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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 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.


New England Books

With its incomparable natural beauty and impressive historical legacy, New England is a great backdrop for a wide range of literary genres, from young adult series to mysteries and thrillers. Here's a look at some top books set in New England that our real estate agents will be reading for Book Lovers Day on Monday, August 9th.

Add These New England Books to Your Reading List

Lights Burning

  • Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop
    Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie became a favorite of many when it was featured on the iconic PBS show Reading Rainbow. Set in the mid-19th century, 16-year-old Abbie faces the challenge of "keeping the lights burning" when her father, the lighthouse keeper, finds himself caught in a storm. This is a great choice to read aloud for kids during evening storytime. 

Cider House

  • The Cider House Rules by John Irving
    John Irving is considered one of the top contemporary writers in America, and The Cider House Rules is one of his best-known novels. The story of Homer Wells, who learns the truths of life while growing up in a Maine orphanage, has been compared to the works of Dickens in its themes and scope. In 2000, Irving won an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation.

stephen king

  • It by Stephen King
    Even non-horror fans know the work of Stephen King, a literary legend whose books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. One of the signature elements of his works is their New England setting, such as the fictional town of Derry, Maine, where the terrifying events of It take place. Seven people, now scattered across the country, are drawn back to their hometown for a final showdown with the evil being they first faced together as teenagers. Woven throughout the story is a commentary on the bittersweet yet enduring bonds of childhood friendship.

Clammed Up

  • Clammed Up by Barbara Ross
    New England is renowned for its variety of fresh seafood, so it's only natural that it would be incorporated into locally-set literature. Clammed Up is a delightful hybrid of mystery and romance that revolves around Julia Snowden and her family's clambake business. In this introductory volume of the Maine Clambake series, Julia fights to clear the name of her childhood crush, who is the prime suspect in a murder. Other titles in the nine-volume series include Musseled Out, Fogged In, and Steamed Open.

A Separate Peace

  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
    As a longtime staple of high school reading lists, A Separate Peace has truly earned the designation of "classic." Author John Knowles based the story on his experiences as a student at Phillips Exeter Academy, a prestigious prep school in New Hampshire. During the years of World War II, odd-couple best friends Gene and Phineas experience a tragic event that tests their relationship and shatters their innocence. Gore Vidal, a famous author in his own right, was one of Knowles' classmates at Phillips Exeter and the model for one of the secondary characters.

Walk in the Woods

  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
    Spanning Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail is the Holy Grail for hikers. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is essential reading for anyone planning a hike on this route, even if it's just in their imagination. Author Bill Bryson, who has made a name for himself writing about an eclectic assortment of non-fiction topics, mixes fascinating facts about the trail with engaging stories of fellow hikers he meets along the way.

Carpenter Lady

  • The Carpenter's Lady by Barbara Delinsky
    When you're craving the escapism of some light reading, pick up The Carpenter's Lady. You'll quickly be caught up in the story of Debra Barry, a TV writer who flees the fast pace of New York for the quiet charms of New Hampshire, seeking some post-divorce healing. After hiring carpenter Graham Reid to help renovate her house, Debra is surprised to find that her own damaged psyche is slowly becoming repaired as well. A Boston native who spent many childhood summers at a camp in Maine, Barbara Delinsky uses her lifelong love of the region to add realistic color to the settings of her books.

Secret History

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    Home to elite educational institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth, New England, is academic nirvana. This background is used to incredible effect in The Secret History, one of the most highly anticipated and successful debut novels of all time. Told as an inverted detective story, the novel begins years after a murder has been committed and relates the events leading up to the crime. The story takes place at fictional Hampden College, a small liberal college in Vermont. Donna Tartt patterned Hampden after Bennington College, also in Vermont, where she studied classics from 1982 to 1986. Tartt's classmates at Bennington included noted writers Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem, and Jill Eisenstadt.

Is your New England story waiting to be written? Contact us at The Masiello Group for help with all your real estate needs.


Understanding The Realtor Commission, Commission Splits, and More

If you're like most people buying or selling a home, you'll choose to work with a local, licensed real estate professional or REALTOR®. These professionals know and understand the local market, have outstanding negotiating skills, and as we have mentioned in prior posts (internal link to REALTOR "overview" article HERE), can make the entire buying and selling process easier.

As compensation for their expertise, your REALTOR® is paid a commission based on the sale price of your home. There are several different commission structures based on the structure of your deal. Here's a breakdown of the role of the various players, how realtor commissions work, and who pays these fees.

The Realtor Commission Structure

When you decide to sell your home and enlist the help of a REALTOR®, you sign a listing agreement. In that agreement is an agreed-upon commission rate with the listing agent, which is typically a negotiable rate, typically between 4 and 6%.

This commission is often split evenly between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent (if they are working with an agent). Each agent pays a portion of their commission to their brokerage.

For example, for a home with a sale price of $500,000 and a 6% commission rate – split equally between the buyer's and seller's agents – each agent would receive 3%, or $15,000. Assuming each agent must split their commission 50/50 with their respective brokerages, each agent would make $7500 from the sale (before subtracting any additional marketing costs incurred).

While this is the typical arrangement, commission splits are not always 50/50 between the agent and the brokerage. For experienced agents who reach a certain commission level, the split can step up to 70% in favor of the agent. This brokerage model relies on the agent sourcing all of their own leads, clients, and business.

So, Who Pays The Commission?

Precisely who pays the commission can be a bit tricky. The standard practice is that the seller pays the fee. However, the fee is often wrapped into the home price, so the buyer ultimately ends up paying the fee, albeit indirectly.

Let's look at how this works using the above example.

Each with an agent, a buyer and seller agree to a deal on the $500,000 house. Assuming a 6% commission on the sale, the entire commission of $30,000 comes out of the home's sale. 

The buyer will pay the $500,000 purchase price. The seller would receive $470,000 ($500K minus the 6% commission). Depending on who is responsible for the closing costs and other fees, these fees could either come out of the seller's $470,000, or the buyer would have to pay all or part of these additional costs (or roll them into their mortgage). 

The listing agent's brokerage would then receive the entire $30,000 commission from the closing attorney. They would issue the buyer's agent or their brokerage a check for half of the commission, and each of the brokerages would pay their respective agents their 1.5% commission from the sale.

The Value of Working with a Real Estate Professional

While it may seem like selling your property directly or creating a FSBO ("Fisbo" or "for sale By Owner listing and taking the real estate agent out of the process makes financial sense, in the long and short run, unless you're selling to a family member, it's rarely a good decision. 

A real estate professional is vital to the process of selling (and in today's market, buying) a home. They can help to facilitate the negotiations, manage the paperwork, and maximize your chances of selling your home at a fair price through staging, arranging professional photography, as well as virtual tours, and other marketing activities. Your listing or seller's agent will represent you and look out for your best interest, making sure that you receive top dollar and that all of the legal requirements of selling your home are met.

When working with a buyer's agent, you have the best possible chance of finding the perfect house that you'll love based on your needs. A buyer's agent will research your market to find the perfect home and increase the likelihood of a successful sale. 

Real estate professionals are there to ensure that the process moves smoothly. When dealing with your home, it's often the biggest investment you will make and is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you're on the brink of either buying or selling, they ensure that the process is fast, smooth, and easy. 

So Are Realtor Commissions Worth it?

One of the biggest contentions for selling (or buying) a home is that the real estate fees are too high or that the service isn't worth the cost. In fact, there are even newer services that will work for a flat fee – like $100 or $500 or a steeply discounted commission. While this can sometimes benefit sellers (and ultimately buyers) in terms of cost savings, typically, you get what you pay for in terms of representation.

When working with a real estate professional in a more traditional arrangement, your interests as both a seller and a buyer are protected. While it sometimes happens, if your home sells on the day it's listed, your agent could make a tidy sum for a relatively small amount of work – taking some photos, determining a price, and listing the home on the market.

However, this is rarely the case. Sometimes a home can take weeks, months, or in the case of very unique or expensive houses, can take years to sell.

For the seller's agent, this means spending hours marketing the home, making phone inquiries, staying abreast of other listings and sales in the neighborhood. The seller's agent will also bear the costs of keeping the house on the market, signage, and advertising costs. The fact is, most sellers wouldn't want to be paying their agent by the hour!

This is also true for buyers. Some might find a house immediately. However, most will look at dozens of homes over the course of weeks or even months before finding the right one. If buyers had to pay their agent by the hour, they would probably feel rushed into making a decision!

The Bottom Line on Realtor Commissions

Selling or buying a home is a complicated endeavor that is made easier by working with a qualified real estate professional or REALTOR®. Having a professional in your corner, whether selling or buying, can help you find exactly what you're looking for at the right price that is fair to both the buyer and seller. 

In exchange for the hours of work they do, agents receive a percentage of the sales price or a commission. While it's typically the seller who pays the commission, the cost is generally factored into the home's list price. In this way, the buyer ultimately bears the cost of any real estate fees.

While it's important to understand how commissions are structured and who is ultimately responsible for payment, it's equally important to keep in mind that commissions are always negotiable. For homeowners who are concerned about high fees and may opt to use a flat fee or discount broker or list their home as a FSBO, it's important to remember that, like many things in life, you often get what you pay for! 

Your home is often the most expensive and biggest investment you'll make in your lifetime making it important to understand what your realtor commission will cost and to trust who you're working with. It's a smart choice to work with a professional REALTOR® when selling or buying your next home!

  • Commission Splits
  • Realtor Commission
  • How do realtors get paid?


Masiello Home Improvement

Home improvement shows can be pretty intriguing. With the exquisite finishes, the grand reveals, the hugs, and the grateful smiles, it's easy to get sucked into a five-hour marathon session of entertaining reality TV. Unfortunately, these shows can be misleading. They give viewers unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished when it comes to remodeling, flipping, buying, and selling a home. Our real estate agents reveal 5 things that home makeover shows never tell you.

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Ways to Cut Energy Costs

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, so be sure to add energy efficiency to your New Year's resolutions. When it comes to cutting energy costs, a few small changes can really make a big difference. More importantly, making our homes eco-friendly can have a major impact on our community and Earth. Our real estate agents love discussing ways to improve your home's energy efficiency, and they have compiled this list of tips to help you reduce your utility bills in 2021:

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Hobbies at Home

The New Year is almost upon us! That means now is a great time to start thinking about what 2021 might look like and setting some new goals. Since most of us are still spending the majority of our time at home, starting a new hobby is a great way to kick 2021.

Many of our real estate agents have already found some fun and interesting ways to occupy themselves during their free time. Here are a few of the hobbies they recommend. 

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Work From Home New England

Covid-19 has taught us a lot this year, including how well many of us are able to adapt to a remote working environment. While many companies and employees believed working from home would be a temporary arrangement early on in the pandemic, it's becoming more and more clear that the virus has simply accelerated the inevitable shift to remote work. You can argue that working from home has benefits and disadvantages; however, many people, including our real estate agents, believe it is here to stay. Below are several reasons why.

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Home Inspections for Sellers

Home inspections are an important part of the home selling process, and in some cases, they can complicate or even derail the sale. That's why it's important to understand exactly what a home inspection covers and how it can affect the pricing and sale of your home.

Our real estate agents share the following things that sellers should know about home inspections:

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Displaying Wall Art

Whether you're using photographs, paintings, or tapestries, wall art offers many great options for adding visual interest to your home, but selecting the pieces is just half the job. Our real estate agents share top tips on hanging wall art for optimum effect.

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Move to New England

Buying a home is quite an undertaking, even when you're just moving across the neighborhood. Relocating to a different state presents even more challenges. With so many individuals moving to a different climate, relocating for work, or simply packing up and heading to a city that suits their evolving lifestyle, buying a home in a different state is becoming increasingly common.

Zoom Towns are also driving out of state relocation. Zoom Towns are towns that are seeing an increase in residents, specifically professionals who desire a remote workplace in an area that offers more space and solitude than larger urban settings. For instance, the Zoom Towns are popping up throughout New England as professionals from the greater NYC and Boston areas seek out work-from-home opportunities.

If you're considering buying a home in a different state, here are a few things that you should know.

  1. Do Plenty of Research
    If you think you've done enough research on your desired location, do some more! There are many aspects of your new area that will impact your life, such as new residential or commercial developments, new roadway construction, and school rezoning. Learn as much as possible about the area you desire so you can feel fully informed when you arrive.

  2. Create a Moving Checklist
    While a moving checklist is helpful for all moves, it's especially vital when relocating to a new state. For instance, many homeowners forget to change their address for delivery services such as Amazon. By creating a to-do list that addresses all aspects of your previous home life, you can ensure that you have everything transitioned to your new home as smoothly as possible.

  3. Try to Visit the Area 
    It may be difficult to travel to another state every weekend, but you should try to visit the area a few times before your move. Spend a night or two near where your new home is and live life like a local. Go for a drive during peak traffic hours. Discover where your favorite stores are located. Find a few hidden gems. The more frequently you visit, the more like home it will feel.

  4. Understand the Other Costs of Living 
    Unfortunately, home values are not the same across the country. Not only do you need to understand how much home you can afford via the mortgage, but you also much take note of the cost of living in your new area. For instance, you may not pay a state income tax in Florida, but you will in Pennsylvania. Also, moving from Florida to Pennsylvania may decrease your air conditioning usage, but your electric bill may still rise as you use your furnace more often. Make a spreadsheet of your current yearly living expenses and try to find data from your new location to help you compare costs.

  5. Ask "Stupid" Questions
    Buying a home is one of the largest financial purchases you'll ever make, so you should ask as many questions as you have. When it comes to real estate transactions, there are no stupid questions. Your agent will be happy to answer and address every concern you have, so you feel comfortable and confident in your purchase.

Moving to a new state doesn't need to be overly complicated. Whether you're headed to a Zoom Town for work or relocating for family, following these tips will help make the process as swift, smooth, and stress-free as possible. And you don't have to go through this process alone! Our expert agents and our extended network of real estate professionals across the country are here to assist. Contact us today to get started. 


Maine's Lakes region

With social distancing giving a boost to the already growing work-from-home trend, any place with a WiFi signal can become an office. If commuting is no longer an issue, why not live in a Zoom Town, where every day is a vacation?

Leave the urban hustle and bustle behind. Our real estate agents share some appealing reasons why Maine's Lakes Region should be your new home. 

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Zoom Town Trend

With this year's pandemic accelerating the shift towards remote work, living near the office is quickly becoming a thing of the past. With so many people working from home, many are taking advantage of the opportunity to reconsider their home's location. Not only is this spurring a quick recovery for the housing market, but it's also leading to an exciting new trend that's popping-up here in 2020: the rise of the Zoom Town.

So what exactly is a Zoom Town? It's often a beach town, lake town, or even just a peaceful secluded area of the country. More importantly, it's far away from the normal bustling cities that have traditionally served as the heart of the business world. Zoom Towns are seeing rapid growth this year, as many people are choosing to work where they vacation and vacation where they work.

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With all of the economic chaos that is 2020, real estate has remained a bright spot.

There are 4 major economic factors affecting home prices:

  • Unusually high buyer demand

  • Historically low interest rates

  • Near-historic low inventory

  • Extra high buyer demand due to a major resettlement to northern New England of work-from-home buyers looking to move out of the major urban centers like Boston, New York City, metropolitan Connecticut & New Jersey.

As a home seller, you can take advantage of the market and, essentially, get a premium price for your home.

But here's the catch: you then have to become a buyer in the same market of low inventory & high demand.

This is the exact reason to engage a Better Homes & Gardens, The Masiello Group REALTOR. We recommend consulting with a Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR to determine these 3 parameters to help hand-craft a solution for you:

  1. The current market value expectation for your home in today's market.

  2. Your ideal next home, moving time frame and other unique conditions that may exist in your world (think: specific home needs, locations, retirement schedule, children's school schedules to name a few)

  3. Your purchasing power in the market based on the current low rates. (Your Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR can connect you with our Great East Mortgage Partner to confidentially determine your new home price range).

Next, your Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR can approach other home owners with properties like the ones that best fit your ideal new one. These will likely be other owners who, like you, are not currently on the market but would move if they could find a home. See how the chain can work?

At BHGRE The Masiello Group, our agents have 2 important tools in our internal website to make this work for you:

  • The "Haves & Wants" function

  • Our Reverse Prospecting tool

The Haves & Wants System is like a bulletin board for our agents to share info on people, like you, that are looking for something that is not yet on the market as well as sellers who would sell if they could buy.

Our Reverse Prospecting Tool matches information about registered users on our website to each other. For example, a potential seller in Portsmouth, NH looking to buy in York, ME gets matched to a buyer in Portsmouth, NH.

While technology provides many answers, only an experienced Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR can apply their market knowledge, street wisdom and technology to your unique situation.


Reach out today and let's explore what this market could do for you & your family.

Click here to contact our expert agents.


Packing Tips

You've bought your dream house. You're ready to move in. Now comes the really stressful part: packing and moving. Remember that the key to a smooth move is good organization. Even if you're hiring professional movers to take some of the load off you, it's still wise to have a plan when you move.

Take a look at these tips and live by them as you organize and pack. You'll be glad you did.

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Closing Process

You've found a home that you love, and the seller has accepted your offer. However, it isn't a done deal until you sign the closing documents. 

In the meantime, here are a few things that our real estate agents recommend that you avoid during the closing process. While some of these don'ts may result in a higher interest rate, others can potentially sabotage the purchase of your new home.

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Reasons to List Your Home

The real estate industry is changing fast. There are many challenges, but our REALTORS® are excited about the opportunities. Sellers just like you around our community are finding out something surprising: Now is a terrific time to list your home for sale.

Yes! If you were waiting for a better market before you list, now's the time.

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Tricks to Make Your Home More Spacious

If you find yourself spending more at home this year, your living space may be starting to feel a little cramped and claustrophobic. A comfortable living space is important, and studies have suggested small spaces can negatively impact your overall mood and mental health. Not only does more space equal more happiness, but it can also increase your home's overall value.

Luckily, when it comes to interior design there are simple ways to make your home appear more spacious. Our real estate agents have several tips for making your home appear more spacious. Whether you're looking to put your home on the market this year or simply looking to make things more comfortable, consider these design suggestions that can actually trick the eye into seeing more space:

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Ways to Use a Spare Room

All you need is a little creativity, and you can transform that spare room in your house into your favorite place. Thinking of ways you can turn your spare room into a space for your family to enjoy? The following are five suggestions to consider.

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New Neighborhood

When it's time to move to a new home, not only do you need to ensure that the home meets your needs, but you should check that the neighborhood is right for your household. Find the right neighborhood for you and your family by keeping the following 5 things in mind during your search. 

  1. Your Image of a Perfect Neighborhood
    Before you can pick a home in a new neighborhood, you need to determine what constitutes the perfect neighborhood in your eyes. Are you searching for a close-knit community where neighbors are quick to help out? Or do you prefer a neighborhood with large lots and lots of privacy? Make a list of the traits you value, and keep these details in mind when working with our real estate agents
  1. The Neighborhood's Transportation Options
    Another detail to keep in mind is what kind of transportation alternatives you prefer in your new neighborhood. If you want to minimize your use of a car, you might prefer a neighborhood in the city where you can walk to shops, restaurants, and other locales. Or, a neighborhood close to a local bus stop may be a good fit for your transportation needs. Maybe you don't mind a long commute and don't expect to walk or bike on a daily basis. In this case, you can expand your search. 
  1. Whether the Neighborhood has a Home Owner's Association
    When browsing prospective homes, ask if the neighborhood has an HOA. It's a matter of preference as to whether you want an HOA-governed property. Some individuals like the presence of an HOA and the standards that they set for homeowners. An HOA can strongly encourage homeowners to tend to overgrown lawns and gardens and tackle overdue home repairs. Others feel like HOAs are intrusive. They don't like to have any governing body restricting their activities.
  1. The Neighborhood's Noise Levels
    As you check out the exterior of a potential home, take a few minutes to listen to the neighborhood's sounds. If you're sensitive to noise, you'll want to make sure that any sounds you hear are sounds you'll be comfortable living with. Homes in a bustling area of your city may have a lot of noise at night from crowds, nearby music venues, and traffic. Properties in family-friendly neighborhoods may have the sounds of children and families enjoying a beautiful day outside. When possible, try to visit the property when noise levels are at their highest. This will give you a better idea of how effective the property is at blocking out potential noise pollution. 
  1. Whether There's a Potential for Further Neighborhood Development
    If the neighborhood is relatively young, it's possible that it might undergo further development in the coming years. New homes might be built, or new businesses may arise if the land is zoned for business usage. Additional construction isn't a bad thing (and often indicates that the neighborhood is located in an in-demand area likely to increase in value), but it can be a deterrent for some residents. After all, you might not want to live with the construction sounds! 

Ready to begin the search for your new neighborhood? Contact us today!


Summer Patio Tips

Have you always dreamed of having a beautiful backyard patio where you could enjoy your summer days and nights? You're not alone! Our real estate agents often hear from buyers who have added a great backyard to their list of "must-have" home features. 

The good news is, it's fairly easy to add or upgrade a patio, even if you don't have a ton of outdoor space. The following seven tips will help you make your dreams come true! 

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Landscaping Trends to Try

Now is the time of year when many homeowners start looking for ways to spruce up their curb appeal. If you're thinking about selling your home, this is particularly important. When dealing with springtime sellers, our real estate agents always recommend paying extra attention to the outdoor space. 

When it's done right, a landscape refresh will have a major impact on your home's value and will bring you a positive return on your investment. Before you start making changes, it's a good idea to check in with the latest trends. Here are four fun and exciting ideas you may want to consider incorporating into your new design. 

  1. Verticle and Container Gardening
    If you live in a home with a small outdoor area, you may have thought you didn't have many landscaping options. However, verticle and container gardening are both trending right now, and the results are stunning. There are kits available that make it easy to create "living walls," or you can add multiple rows of planter boxes to your fence. If you don't have a fence or wall to work with, try making a fun container garden. Choose a variety of plants and large decorative pots, then create your design by strategically placing them around your outdoor space. While owners of small spaces have embraced this trend, it works well in many different outdoor areas regardless of the size. If you have an outdoor kitchen, consider adding a living wall made up of a variety of herbs and spices. This creates a unique and beautiful addition to the space that's also incredibly functional. 
  1. Pops of Blue
    Blue is the color of the year, and it's popping up everywhere! Since it's a natural color that's both calming and relaxing, so it's the perfect addition to any outdoor space. There are a wide variety of ways to incorporate it into your landscape design. Start by adding some blue-hued plants like hydrangeas, grape hyacinth, globe thistle, delphinium, or blue fortune. Then, choose a blue-colored focal point to pull it all together. Since water features are also trending this year, a blue fountain or birdbath are both excellent options. 
  1. Edible Landscaping
    Many homeowners are embracing the "farm to table" experience they can create by opting for edible landscaping. Full-sized vegetable gardens are making a comeback. However, if you don't want to put in that much effort, you still have plenty of options. Consider planting raspberry or thornless blackberry bushes in place of traditional shrubs. It's also a great idea to combine edible landscaping with vertical and container gardening. This is the ideal way to grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and more while saving space and avoiding the effort of maintaining a full garden. 
  1. Smart Irrigation
    The smart-home trend has made it outdoors! The latest high-tech irrigation systems make it easy to keep your landscaping looking beautiful with a minimal amount of effort. These new systems give plants the exact amount of water they need. This helps ensure that they stay healthy while also minimizing water waste. Homebuyers generally love houses with the latest technology, making this upgrade something worth looking into. 

If you're thinking about listing your home, you need an excellent real estate agent by your side. Contact us today to learn how we can help. 


Neighborhood for Your Dog

There's so much to consider when picking out a new neighborhood. It needs to be the proper place for you and your family, but what about Fido? Will your dog love and appreciate the neighborhood that you choose? Here are five tips for picking a neighborhood your dog will love.

  1. Get a Big Yard
    It's convenient to let your pooch play in your own yard without having to take him on a leash to the park each day. Consider how much space your dog will have to roam. Bonus points if there is a safe, reliable fence, doghouse, or kennel already included with the yard.
  2. Check Out Other Dogs
    When you go to check out a house or neighborhood be on the lookout for people out walking their dogs. Or maybe you'll see some pups playing in a fenced-in yard. These are good clues that your neighbors enjoy dogs and that you'll probably be warmly welcomed.
  3. Find Easy Access to Dog Care
    As a pet owner, you want to be prepared when you move into your new neighborhood. Have an idea of where to find the following pet services. 
    • Does this new neighborhood offer close proximity to a veterinarian clinic? If your dog currently has prescriptions, can you or another family member get to the clinic easily to fill them when they're due?
    • Does the vet clinic offer 24/7 emergency services? 
    • Are there obedience classes and groomers in the area?
    • Are there specialty pet stores or wholesale stores that offer the necessities?
    • If you work long hours, take vacations, or need to hop on a plane for a family emergency across the state or country, is there a highly-rated doggy daycare, a network of pet sitters, or any kennels nearby?
  1. Seek Safe Walking Paths
    Your dog will love a neighborhood where they can go on frequent walks with you. Be on the lookout for well-lit sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, is the street full and safe enough to walk in regularly? You and your dog need a convenient way to exercise, and whether you walk down the sidewalk for an hour a day or need a quick way to get to the local dog park, great walking paths are a necessity. If you live in a snowy area, take notice of whether your neighbors and the city/town employees clear the sidewalks promptly. 
  2. Check Out Community Camaraderie
    Does your neighborhood seem to welcome four-legged friends? Be on the lookout for the following things when touring the neighborhood:
    • Are there several "No Pets Allowed" signs? 
    • Do community members allow their pets to wander? If so, will rogue cats and dogs drive your pup crazy and turn stress-relieving walks into nightmares?
    • Do the restaurants include seating for pups or outdoor patio areas for you and your canine companion to dine?
    • Are there trash cans along the main streets to offload stinky poop bags during outings? 
    • Are dog parks within walking distance? Try to hit the park on a busy weekend to see if the dogs and their owners seem respectful of one another.
    • Are there community canine-themed events like dog shows and parades?

These tips will help you get a good idea if this new neighborhood will be the best fit for you and your canine. Our real estate agents are also here to assist you. Contact us, and we can help you find the perfect neighborhood for you and your pooch.


Streamlining Your Move

Moving to a new home can be a huge undertaking, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Although it may seem like an impossible task, planning can help you prepare for your move and help make the process a piece of cake. Our real estate agents share some tips for streamlining the moving process.

  1. Create a Timeline and To-Do List
    Think about the steps you need to take to complete your move—from beginning to end. Write down your moving date, when you'll start packing, and important details you'll need to take care of, such as hiring movers, changing your address, transferring utilities, and enrolling children in school. If you're hiring movers, it's important to contact them as early as possible to set a moving date, so you're not left in the lurch. 

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Newlyweds and Home Buying

For many couples, the first major decision they make after they say 'I do' is purchasing a home. Whether the couple wants a place of their own, plans on having a family, or simply wants to relocate to a space that suits their new life together, it's important that all couples learn as much as they can about the homebuying process. Our real estate agents believe that all newlyweds should consider the following.

  1. Consider the Present
    The thought of buying a home is exciting; now is not always the right time for some couples. Aside from your financial status, you must be realistic about your current commitments. Do you have the time to devote to home searching and moving? Do you know exactly where you want to live right now? Consider your current situation and question if now is the right time to make such an important decision.

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Flipping House

You've probably seen all the house-flipping shows on TV that make buying a house and selling it for a profit look easy as can be. We know you're also well-aware of the differences between reality and reality TV, but flipping houses can still mean big money if you do it right. For anyone looking to get into the flipping game, our real estate agents have a few helpful tips on how to get started. 

  • Know the Market
    When you're getting ready to buy a house, it's important to have a deep understanding of the housing market, not just on a national or even city-wide level, but right down to the neighborhood and the street. Two identical houses could sell for drastically different prices just a few blocks apart, so location matters. If you're flipping your first house, it's best to start in your local area, which you're more likely to be already familiar with. 
  • Buy at the Right Price
    It's essential to know how much you can spend on a house before renovations and still make a profit after you've done the required work on it. Search hard for a house that you can add value to, and sell for more than you've spent. 
  • Pay in Cash
    Buying a house for cash up-front isn't realistic for most of us, especially if you're just getting started in the house flipping business. But one thing that many of the most successful flippers have in common is that they deal in cash. The reason is simple: houses cost less when you can put cash on the barrelhead. Even if you can't buy the whole house in cash, scrape together as much as possible to put down the biggest down-payment you can; you'll end up paying less interest and turning a better profit. 

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Multigenerational Living

Before 1940, it wasn't uncommon to find three or more generations living in one home. After WWII and the suburban boom, families increasingly became smaller, with just parents and their minor children living together. In recent years, our real estate agents have noticed that multigenerational living is becoming more and more popular. In 2016, nearly 20 percent of the US population's living situation involved multiple generations living under one roof, according to the Pew Research Center. There are several benefits families enjoy when living under one roof. If these benefits speak to your situation, a multigenerational might be a good investment opportunity for your family. 

Why Is Multigenerational Living Making A Comeback?

Many families are still getting on their feet after the Great Recession and the rising cost of living. For them, living with multiple generations in one home may make financial sense. Baby Boomers are now growing older and need help. Moving in with their children helps them get the care they need and can save everyone on housing and other costs. Child care is also a factor—many people are now opting to have grandparents take care of their children instead of spending a good chunk of their income paying for outside child care. Also, more adult children are moving back in with their parents after college to pay off debt and get some financial ground under their feet before venturing out on their own.

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VA Loan 2020

If you are planning on using a VA loan to purchase a home this year there are several changes you should know about. 

Following the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, veterans and military service members will enjoy more borrowing power but pay slightly higher fees when applying for VA home loans. The Act was signed into law in June 2019 but took effect Jan 1, 2020.

Navigate these changes to VA loans with a little help from our team. Our REALTORS® highlight everything you need to know about using VA loans in 2020!

No VA Home Loan Limits in 2020

The VA loan limit is the maximum loan amount the Department of Veterans Affairs can guarantee a veteran or military service officer without making a down payment. The loan limit adjustment is a big win for veterans across the nation, especially for those buying in pricier markets. Extending the zero-down purchasing power will save many veterans a lot of cash and help them remain competitive.

However, the elimination of loan limits doesn't signify unlimited borrowing power with no down payment. Veterans will still need to have adequate income and meet their lender's credit demands to qualify for the VA loan amount. And if you still have impending VA loans or have defaulted on a previous loan, the loan limits will still be applicable throughout 2020.

Before this act went into effect, VA loan limits equaled the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on complying loans. In 2019, the limits were set to $484,350 in a typical US county and slightly higher in high-cost counties.

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Relocation Tips

Buying a home in a different state can be a daunting task, especially if you know little about the state and the applicable local property regulations. However, with proper planning, preparation, and thorough research, you can identify your top property choices. In this guide, our REALTORS® have pieced together helpful tips for buying a home out of state. 

  1. Research Area Costs
    Explore the difference between the cost of living in your state and that of your desired new city, especially if you plan to live or vacation more often in the new state. Large cities usually have different costs of living depending on the neighborhood, so check options in various parts of the city. Evaluate all potential costs of buying the home before committing. Some cost implications may include costs of upgrading the home, closing and insurance costs, and repair or replacement of various appliances. Also, call insurance providers or agencies to get estimates.
  2. Ask About Property Restrictions
    Before you even travel to view your preferred homes, ask about property restrictions in your new state. For example, if you're buying a rental property, call the homeowners association to see if you're able to rent out a property in that neighborhood. If you want to install a new pool, check local and neighborhood rules to ensure it's possible before taking the time to view the property.
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How to Declutter

There are many reasons people opt for a smaller space. If you've decided to downsize to a smaller home, you'll reap many benefits, including a lower mortgage payment (if you still have one), lower utility bills, and a smaller area to maintain and keep clean.

Before you downsize to a smaller home you have to downsize your belongings. It's important to declutter your current home so your new home can be well organized with items that fit your new lifestyle. Our REALTORS® suggest the following tips help for downsizing to a smaller home:

  • Consider Your New Lifestyle
    As you prepare to move, consider what your lifestyle will be like in your new home. Do you see yourself pursuing an old hobby? Or maybe you won't be pursuing a sport you still have your old equipment for, but you'll have plenty of room to ride your bicycle. Imagine living in your new home and determine what items will help support this lifestyle.

  • Evaluate Your Furniture
    Furniture takes up a lot of space in a home and is difficult to move. Consider your smaller home and how many rooms it will have. If, for example, you'll have fewer bedrooms, you won't need as many beds, chests of drawers and other bedroom furniture. Check with your friends and relatives to see if anyone needs your excess furniture.

  • Go Through Everything
    Go through everything in your home, because you may have boxes of items that you no longer use or want. Open all of them and sort through their contents, so you don't blindly move them to your new home. This also lets you eliminate duplicate items, such as extra sets of drinking glasses.

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Home Purchase Questions

Our REALTORS® are there to guide you every step of the way when it's time to buy a home. Still, it's important to understand what you're getting into – and how to advocate for your interests.

Buying a home can include twists and turns, even when everyone has the best intentions. Knowing which questions to ask will help you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your real estate options.

Don't forget these vital questions when you're getting ready to buy a home:

  1. Why is the Seller Leaving?
    Understanding the seller's motivations will put you in a position to get a better deal. You don't have to offer more money to make a seller's day: For example, if there's a tight timeline for moving, you may be able to get price concessions in return for making a prompt commitment.
  2. How Long Has the House Been for Sale?
    The longer a house is on the market, the more negotiating power a prospective buyer has. Houses can end up lingering on the market when the original asking price is too high. If more than 30 days go by, it means a more motivated seller. More than 60 is "red alert" for most sellers.
  3. What Are the Neighbors Like?
    You might not see them every day, but next-door neighbors can be a blessing or a curse. Inconsiderate or loud neighbors can leave you dealing with a whole host of worries, from midnight noise issues to lawn debris ending up on your side of the fence. Meeting the neighbors in person is often a good idea!

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Buying a Home During Retirement

If you're recently retired or planning for your retirement, you may decide to purchase a new home. Many retirees buy new property, either to downsize from an existing home or to relocate to a more favorable area. Our real estate agents can help you locate properties that are a good fit for your post-retirement needs. Follow these guidelines to make sure purchasing a home is appropriate for your finances and personal retirement goals.

Rethink Moving to a "Bucket List" Destination

Once you retire, it's easy to get caught up in fulfilling your post-retirement dreams. Maybe you've always wanted to live at the beach town where you vacation every summer, or perhaps you've envisioned retiring to a secluded cabin in the mountains. However, before you purchase property in these dream locations, you need to make sure these cities are places that you want to live.

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New Home in 2020

If you've been dreaming of buying your first home or selling your current house, New Year's is the time to resolve to make it happen.

Our REALTORS® suggest the following five ways to make a New Year's resolution of a new home a reality in 2020.

  1. Check and Fix Your Credit
    Your credit will affect whether you can qualify for a mortgage loan and the interest rate you'll pay. Start by checking your credit report with the three main reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – by requesting it for free at, a site recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. If you see any errors, request a dispute form from the reporting agency. And if your credit is poor, start working to pay down your debt.

  2. Save for a Down Payment
    Most mortgage loans require a down payment, so you may want to trim your budget to help bolster your down payment fund. Tax refunds can also be an excellent way to jumpstart your savings.

    If you can afford to pay 20% down, you'll avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is an extra monthly payment that helps protect the lender in case you default on your loan. The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly payment will be, and you're likely to be offered a lower mortgage rate.

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Energy Efficient Home Improvements

New England is an absolutely beautiful area to call home. With this beauty though, there's a bit of unpredictability. The New England area has a strange and unpredictable weather history, including everything from tornadoes to droughts to ice storms. All of these weather events, but especially the cold, can create a costly utility bill for your household.

Making your home energy-efficient is a great way to invest in your home and save you money in the long run, especially during the New England winters. Save yourself the seasonal stress of costly energy bills and consider energy-efficient home improvement projects. 

Energy efficiency isn't just a way to save, it's also a valuable way to draw the attention of homebuyers. Our REALTORS® have insights on energy-efficiency home improvement projects to save you money and to stand out among other area homes for sale.

  1. Conduct Seasonal Maintenance
    The energy experts at Energy Star have a recommended seasonal maintenance list. Having your systems in top shape and leaks all patched up can provide significant savings for your families. Ensuring your system is in working order before it's forced to "work hard" for the season is a fantastic money-saving strategy. Key things to look out for include:
      • Check your thermostat settings (HVAC and water heater too)
      • Tighten loose electrical wires
      • Inspect oil and gas connections
      • Lubricate moving parts in fans and motors (friction can decrease efficiency over time)
      • Unclog drains and replace filters
  1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
    Keep your heat inside your home. Make sure you have the correctly rated R-value of insulation for your area and that it is in place in your attic, walls, floors, and more. Seal up drafty windows using either permanent or temporary methods. Consider installing a storm door (not a screen door) to help further insulate your house from the elements.

    If you need help identifying areas of heat loss, consider hiring a professional for an energy audit. By insulating your home properly, you can turn down your thermostat and gain significant energy savings. 

  2. Don't Plug It In
    An energy-efficient task that requires no initial investment! Our love of electronics is without question, and plugging in the right appliances and devices at the right time can make this love far more energy-efficient. Gain savings on your electrical bill by unplugging device charges when not in use. 

  3. Energy Efficiency Investments
    Just because some energy-saving projects don't cost anything, doesn't mean you should shy away from ones with an upfront cost. Consider purchasing and installing efficient light bulbs at the right wattage around your house. The largest investments you could make include upgrading your large appliances like your washer, dryer, and dishwasher. Look for Energy Star rated items to increase efficiency and check with your state for possible local rebates. Though these have a significant investment involved, these are the improvements that can save you the most in the long run. 

Winter is coming, but don't let that stop you from staying warm and comfortable in your own home. Contact us to learn more about different home construction and energy-efficient features in your area.


Airbnb Investment

The landscape of the real estate market is changing dramatically, thanks to short-term rental properties. The increasing popularity of Airbnb and other similar services is encouraging property owners to invest in homes and condominiums that tourists find desirable. Our REALTORS® want you to make the best long-term investment choices possible. When considering properties to invest in for these purposes, we encourage you to ask the following questions:

  • Which area is ideal for investing?
    Although you may earn renters with a home in any location, one reason renters choose Airbnbs is convenience. They desire a comfortable, affordable space that places them right where they want to be. Look for investment homes in up-and-coming neighborhoods or in established neighborhoods which are hotspots for tourism. Choosing an area close to reliable public transportation, amenities, and attractions is also a wise decision.

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Our REALTORS® at The Masiello Group know the decision to move from renting to owning a home is not always an easy one to make. First-time buyers often feel challenged by the complexity of the process. There are also many financial angles to consider when you buy a home.

However, a changing lifestyle can mean it is time for a new perspective on homeownership. Let's look at some of the biggest reasons you might go from renting to buying a home.

First Sign of Knowing It's Time to Buy a Home

Your Family Needs More Space

Many millennials are putting off certain life milestones, like homeownership and starting a family. However, needing more space does not always mean you have a baby on the way. Many people decide to house hunt to provide more space for dogs! Cities are seeing more households made up of friends who may need sufficient space to themselves, too. Extra room also means more space for yourself, you could considering creating an office, art studio, gym, or music room.

The Second Sign

You Can't Imagine Renting Again

Yes, getting a mortgage loan can be a time-consuming process. When all is said and done, though, it's not that much harder than getting into an apartment. After all, you need all of the same documentation. You'll also have to go through all of the usual steps of moving. When you buy a home, you'll get it all done in one fell swoop for many years to come. It will be more fulfilling to do all the same work it took to rent a home, and then actually be able to say, I bought a home.

The Third Sign

The Financial Side Isn't Working for You

In some areas, it makes better financial sense to buy a house than to rent. This is most common in large cities and areas where rapid growth puts pressure on the housing stock. As landlords try to squeeze every penny from potential tenants, you could find your mortgage will be less expensive. Just remember to consider the annual cost of home maintenance, too. It is also important to consider mortgage pre-approval before you buy a home because it will save you and your REALTOR® valuable time. Take a look at our blog on the importance ofmortgage pre-approval to learn more.

The Fourth Sign

You Have Other Long-Term Plans to Buying a Home

Just because you are buying a home, it does not necessarily mean you'll live there. If you're in an area people are eager to move to you could use it as an income opportunity. Many people buy homes to refurbish and "flip" them. The average investor makes $30,000 net profit on a house flip if all factors align.For long-term income, you might decide to rent out your new property instead. As an owner, the choice is always up to you.

The Fifth Sign

You Are Moving On Up Financially

A new job, a promotion or even a one-time windfall can signal that it's time to re-evaluate your housing situation. If your credit is strong, you may qualify for attractive mortgage loans even if you do not have a lot of cash on hand. With money to spend, you can further reduce interest rates with a down payment or paying off your closing costs without financing.


If you are thinking about buying a home, it's time to find out more – even if you can't quite put your finger on why. You can check out The Ultimate Home Buyers Guide to learn more about all the steps it takes to buy a home. An expert real estate agent who specializes in first-time homebuyers can also give you personalized advice to help you decide on your next move.

Contact us to find out more today. We look forward to helping you soon.


Saving for Down Payment

Is the anticipation of needing to make a sizeable down payment discouraging you from homeownership? According to data from a U.S. Census housing survey, nearly 50 percent of current homeowners made down payments of 10 percent or less. 

Don't let the need to make a down payment discourage you from purchasing your first home. 

Our REALTORS® have put together a list of useful tips to save for a down payment.

  1. What Is Your Goal?
    Start with the end in mind. Figure out a realistic price range of homes you can afford, how much of a down payment you'll need and your time range. Getting prequalified is a helpful exercise to get some substantial numbers.

  2. Create a Budget 
    You already know a vague intention of putting money away "when you can" isn't going to work. Whether you use a spreadsheet or paper and pencil, write down every penny that comes in and goes out each month, so you know where you stand.

  3. Set a Monthly Savings Amount
    Once you have an amount in mind, you can determine how much money to save each month to make it happen. If you don't have enough disposable income for your goal, there are two options: reduce the amount of money spent or increase earnings.

  4. Cut Back on Spending
    When is the last time you examined your spending patterns? Certain expenses are fixed, but you can almost always find things large (vacations) and small (daily lattes) to forgo.

  5. Boost Your Income
    Gone are the days when traditional full-time jobs are the only way to make money. With options like selling on eBay, driving for Uber or freelance writing, the possibilities are endless. As a bonus, you work when you want instead of on someone else's schedule.

  6. Pay Off Debt
    Putting money aside while you're paying out on credit card interest is taking one step forward and two steps back. Pay off any outstanding credit card balances, prioritizing ones with the highest interest rates.

  7. There's an App for That
    Automate savings with an app like Digit, which analyzes your spending patterns and finds opportunities to put money away painlessly. You can also use direct deposit to funnel money into savings before it gets into your hands.

  8. Ask for Cash
    Let family and friends know about your plans and ask them to give cash for birthdays, holidays, or any other gift-giving occasion.

  9. Say Goodbye to Splurges
    Do you generally treat yourself to extravagant purchases when you receive bonuses, tax refunds, or other "found" money? Adding those funds to your down payment savings will eventually pay off.

  10. Look into Assistance Programs
    Many state and local governments have down payment programs offering assistance through grants, interest-free loans, or traditional loans. Also, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans allow borrowers to put down as little as 3.5 percent depending on your credit score.

  11. Tap Retirement Accounts
    If you have a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA), check the rules regarding withdrawals or loans for down payments. While penalties may be waived, you will still have to pay taxes, so be sure to consult with a financial advisor.

We have years of experience helping people of all ages and financial situations reach their dream of homeownership. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.


Commute Time for New Home

Commute time is an important factor you should consider when buying a new home. While a long commute may not bother you at first, it may affect your lifestyle and ability to enjoy your new home. For many, finding the perfect home means balancing price, location, community amenities, and distance to the office. With a little planning, it is not hard to find a balance between time in the car and time spent in the home of your dreams. 

The Peace and Quiet of the Countryside

Many people choose to commute do so because they find a little slice of heaven far away from city centers and nosy neighbors. Maine is filled with beautiful properties hidden in the hills or nestled along the coast. These charming properties are the perfect place to rest and recharge after a long day at work. If you want to purchase these relaxing retreats, it may mean a commute of 15, 30, 45 minutes, or more to your office. Nationwide, the average commute is 26 minutes. If you are looking at a longer commute, it means you will have that much less time each day to enjoy your home.

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It would be nice if every house negotiationwent smoothly, but unfortunately, that's not always the case. Whether the seller is unwilling to negotiate or a closer look at your "dream" home reveals serious issues, sometimes it's better to walk away. Our real estate agents know what it takes to land your dream home, so let's take a closer look at the signs that it's time to walk away from a house negotiation.

Signs It's Time

Seller Refuses to Negotiate in Good Faith

Every successful negotiation requires compromise, and it's hard to find common ground when the seller refuses to negotiate in good faith. An overly rude seller refuses to listen to your concerns, or seems unwilling to budge on even the smallest issues may not be worth the trouble. You don't have to feel like the seller is going to be your best pal after negotiations, but civility and courtesy go a long way.

Falling In and Out Of Love with a Home

There's no avoiding the fact that buying a home is often an emotional process, and at some point in the shopping process, most buyers fall in love with a home. It's normal to get excited about a home that seems to suit your needs. Sometimes love at first sight turns into cold feet when it's time to commit. If the home you thought you love isn't all it's cracked up to be, then it may be time to move on to your next option.

Seller Conceals Key Information From House Negotiation

While disclosure rules vary by location, in most places, sellers are required to disclose certain serious maintenance issues with the home. This may include things like flooding, leaks, foundation damage, roof damage, and damage to key systems within the home. If you discover the seller has been trying to hide issues that they're required to disclose, it's better to walk away.

Inspection Uncovers Serious Issues During House Negotiation

The home may have issues turn up during the inspection that the seller wasn't aware of, and those issues may be serious enough to make you think twice. If the home inspection does reveal serious issues, you'll have to consider whether it's worth the time and money to fix the home before you decide whether to buy.

Too Much DIY

Tackling projects around the house is simply part of owning a home, but not every owner is qualified to handle home improvement projects. If the home has too many DIY fixes that would have to be repaired by professionals, it may no longer be the right fit for your budget.

Pest Issues, Mold, and Other Hidden Problems

If you discover that the home has serious issues with termites, mold, or other hidden problems, those issues will naturally impact your perception of the home. If the cost of repairing termite damage or eliminating mold is more than you bargained for, it's time to shop for a different home.

The Bottom Line When it Comes to House Negotiation

The negotiation step of buying a home can be stressful. An experienced agent can be there to help by giving you advice , and telling you when it might be time to walk away. Whether you're shopping for the first time or getting your search back on track after a failed negotiation, our team is here to help you find a home you'll love. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Northern New England area, and check out The Ultimate Home Buyers Guide to help you on your journey to find a new home.


First Right of Refusal

Our real estate agents understand there are many reasons you may not be able to purchase the home you want right away. The most common reason is that you want to wait until your home has sold. The fact is most buyers don't want to close on a new property until they have completed the sale of their current home. When a seller accepts your contingent offer, you will have first-right-of-refusal to either purchase or pass on the property.

Contingent Sale Offers

There are many types of contingent sale offers, including appraisal contingencies, mortgage approval contingencies, and inspection contingencies. The most common are sale and settlement contingencies, which are used when a prospective buyer's home is on the market, but an offer has not been received. The second most common is a settlement contingency which is for buyers whose home is under contract but has not closed.

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Seller Disclosures

When you're selling your home, wanting to present it in the best light possible is only natural. However, it's also important to be honest about any issues with the house, including past repairs and current problems. Disclosure isn't just the right thing to do – it's also the law. Our real estate agents are here to help you navigate the process, with a guide to everything you need to know about disclosure when selling your home.

  • Pay Attention to State and Federal Disclosure Rules
    The exact rules for what you need to disclose and how you handle the process vary by state. It's critical to research disclosure rules for the location where you're selling a home. Most disclosure regulations are controlled by the state, except for one key issue. Federal regulations require that you disclose lead paint if the home was built before 1978. Homes built before 1978 will need to be checked for lead paint before you sell.

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Home Selling Tips

You're full of eager anticipation when you put your home on the market, but there comes a time when you have to admit it's not selling. Our real estate agents have successfully helped many sellers overcome roadblocks to closing a deal. Here are 10 common reasons why your home may not be selling as quickly as you'd hoped.

  1. Overpriced
    When looking for reasons why a home isn't selling, price is the obvious starting point. Even in a seller's market, the price has to be consistent with the value of the home in relation to those around it. Research the sale price of other homes in the area and make sure you're not being too aggressive.

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Again Roof - Sell Your Home

Our real estate agents know the roof is one of the most important parts of any home. Not only does the roof protect your well-being and comfort, but it also safeguards the entire structure.

When there are problems with the roof, it can create a domino effect that leaves the rest of the building vulnerable. Ultimately, a damaged roof can even lead to cracks in the foundation.

In a world of increasingly wild weather, it's never been more essential to have a durable roof. And with New England winters being what they are, a major leak is the last thing anyone wants.

So, when it's time to sell your home, it's vital to ask the question: Should you repair the roof?

Roof repair is something many sellers want to avoid. Although it can raise the sale price of your home, you won't usually recover your entire investment. However, there are some situations where getting roof repair done early on will help you out in the long run.

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What is a Credit Score?

Your credit score is a little three-digit number between 300-850 that depicts a consumer's creditworthiness, and that has a BIG impact on your home-buying process. The higher the score, the better a borrower looks to potential lenders. Our real estate agents know buying a home is an exciting experience. Whether it's your first time purchasing a property or if you're moving into a new space that will cater to your changing lifestyle, we want to make sure that your experience is an easy one.

How Credit Scores Impact Buying a Home

With years of experience helping clients buy and sell homes, we understand real estate transactions inside and out. Our customers often ask questions regarding how a credit score impacts purchasing a home. To provide you the best advice, we've answered some of the most common questions about credit scores so you can head into your home search with confidence.

Does my credit score matter?

Yes! Your credit score is an essential aspect of your financial life. Although it is an important consideration in a real estate transaction, your credit score can also impact other things like buying a car or taking out a loan. You can also leverage great scores into great deals — on credit cards, insurance premiums, apartments and cell phone plans. Bad scores can hammer you into missing out or paying more. According to Nerd Wallet, a 15-year home equity loan of $50,000 would cost a low scorer $22,500 more than someone with high scores.

How is my credit score calculated?

A credit score is composed of many elements, including your credit payment history, your debt-to-credit utilization, your length of credit history, your credit mix, and your new credit accounts.

What credit score do I need to buy a home?

Technically, you can buy a home with any credit score. However, securing financing gets increasingly more difficult the lower your credit score is. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with anything above 760 considered exceptional and anything below 650 considered less than favorable. For example, a credit score of 700 is good, and you may have an easier time qualifying for a loan than someone with a credit score of 400, which is considered unfavorable in the eyes of lenders. Similarly, those with an 800 credit score should have no trouble getting a mortgage approved by a financial lender.

How can I raise my credit score?

You can always raise your credit score no matter how low it is. Although it may take discipline and time, there's no reason why any individual can't get their credit score to a level which a mortgage lender will approve of. First, you should check your credit score and report to see where you stand. If you notice an error on the report, dispute it so it can be removed. Next, you'll want to gather all of your debts and plan a way to pay them down. Many people choose to pay off smaller debts first to show better management of debt-to-credit utilization. Moving forward, you'll want to ensure that you pay every bill on time so you won't chance missing a payment and dropping your score. Some individuals with limited or very low credit scores may want to consider building new credit responsibly by opening a new credit account, getting a new credit card or taking out a secured loan. Using these resources wisely can help boost your score.

Should I improve my credit score before I begin house hunting?

While it's not absolutely necessary to raise your score before you begin your search, we do recommend that you try to boost it if possible. When you seek out a loan or mortgage, you want to have the highest score and best credit report possible so you can secure funding quickly without trouble.

To learn more about how your credit score impacts the home buying process, contact us today!


Sell Your Home or Remodel?

Remodel or Relocate. Which is Right for You?

At a certain point, almost every homeowner faces a choice. Maybe your family has grown, your work-from-home business has blown up, or your house simply doesn't have space for the lifestyle you want. Whatever the reason, your current home no longer meets your needs, so it's time to decide whether you should remodel or relocate. Our real estate agents are here to help with that choice. 

  1. List Your Home Improvement Goals
    It's important to establish exactly why your home no longer meets your needs, and determine what improvements you would have to make. Make a list of all the updates, add-ons and upgrades you want, whether it's extra bedrooms and bathrooms, a remodeled kitchen, more storage space, or any other features you need your home to have. Eventually, this list will be useful to determine the cost of making the necessary changes.

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Final Walk-through Checklist for Home Buyers

When you're buying a home, your final walk-through is an exciting moment. This is the crowning moment after months of research and negotiations to go through the property and confirm everything is in the condition you expect. Our real estate agents will go through the home step-by-step with you to ensure the following items on this checklist are accounted for. 

Structural Elements

  • Roof condition - Make sure the roof, rafters, and shingles are in good condition and that there are no "soft spots" or signs of water damage, wood rot, or mold.
  • Siding - Inspect siding for signs of damage, missing planks, mold, etc. 
  • Brickwork/Sidewalks - Look for damage including missing bricks, cracks in masonry, widening joints, crumbling mortar. 
  • Windows/Skylights - Examine windows, skylights, and frames for cracks, drafts, torn screens, and other damage. You will also want to ensure that all windows and skylights open/close correctly and that there are no signs of water damage.

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Home-selling advice to ignore
It's no secret that selling a home is stressful. You feel pressured to sell your home fast and get top dollar for it. You'll have a lot of decisions to make, and there are so many uncertainties that you're likely to turn to anybody who's sold a home before for their opinions and advice. 

While this is common practice, it can often do more harm than good. That's because the real estate market changes quickly. What might have been great advice just a few months ago could be the completely wrong thing for you now. Unless you're dealing with a real estate professional you trust, it's best to take most of the advice you hear with a grain of salt. 

Our real estate agents are constantly helping sellers sort through misinformation and make smart decisions. Here are some of the most common home selling myths you really should ignore. 

  1. You Can Make More Money Selling By Owner
    Some people will tell you that foregoing a realtor and selling your home yourself will save you money. While it's true that you'll avoid the cost of a commission, studies have found homes sold directly by owners net a significantly lower price.

    You'll also need to factor in the time, effort, and cost you'll incur while selling the home. This includes marketing expenses and the cost of taking time away from work to show the home. Don't forget to factor in the stress of trying to navigate the complexities of the sales process by yourself!

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Buy a Home with Student Debt
With the total amount of student loan debt in the United States topping out at over $1.53 trillion, it's no surprise that many college graduates are concerned with how their debts will impact their ability to achieve their other financial goals. 

After finishing college and landing a great job, purchasing a home of your own is often the next logical step, but will you be able to do it if you're debt-strapped?

The answer is yes! Our real estate agents help new college graduates find their dream homes all the time. It will take some planning and preparation, but it's entirely possible. Start by following these five tips. 

  1. Evaluate Your Current Financial Situation
    Before you consider committing to a mortgage, it's essential to take an honest look at your current finances. Do you have enough cash set aside to cover emergency expenses?

    Do you have enough consistent, reliable income to pay your monthly bills and cover your mortgage, taxes, homeowners insurance, and other expenses related to owning a home? Once you can confidently answer "yes" to these questions, you're ready to start getting serious about buying a home.

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Real Estate Agent to Sell Home

Our REALTORS® strive to help everyone they meet make informed decisions about buying and selling a home. No matter if you choose to use our team in the long run, you deserve to have all the facts that will help you achieve the results you want.

One of the most important things a seller can understand is the value of professional advice when it's time to list a home. "For Sale By Owner" may seem fast and convenient, but most sellers who try to do things all on their own will find themselves frustrated – and never reach their goals.

A REALTOR® provides benefits you won't want to pass up. They include:

  1. Better Final Sale Price
    Research has shown that professional help with your listing can translate to tens of thousands of dollars for your final sale. A REALTOR® supports your financial goals by ensuring your home is priced attractively, yet maximizes value. When you sell on your own, you are leaving money on the table and sacrificing your valuable time, too.

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Sell Vacant Home

Our real estate agents have gotten plenty of questions lately about selling homes that are already empty. It's true: Selling a vacant home may present unusual challenges for the owner.

A vacant home can be more difficult to stage for your future buyers – and it's also tougher to keep it safe from thieves and vandals. Still, showing a vacant home might be unavoidable if your plans include moving before you have closed on the sale.

By taking a few extra steps, you can keep your property protected:

  1. Inform Local Law Enforcement
    Your local police are your best allies when it comes to keeping a vacant property safe. When you inform the police department about your plans, it means officers can be extra alert for anything unusual that happens around the neighborhood. Even a brief check-in by officers may be enough to persuade a would-be thief to choose a different target.

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First-time Buyer Info
If you're a first-time homebuyer, chances are you're getting ready to enter into one of the biggest transactions of your life. Along the way, you'll experience peaks of extreme excitement and valleys of anxiety and uncertainty.

Our REALTORS® work with first-time homebuyers all the time. To help ensure your transaction goes smoothly, they've created this list of nine things all first-time homebuyers need to know. 

  1. Start Saving for Your Down Payment Today
    While putting 20 percent down used to be the common practice, some lenders now allow you to put down as little as 3 percent of the purchase price. However, taking this option will increase your monthly payment and the amount you pay over the lifetime of the loan.  No matter what amount you've decided to put down, it will take some time to save up what you need. If you're going to put down 5 percent on a $200,000 home, that still means you'll need to come to the table with at least $10,000.

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Newlyweds Guide Home Buying
Congratulations on your marriage! Now that the honeymoon is over, it's time to walk hand-in-hand into the next chapter of your lives! If you're ready to buy a house together, our real estate agents know exactly how excited you are to start picking out your dream home. While we are here to help you through the home buying process from viewing through closing, we also want to help you responsibly prepare for this purchase. We've put together this handy homebuying guide for newlyweds to follow.

  1. Don't rush!
    Buying a house is a significant accomplishment, and although you may be ready to start this new chapter together in a new home, this is another major life decision that you don't want to rush. Remember that buying a home is not like planning a wedding — there is no exact date that you need to have everything ready. Take your time and responsibly prepare so that you can make your home buying goals a reality.

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Peterborough chamber events

Our Peterborough Office opened their office to the local Peterborough Chamber, Friends, Family, and Community May 23rd to celebrate their recent office remodel.
The office remodel design was created to offer flexible, comfortable and productive spaces. We are thrilled with the results! 

The office features local artists; Daniel Thibeault and Debra Caplan.  

A special thanks for all of the hard work and dedication from those that made this opening a success and to Cafe 532 for catering - the food was fantastic! 

Click here to find out more about our Peterborough office and agents and stop by to check out the new space! 

95 Grove Street | Peterborough, NH | 603-924-8373


Buying a Pet-Friendly Home
Congratulations on taking the first steps in finding a new home for your family. Of course, your family may include furry friends and it's important that they feel at home just the same. As you tour homes for sale around town, our real estate agents have these points to keep in mind as you search for a pet-friendly home.

  • Start with the inside.
    Before you start hunting for the best backyard space, remember that your dog or cat may spend most of their time indoors. There are certain features or floor plans that will facilitate pets. Mudrooms or outdoor decks are great places to give dirty dogs baths. Ceramic flooring is durable and easy to clean. Low windows and loft spaces give cats great places to sit while single-story homes give older animals the opportunity to explore the house without contending with stairs. Inspect that layout and features of the home from the perspective of your pet the same way you would if you had children or older adults moving in with you.

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Home Seller Etiquette Tips
As a seller, you should know that curb appeal and updated kitchens alone won't sell your home. Believe it or not, your etiquette during the listing and purchasing process can have just as much influence on the success of your home sale as a remodeled bathroom or close proximity to schools. Buyers want to feel comfortable throughout their search. Unfortunately, if you practice poor seller etiquette, there's a chance your home could leave viewers with a bad first impression.

Our real estate agents want your potential buyers to have the best possible experience while touring your home. Here are a few etiquette tips sellers can use to ensure that they are making this process as comfortable as possible for the buyer.

  1. Let the buyers tour your home without you. 
    As excited as you may be to show off all of the wonderful features of your home, it's best to let a real estate agent give the grand tour. In fact, you and your family should kindly leave the property and allow the potential buyers the freedom to view the home on their terms. They'll fall in love with their idea of the home but not necessarily yours. By letting them tour each room alone, they are free to envision the life they could have there.

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Get To Know Your Neighborhood
Welcome to your new neighborhood! Every move is the start of a new adventure and our real estate agents want to help you take the first step on your next journey. We've gathered the following six tips to help you get acquainted with your new neighborhood.

  1. Accept Invitations
    Right when you move in, don't be surprised if your new neighbors stop over and introduce themselves. They may even invite you over for dinner or out for a cup of coffee. Say yes to these kind requests and get to know those who surround your home. This is a great opportunity to make new family friends, learn about community resources and get honest opinions on everything from schools and shopping to the restaurants and recreational parks.

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Buying a Home - Multigenerational Living
Multigenerational living is a term used to describe households in which there are at least two adult generations in residence.  The number of these households in the U.S. is on the rise. Two types of multigenerational living are becoming more common in recent years; two-generation households, where adult children live with parents, and three-generation homes, where there are adult children, parents, and grandparents living under the same roof. Our real estate agents are here to explore some of the pros and cons of multigenerational households with you.

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Buy House Hot Neighborhood
Do you dream of moving into an up and coming neighborhood? Our real estate agents are here to help you identify the areas around your town that will soon explode onto the real estate scene.

  1. Area Improvements
    Keep your eyes open for areas of town that are undergoing massive improvements, both within the infrastructure and commercial contexts. Local governments and private corporations will begin noticeably investing in the renovation of these areas. New transit lines, which includes roadway improvements, will make the area more accessible for the many residents, visitors and commuter employees that are soon to follow. Old buildings will get a new facelift as businesses move in and turn neglect into opportunity. Keep in mind that the presence of any major corporations and retailers is a great sign as well. These companies spend millions of dollars on market analysis and wouldn't invest in an area that wasn't growing positively.

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Pay Off Mortgage
Should you pay off your mortgage early?

That's a question that many people struggle with, whether they are already paying on a mortgage or are working with our real estate agents to find a home to buy.

The answer to that question isn't the same for everyone since it depends largely upon each person's financial situation, as well as their long-term goals and preferences. Here are three things to consider as you determine whether or not paying off your home early makes sense for you.

  1. Do you have other debt?
    Given today's low-interest rates for traditional, fixed-rate home loans, chances are good that any other debt you are carrying, be it credit card debt, student loans or auto loans is more expensive than your mortgage. If you are carrying debts with higher interest rates, it makes good financial sense to channel any extra funds you have into paying these off before you worry about making extra payments on your mortgage.

  2. Will paying off your home early leave you cash-strapped?
    There is no harm in doing without a few luxuries to pay off your home more quickly, but you'll want to evaluate your budget carefully to be sure that making extra mortgage payments doesn't leave you on shaky financial ground.

    Leaving yourself cash-strapped to get it done can be risky business if the unexpected happens, like a job loss, for instance, or health problems. It can also cause you financial problems later in life if you're scrimping on retirement savings to prepay your mortgage.

    Before you commit a more substantial chunk of your budget to pay down your home loan more quickly, put some money away for a rainy day. You should save enough to cover your ordinary expenses for at least six months, but preferably a year. Also, be sure that money goes into your retirement fund every month before you send that extra payment on your home loan.

  3. Will your mortgage term stretch into your retirement years?
    Most of us will see a significant decrease in income once we retire. If your loan, should you pay just as scheduled, will still be around when you retire, it may make sense for you to get your home paid off early. Owning your home free and clear by retirement age will pay off by reducing your monthly expenses significantly, right when you likely have less income to meet them.

The bottom line is that, if you can comfortably afford to pay off your home early, it makes sense to do so. You'll save money over the long-term by paying less interest, and you'll also have the peace of mind that comes with having clear title to your home. However, if paying more towards your mortgage will cause undue financial strain, it probably makes better sense to keep up with those agreed-upon monthly payments.

If you have more questions about the pros and cons of paying your home off early, please feel free to contact us. We're always happy to put our expertise and experience on all things related to home ownership to work for the benefit of New England homeowners and home buyers.


How to Get Your Dream Home

So you have done the rounds shopping for just the right New England dream home for you. You're finally in the home stretch, having found your dream home. However, there is a problem. Other buyers have decided it is their dream home too, and you've found yourself having to compete for your new home. So what do you need to know about duking it out with competing home buyers to increase your odds of coming out on top?Our real estate agents have some tips and tricks that can help you get to your dream home fast and easy.

Step One

Use a buyer's agent

Having an agent that works directly for you is a big advantage when buying a home. A good buyer's agent will have extensive experience in the market you're shopping. They will also have access to more information about listed homes, and will be looking out for your best interests, rather than those of the seller. Having an expert in your corner to guide you can make a big difference when it comes to competing with other buyers to purchase the home you have your heart set on. According to the National Association of Realtors, 88% of buyers purchased their dream home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Step Two

Get pre-approved for a home loan

It is always best to get a mortgage pre-approval before you begin shopping for a new home. It is essential to do so if you're planning to submit an offer on a house where there are likely to be competing offers from other buyers. You want to be able to show that you can afford the home in question to ensure that the seller takes your offer seriously. Also, if any of your competing buyers have not yet made this step, you'll increase your odds of being seen as the more prepared and serious buyer. Take a look at our blog on the importance ofmortgage pre-approval to learn more.

Step Three

Limit contingencies

If more than one buyer is bidding on your dream home, presenting a clean offer, with as few contingencies and demands as possible, can increase the odds that the seller will look upon your offer more favorably than those of more demanding buyers.

Step Four

Make a large earnest money deposit on your Dream Home

Putting a larger than average chunk of cash down for earnest money can sway sellers. This will make it known that you are committed and ready to buy. Putting down a large earnest money deposit will also ensure added insurance on the transaction for both the buyer and the seller. 

Step Five

Go face to face the listing agent

The personal approach when you deliver your offer can go a long way towards swaying the competition for a home in your favor. Most buyers send offers via email these days, a rather impersonal approach, so presenting yours face-to-face can certainly make you, and your offer, stand out from the crowd.

The Bottom Line on How to Get your Dream Home

These five tips will greatly increase your chances of nailing down your dream home. If you could use a few more great tips on coming out the winner when you're buying a home, please feel free tocontact us. You can also check out The Ultimate Home Buyers Guide to learn more about all the steps it takes to buy a home. We're always happy to put our knowledge and experience to work for the benefit of New England home buyers.


Sell Your Home Staging Tips
If you are planning to sell your home, as our real estate agents would certainly tell you, presenting it in the best possible light is essential to making a quick sale at the right price. That means staging your home properly to show off its best features and make it appealing to a wide variety of potential buyers. You can, of course, hire a home staging professional to get the job done, but if you'll be doing it yourself, here are ten can't miss home staging tips to get your home sold:

  1. Know where staging matters most – According to a survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, the most important rooms to stage are living rooms, master bedrooms, and kitchens, so see to those rooms first. Other rooms to consider staging would be dining rooms, bathrooms, and children's rooms.

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Moving Purge Before You Pack
Buying a new home is exciting, and if you have just done so, you're probably very eager to get into that house and get started making it a home. However, before you can get to that part of things, you'll have to get through the moving process. That process will be easier if you spend some time thinning out your stuff before you begin packing it up. Our real estate agents know that, for most of us, this is easier said than done, so if you're not sure just where to start, here are ten ways to purge before you pack:

  1. Sort your clothes – Getting prepared for the easiest possible move means biting the bullet and getting rid of clothes that haven't seen daylight for ages. Sort through your closets and dressers and purge anything that hasn't been worn in the past year.

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Spring Maintenance Checklist
Spring is a time for making your home alive again after a long, cold winter. Even if you've just moved into a new home, by spring there's a good chance that you'll find plenty of tidying up to do. If tasks have been piling up over the last several months, it can be difficult to know where to start with spring maintenance. Our real estate agents are here with these steps toward making spring house maintenance easier. 

  1. Inspect your roof
    Winter weather can wreak havoc on rooftops, and leaky roofs can lead to water damage inside your house. If you can inspect your own rooftop with a ladder safely, do so; otherwise, try to find an angle on the ground where you can see if any shingles have fallen off or if any rust has formed. Even if there are no visible cracks in your roof, you should still inspect your ceilings for water damage; nails holding shingles in place can start to pop out just enough to let water in. Even if your roof is fully intact, it might be a good idea to hire a roof cleaning service to get rid of any lingering debris.

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6 Tips for a Happy Kitchen Renovation

Your Guide to a Successful Kitchen Remodel

Kitchens are, in most homes, the center of daily life. That simple fact means that if yours isn't functional and attractive, it can be quite the thorn in your side. That's why kitchens are among the most often renovated rooms in any house. If a kitchen renovation is on your to-do list, the chances are good that you have heard a lot of stories about problems and hassles along the way. However, as our real estate agents can tell you, it doesn't have to be that way, whether your renovating in a newly purchased home, or updating the one you've owned for years. Here are six tips for a successful kitchen renovation that can help you smooth your path to creating your dream kitchen:

  1. Spend a LOT of time on planning – Knowing exactly what you want to be changed in your kitchen before you get started is essential to keeping costs within reason and hassles to a minimum. Spend some time visualizing how you want your kitchen to look and function, then get into the details of the appliances, fixtures, and materials you will need to make it so. Getting a clear picture of what your remodel will entail is an important first step that will make the steps that follow much easier.

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Get Your Home Ready to Sell This Spring
Winter isn't over just yet, but it will be here before you know it. Spring is a great time to sell your home. Making your home buyer-ready before the season starts will ensure that you're prepared to list it before the market gets overloaded. These ten tips from our real estate agents make it easy to prepare your home for sale and help your home look its best. 

  1. Evaluate Your Home's Condition – Inside & Out
    Before you begin any projects, take a walk throughout your home with a friend to get an objective opinion about what is appealing and what isn't. Make sure to examine the exterior, too. If your home looks its best inside and out, it's more likely to draw buyers in to look around.

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Pet Move

The Pet Move

Moving with our fur babies can be tricky. Lots of unexpected activity and getting adjusted to a new place is hard on our pets. To make the pet move easier, here are some helpful tips that will create a successful and stress-free move. 

Plan Ahead for your Pet Move

A big part of any move is careful planning and preparation. When there's a pet in the mix, making sure you're ready before moving day becomes even more important. Be sure to take care of these details well in advance to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Research a new vet if you're moving far enough that your old one will be out of reach
  • Find out if your pet will need any new vaccinations upon relocation.
  • Get new collars and ID tags that reflect your new address, making certain that your cell phone number is on the collar. Micro-chipping isn't for everyone, but it's a good backup in case your pet loses its collar. 
  • Look into tags with tracking software in them such as the new Apple AirTag that can be attached to a collar, or there are many other options to pet tracking tags.
  • Check the local laws near your new home. Find out what the leash requirements are, whether you'll need to get a new license, and if there are any dog breed bans in place.
  • If you are moving somewhere that driving with your pet would be too far, there are pet relocation services that will move your pet for you in a safe and stress-free way. You could also consider taking your pet on an airplane if your pet meets the airline's guidelines.

Prepare Your Pet

In the days and weeks leading up to your move, there are lots of things you can do to get your pet ready and reduce stress. Pets are like children, we want to ensure they are well taken care of and they are kept happy during this stressful time.

  • If your new home isn't too far away, introduce your pet to it ahead of time. Even if it's just taking a walk to your new neighborhood, a little familiarity can be beneficial. 
  • Crate training your pet can help ease anxiety and it allows your pet to be more comfortable in the car when moving day arrives. To do this, it is best to gradually acclimate your pet to the crate well in advance to the move.
  • If your dog will need to learn new rules for your new location, start training in advance. Your dog may have to learn not to bark if you have close neighbors, could have to learn to be around other new animals, or may have to adapt to a smaller or larger home.  
  • Bring out a few boxes and suitcases weeks before the move, so your pet doesn't get too anxious during the packing process. 

Pet Move Day

  • The day you move to your new home can be a stress-filled roller coaster for everybody. Having a trusted pet with you can reduce your anxiety, so do everything you can to reduce their anxiety as well.
  • Prepare an "overnight kit" and keep it easily accessible, including enough supplies your pet may need to stay comfortable during the first few days of unpacking—dog food, kitty litter, toys, etc.
  • Depending on your pet's particular personality, it might be a good idea to send her to a trusted pet sitter's house for a day or two during the hustle and bustle of the move. 
  • When moving your pet, bring your pet in the car with you if possible, and make the trip as comfortable if you can. Put a blanket over the crate or pet carrier if that's what your pet needs, and keep food and toys handy. Don't let your pet out until you get to the new house unless it's a long trip that requires a bathroom break. 
  • During your pet move, positive reinforcement is key. Make sure your pet is receiving treats and love for all positive behavior to keep anxiety to a low.
  • Have a room set up for your pet with lots of familiar objects (and smells) that will remind her of your old house. 

Helping your pet adjust to their new home before the move, during the move, and after the move can exponentially help the move be more successful. The last thing anyone wants is themselves, along with their pets to put any strain when moving to a new home. If you follow these steps you should be well on your way to success.

Contact us today to learn more about finding your dream home and planning your move. We are committed to helping you, your family, and your furry friends. 


Do You Need a Home Warranty

Our real estate agents at the Masiello Group are always happy to assist current and future New England homeowners in getting the most value from their property.

That often involves pointing out resources buyers and sellers aren't aware of yet.

A prime example is National Home Warranty Day, celebrated on February 10.  Yes, National Home Warranty Day is really a thing – and so are home warranties.

Just about everybody has heard of homeowners insurance. After all, it's required in many cases. The home warranty, on the other hand, is not well known. That's unfortunate since a home warranty can save you hundreds of dollars in an average year.

Let's take a closer look at the two and how they differ.

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New England Home Buying Winter
People often ask our real estate agents if they should wait until springtime to start looking for a new home. After all, the cold weather, blustery winds, and short days don't exactly create a welcoming environment for home shopping.

While the thought of trudging through the snow to go to open houses may not be appealing, there are several compelling reasons why winter is the absolute best time to find your dream home. Consider these points, and you just may decide that you're ready to start looking today.

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Augusta Day Spas
Have you been wearing yourself out searching for the ideal home? While buying a new home is an exciting adventure, our Augusta real estate agents know that sometimes you need a break. There's no better way to recharge your batteries than spending a few hours getting pampered at a great spa.

There are many day spas to choose from in the Augusta area, but a few stand out from the crowd. Here's a round-up of our favorite places to relax and unwind.

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Bangor Gyms to Get in Shape
Considering all the turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies that come with the holiday season, it's no surprise that losing weight is one of the most common New Year's resolutions. If you're committed to getting in shape in 2019, you're certainly not alone. 

Here in Bangor, Maine, there are a lot of great gyms to help you get your resolution going. We asked our Bangor real estate agents to name their favorite gyms in the area, and we got a lot of great answers. So no matter what your workout style or fitness goals may be, there's an option for you. Best of all, they're all within a few minutes' drive of our many homes for sale in Bangor, Maine!

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Augusta Maine Children's Museums
If you've been checking out our local homes for sale, you're probably wondering whether it's a good place to raise a family. Thanks to the low crime rates, great schools, and plenty of kid-friendly activities, we're sure you'll find that the area is ideal for children of all ages. 

Whether you're visiting the state of Maine or you're already a local, you'll definitely want your little ones to experience the fun, interactive learning opportunities offered by the state's four children's museums. Here's everything you need to know to plan your next family adventure.

  1. Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine: 142 Free Street Portland, ME 04101
    Located in Portland's downtown art district, the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine gives kids a chance to play, act, and use their imaginations as they learn about science, history, and more. Be sure to check out the museum's exhibits, shows, and the theater performances created for children, by children. If one of the Portland homes for sale catches your eye and you become a resident, your children will love the ongoing classes, workshops, and camps. As a parent, you'll be happy to know that your children can have fun learning all year round.

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Bangor Maine City Spotlight - The Masiello Group

Surrounded by rugged forests and overlooked by a towering statue of mythic lumberjack Paul Bunyan, the city of Bangor is a cultural hub in Maine. It's a remarkable place, and our Bangor real estate agents are grateful to call it home.

Whether you're looking for homes for sale in Bangor or planning a short visit, be prepared for an experience you won't forget. Here's what you can expect in Bangor:

Explore Bangor History

Bangor was home to more than 300 sawmills in the 1830s, making it the unofficial "Lumber Capital of the World." Today, Bangor's storied past is visible everywhere, from the mansions along Broadway that were built from local timber in the 19th century, to the statue of Paul Bunyan that stands watch over Main Street and hearkens back to Maine's lumbering past. 

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Nashua Only Locals Know
It's easy to see why our locals love living Nashua, NH so much. It's in the ideal location nestled between the Nashua and Merrimack Rivers and only 30 minutes from the New Hampshire seacoast. It's got a bustling downtown and a thriving workplace. It's an area that our Nashua real estate agents love calling home, and these are the things the locals love about it.

  • Three Times the Charm
    Nashua is the only city that Money Magazine has ranked the #1 "Best Place to live in America" in both 1987 and 1997. Also, the magazine ranked it 16th of 50 communities as "Best Places to Live 2016."

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Portsmouth, NH Seasonal Events - Masiello Group

The holiday season is upon us, and the city of Portsmouth offers plenty of festive ways to celebrate. From hands-on activities to magical theater productions, there's something for everyone.

Our Portsmouth real estate agents want to make sure you don't miss out on any of the fun, so we've gathered this list of our favorite ways to ring in the season. Check them out, and you might find a new family tradition. 

  1. 28th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Exhibition
    The city of Portsmouth is known for classy and understated holiday celebrations. If this is your style, you'll love the 28th Annual Gingerbread House Contest Exhibition. The beautifully decorated gingerbread houses, created by local families, artists, and businesses, are proudly displayed on the first-floor gallery of Discover Portsmouth. The "winter wonderland" theme and surrounding large-format photographs are sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

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Quechee Covered Bridge
Our Quechee real estate agents
know that a terrific experience with a real estate firm is your "bridge" to the home you've always wanted. Anyone of our many Quechee homes for sale could be your dream home – all you have to do is visit us.

Vermont's covered bridges are genuinely outstanding. As you journey around Windsor County and beyond, you can find more than one hundred sprinkled throughout the state. When you're looking for homes, you should take time to see the picturesque beauty of these local landmarks!

These marvelous curiosities each have a long history and a story to tell.

One of the most interesting covered bridges of all is the Quechee covered bridge.

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Brunswick Androscoggin Swinging Bridge
Our real estate agents want to be sure you enjoy everything you see when you visit our area to look at Brunswick homes for sale. Our city isn't just about great dining, shopping, and amenities – it also has some outstanding historical sites you'll enjoy visiting.

When you think of the word "picturesque," Brunswick should come to mind!

Cumberland County has been settled since 1628, so it's no surprise history is just about everywhere you look. The Androscoggin Swinging Bridge is one example of the many delights you can find around the area – and it's more than a century old. 

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Rockland Maine Lobster Trap Tree

Our Rockland real estate agents are experts when it comes to everything Rockland and all across Knox County. Rockland is one of the top tourist destinations in the state, and that means the would-be home buyers our agents meet are also enjoying a great Maine vacation. They soon find out that Rockland homes for sale are in the midst of some of the most beloved Maine traditions.

Like so many cities in Maine, Rockland has a lot of history. People have been living here since all the way back in 1767 when it first became a lumber camp. The shipping industries made it one of the most successful and fast-growing communities in the entire state. As the railroads set in, it became a local tourism hub, starting with the famous Point Bay Hotel. Nowadays, the engine of Rockland is its vibrant downtown area, replete with some of the best dining, shopping, and attractions anywhere in Maine.

There's plenty of fun to be had in Rockwell any time of the year, but the holiday season is extraordinary rings festivities beloved by locals and visitors alike. One of the most memorable holiday events is the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree.

A True New England Treasure

Many cities all around the world have amazing Christmas tree displays, including most of the top cities here in the United States. However, there are some that are simply unique – and one of those is the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree exclusively here in Rockland, Maine.

TLC has even featured our Lobster Trap Christmas Tree on their TV show, "Extreme Christmas Trees!"

Sponsored by Rockland Main Street – a civic organization supporting downtown development – the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree is the centerpiece of the local Festival of Lights. It all kicks off at noon on Friday, November 23 as Santa Claus arrives courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard. That night, at 6 p.m., the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree enjoys its official lighting ceremony!

The tree is made from 155 standard, fully functional lobster traps spun into a tree decorated with more than 2,500 bulbs and an eighth of a mile of fir garland trimming. The final touch is more than a hundred lobster trap buoys donated by local lobstermen.

On Saturday, November 24, the festivities soar to a crescendo with the Parade of Lights, taking place just two days after Thanksgiving. The Parade of Lights features floats that compete for recognition by community voting, tallied using canned donations. Both the floats and the neighborhoods they visit are strewn with thousands of lights and are a sight to behold.

Come See the Tree and Stay a While in Rockland

Rockland is truly a treasure that you'll want to come home to – and the Masiello Group can help. We've been assisting people looking to relocate to Rockland and greater Knox County for many years. Our team combines service, experience, and unparalleled insight into the local area.

Contact our Rockland office to find out more. We can't wait to hear from you!

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