Tuesday Tip – How To Be Sure You Don’t Miss Out On Your Dream Home

June 30th, 2015

There’s nothing more upsetting in the home buying process then missing out on your dream home.  Unfortunately many buyers in Boston have been experiencing this disappointment lately, with most homes getting multiple offers and many of them being over the asking price.  If you don’t want to be one of them, there are a few, somewhat extreme, things you can do to make sure you end up in the home you want, even if the seller has already selected another buyer.  Today’s Tuesday Tip comes to us from Zillow, and outlines “3 Extreme Home-Buying Tactics to Get the House you Want.”

For more tips on how to come out on top in Boston’s competitive real estate market, reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – How to Remove Popcorn Texture from Ceilings

June 23rd, 2015

In the 1950’s, popcorn ceiling texture was all the rage.  Builders liked it because it could hide imperfections, it was easier than painting the ceiling as it was simply sprayed on, and it often reduced noise due to the increased surface area.  In the 1980’s when The Clean Air Act banned Asbestos, many builders stopped using popcorn texture for ceilings, but it remains a thorn in the side for most owners of homes built between 1950-1980, who find it unappealing and difficult to clean, paint and repair.  Luckily, it’s fairly simple to remove.  The first, and most important step, is to have the texture tested for Asbestos.  If the texture was applied after 1977, it’s likely Asbestos free, but if it was applied before then it’s quite possible that it contains the deadly mineral.  If you find that it does, hire a professional to remove it immediately.

After you’ve determined that it’s safe to remove the texture yourself, start by spraying the ceiling with regular tap water using a spray bottle.  Allow it to soak for several minutes, then use a paint scraper to remove the popcorn texture.  Make sure you have something beneath the area you’re working on to catch the falling texture – a plastic paint tray works well.  Don’t forget to wear safety goggles and a breathing mask, as particles can fall into your eyes and mouth.  It can be tiresome due to the angle you’re working at and the frequent need to move your ladder to a new section, but if you lay awake at night staring at the ceiling, wishing it was smooth and texture free, it’s definitely worth it!

For more home improvement and real estate tips, contact our team of experts at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – Questions to Ask When Interviewing Buyer’s Agents

May 26th, 2015

Awhile back, we wrote this blog post about questions you should ask when interviewing potential listing agents, but we think it’s important to have a list of questions for potential buyer’s agents as well, especially in this competitive market where it’s sometimes necessary for buyers and their agents to get creative with their negotiation tactics.

By nature, a buyer’s agent is more reactive to what they see on the market, so it’s not as important to focus on their marketing strategies (although this is always good to know as you will hopefully come to trust your broker and want to use them as a listing agent in the future). What is important, is that you feel confident that your broker is knowledgeable about the market in which your looking, that they’re committed to working hard for you, and that they will be able to advocate for you and always look out for your best interests.  You’re likely to get a good sense for these things just by having a conversation with the agent, where they’ll quickly showcase their level of enthusiasm and knowledge of the market, but here are a few questions that you should ask to get a well rounded picture of their skills and experience:

- How long have you been a licensed realtor?

-Have you represented other buyers in the locations that I’m looking?

-Do you have any client testimonials?

-Do you have preferred vendors that you trust and frequently work with for things like obtaining a mortgage, inspections, repairs, etc.?

-What are your fees and how do you get paid?

-How do you communicate with your clients about properties and other information (email, phone, text, frequency, etc.)?

-Will I be working with any other members of your team?

Personality is another huge factor when it comes to finding the right buyer’s agent, but there really aren’t any set questions that will help you determine whether or not you will “click” with an agent.  Nonetheless, don’t underestimate the importance of compatibility!  Just be honest about your expectations and make sure that your agent has the ability and the desire to meet them.

To learn more about our agents and to see if one of them might be right for you, feel free to reach out at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – Avoiding Common Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Often Make

May 12th, 2015

Buying your first home can be overwhelming, you just don’t know what you don’t know, and mistakes can be costly.  Hopefully, you have a good agent to guide you through the process, explain your options, and serve as an advocate for your best interests.  But to get you started with your own due diligence, here’s a list of 6 First-time Homebuyer Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them, brought to us from our friends at Inman.

For a complete guide to the home buying process, contact our experts at www.thecharlesrealty.com, or 617-236-0353.

Tuesday Tip – 10 Fundamental Real Estate Tips for a Hot 2015 Market

April 28th, 2015

Between strong economic growth, sky high demand for housing (and rock bottom supply), and predictions that mortgage rates will rise about 2% over the next 2 years, the Boston real estate market is buzzing with activity right now. But amidst their excitement, it’s easy for overzealous buyers and sellers to overlook critical steps that will ensure a smooth process.  Today’s Tuesday tip comes from Bankrate.com, and offers 10 real estate tips that are both fundamental and inclusive of modern principles.

From comprehensive neighborhood analyses (plus tips on what to look for) and the use of “big data” to compare homes, to the retainment of mineral rights, this list is a good starting point for both buyers and sellers.

The complete checklist for buyers and sellers is extensive, so it’s always best to let an agent you trust guide you through the process.  To speak with one of our experts in the Boston housing market, contact us at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – 9 Things Buyers Should Ignore During Their Home Search

April 14th, 2015

Unless you’re only interested in looking at new construction, you’re bound to see some funky (and downright confusing) decorating when shopping for a new home.  If there’s something that turns you off about a home that you otherwise like, it’s important to take note of whether it’s a superficial problem that can easily (and relatively cheaply) be changed, or if it’s something that would require extensive renovation with the help of a general contractor.

Today’s Tuesday Tip comes to us from our friends at the Trulia Pro Blog, and lists 9 Things that Buyers Should Ignore when Home Buying. From paint color and wallpaper, to popcorn ceilings and funky smells, there are many ways to go about fixing issues that make a house seem less appealing.  For more information on quick and easy ways to turn someone else’s decorating disaster into your dream home, reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or www.thecharlesrealty.com.

11 Spring Cleaning Tips You Can’t Do Without

April 7th, 2015

With temperatures creeping up into the 60’s toward the end of this week, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning.  Here are 12 tips that will make your home feel as fresh and clean as the day you moved in.

1) Start on the outside.  There’s no sense scrubbing your whole house only to track in dirt from your welcome mat, so give your outdoor entryway a good once-over.  Sweep your porch or stairs if you have them, clean or get a new welcome mat (here are some fun ideas from Pinterest for those who want their mat to express something more than just “welcome”) and if you have a green thumb, hanging or potted plants can do a lot to freshen up your exterior.

2) Power wash your siding.  Power washing is one of the chores that makes the biggest difference in the appearance of a home, plus it’s relatively cheap and easy to do!

3) Once you’re inside, work your way down from the top.  It might seem obvious, but when you clean fans and light fixtures, the dirt will fall down to lower surfaces, so you’ll end up having to re-clean those areas if you tackle them first.

4) When you do get to the bottom, don’t forget your baseboards!  Other than your floor, the baseboards spend the most time near shoes and paws and often take a hit when things are spilled or dropped.  A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will do the job nicely, but if you’re feeling really ambitious, throwing a fresh coat of paint on them will add a level of freshness you likely haven’t seen in years!

5) While you’re down there, clean the grout.  The best solution for cleaning grout is a combination of two ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen!  Sprinkle some backing soda all along your grout, and then using a spray bottle, apply vinegar to the top of the baking soda.  Let it react and bubble for a few minutes, and then wipe it up!

6) Curtains (both window and shower) collect a huge amount of dirt and dust that usually go unnoticed, and every time you go to open a window on a nice sunny day, that dust will come loose and float through the house.  So to prepare for open-window season, remove all of your curtains and give them a good clean.  If you have mini blinds and want to get them really clean, take them down and soak them in the tub, then give them a once over with a toothbrush and some soapy water.

7) Wash your windows and let that sunshine in!  Use a squeegee and/or newspaper to avoid streaks!  And don’t forget about the window sills.  Use Q-tips to get into all of the hard to reach corners.

8 ) Get rid of lint and pet hair.  If you don’t have a lint roller on hand, no need to fret.  The best way to remove hair from furniture and pillows is to put on a dish glove, get it slightly wet and just sweep your hand over the surfaces.  The hair will clump together and will be easily removable.

9) Don’t forget your plants!  Plants collect just as much dust as furniture or curtains, and just like people, plants have a hard time breathing when they’re covered in dust, so it’s important to give them a good rinse.  If you have a removable shower hose, try putting them in the tub and giving them a quick shower.

10) Clean your carpets.  If you have your own steam cleaner and get a sense of fulfillment when you see the lines it makes as it cleans your carpet, then by all means take on this task, but for many, this is where it might make sense to bring in a professional. Your carpets collect more dirt and dust than anything else in your home – especially if you have pets – so they deserve a very thorough, deep clean.

11) Toss out the toxins.  The home cleaning aisle of your local supermarket is filled with products that are toxic to dirt, grime and grease.  But guess what, most are toxic to you also.  Almost all house cleaning can be done with 4 simple things – vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and water.

It’s been a tough winter for us in Boston, but a good spring cleaning might be just what we all need to wash away the mess it left behind.  For more tips on spring cleaning, interior design and real estate, reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – How to Find a Rental that’s Perfect for You

March 31st, 2015

According to a recent article in the Boston Herald, between renter spending, new construction and apartment operations, the rental industry contributed $17.7 billion to the Boston economy and supported 147,000 jobs in 2013 (the last year that statistics were available).  So if you’re one of the tens of thousands of renters looking for a place in Boston, there’s good news: you have options, and bad news: you’ve got competition.  The bad news you likely already knew if you’ve ever tried to rent a U-Haul the last week of August.

Avoiding the pain and difficulty of finding a good rental property takes a certain amount of preparation and education.  Realtor.com has put together a 9-Step Guide to Finding a Dream Rental, which is very helpful to new renters or those that are tired of having to look for a new rental year after year. To make the process even easier, enlist the help of a rental agent, preferably one with specific knowledge of the neighborhoods you’re most interested in living in. Renting doesn’t mean that you have to pack up all your belongings, submit rental applications and put first, last and security down every.single.year.  If you take the right steps and have a good advisor in place to guide you through the process and advocate for your rights as a renter, you’ll be able to find a place that feels not like someone else’s home, but like your own.

For more information about renting in Boston, reach out to our expert rental team, 617-236-0353 or through our website, www.thecharlesrealty.com.

(i.e. those that have moved every year since they graduated college and .  If you’re sick of the September 1st rental rush, the stress and overheating that comes along with moving every summer, and

Tuesday Tip – When (Exactly) Is the Right Time to List a Home in Boston

March 24th, 2015

Tis the season to sell your home, but sellers in Miami might have more luck selling their home in March then those in Boston.  According to our friends at Zillow, there’s a magic window – from mid-March to the end of April – that gives sellers across the country the best chance of getting the highest price (in the shortest amount of time), but the specific week within that window varies from city to city.  If you are a seller in Boston, you’re 13% more likely to sell your home faster than average if you put it on the market between mid and late April – no earlier, no later.  You are also likely to sell your home by 4.6% more than the Zestimate, and at a premium of $8,100.  Conversely, if you list your home just a week or two before the magic window, you could be faced with an influx of competition or a barrage of  buyers who are (don’t say it don’t say it) “just looking.”  For more information about the magic window, and why it exists, check out the Zillow blog.

This magic window is quickly approaching for homeowners in Boston who’ve been thinking of putting their house on the market, so if you’d like to speak with a listing agent that specializes in helping Bostonians sell their home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time, reach out to us at 617-236-0353 or through our website, www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – 15 Words that Will Add Value to Your Listing (and 9 That Will Take it Away)

March 17th, 2015

What do the words “captivating,” “stainless,” “basketball,” and “gentle” have in common?  According to a recent analysis of 24,000 home sales in “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate” when certain words are included in listing descriptions, the homes sell for more than expected, sometimes by as much as 8%!  Take a look at Zillow’s recent blog post, “15 Words that Could Add Value to Your Listing for the full list.

Conversely, there are certain words that will give buyers a negative impression of your home before they even see it, including “potential,” “opportunity,” and “nice.”  Here’s a full list of which words to always stay away from, also courtesy of our friends at Zillow!

For more tips on effectively marketing your home, reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty.