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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/21/2018

Whether you're selling a home or buying one, the amount of storage space a house offers can have a major impact on its perceived value. Even if you're a first-time home owner who hasn't had the chance to accumulate a lot of clothes, household supplies, and other possessions, you can be sure that's not a permanent condition -- especially if you have a growing family!

So if you're looking for a new home to settle into, storage space will become increasing important. If, on the other hand, you're preparing to sell your home, then showcasing and enhancing storage space will help increase its marketability.

Everyone Loves Big Closets

Walk-in closets are considered a highly desirable feature because they not only accommodate a large and growing wardrobe, but they offer a lot of functionality from shelves, compartments, and other storage areas. They can also be customized to suit individual needs and preferences. The fact that walk-in closets are separate from the master bedroom also creates a feeling of spaciousness and luxury. The additional space and storage features make it easier to keep clothes organized, fresher, and in better overall condition. If clothes are squeezed together in a small closet, they tend to wrinkle faster, become mustier, and are harder to find -- especially when you're running late for an appointment!

Other Valued Storage Areas

Basements, attics, backyard sheds, and two-car garages are great places to store sports equipment, tools, supplies, appliances, old furniture, toys that your kids have outgrown, and other items you're not quite sure what to do with. The big challenge is to avoid accumulating clutter and hoarding things you don't need. Finished basements and attics are especially appealing to many home buyers because they provide additional living space and are more aesthetically pleasing than unfinished areas.

Basement Problems and Remedies

One cautionary note to keep in mind when storing things in a basement is that excess moisture and humidity can wreak havoc on everything from photo albums and old books to musical instruments and framed paintings. One solution is to monitor the moisture level with a hygrometer and install a dehumidifier to extract excess moisture from the air. While other measures may need to be taken to assure a dry basement environment, these two steps should help improve conditions dramatically. If mold is present on your walls, wood structures, or cardboard boxes, then you can be sure it's not a favorable environment for storing anything of value. Most wet basement problems are correctable, but professional and sometimes expensive solutions often need to be sought.

So assuming you don't have water in your basement and bats in your belfry, then lots of storage space will make your home easier to sell and more enjoyable to live in!





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/14/2018

Getting a home inspection is usually built into the purchase contract for most real estate transactions. A home inspection contingency protects the buyer from getting any unwelcome surprises after they buy the home (think water damage or an HVAC system whose days are numbered).

In some cases, home inspections are the defining moment between a sale or moving on to other options.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the reasons you might want to get a home inspection whether you’re buying or selling a home.

Home inspections for buyers

There’s a reason most real estate contracts come with an inspection contingency. Expensive, impending repairs on a home can greatly affect how much you’re willing to offer on a home, or if you’re willing to make an offer at all.

Some buyers opt out of an inspection. This can be done for numerous reasons. The most common reason is that the buyer has a personal relationship with the seller and has faith that they are getting the full story when it comes to the state of the house. The other reason is that a buyer is trying to gain a competitive edge over the competition on a home, sweetening the deal by waiving the inspection and paving the way for a quick sale.

Both of these reasons have their flaws. For one, the seller might not even know the full extent of the repairs a home may need and an appraisal might not catch all of the issues with a home.

Another reason a buyer may waive an inspection contingency is because the seller claims to have recently had the home inspected. While this may be true, buyers should still opt to hire their own professional. This way, they can guarantee that the inspection was done by someone who is licensed and has their best interests in mind.

Home inspections for sellers

As we’ve seen, home inspections are typically designed to protect the interest of home buyers. However, sellers also stand to gain from ordering their own home inspection.

If you’re planning on selling within the next six months to a year, it will pay off to know exactly what issues the home currently has or will have in the near future. This will give you the chance to make repairs or address issues that could cause complications with your sale. You don’t want to be on your way to closing on an offer to suddenly realize you need to pay and arrange for a new roof.

So, whether you’re a buyer or seller, home inspections can be immensely beneficial to learn more about your home or the home you’re planning on buying. It will help you be prepared to make repairs if you’re a buyer. Or, if you’re a seller, you can make a plan to negotiate repairs with the seller based on the findings of the inspection.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/7/2018

If you're on the fence about whether to reject or accept an offer to purchase, it is important to remember that a third option is available: submitting a counter-offer.

Ultimately, deciding to submit a counter-offer can be a tough choice for first-time and experienced house sellers alike. But we're here to teach you about the benefits of counter-offers and ensure you feel confident to submit a counter-proposal as needed.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you decide when to submit a counter-offer.

1. Assess Your Residence

Although the initial asking price for your house is not set in stone, you likely have expectations about how much you should receive for your home. But if a homebuyer submits an offer to purchase that falls below your expectations, you should assess your residence to help you make the best-possible decision.

Try to take an objective view of your home – you'll be glad you did. For instance, if you discover your home is one of many similar properties available in a buyer's market, you may want to accept an offer to purchase, even if it falls below your expectations. On the other hand, if you feel that your home is in great condition and you receive an offer to purchase that is short of your initial asking price, you may want to counter the proposal or reject it altogether.

2. Review the Housing Market

Housing market data can help any home seller make informed decisions throughout the property selling journey. There is plenty of housing market data at your disposal, and you should not hesitate to use it, especially when you analyze an offer to purchase.

Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold residences, the prices of available residences in your area that are similar to your own and other pertinent housing market data. With this information, you can gain deep insights into the housing market. Then, you can determine whether an offer to purchase falls in line with the current state of the real estate sector.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to review an offer to purchase on your own. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to perform an in-depth analysis of any offer to purchase.

A real estate agent is a house selling expert who will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you review an offer to purchase. He or she can provide a recommendation about whether to counter a homebuying proposal and explain the reasons for this recommendation as well. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions about an offer to purchase, a real estate agent is happy to address them.

Should you counter an offer to purchase? The answer depends on the home seller, the real estate market and other factors. And if you use the aforementioned tips, you can perform a full evaluation of an offer to purchase and proceed accordingly.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/31/2018

If you receive an offer to purchase from a property buyer and decide to submit a counter-offer, it is important to err on the side of caution. Because if your counter-proposal fails to meet a buyer's expectations, you risk missing out on the opportunity to sell your house and maximize your home sale earnings.

When it comes to reviewing an offer to purchase and submitting a counter-proposal, it helps to prepare as much as possible. Fortunately, we're here to help you perform a full analysis of a homebuying proposal and ensure that you can submit a counter-offer that matches the expectations of both you and a buyer.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put together a "fair" counter-proposal to a buyer's offer to purchase your home.

1. Use Housing Market Data to Your Advantage

Take a look at local housing market data – you'll be glad you did. If you take a data-driven approach to craft a counter-offer, you may be better equipped than ever before to put together a counter-proposal that meets the needs of all parties involved in a property sale.

Analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. Furthermore, find out how long these residences were available before they sold. With this housing market data in hand, you should have no trouble crafting a fair counter-proposal.

2. Consider the Buyer's Perspective

As you examine a buyer's initial offer to purchase, think about why this individual chose to submit the proposal. Try not to get emotional if you feel the offer is too low; instead, think about how you can work with a buyer to find common ground.

Oftentimes, it helps to maintain open communication with a buyer. If you put together an counter-proposal that accounts for the buyer's perspective and keep in touch with this individual, you and a buyer may be able to work together to come to a fair agreement.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to propose as part of a counter-offer, there is no need to stress. In fact, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the assistance you need to craft a counter-proposal that may lead to an instant "Yes" from a buyer.

Usually, a real estate agent will inform you about an offer to purchase your home and provide recommendations and suggestions as you craft a counter-proposal. He or she also will negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns or questions during the property selling journey, a real estate agent is happy to address them.

Allocate time and resources as you craft a counter-offer. If you consider the current state of the real estate market and the buyer's perspective, you could increase your chances of putting together a counter-proposal to close a deal on your home. Perhaps best of all, you can submit a counter-offer that allows both you and a buyer to achieve your respective goals faster than ever before.




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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/24/2018

Keep your outdoor surfaces in tip-top shape all year long with these care tips:

Bricks

Bricks are known for their durability but still need to be maintained and cared for. They key here is to be gentle with your cleaning methods as they can wear down and become compromised by the chemicals found in typical household cleaners.

Have you ever noticed how some bricks have a white, chalky residue to them? It’s messy, unappealing and 100% preventable. All you have to do is check labels in Winter time! When shopping for deicer avoid those made with calcium chloride.

Stay on top of culling plants growing between bricks. Where there are plants there is more moisture which will inevitably lead to loosening your bricks. Cut plants that begin growing. They will die quickly and easily pull up. Easily remove moss with a mixture of one part bleach to 10 parts hot water

If for whatever reason you find you need to clean brick only use a masonry specific cleaner and scrub gently when using. If there are stains on your bricks you will need a poultice made specifically for masonry staining.

Concrete

Concrete is another outdoor surface known for its durability but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. Caring for concrete is similar to the needs of brick.

Clean up oil spills by allowing cat litter to sit on the spot overnight. Repeat until the stain is no longer “pulling” from the litter. If there is a stain left behind a poultice may be necessary (just like with bricks). You will also use the same 1:10 bleach mixture to remove moss from concrete as you would with bricks.

However, when it comes to deicer you will want to avoid a different set of ingredients. Those made with ammonium nitrate or sulfate can break down concrete and so best to be avoided. If you do you gardening in your garage, or your shed has concrete flooring you’ll want to be cautious with fertilizer. Wet fertilizer can actually lead to staining on concrete.

To avoid staining there are preemptive measures you can take. Seal concrete helps to make it stain resistant. And to keep it on top form you clean your favorite household all-purpose cleaner and a good scrub.

Wood

Wood is the more high maintenance surface to care for. Wood needs to be sealed yearly. You may find you will need to sand off an existing finish from the previous homeowners before applying a new one. Apply a preservative or stain to protect from moisture and rot.

Clean wood surfaces by scrubbing clean and manage stains with oxalic acid crystals. Powdered oxygen bleach is best used to eliminate existing mold and it’s spores. Know that you may have to do this process a couple of times to take care of the spores for good.







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