheel

 

 

 

 

Kids Workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join us this year at the Second Annual North Reading Town Day at Ipswich River Park on Sunday, June 3rd from 11 am to 3 pm.

More information about Town Day can be found on the Chamber website or by calling 781-664-9207 or via email at: townday@rnrchamber.com.  

Let the countdown to summer begin!

 

11 Things in Your Home That Gross Out Potential Buyers

Kid making gross faceNowadays staging your home for potential buyers is a must-do. Experts suggest thinning furniture to make rooms look bigger, removing family pictures so potential buyers can imagine their family in the home and trimming back overgrown trees to ensure your home has curb appeal.

But the devil, of course, is in the details — and the follow-through. Your house is not expected to be in catalog condition, but potential buyers won’t forgive some frankly disgusting stuff that you might have overlooked in your haste to pretty things up.

With some expert help, we've gathered the top issues in your home that are causing you to unwittingly gross out your potential buyers. Some of these problem areas are quick fixes, while others will take a little more planning and effort to resolve. Start addressing the ick factor now and you'll be wowing your buyers in no time.

1. Dirty bathrooms

OK, this one shouldn't come as any kind of surprise. But just in case you didn't already know, your unkempt bathroom is really grossing people out.

Rings around the tub, orange grime on the corners of the shower floor and toothpaste spit in the sinks are not just visually unappealing, but also make potential buyers wonder how well the house has been maintained. It’s crucial to keep everything pristine while your house is on the market.

Pro tip: After cleaning and sanitizing your sink, tub, and toilet, run a microfiber cloth along your baseboards to catch any dust that's almost certainly collected there.

2. Water stains

Water stains on the ceiling or moldy, rotting wood around the windows is guaranteed to be gag-inducing (and have your potential buyers wondering what other moldy grossness is lurking in your walls just out of sight). Fix stains — and fast.

The key here is repaired — not concealed. Concealing problems will open up all kinds of problems later.

3. Your shower curtain linerShower Curtain

You know what we're talking about: Nobody wants to see your discolored or mildewed liner when they take a peek at the shower to evaluate where they will, you know, get clean.

Toss your liner into the washer with a cup of vinegar and a few towels; run a short cycle for five minutes, then let everything soak for an hour. Complete the wash cycle and hang the liner up to dry. Or better yet, skip the mocha lattes for a couple of days and splurge for a new liner.

4. Pet hair

Nothing says "buy our home" like tufts of dog hair floating across your living room tumbleweeds-style. An easy solution: Vacuum daily. If you're strapped for time (or just plain lazy), invest in a set-it-and-forget-it robotic vacuum.

If you get a call about a potential buyer who wants to view the home say, in the next five minutes, tap into this trick from cleaning pro Lily Cameron, at One-Off Cleaning Services: Grab some rubber gloves and run them over the surface you want to clean (like your couch).

When rubbed against fabrics, rubber generates a lot of static electricity, so it will quickly gather all the pet hair on your upholstery. Some of the most popular rubber items that will do the trick are gloves, shoes and even balloons — which are a particularly entertaining way to get your kids involved.

5. Carpet in the dining room

This one is a real gem. How clean can a dining room carpet be when food is constantly falling on it?

Granted, if you have wall to wall carpet you probably don't want to deal with it right at this moment, but if you have an area rug under the table, save yourself the time and effort of cleaning it every day and just remove it. In fact, stagers will love that solution as the room looks bigger without the rug!

6. Carpet in the bathroomCarpet In Bathroom

Even worse than food in the carpet is, well, the kind of stuff you'd find in the vicinity of a toilet. Plus, carpeted bathroom floors are a breeding ground for mold and mildew, due to the room being a high-moisture area.

Unless you've splurged on mildew- and stain-resistant carpet (which will likely be lost on your buyers, anyway), rip up your fuzzy flooring, pronto.

Carpet in general can be a source of problems, especially if you own pets and prospective buyers have allergies or asthma.

7. Fuzzy toilet seat covers

We can't believe this is still a thing. But alas, here we are, and guests will certainly be grossed out for all the same reasons as above. These things are germ magnets, given their proximity to the throne. Banish them and don't look back.

8. That Squatty Potty

They're all the rage, but let's be honest: These toilet stools, which promise "a royal squatting experience that simply can't be imitated," carry with them some rather explicit associations.

They have a medical-device and unsanitary look that makes people think of hospitals, senior citizens centers, and, well, other unsavory connotations. Children's potty chairs, while more colorful, create the same impression.

Your best bet? Hide 'em before your home is shown.

9. Old sponges and the likeDirty Sponge

Old sponges won’t instill your potential buyers with confidence that your home is clean and well kept and should most certainly be tossed after a week or so of use anyway. Hide all cleaning cloths when potential buyers are around.

10. Your slow-draining shower

Believe it or not, many buyers like to turn the water on in the bathroom to make sure everything is in working order. If your drain is clogged, invest in some Drano or hire a plumber to investigate the source of any backup.

11. Sticky cabinets

Our experts tell us that tacky (as in sticky) cabinet surfaces —typically the result of grease buildup from months and years of cooking — are a major cringe-inducer for potential buyers.

Make sure to wipe down not only your countertops, but also the your cabinet fronts and the top of your hood range before potential buyers view your home. And prevent future gunk by replacing the filters in your hood regularly and using your stove's fan (and/or opening windows) when frying food.

The bottom line - gross is never good when you are trying to sell your home. Paying close attention to those little details can make a big difference to potential buyers and how quickly your house is sold.

Six Community Events To Get You Out And About This Spring

Spring Save The DateAfter another long New England winter, it’s finally starting to feel like spring. The kids are outside riding their bikes and you can take the dog for a walk without getting bundled up. Flowers are blooming in gardens around North Reading and lawns are greening up even in suburbs north of Boston. The warmer weather is always a welcome change and it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy some fun community events.

One of the wonderful things about being a homeowner in North Reading and the surrounding area is being part of a tight knit community. Whether you are new to the area or a long-time resident, there is never a shortage of fun local happenings. Check out some of our favorite events taking place this spring.

1. Mother’s Day Brunch Picnic and Lilac Festival - Sunday, May 13th, 10am to 1pm

Get outside with your family and celebrate Mom. Enjoy brunch, live music and lawn games. This event is held at Stevens-Coolidge Place (137 Andover St.) in North Andover.

2. Hornet Hustle - Sunday, May 20th, 8am Kids Fun Run, 9am 5K Race

Calling all runners and walkers. The Hornet Hustle 5K is a great way to get active with the entire family. Proceeds from the event support the North Reading school’s physical education programs. The race starts at the third meeting house on the common (134 Haverhill St.) in North Reading.

3. 14th Annual Small Business Golf Tournament - Monday, May 21st, 7am to 1pm

Hosted by the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce, this fun golf tournament is a great way to kick off golf season and do a little networking. The event is held at the spectacular Thompson Country Club in North Reading and a portion of the proceeds are donated to support the business curriculum at both the Reading and North Reading High Schools.

4. Giant Yard Sale In The Park - Saturday, June 2nd 8am to 2pm

Time for some spring cleaning? Clean out your garage or basement and shop for some great deals. The yard sale is held in Andover at the Park on the corner of Chestnut and Bartlett Street.

5. North Reading Town Day - Sunday, June 3rd, 11am to 3pm

2017 was the inaugural year for this fun, free family event held at Ipswich River Park. This year's Town Day is going to be even bigger and features entertainment, food, games, giveaways and local vendors.

6. Reading Friends and Family Day - Saturday, June 16th,10:30am to 3pm

This annual community event is hosted by the Reading Lions Club. The event is a free and a fun way to kick off the summer. The event features food, games, local vendors, giveaways, entertainment and fireworks in the evening.

There are so many fun and exciting activities happening right in your backyard. Get out and explore, have some fun, support some local causes, meet like-minded people and take advantage of all that the Reading-North Reading and surrounding communities have to offer. Happy spring!

Six Reasons To Consider Downsizing

Big Home and Small HomeThe kids are grown and out of the house, retirement is on the horizon and suddenly your home feels like a pair of shoes that are two sizes too big. Could it be time to downsize your home?

For some people, the idea of downsizing may not sound appealing at first, but it’s important not to confuse downsizing with downgrading. In fact, a closer look at downsizing reveals that a smaller home may feel more like an upgrade.

1. Bigger is not always better

For some, moving up in life means buying a larger house, but typically it comes with  larger mortgage payments and more square footage to maintain. If you currently own a large, older home, moving into a smaller home could mean new construction with little maintenance and lower mortgage payments -- not to mention newer appliances, large open spaces and walk-in showers.

2. Work smarter, not harder

Let’s face it, homeownership is a lot of work. As most homeowners know, there is always something that needs updating or maintaining. The more rooms there are and the larger the yard is, the more time, effort and upkeep are required to keep your property in tip top shape. And if you raised a family in your home or own pets, your home can show quite a bit of wear and tear. With a smaller home and less acreage, there are fewer rooms to paint, less outdoor maintenance to stay on top of and more time for relaxing on the porch with a drink and your favorite book.

3. Save money

Ok we admit, this is probably the first thing that came to mind when you started to think about downsizing. But, have you thought about just how much money you could actually save? Decreasing your mortgage payment could allow you to pay off bills or car payments faster and increase contributions to your retirement account. And a condo or smaller home could reduce your utilities costs, property taxes and insurance. And here’s the best part … if done right, you could use the proceeds from your current home to pay cash for your new home and eliminate a mortgage payment all together -- and maybe even have some left over!

4. Declutter once and for all

A larger home means room for more “stuff” -- and we have a tendency to accumulate. Grown children often leave their childhood bedrooms and playrooms filled with discards; collections from long-ago hobbies overflow in basements and closets. Even the most organized home owners can struggle with keeping a home decluttered. Downsizing to a smaller home is the perfect time to simplify your life by donating or disposing of all those unused items that have taken residence in your home over the years.

5. Less stress

Tired of shoveling snow, cleaning out your gutters, or dealing with a broken water heater? Downsizing to a condo or townhome is a way to eliminate some of the worry in your life. Condominium or Home Owners Association fees typically cover maintenance items like snow removal, roofs, pest control and lawn care. Large complexes often have recreation facilities which can enable you to save on gym or swim club memberships.

6. More fun

Today’s condo and townhouse complexes are full of social activities and even spa-like amenities. Myriad groups and clubs help you to meet other residents and establish yourself in your new neighborhood quickly. With walking trails, fitness centers and community activities, your new home could feel more like your favorite vacation spot.

Ready to reap the benefits of a smaller home? Contact us to get started. We are happy to help you downsize into some of the best years of your life.

Home Buyers Reveal: What I Wish I Had Known Before Buying My First Home

first home keysLove. Terror. Giddiness. Teeth-gnashing desperation. Buying your first home involves so many emotions. And like so many other milestones in life, you won’t fully understand the impact until you live through the process yourself.

In an effort to clue you into some of the challenges you'll face as a first-time home buyer, we asked some folks who've already gone through the ringer to spill what they wish they'd known earlier ... tips that would have saved them a ton of time, effort -- and tears. Here's hoping their 20/20 hindsight will smooth your path to home homeownership.

Even if a home looks perfect, it has problems

It's easy to fall hard for a recently renovated house that looks like it’s in absolutely perfect condition. Beware, a home inspector may find a laundry list of issues -- and that's a good thing. For instance, while a new hardwood floor may look beautiful, if it’s not installed properly you could find abnormal gaps, debris in the finish or sanding blemishes. And the same goes for the kitchen appliances – just because they are installed does not mean they are working.

The takeaway: No matter how nice a home looks, a home inspection is the only way to make sure you aren't buying a lemon. The last thing you want to discover after you buy is a major problem that could have been identified early on. You don’t have to ask the home seller to make repairs before taking ownership, but you do need to know whether you should proceed with the purchase or not.

Step away from the computer

Some sage advice: "Stop Googling, move away from the computer and into the real world.”

Sure, online research serves a purpose, but if you're serious about buying a home, it’s not until you get pre-approved for a mortgage that the home-buying process gets real. Money talks.

The takeaway: You can’t get pre-approved by plugging in simple numbers on a mortgage calculator. You need an experienced lender who will take a detailed history and require documentation of your assets and income. This is the only way you'll establish that you qualify for a mortgage and for how much.

Never miss a deadline

You found the perfect condo and your offer was accepted, so you want to celebrate. However, your lender informed you that the closing process would take about two months, and within those 60 days, you have a hefty to-do list.

Struggling to keep up with the copious paperwork can make it tough to remember all essential appointments and complete paperwork on time. But you must.

The takeaway: Buying a home requires you to stay on top of your to-do items, especially during the escrow process where there may be penalties for missing a deadline. One of the key to-do's is the three-day requirement to send in your deposit. Miss that and you may miss out on the deal.

Choose a lender you like

Finding a good lender is imperative. Shop around for someone who is professional, returns emails and phone calls in a timely manner and gets things done quickly so you don’t miss deadlines.

The takeaway: A lender can make or break a deal, so choose wisely. One of the main things to look for besides the loan rate is the responsiveness of the lender. They need to move fast or the deal may fail.

Summon reserves of patience

While hunting for your first home you may submit numerous offers on different properties - all of which may fall through.

This can be a major disappointment and it may be difficult to be patient. But sooner or later you will find the perfect home. As inventory can be scarce, working with a realtor who's "in the know" about upcoming listings can help the process. For example, sometimes contractors do work on a home before it hits the market. This can be a great opportunity to purchase a house before it is even listed.

The takeaway: It’s tough not to get disheartened while house hunting. Competition is fierce, and you need to prepare yourself for the long haul. You may need to adjust your criteria so more possibilities are opened up. In the meantime, keep making those offers. One of them will get accepted eventually.

Buying your first home is life-changing, exciting and challenging, but remember you are not in it alone. Learn from the mistakes of others, do your homework, and try to enjoy the road to homeownership – all the ups and downs will be well worth it in the end.

If you are ready to take the plunge and purchase your first home, please contact us, we are happy to help!

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