Protect Your Home From Storms








Severe summer weather, such as hail, thunder, and heavy rain, can result in a great deal of damage to your home and other property. There are many steps that homeowners can take to protect themselves from the flooding and power outages that can result from severe weather events, so prepare ahead of time so that you’re not caught off guard. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most effective actions you can take to safeguard your home and property from dangerous and destructive summer storms.

Steps to Take Before a Storm

Typically you will receive warning at least a few days before a major storm arrives. This window of time gives you a chance to make the necessary preparations. Keep in mind that weather forecasts are never perfect; it’s better to prepare for a storm that never arrives, or that turns out to be weaker than anticipated, than not to be ready at all. Keep reading to learn a few things you can do when a major storm is ahead in the forecast.

• Thoroughly inspect your home and make sure you have done everything you can to secure it. This includes the items in your backyard and on your porch as well as indoors. Bring items such as trash cans, toys, lawn or patio furniture or any lightweight items that could become airborne indoors so they cannot blow away or become projectiles. If you have a swimming pool, make sure it’s securely covered.

• If you don’t have storm shutters on your windows, installing these can be an added layer of protection for your home. Another option is to upgrade your windows to a shatterproof material. These steps will help insulate your home during cold weather and protect it during storm season.

• If you have trees with loose branches, this is a good time to give them a trimming. You should also inspect your roof and make sure all of the shingles are secure. Your drains and gutters should be clear so they are able to do their job if there’s a heavy downpour.

• It’s always sensible to stock up on essentials when a severe storm is headed your way. This includes canned food, bottled water and toiletries. It never hurts to have extra supplies in your home even if you end up not needing them right away.

Dealing with Power Outages

Power outages are common during storms. This is something you should be prepared for. One of the best ways to be ready for a power outage is to have a backup generator. You can choose one that is sized appropriately for your needs. This can ensure that your home’s pumps, heating systems and any security systems keep working. A generator can prevent many problems associated with storms, such as flooding and food spoilage.

Whether you have a backup generator or not, you should also have some low tech solutions available in case of a power outage. This includes several heavy duty flashlights with plenty of batteries. Candles are also useful for keeping your home lit when the lights go out.

Preventing Floods

One of the most potentially destructive aspects of severe storms is the flooding they can cause. In terms of threats to both property and your family’s safety, floods are a top concern. Read on to find out a few ways you can protect your home from dangerous and costly water damage.

• Make sure that your gutters divert rain away from your home. If necessary, extend your rain gutters. Gutter should be free of debris. The slope of your yard should not cause water to enter your basement. It may be necessary to consult with a landscaper or other specialist to make adjustments in the direction surface water flows. For example, you may need to upgrade the quality of your soil.

• One of the most common causes of flooding is the failure of sump pumps and other systems in your home. As noted above, a backup generator will keep your sump pump powered and ready to remove water. The next best thing would be to get a battery-operated backup sump pump that will keep working if your main sump pump goes off due to a power outage.

• Fill in any cracks in your basement walls or foundation. Water can enter these cracks and cause flooding. You can seal cracks yourself or call a professional.

• Consider installing a home security system, geared specifically to notice if floodwater has entered your home. Many people hear “alarm” and think fire or burglar protection, but local ADT services in your area, and other flood sensor manufacturers, can install a system that will alert you if water rises even 1/16th of an inch in your home.

• Inspect your sewer or septic system. A clogged sewer or a septic tank that needs cleaning can cause a flood during a storm. Make sure to have your system inspected and maintained regularly.

Have insurance against flooding. While this won’t prevent floods, it will at least ensure that you are protected in case a flood does occur. A typical home insurance policy doesn’t cover floods, so you will probably need an additional policy for this.

Severe storms can unleash their fury any time of year, but they are especially common in spring and summer seasons. Keep track of the weather forecast in your area, and plan ahead. If you live in an area where storms are common, taking additional precautions might be necessary to ensure your home and your family are safe.

Don’t be caught by surprise. When you’re secure in the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can to prepare, you don’t have to fear Mother Nature. Protect your home by staying ahead of summer storms!

This article comes to Massachusetts real estate news via Beth Kelly who is a freelance writer based in Massachusetts.


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Best Google Plus Real Estate Posts June-July 2014








The internet makes it incredibly easy for information to be found. The problem is much of the information that is found on the internet is junk. Google Plus is one of the best places, if not the best place, to find quality real estate information! Google Plus communities, such as the Real Estate Community owned by Bill Gassett, are loaded with knowledge not only to make all of us better Realtors but to help consumers by providing rich content about buying and selling homes. This is a fantastic reason to encourage anyone who has an interest in real estate to join!

There have been many great articles published since Bill’s Best Google Plus Real Estate Articles May 2014 was published. Bill was actually kind enough to ask me to come over here to his blog to share my opinion on which articles I enjoyed reading the most. Here are several articles from the months of June and July that you should absolutely check out!

The Movement Against Zillow Estimates (“Zestimates”)

Over the past couple month’s there has been many real estate professionals writing about Zillow and other third-party real estate websites. Most of these articles have discussed and proven how inaccurate Zillow and other third-party websites truly are!
The first article, are Zillow estimates accurate by Bill Gassett is an in-depth explanation of the many problems with Zillow and their estimates. He explains the process by which Zillow uses to establish these estimates, explains why the estimates fail so often, and also gives some great reasons why real estate professionals hate Zillow.

Bill’s article was just the beginning to this movement over the past month against Zillow’s estimates. Debbie Drummond, a Las Vegas Real Estate Agent, followed up Bill’s article by giving an in-depth analysis of the effect of Zillows Estimates on the Las Vegas Real Estate Market. In this article she discusses why buyer’s need to take Zillows estimates with a grain of salt, which is absolutely true. During her analysis, she found that only 8 out of the 18 homes sold relatively close to what Zillow estimated these homes were worth. There aren’t many professions out there that allow a less than 50% accuracy!

Debbie’s article was followed by a great article by Andrew Fortune, “3 Reasons Why Local Real Estate Websites Are Better Than National Ones.”  In addition to the excellent infographic, Andrew discusses why consumers need to use local real estate websites, not national ones. Many consumers don’t realize that national real estate websites make money by selling advertising and leads to real estate agents. There are no requirements to be advertised on Zillow and other national real estate websites, other than the willingness to pay!

Andrew’s article was followed up by an article by myself, Zillow’s Home Value Estimates “Zestimates” – Accurate or Not?” . Like Debbie’s analysis of her Las Vegas Real Estate Market, I decided to perform an analysis on my local Rochester NY Real Estate Market. To no one’s surprise, less than 50% of Zillow’s “Zestimates” were relatively close to the 38 homes that were used in this analysis of recently sold Rochester homes.

This article also discussed other important reasons to not trust Zillow and other third-party websites. Third-party real estate websites often have outdated data due to the fact they are not held to any National, State, or Local regulations.
Four excellent articles within a month discussing the inaccuracies of Zillow and other national, third-party real estate websites. Bottom line, they cannot be trusted, and it is important that buyer’s and seller’s remember “LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL” when looking for real estate advice and information!

Real Estate & Internet Marketing

I want to make one thing clear, not every real estate agent markets the homes they sell the same, PERIOD! Over the past couple months, there have been a couple excellent articles discussing real estate and internet marketing.

Choose the right Realtor.

Many real estate agents will take a listing, put their sign up in the front yard, enter the listing into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and wait for the home to sell! Bill comes up with another gem of an article with his “Is Your Real Estate Agent a Post and Pray Realtor”.  In his post he gives many examples of a how to know you hired a bad real estate agent. These are the Realtors that are notorious for taking bad photographs, writing terrible descriptions of their listings, and don’t know how to market. Before hiring a Realtor, make sure to check out this terrific article on how to pick a Realtor!

Have a real estate blog.

Many real estate agents have discovered the power of having a real estate blog. There is nothing that can brand you better or show off your market expertise than having a blog. Of course if you know a little something about SEO it is even better as your content is likely to be found by consumers doing some kind of online real estate search. Seth Williams a blogger at RE- Tipster put an excellent reference together of some of the best real estate blogs at the current time. In Seth’s overview of some of the leading real estate industry blogs he groups them by collaborative blogs, real estate investing, marketing/technology, real estate economy and local Realtor blogs.

Have a visible internet presence.

The internet plays a huge role in the real estate industry nowadays! Buyers and sellers are beginning to their research online. A real estate agent who doesn’t use social media, doesn’t blog, and doesn’t have a website is stuck in the stone age of real estate! It is necessary and don’t ever let anyone tell you it isn’t! Karen Highland’s Real Estate and Internet Marketing article discusses the secret sauce of internet real estate marketing. Search engine optimization or SEO, is this “secret sauce” that isn’t really secret.

Any Real estate agent who has taken the time to blog regularly with quality content, interact socially, and work on their websites understands what internet marketing is and the impact it has on their business! Check out Karen’s article if you don’t believe that internet marketing is a huge part of the real estate industry, I think you will change your mind afterwards!

How to Buy a Home in a Seller’s Market

Many real estate markets across the country right now are in the midst of an extremely competitive seller’s market! Sellers are being able to “pick and choose” which of the multiple offers they would like to accept. While this is great for sellers, not so great for buyers! The good news is that there are things that can be done to help a buyer succeed in a seller’s market!

First and foremost, a buyer needs to be pre-approved, not pre-qualified! There is a major difference! In the article buying a home in a seller’s market, by Lynn Pineda, she does a marvelous job on explaining what a buyer can do to help themselves succeed with their home purchase. The tips given by Lynn can prevent the heartbreak associated with losing in a multiple offer situation.

These June and July “Best of Google Plus Articles” are just a small taste of what you can expect to find on Google Plus and more specifically, in a Real Estate Community, like the one owned by Bill Gassett! If you haven’t joined, what are you waiting for?

This review of what the Google Plus real estate community has to offer was written by Kyle Hiscock a top Realtor covering the Rochester New York area.


Top Flooring Choices Examined

Top Flooring Choices When Buying a Home










If you are looking to sell your home soon (or even a few years down the road), it’s helpful to know what buyers are searching for. I work with many new home buyers, so I see what they are doing before they move in. Trends and preferences may vary based on area of country and construction of home. These preferences are for the Northeast and Mid Atlantic states and focuses on single family homes (as opposed to apartments or rentals). I will start with overall trends, and then go room by room.

By far, the biggest preference is towards hardwood flooring. This should not come as no surprise to anyone, as it is not a new trend. This preference has been growing since the early 1980′s and became the preferred surface in the 1990′s, and it continues to grow year after year.

Realtors will confirm this, as this is often a requirement for the homes that many people look for, and some will screen homes out that don’t have hardwood. In a recent, unscientific survey I did on my site, 95% of consumers prefer hardwood for the common living areas (i.e. living room, dining room, and family room.)

So, if you have hardwood flooring and if it’s hiding underneath your carpet, by all means, rip up the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. It will instantaneously improve the value of your home, and help it sell faster. If you can’t afford to do all of it, or if it’s too inconvenient, at least start with one room to show buyers what the wood could look like.

Even just removing the carpet to show the hardwood floors is a big step in the right direction. Many are pleasantly surprised by the relatively low cost of refinishing hardwood, so it’s usually an investment that gets a strong ROI (return on investment). And, it will help sell your house faster. Take a look as we examine what types of flooring home buyer’s prefer the most!

Room By Room Flooring Preferences

Dark Hardwood FlooringLiving room/dining room/family room – areas on the main level – By far, the preference here is for hardwood. No other surface even comes close. If you have hardwood in these areas, show it off. If you don’t have hardwood in the living room/dining room, I would strongly consider adding it. You will get your return on investment (assuming you have a plywood sub-floor…if you have concrete sub-floor it will be more expensive). Choose either very dark or very light floors, as these are the most stylish. And, satin finish is the most popular sheen.


Hardwood Floors in The KitchenKitchens – Believe it or not, now hardwood is now the preferred flooring surface for kitchens. This is followed closely by tile. Hardwood is often preferred as it’s more in style, easier on your feet, makes space look larger and easier to clean.

Hardwood is often less expensive, too. You can read more about it in this article: Kitchen floors – hardwood vs. tile. But, either way, it should, if you are remodeling, hardwood or tile is the way to go w/ 90% of homeowners preferring one of these two surfaces (10% prefer laminate, vinyl, linoleum or cork).

If you are just preparing your home for sale, and/or not doing a full remodel, your choices may be limited due to height of cabinets and appliances, so definitely involve a flooring expert before your run into an issue where you might either lock your appliances in or worse yet find that they don’t fit.

If you are selling your house, I would recommend you consult with your Realtor and/or stager before making changes here. It is easy to spend a lot of money in the kitchen and not get back your return on investment.

Bedroom flooring choicesBedrooms – Homeowners seem to be split on this one. Slightly more than half (56%) prefer hardwood for the bedrooms and 44% prefer carpet. This preference often has been influenced by homeowner’s experiences growing up and whether they are concerned about their feet being cold in the morning. But, either way, virtually all home buyers will NOT keep the carpet you have in your bedrooms.

They will either replace them or they will add hardwood (or refinish if you have hardwood underneath the carpet). Buyers do not like to live with other people’s carpets as there are usually odors and/or germs in there…or a perception that they are present. They seem to be even more concerned if they have young kids and/or babies.

So, those carpets will get ripped up – one way or another. (Unless the homeowner has moved out and then installed new carpets…and this will be obvious as there will be no furniture marks on the carpet). A small percent of customers will clean them, but my guess is this is about 10% and rarely will those furniture marks come out.

So, what should you do if you have carpet in the bedroom and you are selling your house? This depends! And, it’s a good idea to consult your Realtor. If your carpet is in bad condition, and if it smells, it’s best to get rid of it somehow. Leaving dirty carpet in place will definitely hinder your sale, especially if there is a bad odor.

If you have hardwood underneath the carpet, rip up the carpet and refinish the hardwood. (BTW, this is usually LESS expensive than replacing it with carpet)…you can read more here: If you have hardwood underneath the carpet, is it better to refinish the wood or re-carpet? If you can’t afford to refinish the floors, at least rip up the carpet. This is a step in the right direction to improving the value and saleability of your home.

If you have plywood underneath the carpet, you may prefer to re-carpet as this will be less expensive than adding hardwood. Hardwood will often give you a better return on investment, but it will also cost you more. And, be sure that you consult your real estate agent as they will know the types of flooring used and preferred in your specific neighborhood.

Foyer with Dark HardwoodEntryways – This one depends on the size of your entryway and how it flows with the rest of the home. More often than not, most new home buyers prefer to have wood in the entry, if there is wood in the adjoining areas. When you convert this area to wood, it makes the space look larger and more cohesive.

In fact, many new home buyers convert perfectly good tile hardwood when they are refinishing the floors. (This of course assumes that you have plywood underneath and that your entryway is not on a cement slab). The 2nd logical choice is to install tile in the entryway as it is waterproof.

If you are in the process of selling your house, it may or may not be worth it to change this area. If your flooring is in bad condition (e.g. if til,e is cracking or vinyl is peeling) and/or the space looks very dark (e.g. if you have slate tiles), it may be worth it to change, especially since this is your first impression of the house. If it’s just a small area, though, it may not make a huge difference and you may find the cost to fix a small area seems high. (Smaller jobs cost more per sf). But, if you can combine it with another project, it may be much more cost effective.

Bathroom flooring choicesBathrooms – This one should be obvious – tile is the preferred surface! Do not even attempt to put hardwood in a here (assuming there is a shower or bathtub). It will warp and it won’t last very long. Bathrooms are often expensive to renovate, and very often you will not get your return on investment here if you are selling.

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes…but they also cost a lot of money. So if your bathroom is in bad shape, have a discussion with your Realtor on your selling strategy. Sometimes, it’s better to just leave it and let the new home buyer choose what they prefer; other times, it’s such an eye sore that you have no choice. In terms of style, most prefer a natural stone look – often a porcelain tile will look best and be cost effective. If you have the colored (and dated) 4 x 4 glazed tiles (pink, yellow, blue, green), a less expensive alternative is to re-glaze them white.

While tile is the strong preference for bathroom floors, luxury vinyl is often an acceptable alternative if you need to save money. Luxury vinyl has come a long way, and it does look like hardwood or tile, pending on which selection you prefer. Luxury vinyl should only be used on the floors, and never on the walls. Also, wainscoting is very stylish for bathroom walls (but not good for the shower area).

Powder rooms – New home buyers generally prefer either hardwood for powder rooms or tile. Ironically, many that install tile in powder rooms, select tile that looks like hardwood. Both tend to work really well in this area.

Basement CarpetDens (on lower levels) – Dens are tricky. While most prefer hardwood, many end up with carpet as it’s more affordable. This all depends on whether the den is on a concrete slab or over plywood, as this has major implications for cost, as well as moisture and warmth in the room. If the room is over plywood, and if it’s on or above ground level (on grade), most prefer hardwood.

If it’s over a concrete slab, there can be many complications and added expenses as the slab is often neither level nor smooth. And, many rooms like this tend to have poor insulation, so often carpet is a more practical and economic choice both for initial installation and for ongoing heating bills (at least here in the northeast).

Basements – Most people are all over the board on this and basements are very tricky. Most prefer hard surfaces (as they are concerned about moisture), but when they hear the prices on hard surfaces, they often revert back to carpet as it is much less expensive, especially given the complications that most basements in the northeast have – they are over concrete, they are cold, floor isn’t level and surface isn’t smooth.

Flooring on stairsAnd, in some basements there is asbestos tile, further limiting the options. The other factor is that most people want to spend less in this area since it’s a basement…so it’s ironic that this area often costs more. If you are selling your home, this is probably the area that will get you the least return on investment when selling your home as it’s the basement.

Steps – Most home buyers prefer hardwood steps with a carpet runner. The carpet runner is for safety, as well as style. This is followed by carpet on steps, and then that is followed by just plain hardwood on the steps. If you are selling your home, and you have carpet on the steps, but hardwood underneath, my advice to you is to rip up the carpet and refinish.

Let the new homeowner pick out their own runner for the steps, rather than trying to guess their style. Different people have different preferences, and you are more likely to be wrong than right here. The types of flooring home buyers prefer comes from many years of experience!

 Other useful flooring articles:

This article was written by flooring expert, Debbie Gartner. Debbie is the owner of Floor Coverings International in Westchester, NY. 914-937-2950.


How to Purchase From a FSBOWe talk a lot about buyer’s agents and listings agents and the benefits of both but what happens if your buyer finds a home that’s not listed with an agent? This is actually not that unusual because buyers will look for homes everywhere and they don’t really care where they find the house, only that they want to try and buy it.

This is what happened with one of my favorite clients. A young, single woman of about 22 working at the local pharmacy in town doing very well for herself and wanted to start investing in the real estate world. This is a great direction for her since she was young, had the funds for an FHA down payment and had a great head on her shoulders.

In my mind, there was no concern for her age when it came to jumping in with both feet. She found me online so she was well versed in searching the Internet. Even though I sent her several homes that met her criteria, the one she wanted to see came from an ad in the local newspaper. Of course it was a FSBO (for sale by owner) and in most cases those sellers may not want to deal with an agent, hence the FSBO in the first place.

But I still advocated on her behalf and called for an appointment. The gentleman was also young and in the military and couldn’t afford listing agent fees so he decided to try it on his own. Here we come, agent in tow.

He was very cordial but I could see he was nervous about the idea of an agent in the mix. My buyer loved the home however and wanted to make a full price offer. The seller asked me if I could assist in the sale and I said sure, for 3% of the sale price. A modest fee since I was now facilitating the deal on both sides. He understood and because he had no previous knowledge of how real estate worked, he agreed.

I found it odd that those that don’t know the process would risk such a high liability in legal documents by listing themselves but in his case, he lucked out with an agent that was not about to swindle, cheat or lie to him throughout the process even though my loyalties were first to my buyer.

We wrote up the deal and I explained everything to both buyer and seller and even though he was a little apprehensive as to all the documentation, I assured him it was all valid and above board. He signed and on we went to inspection.

Because this was an FHA, the house had to be approved under the strict guidelines for an FHA loan. But the previous owner purchased the house under VA terms so we were more than covered for FHA.

The snag came when the appraisal came in. The appraisal came in lower than the list price, and of course, lower than my buyer was willing to pay. When I informed the seller, again he was apprehensive but I gave proof and informed him of his options. He could terminate the transaction, my buyer could make up the difference or he could lower his price. Since my buyer didn’t have the extra funds and I informed him that any appraisal might return the same results, he agreed to lower the price.

I was able to open escrow for them, help them both through the procedure and close on time. The seller was happy and satisfied and I felt that he was my client just about as much as the buyer. I even gave him a moving away gift on closing day.

A Fine Balance of Power

Now this set up worked well but it can always go south quickly. Sellers can go behind the agent’s back and persuade the buyer to drop their agent and just deal one on one. This is where close communication between buyer and agent is so crucial. Buyers that think they know everything and how it all works and can be easily dissuaded into ditching their agent. The benefit I had with my first time buyer is that she trusted me to work for her no matter which home she chose. Regardless of what home you buy, have a buyer’s agent on your side.

I can’t stress this enough. Even though I am not in real estate any more I constantly tell my friends, family and just about anyone I know, get yourself a buyer’s agent! Don’t buy a house without one. You need the protection and assistance in case there is anything you don’t agree with or understand.

Buyers may think they understand the process and they may have even closed a few real estate transactions in the past but things change; rules, laws and requirements change and real estate agents are required to keep up with all of these. If you don’t understand something you’re signing and you don’t have a buyer’s agent to help, you may be signing something you really don’t agree with and it could lead to legal issues down the line.

Read more: Differences between listing agents and buyer’s agents

Also, listing agents have one primary goal – to sell that home! They don’t care if you don’t have a buyer’s agent, they may help with the transaction but again, you are not fully protected. Just as in my buyer going for a house without a listing agent, that seller had to trust that I knew what I was doing and wasn’t going to screw him over. Of course we didn’t, but if he had his own agent, that agent could have verified the purchase and sale agreement and made sure the seller was protected.

Yes, you can buy a house from a seller that does not have the property listed with an agent and still use your buyer’s agent. It’s up to the agent to negotiate with the seller on any commissions or fees paid at closing to the agent. The buyer doesn’t have to pay for the help of a buyer’s agent. Just another one of the many reasons I always say “Have your own agent when buying a home!”

Tammy EmenethAbout the author: Tammy Emineth writes dozens of  monthly blogs to offer assistance to real estate websites as well as all types of personal websites. Tammy does marketing and online promotion through various social media channels for her clients.


What Makes a Real Estate Agent Military Friendly?

June 25, 2014

You may have heard the term “military friendly” used in and around the real estate industry. But what does it really mean to be considered a military friendly real estate agent? While the definition may vary from user to user, the central idea remains the same. These agents want to support military home buyers. Let’s [...]

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How To Get The Best Photos When Selling Your Home

June 20, 2014

Photography Helps Sell Real Estate If you’re like me, you probably enjoy looking at homes online. Many people browse homes on the internet for fun. My wife and I like to look online at homes for sale in Colorado Springs, deep in the quiet mountain areas where we could never live, with our current lifestyle. [...]

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Don’t Get Too Emotional When Buying a Home

June 18, 2014

Keep Emotions in Check Purchasing Real Estate Getting too emotional when buying a home can cost you big time! The last thing you want to do is create a lot of extra stress for yourself when buying in home. In order to make your purchase go smoothly we have consulted with Lolly Spindler of HouseHunt [...]

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Why Have a Buyers Agent in Real Estate

June 13, 2014

Having a Buyers Agent First things first. My name is Mark Brian and I am a REALTOR in Anderson South Carolina. Bill invited me to write a post that buyers would find informative or helpful. I was surprised that one of the most influential Realtors on the web would reach out to me. So a [...]

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The Inspection and Walk Through – What to Look For

June 11, 2014

The inspection and walk through are two very different AND very important things to do when buying a home. A home inspection is a limited and non-evasive examination of the condition of a home by a home inspector. A final walk through is a final inspection where the buyer makes certain that the property they’ve [...]

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How to Mitigate Injuries When Moving

June 6, 2014

Preventing Injuries While Making a Move It’s surprisingly easy to injure yourself or somebody else when moving out of one home and into another. From breaking fragile objects and cutting yourself, to throwing your back out trying to lift heavy furniture, moving can be dangerous for the inexperienced. While it might be safest for you [...]

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How to Find The Right Realtor When Selling A Home

June 4, 2014

                              Most home sellers leave the equivalent of a nice used car behind when they sell their home. That’s right, the “several percent” that most home sellers lose during the real estate negotiation amounts to the same as leaving a nice [...]

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Your Home Is an Investment – So Treat It Like One

May 28, 2014

                              This article comes all the way from Vegas. Debbie Drummond has been a full time Realtor in Las Vegas since 2003.  She specializes in the luxury home and high rise market.  Debbie’s website is The Las Vegas Luxury Home Pro where [...]

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Using Pinterest For Real Estate Social Media Exposure

May 18, 2014

Pinterest For Real Estate                               If you have not heard of Pinterest then you have probably been on a long hibernation from the internet over the last few years. There are not many social media platforms that have stormed onto the [...]

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Best Google Plus Real Estate Articles May 2014

May 11, 2014

              One of the great benefits of being on Google Plus daily is you come across some really informative real estate articles. Whether you are just following a great group or Realtors from other parts of the country or participate in some of the excellent Google Plus real estate [...]

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Judging a Real Estate Agent by The Cover of His or Her Book

May 7, 2014

How Real Estate Agents Can Market Themselves               Mark Jenson, a real estate agent in Cleveland, came to me with a request: “I want a book to promote my business. But not a book about real estate – a book about me!” It was a strange approach, but not [...]

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9 Signs That You Need New Windows

April 24, 2014

Do You Need New Windows? There is a lot more to windows than many homeowners realize. No wonder, then, so many procrastinate in replacing their windows, preferring to believe new windows aren’t necessary, when, in reality, old windows present many hidden costs, not the least of which is astronomical heating and cooling bills. The main [...]

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How to Baby Proof Your Home

October 31, 2013

Moving With Young Kids When moving into a new place it’s easy to forget how different the world looks from the perspective of a baby, but this perspective is important to keep in mind as families prepare to introduce their latest family addition to their new home.  In order to make your house child-friendly, you [...]

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Title V Inspections

August 22, 2013

Title V Inspections 101 If you live in Massachusetts and your home has a septic system, you’ll more than likely need to have the system inspected and approved before transferring ownership or making significant modifications to your home. What is a Title V inspection? The set of state regulations that govern this process is called [...]

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How Real Estate Agents Can Benefit From Semantic Search

May 8, 2013

Semantic Search Explained When I was growing up, last century, buying or renting a house in the laid-back city of Brisbane was a relatively straightforward, low-key affair. You asked your pals who was the Realtor in their community and you visited their office sometime in the week. There were two implicit statements in this approach [...]

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How To Achieve Short Sale Success

April 8, 2013

Closing A Short Sale Short sales can easily take two to three times longer to complete than a traditional real estate transaction. Keeping this in mind it makes sense to be well prepared if you need to short sale a Massachusetts home. Follow the outline below and you will be well on your way to [...]

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How Google Plus Can Help The Real Estate Industry

February 18, 2013

Using Google+ As a Real Estate Agent   The following article is written by David Amerland who is one of the foremost experts on the subject of search engine optimization (SEO). David Amerland is the author of ‘The Social Media Mind’ and the best-selling ‘SEO Help’, ‘Online Marketing Help’ and ‘Brilliant SEO’. His books on [...]

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Educating A Buyer Looking To Purchase A Short Sale

February 13, 2013

Buyer’s Agent Representation For Short Sales   In every real estate transaction I am a firm believer of a buyer having representation. It makes perfect sense for a home buyer to have someone in their corner giving them guidance. Unfortunately when it comes to short sales I have found that so many buyer’s agents are [...]

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A Look Ahead to The 2013 Real Estate Market

December 15, 2012

Underwater Nation: A Look at the New Year   The following article is a guest post from Jared Diamond who writes on a multitude of personal finance and economic topics. He enjoys sharing insights with broad audiences. Jared serves in a consultancy role with a dynamic set of personal finance companies. The views expressed in [...]

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Buying A Condominium Using FHA Financing

November 2, 2012

Why Is FHA Financing So Popular?   I am excited to have Michael Dunsky from Guaranteed Rate Mortgage who will be covering some of the terrific benefits to FHA financing when you are purchasing a condominium. Michael has been one of my preferred loan officers for years and always does an exceptional job with his [...]

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Maximum Real Estate Exposure

October 19, 2012

Maximum Real Estate Exposure in Massachusetts   As a top Massachusetts Realtor, one of the things I am constantly keeping aware of is how to make sure my clients properties and my business itself are marketed to the fullest. There are so many Realtors that don’t pay any attention to SEO or Social media. Anyone [...]

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Home Warranties vs Home Insurance

October 5, 2012

Home Warranties vs Home Insurance: What you need to know.   The following article is a guest post from Kaitlin Ziessler who is a blogger for American Home Shield. Her goal is to inform readers about the differences between home warranty and insurance plans. Other topics she blogs about include appliance repair tips and home [...]

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Short Sale Negotiations|Seller Cash Contribution

January 23, 2012

Negotiation With Short Sale Lenders In working in the short sale arena for the last five plus years, I have seen lenders do just about everything when it comes to negotiating short sales with home owners. There really is no “standard” in short sales. The way one short sale file at one particular lender is [...]

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What is Real Estate Title Insurance

November 29, 2011

Real Estate Title Insurance Explained When purchasing a home one of the things that buyer’s will be asked is whether or not they want Real Estate title insurance. Often times I find that home buyer’s lament over this decision because of the expense involved. Real Estate title insurance is certainly not cheap! While title insurance [...]

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Credit Scoring Impacts Short Sale vs Foreclosure

October 11, 2011

It is probably safe to assume that most consumers like to work with folks they know can be trusted. In Real Estate, like some other businesses there are those that can always be counted on for delivering great advice and others that only care about their own pocket book. I always tell people some of [...]

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A Guide To Mortgage Equity Loan Options

September 19, 2011

When looking to take money out of an existing home or other Real Estate borrowers often have a decision to make on what is the best method to do so. There are basically three financing options that are available to home owners. These include a cash out re-finance, home equity loan or a home equity [...]

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Fixing Your Finances After Foreclosure or Short Sale

August 15, 2011

There are not many things that can negatively impact your credit score more than a foreclosure or short sale. In fact one of the more common untruths you will hear from many Realtors is that short sales don’t impact your credit scores like foreclosures do. This is absolutely WRONG! If you fail to pay your [...]

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Homeowners Insurance: Getting The Right Insurance Coverage

July 10, 2011

Homeowners insurance is not optional if you have a mortgage and is a very important decision you must make in order to protect what will most likely be one of your largest investments. To get the right amount of coverage at the most affordable rate for your home, condo or rental property, you should plan [...]

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Fixing Home Water Damage

June 4, 2011

If you have ever been in the unfortunate position of having a pipe burst in your home, a washing machine hose give way while you were gone for the weekend, or a finished basement become flooded by a 100 year storm, you know what a royal pain in the $#@ it is to clean up [...]

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8 Reasons Why You Will Not Buy My Short Sale Listing

May 5, 2011

One of the grossly misunderstood topics in Real Estate is the short sale transaction. There are a large number of Realtors who unfortunately do not possess the knowledge to properly educate their clients on what should be expected of them when trying to make a short sale purchase. The problem is further exacerbated because there [...]

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Disclosing Murder Suicide or Haunted Homes in Real Estate

April 12, 2011

While working as a Massachusetts Realtor over the last twenty five years one of the questions that always seems to come up is whether or not a Realtor is obligated to disclose a murder, suicide, haunting or other type of paranormal activity that may have occurred in a home or other Real Estate. Wikepedia defines [...]

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Buying a Home After Short Sale or Foreclosure

March 21, 2011

As a Realtor who has been heavily involved closing Massachusetts short sales over the last five years, one of the questions that I get asked quite often from home sellers is how long will it take before I will be able to buy a home again. The answer to this question does not have any [...]

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Increasing a Credit Score With Home Finance Tips

March 7, 2011

Credit scores can have a dramatic effect on a borrowers ability to get the best rates for many types of financing including a home mortgage and a car loan. If your credit score does not meet minimum standards you may not even have the ability to get a home mortgage period! There are a number [...]

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Rental Property Tax Law Changes

February 23, 2011

Here Ye Here Ye “Rental property tax law changes go into effect this year” Yes more great news for those who own Real Estate – NOT! If you are the owner of rental property there is a pretty significant tax law change going into effect for 2012. As of this year anyone who owns rental [...]

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Short Sale Realtor Mistakes

February 16, 2011

As a Realtor who has been successfully completing short sales over the last four years I get to see quite a bit of the inner workings of a short sale transaction. In many of the articles I have written about short sales, I have expounded on how important it is for a seller to have [...]

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Lenders Choosing to Foreclose Instead of Short Sale Approval

February 7, 2011

Why would a lender foreclosure instead of approving a short sale? As a Massachusetts Realtor who deals with short sale transactions on a daily basis, I have seen and learned quite a bit since I started getting involved with these types of transactions four years ago. One thing that I am extremely proud of is [...]

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Fannie Mae Mortgage Interest Rates & Costs Rising

January 30, 2011

Guest blogger Michael Dunsky from Guaranteed Rate is back again to take a look at the recent announcement by Fannie Mae that a borrowers costs and/or interest rate will be rising in the near future. Michael comes to the Massachusetts Real Estate blog on occasion because of his extensive knowledge on what is going on [...]

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Considerations For Renting or Selling a Home

January 26, 2011

Suddenly out of the blue you have found out that a new position has opened up within your company and they are asking you to relocate your family to the other side of the country. The job opportunity is too good to pass up so you decide to take the position. You realize with an [...]

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Bed Bugs in a Home Near You?

January 18, 2011

What are Bed Bugs? Lately, there have been many news reports about the growing problem with bed bugs.  As a Realtor working in the Real Estate  industry it is always important to stay up to speed with current laws and issues facing both buyers and sellers of homes and other property. Like any other known [...]

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Short Sale Low Ball Offers

January 10, 2011

There is no question that short sales are like the wild West. Almost every single sale is different. Each lender and even the investors that hold the loan may have different procedures on how they want things done. There are some folks that believe that because a home is a short sale it is an [...]

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Tax Deductions For Rental Property

December 29, 2010

Given that fact that I am a Massachusetts Realtor, I often get asked if I have any rental property. It is a pretty logical question as I work in the field and would obviously have access to the information necessary to get a pretty good deal on a rental purchase. Honestly I have never been [...]

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Short Sale Lenders Lying to Mortgage Holders

December 21, 2010

Over the last few years while working with Massachusetts sellers looking to short sale their home I have encountered on a couple occasions folks that were deliberately lied to and told that a short sale was not possible. Fortunately these particular home sellers were savvy enough to realize their short sale lender was lying to [...]

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203K Rehabilitation Loan

December 13, 2010

Guest blogger Michael Dunsky from Guaranteed Rate Mortgage is back to take to help review a popular mortgage program known as the 203k rehabilitation loan. The landscape of the housing market all over the country has changed drastically over the last few years. Foreclosures and short sales have become the norm not the exception. Many [...]

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Removing Radon From Well Water

December 7, 2010

Massachusetts Radon removal from wells One of the roles of any good buyer agent when selling a home to a buyer client in Massachusetts is to educate them on the home buying process including the “contingencies” that they should have in their Real Estate contract. The contingencies in a Massachusetts Real Estate contract usually consist [...]

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Short Sale Lawsuits Will Realtors Be Next?

November 29, 2010

Avoiding short sale lawsuits There is no question that in this economic down turn we have experienced over the last five years or so that short sales and foreclosures have become part of our everyday Real Estate landscape. Every week there are countless new short sale listings that hit the market in Massachusetts. In many [...]

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Tax Breaks on Home Improvements

November 17, 2010

There is no question that there are far less people today that have the kind of equity in their home that they did five to ten years ago. In most areas across the country Real Estate values have dropped by a substantial margin decreasing the amount of folks who have capital gains concerns. One of [...]

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Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA)

November 5, 2010

What is a HAFA Short Sale? Over the last four years or so I have been helping numerous sellers successfully complete a short sale in and around the Metrowest Massachusetts area. Short sales are not for the timid at heart and require quite a bit of knowledge of proper procedures in order to get to [...]

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Appealing a Massachusetts Property Tax Bill

November 2, 2010

Taxes on homes or other property in Massachusetts are typically based on two pieces of information including the towns property tax rate and the assessed value. Obviously the tax rate is set in stone and is not something that is going to be changed once it is put in place for that particular fiscal year. [...]

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Great Reasons to Refinance a Mortgage

October 26, 2010

Reducing your interest rate When interest rates are at record lows it creates an environment that is ripe for refinancing a home mortgage. There is no question that a mortgage on a home is usually one of the largest financial obligations that you will have in your life. It stands to reason that if you [...]

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Solving Basement Water Problems

October 20, 2010

Working as a Massachusetts Realtor for almost twenty five years, I can say without question that one of the greatest fears of any home owner is having a water problem in their basement! When buying a home, the uneasiness of having a water issue will be magnified ten fold if the intention of the owner [...]

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Home Energy Saving Tips For The Winter Months

October 12, 2010

It is no secret that energy prices have been a big part of every Massachusetts home owners budget for the last few years. As we head towards Winter there are some fairly easy and inexpensive things you can do to save additional money and conserve energy. Some are fairly obvious and easy. Easy energy saving [...]

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Stopping a Foreclosure Via a Short Sale

October 7, 2010

Avoiding a Massachusetts Foreclosure Foreclosure is something that most people want to avoid at all costs. Nobody sets out to own a home and then see it taken back by the lender. Across the country this has become a common theme as ten’s of thousands of people are losing their homes due to an economy [...]

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How to Interview a Realtor With Great Questions

September 30, 2010

Realtor interview Questions Carefully interviewing a Realtor should be one of the most important things any home seller does when considering selling their home yet many do not. Having been in this business for almost twenty seven years I have found this to be pretty fascinating. There are lots of folks that will make contact [...]

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Hail Damage to Roofs|Insurance Claims From Hail

September 21, 2010

Massachusetts Hail Damaged Roofs If you live in the Metrowest area of Massachusetts there is the strong possibility that the roof on your home may have been damaged by the hail storm that took place in May of 2009. You may be thinking to yourself that you remember the hail storm but looked up at [...]

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Selling a Home in a Buyer’s Market

September 16, 2010

Selling a Massachusetts home in a buyer’s market The title of the article really should read buying and selling a home simultaneously in a buyer’s market. In my daily life as a Massachusetts Realtor I come across lots of folks who do not sell their home even though they want to. The thought process is [...]

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Rhino Shield An Exterior Painting Alternative

September 8, 2010

Rhino Shield is something you may be reading about more and more in the near future. It is just starting to become popular as an alternative to painting a home. If you live in Massachusetts or any of the other the New England states you already know that our varied seasons can do a number [...]

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Realtors Should Not Let Short Sale Investors Negotiate With Lenders

September 1, 2010

The reason why Realtors handling short sales should not let a short sale investor take over negotiations with a lender may not be fairly obvious. If you are a Realtor who works  short sales or are thinking about doing them here is where you really need to pay attention. Without a doubt we live in [...]

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Massachusetts Title 5 Bedroom Count Deed Restriction

August 24, 2010

In Massachusetts the law governing septic system installation and maintenance is known as Title V. Whenever a home owner is going to be selling their home they will need to get what is called a Title V inspection done. In order to close on a property in Massachusetts you will need to have a passing [...]

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Beware of The Short Sale Investor|Short Sale Fraud

August 17, 2010

Any Realtor that regularly works with short sales is bound to come across a proposition from a potential buyer who happens to be a short sale investor. As a home owner you may have also at one time or another noticed some signs around town that say  something like “we buy houses” or “stop foreclosure” [...]

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Divorce and Selling a Home

August 9, 2010

Divorce and selling a home they say are on the list of most stressful events a person can go through in their lives. One of the realities of being a Massachusetts Realtor is that I often encounter folks that are going to need to sell their home due to a divorce. Divorce and selling a [...]

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Moving From a Home During a Short Sale

August 3, 2010

One of the questions I am often asked when consulting a Massachusetts home owner about short sales is whether or not it is alright if they move out of the home. Sometimes  life circumstances dictate that it would be more convenient to live somewhere else. The answer to this questions is an easy one. Leaving [...]

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Massachusetts Moving and Storage With PODS

July 27, 2010

If you are pretty observant like I am you may have  noticed a white container in a local yard that had in big bold lettering the word PODS and wondered what it was. PODS is short for portable on demand storage. More than likely a home owner who has one of these units is either [...]

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Buying a Massachusetts Foreclosure Property

July 20, 2010

Are you considering buying a Massachusetts foreclosure property?   Investors that have a long term perspective of the Real Estate market understand that purchasing a bank foreclosure can be an excellent financial proposition. In the Metrowest Massachusetts area there are plenty of them around and they can typically be bought at a discount to the present [...]

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When To Do a Short Sale Home Inspection

July 13, 2010

In most Real Estate transactions there is a buyers agent representing a buyer and a sellers agent representing the seller. In a traditional purchase, the home inspection is generally done within the 1st week or two after a contract has been executed by both the buyer and seller. This is know as a “home inspection [...]

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USDA Loans For No Down Payment Financing

July 7, 2010

A USDA guaranteed loan is a government insured 100% purchase loan. This type of loan is only offered in what is considered a rural area. They are serviced by direct lenders that meet Federal guidelines. USDA loans (US Department of Agriculture) aka Section 502 loans are an excellent mortgage vehicle for those home buyers who [...]

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Realtors Should Be Attending Home Inspections With Their Clients

June 30, 2010

In the Real Estate industry it is usually pretty easy to spot a truly dedicated Realtor who has a passion for their business. It is also just as easy to spot a pretender that does as little as they can get away with. Unfortunately, there are very low barriers to becoming a Realtor. Take a [...]

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Fannie Mae Strikes Against Strategic Defaults

June 25, 2010

You may have heard or read recently about strategic defaults as this topic is all over the news. A strategic default is when a home owner walks away from their mortgage when they are still able to make the payments. The reason why a home owner would consider a strategic default and just walk away [...]

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Home Warranty Benefits For Massachusetts Homes

June 22, 2010

Home warranties are something you see every now and then being offered by a Massachusetts home seller who is looking to provide a perk and piece of mind to a prospective home buyer. The seller pays for the warranty upfront and the Realtor advertises that the property comes with a home warranty. A home warranty [...]

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Picking The Wrong Massachusetts Realtor Can Get Ugly!

June 18, 2010

As a Realtor, knowing how to market your services as well as a clients property online can be very powerful. In the Real Estate field it can certainly be the difference maker in whether or not a client chooses to hire you or NOT! It is not that hard to figure out that Realtors are [...]

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Home Improvements With The Worst Return On Investment

June 14, 2010

One thing I have learned over the years while working as a Massachusetts Realtor is that many folks do not realize the correlation between making improvements to their home and what the corresponding return on investment will end up being. So many people blindly assume that every improvement they make to their home will bring [...]

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Massachusetts Home Buyer Turn Offs

June 10, 2010

Getting a Massachusetts home sold today is a lot more difficult than it used to be. The fact of the matter is that there are far fewer buyers that can qualify to buy a home today.  We all know that lending practices have tightened and rightfully so. There are also millions of people that have [...]

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Fixing Credit Report Errors

June 7, 2010

If you are buying a home one of the things you will absolutely want to do beforehand is to fix any credit report errors! There is nothing that can put a damper on purchasing a home than finding out you need to fix a credit report error so that you will be able to get [...]

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Should I Move or Improve My Massachusetts Home?

June 2, 2010

As a Massachusetts Realtor getting asked the question should I move to another home or improve on my existing home is something I hear fairly often. The answer to this question often depends on each individual home owners circumstances. Massachusetts home improvements are cheaper There is no question that now is a great time to [...]

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Massachusetts Home Owners Insurance Savings Tips

June 1, 2010

One of the things that every Massachusetts home owner is required to have when procuring a loan for a property is to have home owners insurance. Most banks and mortgage companies will not give someone a loan unless their home is insured. Most loan documents will also give the bank the option of taking legal [...]

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Breaking a Massachusetts Real Estate Contract

May 27, 2010

When a Real Estate client expresses a desire to break a Real Estate contract you know the next few days of your life are probably not going to be too pleasant. When people are looking to break a contract it is usually a highly charged emotional event! In Massachusetts we are a two contract state. [...]

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Getting The Best Mortgage Home Loan

May 21, 2010

Getting the best mortgage home loan for your particular needs is all about doing the proper research so you can hand pick the program that works for your situation in life. There are numerous loan programs available to savvy home buyers. The most common loan programs are the conventional fixed rate mortgage and the adjustable [...]

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Acceptable Hardships For Massachusetts Short Sales

May 20, 2010

I have encountered quite a few people in my Real Estate travels that incorrectly assume that anyone who owes more money than their home is worth and wishes to short sell their Massachusetts home can do so with no problem. Sorry folks but it does not always work that way. In some respects it actually [...]

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Painting a Massachusetts Home with Duration Paint by Sherwin Williams

May 17, 2010

If you live anywhere in the New England region you know that are weather can go from being beautiful to down right nasty in the blink of an eye. Where I live in Massachusetts a homes exterior can take a terrible beating due to the elements. If your Massachusetts home has clapboard or wood siding [...]

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Marking a Property Under Agreement or Accepting Back Up Offers in Real Estate?

May 13, 2010

In Massachusetts when you are marketing a seller’s home and you procure a ready willing and able buyer to purchase a property you have hopefully started your journey to a successful closing. One of the things that Realtors are required to do is change the status of the property when we have a signed contract [...]

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Short Sale Tax Consequences

May 10, 2010

As a Massachusetts Realtor that has been doing quite a few successful short sales, one of the things I like to make sure of when I meet a potential client that is looking to do a short sale is to give them a complete understanding of how they work. Short sales can be complicated transactions. [...]

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Staging and Preparing a Massachusetts Home For Sale

May 6, 2010

Getting a Home Ready For Sale Back in the boom times of the Real Estate market from the mid 1990′s until the mid 2000′s getting a Massachusetts home truly ready for the market was far less important than it is today. Every home seller today is in stiff competition with the next guy down the [...]

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Why Most Real Estate For Sale By Owners (FSBO) Fail

May 3, 2010

Top Reasons For Sale By Owners Lack Success One thing that makes the world go around is the desire to save money. Everyone likes to save a few bucks. In Real Estate saving a commission translates into big dollars. It is hard to blame anyone for wanting to save the type of money that is [...]

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Picking a Dominant Online Metrowest MA Realtor

May 2, 2010

It is a fact that 90% of all home buyers start their search for a home online. The days of buyers using newspapers and magazines as a viable means to find a home are over! Keeping this in mind, the goal of any Realtor that is worth their commission is to make darn sure the [...]

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Massachusetts Bedroom Misrepresentation With Septic Systems

April 30, 2010

One of the things that Massachusetts home owners who are serviced by a private septic system need to be keenly aware of when selling their home is to make sure they do not misrepresent the bedroom count. When a home is serviced by a septic system in Massachusetts the advertised bedroom count must meet the [...]

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Realtor Communication Skills The Number One Complaint!

April 28, 2010

If you look at any of the National Real Estate surveys the number one complaint from consumers against Realtors who are representing home sellers is the lack of communication skills. There are countless stories of sellers signing a listing contract and then never hearing from their Realtor again unless they initiate the contact. Obviously if [...]

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How Not to Sell a Massachusetts Home

April 26, 2010

Every week on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) you see countless homes that come up “expired”. For those that are not familiar with the term, an expired listing is a home that did not sell. When looking over the possible common denominators of why some homes do not sell the reason is usually pretty easy [...]

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FHA Loans V.S a Conventional Loan

April 22, 2010

I am excited to announce guest blogger Michael Dunsky from Guaranteed Rate Mortgages who will be covering some of the great benefits to FHA financing. Michael has been one of my preferred loan officers for years and always does an outstanding job with his clients. Check out Mike’s terrific article on FHA Loans v.s conventional [...]

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Why Accompanied Showings in Real Estate are a Big Mistake

April 21, 2010

In the Metrowest Massachusetts area where I am located it is pretty rare to see an accompanied showing. In towards Boston it becomes much more common place. Some areas around the country have them and others don’t. Why? Who knows but more than likely it has to do with tradition. I am glad the policy [...]

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Real Estate Pricing Ending in 900 May or May Not Be a Good Idea

April 19, 2010

When I 1st got into the Real Estate business twenty four years ago we used to carry around the big bulky MLS books. Back in those days this was how we knew what properties were on the market in Massachusetts. The internet was in it’s infancy and jumping online to look at properties was not [...]

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Make Sure You Get Your Massachusetts Short Sale Debt Released!

April 16, 2010

If you are an avid reader of my Massachusetts Real Estate blog you probably have guessed that one of my passions is to help out those that are in need of completing a short sale. Massachusetts home owners struggling to make mortgage payments are often turning to doing a short sale as a means of [...]

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Massachusetts Flooding and The Potential Pollution of Local Water Supplies

April 14, 2010

I am pleased to introduce guest blogger Ashley Connolley from Northeast Water Wells who is here to discuss some of the potential issues a home owner can face from the recent record breaking storms and flooding in the Metrowest Massachusetts area. Ashley was kind enough to drop by and give some things to consider regarding [...]

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Real Estate Commissions Agent Bonus and Unethical Realtors

April 12, 2010

Many many years ago when I got into the Real Estate business every Realtor represented the seller. Consumers did not have the luxury of having a Real Estate agent in their corner to represent their best interests. Consumer law in Massachusetts however, changed in the 1990′s. Buyers are now afforded the opportunity to have a [...]

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Massachusetts Home Sale Contingencies and Right of 1st Refusal

April 9, 2010

If you are selling your home in Massachusetts it is possible you may see a buyer try to purchase your home with a home sale contingency. In other words they write into the Real Estate contract that they will not have to proceed with buying your home unless they successfully close on the property that [...]

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Questions to Ask a Short Sale Listing Agent as a Buyer or Buyers Agent

April 7, 2010

There is no doubt that a short sale is not your run of the mill Real Estate transaction. Anyone who has ever been involved with one as a listing agent knows there are a lot of hoops to jump through! On a national level there is a very high percentage of short sales that never [...]

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Handling Offers When Selling a Massachusetts Home

April 5, 2010

One of my favorite things when selling a Massachusetts home is to receive multiple offers. I know there are a lot of Real Estate agents that hate this situation because on many occasions it can become contentious. When there are multiple offers on a home from a couple of different parties there is only one [...]

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Massachusetts Tax Stamps and Other Costs to Sell a Home

April 2, 2010

One of the things that I have realized over the years while representing Massachusetts home sellers is the fact that many are completely unaware that there is a tax to sell your home! While it is true that if you live in Massachusetts you come to grips quickly that just about everything gets taxed, sometimes [...]

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Massachusetts Assessed Home Values Are Not The Same As Fair Market Value

March 31, 2010

As a Massachusetts Realtor who has been around the block a few times, I often come across things that are written and said by other Realtors that just want to make me scratch my head in disbelief. All this head scratching could partially explain why I started to lose my hair at such an early [...]

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FICO Credit Scores and Increasing Your Creditworthiness

March 29, 2010

How to Increase a Credit Score   Credit scores are one of the largest factors that lenders use in evaluating whether or not to lend money to a borrower. Credit scores are designed to measure the risk of someone defaulting by taking into account various factors in a person’s financial history. If you are considering [...]

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Massachusetts Homestead Protection Act

March 26, 2010

The Massachusetts Homestead Protection Act is one of the biggest no- brainers for any homeowner in Massachusetts to take advantage off. Quite simply, an estate of homestead is protection for a persons residence from most creditors. The declaration of homestead protects the equity in your home for up to $500,000 in the event you are sued. [...]

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Need a Massachusetts Short Sale Realtor? Don’t Pick a Short Sale Buffoon!

March 24, 2010

One of the biggest mistakes I see being made over and over again by those that need to short sell their Massachusetts home is picking the wrong Real Estate agent to work with. Don’t make this mistake and turn into Realtor road kill! The are an abundance of Realtors that are listing short sales and [...]

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Testing a Massachusetts Well When Buying a Home

March 20, 2010

As a home seller or buyer in Massachusetts there are always questions that come up regarding testing the water when a home is serviced by a private well. If you happen to be buying a Massachusetts home that is serviced by a well and not by public water you better make darn sure that you [...]

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Buying a Massachusetts Bank Owned Home

March 18, 2010

There are a few different ways in which a buyer of Real Estate could obtain ownership of a foreclosure. Here is a quick summary of the three possible scenarios: A pre-foreclosure where you are able to buy directly from the home owner before the bank takes over. This is commonly referred to as a short [...]

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Real Estate Value Range Pricing is Nothing But Deception

March 17, 2010

Real Estate value range pricing is not that common in Massachusetts thankfully! The term value range pricing can also be known as “variable pricing”, “value range marketing” and “range pricing”. So what is Real Estate value range pricing exactly? It is when you list a home for sale and rather than going out on the [...]

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Massachusetts Seller’s Statement of Property Condition

March 15, 2010

The Massachusetts sellers statement of property condition is a form that many Massachusetts Real Estate companies require their agents to have the seller sign. Massachusetts however, does not require these forms to be filled out as part of a Real Estate transaction so it is up to the individual company to decide if they are [...]

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Price Per Square Foot is Misleading for Real Estate Values

March 10, 2010

Over the years working as a Realtor I have seen numerous home buyers as well as other Realtors try to use dollars per square foot as a good measuring stick for market values. Sorry folks but that is a very poor way to analyze value. There are a number of reasons why this is the [...]

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Tax Deductions to Remember When Buying a Home

March 8, 2010

When you are getting a mortgage to purchase a home, there are certain deductions that the IRS allows that are well worth remembering come tax time in April. The following is a list of  some of the deductions that many people forget about when buying a home: POINTS Points on a home loan are tax [...]

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Massachusetts Property Tax Relief for Seniors

March 5, 2010

One of the things that Massachusetts seniors face in many of the destination towns where schools are top notch is the growing burden of higher taxes. There is almost always a correlation between a towns popularity and the market value of the homes. When you look at why property values are higher in one town [...]

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What Kind of Massachusetts Realtor Do You Want?

March 4, 2010

There is a lot of talk in Real Estate circles about how Realtors should run their business in regards to returning either another agents or clients phone call. There are of course some pretty differing opinions amongst Real Estate agents themselves on what they should be held accountable to. There are quite a few including [...]

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Massachusetts Public Open Houses Are a Waste of Time For Home Sellers

February 28, 2010

Yes… I am talking about the waste of time that thousands of Realtors continue to participate in week after week on Sundays in Massachusetts….THE PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE. Let me rephrase that…A waste of time for the seller of the home. This will probably come as a surprise to you but Nationally less than 1% of [...]

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Stop Making Mortgage Payments During a Short Sale?

February 18, 2010

The question of whether a home owner should stop making mortgage payments during a short sale is a popular topic for sure! There are a lot of myths floating around when it comes to successfully doing a Real Estate short sale. One of the more prominent untruths is the fact that you need to be [...]

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