Get new listings emailed daily! SIGN UP LOGIN

Posts by BHG The Masiello Group

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 | 12 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
June
27

plant tips

It's no secret that today's world is full of chemicals and other toxins. Luckily, these pollutants don't have to put you and your family at risk. There are beautiful houseplants that act as natural filters for many of the most common airborne toxins in today's homes. The diverse list of plants below will brighten up your space and improve your indoor air quality at the same time. 

Click Here to Read More...

June
20

new england home decor

Are you looking for a new decor style to use in your home? If you're like many people, you know what you like - and don't like - when you see it, but you may have struggled to tie your home decor into an appealing style. Without a general direction, you can end up with a collection of elements gathered over the years that don't seem to complement each other or create a cohesive look. Whether that's the case or you'd simply like a change from your current style, it may be time for a refreshed look.

Our real estate agents suggest the following tips to help you find the best decor style for your home:

  • Look Inside Your Closet
    Check your closet and identify your favorite clothing items and accessories. What do you like to wear when you want to brighten your mood or when you have a special occasion to dress for? Look for some common elements - such as colors, fabrics, and patterns - that you normally find attractive. And take a look at items you avoid wearing and try to figure out why. Consider your general style. Do you prefer bold, flashy looks or more neutral colors and classic styles? Even the types of fabrics you like can serve as inspiration for items like pillows and draperies.

  • Create a Vision Board
    Look through a variety of magazines without limiting yourself to home decor publications. Check out photos of all types, including those representing nature, fashion, jewelry, and more. Use them in a vision board and consider what appeals to you about each image. For example, if you have a photo of leaves, does their color appeal to you? What about their shape or texture? Do they have curved lines or straight lines? Each photo can give you cues about what design elements you find most appealing.

  • Take a Few Online Quizzes
    There's an online quiz on just about every topic, so it should come as no surprise that a large number of websites have quizzes that will help you determine what home decor style you prefer. If you Google "interior design quizzes," you'll find lots of ones to try. Not only are these types of quizzes fun, but they also may surprise you and give you insights into your style preferences that you may not have expected. In addition, you'll be able to get some home design buzzwords - such as "industrial" or "boho" - that you can further research to find specific looks and pieces.

  • Weigh in on the Home Decor Items You Already Have
    Look at your current home decor items with a critical eye. Are there things that you love? Think about what it is about them that appeals to you. On the other hand, identify items that you just don't like. What is it that you find unappealing about them? As an added bonus, this step lets you eliminate some of your home decor items that just aren't working for you since you can sell or donate those things that you dislike. This also gives you the space to bring in more elements that suit your new style.

  • Consider Your Home's Current Atmosphere
    How does your home's current atmosphere feel? Is it warm and homey? Or maybe you have a modern, minimalist vibe going? Are there areas of your home that make you happy and others that make you feel bored or stressed out? Whatever you have, determine the mood it projects and figure out if that's still what you're going for, but with new decor items. Or you may decide you want to change the mood of your space entirely.

  • Give Your Style a Name
    Many, if not most, people have an ideal style that encapsulates elements of several different styles. This often works best since, although specific styles can provide inspiration, you may not like every element of any single style. Fortunately, there's no need to lock yourself into one look and follow its recommendations to the letter. Look at the information you've gathered and any patterns you can identify and come up with a fun description of your style. That way, as you consider different elements to bring into your home, you can ask yourself if they fit in well with your self-named style.

  • Start Small
    Decorating an entire home or even a room can seem overwhelming. Start with a small space in your home, such as a shelf or end table, and gather and arrange some objects that reflect your newly defined style. Live with them for a week or two, and if they're still appealing to you, start spreading the style throughout your room and home. If you find the style less attractive than you'd hoped, redo some of the previous steps to help further define your home decor style.

Contact us if you'd like to see homes for sale so you can have a fresh start in discovering the best decor style. Whether you're looking for a home to buy, are ready to sell your home, or both, we're ready to help! 

June
13

New England Ski

New Hampshire's mountains: they're not just for winter. When it comes to summer fun, our real estate agents head for the hills and all the entertaining activities found at these wonderful local mountain resorts.

Click Here to Read More...

June
7

Minor League Baseball

Summer in Northern New England is always an enjoyable time. And an evening spent on the baseball diamond makes the summer season even more memorable.

Our real estate agents share what makes them so passionate about the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, our region's minor league team.

Team History and Highlights

It may be hard to believe now, but by the time the 2000s rolled around, professional baseball had yet to establish a presence in New Hampshire. A new era was born in 2003 when Drew Weber bought the New Haven (CT) Ravens and moved them to Manchester. 

Management turned the naming situation into a public relations opportunity by conducting a "Name the Team" promotion. Fisher Cats, a nod to the furry forest-dwelling mammal, ultimately won out over Millers, Mountain Men, and Granite.

In July 2008, the Fisher Cats had the honor of hosting the Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. The Midsummer Classic returned to Manchester in 2011 and again in 2017, celebrating the million-dollar renovation of Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Since 2004, nearly 150 Fisher Cats have gone on to play in the major leagues. This illustrious group includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette, second-generation players who were the most highly anticipated rookies of recent years.

The Fisher Cats' significance to New Hampshire goes beyond sports and entertainment. In addition to maintaining partnerships with Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Ted Williams Museum, the team has conducted numerous fundraising activities over the years, resulting in millions of dollars in charitable contributions. 

Affiliations and Titles

The Fisher Cats are a Double-A team in the Northeast Division of the Eastern League. In their previous existence as the New Haven Ravens, the team went through affiliations with the Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, and St. Louis Cardinals, earning a single league championship in 2000.

Since moving to Manchester, the team has been affiliated with the American League's Toronto Blue Jays. The team has claimed three division titles, in 2003, 2004, and 2011, along with league championships in 2004, 2008, and 2011.

Northeast Delta Dental Stadium

During the inaugural season in 2004, they played their home games in Gill Stadium, one of the oldest concrete-and-steel ballparks in the country. But that was just a temporary home, as they moved to the newly constructed Fisher Cats Stadium the following year. 

Known for a time as Merchantsauto.com Stadium, the venue gained its current name thanks to a partnership with Northwest Delta Dental, a major insurance company. The stadium features an open concourse design that lets fans keep an eye on the game wherever they are.

Here are some of the modern amenities that make Northeast Delta Dental Stadium such a popular destination:

  • Seating capacity is 6,500, more than double that of Gill Stadium. The park really stretched its limits on May 26, 2009, when a record crowd of 8,903 came to watch Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz make a rehab start with the Portland Sea Dogs.

  • The venue is the only ballpark in the country that shares its location with a hotel. Out-of-town visitors can enjoy the convenience of the Hilton Garden Inn, situated just past the stadium's outfield.

  • With its great view overlooking left field, Samuel Adams Brewhouse is the place to be. Open two hours before game time, the full-service restaurant includes an 85-foot mahogany bar, 11 high-definition LCD TVs, and a made-to-order menu. The Tiki Bar Stage hosts live music every Thursday through Saturday.

  • The upper level holds 32 luxury suites. Perks include a basic food and beverage package, individual climate control, two VIP parking passes, and a visit from either Fungo or Slider, the team's mascots. Having a work function or other large gathering? There are two private 100-person party decks behind first and third bases.

  • Dinner on Deck is an exclusive section right alongside the field with four 4-person tables. Guests enjoy table service, complimentary drinks, and snacks, and VIP parking passes.

Promotions and Giveaways

In minor league baseball, nearly every game is a special event, which is one of the reasons why it's such a family-friendly activity. Mark your calendar for these exciting upcoming promotions and giveaways:

  • Monday, July 4 @ 7:05 p.m. vs. Hartford Yard Goats - Independence Day Fireworks

  • Friday, July 22 @ 7:05 p.m. vs. Portland Sea Dogs - Christmas in July, with a Christmas socks giveaway

  • Friday, August 5 @ 7:05 p.m. vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels - Sumo Wrestling Night

  • Sunday, August 14 @ 1:35 p.m. vs. Erie SeaWolves - Puzzle Day, with a 3D stadium puzzle giveaway

Individual tickets range from $10-$16, with a $2 discount for advance purchase.

Ready to round the bases and head for your new Northern New England home? Contact us at The Masiello Group to get started.

May
23

New England Summer

Northern New England is charming in every season! But, there's something special about summers out on the lakes, enjoying the sea breeze and summertime activities.

Our real estate agents will be creating their own delightful summer memories with activities at these amazing locations around Northern New England. Which ones will be on your list?

Click Here to Read More...

May
16

New Hampshire

Covered bridges represent a living history of life in New England, with ingenious, long-lasting designs that are as beautiful as they are functional. New Hampshire is home to dozens of covered bridges spanning local waterways, and our real estate agents have the history behind some of the state's most storied covered bridges.

Click Here to Read More...

June
22

Selling Your Home? These Simple Upgrades Can Increase Your Home's Value

Thanks to the pandemic, our lives have changed in the last couple of years. How and where we work, shop, and live in our homes have been centers of significant change and re-evaluation. Whether you're considering selling your home or just looking to improve your quality of life, it's more important to know what upgrades have the best return on investment and adds value to your home.

For example, a dedicated home office and outdoor entertainment and living spaces are coveted by buyers in a house for sale. This blog post will look at trending home improvements that can add value to a house for sale in 2022.

An Overview of 2022 Home Renovation Trends

We used surveys from real estate agents, expert data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and other industry experts to determine what home buyers are looking for in a house for sale in 2022.

Researchers estimate that total spending on remodeling projects in the U.S. could reach $430 billion by the second half of 2022. Growth is expected to taper in the third quarter due to rising costs of materials, labor, construction, and interest rates. A 7% annual inflation rate, the highest since 1982, is making everything cost more, including putting in new floors or refreshing a dated kitchen or bathroom.

According to a Remodeling magazine survey of real estate professionals, the average recoupment of 22 popular projects came in at about 60% nationally in 2021. That's down from 63.7% in 2020 and 66.1% in 2019. Some upgrades can add perceived and actual value to a house for sale if you're considering selling, making it stand out to buyers and offer a good return on your investment.

Home Improvement Projects That Add Value

The way we live in our homes has changed since the pandemic. Homebuyers are looking for specific features when touring a house for sale.

Buyers always appreciate space. However, over the past year, they want even more. The NAHB report What Home Buyers Really Want – 2021 Edition found that buyers wanted a median of 2022 square feet, about 8% more than they currently have. Specifically, 46% were looking for three bedrooms, 37% wanted two bathrooms, and 42% preferred a two-car garage. A 2020 survey of real estate agents found that 44% of buyers said the need for more space was their number one motivator. Another 31% cited the desire for more private outdoor space as a top motivation.

Here are some upgrades that will make your home stand out to buyers.

Major Upgrades

These can be pricey upgrades but make your home more appealing to buyers. If you're not ready to sell, these upgrades can improve your quality of life while adding to your home's resale value when it comes time to sell!

Build or Covert A Space into a Dedicated Home Office

The trend for remote work was growing before the pandemic. The need for home office space exploded as we were forced into working from home in the early days of the pandemic. Even as we slowly return to the office today, remote work is here to stay.

A 2021 survey by Home Light found that 60% of top agents cited a home office as a top priority. Today, buyers care about a home office more than whether a home is move-in ready. Some buyers are looking for multiple home offices.

Creating a new room or dedicating existing space for a home office is a good investment if your buyers telecommute. Home Light data from mid-2020 indicates that a home office adds over $10,000 in resale value. Today, that number might be even higher as the hybrid work model takes hold.

Options include converting a walk-in closet or building an accessory dwelling unit. The estimated value that an ADU adds has gone from $47,600 to $66,000 since pre-pandemic times.

Finish Your Basement or Attic

If you have an unfinished basement or attic, you have potential livable space future buyers can enjoy. Whether as a home office, a home theater, an extra bedroom, or an in-law apartment. according to HomeAdvisor, a finished basement between 400 and 1500 square feet has a potential ROI of 75%

Adding heated square footage bumps your house value to another level. Today, an unfinished basement adds $15,000 to $20,000 in value. A finished basement can add $40,000 to $50,000 to your asking price.

Open Your Floorplan

Buyers today love an open concept floorplan. People need a dedicated space to work, but they still want to entertain and enjoy time with family and friends. NAHB's survey found that 85% of buyers want an open floorplan between the kitchen and dining room. 79% prefer an open arrangement between the kitchen and family room.

While an open layout is great for adding natural light, you should speak with a contractor before knocking down any walls!

Exterior Upgrades

Simple exterior upgrades to your home's curb appeal can add significant value to your home. These affordable upgrades can grab a buyer's attention before opening the door!

Up Your Home's Curb Appeal

Curb appeal impresses buyers before they enter your home. Attractive landscaping implies you maintain your home. In fact, buyers will pay a 7% premium for a house with stunning curb appeal. The highest ROI for curb appeal is in the Northeast, where an investment of about $3600 for curb appeal upgrades can yield a $14,800 bump in resale value for a 309% ROI!

Basic lawn care like cutting the grass, fertilizing, and controlling weeds costs around $340 but offers a 539% ROI!

Update Your Garage Door

Is your garage door looking worse for wear? Is it a dated design compared to your neighbors? A new garage door is another inexpensive way to add value. According to Home Light, a new garage door costs around $1200 but can add an average of $2797 in resale value for a 133% ROI.

Add A Parking Spot

If you live in a city, or town where street parking is at a premium, consider adding a concrete parking pad. It costs around $1200 and is a considerable upgrade in the city. It's affordable and can add significant value and up your asking price!

Outdoor Living Upgrades

We've embraced the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors in the past few years. Today, outdoor living ranks third on the list of homebuyers' priorities, behind only a home office and excellent schools. Here are a couple of outdoor upgrades that can add resale value.

Add a Patio or Deck

A deck or patio is the centerpiece of an outdoor living space. It's a place to eat dinner, entertain, have a drink, or work outdoors on a beautiful day. A deck can add over $7000 in resale value. You can build a deck for around $4380 to $10,000, so you'll likely break even or see a positive ROI for this upgrade.

Put in a Fire Feature

54% of agents surveyed by Home Light said that 54% of their buyers cited having a fire feature, like a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, as a top priority. It's a great place to spend time with family and friends. An outdoor fireplace adds an average of $5700 in value.

Cook Al Fresco

Once reserved for luxury homes, today, everybody wants an outdoor kitchen! Along with a built-in grill, outdoor kitchens can include cabinetry, a bar, sink, and standard kitchen appliances. They can even include an outdoor flatscreen. The value of outdoor kitchens has increased since the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, an outdoor kitchen added $6100. An outdoor kitchen adds about $9800 in value in today's market.

Adding Value in a House For Sale

These are just a few upgrades and projects that can add significant value to a house for sale. If you're considering selling your home, simple improvements can add interest to buyers and drive up your asking price.

As you look around your home and consider which upgrades are worth the investment, first consider your quality of life. If you're planning on selling in the future large projects like adding square footage can enhance your current enjoyment of your home, but when you decide to sell, they can add resale value.

If you're planning on putting your house for sale, look at any upgrades from a potential buyer's perspective. Does your home lack the modern features and amenities that a remote professional needs to balance family, work, and relaxation? Maybe it's time to add a dedicated home office or outdoor kitchen. If you're not sure, speak with a local Realtor®. They can tell you what buyers in your area value most.

June
15

The Rental Market is on Fire. Is It Time To Buy?

The housing market has certainly been interesting in the past few years. The past year has seen limited supply and growing demand for the rental market and home sales. In fact, despite historically low-interest rates, the industry had an extraordinary booming year. 2021 showed the most significant annual gains in single-family house values and rental prices, low foreclosure rates, and the highest number of home sales in 15 years.

Rental prices kept pace with housing. Rental prices for single-family homes increased 7.8% in 2021, an all-time high according to CoreLogic. The rental market exploded as remote workers and young families fleeing the cities spurred double-digit increases in rental costs and squeezed supply.

With rental prices, home prices at all-time highs, and a tight housing supply, is it time to think about buying a home in 2022 instead of renting?

Some Housing Statistics to Think About

While the market in recent weeks has begun to cool a bit, it's still competitive. Since a home is likely one of the biggest purchases you'll make, it's essential to take some time and make an informed decision.

According to Redfin, as of June 30, 2021, the median sales price of a home in the U.S. was $386,888, a 24.8% year-over-year increase. The massive spike in demand in many markets has allowed for higher sale prices. This can often make it hard to decide whether to continue renting or purchase a home because you don't want to overpay.

Rental prices have also increased by double digits in most markets. According to Redfin, rents jumped more than 14% in December 2021, the most considerable rise in more than two years. However, in many major metropolitan markets, rents have skyrocketed. In Austin, Texas, New York City, Boston, several areas in Florida, and other cities throughout the country, rents have jumped by 35 to 40% year over year.

Add to this the fact that there is less housing available for sale or rent than in the past 30 years. With supply shortages worsening and growing inflation contributing to rising rental costs, it becomes difficult deciding whether to rent or buy.

While rental prices in the U.S. initially dropped when COVID-19 hit, prices rebounded strongly in 2021 and quickly outpaced pre-pandemic trends. As a result, rental prices have far outpaced wage increases.

The Housing Market in 2022 and Beyond

Housing market predictions are about as reliable as the five-day weather forecast. The truth is that no one can predict what will happen with 100% accuracy.

However, many industry experts predict continued strong price appreciation, scarce inventory, and high demand. Overall, the housing market is doing well and will most likely not crash in 2022. The trends and forecasts for the next 12-24 months show that the market will most likely stay strong, with many of the factors that drove prices to new highs in 2021 remaining firmly in place. Last year, homeowners saw a market where properties sold quickly and often above asking, as numerous buyers fought for limited inventory.

Last year prices increased by an unsustainable 18.8%. The market is even tighter than it was before the spring 2021 frenzy. Experts like Zillow increased their bullishness in January, predicting growth of up to 16.4% in 2022. They recently adjusted anticipated price growth to reach 22% by mid-year. However, price growth is expected to slow through February of 2023.

Fannie Mae is predicting that by mid-2023, price appreciation will return to the pre-pandemic rate of 5% annually. They also expect that mortgage rates will rise modestly, providing some relief to buyers as prices climb. Slowing price appreciation and potentially increased inventory could help avoid a crash in 2023. The main downside risk continues to be increasing inflation. As mortgage rates increase, refinancing activity will soften as rates gradually rise and the Fed works to tame inflation.

So Should Your Continue To Rent or Consider Buying a Home?

There is no single answer to this question, as there are both pros and cons to both options. However, there are a couple of factors to consider in your decision-making process. First are your finances. In a typical market renting is often the more affordable option. That being said, this is not a typical housing market. Rents have increased to the point where even as mortgage interest rates rise, buying a home might be a better option.

Ultimately, your choice depends on several considerations. One major factor is your personal finances.

In terms of lifestyle considerations, consider what is important to you. Are you seeking the flexibility to move if your career requires it, or are you looking for stability to put down roots in a place you can call your own? Here are five considerations to explore before you make a final decision on whether to rent or buy.

How Long Do You Plan to Live in the Same Place?

Are you planning on putting down roots in the community? If you're planning or have a family, are you happy with the schools? If you're sure you'll stay in the same place for at least five years, buying can make sense. It can be a good fit both personally and financially.

However, if you don't have kids or get that big promotion but it's halfway across the country, the smarter choice might be to rent. While you can buy a home and sell it in a few years if your situation changes, the costs like moving, closing costs, and repairs may not be worth it.

Look at the Cost of Renting VS Buying a Home

In the past, renting was almost always cheaper than buying a home because of the upfront costs involved, like the down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, and renovations. In today's market, rental prices have risen to the point where it may cost you more each month to rent than a mortgage payment. However, there are other ownership costs to consider, like property taxes, homeowners insurance, and HOA fees in some instances.

However, even in a traditional market, buying a home is almost always cheaper over the long term. According to the National Association of Realtors, a homeowner's mortgage payment is lower than that of a renter after six years. This assumes that the rent increases at 5% annually and the homeowner is paying a fixed monthly mortgage.

Mobility or Putting Down Roots

Things change. It can be hard to predict where life's road will take you. If you intend to stay in one place, close to family, or planning on raising a family, and you have the means, buying a home makes the most sense. Examine your current situation and whether it could change in the next few years. For example, if you're moving up in your career and an opportunity for a promotion comes up, but it is on the other side of the country, renting is probably the best choice. Think about your current lifestyle and where it will be before buying a home.

Finally, Assess Your Current Financial Situation

You need to be realistic about your financial situation when deciding between renting and buying. Once you analyze the costs involved, be honest about whether you can afford to own a home's upfront and ongoing expenses. The worst situation to be in is where you have a home but are cash poor and unable to enjoy life!

The Bottom Line On Buying A Home In Today's Market

Consider all the factors when deciding on buying a home or continuing to rent. Renting and buying both offer pros and cons. In reality, your lifestyle, future plans, and financial situation will be the primary factors to consider when making a decision. Speak with a Realtor® or your financial advisor if you need additional information or are unsure which choice is right for you.

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder