The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 7/9/2020

One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!

That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.

Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.

Professional Help May Be Needed!

Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.

If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.

Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.

So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!





Posted by St. Martin Team on 7/2/2020

The home selling journey varies from person to person. If an individual prepares for this journey, he or she may be better equipped than others to avoid problems along the way. On the other hand, an individual who is unprepared for the property selling journey may struggle to achieve the best-possible results.

There are many things that an individual can do to enjoy a memorable home selling experience. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for the house selling journey.

1. Upgrade Your House's Curb Appeal

How your house looks to prospective buyers can have far-flung effects on your home selling experience. If you allocate time and resources to enhance your residence's curb appeal, you could make your house an attractive choice to dozens of potential buyers.

Upgrading your house's curb appeal can be simple. For example, mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges generally won't take long to complete and can help your residence impress potential buyers. You can always repair or replace any damaged home siding as well.

If you require additional help with home exterior upgrades, contractors are available in cities and towns nationwide. In fact, these professionals can help you quickly improve your residence's curb appeal.

2. Set a Competitive Initial Asking Price

It is important to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence, regardless of whether you are operating in a buyer's or seller's market. Otherwise, you risk alienating potential buyers – something that may result in a time-intensive home selling journey.

To set a competitive initial asking price for your home, it may be beneficial to analyze local housing market data. Compare and contrast your home versus similar residences that are available in your city or town, and you can use these insights to price your residence accordingly.

In addition, you can hire a home appraiser before you list your house. A home appraiser will provide a property valuation that you can use to establish an aggressive price for your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker during the home selling journey, and for good reason. This housing market professional understands what it takes to sell a home and will do whatever it takes to help you enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will develop a personalized home selling strategy for you. Thus, if you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will help you do just that. Or, if you want to optimize the earnings from your house sale, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you can get the best price for your house.

As you prepare to add your house to the real estate market, there is no need to worry. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a seamless property selling experience.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 6/25/2020

When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, it’s very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or won’t bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

Let’s take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.  

1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel newer—an instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.

2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.

3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a home’s curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your home’s exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint won’t do the trick.

4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes don’t have to break the bank to catch a buyer’s eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.

5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.

6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.

The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but it’s quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 6/18/2020

 Photo by Alexander Zvir from Pexels

Those who currently own a home may consider investing in a second home for income purposes. However, it is important to understand you may have hurdles to overcome when searching for a mortgage or obtaining homeowners insurance. Here are some of the most significant differences between buying an investment property and a primary residence.

Obtaining a Mortgage

In nearly all cases, mortgage rates for investment properties are higher than when you buy a primary residence. The reason for this is that lenders tend to view an investment property as a riskier loan than a loan provided for an owner-occupied property. Lenders may also impose more stringent requirements on debt-to-income ratios and credit scoring.

The news is not all bad because while a lender may have stricter debt-to-income requirements, a portion of your anticipated rental income may help offset the change.  Not all lenders will include potential rental income, but it is worth asking about. If your mortgage lender is willing to use the rental you expect to collect as part of your income it is likely they will use a percentage of the rent, less potential repair costs, and vacancy costs.

Down Payment Requirements

Typically, if you are purchasing an investment property, the lender will require you to make a larger down payment. In many cases, you may be required to put down as much as 25 percent of the purchase price. The good news is that unlike with the purchase of a primary residence, you may be able to borrow the down payment. However, this will have an impact on your debt to income ratio because you will be paying another loan.

Greater Reserve Requirements

Your mortgage lender may have a reserve requirement when you purchase a primary residence. Reserves are generally to ensure you have an emergency fund for things like unexpected repairs. When you seek financing for an investment property your mortgage lender may require you to have a larger reserve in case your rental income decreases unexpectedly.

Potential Tax Consequences

If you are considering an investment property, you should also understand there are certain tax benefits and drawbacks. Unlike a primary residence, you will have to claim the income generated from the property. You may also get some important tax breaks so it is a good idea to talk to a tax specialist about tax issues you may face.

If you are considering investment property as a means of generating additional income and building future equity, make sure you understand the hurdles you may face. Your real estate agent can help you learn the rental history of the property, neighborhood details, and other information you should know before making this important decision.




Tags: buyer tips   investing   homeowner  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 6/11/2020

One of the most critical aspects of your financial state, when you’re buying a home, is that of your credit score. Credit scores take your entire economic history into account. That means every missed payment, every account opened, and that three-digit number represents every debt you owe. Once you obtain your credit score and assess your finances, if you realize your score needs help, you may feel desperate. The good news is that you’re not helpless. There are plenty of things that you can do to raise your credit score in a short time to increase your chances of getting a better rate on a loan for your home purchase. Read on for some tips on how to improve your credit score.



Keep An Eye On Your Credit Card Balances


One of the most impactful factors on your credit score is how much debt you have. How much debt you have versus how much available credit you have is a significant factor in your score. If you pay your balances in full each month, that’s great. Keep in mind that even if you do pay off your balances that monthly balance amount affects your score as well. Paying off your outstanding credit card balances will have a positive effect on your score.


Remember Some Debt History Is Good


Once you pay off a car or home loan, it can be tempting to want these accounts removed from your credit history. When you’re getting a home loan, the lender wants to know that you’re reliable. If you can show that you have responsibly paid off other loans that can only be a positive thing for you and your credit score. Don’t be so quick to remove old accounts that have been paid off from your report. 


Pay On Time


If you pay your bills on time continuously, it can only bring your score up. If our rating needs help, this could be the most critical thing that you can do to raise your score.


Keep Your Payments Equal Over Time


Keeping your payments equal means that you shouldn’t start charging more than you usually would. You also shouldn’t begin to make lower payments than you have been. Keeping your spending and payments consistent can help you to raise and maintain a good credit score.


If you know you’ll be purchasing a home soon; you should check your credit score. If you’re not close to heading out on the home search, you can pull back a bit. While you always want to maintain good credit health, you shouldn’t be so focused on your credit score that you forget about other things like saving for a downpayment. Know that your credit score is essential in buying a home, but understand that there are many moving parts when it comes to buying a home. 





Tags: credit score  
Categories: Uncategorized  




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