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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall Home Maintenance TipsThe arrival of fall means many things, one of which being that we are one season closer to winter. It’s important to enjoy the fall season while it’s here, but it’s also important to get your home ready for winter’s harsh conditions. Here are some things you can do on the weekends in the fall to make sure you and your home are prepared come winter.

Seal Gaps

You’re not the only one who wants to hunker down inside for the winter; wild critters will seek out the warmth of your home too, so make sure there are no gaps, holes, or tears in your home. It’s probably a good idea to have a professional come in and seal your house, not just to keep animals and cold air out, but keep warm air in. 

Do Some Proactive Landscaping

Although you might not think, fall is actually the perfect time to think about how you want your garden to look come springtime. Planting spring-blooming bulbs and fertilizing and reseeding your lawn is the perfect activity for a cool fall day - their roots will grow deeper into the ground over the winter and they will emerge in the spring, giving you a lush and plentiful lawn to start off the season. Another proactive measure you can take is pruning trees and bushes to encourage growth while also pruning any branches that may be likely to fall on your house or power lines once the snow has fallen. 

Check Heating Systems

Fall is the perfect time to make sure your heating system is working properly before it gets too cold - you don’t want to be stuck with a broken heater on the morning after the first snowfall. This could involve changing the filter, cleaning out your air ducts and/or chimney, and having a professional check for efficiency. It could also be beneficial to consider switching to a green heating system, like a heat pump, that will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint in the long run. 

Drain Hoses and Outdoor Water Systems

As we know, water freezing in the winter can cause a lot of pipe damage. To avoid this, make sure you shut off the water to any outdoor faucets or water systems you have. Drain your garden hose and store it inside until the spring, and make sure the water is turned off at the source. 

Do a Deep Clean

The change of season is always a good excuse to give your house a good clean. This means doing all the nitty gritty stuff that you wouldn’t do regularly, like scrubbing grout from tiles, cleaning the inside of kitchen appliances, cleaning light fixtures, and washing the walls and floors. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of cleaning your whole house, ask a friend to help, or start out by cleaning one room. You’ll thank yourself later when you have the rest of the winter to relax in your spotless home.

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in Greater Boston, contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty today.

Buying a Home to Fit Your Lifestyle

Jogging in the ParkBuying a home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, so it makes sense to choose a home that fits your lifestyle. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, growing your family, retiring, upsizing, or downsizing, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and interests.

Getting pre-approved is an important first step in the home buying process. You need to know what your budget is and how much home you can afford. Once you know your price range, you’ll want to identify your needs and wants.

Give a lot of thought to your lifestyle and your interests and decide what’s most important to you. Think about amenities, location, and space. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you want to be in-town and close to everything? 
  • Do you prefer a single family home with a little more privacy and seclusion? 
  • Do you mind doing yardwork or home maintenance projects?
  • Do you prefer a condo with onsite amenities near public transportation? 
  • Do you need extra room for entertaining at home? 
  • Do you work from home and want energy efficiency and a designated office?

It’s also important to consider the stage of life you are in. Are you planning to adopt a pet or start a family soon? If so, you may need a yard or an extra bedroom. If you have kids, you’ll probably want to do some research on the local school districts. There are lots of options for retirees, including luxury homes, one level living, and adult communities. 

No matter what your lifestyle is, it’s best to choose a home that you’ll be comfortable in for several years. Browse our popular categories below to find a home that fits your lifestyle.

In-Town Searches | Lifestyle Searches

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    How to Keep Your Home Cool & Electric Bill Low This Summer

    Grilling OutsideHere are some great ways to keep your home cool this summer without increasing your air conditioning bill.

    Use Window Coverings

    If you have west facing windows, close the blinds in the afternoons, which is usually the hottest part of the day. Or, at least tilt them upwards so they prevent heat from pouring through the windows. Direct sunlight can increase the temperature inside your home. Reflective window panels are another great option.

    Get a Programmable Thermostat

    A programmable thermostat can help you save on energy costs. You can preset the thermostat to reduce the temperature by a few degrees during the hottest part of the day, so it stays nice and cool without wasting energy all day long. You won’t need to worry about turning the thermostat up when you leave and down when you get home either.

    Install Ceiling Fans

    Ceiling fans are great because moving air makes you feel cooler. It’s important to know that the blades should rotate counterclockwise so they push the cooler air down. You can also turn on the exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen to help move the warm air outside your home. 

    Open Windows at Night

    Enjoy the summer breeze flowing through your home by opening the windows in the evening. This also gives the humid air in your home a chance to flow outside. The cool night air will circulate while you sleep so you can get a fresh, cool start in the morning. 

    Outdoor Grilling

    The oven and other kitchen appliances can really heat up your home. Unless you can cook during the coolest part of the day, get outside and show off your grilling skills. There are lots of delicious meals you can grill. This is a great way to spend quality time outdoors with your family and keep your home cool at the same time.

    Turn Off Lights and Electronics

    Keep the lights and electronics turned off when you aren’t using them. The less heat produced by light bulbs and electronics inside your home will result in cooler temperatures.

    If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty. We’re ready to help you. Start your home search here.

     

    Tips for Working From Home

    Work From Home TipsAs we’re setting into the new normal, many of us continue to work from home. This creates a new level of distractions that were not dealt with in an office setting. We’ve compiled our favorites tips to successfully work from home. 

    Have a Defined Work Space & Set Boundaries

    Separating work from home is essential. Create a space in your home, whether it be a home office or a designated area for your desk. Once you’ve defined the space, establish etiquette for when you’re in there. If your area has a door, shut the door when you’re on a call, ask anyone in the house to knock on the door to see if you’re available and able to chat. 

    Find a Good Set of Headphones & Use Them

    Being home means exposure to many different noises, such as the voices or phone calls of the people around you. Having a good set of noise-canceling headphones is life-saving. Give a set to everyone who might be in school or working around you. Not only will they cancel out whatever people are listening to, but you’ll also be able to hear any phone calls with clarity. 

    Maintain Regular Hours

    Having a routine is important. Set a schedule and stick to it. Start and end your day at the same time every day. With that being said, one of the great benefits of working from home is the flexibility. It’s usually okay to start or end your day early if that’s what you need to do. Be sure to work in breaks throughout the day. At an office space, you would find time to talk with your coworkers and grab a coffee. Continue to take this time away from the computer by going on a walk. 

    Socialize with Coworkers and Be Heard at Meetings

    We’re all pros at online meetings and chat services by now. Be sure that you have your camera on when in a meeting and speak up so your coworkers can hear you. Having a presence in the office is easy, but it is a bit harder while on video calls so make sure to articulate your thoughts and ideas. 


    Questions about real estate in the Greater Boston area? Check out our latest listings or contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty!

    Start Your Boston Area Virtual Home Search

    Home Buyers Searching OnlineThere are recent changes and uncertainty happening all over the world and impacting our lives in many ways. This doesn’t mean your need to find a new home or sell a home has disappeared. At Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty, we are still providing valuable resources and services with technology. 

    Find Your Greater Boston Home Online

    Use our recommended searches to view active listings. Some of our most popular search categories are below. 

    You may also like to try creating a custom search with our advanced MLS tool. You can filter your search results to match the criteria for your ideal home. 

    Additional Buyer & Seller Resources

    If you’re currently working from home, be sure to watch our YouTube video to get some tips on 5 Ways to Keep Your Mind and Body Healthy While Working from Home.

    Always know that we’re here to help you. We will get through these uncertain times together. If you have any questions about buying or selling, or if you’d like to learn more about the area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty.

    Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

    Gutters on Home

    Hello, spring! You’ve put away your winter coats and brought out the cleaning supplies in preparation for the spring season. Here’s a handy checklist to make sure the exterior of your home is ready for the beautiful flowering season. Enjoy the wonderful outdoors with warmer weather and more daylight hours while taking care of your home at the same time.

    Caulk, Seals, and Trim

    It won’t take long to look around your doors and windows to see if the caulk, seals, or trim needs to be resealed, repaired, or replaced. This is an easy but important fix to help insulate your home. It’s well worth it!

    Exterior Paint

    Check the exterior of your home for any cracked or peeling paint. If you scrape it off and apply a fresh coat, it will protect the wood and keep it from rotting. This can prolong the need for repainting the entire exterior of your home.

    Roof

    Your roof protects your home's interior, so it's important to know if there are any missing or damaged shingles. If so, you’ll want to replace or repair them as soon as possible. If you’re not sure what to look for, or if you aren’t comfortable climbing up on the roof, you can hire a professional to inspect it and make some recommendations. 

    Gutters

    To help your gutters do their job, it’s a good idea to clean out any leaves and debris and make sure the downspouts are angled away from your home’s foundation. If you see any holes, use some caulking to prevent leaks. Dirty gutters don’t work efficiently or drain properly.

    Driveways and Walkways

    This is a great time to repair any cracks in your driveway and walkways. Smaller cracks are usually easier and less expensive to repair, and if you fix these right away, you could prevent them from becoming bigger problems.

    Soil

    Sprinkle some extra soil to level out any low areas next to your foundation or in your yard to help protect your foundation, minimize insects, and reduce flooding caused by heavy rains. You may even want to plant some pretty spring flowers while you’re at it!

    Air Conditioner

    Spring is the perfect time to hire a professional for a preseason cleaning and service for your outside air conditioning system. This will help your system operate more efficiently during the warm months and it may even lower your electric bill. 

    If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today! We live, work, and play in Greater Boston and we're here to help you with your next real estate transaction. 

    Credit Scores - What you should know

    It is important to have a good credit score, if you are a home buyer looking to get a mortgage,or if you are a young adult wishing to to be eligible for better loan rates for a car, or first-time home purchase. Here are some of the factors that contribute to your credit score, and suggestions for how to maintain good credit. Take a look at these tips from Susan Kelly of Fairway Mortgage Company.

     

    The Home Buying Process

    Home BuyersThe home buying process can be scary, especially if you're new to it, or if it's been a few years since you last went through it. Here at Barrett Sotheby's International Realty, we can help. Below, you will find the basic steps of the home buying process.

    1. Find a Real Estate Agent

    The agents at Barrett Sotheby's International Realty will guide you through each step of the home buying process. We will help you navigate the process with our local expertise while keeping your best interests in mind. 

    2. Review Available Listings

    Once you've chosen the right real estate agent for you and your needs, we will take you through available listings that match your needs. After we've reviewed listings you like, we will go on a walkthrough of the properties you liked, so you can better see the homes and begin to imagine yourself living there. This is the time you will want to file a mortgage application with your bank and hire an attorney to review the upcoming paperwork. 

    3. Choose a Home, Make an Offer

    After a decision has been made, your agent will negotiate with the seller's agent to place the correct offer that will put you in the best place for the seller to accept. Once the offer has been made, you will want to send it to your attorney for review. 

    4. Schedule a Home Inspection

    In the preliminary acceptance stage, you will want to schedule a home inspection to make sure everything in the home is as it seems and to work the seller to get any major issues resolved before the closing date.

    5. Sign the Contract

    After you've resolved anything that may have come up in the inspection, it's time to sign the contract. You will sign and then send the contract to the seller to sign. Once both parties have signed, you will deliver the contract to the bank.

    6. Close On Your New Home

    You and the seller will agree on a closing date, which officially transfers the ownership from the seller to the buyer. A power of attorney will sign the documents and you will provide the bank the final down payment.

    Congratulations and Welcome, Home!

    If you would like more information on buying a home, contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty. If you're ready to start the buying process, find an agent here

    5 Smart & Sensible Winter Moving Tips

    Moving in the Winter SeasonThe winter season is a great time to plan a move because it’s the off-season for moving companies. In addition to lower moving prices, you’ll find a greater selection of dates and types of services available. Below are some tips to make your winter move as stress free as possible.

    1. Check the Forecast

    Be flexible when it comes to severe weather and keep an eye on the forecast. With the sometimes unpredictable winter weather, it’s a good idea to allow extra travel time in case you need it. Keep in touch with your movers to confirm everything is on schedule, especially one to two days before the move. Listen to their advice about the weather and any hazardous road conditions.

    2. Clean Driveway and Walkways

    Clear off any snow and ice from your driveway and walkways. Use salt, shovels, snow blowers, and other tools to help keep the movers and your belongings safe. The movers will appreciate the effort and it will help everything go smoothly. Consider using plastic sheets or blankets to protect the flooring inside your home, especially if it’s a little wet and muddy outside.

    3. Pack Winter Essentials in Your Car

    Extra clothes, coats, boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and emergency blankets are helpful items to pack in your car. Include any other things you may need in case of travel delays. Also, it’s important to remember that electronics don’t like cold weather. If possible, pack electronics in your car to keep them warm.

    4. Turn the Heat Off

    Movers will be going in and out of your house most of the day. Keep your electric bill low and your furnace at ease by turning off the heat. If you’d like to keep one or two rooms warm, use space heaters in those rooms and keep the doors closed.

    5. Thank Your Movers

    Winter moving is hard, especially for the movers. Offer them something warm to drink like hot chocolate, tea, coffee, or apple cider. Let them know you appreciate their hard work and effort during your winter move.

    Moving in the winter season doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you’re prepared. Stay aware of possible moving issues so you can do your best to avoid them before they happen.

    If you’re thinking about buying or selling in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty. We’re here to help you through the process from start to finish!