Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Turnoffs for Homebuyers

Sellers should make the best possible impression in order to appeal to Buyers. When possible, homeowners should avoid making changes that could take value away from their home, especially if they plan on selling. Before you decide to list your home for sale, look at these examples of how homeowners devalue their homes and consider how to fix these issues if necessary.

 1. Lack of Curb Appeal-  The first thing a Buyer will see is the front of the home. Everyone can agree that we all want to live in a home that is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Poorly kept landscaping may turn Buyers away immediately. The thought of spending money to redo landscaping may overwhelm them. Try keeping the grass cut, shrubs trimmed, and the flower beds weeded, and even plant a few annuals. Groomed landscaping is welcoming and has good visual appeal.

2. Outdated Kitchens- Kitchens can make or break how a Buyer perceives your home. They want to walk in and fall in love with your kitchen. Moms want to envision making cookies with their kids or hosting dinner parties. If the kitchen is is dark or dingy they will not be able to see beyond that. A fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, new laminate on the counter tops and new door pulls are options for a small budget.

3. Taste-Specific Decorating- Taste is subjective when decorating a home. What you may love a Buyer may hate. Buyers want to be able to see themselves within the space. When they walk into a home with bright walls, shag carpeting, and ornate lighting, they may be taken aback and offer less than asking price. Try using neutral tones on the walls, and keep things simple and clean. Your home will then have a broader appeal.

From kitchen renovations to home maintenance, it is often the simple things that devalue your home.  In conclusion, proper planning and a little forethought will help you get the best value for your home.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Local Home Sales Soar


According to data released yesterday by The Warren Group, home sales are soaring across Massachusetts. Even more encouraging, is that most local communities also saw increases. Salisbury saw the largest volume increase of 70 percent while Newburyport and Amesbury saw an increase of 16 and 19 percent respectively. Newbury, Rowley, Georgetown, and Groveland saw sales increase in the 40 percent range. When it came to prices, according to Warren’s data, the median cost of    homes — falling over the past six years — on average state-wide inched up in 2012 by 1.8 percent to $290,000, from $285,000 in 2011. Newbury saw the largest combined gains with 78 homes sold in 2012, a 44 percent increase in sales volume and an 18 percent increase in median prices to $417,000, when compared with 2011. Groveland also enjoyed good news of both fronts, selling 64 homes, up 42 percent, and a rise in median price to $313,326, or 9 percent, as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Home Design Trends for 2013

The hottest 2013 home trends were of topic in a recent article published in Realtor Mag. Homeowners needs and style preferences are constantly changing with the times, but here is what you can expect to see this year:

1. Outdoor Living Rooms and Screened Porches: A common trend has lead homeowners to get more use out of their porches and decks. These spaces have grown to be more functional and are furnished with fire pits, curtains, and multimedia systems.  Further lessening the gap between outdoor and indoor spaces is the rise of screened porches, which with fireplaces make them livable nearly year-round.

2. More Media: More families are settling at home and taking "staycations."  With that in mind, rooms are being devoted to multimedia entertainment and comfortable seating. They are being designed to have a more comfortable homey feel than the stuffy living room of the past.

3. Multi-functional Furnishings: With many baby boomers downsizing, furnishings need to double duty in smaller spaces.  Ottomans are being used for storage, there is more use of couches that convert to beds, and they even now make coffee tables that rise to be used as dining tables!

4. Custom kitchens and bathrooms:  Remaining at the top of the home owner's wish list are the customization and style of kitchens and bathrooms.  They reflect the trend of remodeling, rather than adding on. Kitchens have become even more open “live-in” spaces for cooking, eating, socializing, doing homework, or paying bills. Likewise, master suites serve multiple functions, including unwinding, sleeping, and bathing.

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 Creative Home Storage Ideas

Battling for storage space at home?  Every square foot of your home is valuable. With a little creativity and imagination, many spaces are just waiting for a storage makeover.  Here are 5 unique storage ideas courtesy of Bob Vila:

Built-in banquette seating can be a great designer detail,  but what is even better is the under-seat storage.  The deep pullout drawers free up space to move in this kitchen.

A cabinetmaker or good handyman can retrofit slide out drawers under each step and give you a spot to store all of those shoes that pile up around the house.

The surroundings of a built in tub usually give you enough space to add tilt out storage where you can put cleaning products, shampoo, and soaps.

With built-in drawers or a lift top bench a window nook can provide a great place to read a book, but also a great place to store all of them.

Staircases take up a lot of room.You can use custom fit cabinets, drawers, or closets to make full use of the space underneath.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Newburyport Winter Carnival set for February 2nd

Anyone that loves football, or even just loves those Super Bowl commercials,  knows that they are probably not getting out of the house on Sunday, February 3rd .  So why not get the family out of the house for some winter fun the day before?  The Newburyport Winter Carnival is scheduled for Saturday, February 2nd from 11-3 at the Bartlet Mall.  It will include open skating throughout the day on the Frog Pond, horse drawn hay rides, snowshoe demonstrations, along with many more activities and treats to be handed out. After being cancelled last year due to lack of snow and warm temperatures,  this is sure to be a great time with snow already on the ground and ice covering the pond! 

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Home Sales up for 20th Straight Month

On January 8th, the Massachusetts Association of Relators reported that single-family and condominium sales went up in December compared to the prior year.  For the entire year, the number of homes put under agreement was up by 25%.  With Housing inventories hovering at record lows in many markets and limiting supply, Sellers can feel confident that 2013 will bring positive change.  To help, here are some strategies for selling in 2013:

List Your Home as Early in the Year as Possible- Most homes sell before September, largely because many buyers want to move into new homes before the school year starts. So, if you want the best shot at attracting the most buyers, put your home on the market as early in the new year as possible, he said.

Choose a Realtor Carefully- Just listing a home on MLS is not enough.  Find out what the marketing strategy will be for selling your home and make sure your home will be advertised in as many places possible. 

Make Yourself Scarce- The more you show your home, the more buyers you can reach.  Having the seller around can make the buyer feel uncomfortable and unable to see the full potential of your home.

Now is the time to Sell!!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Improvements that Pay

The best home inprovements you can make are the ones that pay for themselves. In a world full of "going green" wouldn't it be nice for your friendliness to the enviornment to pay off?!! Here are three improvements you can make that will literally pay for themselves:

1. Add Programmable Thermostatats- Being able to program the temperature in your house according to time of day can easily save you money on your heating bill. The one catch: you have to program it. The key is to find one that you can easily operate.

2. Switch to a low flow showerhead- According to Consumer Reports, you can use up to 40% less water just by changing to a low flow showerhead.

3. Use Smart Switches- While outdoor lighting can be pretty, it is very easy to forget to turn those lights off. A company called Intermatic makes a switch that you can program where you live and what time it is and you never have to worry again. It is set to go on when the sun sets and turn off when it rises.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Budgeting our Money in 2013

Everyone knows that a few small changes can lead to big ones in the long run. So what about budgeting our money? What small things can we do in order to make a large impact on our savings and a bigger bulge in our wallets? I saw a really great visual guide on how these small savings can lead to great savings published by Quicken ®. The one thing that stood out the most to me was something to which I'm sure we can all relate; making our morning coffee vs. buying it. We can save $30 per week, $120 per month, or almost $1,500 per year just by making coffee! After looking at the visual, does anyone else have any other cost savings tips that you use on a daily/weekly basis?