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.

Tuesday Tip – What Should you Pay for your Dream Home?

March 10th, 2015

Whether you’re a first time buyer or you’ve been through the home buying process several times, there’s one critical question that always comes up when you finally walk into a home that immediately has you planning your first dinner party and future holiday get togethers – how much do I offer?  Of course, market conditions and financing are primary considerations here, so the answer can vary quite a bit, but there are certain things you should always take into consideration.

First – location, location, location.  Is the home in a desirable neighborhood with a solid reputation and good school systems?  Are you seeing many other, similar homes are on the market in the area?  In suburban, family-oriented neighborhoods with good schools, people tend to stay put for some time, meaning there’s likely to be less inventory.  Ask your real estate agent to pull information about the sales of nearby homes (comps), and if the price per square foot is in line with the asking price of the home you’re considering, your offer should fall somewhere around asking price (especially with the current market conditions in and around Boston).

Second – How much work does the home need?  Some people love to throw themselves into home renovations.  Whether it’s painting, tiling, adding space or taking down walls, some buyers will see nothing but opportunity, while others will be turned off instantly.   Generally speaking, the more work a home needs (especially structural) the smaller the pool of interested buyers.  This doesn’t mean that you can take an estimated cost of renovations and subtract it from the asking price, however, as the seller has likely already been advised by their agent to factor repairs into the asking price, it just means that you’ll likely have less competition, and therefore more flexibility with your offer.

Third – How long has the home been on the market?  Current real estate conditions in and around Boston right now have very few homes sitting on the market for long periods of time, so if you look at a home that has been on for longer than 30 days, you have to wonder why.  Everybody values different things about a home, so what turned other buyers off might not be an issue for you, but make sure that the long market time isn’t a result of a bad inspection, causing a pending sale to fall through, or another condition like high crime in the area.   While you shouldn’t necessarily exclude a home that’s been on the market for several months from consideration, due diligence is key.  If the home meets all of your criteria and you’ve done your research, you can factor the length of time on market into your offer.

Fourth – Have there been price reductions since the home was listed?  While you might think price reductions indicate a desperate seller (and sometimes they do), a home is more likely to sell right after the price is reduced since it will suddenly meet the criteria of a whole new pool of buyers, so if you’re interested in a home that has just fallen in price, expect that there are others who are as well.  (Example: if a buyer sets their maximum search price for $499,000, they won’t see any homes listed for $500,000, but if the price falls just to $498,000, suddenly it will show up in searches and a pool of new buyers will be eager to see it).  That being said, if the price has been reduced several times, likely the seller is motivated, possibly because they already have another mortgage, and will consider lower offers.

The home buying process is an emotional one and it’s difficult for buyers to think of such an important decision as a business transaction, so it’s critical to have an agent that you trust, who can help you weigh the factors and determine the right offer price.  Remember, they’re experts when it comes to the local housing market, and though you should always do your own research, a savvy agent will make sure that you’re paying the exact price that you should for the home of your dreams. For more tips from our expert team, visit us at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

Tuesday Tip – 5 Reasons Sellers are Better Off With an Agent`

March 3rd, 2015

If you’re planning on selling your home, you might be drawn to the perceived cost savings of listing it without a real estate agent, but according to data from The National Association of Realtors, a home on the market listed “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) takes longer to sell (and eventually sells for less) than homes represented by a real estate professional.  A recent blog post featured on Trulia.com lists 5 key reasons – pricing, negotiating, exposure buyer perception, and a smooth sales process – it pays to get the help of a real estate agent when selling your home.

For more tips on how to get the most money out of the sale of your home, feel free to reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty, 617, 236-0353.

Tuesday Tip – How to Sell Your Condo When you Have Tenants

February 17th, 2015

As the landlord of a tenanted property, you have a lot to think about if you’re looking to sell.  There’s the obvious – how do you make sure the tenants keep the home clean and organized for pictures and showings – but you also have contractual, and possible legal obligations to consider, and decisions to make about how to market the home to potential buyers. Today’s Tuesday Tip comes from Brick Underground, and focuses on the things you must consider and plan for when you have a tenant living in the apartment or condo you’re looking to sell.

The Charles Realty has a team of experts that focus primarily on real estate investments and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to buying, managing and selling investment properties.  For more information, call 617-236-0353 or visit our website to learn more about the team.

Tuesday Tip – Easy Improvements That Will Increase the Value of Your Listing

February 10th, 2015

You don’t need a major renovation to increase the value of your listing. There are plenty of inexpensive  improvements that can yield a generous return.  Today’s Tuesday Tip, 5 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Listing comes to us from Realtor Mag, the official magazine of The National Association of Realtors, and offers 5 simple ways to increase the value of your home by up to 12%.

There are plenty of resources out there offering additional ideas, like these tips from HGTV.com, but your first step should be a consultation with a real estate professional who is trained to counsel sellers on this topic.  They will have the best understanding of the characteristics and features that are most attractive to potential buyers, and will therefore be your best resource when prioritizing improvements.  To speak with one of the experts at The Charles Realty, please call 617-236-0353 or meet our team here.

Tuesday Tip – What do Increasing Rates Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

February 3rd, 2015

The Federal Reserve has indicated that there will be a gradual rise in rates throughout 2015 and into next year. Here’s a quick summary of what that means for buyers and sellers:

For buyers – Always the good news first!  An increase in rates will deter other buyers from borrowing money, so you will have less competition and a better chance of avoiding a bidding war.  Now for the bad news – while the trend of bidding wars and over-ask offers will wane, the increased rate will cost you far more over time.  So, if you’ve been wanting to buy in Boston but have been waiting until the supply-demand variance evens out, it might not be worth it.  Long story short, rates aren’t going down for quite some time, and it also doesn’t seem likely that there will be a surplus of new (non-luxury) homes in Boston in the foreseeable future.  So, now is a great time to secure a low rate and lock something down, especially if you fall into the 42% of millennials that Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries says will be buying a home in the next one to five years.

What it means for sellers:  There are way too few condos and single-family homes to meet the current demand, which is an ideal situation for sellers, but the rate increase means that the number of buyers will be decreasing throughout the year.  This will mean fewer bidding wars and fewer over-ask bids, and more buyers deciding to keep renting.  So if you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, now is the time to get top dollar by tapping into the large market of buyers that low interest rates have created.

The real estate market in Boston has gotten a lot of attention lately, as it is quickly becoming one of the most desirable cities in the country to live and invest in.  Whether you’re buying or selling (and then buying again) now is the time to gather information and resources that will ensure you’re making smart decisions about your real estate investment.

For more information about the trends we’re seeing in the Boston real estate market and what impact they will have on both buyers and sellers, reach out to our experts at 617-236-0353 or meet our team online.