For Home Sellers

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. 

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.

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 Selling Process

Selling Your Home in Greater BostonAre you selling a home in the Greater Boston area for the first time? Or has it been a while since you’ve sold a property? If so, it’s helpful to get a general overview of the selling process from start to finish. Here are the basic steps.

1. Find a Real Estate Agent

The agents at Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty will guide you through each step of the selling process. We will help you navigate the market with confidence by sharing our local expertise and we will look out for your best interests. 

2. List Your Home

Once you've chosen a real estate agent, you'll sign an agreement that gives the agent exclusive rights to list your home on the market.

3. Get a Market Analysis

Your agent will provide a comparative market analysis and recommend the best listing price for your home. You’ll find out how much your property is worth so you can price it competitively to sell in the local market. Our team provides you with an accurate Opinion of Value based on statistical data.

4. Market Your Home

Your agent will gather all of the information for the MLS listing and will advertise your home for sale. Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty gives you the most exposure to buyers locally and around the world.  Learn about our services for sellers

5. Show Your Home

Agents and prospective buyers will walk through your property, so it’s important that buyers are able to see themselves living in it. A clean and de-cluttered home that’s properly staged will do the trick. Our team offers free advice on staging, minor repairs, and more.

6. Get Offers

Your agent will negotiate any offers received on your behalf. If market conditions are good and your home is priced right, you may receive multiple offers. We will continue to negotiate with your best interests in mind until you receive an offer you are willing to accept. 

7. Close

The paperwork is signed by the buyer and seller and the closing is complete! 

If you would like more information about selling your home, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today!

3 Tips on Downsizing in Retirement

House in Greater BostonAre you planning on downsizing your home for retirement? If so, you may some mixed feelings about it. Moving into a smaller home can be an exciting and emotional process. Here are a few tips to make things a little easier.

1. Stay positive. Look forward to all of the good things to come! You’ll be improving your lifestyle and your finances. You won’t have as much home maintenance or housework to do and your utility bills will be lower. You’ll have more time to enjoy the things you want to do, places you want to go, and people you want to see.   

2. Plan ahead. Take the time to carefully assess how much downsizing you really need to do. Visualize your new home, the floor plan, and the amount of space in it. Consider your budget, healthcare needs, and location. Where do you really want to live? Closer to attractions, amenities, family, friends, or all of the above? Planning ahead will make the transition easier for you and your loved ones.

3. Don’t rush. If you try to declutter or get rid of things too quickly, it can be overwhelming. Take your time and go through your home room by room and separate the items you want to keep. If there are things you haven’t worn or used for years, do you really need to keep them? Are you going to have room for these things in your new home? Now, it’s time to purge everything else. You can give the remaining things to family, friends, or charity, have a yard sale, or throw away.

If you would like to learn more about real estate opportunities in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty. We can help you find the right property for your needs.

New Year's Resolutions for Any Home!

Whether you’re looking to enjoy the home you’re in or invest in a new one, these New Year’s resolutions for your home are a great way to start the New Year!

Minimize the Clutter

  • Start your year off by giving everything in your home a place to live. Designate space and stick to it! If it does not have a home, evaluate if it’s really needed in your house and proceed accordingly!
  • Label when necessary. This is especially helpful for kids once you set a designated area for each item. Shoes? We know where those go! Jackets? They’re in the coat closet. Laundry? You get the idea.
  • While shopping in bulk may often be a time and money saver, if you don’t have the space for the item, save the peace of mind and keep only what you need on hand.

Maintain the Clean

  • Spend 15 minutes each day speed cleaning! Take a break from social media or spend your commercial breaks wiping down the counters.
  • Set daily, weekly, and monthly rules for yourself and others in your home. Daily tasks might include filling the dishwasher right after eating or wiping down the bathroom counter. Weekly rules might include vacuuming the carpets and changing the linens, while monthly cleaning might include checking the pantry for expired items.

Maximize the Safety

  • Sometimes a New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be an overarching goal. Making a to do list of all the items that have been piled up and making a goal to complete them all over the next year is a great resolution to set! This can span from fixing the squeaky hinges in your home to more safety-oriented things like cleaning out the vents and ducts behind your dryer.
  • If you’re planning a renovation of any kind, be sure to do research into what new safety measures may apply to the job. For instance, adding ventilation to your bathrooms and attic can help prevent mold spores from developing.
  • Doing a check for radon and confirming the carbon monoxide and fire detectors are working are also great things to do at the turn of the year for added safety.

Invest in Expertise

  • If these tasks sound overwhelming, it’s always a great idea to invest in professionals to help you complete your goals.
  • Looking to keep a squeaky-clean house? Invest in cleaning services.
  • Adding, expanding, or repairing your home? Not everything needs to be DIY, so reach out to a professional.
  • Looking to sell your home or buy a new one? We might be able to help with that!