The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
Westford Massachusetts | 978-935-9500 | Info@StMartinTeam.com



Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/11/2018

Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/4/2018

If your family includes one or more dogs, your house-hunting checklist will probably include some very pet-specific features.

While these wish-list items are not absolutely essential to everyone, they will help make pet ownership more pleasurable and hassle-free for both you and your dog.

Large, fenced-in backyard: Since dogs love to run, play, and exercise, a spacious backyard is a desirable aspect of a new home. Kids love them, too! Fenced-in yards are ideal for families with dogs, since it helps prevent your pet from wandering away, bothering your neighbors, or straying into traffic. A solid, well-maintained fence can also help protect pets from wildlife, such as coyotes, raccoons, and foxes. Although gaps at the bottom of the fence need to be blocked to prevent small animals and pets from going in or out, a well-maintained fence can provide a lot of protection, security, and privacy. If your dog happens to be a loud or frequent barker, it would also be beneficial to find a house that is sufficiently spaced from other homes in the immediate area. (For many suburban house hunters, that's already a strong preference!)

Walkable neighborhood: One of the many advantages of dog ownership is that it helps motivate you and your family to get some regular exercise. Since dogs love to go for daily walks with their owners, an ideal neighborhood would offer one or more of the following features: residential streets with light traffic, sidewalks, or easy access to a public park. If a neighborhood you're considering has a designated dog park nearby, that's another desirable amenity to keep in mind. While not all dogs (or owners) feel comfortable in dog parks, others thrive in that environment.

Dog-friendly flooring: Dogs bring a lot of positive qualities into our lives, but neatness is rarely one of them! Even the most well-trained dogs have a messy accident every once in a while, so certain kinds of flooring are less desirable than others. Carpeting and pets are almost never a good combination -- especially if the carpeting isn't stain resistant and darkly colored. All types of flooring have their pros and cons, but some materials are easier to clean, more scratch resistant, and less prone to water damage. Those include vinyl, stone tiles, and laminate flooring, If hardwood is your flooring material of choice, then a coating of urethane will make it more resistant to stains, spills, and scratches.

From a convenience standpoint, it's also desirable to buy a house that's relatively close to essential services, such as a veterinary clinic, boarding facility, and grooming services. When moving to a new community, it's always a good idea to check on any local regulations, licensing requirements, and restrictions that might apply to your four-legged companion(s). Much of that information can usually be gleaned from town, municipal, or HOA websites.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/28/2017

Although you'd like to sell your residence soon, your home's bathroom remains an eye sore, one that could make it more difficult for you to generate interest in your home in a highly competitive real estate landscape.

Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of generating lots of interest in your residence and accelerating the home selling process.

Here are three tips that you can use to enhance your residence's bathroom, and as a result, boost your chances of a quick home sale.

1. Change Out the Hardware.

Believe it or not, updating bathroom hardware like drawer pulls and faucet handles may make a major difference in the eyes of homebuyers. Plus, changing out the hardware usually requires minimal time and effort, making it a fast, effective way to bolster your bathroom's appearance.

Ultimately, you'll want your bathroom to stand out to homebuyers for all the right reasons. And if you spend some time revamping your bathroom hardware, you can move one step closer to transforming your ordinary bathroom into an exceptional one.

2. Check Out the Lighting.

Does your bathroom feature sufficient lighting? If not, your bathroom may prove to be a liability rather than an asset to homebuyers.

Sconce lighting often represents a wonderful option for bathrooms because it can help brighten up big and small spaces. In fact, sconce lighting may even help you make your bathroom appear larger, as this type of lighting empowers you to illuminate your bathroom like never before.

Furthermore, you may want to consider dim lighting in your bathroom. Dim lighting is ideal for those who want to enjoy a relaxing bath and is yet another feature that may help your house stand out to homebuyers.

3. Install Proper Ventilation.

Without the proper bathroom ventilation, mold and mildew can cause severe damage. However, those who dedicate the necessary time and resources to install new bathroom ventilation or repair their existing ventilation can avoid long-lasting problems.

Measure the square footage of your bathroom before you install a new vent fan. By doing so, you'll be able to find a vent fan that can help you minimize mold and mildew consistently.

Also, when in doubt, be sure to consult with a plumber. This professional will be able to evaluate your bathroom's current vent fan, determine if a new one is needed and act accordingly.

Updating your bathroom may seem like a substantial investment, particularly for home sellers who lack extensive time and resources. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you establish home selling priorities and ensure you can revamp your residence to make it an attractive option for homebuyers.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will help you prepare your home. In addition, this professional will outline a strategy for improving your home's interior and exterior, ensuring your house will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Bathroom improvements may help you differentiate your home from others on the real estate market. And with a real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be better equipped to optimize the value of your residence and accelerate the home selling process as well.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/21/2017

If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, one of the best things you can do is adopt a "go with the flow" attitude!

Unless market conditions are ideal and all the stars are in perfect alignment, there will probably be a few ups and downs on the road to getting your house sold!

In all probability, there will be encouraging days and a setback or two, but with the help of a resourceful real estate agent and a little planning on your part, good luck is sure to come your way! What do we mean by the word "luck" in this case? The answer to that question can be found in a quote by the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!"

While a proactive real estate agent will create opportunities to attract potential buyers and present your home to its best advantage, the "preparation" part of the formula will mostly be up to you. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of that "window of opportunity" that opens up as soon as your agent puts your house on the market and plants a for sale sign in your front yard!

Curb appeal: Making a great impression from a street point-of-view can be one of your most effective forms of advertising. When your property looks neat, well maintained, and nicely landscaped, you'll be sending a positive message to potential buyers. By showing people that you have pride in ownership, they'll realize and appreciate the fact that your home has been well taken care of. Some homes require more preparation than others to convey that image, but when you pay attention to details, the desired results often follow.

Home staging: Staging your home for maximum impact involves strategies like arranging furniture in conversational groupings. In other words, if the configuration of your furniture lends itself to socializing, relaxation, and comfort, you'll be sending a positive message to people about the desirability of your home. It's also to your benefit to convey a feeling of spaciousness, cleanliness, and good taste. Although everyone has different taste when it comes to decorating, your real estate agent can offer helpful tips, based on their experience, objectivity, and training.

Most upgrades, repairs, and improvements to your house can potentially increase the chances of selling your home within the shortest period of time. Your agent can help you prioritize tasks you need to do to make a favorable impression on house hunters. They will provide you with professional advice on factors like cost effectiveness, urgency, and putting your best foot forward. In many cases, there are simple and relatively inexpensive measures you can take to improve your home's marketability, eye appeal, and perceived value.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/14/2017

For generations, people have been saying that "the kitchen is the heart of the home." The meaning of that expression is open to interpretation, but just about everyone would agree that kitchens are generally a relaxing place where family and friends congregate.

Although there are a lot of things to consider when searching for just the right house that meets your needs, the size of your next kitchen and its practicality are important things to keep in mind. If you enjoy hosting dinner parties and family gatherings, a large kitchen with plenty of seating room and counter space is highly desirable.

In addition to the fact that you need space to prepare and serve food, you may also need room to put out snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. If your objective is to serve meals "buffet style" or "family style," then you'll also want to line up the necessary supplies, such as plates, napkins, utensils, cups, and condiments.

While a large, open kitchen is not absolutely essential to the success of a dinner party or holiday gathering, it does provide convenience, food serving options, and more mingling space. If you end up buying a home with a narrow galley kitchen, then you'll have to rely more on adjoining rooms for entertaining guests and serving food.

On a day-to-day basis, spacious eat-in kitchens are usually much more practical for busy families, too. Otherwise, space is at a premium and family members may find themselves bumping into each other as they prepare meals, wash cookware, or put away dishes. As you can imagine (or have experienced first-hand), a claustrophobic kitchen does not lend itself to family harmony! On the other hand, having a place where family members can comfortably sit across from each other at meal time lends itself to open communication and, hopefully, better family relations.

Other characteristics of an "ideal kitchen" might include energy-efficient appliances, a floor that's both attractive and spill resistant, and sufficient lighting in food preparation and eating areas. If homes you're considering don't have dimmer switches, that's a relatively simple and inexpensive feature to install -- preferably with the help of an electrician. Having the ability to soften the intensity of light will enable you to decrease the room's brightness and transition to a "relaxation mode" at the end of the day. Being able to turn the brightness back up will come in handy for paying bills at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper (if you don't access it online), helping your kids with their homework, or playing cards or board games.

Whether your kitchen requirements include stainless steel appliances, a quartz or granite island with a gas stove, or just plenty of room for a large kitchen table and chairs, your real estate agent will work with you to find the home that best matches your needs, lifestyle, and budget.







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