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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/19/2018

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, itís 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 wonít bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

Letís 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 neweróan 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 homeís curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your homeís exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint wonít do the trick.

4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes donít have to break the bank to catch a buyerís 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 The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer.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 itís 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 Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/12/2018

If your budget allows for it, hiring a good housekeeper is well worth the money. If you're like most professional couples, you probably already feel "maxed out" after you've put in 40 to 60 hours at your jobs . When you add parenting responsibilities into the mix, there's not too much time and energy left for cleaning the house! While certain basic house cleaning tasks are unavoidable on a daily basis, it's a relief to know that a paid house cleaner will be coming in to do a thorough job soon.

Finding a reliable housekeeper with whom you feel comfortable can be a bit of a challenge, but if you can get referrals from family, friends, and others you know, then your search should put you on the right track.

The Selection Process

Since the main reason you're hiring a cleaning person is to make your life easier, the last thing you want to deal with is dependability problems or substandard work. That's why it's important to get referrals from people you know and trust. It often pays to interview more than one prospective cleaning person because you want to find someone who is the best match for your budget and needs. When you have two or three prospects to choose from, you'll be in a better position to choose the one with the best attitude, top references, and the most agreeable personality.

Unless a cleaning person was referred to you by someone you know well, it's a good idea to request references and contact a couple of them before making any final decisions. Calling at least two of their current customers (or past bosses) should give you some helpful insights into their work habits, punctuality, and willingness to follow directions.

Although most customers will probably try to be complimentary, if you ask the right questions and look for "red flags" in their answers, you'll be surprised at what you can learn. While it may be too blunt to ask if their cleaning person is honest, a lot can be inferred from their responses to other questions. For example, if a housekeeper has been working for the same customer for several years and cleans their house while the costumer is at their office or other place of employment, then there's a good chance the cleaner does excellent (or at least satisfactory) work and can be trusted. One direct question that generally needs to be asked when talking with references is "Would you personally recommend this person?" Asking how their housekeeper responds to special requests, suggestions, or constructive criticism may also provide revealing answers.

When getting a quote from a cleaning person or house cleaning service, it's useful to get an itemized list of what chores or services would be covered in the price. There are two advantages to this. First of all, you'll be able to compare "apples to apples". Secondly, you'll be able to gauge your expectations to what was initially promised and agreed to. While there may be other issues to consider, like possible background checks and insurance coverages they carry, once you've found a house cleaner you like and trust, you've cleared the biggest hurdle in your search!





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/5/2018

If youíve recently purchased a new home, congratulations! The hardest part and most stressful part of the process is behind you. But moving day can still be difficult, especially if youíre moving with kids, pets, or over a long distance.

Today, weíre going to provide you with a moving day checklist in hope that youíll personalize it to your own needs, making your moving day as smooth a process as possible.

Not all of the items on the list will apply to everyone, but we can guarantee that if you follow most of our guidelines youíll be able to sleep more soundly the night before your move and rest assured once youíre in your new home that everything has been taken care of.

Before the big day

The weeks leading up to moving day are an important time to iron out all of the details of your move. It includes making arrangements for pets, setting and confirming appointments with movers, and making sure your all of your belongings are accounted for. Consider this your pre-moving day checklist:

  1. Meet with your family and make your master schedule and to-do list. This could include things like sending change-of-address forms, calling your doctors to update your address, setting up an appointment with cable and internet companies, and so on. Doing all of these things before the move will make moving day much simpler.

  2. Hire your movers early. Donít wait until a week before the move as some may already be booked for the day. A day or two before the move, call to confirm your appointment and double check to see if the movers require anything else from you before the move. Confirm your current and future addresses with them, as well as routes if itís a long distance move.

  3. Also for long distance moves, plan an itinerary for things like driving and fuel breaks, hotels, food, etc.

  4. Clean house. Have a yard sale, donate used items to charity, and put unwanted items in your front yard for free. You donít want to move more than you need and leaving junk at your old home isnít polite and might be a violation of your contract.

  5. In the weeks leading up to your move, use or discard old pantry items or frozen food. You donít want to be moving a lot of groceries to the new house, especially perishables.

  6. If you have pets who arenít used to leaving home, get them used to the new house if possible and have them stay with a friend or pet care facility on moving day to avoid them getting lost or in trouble.

On moving day

Once moving day is here, if youíve followed the items above, everything should run somewhat smoothly. Here are some checklist items for moving day.

  1. Pack a bag with items youíll need the first day of your move that can be easily accessible. This includes toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, toilet paper, etc.

  2. Do inventory for your boxes. Odds are you wonít forget any, but having a correct count at your new home will set your mind at ease.

  3. Bring nutritious snacks like granola bars (moving is hard work).

  4. Donít lift heavy items alone.

  5. Use sliders to move big items to avoid scratching your floors.

  6. Show your helpers theyíre appreciated (pizza is always a good ďthank youĒ).




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 12/29/2017

You may have been thinking that youíd like to sell your home. You probably want to sell it at the right time and you want to go about it for the right reasons. Thereís so many different that you may want to sell your home that you probably havenít even thought of. 


Thereís Not Many Homes To Choose From


If thereís a lack of inventory on the housing market, itís a great time to put your home up for sale. Certain times of the year have lower inventory than others, so you may want to consider the fall and winter as a prime time to sell. If you know your home is in a great location, or has little work to be done in it, youíre probably going to want to sell sooner rather than later if you have been contemplating the idea in a low inventory market. 


Remember That Spring Starts Early


Especially in warmer climates, ďspringĒ is a relative term and can start as early as January. People will start their searches online early in the year and the demand for homes only becomes more crucial as the year goes on. The earlier the listing, the better chance the home has to stand out on the market, even if it doesnít sell right away. In fast moving real estate markets, it may not matter what time of year you sell your home. If the demand is there, you have a great chance to sell the home.


Price Matters


The lower the price point on a home, the faster it will generally move off the market. First-time homebuyers want homes and they want them fast. when your home is priced lower, itís probably going to move a bit faster no matter when or where youíre selling it. Buyers are always looking for a good deal. 


Interest Rates Affect Home Sales


If thereís rumors that interest rates will rise in the coming months, buyers will be on the hunt for a home. Thatís when itís a good time for you as a buyer to put your home on the market. When buying power for those searching is high, youíre better off selling because youíll get a lot of interest. Your home will leave the market much faster as well. 


The Decisions Is Yours


Selling your home is not a small decision. Youíll need to find another place to relocate to. Your kids may have to switch schools, and your lives can be a bit disrupted in the process of moving. If you think the time is right to move, you can keep the above suggestions in mind in order to make the entire process a bit more seamless for you.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 12/22/2017

When it comes to home buying a home, thereís a ton of different information available out there. A lot of what has been presented as ďfactĒ actually is quite false. These misconceptions could keep you away from achieving the very real dream of home ownership. Below, youíll find some of the most common myths that youíll find about home buying.


If Your Credit Score Isnít Up To Par, You Canít Buy


To get good mortgage rates, having a good credit score doesnít hurt. You can still buy a home if you donít have amazing credit. A low credit score means that your mortgage rates will be higher than the average. There are loans like FHA loans, that allow for you to get a loan with a credit score as low as 580. Donít let a lower credit score discourage you from buying a home. If your credit score is low, there are plenty of things that you can do to help you fix the score in a short period of time.  


You Need 20 Percent Down To Buy A Home


This is a long-standing myth about home buying. While putting down 20 percent on a home purchase saves you the extra expense of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), you can still be in the running to buy a home if your down payment is less than 20 percent. There are even some home loan programs that allow buyers to put as little as 0-3 percent down for the purchase of their home.


You Have To Make A Lot Of Money To Buy A Home


Your monthly income is one of many aspects of your financial life thatís considered when youíre buying a home. Home loans can be denied to those who make a large income just as easily as to those who have lower incomes. What matters is the debt-to-income ratio, which tells lenders how much debt a buyer has compared to the amount of income the buyer makes each and every month. Keep your debt down, and youíll be in good shape to buy a home. 


You Donít Need To Be Pre-Approved To Get A House


Being pre-approved gives you an upper hand in the home buying process. Being pre-approved allows your lender and you to go through the entire process of getting a mortgage. When you find a home that you love, youíre able to breeze through the process of making an offer if youíre pre-approved. The pre-approval process is one of the most important aspects of buying a home. 


If youíre prepared with knowledge, buying a home isnít such a daunting process after all. Find a realtor you trust, understand your finances, and the rest will fall into place!




Tags: Buying a home   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized  




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