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Blog :: 10-2014

Tuesday Tip - 10 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Listing Agents

When choosing a real estate agent to help you sell your home, it's important to find one with proven expertise in selling properties in your area for at or above market value.  A lot of factors contribute to an agent's ability to get you top dollar for your home, and you want to make sure they're aggressive, committed and savvy.  Here are ten important questions you should ask when interviewing listing agents (keep in mind that all agents you're considering should come see your property before you decide to work with them):

-       How long have you been a licensed Realtor?

-       How long have you been working in this market?

-       How many homes have you sold in the last 6 months?

-       How many of these homes sold for list price?

-       Do you have any client testimonials?

-       Are there any improvements or repairs that you would recommend for my property?

-       What are the most marketable characteristics of the neighborhood where my home is located?

-       How are your marketing strategies different or more effective than other agents?

-       How, specifically, do you plan to market my home?

-       What particular features of my home do you think will be most appealing to buyers, and how do you plan to highlight them?

When shopping for a real estate agent, it's definitely not a one size fits all scenario.  An agent who has great experience selling colonials in the suburbs might not be the best fit if you're listing your condo in the city, so it's perfectly appropriate, and necessary, to keep asking questions until you are confident you've found the right person for the job.

For more information on finding the best agent for the sale of your home, feel free to reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty at 617-236-0353.  Of course, we'd love to be considered as your listing agent, but we'll also refer you to another agency if we think they have more experience selling your type of home.


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Tuesday Tip - How to Make a Small Space Feel Larger

Whether you're buying or renting in Boston, affordable square footage can be a hard thing to come by, so it's important to find ways to make the space that you do have feel more open.  Our friends at Trulia ( created a list of 7 ways to make your small space look bigger.

Do you have our own great tips for making a space feel larger than it is?  Share it in the comments section below.


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Tuesday Tip - Finding the Right Neighborhood in Boston

Location, location, location - that's the number one rule in real estate, but it's especially true when buying a home in Boston.  The city of Boston is distinguished by its eclectic mix of vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. From Back Bay to Charlestown to The North End, each area is charming in its own right.  Components such as architecture, food, and resident population create a unique personality and appeal to all of the Boston villages.

As a buyer, it is critical to spend a good amount of time in each neighborhood, both during the day and at night, to get a feel for the atmosphere and personality of each.  For example, The South End has a very particular and dynamic vibe that you might not find anywhere else in the city.  Some claim the South End to be Boston's version of Greenwich Village, with its incredible number of good restaurants, cafes, theaters, and shops.  For those looking for a more traditional feel, Back Bay is an appealing option with the gaslight lanterns lining Marlborough St and large brownstone homes along Comm Ave and Beacon.  The shopping on Newbury St is some of the most recognized in the country.  Venturing into The Fenway/Kenmore Square area, you will find plenty of activity.  With many colleges in the area, as well as Fenway Park, and a number of medical centers, these neighborhoods are experiencing a lot of growth.

Boston is home to an assortment of people, but pride in their city is a universal characteristic.  So while restaurants, local activities, and proximity to highways and public transportation are all important things to consider, make sure that the neighborhood you decide on is one that you will feel proud of calling home.  Afterall, the city will become your backyard, so you want to feel as comfortable outside your home as you do inside.  For more specific information on Boston's neighborhoods, contact the experts at Charles Realty who live, work and play amongst them all, 617-236-0353.


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Tuesday Tip: Preparing Your Home for Market

In today's real estate market, if you've got a nice home in a coveted area, it's likely to sell quickly, but here are some tips for getting your home ready to fetch top dollar.

First things first, remove all personal items.  When you've created memories in a home, celebrated holidays there, and marked your children's growth on the walls, sometimes you forget that prospective buyers won't feel the same nostalgia that you do.  So while you might think your perfectly arranged shelves of framed pictures and memorabilia are creating a "homey" mood for the buyer, it's important to remember that each visitor touring the property needs be able to visualize their own life fitting in to the space, not take a trip down your memory lane.  This is why it's important to de-clutter and remove as many personal items as possible.  In the kitchen, remove all pictures from the refrigerator and all large appliances like toaster ovens and coffee makers that take up valuable counter space.  Your potential buyers might be animal lovers but they could also be allergic to pet dander, so it's a good idea to remove dog beds, food bowls and any other signs of animals.  The same goes for high chairs and baby toys, which have a way of making a room feel very cluttered and small.

It's a difficult first step to start removing yourself from a home that you've invested much of yourself in, but it will make a big difference to prospective buyers.  That being said, if removing pictures from a wall will leave it discolored and vacant looking, it's better to leave them be.  The key here is identifying where your personal items add character to the home itself, and removing anything that might get in the way of the buyers imagination. Items left in a space should not be a distraction to the buyer.  They should leave remembering the abundance of counter space in the bathroom, not the line of skin care products you share in common.   If you have a hard time being objective about what should stay and what should go, contact a staging company or invite your realtor to assist you.  They are experts at creating spaces that are minimal yet inviting.  For more information on how to make sure your home sells for top dollar, call us at 617-236-0353.


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Tuesday Tip - How To Distinguish Yourself in a Multiple Bid Situation

There's no question that Boston real estate belongs to a competitive market.   As a buyer, it can overwhelming when you show up to an open house that looks more like the mall during the holiday season.  It's even more anxiety provoking when you realize that the home is exactly what you, and everybody else there, have been looking for.

Of course, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of coming out on top in a multiple bid situation.  The obvious recommendations, such as paying cash, waving financing contingencies, or increasing your initial bid are all great.  But these all require some monetary backing.  What if you don't have that option?

What can you do to stand out to the sellers of your dream house?  Here's a thought - many buyers will write a letter to the sellers and include it with their offer.  This in itself is a good idea, but not an original one.  Try submitting a letter to the seller several days before offers are reviewed, so they get to know you and have time to digest your words before the offer due date.  You know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words," well it rings true in this instance.  A picture of yourself or your family accompanying the letter is likely to engage the seller further.  This way they will be looking for your offer the day they are due.  True, your offer might not be the highest, but the seller may feel more connected to you, even if they later receive other personalized letters with offers, because they have had some time to think about your cute family and the words you put to paper.

In the end, money talks the loudest, so if the seller gets an offer that far exceeds yours, Shakespearean sonnets won't change their mind, but if they're deciding between a couple of close offers, the personalized touch - and the extra time they have to think about you and your story - will definitely leave an impression and distinguish you from other buyers.

For a complete guideline to seller correspondence and more tips on becoming a distinguishable buyer give us a call at 617-236-0353


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