Blog :: 01-2017

Steps to Take When You're Ready to Sell Your Home in the Pioneer Valley

Want to sell your house? You're not alone, as many home sellers in the Pioneer Valley and across the country will allocate significant time and resources to ensure that their properties stand out from the competition.

Ultimately, the steps you take before you list your residence may dictate homebuyers' interest in your house. And if you prepare your home accordingly, you may be able to streamline the home selling process.

So what does it take to get your house ready for the Western Massachusetts real estate market? Here are three steps that every home seller should follow.

1. Remove Clutter

Clutter is an eyesore that home sellers can live without. Thus, you'll want to spend some time getting rid of clutter before you add your house to the real estate market. Because if you don't, you risk alienating potential homebuyers as soon as they enter your house.

To de-clutter effectively, place any personal belongings in storage. This will allow you to free up space quickly and effortlessly.

Also, if you need to de-clutter in a hurry, you may want to consider hosting a garage sale. By doing so, you can sell excess items for a quick profit.

2. Clean Up Your Living Space

A clean home is a beautiful home, and a beautiful home is one that is ready to sell. Therefore, cleaning up your living space can make a world of difference in a competitive housing market, especially for those who want to accelerate the home selling process.

When it comes to cleaning your living space, go above and beyond the call of duty. Mop the floors, wipe down the walls and ensure that your house looks great inside and out.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But if you dedicate the necessary time and resources to clean up your living space, you should have no trouble generating substantial interest in your home as soon as it hits the real estate market.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – selling a home can be stressful. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available to help you alleviate stress and take the guesswork out of listing your residence.

An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a house in any real estate market, at any time. This real estate professional will promote your home to the right groups of homebuyers, set up home showings and host open houses. Plus, he or she will go the extra mile to help you maximize the value of your residence.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is a housing market expert. This professional will be able to keep you up to date about any offers on your home and provide recommendations and insights throughout the home selling process. Also, if you ever have questions about selling your home, your real estate agent will be happy to address your queries at any time.

To get the most out of your home selling experience contact Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont Realtors! We have four offices serving the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts; Amherst, Northampton, South Deerfield, and Shelburne Falls.

 

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    10 Home Amenities Contractors Love

    Rising numbers of creative artists, freelancers and contractors are working from home. The numbers are expected to increase. Leasing agents, employers and manufacturers of home amenities aren't the only people who have to accommodate for shifts that America's changing workforce will bring. Real estate agents, home builders, mortgage lenders and home buyers may also have to adjust to the changes.

    Home amenities must keep up with changing times

    The shifts that may have far reaching impact are expected to see half of America's workforce earning income from the contractor and freelancer ranks. According to Forbes, 53 million workers in the United States already freelance. By 2020, that number is expected to double. Many of these workers will work from home.

    Add in telecommuters, and don't be surprised if members of the gig and freelance economy start looking for home amenities and home floor layouts that fit their work-from-home needs. Following are 10 home amenities that contractors may start looking for more and more in home designs.

    1. Open floor plan - Houses that are designed with an open floor plan make it easier for contractors to multi-task. Whether they are working from their home office, the living room or the kitchen island, contractors can keep an eye on young children, pets or a meal that's cooking in the oven while they work.
    2. Solar energy - Homes built with solar energy panels help to cut down on utility expenses for work-at-home professionals, and who doesn't love opening a utility bill and seeing that the costs has dropped?
    3. Great outdoor views - Of all home amenities, this one is tops. Great views can keep freelancers from feeling isolated. Outdoor views help contractors feel connected to the world around them, even as contractors work for 8 or more hours a day from home.
    4. Built-in bookcases - Apartment management companies are already designing apartment units with built-in bookcases. Not only are built-in-bookcases visually attractive, they are space savers.
    5. Large home office - A large home office is a contractor's bread and butter. Contractors may start asking real estate agents to only show them houses that have a large home office. These rooms need to be big enough to fit a desk, chair, two filing cabinets, a printer and computer inside. The space shouldn't be cramped.
    6. Indoor exercise space - A large extra room or a basement could serve as an indoor exercise space. Because contractors tend to be independent thinkers, they value and take care of their health.
    7. Wifi access - This is a must when it comes to home amenities. Even houses in the country may need Wifi access to land a sale with freelancers.
    8. Stylish home lighting - Task, accent and general or natural lighting are winners. Home offices should be designed with at least task and general lighting.
    9. Wall computer stands and monitor stands - Similar to built-in bookcases, these home amenities computer and monitor stands are attractive space savers. Houses designed with these two home amenities also keep contractors from having to spend money on separate computer and monitor stands.
    10. Finished basement - Documents, videotapes, artist equipment and supplies and additional filing cabinets can be stored in a finished basement. A portion of a finished basement could also serve as a home office, especially if both people buying the same house are contractors.

    Location is also important to contractors and freelancers. Homes that these workers, particularly full-time contractors, live in come with real advantages if the homes are located within walking distance of public train and bus stations. If the houses are not within walking distance, contractors should not have to drive more than 10 to 15 minutes to reach public transportation facilities.

    Until the shifts change, these home amenities may seem far fetched. Manufacturers, home builders and real estate agents who see and prepare for these shifts now, may find themselves ahead of the curve now and in the future.

    Thinking of Building a New Home?

    Build a house using custom specifications and you may get the house you've always dreamed about. To save money, you could also purchase a house that is being built to specifications developed by a previous buyer or developer. 

    Unique costs associated with building a house – In addition to paying for the plot of land that you will build a house on, there's the cost of laying the house's foundation and building out the structure, including wiring, drainage, sewage and landscaping costs. You could also be responsible for the costs of repairs or renovations should initial floor plans need to be adjusted.

    Meet the neighbors – Whether you build a house or buy an existing home, location is key. The neighborhood your home is located in will influence your property taxes, homeowners insurance and the value of your home.

    Ethical builders - Check local licensing agencies and organizations like the Better Business Bureau for complaints on builders you're thinking about working with. Ask your real estate agent if he/she knows the builders. Do your homework. The skill level, professionalism and ethical standards of the builder that you go with could make your home building experience good or a nightmare.

    Weather conditions – Some older homes may not be prepared to handle extreme weather conditions. If you’ve ever lived in a house that flooded following every hard rain, you know firsthand that just because a house looks good, does not mean that it’s built for harsh weather conditions. Building your own house could increase the likelihood that your home will withstand harsh climate changes and weather conditions.

    Code standards – Build your own house and you could meet code standards to operate a business out of your house or turn a portion of your home into a rental property. You wouldn’t have to spend more money to renovate the property if you include these design requirements into the initial build.

    Recreation – Add space to build an in ground swimming pool or an outdoor dining area into the blueprints and you could avoid having to pay to add these features to an existing home.

    Building a new house could increase the likelihood that your house will be in excellent condition. It could also ensure that you get amenities that you want. Similar to shopping for an existing house, the more clearly you visualize your custom designed home, the better you will be able to work with a realtor to get the land plot that you need to build your dream house on.

     

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      New Year New Home?

      It’s officially 2017 so let me start by wishing you a happy new year.  In early January, many of us are planning and setting goals for everything we want to do and achieve in the year to come.  While many people think of spring as the primetime home buying season, the winter months often offer an even greater selection, and the opportunity to settle into the new home before warmer months arrive.  If buying a house is on your “to do” list this year, now is also the time to begin preparing.

      I remember when I bought my home.  There were so many things to get in order– it was confusing to decide where to begin! So, even if you plan to buy in the spring, January is a good time to get ready. Here are some tips to help you get on track to reach your 2017 home buying resolution:

      • Select a qualified and trusted real estate agent: At Coldwell Banker, we have a network of knowledgeable, trustworthy agents.  Agents understand the local market and can help you find all the information and resources you need to get started. Researching on your own is important, and using free online tools is a great way to start, but meeting with an agent will ensure you don’t miss any important steps along the way.  In fact, the next three tips were sourced from the great advice of our agents.
      • Create your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” list: Easier said than done, right?  But it’s next to impossible to find a first home with everything.  You’ll need to think about your lifestyle needs and prioritize the non-negotiable home accommodations, such as a bedroom for each family member, over items you may want, but not need, such as a large master suite. Everyone’s list is different, but knowing your “must-haves” in advance will help you stay focused.
      • Determine your budget: Be realistic about what is affordable. An agent can help you find comparable home prices and hone in on approximately how much the payments will be.  You should also plan to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this prior to house hunting will let you know how much money you qualify for, and how much you can afford. You’ll also be able to figure out which mortgage type is best for you.
      • Identify the perfect “location, location, location”: Everyone has heard this phrase before, and while the surrounding neighborhood and home itself may improve over time, the physical location will remain the same. Determine in advance how close you would like to live to work, schools or extended family. A short commute to work, proximity to family or having easy access to highways and mass transit will often be items for your “must-haves” list.

      Hope your year is off to a good start. If you’re starting your home search in 2017, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to get the home search process started.