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For Home Buyers

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.

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.

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!

Home Buyer and Seller Trends in 2019

Greater Boston Real EstateThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the 2019 annual report providing the latest profiles of home buyers and sellers. Here are some key takeaways from this year’s survey.

Home Buyers

For many, buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will make. A great real estate agent will help you find the right home for you. They will listen to your needs, guide you through the home buying process, and negotiate with the seller on your behalf and in your best interest.

  • 89% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent.
  • What buyers wanted the most when choosing an agent was to have an agent to help them find the right home.
  • 90% of buyers would use their real estate agent again or recommend them.
  • 87% of buyers said their agent was a very helpful information source.
  • The average time buyers spent looking at homes was 10 weeks.
  • 87% of buyers purchased a single family home.
  • The typical home purchased was 1,850 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Home Sellers

The right real estate agent is a local market expert who knows how to price your home to sell for the best price in the least amount of time. They will guide you through the entire home selling process with confidence and ease. Your agent will negotiate terms with the buyer on your behalf and in your best interest. 

  • 89% of home sellers sold their home through a real estate agent.
  • FSBO homes generally sold for much less than homes sold through an agent. FSBOs sold at a median of $200,000 while agent assisted homes sold at a median of $280,000.
  • The average homeowner lived in their home for 10 years before selling.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today.

The 5 Most Common Costs of Selling a Home

Home Seller CostsHere’s an overview of the typical costs associated with selling a home. Some of these expenses are negotiable and will fluctuate with the real estate market, but don’t let these costs catch you off guard.

1. Agent Commissions

It’s common for sellers to use the proceeds of the sale to cover the commissions for their listing agent and the commissions for the buyer’s agent. This can total around 6% of the sales price. It’s important to understand where some of your proceeds will be going. Your listing agent is a valuable resource who will help guide you through the entire home selling process from start to finish. 

2. Closing Costs

You may not be responsible for all closing costs and many of these fees are negotiable, but it’s smart to prepare. Common closing costs may include sales tax, attorney fees, title transfer fee, unpaid homeowners association dues, prorated property taxes, transfer taxes, title insurance, escrow fee, and closing agent fee. Be sure to check with your mortgage lender to find out if you have a prepayment penalty. Also, if you have a home equity loan or line of credit, you will need to pay it in full at settlement. Closing costs can range from 2 to 4% of the sales price.

3. Staging Costs

These costs can vary depending on where you live, the size of your home, and how many rooms you want to stage. Your home may only need a few minor adjustments like depersonalizing, decluttering and rearranging. If needed, you can choose to rent or buy decor. Barrett Sotheby’s offers free advice on how to stage your home to sell. We will help you figure out the best way to stage your home so that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living there.

4. Home Repairs

Your home inspection may reveal some serious issues and costly repairs. You may or may not have to fix them; but if you don’t, buyers will expect a discount or credit. Some sellers choose to get a home inspection before listing their home. This is not required, but it’s a great way to find out about any structural or mechanical problems so you can make any major repairs ahead of time. Barrett Sotheby’s offers complimentary advice on any minor repairs that will make your home more attractive to buyers. 

5. Moving Expenses

When you sell your home, you’re also moving! The average cost to move a three bedroom home within 100 miles is between $560 and $1,000. Larger homes, long distance moves, large items, packing, and storage can increase these costs. If you’re not immediately moving into your next home, you’ll also need to budget for rental and storage fees. 

If you’re looking to sell your home in the Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today. We can help you arrange the sale of your home with these costs in mind.

A House or Condo: Which is Best for You?

Buying a Home in Greater BostonYou’ll find a variety of beautiful homes and condos in the Greater Boston area. How do you know which property type is best for you? The most important things to consider are the actual home itself, the location, and your budget. 

For the type of home, would you prefer more privacy over a better chance of interacting with your neighbors? Or would you like to make close connections with your neighbors and have a stronger sense of community? Condo complexes feature common areas, which are great for daily interactions. With a single family home, you’ll have more space between you and your neighbors and some added privacy with landscaping and fences. 

As far as location, do you want to be able to walk to restaurants, shops, and community activities? Do you need to be convenient to public transportation for work? Which neighborhoods do you like the best and would you like to be closer to friends and family? Condos are typically located in convenient areas, offering easy access to town attractions. You’ll also find some great onsite amenities like pools, hot tubs, fitness centers, clubhouses, private balconies, and beautiful Boston views. Some of these amenities may not be practical with a single family home. 

Condos are also low maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about spending time maintaining the exterior of the property or the common areas because the association fees cover those items. If you’re looking forward to doing some renovations and expansions, a house will provide you with more options.

The sales price of a condo is usually less expensive than a comparable single family home, just remember to factor in the monthly association fees (which can vary greatly) to make sure you are staying within your budget.

Thinking about buying a home or condo in the Boston area? Contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty or start your search.

Thinking of Buying a Home without an Agent? Think Again!

Buying a Home with a RealtorAccording to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of buyers used a real estate agent in 2018, which has increased from 69% in 2001. It’s easy to search for homes online, but you’ll never be able to replace the guidance, insight, and local knowledge that a real estate agent provides. Here are some other reasons to use an agent when you buy your next home.

Save Time and Effort. There is an extensive amount of paperwork involved in the home buying process. A real estate agent is familiar with offers, counteroffers, disclosures, addendums, and amendments. Finding the right home also takes time. You can provide a list of criteria and your agent will find homes that match your needs and your budget.

Relax and Stay Calm. A good real estate agent will be able to calm your nerves while you’re making one of the biggest purchases of your life. Realtors manage communications and paperwork throughout the home buying process. This can reduce your stress and give you peace of mind. They will also keep you informed along the way. 

Negotiations. Your real estate agent is your middleman and they will negotiate on your behalf. If you have questions or concerns about a home before you put in an offer, your agent will reach out to the seller. They will negotiate repairs, credits, and the best price for you. You won't have to worry about paying too much for a property either. They will pull data for homes currently on the market and properties that have recently sold. 

Connections. A local agent can connect you with mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and other professionals. 

If you’re planning to buy a home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today! We’re happy to share our local expertise with you.

Start Your Home Search

The Home Buyers List: Identifying Needs & Wants

Home in Greater BostonBefore you start your home search, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and how much house you can afford. You may already have a good idea about the things you want to have in your new home, but what about the things you really need? The most important factors to consider when buying a home are the actual home itself, the location, and your budget. 

You’ll save valuable time in your house hunt by creating a list of wants and needs. Start out by listing all of the features in your dream home and then qualify those things as either wants or needs. Different wants and needs affect your home buying costs and you may not be able to get every single thing you want in a home, so it’s good to know what you can and can’t live without. 

Your Needs

The needs are the absolute deal breakers. These are the essentials for the property. If a home doesn’t have these things, you won’t even consider it. These features are either very difficult or impossible to change, such as the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, lot size, property type (condo, townhome, house), and distance from work.

Your Wants

The wants are extra things that would be nice for the property to have, but you would look at a home without these features as long as it meets everything on your needs list. A home that meets all your needs and has lots of these added features would be a great option to consider. Keep in mind that wants are things you can change or add later on, like a pool, skylights, or hardwood floors.

Finalizing your wants versus needs checklist before starting your property search will save you lots of time and frustration. Just remember that no home is perfect, but you do want to make sure you get the best home for you.

If you have any questions about buying a home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty!