selling

Holiday Festive vs. Show-Ready House?

‘Tis the season for holiday lights, Christmas trees, Chanukah menorahs, wreaths and yards filled with inflatable holiday characters. Yes, the holiday season is here.

If your house is for sale during this time of year, you may wonder if decorating your home will hurt your chances of selling. While we don’t suggest you deck the halls, it is possible to fulfill your desire to decorate while ensuring your home is show-ready and enticing to prospective buyers.

1. Keep It Simple

This is the year for decorating restraint. Too much decorating can be overwhelming for a prospective buyer and detracts from your curb appeal. Add some outdoor holiday flair with an elegant wreath on the front door, garlands or white candle lights in the windows.

Follow the same approach inside. If you have a Christmas tree, use simple white lights and a few tasteful decorations. Try to stay away from the popsicle stick ornaments your preschooler made and opt for a more classic and simple choice like colored glass balls, stars or snowflakes.

2. Keep Religious Preferences in Mind

Christmas may steal the show this time of year, but Christmas may not be the holiday your prospective buyers are celebrating. HGTV recommends “equal opportunity decorating.” Try an elegant approach with winter-themed decorations. For instance, add a poinsettia as a centerpiece on the dining room table or Nutcracker decorations on the mantel.

3. Think Warm and Cozy

Baby it’s cold outside! Make your home a place that prospective buyers don’t want to leave. Light a fire or turn up the heat. Nobody wants to walk around your home while shivering. Better Homes and Gardens also suggests creating a cozy vibe with throw blankets (they can add a pop of color) and rearranging furniture to focus on the fireplace.

4. Respect the Senses

The smell of apple cider candles or peppermint candies might get you into the holiday spirit, but it could be off-putting to a prospective buyer. We recommend the smell-free approach. Create an inviting mood in your home with a few festive decorations and a thorough cleaning instead.

5. Make Clean Up Easy

The Christmas tree may be beautiful, but the shedding pine needles aren’t. Consider forgoing the tree this year, or if a Christmas tree is a must, perhaps it's the year for an artificial tree.

Clutter is also a big “don’t” and makes clean up more of a chore. While it’s fun to display holiday cards from family and friends, they can quickly take over your mantel, making your beautiful fireplace look like less like a focal point and more like an overstuffed turkey. Read the cards and box them up rather than displaying them this year … it will leave you with one less thing to tackle when your house sells.

There you have it - with simple and neutral décor, your house can be show-ready and festive this holiday season … and gift you a “sold!” home. 

Pro Tips to Protect Your Home from Snow and Ice

Let’s face it, winter in New England can be brutal. With blizzards, nor’easters and freezing temperatures, this time of year is tough not only on you, but on your home too. Safeguard your home and property from snow, ice and cold temperatures by heeding these winter weather precautions.

Avoid Ice Dams – Tips from The Spruce

  • Keep gutters and downspouts free of dirt and debris.
  • Use a roof rake to remove the lower four feet of snow from the roof edge (rake carefully so you don’t damage the shingles).
  • Eliminate additional heat in the attic by ensuring that recessed lights and duct work are properly insulated.

Dodge Frozen Pipes – Tips from Bob Vila

  • First and foremost, never turn the heat off if you leave the house for an extended period of time. Bob Vila suggests leaving the temperature set to 55°F.
  • When temperatures are below freezing, relieve pressure and keep the water flowing by turning faucets on just enough to drip.
  • Pipes located near the garage are more vulnerable to colder temperatures, so be sure to keep garage doors closed.  

Protect Trees and Shrubs – Tips from Better Homes and Gardens

  • Resist the urge to shake snow and ice off tree branches – this can cause limbs to break. Instead, prop up branches with stakes to avoid breakage.
  • Consider wrapping shrubs and trees with burlap or canvas to serve as a wind barrier (and for those near paved areas, to protect from salt damage).
  • Use mulch to protect tree roots and soil from extreme temperatures.

Steer Clear of Damage to Your Driveway and Walkway – Tips from This Old House

  • Take it easy with the shovel. Aggressive shoveling can cause asphalt to chip.
  • Rock salt can cause damage to concrete; to avoid corrosion, use calcium chloride instead.
  • Gravel driveways and walkways are tricky. Keep shovels and snow blower blades at least one inch off the ground to avoid disturbing the stone.

More Snow and Ice Must-Do’s

  • Snow, mud and ice melt can really do a number on hardwood floors. Protect your floors with doormats both inside and outside, and use a waterproof tray for wet footwear.
  • Clearing outside vents of snow and ice after a big storm should be a top priority - and make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working.  
  • Save your front yard from being torn up by the snow plow by installing snow markers along your property line before the ground freezes.

Unfortunately, New England winters can take a toll on your home, but taking the proper measures before, during and after a big snow storm or a deep freeze can help evade major damage.

Farrelly Earns CRS from Mass. Residential Real Estate Council

Geralyn Farrelly HeadshotWe are proud to announce ...

Last week, The Residential Real Estate Council (RRC) announced that Geralyn Farrelly, Broker/Owner of Farrelly Realty Group, has completed the necessary course work and examinations to earn her certificate from the National Association of Realtors as a Residential Specialist. 

CRS designees are more successful than the average realtor, making up only three percent of all realtors nationwide. Along with completing the course work and exam, a candidate needs to have completed 150 transactions or an average of $1 million per year of experience, with a minimum of 40 transactions and a minimum of 10 years of experience. 

The council's education is recognized as the best the real estate industry has to offer. Achieving the CRS designation is the mark of the true professional - a real estate agent who has gone above and beyond to become the most knowledgeable, experienced, and connected. 

"In today's real estate market it is imperative that we continue to learn and to be in tune to this rapidly changing market," said Farrelly. "I felt it was very important for me to acquire this designation to best serve my buyer and seller clients, as well as my staff."

Please join us in congratulating Geri on her Residential Specialist certificate! For more information about the CRS designation -- or if you have any questions about the real estate market, feel free to contact Geri. 

Odors - Silent But Deadly For Home Sales

PigEwww … what’s that smell? While most of us will refrain from voicing such a thought in a public setting, it’s easy to envision a small child blurting out the accusation.

Aromas can leave a potential buyer with a negative impression and a memorable smell that might make them think twice about purchasing the home.

A smell can be overwhelmingly nostalgic, triggering powerful images and emotions before we have time to edit them. The scent of fresh baked apple pie may remind you of your long-deceased grandmother or a certain perfume may remind you of a girlfriend from 30 years ago.  

The sense of smell is one we often take for granted. We tend to focus on what we can see, touch, taste and hear. But in real estate, just as seeing ants in a home will turn off a buyer, so will experiencing a home that smells of cat urine or cigarette smoke.

So how do you make a home smell like somewhere buyers would want to live?

Neutral smells sell

Providing a neutral canvas allows buyers to imagine their life in the home. A strong odor in a home that doesn’t fit their lifestyle can ruin the entire scene. The best smell for a quick-selling home is no discernible smell at all.

How to create an odorless home

When exposed to an odor for a lengthy period of time, what once may have registered as an obtrusive scent turns into one that no longer registers as offensive.

This phenomenon, known as “nose-blindness,” is a real thing and much more than just a gimmick to sell more air freshener to those that are stinky-scent paranoid. So as a home owner, you may have become nose-blind to your home's odors. 

Odor control may be one of those uncomfortable conversations that needs to be had between an agent and seller before the home listing becomes active.

According to a survey done by the housekeeping channel, the top five worst odors in a home include (in order) the smell of rotting garbage, pet smells, mold, body odor and tobacco. Luckily, some of these odoriferous issues have an easy fix.

Garbage

Smelly garbage can? Take out the trash and scrub the container thoroughly with a strong cleaner. A simple (and obvious) action that usually resolves the problem. While the house is on the market, make sure trash gets taken out more frequently to prevent this unwanted smell.

Body odor

A bedroom that smells like a post-game locker room for the New England Patriots is not going to help a house sell. Thorough cleaning, swift removal of dirty laundry and a set of charcoal odor absorbers for each pair of often-worn shoes will help avoid this offensive smell.

Mold

Moisture-induced problems are often more difficult, as they cannot be combated without determining and remediating the source of the moisture -- which may not only be time consuming, but also a expensive.

Often mold remediation companies, structural engineers and home inspectors can be great resources for determining the cause and the appropriate treatment, depending on the scope of the problem and the types of mold and other potentially aggravating allergens.

What all odors have in common is you must remove the source of the stench first; otherwise any other steps are a waste of time, money and energy.

Pets

These issues can be tough, because when it comes to our pets, most pet owners are not willing or financially able to board their four-legged family members while their house is on the market.

What to do? Be more diligent about grooming Fido, brushing Fifi and scooping out Frisky’s litter box. Consider washing "well loved" dog toys and beds also, as they may be adding to the odor problem. 

For odors that permeate carpet and upholstery, a sprinkle of baking soda can be very effective. Let it sit and then vacuum with a HEPA filtered vacuum. This solution can work wonders. However, if the carpets have pet damage, both the carpet and pad may need to be replaced. In addition, the subfloor may need to be treated or even removed.

The nose knows. The moral of the story is to figure out what's causing any odors in your home and resolve the issue;  don’t try to mask odors with scented candles or freshly baked cookies. 

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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.