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Buying an Older Home?

by Alisa Coyle

When searching for the next house to call home, there's a lot to consider. Opening your home search to older constructions can increase your options, however older homes may be harboring issues beneath the surface. Here are some things to consider (and have inspected) when purchasing an older home. 

 

Foundation and Structural Issues: Due to their age, older homes should be inspected thoroughly for foundation and structural damage. Cracks or unevenness in the foundation can lead to moisture damage, dry rot, corrosion, and shifting of the house. According to Safewise, "Foundation repairs can escalate to over $10,000, depending on the extent of the structural issues - and homeowners insurance won't cover these costs." If you suspect structural damage, be sure to have the building inspected by a licensed structural engineer. 

Electrical and Plumbing Issues:  Many older homes have their original plumbing and wiring, as updating these systems can be costly. Keeping the original knob-and-tube wiring or the original cast-iron pipes, however, can be a serious safety hazard. Old electrical systems can cause a fire, and old pipes can cause leaks or weak water pressure. 

Hazardous Materials: The older a home is, the more likely it is to contain hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead. Lead is commonly found in paint applied before 1978 and in plumbing installed before 1985. Asbestos can be found in gas fireplaces, roofing, and insulation that was installed before 1980. 

Outdated Heating and Cooling Systems:  Older homes were likely designed for oil, coal or wood heating systems and later retrofitted with newer HVAC systems, so it's important to understand when and how these upgrades were made. Even a more up-to-date heating system can be inefficient and unsafe if it hasn't been maintained properly. 

Houses with cooling systems are likely to be a bit newer, but outdated cooling systems are known to have their own issues.  Common problems with older AC units include improperly working fans, reduced efficiency, refrigerant leaks, and electrical problems. 

 

Termites and Bugs:  Depending on where the home is located, termites and other bugs could be a major issue. The National Pest management association claims that termites alone cause around $5 billion in property damage yearly. The older the home, the longer it has been exposed to the chance of infestations.

 

 

 

 

Home Buying Tip: Improve Your Credit Score!

by Alisa Coyle

When you’re looking to purchase a home, you know that you need to get your financial affairs in order so that you can get approved for a mortgage. One of the things that you will need to do to get your dream home is to make sure that your credit score is as high as possible. There are several ways to do this – which methods you use will depend on how much time you have before you want to purchase your home.

For those of you that are just in the starting stages of buying a home, raise your credit score by using a third or less of your available credit. In addition, ensure that you are paying your bills on time to eliminate negative marks for late payments. Hold off on opening new credit accounts or making large purchases until after your purchase is complete.

If you’re further along in the process, there is one more thing that you can do that might raise your score. Check your current credit scores and check for errors. Credit bureaus aren’t perfect, and you may be able to find and clear up a mistake. This could raise your credit score a few points, if any faults exist.

If you want more information about the mortgage process, call the Greater Boston Realty office and ask to be referred to a mortgage professional. We have many contacts in the West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain areas that will be able to help you on your journey.  And, of course, when you’re ready to look for your next home, we’ll be here for you!

 

1. You won't be the only listing for long
The top reason sellers have been in the catbird seat for the past several years? Inventory. There simply weren't enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. And when a "For Sale" sign did go up, you can bet a bidding war would soon follow.   "You might have been the only listing in your neighborhood, and you could put your home up at a certain list price and you would likely see multiple offers at or above that list price," Hale explains. That tide is turning this year, Hale says. That's because the number of homes for sale is finally increasing, albeit slowly. For now, buyers still outnumber inventory. But if you're thinking about selling and don't want to compete with your neighbors, it'll pay off (literally) to list earlier rather than later. (This is particularly true in pricier markets, where inventory is increasing at a faster rate than more affordable areas.)   "It's going to depend on what neighborhood you're in, but we expect it to be more common this year that you won't be the only listing," Hale says.

2. You still stand to make a 'handsome profit'
Home prices have been on a meteoric rise for the past seven years. In January 2012, the U.S. median home price was $154,700. Today, that figure has nearly doubled—to $289,300—and sellers have rejoiced.   Now comes a twist: 15% of all home listings saw price cuts in January, according to realtor.com data.   That might sound like bad news if you're thinking of selling. But hear us out: Those moderating prices, combined with today's mortgage rates (more on that below), mean increased buyer demand for your house.   Plus, it's not that home prices aren't still increasing—they're just not increasing at the frenzied pace of previous years, which often featured multiple offers at or above asking price, Hale says. So even though you might have some more competition as a seller, things are still looking pretty sweet for you when it comes to cold, hard cash.   "Even if you don't get an offer above your asking price, you're probably still going to come away with a handsome profit from being a seller in 2019," Hale says. But again, it'll pay to put your home on the market as soon as you can—before conditions change.  "Sellers who list their homes earlier in the year tend to get a higher sales price, often above list, and shorter days on market," says Ali Wolf, director of economic research at Meyers Research.

3. Mortgage rates are at a new low
Something strange has been happening over the past few months. Experts predicted mortgage rates would rise—and at the end of 2018, they were indeed ticking upward as expected.  But since the start of the year, rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage (the most popular home loan) have been falling, sliding last week to a new 12-month low of 4.37%.   And of course, those historically low mortgage rates mean you could have more buyers knocking on your door.  Plus, this temporary dip in rates creates an opportunity for trade-up buyers as well. After all, if you're selling your home, there's a good chance you'll need to buy another one.   Bottom line: Now's the time to hustle and get both transactions done.   "Sellers need to take advantage of low rates as much as buyers do," Wolf says. "Sellers don’t want to get stuck in their homes when rates go up and the math no longer makes sense to move." 

4. Millennials are flooding the market
Historically speaking, people tend to buy their first home around age 30. And guess what? We've got a whole bunch of people turning 30 in the next two years—nearly 5 million, in fact, according to realtor.com data. So you can count on those millennials to be a driving force in the housing market.  "Millennials want to own a home as much as prior generations," Wolf says. "We saw millennial shoppers scooping up homes in 2018—and 2019 will be no different."  What's more, Hale adds, is that you won't just be seeing demand from first-time buyers. Older millennials in their middle to late 30s have already owned a home for a few years, and could be looking at now as a prime time to trade up. "From a seller’s perspective, you’re going to have possibly more interested buyers," Hale says. "So that’s motivation to put your house on the market."

Source: Realtor.com

What is a Good Picture Worth?

by Alisa Coyle

When looking to purchase a home, the first thing that a potential buyer will often see is the online photos. This means that it is crucial that these photos on your home’s listing are as compelling as they can be. Thankfully, the real estate professionals at Greater Boston Realty have you covered. We will take professional photos of your home that will have buyers hungry to come visit in person.

As you prepare to sell your home, you must practice looking at it with a buyer’s eyes. Be impartial and make realistic decisions about how you should improve your property so that it will be seen in the best possible light.

Often, the first photo on your listing will be the front of your home. These exterior photos will be the buyer’s first impression of your home, so make them count! This may mean power washing the driveway and sidewalk, or planting some seasonal flowers for an added touch of color.

For the photos taken inside your home, your potential buyers will need to be able to envision themselves living inside the home. For optimal appeal, you should hide any personal items, including family photos. The more your home looks like a model home, the better your reception will likely be.

Looking for a Boston Realtor to help you sell your home fast and for top dollar? Look no further than Greater Boston Realty. Our agents will optimize your home’s listing and can give you lots of tips for what you can do to make sure that your home is ready to sell. For more information, call our office at 617-469-4040.

 

 

Preparing Your Home for Sale: Upgrades

by Alisa Coyle

Selling your home for top dollar is our mission here at Greater Boston Realty. We want to make sure that you get the selling price that you deserve for your Boston area home! One of the best ways to ensure that this happens (and that the sale also happens quickly) is to make a few upgrades to entice potential buyers.

Thankfully, the Boston real estate professionals at Greater Boston Realty can help advise you on what improvements should be made to your home prior to listing it in order to make it appeal to make it more ‘turnkey. Often, we recommend the following:

First and foremost, you should focus on fixing anything that has broken or worn down in your home. Fix any leaky faucets, replace worn cabinet hardware, etc.

Want a big bang for your buck? Look into a fresh coat of paint. Often, we recommend neutral colors since they have mass appeal to buyers. It’s also something that you can do as much of or as little of as you like – paint the whole house or just the one or two rooms that will make the most impact.

New buyers will do a double-take if they see that your home has new carpeting. Is there anything that a buyer likes more than a new fluffy carpet? Again, choose something neutral that will appeal to all buyers.

It’s important to remember, however, that every home is different. To find out what types of improvements we would recommend in order to help your home sell fast and for top dollar, call Greater Boston Realty today at 617-469-4040 and set up an appointment with one of our knowledgeable Realtors.

 

 

 

 

Pros and Cons: Hiring Movers or Moving Yourself

by Alisa Coyle

Moving can be a very stressful event when buying or selling a home. One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether you will spend the money to hire a professional moving service or rent a truck or van and take on the work yourself with a “DIY” move. Here are just a few of the points that you should consider for each:

Advantages to Moving Yourself:

The most advantageous part of executing a move yourself is the financial savings. Since you will be putting in the time to pack, load, transfer, unload, and unpack your belongings, you will save a lot of money by doing the work yourself. This is much more attainable for people with fewer belongings, lots of friends that are willing to help, and a short distance to move.

Advantages of Hiring Movers:

If you are willing to spend more and hire professional movers, you will gain the aid of experienced and insured movers that will take care of the manual labor involved in a move. In addition, if the movers pack your belongings, you will often be compensated for anything that is damaged during transport. Hiring movers is more expensive, but often significantly reduces the stress inherent in the moving process.

No matter which way you decide to get your belongings from Point A to Point B, you can rest assured that your home will be taken care of with the help of the real estate agents here at Greater Boston Realty. If you’re in the market for a premier real estate expert, call our office at 617-469-4040 now to schedule a free consultation.

 

What to Ask Yourself When Buying a Home

by Alisa Coyle

Before you start touring houses to find your perfect Boston area home, you need to know what you’re looking for. That’s why it’s important to gather anyone involved in the decision and determine the answers to these three questions. Once you have these basic guidelines in mind, it will be easier for your real estate agent to show you homes that suit your unique needs.

What type of home do you want? – Homes in the greater Boston area come in many styles, and your Realtor will need to know if you want a single-family home, townhouse, condo, etc.

What features are “must-have” in your home? – You probably have an idea of what you want but making a physical list can be a huge help for the home search process. Include the categories “must-have” “highly desirable” and “would like” as well as “cannot have.”

How much can you afford to spend? – You’ve likely been pre-approved for a mortgage, but the number that you’re willing to spend may be different. Consider how much you have for a down payment, what you want your monthly mortgage payment to be, as well as how much you will be paying for home insurance and home maintenance. Use these numbers to help determine your price range for your next home and let your real estate agent know your limits.

When you’re ready to talk to a Realtor about starting your home search, just call Greater Boston Realty at 617-469-4040. We can help you narrow your search and find the perfect Roslindale, West Roxbury, or Jamaica Plain home for you and your loved ones.

 

Spring is the Perfect Time to Sell Your Home

by Alisa Coyle

Spring has finally arrived here in Massachusetts, and that can only mean one thing: better weather is finally coming! As we prepare for it to be warmer and for the snow to melt, we also get ready for the real estate market to pick up. Many buyers have been putting off looking at homes during the winter, but they will soon begin to hunt for their dream home – could yours be ‘the one’ for them?

There are many reasons why Spring is the perfect time to have a home on the market. One is this: it is the time that most people start to look in order to purchase and be settled before fall – the start of a new school year. Families with children often want to move in the summer so that their kids’ school schedules aren’t disrupted like they would be in the middle of the year. This means that if you’re looking to sell a home with multiple bedrooms, you shouldn’t wait to list it!

Our experienced real estate professionals can help you with all of the preparations you will need to make in order to list your home as quickly as possible so that you can take advantage of the Spring selling season, like how to stage your home and what simple repairs you can make to ensure that your home is at its best.

If you want your home to be found by these springtime buyers that will soon begin to search for their new home, call Greater Boston Realty. We are a local Roslindale real estate agency, and we will help you list your home so that it’s seen by potential buyers. With this springtime lighting, it will be easy to make your home ‘pop’ in marketing photos! One quick call to 617-469-4040 is all it takes to start the process, so don’t delay.

 

 

Removing Stains and Keeping Your Carpet Fresh

by Alisa Coyle

Here at Greater Boston Realty, we give people advice on the best way to get their home ready to sell. We always recommend that a home look fresh and clean, and one of the best ways to make a good first impression on a potential buyer is with clean and stain-free carpets.

· Carpets should be vacuumed regularly to remove the everyday grit and grime that accumulates. To go above and beyond, use a carpet cleaning powder. These often help with set-in stains and eliminate odors.

· If something is spilled, take care to blot the stain to absorb the excess liquid. Don’t rub it in – this will only spread the problem and push it further into the carpet’s fibers. There are many household products that will help remove a stain if blotting alone doesn’t solve the problem. These include vinegar, club soda, and even shaving cream!

· Spot cleaning isn’t a long-term solution. Deep cleaning your carpets before you list your home on the market will ensure that it looks new when buyers come to tour. You have the option of purchasing your own carpet cleaner or hiring a local professional to do the job with their commercial grade equipment.

Want more advice on how to get your home ready for a showing? Read our blog post on being showing-ready and call our office at 617-469-4040 to learn more home staging tips. Our agents will help you sell your home for top dollar, so don’t hesitate – call Greater Boston Realty to tell us about your home!

 

 

 

How to Sell Your Home to Millennials

by Alisa Coyle

As Bob Dylan would say, “The Times They Are a-Changing” With the emergence of technology, the way that we live has changed so much over the last several decades, and the same is true with the way that we sell houses.

If you’ve got a home for sale in Boston, make sure that you are appealing to the interest of buyers of all generations, including millennials (those aged anywhere from 18-35). There are several ways to be sure that your home attracts a younger crowd, including:

· An updated kitchen and bathroom

· An open floor plan

· A focus on walkability and transit options

· Flooring and countertops that are easy to maintain

· A home office or multifunctional space

· Outdoor patio or well-tended backyard, ready for a social gathering

· Access to amenities (like a gym and laundry facilities) whether in-home or nearby

· “Smart” things and other technology upgrades

· Energy efficient upgrades, with a solid home energy score

And while it doesn’t necessarily pertain to the house itself, another way to attract millennial buyers is to hire a real estate agent that can speak their language. Marketing materials for your home should include well-staged, high resolution pictures, as well as references to the items in the above list.

In addition, communication should be early and often for every buyer, especially those of younger generations who live life in the fast lane, and will often get frustrated if they feel ‘out of the loop.’ If you’re looking for a real estate agent with experience selling to buyers of all ages, call Greater Boston Realty at 617-469-4040.

 

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

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Greater Boston Realty
2012 Centre St.
Boston MA 02132
617-469-4040