Blog :: 2015

Tuesday Tip - 3 Reasons to Sell Your Home in January

There was once a time when only the most desperate of sellers would list their home in January.  And for good reason - cold weather means less traffic at open houses, people are still getting themselves situated after the chaos of the holidays, and homes have much less curb appeal without blooming flowers and growing grass.  But, and it's a big BUT, there are several factors that significantly outweigh the disadvantages of putting your home on the market at the first of the year.  

First, the vast majority of "typical" sellers would still prefer to list their home in the late Spring or Summer months, when the sun is shining and the school year is over.  During these months, there will likely be a number of comparable homes on the market in your neighborhood or school district, giving buyers options, or in other words, leverage.  If you have a flexible timeline and don't need to work around the school year, then putting your home on the market in January enables you to take advantage of a supply-and-demand balance that's skewed in the opposite direction for much of the year.  

Second, buyers have SO MANY virtual resources for viewing a home and gathering information about it, that in many cases they formulate a strong opinion about a home before they ever even see it in person.  Sure, there are some real estate photographers who can perform small miricals with lighting, angles and editing software, but for the most part, buyers have access to such a plethora of information, photos and virtual tours of homes, that few walk into a showing expecting something completely different than what they see.  This is helpful to sellers listing in January for a couple of reasons.  First, it makes open houses less important, which is great because buyers become much less motivated to spend the day walking through the city from open house to open house when it's rainy and cold.  Second, it helps sellers rectify the issue of minimal winter curb appeal, as sellers can use listing photos that are taken in Summer months - giving the buyer an idea of the homes seasonal potential.  

Third, the holiday season can make people reflect on their life and establish goals for the new year.  Home ownership is a common and reasonable goal for many, and one that can often be made more attainable by financial opportunities that present themselves around the holidays - bonuses, inheritances, gifts from family members, etc.  People also have a tendency to examine their finances during this time, and are more likely to consider the tax implications of home ownership, and the financial disadvantages of renting.  

Today's serious buyers have been looking at homes online every day for months.  They check sites like Zillow and Trulia multiple times a day, get listings sent to them through email or by text, and have their finger on the pulse of the local real estate market.  So use the low inventory of the winter months to your advantate.  Buyers are out there and you have a better chance of them finding you, and not your neighbor, before the barrage of listings hit the market in April. 

For more tips on how to get the best offers for your home, or for other general real estate advice, feel free to contact our experts at www.thecharlesrealty.com.  

 

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    Tuesday Tip - How To Select A Paint Color That Will Attract Buyers

    When it comes to exterior painting and decor, some people have vibrant, artsy and eclectic taste, but most don't.  So while picking unique paint colors is a great way for a homeowner to express themself, it's not a great way to get the (positive) attention of potential buyers.  When selecting a paint color for the exterior of your home, AOL Real Estate offers several helpful hints that will give you the right curb appeal and help attract more buyers.  

    - Drive around your neighborhood," suggests color expert Jackie Jordan from Sherwin-Williams. "Get inspiration that way."

    - Think about your part of the country. "There's definitely regional color," Jordan explains. Spicy tones might work in the Southwest; tropical areas might be more used to a little blue. But with more and more transients landing in new places, some newcomers do not necessarily adapt to their new neighborhood. Some take their style with them from one part of the country to another.

    - Earth tones abound. Cream, beige, light green and light brown are all good choices. They're soft, neutral and easy on the eyes.

    - Take a look at new construction in your area. Builders of new construction have done their research, so they know what colors appeal to the masses.

    No matter what color you pick for the exterior of your home, there's one thing you musn't neglect - the front door!  And if you do want to add a little flare (but not too much), this is the place to do it.  Stay consistent with the style of the house (contemporary, Craftsman, etc.) but a little pzazz might be just the right touch!

    For more tips on how to attract buyers and get the most for your home, visit previous posts on our website, and feel free to connect with our experts!  

     

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      Tuesday Tip - 13 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

      Winter is on it's way, and with it will come frigid temperatures, gusts of wind and biting storms, not to mention astronomical heating bills.  Heating costs are expected to be lower this year than they were last Winter, but will still be a considerable expense for those living in New Enlgand.  So, now is the time to make repairs that will keep you warmer this winter and make your home more energy efficient.  Today's Tuesday Tip comes from AOL Real Estate and offers 13 hacks to winterize your home while also trimming your heating bill

      Fore more advice on real estate, home improvement, and making your house a more comfortable space for you and potential buyers, feel free to reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.  

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        Tuesday Tip - 4 Reasons Not to Overprice Your Home

        When selling your home, one of the most important, and hardest, decisions you will make is how to price it.  Many people want to test the market and see if they get lucky with a buyer whose desperate to live in their neighborhood.  Others have lived in the home for many years and have a nostalgic attachment that makes them unrealistic about what their home is worth to others.  Regardless or the situation, sellers must be very thoughtful about the price they decide on.  Here are some of the top reasons not to overprice your home:

        - Your target buyers won't even see your listing.  Even a home that is overpriced by $10,000 will likely be missed by many prospective buyers, as price is generally the first parameter they'll use when conducting their search.  If your home is valued at $450,000, but you want to list it at $460,000 so that you'll have some room for negotiations, any buyer that also wants to land at $450,000 will miss your property because your asking price will exceed the maximum price they've set in their parameters.

        - You'll waste the critical first 30 days on the market.  The best chance you'll have of selling your home will be in it's first 30 days on the market.  This is when a home will get the most attention from buyers and when you'll have the most leverage. Homes that are listed for longer are often seen as stale, and most buyers won't even bother to schedule a showing because they'll assume something is wrong with it.  Once a house is stale, not even a dramatic price decrease can give it the appeal it would have had if it were listed at the right price from the start.

        Your high price could make buyers more likely to purchase from your neighbors.  If a buyer sees your high-priced home, they'll think they're getting a much better deal by purchasing your neighbors more reasonably priced house.  In an apples to apples comparison, they might like your home better, but everyone likes to think they're getting a deal.

        Your appraisal won't match your high list price.  This is a big problem for buyers who are working with a lender (and most of them are).  If the appraisal price comes in lower than the price you and your buyer have agreed on, they won't get the mortgage, and unless they can pull together enough cash to cover the difference, you'll have to put your house back on the market at a lower price point.  

        If you're looking to sell your home you've likely been keeping an eye on what other sellers in your neighborhood have been asking for their homes, but the best way to pinpoint the perfect asking price is to talk with a knowledgeable agent who has experience selling in your area.  For more information about quickly selling your home, or to learn more about the agents that specialize in your neighborhood, feel free to reach out at 617-236-0353 or through our website.  

         

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          Tuesday Tip - Wallpapering 101

          Good news for pattern lovers and those looking for new ways to add a little flare to their home, wallpaper has made a comeback!  BUT, just because wallpaper is all the rage in the here and now, doesn't mean that it will be here to stay or that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.    So, it's critical to be thoughtful about the pattern and material you select, and to consider the long term.  You might be in a particularly bold or funky mood, so a chartreuse owl pattern may seem like a great idea, but will you still feel connected to the look in 5 years, or 10?  Also, will future potential home buyers be turned off by it, or by the thought of removing it (we all have or have heard a wallpaper removal horror story, so chances are they have too).  Plus, even though there have been some advances in the manufacturing of wallpaper that have made it easeir to hang, it can still be a daunting project for even the most seasoned do it yourselfers. 

          Bottom line, wallpaper can be a good look, but it can also be tricky, so today's Tuesday Tip offers some great advice for tackling your first wallpapering project.  Thanks to the Zillow blog for sharing this important information! 

          For more advice on the top decor trends of 2015 and how to master them, or for general real estate advice, reach out to one of our experts or visit our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

           

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            Tuesday Tip - The 3 Best Home Improvement Projects for a $5,000 Budget

            Awhile back, we wrote a post about the best places to invest $10,000 if you're remodeling.  Today's Tuesday Tip offers three good home improvement suggestions if you have half of that budget.  It comes to us from AOL Real Estate, and focuses on serious functional and aesthetic upgrades that can be made for only $5,000.

            For more ideas on how to add value to your home and make it a more functional living space, feel free to reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.  

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                Tuesday Tip - A New Way to Quickly and Easily Pay for Parking in Boston

                There's not a single Boston resident or frequenter who hasn't, on at least one occasion, wished that parking in Boston was just a bit easier.  Well hallelujah, because today's Tuesday Tip is about a new app called Park Boston, which offers modern mobile payment for street parking in the city.  It's easy; just download the app, create your account, enter payment information and start effortlessly parking all over the city (as long as you can find a spot, that is).  If you don't have a Smartphone, you can sign up through park.boston.gov, or you can dial 617-635-2729 to pay by phone.  

                When using Park Boston, the meters will still say "EXPIRED" but don't worry, parking enforcement officers will have a live feed of your parking session, so they'll be able to see that you've paid.  

                ParkBoston will be rolling out it's service throughout the city, so start looking for the decals, and don't forget to make note of the zone number you're in, which will be displayed on signs and meters.  

                For more tips about living and loving Boston, visit our website or feel free to reach out to one of our experts.  

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                  Tuesday Tip - 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding Which Boston Neighborhood to Call Home

                  Last October, we wrote this blog post about the importance of selecting the right Boston neighborhood to call home.  As we mentioned, they all have distinctive attributes, and some characteristics that one home buyer might find charming will be the same things that turn another buyer off.  So, we've put together this list of 5 questions you should ask yourself when evaluating which of Boston's neighborhoods will be right for you:

                  -Do you need a parking spot?  It's well known that in Boston, some parking spots can cost as much as a small apartment, so if you're definitely in need of direct access parking for your car, you have to be very selective about what neighborhoods you're looking in.  You're best bet for finding a place that includes a parking spot is in the Back Bay.   There's a lot of on street parking for residents in the South End, and garage spots that you can rent or pay for monthly, but there are very few private spots available.

                  -Are you open to some street noise?  Some people find street noise to be comforting - even when you're alone you're never alone.  Others find it to be distracting and bothersome, especially if they have young children.  Neighborhoods like Kenmore Square and the North End are likely to have more noise as there are a lot of busy streets, restaurants, and event venues.  If you're looking for a quiet retreat in the heart of the city, Beacon Hill is a good choice, as the streets are narrow (meaning less heavy, speeding traffic) and many of the restaurants and shops are confined to the same area.

                  -Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or are you more drawn to new development?  It's no secret that Boston has it's fair share of historic homes.  In fact, the majority of homes in Boston were built hundreds of years of ago, though almost all have been renovated to stay competitive with the market.  That being said, there has been a TON of new construction in Boston lately.  If you're looking for historic charm, Beacon Hill is again great option, as well as the Back Bay.  For a more modern feel, check out the brand new and highly anticipated Millennium Tower in Midtown, the SOWA section of the South End or one of the many new buildings in the Seaport.

                  -What is your current community lacking?  Are you sick of having to get in your car and drive 10 minutes to the closest good restaurant?  Are you looking for more greenspace for your kids or your pooch?  Take some time to think about why you want to move to a new neighborhood, and what you'll be spending most of your time doing once you're there.  For an abundance of good restaurants, shopping and nightlife, consider The South End.  If you and your dog love to hang at the beach, perhaps South Boston is a good option, as you'll have quick and easy access to dog friendly Castle Island.  South Boston is also a good choice for young families; in addition to Castle Island, there are a number of other kid-friendly activities and a strong sense of community.

                  -How far are you willing to commute?  Do you walk to work, drive or take mass transit?  Most neighborhoods in Boston have easy access to public transportation, and as a whole Boston is a very walkable city (Walk Score recently ranked Boston the No.3 most walkable city in the country). However, some neighborhoods are certainly more walkable than others, specifically The North End, Beacon Hill and Downtown Crossing.  If you're planning on using your car a lot and don't have a parking spot or a small fortune to devote to parking tickets, make sure you pick a neighborhood that has plenty on street spots without meters.

                  We've said it before and we'll say it again: Boston is a unique, dynamic city with a diverse population and a range of living options.  Whether you're drawn to the big city bustle, the restaurants, the architecture or the ease of getting around, if you're choosing to live in the city it's likely because you have a very specific reason for it.  So, make sure you end up in exactly the right neighborhood by asking yourself the right questions and working with an agent that has an intimate knowledge of the city.  For questions about a specific neighborhood or to connect with one of our experts, give us a call at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

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                  Tuesday Tip - How to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

                  Summer is starting to wind down, but that doesn't mean all of the sweltering days are behind us for the year.  Today's Tuesday Tip offers 10 Hacks for Living Without AC, and it comes to us from AOL Real Estate.  Summer in the city can be tough without the reprieve of air conditioning, but hopefully these tips will help you stay cool!

                  For more tips on city living, and for general real estate information, feel free to reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

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                  Tuesday Tip - How to Organize Your Garage to Add Value to Your Home

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                  Today's Tuesday Tip features guest blogger, Stephanie Hanson, from Garage Storage Pros of MASS, who shares insight into how to best organize your garage if you're looking to add value to your home.  Here's what she has to say:

                  "When you hear the words, "Add value to your home," what do you think of? Maybe your mind wanders toward finishing a basement, replacing carpet for hardwood, or even adding landscaping. A lesser-known way to add value to your home is through having an organized garage.

                  It's true! Having a system in place for garage organization can make your home more desirable, and worth more. It could mean that someone is willing to pay the extra $5,000 you are asking for your home. In fact, Freshome named it one of the fifteen best ways to increase the value of your home. So let's roll up our sleeves and get started.

                  First, you're going to want to clear out the clutter in your garage. That means getting rid of the stuff you don't need or use anymore. Some people find this step overwhelming. If that's you, consider hiring a professional garage organizer to help streamline the process. If you're someone who feels bad about getting rid of perfectly good items that you just don't seem to use anymore, just donate! Many people will appreciate putting your item to good use.

                  Next, it's time for planning. Once every item is out of your garage, and you've discarded any unused items, you can decide on a garage layout that would be most beneficial. If you're planning on living in the home for a few more years, ask yourself what purposes your garage serves. Is it a catch-all? A workshop? A long-term storage facility, or a place you park your car? All these questions will tell you what types of materials you'll want to organize your garage with.

                  Most people consider cabinets and shelving, equal. That's not the case! Each piece of storage equipment is designed to solve a specific storage problem. Shelving is great for frequently used items, because they can be accessed quickly. Cabinets are great for items that are hazardous, or unsafe or children, because they aren't as easy to access. Overhead storage is ideal for long-term storage items because it keeps them up, and out of the way.

                  If you're getting ready to sell your home and are just looking to add the most bang for your buck, go for cabinets and flooring to add a sleek, professional look to your garage. Epoxy floor coatings are great because they can hide dirt, cracks, and stains on your concrete. Premium cabinets that match your epoxy flooring will tie the room together give you tons of storage space.

                  If you're in the market to sell, or just want to make your home a little nicer, consider how updating your garage will help."

                  Garage Storage Pros of MASS is a garage storage and organization company for homeowners in the Cambridge area. Visit their website here, for more information.

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