Jay Allen - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West | Framingham, MA Real Estate, Natick, MA Real Estate


 

Although you've enjoyed your residence for many years, all good things must come to an end. Now, as you get ready to embark on the next stage of your life, you've decided to leave your neighbors behind and sell your house.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you should include your neighbors in the home selling process, including:

1. Your neighbors can help you promote your residence.

It may be tough to tell your neighbors that you plan to relocate in the foreseeable future. However, doing so may help you stir up interest from many potential property buyers.

For example, a neighbor may know a family member or friend who is interested in moving into the neighborhood. And if you give this neighbor a heads-up about your intent to sell your house, you may already have at least one person who is interested in buying your house as soon as it becomes available.

Your neighbors also can share your property listing with assorted family members and friends. In addition, don't forget to encourage your neighbors to promote your house on social media.

2. Your neighbors may be able to offer home selling insights.

It never hurts to ask a neighbor what he or she thinks of your home. By doing so, you can gain honest, unbiased feedback about your residence and may be able to identify problem areas that you previously did not consider. Then, you can allocate the time and resources to improve your home's exterior and interior and ensure your house stands out in a competitive real estate market.

3. Your neighbors can help keep your neighborhood looking great.

Your neighbors may want you to stay in the neighborhood. But if your neighbors are true friends, they will probably do whatever they can to help you achieve your desired home selling results.

Letting your neighbors know that you plan to list your house may lead them to upgrade their properties as well. This may enable all of the houses in a neighborhood to stand out to visitors and will make it simple for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they moved into the neighborhood.

Collaborate with your neighbors throughout the home selling journey, and you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.


Everyone had something ugly in their yard that they want to hide. For many, it’s the oversized trash bins that don’t really fit in the garage but are big and distracting when left out. Others may have utility boxes that mar your lovely landscaping. In some cases, it’s lawn equipment or gardening tools that don’t have a place you can tuck them away.

Here are some ideas of ways to hide your ugly stuff and beautify your home.

Trash Bins

If your oversized cans must be outdoors, create a trellis enclosure to surround them. Place pots with climbing plants such as ivy and trumpet vine along the sides so that they grow up and over the trash cans. However, remember to leave enough space for you to open the lids conveniently.

Another option for trash bins is to make a raised planter box that rises above the cans. Plant bright annuals, vegetables, or succulents in the box.

Utility boxes

To cover a utility box, vent pipe, or other smaller eyesore, purchase a faux stone or cluster of rocks to set on the street-side of it. Surround it with flowering plants or small bushes to give it a more pleasing look.

Disguise utility boxes with raised beds and fill them with taller perennials such as Iris or Agapanthus. The beautiful blooms distract from the ugly utility boxes and hide them in plain sight.

Tools

When a full toolshed is not an option, hide your tools in a patio chest. These chests double as extra seating for entertaining and can even hold a small lawnmower if necessary.Or, create a hideaway cabinet under the deck landing. Just wrap the area with siding to match the deck, add access doors and voila, your tools are hidden in an area that looks like it was meant to be there.

Fireplace Logs

When you have a wood-burning fireplace but don’t know where to store the logs, build a bench seat similar to a crate and stack the wood under it. Use the bench for extra seating or as a display shelf for your favorite potted plants.

Use two pillars of your patio cover to stack the logs between, but place lattice on the patio side to hide the wood. Hang planters from the trellis to create a walled garden to bring cheery greenery to your patio area while hiding the logs.

Hoses

Hide your hose in a lovely pot situated near to the faucet. Most garden centers and DIY hardware stores offer choices specially designed to keep unruly hoses in check.

Whatever the problem area, you can find a way to keep it hidden from view with a little ingenuity and effort. Doing so improves your home’s curb appeal and increases your enjoyment of your outdoor living space.


 
 

One of the toughest choices to make when selling a home can be choosing a bidder. It seems like it would be straightforward. You might think you should accept the first offer or maybe you’re in the camp of accepting the highest bid. And while both of these choices are valid there are other factors to take into consideration. Factors that can make selling your home even easier and relatively hassle-free.


One of the biggest fears people have and one that really throws a wrench in the process is potential buyers backing out of a deal or asking for pricey repairs. And for this reason, I suggest looking closely at all of your bids to review the concessions and contingencies each contract contains as well as the type of financing each buyer will be utilizing.


For example, one thing to look for is the earnest money deposit. This is money held in an escrow account by the listing agent or attorney for the duration of the transaction. If the buyer changes their mind outside of the allowable contingencies, it is forfeited to the seller...therefore, the more money held in escrow, the more confident you can be that the buyer will honor the terms of the agreement.


The strength of a buyer's financial profile is a good consideration when reviewing offers.  A buyer with a 20% down payment might be viewed as a stronger buyer than one putting down 3%.  And certainly, a cash buyer is desirable because with no bank involved, there are no loan approvals to worry about.


Sometimes buyers will include a "Sale of Home Contingency" in which the offer is made subject to a buyer's current home selling.  This places a great deal of risk on you.  If your buyer's home sale falls through, it means yours will too!  If this is something you are not comfortable with, you may want to place the offer directly in the “No” pile...even if it comes with a strong purchase price or down payment.


Are they asking you to cover any expenses? Sometimes offers are submitted with a requirement that the seller cover a portion of the buyer's loan acquisition costs...also known as a "Closing Cost Credit."  This credit would be subtracted from seller's proceeds at closing...so make sure you do the math and focus on the net sale price when considering your options.  


Sometimes, choosing a bid is less about the numbers and more about convenience. If you are in the middle of shopping for a new home yourself, bidders who offer flexibility on the move in/out date could find their way to the top of your “Yes” list. Sometimes buyers want to keep furniture or appliances from a home, which can lighten the load for your move.


If your head is spinning from all of these different factors to take into consideration when choosing a bid, that’s okay! This is why working with a real estate agent is so beneficial. Look to your agent for advice when weighing out the benefits of each bid and on making the final decision.



 

A big thank you to all my clients who helped me earn this sales award for 2018. This is the 4th consecutive year I have been privileged to count myself as a member of the 100% club. 


I'm really proud of my office.  Realty Executives Boston West has a strong roster of 80+ driven, top-producing agents. We have a passion for delivering the highest level of professional services the real estate industry has to offer...and we do it with style.  Congratulations to my fellow recipients! 


 

Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.

With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.

1. Refinance your mortgage


If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.

If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.

This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.

But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.

2. Make extra payments

An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.

Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simply increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.

3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year

Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.

The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.

This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.

On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.

Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.




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