Tuesday Tip – How to Choose Amongst Multiple Offers

July 28th, 2015

In many of Boston’s most popular neighborhoods, sellers can expect to receive multiple offers for their home, especially if it’s priced right, includes certain amenities (like a parking spot!) and is staged to sell.  But when the offers come in, the highest bid is not always the smartest choice.  It’s important to take a close look at the buyers who are making the offers, and then to evaluate based on both the tangibles and the intangibles.

First, there are the hard factors: are they pre-approved for the amount offered, are they offering cash, are they willing to forego the finance contingency and / or inspection?  If the answers to all of these questions are yes, then on paper, you’ve got a all-star buyer who should certainly be a top contender for the property.  But you should also consider some other, “softer” factors.  For example, are they working with an agent, and is it someone that your agent knows, respects and has had positive interactions with in the past?  This is important because you want to be sure that your buyers and their agent are ethically sound and committed to the purchase.  Agents live and die by their reputation, so a good one will not work with a buyer if they question their integrity or their word.  It is also nice when an offer comes from a buyer who has been on the market for some time, and has seen your home multiple times (though this is less common in today’s market where listed properties are receiving offers within a day or two of going on the market).  The point is, buyers who’ve put a lot of thought into their offer are less likely to pull out if something else comes along.  Bonus points for buyers who write a personal letter – these are the folks who are looking for a long-term home to settle into and take care of.

If you are in a position where you receive multiple offers, there’s some strategizing and work that needs to be done on your end – this is where you benefit from having a smart, experienced sales agent.  For example, in a multiple offer scenario, your agent should be communicating with each buyers agent to let them know they have multiple offers, and to leverage certain terms – like a quick closing or removal of contingencies – to improve on each offer.  Ideally, you’ll get your buyer with the highest offer to agree to the best terms from each of the other offers.  Also, a good agent will do everything they can to ensure the deal doesn’t fall through, but that if it does you have a back-up offer to quickly move on to.  If your agent is unable to get this commitment in writing, then they should maintain regular communication with the back up buyer or their agent until closing, or until the first buyer has removed all of their contingencies.

Every seller wants to receive multiple offers on their home so they can count on a timely and lucrative closing.  But to really minimize risk and ensure that the process is hassle-free, make sure that you’re accepting the best offer from the best buyer.  A good agent has seen a broad range of buyers and offer terms, and will help you identify the best buyer for your home.  For more information about evaluating multiple offers, or for general selling tips, feel free to connect with our experts at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – Where to Invest $10,000 if You’re Remodeling

July 21st, 2015

Very few purchased homes have everything you want as a buyer, so its good for your wallet, and your own sense of comfort and accomplishment to make some improvements that will be valuable, both to you and to future buyers.  Now, everyone knows that home improvement projects always cost more than you think they’re going to (and take longer!), so it’s helpful to have a benchmark for how much your money will get you so you know how to prioritize if, like most of us, you have a finite amount to work with. Today’s Tuesday Tip comes to us from AOL Real Estate and offers some advice for “Where to Spend $10,000 if You’re Remodeling.”  It offers helpful insight into investments that will yield the greatest return, both for those who are looking to stay in their home long term, and for those who are looking to sell.

Home improvements are an important part of home ownership, both for resale value and for personal enjoyment.  For more real estate and home ownership tips, or If you’re thinking of  beginning a project but want to know how it might impact the sale of your home, feel free to reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty, through our website or by calling 617-236-0353.

Tuesday Tip – Adding Big Curb Appeal on a Small Budget

July 7th, 2015

We all know how important first impressions are, so it’s no surprise that curb appeal has been proven to have an impact on the time it takes to sell a home.  Today’s tuesday tip comes from AOL Real Estate, and offers some simple and cost effective suggestions for adding big time curb appeal to your home.

For more ideas about how to ensure your home is making a good first impression with buyers, contact our experts at 617-236-0353 or through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

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.