The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/15/2018

Many homeowners have a difficult relationship with their homeowners association. On the one hand, the HOA helps your community stay safe, clean, and makes it a desirable place to live which improves the property value of your home. But, on the other hand, homeowners associations can be a problem if you want to make a change to your property that they disagree with.

 In this article, weíll talk about some common issues that homeowners face in their dealings with homeowners associations and give you tips on how to handle them so that youíll have the best possible outcome.

 Study the rules carefully

It may seem like a nuisance, but your best defense when dealing with the homeowners association is to understand whatís expected of you. Not only will it help you stay on good terms with the HOA, but it will also make it easier to understand what your options are.

Itís a good idea to understand these rules and bylaws before you ever move into the neighborhood, but itís never too late to learn them. It might help you later on down the road should you want to paint your house or build a new structure in your yard.

Introduce yourself to the members

Itís best to get off on the right foot with the other members of your homeowners association. You donít want your first meeting to be a complaint against you, nor do you want to introduce yourself to someone only to make a complaint against someone else.

It will also give you a chance to ask questions about the community and to get an understanding of how easy or difficult it is to deal with the regulations of the homeowners association.

Donít assume ill-will

If you find that a complaint has been raised against you, donít act immediately. Take some time to compose your response and be sure to acknowledge the complaint. Odds are that the other members of the HOA arenít there just to give you a hard time.

Choose your battles

There are some things worth fighting for when it comes to your home. However, you donít want to be repeatedly challenging the HOA on small issues. Stick to the rules on the things that arenít hugely important, that way other members wonít come to expect issues from you.

Follow protocol

When youíre required to get permission from the board before making a change to your property, be sure you follow the steps laid out in your agreement. Doing so will avoid any unnecessary conflict.

Pay all dues and fines on time

Even if you are in the middle of a disagreement with the HOA, itís better to continue paying your dues and fines that to leave them outstanding. If you donít pay, you risk further penalty, including fees.

Plan ahead if you want to change the rules

If youíre dissatisfied with some or man of the rules of the homeowners association, odds are youíre not alone. First, start by talking with other neighborhood members. If they have similar views on the rules in question, you can bring them up collectively at the next meeting.

Your second option would be to run for the board and try to enact the changes yourself. However, you should never seek a position out of spite or anger. Only volunteer your time and effort if you want to lend a hand in your community and make life better for all of the inhabitants.


Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/8/2018

Obtaining a mortgage can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of analyzing various mortgage options and choosing one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers secure the ideal mortgage.

1. Assess All of the Mortgage Options at Your Disposal

Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available, and homebuyers who understand the pros and cons of these mortgage options may be better equipped than others to make the right mortgage decision.

A fixed-rate mortgage ensures a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage enables a homebuyer to budget for monthly home payments over the course of three decades. And in many instances, a homebuyer may be able to pay off a fixed-rate mortgage early without penalty.

On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage may start out with a lower monthly payment that escalates over the course of a few years. An adjustable-rate mortgage, for instance, may allow a homebuyer to acquire a home that surpasses his or her initial budget thanks to a lower initial monthly payment. However, after the first few years, the monthly mortgage payment may increase, and a homebuyer will need to plan accordingly.

Assess your mortgage options closely Ė you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you can boost your chances of selecting a mortgage that works well based on your current and future financial needs.

2. Evaluate Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may impact his or her ability to get the right mortgage. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can analyze his or her credit score without delay.

You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, with your credit report in hand, you can better understand how potential lenders may view your mortgage application.

Of course, if you receive a copy of your credit report and find glaring errors, be sure to let the credit bureau know immediately. This will enable you to get any mistakes corrected and ensure these problems won't slow you down as you pursue your dream residence.

3. Consult with Potential Lenders

Although getting a mortgage may seem like an uphill climb at first, consulting with potential lenders may prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially for a first-time homebuyer.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to educate you about assorted mortgage options. These lenders can teach you about the ins and outs of various mortgage options at your convenience.

Lastly, if you need extra help in your search for the perfect mortgage, real estate agents may be able to offer assistance. These housing market professionals can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about lenders in your area so you can move one step closer to securing your ideal mortgage.

Ready to get a mortgage for the first time? Use these tips, and you can accelerate the process of obtaining a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/1/2018

Your kitchen floor is what makes a statement in your home. The floor of the kitchen sets the design tone for the entire room. The choices for your kitchen floor are seemingly endless with tile to hardwood to everything in between. While the kitchen floor may not be on the top of the list during your kitchen remodel, it should be. These floors take quite a beating due to food being dropped, entertaining, foot traffic, and just overall frequent use. The flooring of the kitchen will help to pull the look of a room together and help to add value to your home. The floors should help accent the counters, appliances, and cabinets. Here, weíll take a look at some of the most common kitchen flooring materials with some advice on how to choose whatís right for you


Stone Or Tile

These choices are perfect especially if your kitchen is a heavily traveled area. Letís face it, most kitchens are where people come in and out, looking for food! Your decision will depend on where your kitchen is to the relationships of the main entrance to your home. 


This is a durable material thatís quite versatile and available in a variety of colors to suit your style. The great thing about cork is that it is water-resistant and it reduces noise from impact. This could be a great choice if you have children who love to run around and you also have a need for a quiet space upstairs. 

Wood Floors

Wood is to kitchen flooring what granite is to kitchen countertops. Wood just makes a kitchen feel classy. Itís great under your feet and durable at the same time. Wood can withstand heavy traffic, water stains, food spills, and more. You can even go for a less expensive alternative that gives the same look and benefits of wood for less.

Vinyl Flooring

If youíre on a budget, vinyl kitchen flooring is the way to go. these floors offer a variety of styles and color choices. The material can be purchased either in tile or sheet form.

Laying Down The Flooring

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is not hiring professional help when needed to install things in the home. This applies to flooring as well. If you donít feel comfortable laying down tile, or whatever type of flooring you choose, call the people who know how to do it best. Improperly installed flooring can lead to bumps, cracks, and the need for yet another new floor much sooner. It could be worth the extra investment to hire professional help to install your new kitchen floor.

Posted by St. Martin Team on 2/22/2018

Many home sellers face a dilemma. In most instances, it is important to set a competitive price for your property to stir up plenty of interest in it. Conversely, it is essential to explore ways to maximize the value of your residence.

For home sellers, establishing the right price for your house is key. By doing so, you can set a price for your home that meets your needs as well as homebuyers'.

What does it take to establish the right price for your residence? Here are three tips to ensure home sellers are equipped to do just that.

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

The housing market fluctuates constantly. As such, what your home was worth yesterday may not be what it is worth today.

If you study the housing market closely, you can price your residence based on the current real estate sector's conditions. Thus, you'll be better equipped than other home sellers to garner attention from homebuyers and accelerate the home selling process.

Examine the prices of comparable houses in your area, along with the prices of recently sold houses similar to your own. This will make it easy for you to establish "fair market value" for your property and price it accordingly.

Also, don't forget to conduct a home appraisal before you add your home to the real estate market. With a home appraisal, you'll be able to receive comprehensive insights into your home's condition and complete home repairs to boost its value.

2. Set Home Selling Goals

Do you want to sell your house as quickly as possible? Or are you looking to optimize the value of your home, regardless of how long it remains on the real estate market?

Set home selling goals prior to adding your house to the real estate market, and you can establish a fair price for your residence.

For example, if you want to sell your house so you can relocate quickly, you may want to price your residence competitively. On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you can always wait out a buyer's market to maximize the value of your residence.

3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will play a key role in your ability to sell your house and get the best price for it. And if you employ an experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble accomplishing your home selling goals.

With an experienced real estate agent at your disposal, you can receive extensive support throughout the home selling process. This real estate professional will offer expert tips and advice to help you get your property ready for the real estate market. In addition, he or she can offer guidance about how to price your home competitively, whether to accept or reject a homebuyer's offer and more.

Collaborate with an experienced real estate agent, and ultimately, you can simplify the process of selling your home.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by St. Martin Team on 2/15/2018

Remodeling your home is something youíve likely considered for a long time and have carefully planned. However, if youíre not an expert carpenter designer it can be easy to make novice mistakes. Learning by your mistakes is fine, but when those mistakes are an eyesore or cost hundreds of dollars, youíre better off doing your homework in advance.

Whether youíre doing a remodel yourself to save money, or just because you have a do-it-yourself spirit and like new challenges, these tips will spare you many headaches and save you a lot of money along the way.

1. Inaccurate measurements

Unless youíre a carpenter or engineer, odds are you donít use measuring tools on a daily basis. To ensure that you get the most accurate measurements, draw plans for your remodeling project to ensure that everything will fit in the space that you have. This includes measuring for the spaces youíll be putting appliances, cabinets, and other items. If youíre installing drawers or doors, ensure that they will be able to open fully.

2. Using the cheapest materials

Sometimes you can find high-quality materials in the bargain bin. But most of the time itís there for a reason. Working with quality materials will not only usually give you the most aesthetically positive results, but will also likely outlast the cheaper alternatives.

3. Underestimating costs

If youíre planning a remodeling project always be prepared to spend a bit more than your original calculations. There are several unexpected expenses that could arise during the remodeling process, including damaging materials by mistake, buying the wrong materials, having to purchase specialized tools, or needing more than you initially thought.

4. Not taking appropriate safety measures

If youíre a novice remodeler, safety needs to be one of your top priorities. You may be unfamiliar with some of the tools youíre using and likely donít know some of the common safety hazards on the job. When it comes to electrical work, there are many projects that required a licensed electrician to perform. If youíre up on a ladder, be sure the legs are fully opened and secure. And if youíre on the roof, make sure youíre wearing non-slip boots and not carrying heavy items up and down by yourself.

5. Ignoring design and style

In todayís world of quickly fading trends and online inspiration blogs itís easy to want your home to be several things that it isnít. When planning your interiors, try to take into account the architectural style of the house. Similarly, if youíre remodeling one room think about how it will look against the backdrop of the rest of your home. Consistency is a too-often undervalued characteristic of interior design.

Those are five of the most common home remodeling mistakes to avoid if youíre planning a renovation for your home. However, there are many more. So if you take away anything from this article, let it be this: you have to look at your home every day, so be sure to take the time to do your research and plan properly so that your home comes out just the way you want it.

Tags: diy   mistakes   home remodeling  
Categories: Uncategorized