STEPHANIE RIO MACFARLAND | Reading Real Estate, North Reading Real Estate, Wakefield Real Estate



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Home feeling a little dull? You can clean and liven things up in a single day, and make your home into a welcoming, comfortable oasis. Whether you are coping with outdated decor, too much clutter or just need to liven things up, this list can help you pull things together quickly. You'll be guest ready in no time, and able to fully enjoy your home when you take the time to refresh things occasionally. 

Start with a quick cleanup: You don't need to clean everything, but removing items from counters, corralling clutter and vacuuming can go a long way towards making the space look fresh and clean. Give yourself and your helpers an hour to throw away trash, outdated items and to put things away and you'll have a great base to work from. 

Check the season: If you are still rocking 4th of July decor in November, your home will look a little dated. Remove items that are not in season and replace with ones that are -- if possible, decorate for the holiday or season that is on the way and you'll get the most impact from your time. 

Add flowers: Pick up a live plant or fresh flowers to display to instantly brighten and freshen up a room. 

Add scent: Your space impacts all of your senses, and if your home is feeling a little flat or musty, it could be because it has been closed up for too long. Open windows for an instant breeze of fresh air and refresh the indoor air quality. Consider adding scent with a candle, wax melts or diffuser to add more interest and make your space more inviting. 

Replace bulbs and filters: You may not reailze it, but even a single blown bulb makes your home look darker and uncared for. Track down any missing bulbs and replace them for maximum impact. If needed, choose a higher wattage bulb to brighten things up even more. This is also an ideal time to change your air filters -- your home will smell better and you'll have better air quality and heater performance, too. 

You can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your home in just a few hours -- and enjoy the results of your hard work for weeks to come. Set aside some time each season or before each holiday to refresh and restore your home; you'll love living in an attractive and comfortable space year round. 


Submitting a "fair" offer on your dream home may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you determine what it takes to submit a fair offer on a home that increases the likelihood that a home seller will accept your proposal without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure that a first-time homebuyer can submit a fair offer on a house.

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

Are you preparing to submit an offer in a buyer's market or a seller's market? Ultimately, the current state of the housing market may help you define a fair proposal based on the sector's conditions.

For example, a buyer's market frequently includes an abundance of top-notch residences and a shortage of homebuyers. In this market, you may be able to submit an offer at or below a home seller's initial asking price and receive an instant "Yes."

On the other hand, a seller's market usually features a shortage of high-quality houses and an abundances of homebuyer. As such, you may need to submit an offer at or above a home seller's initial asking price if you want to secure your dream residence.

For first-time homebuyers who analyze the housing market closely, they should be able to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market. That way, a first-time homebuyer can determine fair market value for a residence and submit an offer that corresponds to it.

2. Evaluate Your Homebuying Budget

There is no need to overspend for a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. But with a homebuying budget in hand, a first-time homebuyer can resist the urge to pay too much to acquire an outstanding residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage often provides a great option for those who are uncertain about how much they can spend on a home. This budget will enable a homebuyer to narrow his or her home search based on the finances at his or her disposal.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of your mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your budget and move one step closer to acquiring a terrific residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-have for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. This housing market professional can teach you about the intricacies of buying a house and help you submit a fair offer on a residence any time you choose.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey and help you overcome any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at your convenience.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and by doing so, a first-time homebuyer should have no trouble submitting a fair offer on a residence.


Are you planning on moving in the next 6-8 months? Don’t let your belongings take ownership of you. As consumers, we tend to accumulate a lot of “stuff” over the years. After spending 5, 10, or 20-plus years in one home, this can amount to more than some of us can handle. Do you have more than 4 sets of dishes? How about piles of toys & board games from when your kids were younger? And then there are those passed-down antiques that no one in the family seems to have use for, yet no one wants to throw away.

 

Rather than rush while packing and having to take the whole mess with you to your next home, consider starting the process early! You can categorize your belongings into the following groups:

 

  • Keep
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Throw it away


It may be hard to discern which category an item goes in. This is why it’s a great idea to solicit help when you’re moving and downsizing your piles of stuff. An outsider can be a bit more objective to help you see what’s useful and what isn’t. 


The Keep Pile


The items you want to keep through your move are those that you use every single day. There’s no question in your mind that you’ll need these things at your next residence. Think of the items that are either irreplaceable or still in good working condition like bedding, the coffee pot, furniture, and personal items like books, DVDs, and electronics. 


Sell For Profit


If you have a question about any of the items that you’re going through, you may want to consider selling them. Is your sofa still in good condition, but won’t fit well into your new place? It’s time to get that piece of furniture to another good home and make a bit of cash while you’re at it. There are tons of websites, apps, and other resources that connect you with people who are looking for the items that you want to get rid of.


Donate


Some items may not be an easy sell. You may not even have the time to sell them. This is where donation centers allow you to do some good while you’re cleaning out your things. As you’re packing for the move go through things like clothes, books, DVDs, games, toys, and other knickknacks. Those figurines that have been sitting on the shelf may not be ideal for your new house. 

It’s also a good idea to keep the amount of space that you’re dealing with in mind. If you have less space, downsizing will be ever important. On the flip side, if you’re moving into a bigger house, you don’t necessarily need to fill it up!


Trash Pile


Unfortunately, we’ll always have a few things that need to be thrown out. Items that are ripped, stained, worn, broken, or plain useless must face the fate of the dumpster. 


No matter how you go about cleaning out your home before a move, you should know that it will feel amazing to have a lighter load to move as the clutter is cleaned out.             



Home showings are valuable parts of the property buying cycle. If a homebuyer knows what to expect during a showing, this individual can get the information that he or she needs to determine whether a particular house is the right option.

Now, let's take a look at three things that buyers need to know about home showings.

1. A home showing is a commitment-free experience.

There is no obligation to submit an offer to purchase a house following a showing. Instead, a buyer can review his or her options and proceed accordingly.

In some cases, a buyer may want to set up a follow-up home showing as well. A follow-up showing enables a buyer to get a second look at a residence to determine whether it matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

It also may be beneficial to prepare lots of questions before a showing. That way, a buyer can gain deep insights into a home to help him or her decide the best course of action.

2. A home showing enables a buyer to get an up-close look at a house.

During a home showing, a buyer will walk through a house with a real estate agent. A buyer can ask a real estate agent questions about a residence, and he or she may even choose to take notes as the showing progresses.

It generally is a good idea to check out all areas of a house during a showing. Remember, a home purchase probably is one of the biggest decisions that an individual will make in his or her lifetime. With a comprehensive home showing, an individual can gain extensive insights into a residence's age, condition and more.

In addition, a buyer should not place a time limit on a showing. Depending on the size of a home, a showing may last a few minutes or a few hours. But a buyer who allocates the necessary time and resources to analyze a residence during a showing may be better equipped than others to make an informed decision about a house.

3. A home showing is one of many steps during the homebuying journey.

If a home showing is successful, a buyer may be inclined to submit an offer to purchase. Or, if a showing reveals a house fails to hit the mark with a buyer, this individual can continue his or her pursuit of the perfect residence.

Lastly, when it comes to setting up home showings, it often helps to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will make it simple for a buyer to navigate the property buying journey.

A real estate agent will schedule home showings for buyers and keep buyers up to date about open house events. Plus, a real estate agent will help a buyer submit an offer to purchase a home and ensure that a buyer can seamlessly acquire his or her ideal residence.

Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can kick off the homebuying journey.


Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.

Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.

A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.

If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.

Final Walkthrough Tips

As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.

If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.

To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.

Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.

Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.




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