A common thought in real estate is “never list your home in the winter offseason”. This thought is perpetuated by industry experts, agents and repeat sellers alike, this saying encourages many would-be sellers to wait until the spring peak to list their homes. However, studies show that homes listed in the winter offseason can at times not only sell faster than those in the spring, but sellers can also net more above their asking price at this time.1 Don’t wait until spring to sell. If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, here are five compelling reasons to list now.
1. Take advantage of low inventory. Since most sellers are waiting until spring to list, local inventory falls during the offseason. However, there are still motivated buyers who are ready to move now and don’t want to wait that long to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 55 percent of all buyers purchased their home at the time they did because “it was just the right time.”2 These eager buyers may flock to your home. You may not need to try as hard to make your home stand out in the sea of other similar homes. With less competition, more buyers, some of whom may have otherwise overlooked your home if you listed during the peak, will express an interest to buy. While you’ll likely have fewer showings in the offseason, buyers who do visit will be more serious about writing an offer. Your home will likely sell faster than it would have during the peak season.
2. Set a higher listing price. Homes sold during the offseason can sell at a higher price, on average, than those sold during the spring and summer peak. There are many reasons for this. First, motivated buyers are willing to pay closer to the asking price for a home. Second, homes are more likely to be priced right and reflect the economics of not only the local market, but the neighborhood as well. Often, homes listed during the peak may be priced to compete with other homes in the area and neighborhood. Sellers may be pressured to sell for less than the list price in order to encourage buyers to choose their home out of the others on the market.
3. You’ll receive more attention. If you need to hire a tradesperson to handle routine maintenance or undertake a minor home renovation before you list, you may be able to take advantage of flexible scheduling and cheaper rates. Many of these professionals experience a winter offseason as well, and will be able to focus their time and attention on you and your project.
4. Easier to maintain curb appeal. Curb appeal is intended to attract the buyers who are just driving by as well as those who saw your home online and wanted to see it in-person. It sets the stage for what interested buyers can expect when they step foot in the home during a showing or open house. If you list your home during the peak of the selling season, you may exhaust your time your energy maintaining curb appeal. You’ll likely spend most of your free time mowing the lawn, weeding, trimming shrubs and hedges, planting flowers in pots and in flowerbeds, pulling spent blooms and watering it all to ensure it looks lush and healthy on a daily basis. After all, a lush landscape will attract potential buyers and set your home apart from other similar homes in the area.
The offseason eliminates the pressure to maintain a picture-perfect front landscape. Since most grass, shrubs and plants go dormant at this time of year, you’ll have less to maintain. If you live in an area that experiences a traditional winter, your landscape will be covered with snow. Even if you live in a milder climate, you may not have to mow as often, if at all. It’s still important to ensure your exterior appears well-tended, so make sure your walkway and front porch remains free of snow, ice and debris.
5. Tap into the life changes of buyers. Many buyers receive employee raises and bonuses at the end of the year. If they’ve been saving to buy a home, this extra money may allow them to reach their goal for a down payment and put them on the path to becoming a homeowner. Additionally, companies often hire new employees and relocate current ones during the first quarter of the year, creating a strong demand for housing. If you live in an area that’s home to a large company or has a strong corporate presence, this may be the perfect time to list.
Are you thinking of Listing in the Offseason? 3 Things we recommend you do Before You List
Get your home ready to list by following these tips.
1. Schedule maintenance. Buyers, especially first-time buyers, want a home they can move into right away; they don’t want to repair the roof or the furnace or replace windows with blown thermal seals before they move in. Do the scheduled maintenance and make repairs before you list your home for sale.
In some cases, it may help to have an inspector do a pre-inspection of your home. A pre-inspection will make you aware of any major, potentially deal-killing, issues that will have to be addressed before you list. It also gives you an idea of minor issues that a potential seller may want repaired. Overall, it helps you to accurately price your home and may protect you from claims a buyer might make later.3
2. Create light. Balance out the lack of natural light outdoors by turning the lights on inside. Since people naturally tend to buy emotionally, turning on the lights helps create a sense of warmth and coziness. Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one, fill your home with the scents of the season, such as vanilla or fresh baked cookies, and put a throw blanket on your sofa.
If you plan to paint the interior of your home before you list, consider an off-white shade to create consistency throughout your home and make the space feel larger and brighter. If you have photos of your garden or the home’s exterior in the spring or summer, display them so interested buyers can get a glimpse of what the home looks like in other seasons.
3. Give your home a thorough cleaning. Cleaning puts your home in its best light. Clean and polish all the horizontal surfaces of your home, including countertops, window sills and baseboards; have the curtains dry cleaned or otherwise laundered; wash windows, glass doors and their tracks; vacuum carpeting and polish all wood surfaces, including the floor.
Additionally, this is a great time to pack any personal items and family photos as well as sort through your belongings and donate items you no longer use. This not only eliminates any clutter, but it also gives you less to pack and move when you sell.
If you’re thinking of selling, give us a call! We’d love to help you position your home to sell in our market.
Sources: 1. Time, October 30, 2015
2. National Association of REALTORS, 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
*Please click on image for your complimentary printable Spring Cleaning Checklist
The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the weather is finally beginning to warm. Why? Because springtime is here! and whether you plan to sell this season or simply want to enjoy a clean home, our spring cleaning checklist will help you tackle your most daunting projects. Commit to completing three tasks every day and by the end of the month, your house will shine like brand new.
Spring Cleaning Checklist Part 1: The Preparation
Buy your favorite cleaning products: You won’t be excited to embark on your cleaning extravaganza with a five-year-old bottle of windex and half empty bleach. So head to the store and stock up on essentials.
Make appointments in advance: Planning to get your carpets professionally cleaned or hardwood floors refinished? Just be sure to schedule your appointments ahead of time as to not interfere with your personal cleaning agenda.
Create an upbeat playlist: Spring cleaning should not be liberating for just your home, it should also be a cathartic experience for yourself. Let decluttering feel good! Create a playlist of your favorite songs to keep you motivated and on task.
Replace your linens: After months of dark and dreary whether, brighten up your home with fresh linens. Replace heavy curtains, blankets, and comforters with a lightweight alternative and your home will feel cleaner immediately.
Throw it away: Haven’t worn it in six months? Haven’t cooked with it for over a year? Get rid of it! Even better, donate it! Take some advice from decluttering expert Marie Kondo and toss away items that no longer “spark joy” in your life.
Spring Cleaning Checklist Part 2: Mistakes To Avoid
Failing to plan ahead: We’ve already discussed the importance of having a plan, so just do it. Don’t waste your time flailing from one project to the next, completing only half of each one. Be specific. Plan out which rooms you’re going to clean, on which day and in which order. (Pro Tip: Tackle the hardest rooms first)
Avoiding the deep clean: In the fashion of true spring cleaning, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty if you want results. Don’t avoid those hard to reach areas like ceiling fan blades or under the fridge. When you do it right, you’ll feel accomplished.
Hasty scrubbing: If you want all of your expensive cleaning products to reach their full potential, you must live by the mantra: spray and walk away. Shower mold, mineral deposits, dirty grout and rusty appliances are not impossible to clean. Just be sure to use your products as directed and let soap soak into your surfaces before scrubbing.
Cleaning windows on a sunny day: Cleaning windows is a must to fulfill an authentic spring cleaning ritual, but if the sun is out, save this project for another day. Window cleaner dries far quicker in the heat, resulting in streak marks across your glass, no matter how hard you squeegee. So before tackling this task, wait until the temperature drops below 65 degrees.
Spring Cleaning Checklist Part 3: The Clean
The kitchen, also known as the heart of the home, goes through a lot of wear and tear. From expired food, to gnat infested cabinets, this room deserves a thorough scrub down.
Remove the contents of every cabinet and drawer. Wipe down both the inside and outside of each space with detergent and a warm cloth. Organize and replace items back in their designated spaces.
Deep clean cutting boards.
Remove crumbs from toaster.
Clean microwave and stove.
Dust any displayed china.
Dust light fixtures, blinds, ceiling fans, and window sills.
Scrub the stove.
Sweep and mop floors.
Wipe down counters
Shine faucet, sink, and clean the drain.
Reseal grout if necessary.
Pro Tip: Start from the top and work your way down to avoid having to re-mop floors as a result of settling dust.
Because so much moisture is trapped in your bathroom on a daily basis, the room is a breeding ground for mold. Not to fear, your floor to ceiling clean will stop mold growth in its tracks.
Scrub mirror with glass cleaner.
Remove all items from vanity and scrub insides with detergent.
Replace items back in vanity in an organized fashion and discard expired medicines and products.
Clean toilet bowl
Remove lid and set from toilet to scrub around seat bolts.
Spray anti-mold cleaning agent on shower doors and walls.
Dust vent covers.
Clear sink and shower drain.
Clean window sills.
Sweep and mop floors.
Wash towels and bathmat in hot water.
Pro Tip: Keep a squeegee in your shower year round to prevent mold growth and mineral deposit build-up to simplify next year’s spring cleaning.
From the master bedroom where you spend a majority of your time to the guest room that receives little to no attention, bedrooms collect dust mites and deserve a full overhaul.
For each drawer: remove items, dust, replace drawer liner, organize items and return nicely to their dedicated spaces.
Donate items you no longer use.
Launder bedding in hot water.
Sprinkle baking soda on uncovered mattress, wait, and vacuum.
Air out mattress pad.
Vacuum under bed and behind dressers.
Clean out closets.
Pro Tip: If you are uncomfortable using harsh cleaning products in your most intimate spaces, consider going “au naturel” with a DIY cleaner. A lemon juice and salt scrub or a vinegar and water mixture will get the job done.
Vacuum dust from baseboards and scrub trim.
Vacuum spider webs from corners.
Deep clean carpets and rugs, refinish hardwood floors, and shine tile or linoleum surfaces.
Dust window screens.
Vacuum, sweep, mop (In that order).
Spot clean walls.
Dust art and light fixtures.
Replace welcome mat.
Clean upholstered furnishings.
Ensure fire safety by changing the batteries in smoke detectors.
Pro Tip: As you clean, make a list of things you notice you need or that need to be fixed (i.e. out of flour or a chip in the banister). Don’t look at this list until you have completed your entire spring cleaning.
Good luck and happy cleaning!
*to receive a complimentary printable Spring Cleaning Checklist please click on picture above
With the holidays now in full swing, you may be evaluating or re-revaluating how much to give to charitable causes and where to donate. These are highly personal decisions and are many times influenced by our financial circumstances, life experiences or personal connections to particular causes.
Do you donate your TIME, MONEY or BOTH?
Keep in mind that any donation be it time or money is a good thing and will give you a great feeling inside because you are performing a good deed. When you are donating though you want to make sure that your hard earned money and valuable time are going to make a difference. Evaluating charities can be a daunting task because there is so much information to peruse. Charity Navigator is a well known organization, which provides descriptions for many different charities and grants result based ratings to each one. Volunteer Match is another great online tool to navigate you to the volunteer opportunities that are available in your local area.
Tis the season for giving so here are some ideas that you can commit to this year:
Volunteer for a service organization
Adopt a family to give gifts and food
Help a neighbor decorate their Christmas tree
Volunteer to help at a community holiday dinner
Donate items to a food pantry
Donate blood or plasma
Give a friend a hug
Visit the elderly
Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-through
OR JOIN US AT FARRELLY REALTY GROUP FOR OUR ANNUAL WRAPPING PARTY!!!!
Giving is always near and dear to our hearts here at Farrelly Realty Group but it is especially important at this time of year. Our special charity event is to help the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families provide gifts to families in need to have Merry Christmas! Please consider signing up for item or picking a child to shop for at http://bit.ly/2018WrappingPartySignUp , and then join us on Sunday December 16 for a festive wrapping party to help bring the holiday spirit to life. If you can't stay for the party, you can feel free to dropped the wrapped, tagged gifts off that day, or reach out to Geri Farrelly at email@example.com to arrange another time to drop them off.
Date: 12/16/2018 (Sun.)
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Location: Kitty's Restaurant (back room) 123 Main Street, North Reading
The holidays are a happy time for celebrating with family, friends, and co-workers. Unfortunately, this time of year can also be turned sour by a wide variety of clever frauds, unauthorized debit and credit card transactions, and bogus person-to-person scams. By the end of 2015, individuals, retailers, charitable donors, and companies were victimized to the tune of $1.5 billion… and that number is expected to continue to increase.
Just as you protect your home with an alarm system, you should set up defenses for your credit and identity. During the holiday season, fraudulent activity spikes, but here’s how to protect yourself from the eight most common scams.
Big Data Breeds Data Breaches
Big data during the holidays is great for marketers; it's a bonanza of consumer information to use to lure shoppers to Black Friday deals and the like. However, while companies wrangle in the chaos of holiday orders, scammers search for weaknesses in a company's cyber-security. According to a top executive at one of the leading credit bureaus, “Data breaches are inevitable and most consumers are vulnerable to identity theft… especially during the holidays.”
The best way to reduce your risk of data breaches is use cash for all your purchases. According to a survey by TransUnion, however, only 20 percent of shoppers plan to pay with cash. If you're part of the 80 percent using plastic, use a credit card instead of a debit card. You have more purchase protection using a credit card than a debit card if a data breach occurs or fraud happens.
Other protections from data breaches include:
Using a low-limit credit card for online purchases so you can detect fraudulent activity.
Utilizing services like PayPal to lower the risk of your card information being lost at the retailer.
E-commerce is great for holiday shoppers… but it's also great for thieves. Last year, Insurancequotes reported that 23 million people had packages stolen at their front door!
To prevent this from happening to you, have your packages delivered to your office or delivered to a pick-up area such as a UPS store or Amazon Locker. You can also set up tracking notifications so that you know when to expect delivery.
And while you’re waiting for your packages, be on the lookout for this scam: a note on the front door saying you have a package waiting for pickup. The note asks for a call, often to a pricey number that leaves you on hold for a long period while they collect premium phone rates, or it leads to a person asking for details on your personal information to “verify your identity.” If the note isn’t from a shipper you recognize, or if the Googled number isn’t found, don’t get involved.
Online Shopping Scams
The big brother of package thievery is the online shopping scam. Phony online stores lure shoppers in through searches and online ads, enticing you with low-priced, high-quality items. These “bargains” cost you not only money, but also hours of time trying to fight the fraudulent transaction. To put salt in the wound, once these websites nab your personal information, they often also infect your computer with malware that compromises your login to your online bank.
To avoid the pitfalls of the fake online merchant, only purchase from retail names you know and trust. You could also Google the site and look for reviews. Yelp is a legitimate site for reviews as is the Better Business Bureau. Before you make a purchase online, double-check that “https” appears in the URL, which signifies that the site has passed stringent security compliance standards.
Poisonous Holiday E-Cards
E-cards are popular during the holidays because they’re a free, fun, and easy way to catch up with friends and family members. But beware because it's just as easy for scammers to use fake e-cards to steal your personal information. A lot of fake e-cards you may get are from your hacked address book or the hacked address book of someone you know. At first glance, the card may look legitimate, but once you open it, you've been phished.
The only way to avoid this from happening is paying attention to detail. The number one tell of a fake E-card is any kind of misspelling. The URL will have a subtle misspelled word or your friend's name is misspelled. Usually the misspelled word will contain a number: T1msmith@comcast.net for instance.
ConsumerAffairs is reporting a huge spike in fake apps. Scammers are using fake retail and product apps found in Apple's App Store to steal unsuspecting consumers' financial information. Many of these thieves rip off company or brand logos to make the fake app look real. So before you get that convenient retail or product app, make sure it's legit.
Just as with fake e-cards, fake apps will seem normal until you start looking at the details. Before you download that convenient retail or product app, make sure you check for the following:
A nonsensical description
No history of previous versions
Gift Card Scammers
Scam artists skim or copy the codes on the back of gift cards before they're bought. After the card has been activated, the scammers drain the card's funds.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of compromised gift cards, buy gift cards displayed behind store counters, make sure preloaded cards are still loaded, and make sure the protective scratch-off strip is flawless.
During the holiday season we all feel an extra sense of giving. Grifters and thieves play on this sensibility by creating false charities and hitting you up on Twitter, Instagram, and in your e-mail inbox.
There are online resources to help you verify the legitimacy of charities. The website Charity Navigator is a non-profit organization that rates over 8,000 U.S-based charities operating throughout the world. Another way to get free reviews and evaluations on national charities is through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
You'll probably hit the mall this holiday for some in-person price checking, and you'll probably have your smartphone, laptop, and/or your iPad with you. Please be careful because skimmers and scammers love to manipulate Wi-Fi signals in places like malls and coffee shops to gather your financial information. These people create Wi-Fi signals that mimic the signal you use, then hack your info when you connect to it.
To protect yourself from Wi-Fi manipulators, just don't make online purchases with your credit or debit card when you're in a public space.
Who Should You Turn To?
If you catch the trouble soon enough, credit or identity fraud can be an inconvenience. If you don’t, however, one instance can have long-term impacts. If, for example, someone bought an appliance using your name while you were trying to refinance your mortgage, then you might not get approved for the loan!
If you’re curious to know if you’ve been affected, or if you know your credit is in disrepair and need help fixing it, please let us know so we can refer you to our recommended professionals.