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


Want to list your house? Ultimately, you'll want to work with an expert listing agent, i.e. a housing market professional who knows what it takes to get the best price for a residence.

Let's face it – hiring a listing agent can be tough, particularly for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline your search for the perfect listing agent.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to find the right listing agent for your house.

1. Learn About a Listing Agent's Background

Evaluating a listing agent's background often serves as a great first step in the home selling process. It allows you to better understand how long a listing agent has worked in the real estate sector and learn about his or her industry expertise.

In most cases, you should have no trouble finding information about a listing agent online. Or, you can always call a listing agent's office for more information.

Allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about listing agent's background. That way, you can understand this housing market professional's experience, education, networking skills and much more and plan accordingly.

2. Conduct a Face-to-Face Meeting with a Listing Agent

If a listing agent looks good on paper, invite him or her to meet with you. By doing so, you can gain first-hand insights from this housing market professional and find out what separates him or her from other listing agents.

Prepare a list of interview questions before a face-to-face meeting with a listing agent. This will enable you to get the insights you need to make an informed decision.

Also, evaluate a listing agent's communication skills and personality. If you feel comfortable with a listing agent after a face-to-face meeting, don't hesitate to hire this individual to help you sell your residence.

3. Get Client Referrals

How has a listing agent helped past home sellers optimize the value of their properties? Request client referrals from a listing agent, and you can receive additional insights into how this real estate professional has supported home sellers over the years.

A top-notch listing agent should be able to provide you with multiple client referrals. Meanwhile, it only takes a few minutes to reach out to a listing agent's past clients and learn about their home selling experiences.

Client referrals can help you accelerate the process of finding the right listing agent. Moreover, they can provide insights into what it is like to work with a listing agent throughout the home selling cycle.

Lastly, be sure to ask past clients how a listing agent approached challenges throughout the home selling process. If a listing agent went above and beyond the call of duty to help past clients overcome myriad home selling challenges, he or she probably will be able to help you do the same.

Selecting the right listing agent may seem impossible at first. But with the aforementioned tips, you can choose a listing agent that will promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers consistently.


Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

You have looked forward to your retirement your whole working life. It is one of the primary goals you worked for all these years, and now is the time to relax and enjoy its rewards. One of the most important things you may consider after your retirement is finding that perfect home or condo where you will want to live out your days of relaxation. So how do you choose which type of property will work best for you? Weigh the following considerations before making a decision. 

Determine Which Size Dwelling Will Meet Your Needs

The first step in choosing your retirement property is deciding how much home do you want. When it comes to retirement, many people decide to downsize so that they will have fewer expenses and less house to worry about maintaining. But to make the right decision, you will have to consider what you plan to do with your retirement. Are your goals to travel? Do you plan on caring for parents or grandchildren on a regular basis? Do you want a home to entertain? Once you have answered these questions, you will be able to make a better determination of how many rooms and what size home will work best for you. 

Decide How Much Maintenance and Upkeep You Wish to Be Responsible For

Maintenance and upkeep can be extremely costly and also labor intensive if you do it yourself. If you enjoy yard work and general handyman work, then you would be the type of person who is comfortable with more significant maintenance tasks. If you prefer just to relax and leave the yard care and maintenance to others, you may want to consider buying a home with a smaller yard and minimal landscaping or choose a home in a community that offers landscape and maintenance services. 

Choose the Type of Neighborhood That Appeals to You

You will not only have to make some decisions regarding the type of home you wish to have, but also the type of area that you wish to live in. Are you looking for a community with other retirees and amenities to enjoy during your retirement, such as close proximity to a golf course? Or would you prefer a community with a wide range in the age of the residents? When you choose which type of community you wish to live, be sure to research if there are any homeowners associations or community policies and make sure they work well with your lifestyle needs.

Choosing the right property to retire to can be the difference between the retirement you have dreamed of and one that has you still wanting. Make the consideration above to ensure you choose the best property to fit your individual needs. 


Photo by Helga_SM via Shutterstock

When you begin to revamp your yard or garden, there comes a time to decide what exactly you’ll be growing. You’ll want plants that are hearty, beautiful and fragrant to grace your yard.

Choose Hearty

First, you can begin by planting ground-cover roses. These bountiful, low-growing rose varieties can provide plenty of flowers throughout the year. They tend to be very low maintenance and are drought-tolerant as well. They are great for any garden bed or container garden.

Another hearty favorite is red yucca. This plant can survive in high heat and is incredibly strong-willed. It has a bluish-gray, succulent base with long stalks that shoot up near six fee that bear red-ish, tube-shaped flowers. They are virtually guaranteed to catch the eye of any passerby.

Choose Vines

Next, you may want to throw in some vining plants. The classic trumpet vine is as tough as nails and fast-growing. Plant this vine near a trellis, fence or any vertical surface, and let it do its thing. Make sure to prune and maintain regularly; otherwise this beauty can be a bit invasive.

Choose Fragrance & Color

For a fragrant eye-catcher, you may want to turn to a classic English lavender. This plant is good for anything from a walkway border to a rock garden. It flowers throughout the end of spring and into summer and has an enchanting fragrance. There are smaller varieties that are good for container planting, as well as larger varieties that can be a beautiful hedge. When you want to add some great evergreen flavor to your garden, you’ll find purple pixie to be an appropriate addition. Purple pixie is great as a dominant ground cover or as an accent in a tall planter. It has spectacular color year-round.

Choose Blankets

Blanket flowers are a great choice for perennial color, and they attract butterflies to your garden. They also happen to be an incredibly hearty grower and resist rabbits and deer. They also come in a number of different colors, from bright yellow, gold and red hues. A classic friend to any garden.

With this list of hearty, brilliant and fragrant plants, your garden will be the talk of the town. You’ll have beautiful flowers, enchanting smells and spectacular evergreens all around.


Photo by Pixaline via Pixabay

The right home security system can make a profound difference for your peace of mind and make your home an unappealing target -- but do you have to go with a conventional (and expensive) alarm service? In the past, homeowners had few choices, but now, if you own a home and like to DIY you have more options than ever before when it comes to home security. Is a DIY home security system right for you -- or are you better off with the traditional model? Consider these factors as you determine the best way to protect your home. 

DIY vs. Conventional Alarm Services

While the installation and monitoring may differ, both DIY and conventional systems share some factors; both offer wireless connections and monitoring points, both improve the overall security of your home and both can be installed in a day or less. The differences lie in the overall cost, commitment and approach to monitoring. 

A DIY Alarm Service is Right for You If: 

You are handy: If you can do basic home repairs and set up your DVD player or smart-home technology, you have the skills needed to install a DIY alarm system. Alarms used to be very complex and require electrical knowledge. Today's systems are fast and easy to install with the tools you probably have on hand. 

You're wary of contracts: One of the primary consumer complaints about alarm companies in general involves not service, but contracts. Being locked in for a long period of time takes away some of your flexibility. If you move and you have a monitoring contract, you either have to pay to have your system relocated or continue paying for a service you no longer use. Since DIY systems don't require equipment rental or contracts, they are more flexible and forgiving. 

You're on a budget: When you work with a DIY brand, you can buy just what you need, and you'll spend less on equipment and installation. A national brand will charge you for equipment, installation and even ongoing protection fees, making them a more expensive option. 

Since the actual monthly service is very similar, most families benefit from opting for DIY systems. There are a few exceptions. If you have a very large home with many entry points, are unable to do the work needed to install the system or you need more monitoring features, then a traditional system might work. Seniors with limited mobility may have more needs than a growing family or a single individual, and may prefer the all-in-one service offered by a conventional brand. Anyone else can benefit from the low costs and convenience of DIY security systems. 

Reviewing your options allows you to choose the best possible alarm service for your home and family -- and the one that has the perfect balance of cost, commitment and coverage to protect your home. 



 Photo by Sonja_paetow via Pixabay

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. 




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