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Home owner advice

REAL first time buyer advice from ACTUAL Homeowners

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Interest rates are low, inventory is low, there is an abundance of buyers in the market looking for a deal AND we are in the middle of a pandemic!    This makes the home buying process intimidating even for a seasoned home buyer let alone a first time buyer.  BUT,  do not be afraid!  It is a great time to buy and we can guide you through [...]

5 Reasons to Sell Before the Selling Season Picks Up

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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

            3. Forbes, August, 27, 2013

 

 

Top 6 Home Organization Upgrades that “Spark Joy” for Buyers and Improve your Property Value

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The hit Netflix series “Tidying Up,” has made home organization a hot topic right now.  At Farrelly Realty Group we see an actual link between the hot topics inspired by these tv shows and what actual buyers in our market expect to see in the homes for sale.  It makes a difference! The "Tidying Up" host, Marie Kondo, encourages her viewers to minimize their possessions and keep only those items that “spark joy"  just as the Farrelly Realty agents advise their clients on the items that "spark joy" for the buyers in the market.

With spring in full bloom (finnally!), now is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning and add organizational systems to your own home. Not only will you clear out clutter, your efforts can actually increase the value of your home.

Ready to give it a try? Here are six home organization ideas that will “spark joy” for you, your property value and potential buyers if you are looking to sell.

Boost Bathroom Storage Capacity

When was the last time you cleaned out your bathroom cupboards? If it’s been awhile, remove everything and take a look at each item. Toss any old or expired products—keep only what you actually use.

If your vanity has drawers, add drawer organizers, so you have a dedicated space for smaller items, like makeup and jewelry. For deep cabinets, install roll-out shelves or baskets to maximize the use of space.And don’t forget about the walls! Mount open shelves to store towels. If you’re short on storage space, a cabinet over the toilet can offer additional room for supplies. These inexpensive additions can make your morning routine a little easier while giving your bathroom a more custom feel. And on average, minor bathroom remodeling projects like these see a 102% return at resale.1

 

Upgrade Your Laundry Room

Sort through the items in your laundry room and throw away or donate anything you no longer need or use. If you’ve been holding onto a collection of old washcloths and single socks, it’s time to say goodbye. Then give your laundry room an upgrade with some customized organizational features.

A mix of open cubbies and cabinets with doors will give you plenty of options for storing detergents and supplies. If you have space, a divided hamper or set of laundry baskets can provide a place to sort your clothes before washing. Install a hanging rod or drying rack for delicates and a flat work surface for ironing and folding clothes. With a few simple tweaks, you can turn this chore into a score!

Fully Utilize Your Basement or Attic

Basements and attics can easily become a dumping ground for clutter. If that’s the case in your home, you know what to do!

Once you’ve conducted a thorough clean out, think about how you can better utilize the space to meet your family’s needs. Install cabinets and a table so you can use the area as a craft room. Or you could turn it into a game room with a media center and ping-pong table. Investing in your basement will not only add function for your family, but also the average basement remodel can see up to a 70% return on investment when it’s time to sell.2

If you have an attic, consider adding a cedar closet to store your off-season clothing. The cedar lining will keep your clothes free from moths and smelling fresh year round.3 Turning your attic into a more usable space will pay off down the road, too. A finished attic sees an estimated 60% return on investment.2  

Customize Your Closets

Cleaning out the closet is a chore most of us dread, but by now, you’re a pro! Get rid the clothes and shoes that don’t fit you, are uncomfortable to wear, or that no longer “spark joy.”

Then it’s organizing time. So where do you start? You’ll want to create a designated space for each type of clothing: high hanging rods for dresses and long jackets, lower rods for skirts and shirts, and shelves for folded items like jeans. And accessories need a place to go, too. Add racks for your shoes, drawers for jewelry, hooks for hats, and shelves or racks for handbags.

A well-equipped closet can be a major draw for buyers—the average return on a closet remodel is 57%.4 But more importantly, it’ll improve your day-to-day life. Surveyed homeowners gave their closet remodel a “Joy Score” of 10 out of 10, higher than kitchen or bath upgrades.5

Install Built-in Bookcases and Cabinets

Built-in furniture adds functionality and storage to a room while giving your home a high-end look. Built-in bookcases can turn an empty room into an office. Custom cabinets can be used in a living room to display media equipment while providing hidden storage for DVDs, board games, and family albums.

When designing any built-in feature, remember not to go too custom. A design that only fits your tastes or belongings could turn off future buyers. Instead, select standard sizes and classic finishes to appeal to a broad range of buyers when it comes time to sell.

Equip Your Garage

If you can no longer fit your car in your garage, it may be time for a clean out. Similar to an attic or basement, the garage can quickly become overrun with clutter. A thorough cleaning will help you assess which items are worth keeping.

When adding organizational systems your garage, start with a small rack to store yard tools and larger racks for bikes and sports equipment. Overhead racks are a great place to put seasonal items and bulky luggage. A workbench against a wall lined with pegboard and hooks creates a dedicated space to use and store tools. If you have children or pets, add a cabinet with a lock. This will give you a place to securely store harsh chemicals and sharp tools. With a little effort, you’ll be pulling in your car (and buyers) in no time!

SPRING INTO ACTION

If you’re searching for service providers to help with your spring cleaning or home organization efforts, let us know! We can connect you with our trusted network of local home improvement professionals.  In addition to the WHO to hire there is the COST of these upgrades and renovations to consider.  Should you use a credit card or your home's equity?  One in three homeowners use at least one credit card to fund home renovations, typically in combination with other forms of payment.  Creditcard.com has created a comprehensive guide to help homeowners compare the funding options that may be at their disposal, such as home equity loans or HELOCs.  Their guide breaks down the pros and cons of using these options in comparison to a credit card to help readers more easily finance home renovations. 

Before you start any home project call us to help you determine which organizational upgrades or renovations will add the most value to your home!!   Call an FRG agent today (978)664-3700, we can help!

 

 

Sources:

 

  1. HGTV -
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/top-home-updates-that-pay-off-pictures
  2. Nationwide -
    https://blog.nationwide.com/valuable-home-improvements/
  3. HGTV -
    https://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/maximum-home-value-storage-projects--attic
  4. The Closet Doctor - https://www.closet-doctor.com/news/what-is-the-return-on-investment-on-closet-organizers

 

A homeowner's Best Friend ~ The Spring Cleaning Checklist!

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*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

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.
  • Sharpen knives.
  • Deep clean cutting boards.
  • Remove crumbs from toaster.
  • Clean microwave and stove.
  • Shine silverware
  • Dust any displayed china.
  • Dust light fixtures, blinds, ceiling fans, and window sills.
  • Scrub the stove.
  • Sweep and mop floors.
  • Wipe down counters
  • De-grease backsplash
  • 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.

The Bathrooms
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.
  • Wax bathtub.
  • Shine faucets.
  • 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.

The Bedrooms
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.

Everywhere Else

  • Open windows
  • 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.
  • Sweep porch.
  • 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

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