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Date Archives: January 2023

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Buying a House | 36 Posts
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Moving | 16 Posts
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Office Events | 1 Posts
Outdoors | 5 Posts
Portsmouth, NH | 1 Posts
Quechee, VT | 4 Posts
Rockland, ME | 4 Posts
Tips for Buyers | 16 Posts
Tips for Sellers | 10 Posts
Uncategorized | 2 Posts
York, ME | 1 Posts
Zillow | 1 Posts
Zoom Towns | 9 Posts
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Basement Upgrades

One of the biggest goals people make in the new year is to do some work/remodeling on their home. For instance, your basement. Right now, you're just using it to store old boxes and things you can't think of anywhere else to put. Wouldn't it be nice if you could turn it into something fun or functional for your home? Here are a few ideas for your basement this year.

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Once you decide to sell your house, your to-do list starts expanding—rapidly. While you naturally want to make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers, you also need to make sure you aren't filling your plate with unnecessary tasks. If you've found yourself wondering if you really need to fix this or that, keep reading!   

What to Fix:

Major issues with the home's systems and structure  

Fixing major problems with your home's systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) or structure (foundation, roof, etc.) is at the top of the list for a reason. They can cause a lot of secondary damage, severely impact the value of your home, and can even be dangerous. Depending on how your contract and contingencies shake out, addressing a major issue may be unavoidable. However, you should always consult with your agent to figure out if it's worth fixing something huge or if it's better to sell your house "as-is" for a lower price.  

Outdated or broken safety features

One of the first things that a home inspector will look for are functional, up-to-date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. In rooms that have a water source, GFCI outlets and receptacles are also a must. Make sure you're aware of your state and local laws regarding up-to-code safety features or ask your agent.  

Low-cost cosmetic updates

Cosmetic updates are one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to spruce up your home. This includes smaller projects like a fresh coat of paint, updating some of the lighting fixtures, or replacing cabinetry hardware. However, you shouldn't replace an outdated trend with a current trend; for example, painting your 2010s mint bathroom a trendy 2020s periwinkle. Instead, opt for changes that are neutral or classic so that potential buyers can easily imagine the home decorated to their personal taste.    

Low-cost exterior updates

Curb appeal is your home's first impression, so don't neglect it! Much like interior cosmetic updates, you don't need to overthink or overdo this. Make sure that the exterior of your home is clean and fresh-looking. Rent a power washer to clean up siding and concrete, touch up the exterior paint, and replace anything that's clearly broken, like fencing and gutters. If you have the budget, light landscaping, like adding sod or flowers, can also go a long way.  

Items that are obviously broken

It's time to pull out that longstanding to-do list! These fixes are probably items that you've been meaning to get around to but just haven't, like a loose kitchen faucet or a disconnected hinge on a bathroom cabinet. If it's a minor annoyance that you've just been living with, put the effort in to fix it now.

What NOT to Fix:

Major renovations

Usually, there's no reason to do a major overhaul on any room in your house. First, a total kitchen redo or a complete bathroom gut probably won't recoup the entire cost of construction. Second, you always run the risk of not being able to complete a total renovation, which will hurt the overall value of your home instead of helping it. And third, you're already busy preparing to sell your home and move to a new one. There's no reason to add the stress of a construction project. 

Normal wear and tear

There's a difference between doing some cosmetic updates and breaking your back trying to cover up all evidence of your house having been lived in. For example, let's say you have some tilework in the bathroom. Replacing broken or missing tiles might be worth your time. Replacing tile that's just a little scuffed probably isn't. Buyers know that your house has been lived in, so remember to prioritize your project list.

Minor electrical issues

As we discussed above, some problems with your home's electrical system may certainly need to be addressed. But not every issue is a deal breaker. While a slightly askew outlet or a switch that does nothing might be a bit annoying, it's not the end of the world. Pay attention to what comes up in the home inspection and prioritize accordingly.

Old appliances

The phrase "brand-new appliances" might look really good on your home's Zillow page, but buying the latest stove and refrigerator isn't a necessary investment. Most buyers aren't expecting brand-new appliances, and some of them may want to choose their own anyway. If your current appliances are truly eyesores, consider buying a gently-used replacement instead of splurging on the latest thing.   


Replacing older flooring might seem like an easy cosmetic update, but it's labor-intensive and can easily bust your budget. Unless your flooring is undeniably trashed, it's probably not worth the cost and effort to totally replace it. Instead, opt for getting carpets cleaned, and hardwood flooring refinished to buff out any scratches or dings. Your floors will look a thousand times better for a fraction of the cost and effort.

While the items on this list are a good starting point, it's also important to remember that there's an exception to every rule. The circumstances surrounding the sale of your home will almost certainly have an impact on what needs to be done and what can be left for the new owners to handle. Always consult with your agent before jumping headfirst into any renovation project—they'll know exactly what you need to prioritize.

The Masiello Group is a second-generation family company that has been a trailblazer in New England real estate since 1966. With now more than 35 offices throughout northern New England, we're the largest residential real estate firm north of Boston to offer a complete suite of home services, including buying, selling, mortgage, title, insurance, relocation, and more. 

Our agents are eager and excited to meet your real estate needs! 

You can find more information on today's market and other real estate trends by reading our blog weekly at


Maine Beaches

During the summer, Maine's beaches are lively, crowded places, full of life, and packed with visitors enjoying all that the warm weather has to offer. But what about winter? A beach day may not be the first thing that springs to mind during the winter, but this is actually a fantastic time to see your favorite Maine beaches from a new perspective.

The beaches are much quieter places in the winter, perfect for nature walks, beach combing, nature photography, and quiet contemplation. Our real estate agents have all of the details on some of the best Maine beaches for you to enjoy this winter.

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Open houses are an excellent way to show potential buyers what there is to love about your home. If you are planning on hosting one in the near future and looking for tips on how to make it successful, you have come to the right place. 

The Masiello Group has many years of experience turning open houses into sold ones, and here are a few things we have learned along the way. 

Carefully choose your date and time.

It's no secret that weekends are the most popular choice for hosting an open house because on weekdays, potential buyers are likely to be found going to work, picking the kids up from school, running errands, etc. 

Yes, people are still busy on the weekends, but with enough notice, your open house can become a part of their plans. Research actually shows that 75% of agents recommend hosting them on Sundays. 

When selecting a time for your open house, be sure to take into account things like traffic. What is the busiest time of day in your area? You might choose the early afternoon, just after the lunch hour, or if your area doesn't suffer the lunch rush, you may plan for noon. 

Remember – real estate agents know your community and potential buyers better than anyone, so be sure to ask for their opinion as well. 

Prepare and stage the home.

First impressions are everything, so it's important your home has its best foot forward. Refer to the checklist below to get you started.

  • Deep clean. Potential buyers don't want to see dust on the furniture or smudges on the mirrors. 
  • Declutter. Remove trash, and put away personal items you have lying around. 
  • De-personalize. Potential buyers want to picture themselves in your home, not you in it. Remove frames, awards, or anything else that feels personal to you. 
  • Spruce things up. Inside, position your furniture in a way that enhances the space – or at least move it back to its rightful place. Outside, trim the bushes, cut the lawn, or touch up the paint as needed. 
  • Let the light in. Open the curtains and allow natural light in, making rooms appear bigger and more inviting. 
  • Odor. You want the home to smell welcoming. Light a tasteful-smelling candle or bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to get the place smelling nice. 

Spread the word. 

Potential buyers need to know that their dream home is being shown on Saturday at 2:00 PM on Birch Street. You can spread the word about your open house in a number of different ways, including word of mouth, online, or print.

Word of Mouth

Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to come check out your open house and spread the word to their own networks. 


Make a post on social media with photos or a video of your home and highlight all of its important features. Be sure to prompt your friends to share it.


Create a flyer with quality photos of your home and the time, date, and place of your open house. Hang them up, with permission, outside of your favorite local places – restaurants, fitness centers, stores, etc. 

Although you can do any of these things yourself, a good real estate agent can help. 

At the Masiello Group, listings are given their own spot on our website with photos, videos, and important information about your home. Many are featured on our social media pages to ensure they are receiving maximum attention. 

If you are planning on hosting an open house, your listing will also exist on a separate "Open Houses" page on our website, where potential buyers can easily find it. 

"Tag in" your real estate agent. 

It's the day of the open house and time to "tag in" your real estate agent. Despite your desire to stay, potential buyers may not feel as comfortable walking through the home, asking questions, or providing feedback when you are around. Trust that if you've chosen the right real estate agent, they will showcase all of the amazing features of your home, know exactly what to say to sell it, and best answer any questions your potential buyer asks. 

Can the Masiello Group help make your open house a smashing success? Our agents are eager to meet your real estate needs and ready to show you why they are the most trusted in Northern New England. 

The Masiello Group is a second-generation family company that has been a trailblazer in New England real estate since 1966. With now more than 35 offices throughout northern New England, we're the largest residential real estate firm north of Boston to offer a complete suite of home services, including buying, selling, mortgage, title, insurance, relocation, and more. 

You can find more information on today's market and other real estate trends by reading our blog weekly at


Painting Tips

Painting, whether it's indoors or out, is a great way to give your home a fresh new look. While it's relatively easy and inexpensive to update your home with paint, there are some pitfalls you'll need to pay attention to. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for avoiding common painting issues.

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After your down payment, closing costs, and other additional fees, buying a home adds up. But there are some pretty great benefits to being a homeowner too. These tax deductions can potentially save you thousands of dollars when all is said and done. Let's take a closer look at seven of them and what they mean for you. 

#1 Mortgage Interest

Do you have a mortgage? Great. You will definitely want to take advantage of this one. Part of your monthly payment works to cover what you've borrowed, but another part of it is dedicated to paying off interest. 

As a single or married homeowner that is filing jointly, you can deduct interest that is paid on up to $750,000 of your balance. If you are married but choosing to file separately –  up to $375,000 each. 

Remember, if you purchased your home between October 14, 1987, and December 15, 2017, you can deduct interest paid on up to $1 million, and before October 14, 1987, all interest paid. 

#2 Home Equity Loan Interest 

What is a home equity loan? In essence, it is a second mortgage on your home. Taking out a home equity loan gives you the ability to borrow funds based on the equity you've built in your home as collateral.

If your home is worth $500,000, and you still owe $400,000, you have $100,000 of equity. 

Similar to mortgage interest, you can deduct interest from your home equity loan as well. 

#3 Property Taxes

Depending on where you live, property tax deductions can be very profitable. If you are single or married filing separately, you may deduct $5,000 each per year. If you are married and filing together, you may deduct up to $10,000 per year. 

#4 Discount Points 

Discount points are an optional aid you have at the time of closing to lower the interest rate on your loan. How does it work? One discount point equals 1% of the mortgage amount. 

If you chose to purchase these discount points at the time of closing, there is a good chance that the money you paid is tax deductible. 

#5 Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is a type of insurance that protects the lender if, for some reason, you stop paying on your loan. Depending on your annual income, it can be deducted on your itemized tax return. 

#6 Necessary Home Improvements

Unfortunately, fun renovations to your perfectly-functional kitchen won't apply, but if you need to make improvements to your home on a more serious scale, you may be able to deduct the amount from your taxes. 

Some examples are capital improvements, energy efficiency improvements {depending on where you live}, or medical improvements, like adding wheelchair-accessible features, etc. 

#7 Home Office Expenses

Do you run your business from home? You may be interested in deducting home office expenses. This one is dependent on a few specific factors. 

- Are you using the space exclusively to run your business?

- Are you using the space regularly?

- How large is your space in comparison to the rest of your home?

- Do you actually run the business? {Does not count if you are working from home for an employer}

As you can see, there is a pretty fine line here, but if it applies to you, it is definitely worth looking into. 

We hope this blog gave you a better understanding of some of the tax deductions you can take advantage of as a homeowner. Talk to a tax professional or an experienced real estate agent with further questions about tax deductions. 

Real estate agents at The Masiello Group are eager to let their experience work for you. 

The Masiello Group is a second-generation family company that has been a trailblazer in New England real estate since 1966. With now more than 35 offices throughout northern New England, we're the largest residential real estate firm north of Boston to offer a complete suite of home services, including buying, selling, mortgage, title, insurance, relocation, and more. 

You can find more information on today's market and other real estate trends by reading our blog weekly at


New Hampshire Winter

Winter is a wonderful time around New Hampshire, whether you're interested in spending time on the slopes, seeing the sights, or enjoying some of the many other great activities that are only available when the weather turns cold. This is the perfect time of year to experience the natural beauty of New Hampshire from a new perspective and perhaps even pick up a new hobby that you can enjoy for many winters to come.

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