Get new listings emailed daily! SIGN UP LOGIN

Date Archives: October 2021

Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Augusta, ME | 5 Posts
Bangor, ME | 3 Posts
Brunswick, ME | 1 Posts
Buying a House | 33 Posts
Careers | 1 Posts
Covid 19 | 1 Posts
Cuisine | 1 Posts
Curb Appeal | 5 Posts
Entertaining | 4 Posts
holiday | 2 Posts
Home Improvement | 30 Posts
Home Maintenance | 11 Posts
Interior Design | 6 Posts
Kennebec River | 2 Posts
Masiello Cares | 7 Posts
Mortgage Rates | 1 Posts
Moving | 15 Posts
Nashua, NH | 3 Posts
Office Events | 1 Posts
Portsmouth, NH | 1 Posts
Quechee, VT | 4 Posts
Rockland, ME | 4 Posts
Tips for Buyers | 11 Posts
Uncategorized | 2 Posts
York, ME | 1 Posts
Zillow | 1 Posts
Zoom Towns | 9 Posts
Home buying tips | For Buyers | Tips for Home Buyers | Home maintenace | Home repairs | Rockland ME | Rockland | Restaurants | Local businesses | Local attractions | Things to Do | Historic Landmarks | Historic Homes | Augusta, ME | York | Southern Maine Coast | Holidays | Family Events | BHG The Massiello Group | Covered Bridges | Local landmarks | City spotlight | Family fun | Quechee | Moving | Buying a house | Move with pets | For Sellers | Home selling tips | Home renovations | Kitchen Remodel | Masiello Careers | Declutter | Mortgage | Sell Your House | Real Estate Agent | REALTOR | Sell Your Home | Zoom Towns | Auburn ME | Bangor ME | Belfast ME | Brunswick ME | Dover Foxcroft ME | Ellsworth ME | Gorham ME | Machias ME | Naples ME | Portland ME | Sanford ME | Unity ME | Wells ME | Windham ME | Atkinson NH | Bedford NH | Concord NH | Dover NH | Durham NH | Exeter NH | Hampton NH | Hanover NH | Hollis NH | Keene NH | Londonderry NH | Manchester NH | Nashua NH | New London NH | Peterborough NH | Portsmouth NH | Rochester NH | Tilton NH | Windham NH | Brattleboro VT | Lake Living | home safety | pets | pet care | diy | storage | interior design | smart home | home security | fall | decorating | decor | bar harbor | albany | stowe | camden | franconia | woodstock | maine | Moving to Maine | cryptocurrency | blockchains | digital currency | bitcoin | smart lights | smart bulbs | smart technology | smart fridge | smart thermostat | residential | residential real estate | residential homes | residential property | covid | covid-19 | health | home inspection | building inspection | ibuyer program | zillow
October
27

How To Lower Your Costs and Maximize Your Profits When Selling Your House

When selling your house, a primary goal is to make as much money as possible from the sale. Your profits can be rolled into a new house or used to fund another investment; either way, it's worth making an effort to maximize the profit from that final check! 

Making the interior and exterior more appealing, staging, upgrading your home's operating systems, and lowering your costs, are things you can do to make the most profit when selling your house.

Here are some actionable tips to maximize your profits and lower your costs when selling your house!

Eight Tips to Get The Most Profit From Selling Your Home 

Selling your home isn't always a straightforward endeavor. Sometimes for your sale to be a success, you need to take some simple steps and think outside of the box to create demand in creative ways. Here are some common ways to make your home stand out to get the most profit when selling your house.

  1. Research and Understand Your Local Market

Read your local papers, and consult with a local Realtor® to help you navigate the ever-changing real estate market in your community. Finding the right Realtor can help you understand the complexities of your market. 

  1. Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal

First impressions are crucial in real estate. They can leave an indelible mark on prospective buyers. Making significant improvements like replacing worn vinyl siding or installing a new door can boost your home's curb appeal and add to your home's value. 

If costly repairs are outside of your budget, simple improvements can make a difference. Ensure the hedges and trees are trimmed, give exterior accents some fresh paint, and pressure wash the driveway to clean up your home's look for prospective buyers.

  1. Landscaping

A well-landscaped lawn and a clean patio with comfortable garden furniture is a relatively inexpensive improvement that will add to your home's appeal and up your asking price. 

  1. Upgrades to Kitchens and Bathrooms

The kitchen and bathrooms are the most used rooms in the house. They are also the rooms that can help sway buyers when selling your house. Even minor remodeling and upgrades to countertops, cabinets, fixtures, or hardware can make these rooms look new. Upgrading appliances can also increase the value of your home and up its resale price. 

  1. Clear The Clutter

You always want to present your home in its best light. Before you begin showing your home, remove all clutter and clean and organize your rooms. A clean, well-organized space gives a good impression and can make your home look more substantial. Wipe down baseboards, cabinets, and vents to clean the home of dust and dirt.

  1. Upgrade With Smart Home Technology

Advances in Smart Home Tech have made automation and remote-controlled home systems standards in new homes. Smart thermostats, blinds, locks, and safety systems save money, add security, and up your home's saleability. Younger buyers expect this type of technology that can be run and monitored from their smartphones and tablets. 

  1. Price Your Home Accurately

Avoid going too high with your initial asking price in the hopes of getting more than it's worth. Even in a seller's market like today, pricing your home above the fair market price can cause your property to stay on the market much longer. Many professionals recommend pricing your home slightly below market value. This can attract more attention, and multiple offers giving you more negotiating power.

  1. Take Advantage of Digital Marketing

We live in a digital world, and we rely on the Internet for everything today. Take advantage of online marketing opportunities in the real estate industry. Investing in professional photography or a video can up your home's appeal and generate more interest in your property.

Part Two: Reducing The Costs of Selling Your House

The secret to maximizing your profit when selling your home comes in two parts. The first half is taking the steps listed above to prepare your home for sale by putting it in the most presentable condition that you can. Part two of the equation is controlling the costs of selling. 

The first step to controlling costs is to start by understanding where the costs come When you know that, you can then put together a strategy for lowering them. Costs can vary depending on several factors, but in general, you can count on these costs at the time of your sale:

  • Repairs and Staging – Chances are you'll need to do some repairs (beyond those listed above) before you can sell. There are plenty of little issues homeowners put up with that a buyer will not want to deal with. You may need to stage your property for showings, and that can involve anything from painting walls or patching holes to renting furniture and putting yours in storage.
  • Agents Fees – Your agent is going to take 6% of your sales price. Often there are two agents involved in the sale – the seller's agent and the buyer's) and they will each take 3% as a commission. While it might not seem like much, 6% can be painful at the time of closing.
  • Other Closing Costs and Fees – The buyer typically picks the closing company, which means the seller is at the mercy of the closing company for fees. These can include paperwork processing fees, titling fees, and other line items that can add up. Speak with your broker about their fees and what you can expect at closing.

There are some steps you can take to minimize your costs, like:

Use a Flat-Rate Broker

Agent's fees are one of the substantial expenses you'll face when selling your house. They will be taking between 3 and 6% of the sales price, and that's a considerable sum. One option is to look for a flat fee real estate broker. Some companies will provide the services of a traditional agent, but at a flat rate so you can know exactly what you'll pay.

Do Repairs Yourself

Repairs and staging costs can add up quickly. One way to combat these costs is to do the work yourself. You can save thousands by doing any repairs yourself before putting your home on the market. Things like interior painting, cleaning, and minor repairs can be done on your own. 

Negotiate Fees

Many companies present their fees as non-negotiable, but that's rarely the case. Whatever fees you get presented, whether from the closing company, your agent, your lawyer, or the plumber who's doing repair work, don't be afraid to negotiate. 

Understand Your Tax Benefits

Another area that can eat into your profits is your tax responsibilities. Circumstances may vary depending on what you plan to do with the money from your sale. For example, if you use it to purchase another home, you'll face a smaller tax bill. There are several ways to lower your tax liability,  like taking deductions for things like advertising, closing costs, and even your agent's fees. Speak with an accountant to determine what you may be entitled to.

Selling your home can be stressful, challenging, and confusing. With a little work upfront, and with the help and advice of a REALTOR®, you can take proactive steps to minimize your costs, maximize your profits, and make the process run much more smoothly. 

October
25

Apple Cider Donuts

Fall is officially here, which means it's time for sweater weather, pumpkin spice, and comfort foods. Whether they're tossing ingredients in the slow cooker before heading out for a busy day of helping people find their dream homes or spending their days off making something more complex, our real estate agents love cooking this time of year. 

If you're looking for some inspiration, you're in the right place! Here are a few of our favorite recipes for New England comfort foods. 

New England Comfort Foods

  • New England Clam Chowder
    Nothing says "comfort" quite like a steaming hot bowl of New England Clam Chowder. This recipe uses thick-cut bacon, potatoes, fresh chopped clams, and just a hint of thyme. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the white pepper, which keeps it "old school" and amazingly delicious. 
  • Firehouse Chili
    There's no shortage of chili recipes out there, but this award-winning recipe for Firehouse Chili has the perfect balance of seasoning and plenty of large chunks of meat. If you're looking for a tried and true crowd-pleaser, this is it. While we think this chili is perfect just the way it is, if you want it more or less spicy, you can easily adjust the amount of jalapeno, cayenne pepper, and chili powder to your tastes. 
  • Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
    This recipe for Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings has been passed down through multiple generations. It's one of the most comforting cold-weather foods, and when you make it, you'll feel just like you've taken a step back to Grandma's kitchen. The secret lies in putting an entire chicken in the pot to make the broth, then adding the chicken back to the soup along with the homemade dumplings at the end of the recipe. 
  • Mom's Meatloaf
    Mom's meatloaf is a denser version of the classic recipe. It gets a boost of flavor from chorizo sausage, bacon, and the perfect blend of spices. It's delicious when served with ketchup and sauteed onions. Add a side of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes for the perfect comfort food meal. 
  • Lobster Mac & Cheese
    Nothing says comfort food can't also be classy! This recipe for Lobster Mac & Cheese has won multiple awards, and it's easy to see why. With three different types of cheese, plenty of butter and cream, and three pounds of fresh lobster, you'll find this meal perfectly decadent and delicious! 
  • Yankee Pot Roast
    Pot Roast is a New England classic. It combines a large chuck roast with beef broth, red wine, carrots, celery, and pearl onions. Serve it over egg noodles or rice for an amazingly satisfying meal. One great thing about this recipe is that there are so many things you can do with leftovers. Our favorite is a thick and cheezy pot roast grilled cheese sandwich
  • New England Lamb Bake
    This hearty New England Lamb Bake tastes amazing, and it will also fill your home with an incredible aroma. It features a leg of lamb, carrots, leeks, spices, and a topping of sliced potatoes. If you prefer, you can make this with ground lamb or with a chuck roast instead. 
  • Crumb-Topped Clams
    Crumb-topped clams combine tasty littleneck clams with a perfectly seasoned topping of breadcrumbs. They're a Christmas Eve favorite in many New England homes but are also an incredible comfort food to enjoy any day of the year. Give them an extra bit of decadence by adding a crispy piece of bacon on top of each clam.  
  • New England Bean & Bog Cassoulet
    Another classic local cuisine, New England Bean & Bog Cassoulet is made with baked beans, Italian sausage, chicken, croissants, cranberries, and more. It's a warm, hearty, and heartwarming dish that's perfect for a chilly night. The flavors are a complex mix of sweet and savory, and this dish is surprisingly easy to prepare.   
  • Yorkshire Pudding
    This decadent recipe for Yorkshire pudding will take your dinner to the next level. While the word "pudding" may make you think of dessert, this is a puffed pastry baked in meat drippings. It's perfect for absorbing gravy and goes well with roast beef or a roasted chicken. 
  • Apple Cider Donuts
    There are few things tastier than a fresh, hot apple cider donut. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom is exactly what the fall season is all about. This recipe makes 12 donuts plus donut holes, so plan to make them when you have company or share them with friends. 
  • Cape Cod Blueberry Pie
    This Cape Cod Blueberry Pie has been a Northeastern staple since the 18th century. To make it a true comfort food, use fresh-picked blueberries and top it with fresh cream. If you're serving it in the summertime, you can top it with vanilla ice cream instead.  

If you're looking for the perfect home, our team is here to help! There are many great properties for sale right now, so don't delay. Contact us today to get started. 

October
20

Learn the Pros and Cons of a Rent-Back Agreement When Selling or Buying a New Home

If you're buying a new home while selling your current one, it's a good idea to get familiar with something called a rent-back agreement. Timing-wise it can require some good luck to get it right if your home sells before you've closed on your new one or even found a place. Without a rent-back agreement, your choices are couch-surfing or paying to stay in a hotel. Either way, you'll have to move twice... and no one wants to do that!

A rent-back agreement gives you, as the seller, a third choice. With a signed rent-back agreement, you will have extra time to live in the home after closing. It essentially gives you the right to become the new buyer's temporary tenants. Most don't last long – there are typically time limits built into the agreement – but it gives sellers a chance to close on their new home, pack up, and arrange for the big move.

For the buyer, offering a rent-back agreement can also provide a couple of serious benefits. For example, in a competitive market, an offer that's flexible on move-out dates can give you, as the buyer, an edge. Plus, the rent the seller will pay can help you recoup those hefty closing costs. 

When it's done right, a rent-back agreement can be a win-win for everyone.That being said, there are a few considerations before you jump in the pool!

What Exactly is a Rent-Back Agreement?

A rent-back agreement is a legally binding agreement made in writing between the seller and the buyer with terms much like a leasing agreement between a landlord and a tenant. However, some issues can get a little tricky, so it's crucial to understand how one works.

Essentially, the seller becomes a tenant in their old home, and the buyer becomes a landlord for the home they are about to possess, possibly with no experience.

The typical rent-back agreement covers the basics in a few areas:

• Terms and Possession

Before closing, all of the details of a rent-back agreement need to be worked out, including how the rent will be paid, what it will cost, and when the seller/tenant will move out. As a buyer, you just can't assume that the seller will agree to anything or behave as you expect just because you bought their home. The rent-back agreement needs to be written up with the same care as the purchase contract. While it is not common, you should make sure you understand the eviction laws where you purchased, just in case the seller decides they're going to stay as long as they can.

• Rent, Security Deposit, and Late Fees

Like any rental agreement, the buyer/landlord can collect a refundable security deposit. Both buyer and seller need to agree to fair market rent. At closing, the buyer pays closing costs, and the seller pays a security deposit and upfront rent. After the close, the buyer gets the keys, and the seller stays in the home. 

• Utilities

The agreement needs to specify which party is responsible for utilities. Usually, sellers will have the utilities switched to the new buyer at the close. However, in a rent-back agreement, it may be in the buyer's best interest to have the seller keep the utilities in their name and continue to pay them.

• Entry Rights

Make sure to cover the right to enter is in the rent-back agreement. If the buyer wants to begin painting or making any changes to the home while the seller is still living there, they will need to give proper notice, typically 24-hours, before entering the home.

• Maintenance

The agreement should also cove who is responsible for maintaining the interior and exterior of the home. Maybe the seller will continue doing the yard work, but if the stove or refrigerator stops working, the seller will call the landlord to get a new one. Specify maintenance to make sure there is an understanding for handling any unforeseen circumstances.

• Insurance

The new owner will have to have insurance coverage as per the lender's requirement – and because they are the new owner. However, the owner's insurance won't cover the tenant's possessions, so your agreement will need to include terms for the tenant to carry renter's insurance. As the buyer, include the right to ask for proof of insurance.

• Inspections

The new owner should walk through the property before the close to note its condition. Take photos to document. Do another walk-through upon taking possession at the end of the seller's rental term to determine any damages that may require compensation which can be taken from the security deposit.

The Pros and Cons of a Rent-Back Agreement

There are positives and negatives both for the buyer and the seller with a rent-back agreement. Here are a few to consider:

For the Seller:

A seller might want to consider a rent-back agreement if there is a significant gap between closing on the sale of their home and the purchase of their new home. In a tight market, getting some additional time to find your dream home can be a lifesaver. While a rent-back agreement is typically short-term – 30 to 60 days, that extra time can often make a big difference. On the downside, while you're still in the property, you need to remember that it isn't yours anymore. Technically, you now have a landlord. That means if you cause any damages, are late with the rent, or vacating the property, you may be liable and held financially responsible. 

For the Buyer:

If you're not in a hurry to move in, a rent-back agreement can be a factor in landing you your dream home. It is a way to make your offer stronger and stand out to the seller. However, there are some factors to consider since you are now technically a landlord. This means that you may be responsible for any repairs, for example, replacing a broken water heater or fixing a broken stove. And you may need to make the repairs immediately. You also need to be concerned that the sellers will move out on time. They rarely drag their feet, but it does happen. If it does, you may need to go through the legal process of having them evicted.

The Bottom Line...

All that being said, when properly and thoughtfully executed, a rent-back agreement can be a win-win situation for both the buyer and seller. Your REALTOR® and attorney can help guide you to create a proper rent-back agreement that is fair and beneficial to both parties. Just make cover all the bases and make sure that the terms of the agreement are very specifically spelled out. 

If you treat this situation like you would any other business relationship you should be ok. Buyers should never let sellers retain possession of the home without a formal occupancy agreement. A well-written agreement will protect both the buyer and the seller. 

October
18

New England Towns

Tired of the fast-paced anonymity and concrete jungles of urban living? According to our real estate agents, these cozy and picturesque New England towns prove that bigger isn't always better. Here's what you can expect when living in these Northern New England small towns.

Small Town Living in New England

Woodstock, VT

The name Woodstock conjures up visions of natural beauty and peaceful serenity. Woodstock was chartered in 1761, predating the Declaration of Independence by 15 years, and became known as a home for artisans and craftspeople.

  • Get a look at the actual operation of a working dairy farm at Billings Farm & Museum, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

  • Woodstock Farmers' Market offers a year-round bounty of locally sourced produce, meat, baked goods, and specialty foods. Shop on-site or online for curbside pickup.

  • Collective is a cooperatively-owned, member-run craft gallery that exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit found in Woodstock.

Franconia, NH

Thanks to its cozy location in the White Mountains, Franconia boasts impressive spring and summer scenery that gains additional appeal with the arrival of fall colors. Winter brings opportunities for some of the best skiing, ice climbing, and other cold-weather activities.

  • Iconic American poet Robert Frost found great inspiration in the beauty of Franconia. Walk the grounds and sit on the front porch of the Frost Place, his cherished homestead.

  • While the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation is no more, Franconia Notch State Park is still full of attractions and activities. Swim in Echo Lake, hike the Appalachian Trail and ride the tramway up Cannon Mountain.

  • New England Ski Museum hosts permanent and visiting exhibits sharing the story of skiing in America, including the important role Franconia played in its development.

Camden, ME

Situated alongside Penobscot Bay, Camden has a rich history to go with its beautiful setting. The town served as a rendezvous point and encampment for American forces during the Revolutionary War. During the War of 1812, an artillery battery atop Mount Battle served an important strategic purpose.

  • The High Street Historic District retains the same charming character it had as a 19th-century residential area, earning the district a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Since 1991, Camden's popular Snow Bowl has been the site of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships. The event was inspired by the rebuilding of the town's historic 400-foot wood toboggan chute, which was originally constructed in the 1930s.

  • Kids and adults alike are delighted by the sight of the Belted Galloway cattle at Aldermere Farm. "Belties," first bred in Scotland, are known for their distinctive stripes that resemble an Oreo cookie.

Stowe, VT

Stowe brings some European flavor to the New England countryside. That's only one of the features that led Travel + Leisure to name Stowe one of the "11 Best Small Towns in America."

  • Of course, Trapp Family Lodge tops the list of must-see attractions in Stowe. The surrounding mountains make a picture-perfect backdrop for the Austrian-inspired resort that offers rooms, suites, and villas for rent. 

  • Stowe earned the nickname of "Ski Capital of the East" due to places like Stowe Mountain Resort, which combines a wide range of activities at Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak.

  • Explore your own creative side at The Current. This historic facility is a gallery showcasing all visual arts and a studio providing hands-on experiences for participants.

Albany, NH

Covered bridges, such as the 129-foot long bridge spanning the Swift River in Albany, are a classic and beloved feature of New England's back roads. Albany also serves as the gateway to the Mount Washington Valley, based around the highest peak in the Northeast United States.

  • View one of the more incredible examples of New England's legendary fall foliage on a drive along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. Affectionately known as the "Kanc," the 34-mile byway passes through the White Mountain National Forest.

  • The Russell-Colbath House, largely restored to its original state, provides a fascinating insight into life in the mountain valley back in the mid-19th century. 

  • Pack a picnic lunch and head out to the Nature Learning Center at Rockwell Sanctuary. Hike the many trails on the 138-acre grounds or participate in one of Tin Mountain Conservation Center's programs and events. 

Bar Harbor, ME

Island living doesn't have to mean remote. Bar Harbor is a quintessential New England town located on Mount Desert Island, the largest of the islands off the coast of Hancock County.

  • It's easy to see why Acadia National Park attracts more than three million visitors annually, making it one of the top ten most-visited parks in the country.

  • You don't have to be a car buff to enjoy the antique autos and motorcycles on display at Seal Cove Auto Museum.

  • No matter what your skill level is, you can express your creative spirit in sculpture, figure drawing, and painting activities at ArtWave

While we love everything New England has to offer, there's something extra special about the area's small towns. Contact us at The Masiello Group to learn more about finding your dream home here in Northern New England.

October
13

Just Because It's A Seller's Market Doesn't Make It The Right Time To Sell

Before COVID, the housing market was robust as low interest rates and limited supply combined to make it a competitive market. Today, after spending 24 hours a day at home for the better part of a year, many renters have jumped into the market looking to buy, and many existing homeowners have decided they need additional square footage. 

When you add limited inventory and historically low interest rates into the mix, we've entered the hottest seller's market in recent memory, with no end in sight. The Federal Home Mortgage Corporation currently, there are 3.8 million fewer homes than needed in the US.

So that means it must be the perfect time to sell, right? Not necessarily. Believe it or not, it actually might not be the best time to sell your home. 

In this post, we will look at the reasons why a seller's market might not be the best time to sell. We will start by asking and answering a few key questions.

If You Sell, Where Will You Go?

Sure it is a hot seller's market in New England, but the market is hot EVERYWHERE! So if you sell, where will you go? If you do not have a second home or are not relocating for work, are you willing to go through the hassle of finding a place, putting your possessions into storage, and moving into a new situation? 

Some sellers are building rent-back agreements into their marketing – sometimes up to a year after closing. This arrangement can work for some buyers, for example, if they are looking for an investment property to write off of their taxes and have no immediate need to take occupancy. But how many buyers will fit into that mold? Most buyers want to move in immediately, especially if they have been renting.

When You Sell, What Will You Buy?

If you do sell and do not want to rent, you will need to buy another home... in the hottest seller's market in recent memory. Good luck! Depending on what you are planning to buy, it may not be the best time to sell after all. 

On the one hand, it is great to be a seller in this market. However, when you sell you then become a buyer and may find yourself in a tough spot if you can't find what you are looking for. It depends on where you are planning to go and what you plan to buy. 

You need somewhere where your dollar will go farther. Will that be the same market in a different part of the area or the suburbs versus the city? You need to do your due diligence and think through the entire prospect. If you end up moving to another location with an inventory shortage, you could end up overpaying, or worse, may not find anything. 

What About Custom Build – When and How Much Will it Cost?

Some people who cannot find a replacement home may consider building one. But right now, thanks to the pandemic, lumber prices are skyrocketing! The National Association of Home Builders reported that the cost of building a home v increased an average of $35,872, putting custom builds out of the reach of many. Lumber is up 300% over last year, there is a concrete shortage, and builders are in high demand and booked for months in some areas so you may have a bit of a wait!

Even Though It Is A Seller's Market, Can You Get the Best Price?

Even in a seller's market, you should do your due diligence. Find out what neighboring homes and comparables are selling for before you place your home on the market. Are people in your area getting a premium, and if so how does it compare to when you purchased your home? If you wait, you might be able to get even more if you are willing to hold on to it.

Do not skimp on the updates. Presentation is the key to getting the maximum value. Have you done smaller improvements or updates recently? If you don't have someone already booked, it might be challenging because everyone else is updating before selling. Contractors are in high demand.

Even in a seller's market, (or especially in a seller's market), your home still needs to look its best to attain the highest price. You do not want to leave money on the table because you did not fix the kitchen cabinet door. Put a fresh coat of neutral paint, freshen up the bathroom grout, and take care of any details that give your home a "lived-in" look or make it look like it needs work.

A Different Approach – Turn Your Home into an Investment Property

Before you rush out and put your home on the market, consider taking a slightly different approach. Explore the possibility of turning the home you are moving out of into an investment property, and you may see significant benefits.

Low interest rates coupled with double-bottom-line financial benefits you will get from rent payments and appreciation make an investment property an attractive choice. It may make more sense to hold onto your home for a while longer. Consider these three factors driving this market: interest rates, housing supply, and housing demand.

1. Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates remain near all-time lows, which essentially allows buyers to purchase more homes for the same payment. Rates will likely tick up in the coming years, but no one anticipates a surge. The Fed has said as much

2. Housing Supply

Inventory is at half the level of a year ago. If supply does increase, it will likely take months to be meaningful. Building materials are up as much as 300% over last year, and so are builder's prices. It is unlikely we will see major inventory increases soon.

3. Housing Demand

In terms of demand, there are signals it is pent-up based on the number of homes entering bidding wars that drive prices even higher. When the neighbor's house enters a bidding war, the value of your house goes up as well.

With these three factors being in play, home prices will logically continue to rise. If you sell now, you will almost certainly lose out on the appreciation in value you would see if you hold on to your home.

The good thing about real estate is unlike stocks that change in value day-to-day, real estate values and market shifts generally take months or years to play out. To know when it is time to sell, watch inventory. As inventories fall, prices go up, like today's market. When inventory stops falling or holds steady near a multi-year low, that will be a signal that it is time to sell. Even for a few months beyond the change.

Whatever You Choose, Work With A Real Estate Professional

Whatever you decide to do, whether it is selling into this market or converting your current home into an investment property and renting it out, the best course of action is to work with a professional real estate agent or REALTOR®. They can help you make sense of your options. A REALTOR® can help you market your home to get the maximum return or work with you to find a renter. Then, when it makes sense, they can help you prepare and list your home for maximum return!

Your real estate professional understands the local market and can help you to navigate through the current complexities of this seller's market. If you are looking to maximize your home's value, talk to your local REALTOR®!

October
11

Halloween DecoratingHalloween decorating is a fun fall activity for the whole family, but it can also get a little bit competitive among neighbors. Whether you're planning a party or just looking to spook the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, our real estate agents created this guide of Halloween decorating tips to help you create the most mystifying home on the block. 

Click Here to Read More...

October
6

Considering Aging in Place? Look for Communities that offer Amenities to Make it Easier!

Baby boomers have always been an independent, active generation. As they begin to enter retirement, many are planning on aging in place. Aging in place is a growing trend. The phrase refers to people living in their current home as they age and continuing to live there until they are no longer able.

It is basically the opposite of moving to a retirement community.

The main prerequisite for aging in place is retrofitting your home to make it more amenable and easier to live in as you age. If you are planning on staying in your home as you age, you will need to make accommodations for future issues that may arise, like arthritis, knee problems, or the need to use a walker or wheelchair to get around.

But it also helps if the community you live in offers accomodating amenities and services geared toward older residents. Some cities are better than others. Many are not as accommodating as they would like to be given the increasing numbers of boomers reaching retirement age. 

The good news is that developers are building planned communities that feature amenities accomodating to older homeowners. In addition, many cities are taking stock of what their communities have to offer senior residents. They are making adjustments to accommodate older citizens, as they begin to realize that boomers are making decisions about where to spend their post-retirement years.

Here are seven aging-in-place features to look out for in any prospective community to make your post-retirement more enjoyable.

1. Accessible, Visitable, and Affordable Housing

A feature homeowners seeking to age in place are looking for is one-floor living. The best aging in place communities have plenty of one-floor living housing options. These communities also have good local remodelers who know how to adapt existing housing stock to make it more livable for older residents. 

To attract seniors, communities are changing their zoning laws to allow for rental units or affordable housing. Some have instituted tax breaks available for residents over 65 based on income.

2. Readily Available Safe Transportation Options 

Communities that offer reliable mass transit and senior transport programs are also high on many senior's wish lists. Walkable neighborhoods that are safe for pedestrians and adequately lighted are also essential. It is also crucial that roads are as safe as possible, with clear visible signage, making it easy for older drivers to navigate. 

3. Safe Neighborhoods

Along with traditional methods for crime control, successful aging in place communities also incorporates "friendly call" programs geared toward older residents who live alone. People volunteer to call older residents every morning at a pre-arranged time.

4. Quality, Accessible Health Care

Communities that have adequate numbers of primary care physicians, specialists, and hospital facilities get high marks with older residents. A retiree-friendly community will also offer preventable health care activities at local senior centers, along with exercise programs for older residents.

5. Access to Support Services

Home and community-based caregiving support services become very important to seniors, whether it's the availability of home health care, adult daycare, or meals on wheels. For example, one such program is called the Caring Collaborative and has chapters in New York, Long Island, and San Francisco. These are essentially chapters that connect people in need with those who can help. 

6. Walkability and Access to Nearby Goods, Services, and Amenities

High marks in this category mean that a community has retail outlets, restaurants, and grocery stores offering healthy foods within walking distance. Policies that support local farms, and farmer's markets are also a big plus.

Having these types of amenities woven into a community is extremely attractive to older residents. Mixed-use downtown areas appeal to older residents and are luring some affluent retirees to give up homes in the suburbs for apartments or condos in central business districts.

7. Opportunities to Socialize

Staying social is crucial to good mental and physical health as we age. Communities that offer places of worship, libraries, museums, universities, and colleges provide outlets for residents to stay social. But they need to be easily accessible as well. 

Opportunities to volunteer as we age are also important. As you get older and work responsibilities diminish, many seniors find happiness in helping others and giving back.

Adapting Your Home For Aging in Place is Only One Element!

Having wider doorways, threshold-free showers and one-story living are all important elements if you are considering aging in place. Preparing your home for safely aging in place can start well before retirement age. As you remodel and renovate, work with your contractor to incorporate universal design elements into your home renovations. Even if you choose to move, having a home that is ready for older homebuyers can add value and increase demand.

Today, seniors are more active than previous generations and looking for more from their communities. If you are planning on aging in place, look around your community for these seven features. As more people reach retirement age, many cities and towns are beginning to adapt to this growing demographic.

If you're in the market for an aging-in-place, forever home, begin by identifying your needs now and into the future. Then explore your community to see what it offers aging residents.

October
4

Northern New England Autumn

It's hard to believe that fall is already at our doorstep. But as sad as we are to see summer go, we must admit that autumn is our real estate agents' favorite season in New England. The scenery this time of year is nothing short of spectacular. 

Peak foliage usually arrives in early to mid-October, so you still have plenty of time to plan an amazing fall foliage road trip in New England. These are some of our favorite spots for leaf peeping. 

Leaf Peeping Around Northern New England

Click Here to Read More...

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder