Deborah Caniff - Lynnfield, MA Real Estate, Swampscott, MA Real Estate, Marblehead, MA Real Estate


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When you’re thinking about purchasing a home, an old house versus that new one is something to ponder. If you’ve thought about buying an older home, consider each of these areas before making an offer. Have your agent write contingencies into your contract, and by all means, don’t forego an inspection.

Consider HazMat

Say what? A lot of folks don’t realize that over the years, materials routinely used in homebuilding fall out of favor and become potential issues when you decide to renovate or remodel your older home. Some examples of hazardous materials are:

  • Lead pipes. Once used for standard plumbing, even sealed lead pipes can eventually allow toxic lead to leach into your water. Replacing all the plumbing in your home is an extensive and expensive process entailing removing floors and walls, tearing out concrete, and digging up landscaping. Before making an offer, have the water tested for lead.
  • Lead pipes aren’t the only problem. Older homes often have lead paint as well. Although it may be painted over with a non-hazardous paint, if paints chip and reveal the older materials, you might be exposed to higher concentrations of lead than you realize.
  • Asbestos. Homes built before the 1980s often had asbestos in the ceiling texture and insulation. Removing asbestos is an expensive side cost to any renovation. In addition to interior asbestos, many homes have asbestos siding and roofing materials that require HazMat removal as well. If the existing materials remain in place, there’s no law against them, but if you disturb them to install an addition or reface your home, they require proper mitigation.

Structural Challenges

A common issue with older homes is damage to the foundation from years of shifting ground, water seepage and expansion, and improper additions. When more weight sits on a home, from a new roof installed over the top of the old one, for example, the extra weight puts stress on bearing walls and the foundation. Footers exposed to erosion from running water might not continue to carry that weight. You won’t notice it at first, but eventually, you’ll find yourself repairing cracks in the plaster more frequently. An experienced home inspector will detect potential problems, so pay attention to the inspector’s report about potential, future issues with a home.

Lastly, older homes have long-term exposure to pests. Termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-damaging pests can hide their damage from you, but an inspector knows where to look. Along with disclosure of asbestos and lead issues, insist on pest control mitigation in your contract for an older home. Let your agent know how old a home you’re willing to purchase to avoid these issues.


A home showing can make or break your chances of selling your house. Therefore, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure that each home showing is a success.

Ultimately, there are several best practices for home showings that every home seller needs to know, and these practices include:

1. Clean and Declutter Your House

A tidy home is sure to garner homebuyers' attention. Comparatively, a messy house is unlikely to do you any favors in a competitive real estate market.

Allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your house. Mop the floors, wipe down the walls and perform assorted home interior cleaning. Also, don't forget to mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and ensure your house's exterior looks great.

In addition, eliminate clutter from your home as soon as possible. By doing so, you can show off the true size of your living space to potential buyers.

2. Remove Personal Belongings from Your Home

Although you may have many personal photographs and other treasured mementos scattered throughout your house, you should put these items away before a home showing. That way, you can make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your house.

When it comes to personal belongings, it sometimes can be tough to hide these items. However, if you store your personal belongings properly, you can guarantee these items will maintain their quality and appearance until you sell your house.

Pack up any treasured belongings carefully. Then, you can put these items in a storage unit for safe keeping. Or, if a family member or friend has storage space to spare, you can always ask a loved one to store your personal belongings temporarily.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to host a successful home showing, you're not alone. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals know what it takes to transform an ordinary home showing into an unforgettable experience.

A real estate agent can offer expert recommendations to help you get your house show-ready. In fact, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best home cleaning companies in your area. He or she also is unafraid to be honest and will share any home interior or exterior concerns with you.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will teach you about the real estate market. He or she can educate you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, respond to your home selling concerns and questions and much more. Thus, if you work with a real estate agent, you should have no trouble making informed decisions throughout the home selling journey.

Take the guesswork out of prepping your house for a showing – use the aforementioned best practices, and you can improve the look and feel of your house in no time at all.


To succeed in the real estate market, a home seller must understand what it takes to promote his or her residence to potential homebuyers consistently. However, transforming this dream into a reality can be exceedingly difficult, particularly for a home seller who is listing a house for the first time.

So what does it take for a home seller to succeed in any housing market, at any time? To find out, let's consider the home seller's perspective and look at three steps that home sellers can take to get the best results during the property selling journey.

1. Examine the Housing Market

Today's housing market may change tomorrow. As such, an informed home seller must go above and beyond the call of duty to understand real estate market trends. By doing so, a home seller can map out his or her property selling journey accordingly.

Take a look at the prices of available homes that are similar to your own. That way, you can better understand how your residence stacks up against the competition.

Don't forget to check out the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town as well. With this housing market data, you can find out whether you're preparing to enter a seller's or buyer's market.

2. Perform a Home Appraisal

You might think that your home will sell just days after it reaches the real estate market. Conversely, most homebuyers might disagree, especially if you failed to maintain your house's interior and exterior over the years.

Ultimately, a home appraisal allows you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. This appraisal enables a property inspector to review your home's interior and exterior. Then, the inspector will provide you with a report that you can use to see whether your residence is housing market-ready.

If you find that your home is in need of serious improvement, there is no need to worry. Instead, you can dedicate the necessary time and resources to upgrade your residence's interior and exterior before you list your house.

On the other hand, if a property inspector gives your home positive marks across the board, you may be ready to add your residence to the real estate market right away.

3. Meet with a Real Estate Agent

No home seller should be forced to enter the housing market alone. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to guide you along each stage of the property selling journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home in any housing market – without exception. He or she will set up home showings and open houses, promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. As a result, you can streamline the process of getting the best price for your residence.

Want to add your house to the real estate market? Now that you know all about the home seller's perspective, you should have no trouble optimizing the value of your home.


Photo by marcdenning via Pixabay
 

Adding square footage of living space to your home is always a sound investment. Not only does it give you and your family more space to play, but it adds resale value, too -- even if the square footage you add is outdoors. A well-designed and constructed pergola does both. It provides shade and shelter for guests; at the same time, it adds beauty and function to your backyard while boosting its value to potential buyers.

Benefits of Adding a Pergola

We've put together a checklist of reasons why you might want to consider upping your entertainment game with the addition of a backyard pergola:

Pergolas Ground Your Outdoor Space

A beautiful pergola is the perfect structure to section off a portion of your backyard for entertaining. Sit beneath it for hours, reading your favorite books. Or, host a friendly get-together for a dozen friends. A pergola delineates your entertainment space. 

Pergolas Provide Shade and Shelter

Entertaining with a pergola means guests stay cooler and somewhat protected from the elements. Add a shade canopy made of canvas, lattice or natural, vining plants, and your pergola can help keep the area beneath it up to 15 degrees cooler on the hottest, summer day.

Pergolas Add Privacy

There are so many ways to perk up your pergola, including adding curtains, lattice, plants and more. All add beauty to your construction, but they all add privacy, too. Sit outside without the world staring back at you when you settle in under your pergola. 

Constructing Your Pergola

Now that you've decided a pergola is the perfect home improvement, how do you go about building one?  You have several options:

DIY Pergola

You can build your pergola from scratch if you have the know-how and tenacity. This is the most economic option, but make sure it's permitted and built to code if you're trying to up your resale value. You'll want to choose materials that are hardy against the elements, such as pressure-treated wood, cedar, vinyl or aluminum. You'll also need specific tools and supplies, such as a post-hole digger and quick-set concrete. 

Pergola Kit

Pergola kits are readily available online and at your local home improvement store. They include everything you need to construct your pergola, including the wood, vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass posts, brackets and hardware. Upon delivery, your pergola is ready to assemble. This option is a little pricier than doing it yourself, but it's cheaper than calling in a pro. 

Professional Installation

The average cost of professional pergola construction is between $3,500 and $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor. This cost can change according to where you live, the materials used and the size of your pergola. But this option is also the one that will raise your resale value the most. 

When it comes to living space, every square foot counts. This is especially true when it's time to list your home for potential buyers. Consider the addition of a pergola to enhance both the function and beauty of your backyard. Your family and the next one will love you for it. 


Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Having your own home fitness center provides a convenient place to work out. You don’t have to worry about fitting in exercise during gym hours or having to wait your turn to use the treadmill or rowing machine. With your own gym, you can work out whenever you want and use your fitness equipment as needed. The following tips can help you design an upscale fitness center that allows you to exercise in the comfort of your own home.

Location

The first decision to make is where to put your fitness center, which depends in part on the layout of your home. You can put your home gym in your basement or a back area of your home if you prefer having it in an out-of-the-way place where your workouts won’t disturb family members. If your home is surrounded by nature, consider putting your home fitness center in an upper part of your home that provides inspiring views while you work out.

Flooring

The flooring in your home gym should provide shock absorbency and durability for safe workouts. Rubber tiles or rolls are highly shock-absorbent and durable, making them a common choice for home fitness centers. Foam tiles and soft PVC tiles are more comfortable to stand and move around on, but they do not offer as much shock absorbency to protect you from injuries if you do high-impact exercises.

Equipment

Choosing equipment for your home gym depends on the kinds of exercises you like to do. You can include larger pieces of equipment, such as rowing machines, treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes. Other types of equipment to consider include a weight bench and weights, a yoga mat, a balance ball and resistance bands. Keep in mind that there are many brands of luxury home fitness equipment available.

Adding a state-of-the-art sound system to your fitness center can provide you with an easy way to listen to music that helps you stay motivated during your workouts. For lighting, consider using a mixture of natural lighting from windows or skylights and artificial lighting, such as recessed lights or light fixtures with ceiling fans to improve air circulation in your home gym.

Indoor Pool

Your home fitness center doesn’t only have to include traditional gym equipment. If you enjoy swimming as a form of exercise, consider adding an indoor pool to your gym. You can include an indoor pool that’s specially designed for doing laps and add features to it, such as a heating system for comfort or underwater LED lighting for swimming at night without having to put overhead lights on.




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