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New Listing! Income Property in Dartmouth

New fixtures, granite countertops, tile baths, stainless steel appliances, fresh flooring throughout gives this home an updated, move-in ready feel.

The in-law apartment has a separate entrance, and separate heat and hot water systems, making it a turn-key rental.

The house has a new roof, a garage (so essential for those bad weather days!) and a gorgeous deck to enjoy the good weather days. You will love all that this house has to offer, so give me a call and come see it for yourself!  (508) 317- 0201

erin@madeirare.com

http://www.madeirare.com

 

Price Reduced! Lovely Raised Ranch With Phenomenal Views

100 Cromesett Rd., Wareham, MA 

5 Bedroom, 3 Bath

This home is warm and welcoming with a bright sunny kitchen, great back yard, and gorgeous water views. The sellers are motivated and have just reduced the asking price to $339,000 (original list price of $349,000).

View more pictures and info on this great listing. 

Open House

Sunday, August 20th 11:00 am-1:00 pm. 

Don’t miss your chance to see this property firsthand! Realtors send your buyers, we will honor your card.

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Fix Up Your Driveway Before You Sell Your Home

Do you have cracks, heaves or other issues with your driveway causing the curb appeal of your home to be, well, unappealing? If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, it’s time to weigh your options for repairing your driveway.

As Massachusetts homeowners, we have four seasons of weather to deal with, and each season brings a different set of concerns with regard to the care and repairs of your home, especially your driveway.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles

In New England, each year your driveway is subject to major temperature fluctuations. While the pavement has some flexibility, the temperature changes and frost-heaves really take a toll on it. Normally this results in cracks, which will deepen over time. Bad frost heaves can change the surface of your driveway, leaving hills and valleys which cause further problems as it collects water and degrades the material.

Patches

Patches are a great way to repair cracks and pot holes. You can use a cold patch (asphalt that is not heated before using to repair) if it is a small hole contained on all sides. Hot patches are better for repairs that are more than 3X3X4, and should be completed by a professional so you don’t burn yourself.

To make the repair using a cold patch, first you must sweep the area clear of any loose asphalt. Then, add the patch material and use a tamper to tamp to make sure that it is tightly packed and even with the driveway surface. Then make sure to let it cure for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.

Getting your driveway sealed after making patches is a good way to maintain your driveway, and give it a clean and consistent surface.

Driveway Resurfacing

Driveway resurfacing is more involved than sealing it, but could be a good option instead just completely replacing your driveway.

Resurfacing is not something that most homeowners can take on themselves, as it does require heavy equipment. Experienced driveway contractors can take off the top layer of your driveway, and replace it. This is a less expensive option than replacing your driveway, however it will only work if the foundation of your driveway is still in good shape.

After your driveway is resurfaced, you will be left with a new-looking driveway which will definitely help attract prospective buyers.

Replacing Your Driveway

Older driveways, and those with foundational issues should be torn up and replaced. Now this might sound like a drastic option, but at a certain point, patch repairs and even resurfacing are no longer going to be enough.

This is a great opportunity to investigate different materials and looks that you want for your driveway. Especially for large driveways, this is going to make a difference to the overall look of the front of your house, and could be the thing that catches the eye of a buyer.

If you’re looking to sell your home, give me a call (508) 317-0201

5 Home Improvements Worth the Investment

Photo Credit: closewithcindy on Pixabay

So the list of to-do’s in your house is getting longer than Ken Jenning’s winning streak on Jeopardy, and you’re having trouble deciding what to tackle first.

Here’s a list of your top five priorities of home repairs, especially if you are looking to put your house on the market any time soon.

  1. Your Roof

Your roof is not only highly visible it is the main ingredient in keeping the floors below it dry. Buyers (and/or their agents) will notice right away if your roof needs fixing, so you may have to put off those fancy new appliances in your kitchen, or the bath remodel if your roof is due to be replaced.

 

  1. Plumbing and Heating

The basic systems that keep your house running should be priority number two. If your furnace coughed its last breath last April, and you haven’t gotten around to replacing it, you will want to make sure you do before putting your house on the market. Same thing goes for a bad septic, leaky plumbing, a bad hot water heater, or seriously outdated electrical (still got that knob and tube wiring?).  These systems are the things that keep your home comfortable, and if you don’t take care of them now, be prepared for the buyer to ask for a concession on pricing after the home inspection.

 

  1. The Foundation

Major foundation problems should be addressed before selling, and is well worth the money. The cost of fixing the foundation is generally less than what you would have to discount it to sell it as is. However, should cash or timing be an issue, you could potentially sell this as a plus in a market with low inventory like we have now. This could be an opportunity for a new footprint for the house, meaning the buyer could add on to the property at the same time as having the foundation fixed. However, not every buyer is going to want to take on foundation repairs. Even though some foundation problems are relatively easy to fix, they sound scary and can be quite a deterrent if your buyer is not so adventurous.

 

  1. Kitchen

So far we’ve gone top down in listing the three most investment-worthy home improvements to make. We cannot, however, forget the power of an updated kitchen when selling your home. The kitchen is always the heart of the home, and it should be both beautiful and functional. Buyers looking for a turnkey property will be eager to buy if you invest wisely in your kitchen. So, go ahead and start ripping up that 70’s Formica and linoleum! But please, for the love of pete, don’t chintz out and buy pressboard cabinets. If cost is an issue, and you already have all wood cabinets, resurfacing and painting or staining them may be the way to go.

 

  1. Upgrading or Adding a Bath

The size of your septic tank will determine how many bathrooms your house can have. Often it will have been built with expansion in mind, however. So, it may afford you the opportunity to add that master ensuite full bath with a spa like tub and shower, or perhaps you only have room for a cozy half-bath on the first floor for guests. I recommend springing for good quality tile, and saving money by searching the salvage yards for your claw foot tub instead of buying it new.

When you’ve got these five things crossed off the list, here are some helpful tips on how to make your yard look great to prospective buyers, too.

How Smart Realtors® Sell Your Home

Photo by Khürt Williams on Unsplash

Your Realtor® is handling the sale of what is most likely your biggest asset. Therefore, it is important to know how they are going to not only sell your home, but do it quickly and for the price you are looking.
Not everyone who gets their real estate license becomes a Realtor®, and many in the business are clamoring for higher standards across the board. So how do you know if your Realtor® is doing the best job they can for you? Here is a list of things to look for.

1. MARKETING YOUR HOUSE

It might be a right pain the neck when your Realtor® comes to your house and takes a million pictures, but trust me it’s worth it. You most likely won’t sell your home to someone who just happened to be passing by, in fact there is a very slim chance of that happening. In order to get your home out to buyers, they should be marketing it heavily online, and you want good, professional pictures to go along with those ads. It takes more than just posting it to the MLS and waiting for someone to stumble upon it there. Your Realtor® should be knowledgeable about the best avenues for marketing homes, and may even contract with a marketing consultant to do the job. It’s this level of professionalism that you should be looking for.

2. VETTING BUYERS

Just about anybody can get “pre-qualified” online for a mortgage, but that is just a selling tactic for massive lenders. Your Realtor® should be checking with the buyer directly, or with their agent, for a legitimate pre-approval letter from a lender. A pre-approval letter means that their income, credit and employment status have all been checked, and the buyer is truly qualified to buy your home.
One of the reasons the pre-approval letter is so important, is that you won’t waste your time with an unqualified buyer. That means that you won’t miss out on any offers from qualified buyers.

3. INFORMED PRICING

You want a Realtor® who is savvy about the market especially with regard to your neighborhood. They should be adept at making market comparisons and coming up with a fair price for your home that ensures a speedy sale, without leaving money on the table.

4. BEING RESPONSIVE

If your agent is not responding quickly to you, it is likely that they are not responding quickly to offers and inquiries being made on your house. You want someone who is responsive to you, potential buyers, other agents, and communicates in a clear and professional manner.

5. NEGOTIATES WELL

Your agent should be able to negotiate the best terms of the sale for you. This is their secret superpower, and one that is often missed by those who choose to go down the ”for sale by owner” path. They have the experience and know what to ask for, and will fight for what is best for you, their client. A good real estate agent will know the value behind the different points of negotiation and make the best deal for you.

6. REPRESENTS THE SELLER THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS

By attending the home appraisal, the home inspection, and taking care of any loose ends before the closing is the mark of a good real estate agent.

At the appraisal, your agent should be there to answer any questions the appraiser may have. Your agent should have an idea of what will have a significant bearing on your home’s appraised value, and should be the one making sure nothing that will affect the appraisal is missed.

You’ll want to have your real estate agent at the home inspection to represent you, the seller. If concessions or repairs are requested by the buyer, your real estate agent should be able to protect you from unreasonable requests. This is another instance where buyers may try to negotiate better terms for themselves, and you’ll want your agent to be able to represent your best interests in the moment.

As the closing draws near, your real estate agent should take care of the big and small items that need to be done like final meter readings, etc.

There is a lot to know and many things to remember to do when you are selling a home, it is wise to have a professional to guide you through.

 

What You Need to Know About Buying a Foreclosure

Buying a foreclosure is not for everybody. There are some great benefits, namely price, but in exchange, there are some obstacles. Here’s what you need to know about buying a foreclosed property.

  • The property you are buying is being sold “as-is”. When buying a house, sometimes you can request that certain repairs are taken care of as a condition of the sale. This is not typically an option with foreclosures. In fact, many foreclosed homes will be in need of repair. So, it is advisable that you are sure you have the ability to take care of necessary repairs before you buy a foreclosed home.
  • Get a pre-approval letter from your mortgage broker. The seller of a foreclosed home is generally a bank. They will want to know that you can back up your offer when you make it. Getting a pre-approval letter is a fairly simple process. Your lender will want to know things like your income, your debt-to-income ratio, assets, and a general overall financial picture.
  • You should know the “comps”, or the listing prices and recent sale prices of homes in your area. Prices of comparable homes in the area of the foreclosed property that you are looking to buy will set the standard. If you know what the comps are, you’ll know how much of a deal you are getting.
  • There are three different types of foreclosures. The three different types of foreclosures are: strict foreclosures, judicial foreclosures, and non-judicial foreclosures. Strict foreclosures are only available in certain states. Non-judicial foreclosures do not require court approval as long as it is carried out under the terms of the power of sale clause featured in the deed of trust and the state’s foreclosure laws. Judicial foreclosures are probably the most common type of foreclosure, as it is available across all 50 states. In these cases the lender must rely on the court to foreclose the property. The home’s original owners have the opportunity to make all back payments once the are given proper notice of the lawsuit. Failure to pay the debt will result in an order from the court allowing the property to be sold in a public auction held by a representative of the county court or sheriff’s department. Your Realtor® should be able to guide you through each of the different types of foreclosures.
  • Working with an agent who knows foreclosures is the smartest way to ensure a successful process. There are a lot of ins and outs of foreclosures that a knowledgeable Realtor® can guide you through. They can guide you to the best stage of the foreclosure process to get involved. A real estate agent who is well-versed in foreclosures can assist you in understanding the different stages of a foreclosure, allowing you to get ahead of the process, and secure the best deal for you and your family. This is a very important step to a successful purchase.

Taking advantage of foreclosure pricing is a good idea, as long as you have a great teacher along the way who can warn you of any potential pitfalls. A professional Realtor® can lead you into making a successful purchasing decision, and help you decide if buying a foreclosed home is right for you and your family.

What is a Realtor ®?

key in hand

So, what is the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor? Aren’t all real estate agents Realtors?

No, not all real estate agents are Realtors, though some will mistakenly use the terms interchangeably. It is important to know the difference before hiring one. Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is an organization that supports its members through access to educational, financial, statistical, and marketing resources and many other benefits.

In order to become a member of the NAR, an agent must: be a licensed real estate agent, pay a membership fee, adhere to the NAR’s Code of Ethics & Professional Standards, and commit to keeping up with its continuing education requirements every year.

In addition, in order to be approved by the NAR Board to become a member of NAR, the real estate agent must not have any official sanctions held against him/her for unprofessional conduct, be free and clear to do business as a licensed real estate agent, and must not be currently in or have recently filed for bankruptcy.

The way it works for brokerages is this; if the principal of the brokerage is a Realtor, then the other agents under the principal may apply for membership to become Realtors themselves. However, if the principal is not a Realtor, the agents underneath the principal will not be considered for membership by NAR. In addition, where the principal of the brokerage is a Realtor, but one or more of the agents under that brokerage are not, the principal will be charged non-member assessment fees for each agent that is not a member of NAR.

The code of ethics of the NAR is the keystone of the organization. Its philosophy is based upon the Golden Rule- which is most often quoted as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Applied to the community of real estate professionals and consumers, members are expected to foster a supportive community among the membership, and make decisions that are in the best interests of their clients.

Over time, the code of ethics of the NAR has changed as necessary, but continues to hold the Golden Rule at its core. For instance, it has been amended to incorporate equal housing opportunity and fair housing laws.

This code of ethics also requires that the Realtor’s fiduciary responsibility is to you. They are required to do what is in your best interest. That’s not to say that someone who is not designated as a Realtor will not have your best interests at heart. However, realtors have a host of legal and compliance resources and information at their hands through their membership. They are tapped into a community that prides itself on holding themselves to the highest standards, and work to keep abreast of everything that pertains to the real estate industry, from legal requirements, to best practices, market news, education and marketing. All of these resources, support systems, and standards are positioned to give the clients of Realtors a leading edge when buying or selling a home.

So how do you find out if your real estate agent is a Realtor? Realtors are the only ones able to use the Realtor designation with the registered trademark symbol. You can also check realtor.com, and search their online Realtor directory.

10 Things to Know About Your Real Estate Agent and Selling Your Home

a Realtor and his client talking at table
  1. What is the process?

    Talk to your agent about their process. It’s important to understand all the steps that are involved in selling your home. Find out what your agent expects from you, and what you can expect from your agent.

  2. What costs are associated with selling your home?

    Don’t quietly worry about how much your agent is getting to sell your home, be forthright and ask about their commission. It’s all part of the job, and they’re not going to be offended. Also, ask about any other costs you should be factoring in. Things like staging, landscaping, repairs are all things that could be requested by your agent when you list your home.

  3. How do they negotiate offers?

    Understand what goes into receiving offers, making counteroffers and accepting an offer. It’s very important that you know what to expect during the negotiating process, and that you have made your expectations clear, as well as understanding your agent’s strategy.

  4. What’s their personality like?

    Your agent is guiding you through what can be a very emotional process. If you’re someone who needs a little extra love and understanding as you sell your home, you may not want to work with the hard-nosed negotiator who is all business. Conversely, if your focus is getting your home sold as fast as possible and you can take the heat, make sure your agent can handle that pressure. Your best option is to work with an agent who has the flexibility to be both, and is a good listener. An agent who listens to you will always know what you want.

  5. How much of their time are they dedicating to selling your house?

    When you have time constraints (as sellers usually do), you want to make sure that you’re not working around your agent’s other commitments. You should find out if real estate is their full-time job, and how many other clients they are representing.

  6. Is he or she a Realtor®?

    Find out if your agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. If they have the designation of Realtor® (as opposed to real estate agent), that means that they have been educated about and have agreed to uphold the ethics of the Association. It also means that they have committed to ongoing continuing education requirements. These are definite benefits to having a Realtor® as an agent.

  7. How will they market your house?

    There are different resources available to Realtors® to sell your home. Do NOT be satisfied with the agent who is simply going to put it up on MLS and Zillow. You will not achieve the success you are looking for with that type of agent. Find someone who has the backing of a brokerage, or their own website, or uses a marketing agency (or all three!).

  8. How will they communicate?

    If you don’t want to find yourself waiting by the phone, or hesitating before you send a text on a Saturday morning, find out what is the best mode of communication for your agent. It’s good to know when and how they expect to communicate important information to you, and what days/hours they work and can receive phone calls, and how frequently they check their email.

  9. How well do they know your neighborhood?

    It’s great to have a local who knows all the best features of your neighborhood and can highlight that in their marketing. They will also have a better understanding of what the real estate market in your area will yield.

  10. What work will they request you do to sell your home?

    After viewing your home, it is likely that your agent will make suggestions about updates, painting, repairs and landscaping that will help you sell your home quickly and fetch the best price. Sometimes a real estate agent will suggest staging your home. You should find out if they have resources to help with these suggestions, or if they are expecting you to find providers. Also, now is the time to explain any budget constraints. If you plan to sell your home as-is, make sure your agent knows that right away. But take a moment to listen to their advice, even without costly repairs, there may be small things you can do that will help sell your home.

Homes You Can Buy for Less than Your Rent

Of course the caveat to that is, you need to have a down payment and you should work with a mortgage broker to find out what your options are. However, paying money towards your mortgage, towards owning your home outright, is a far better investment than paying your landlord’s mortgage every month. So is it time to become a first-time home buyer?

Going back to an article I recently shared, rents in Boston and the surrounding areas have dipped ever so slightly this spring. That doesn’t amount to much savings when you’re talking about $2,600 for a two bedroom unit going in your landlord’s pocket each month. Especially when you’re still waiting for that leaky faucet to be fixed.

What can you buy that’s less per month than a two-bedroom apartment in Boston?  Let’s take a look, but first we need to break down exactly what is included in a mortgage payment.

Principal-

This is the amount that pays down the original loan amount.

Interest-

This amount is determined by the interest rate on your mortgage. The interest rate is either fixed or variable, and is determined by a lot of different factors. Banks will take into account your credit score, the home price & location, your down payment and the loan amount and type you choose. The Federal Funds Rate, the Consumer Price Index, jobs reports, even the yield for a 10-year Treasury bond also affect the interest rate of a mortgage.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)-

If the amount of your loan is high, 80% or more of your home’s value, your lender may require you to pay private mortgage insurance, as this type of loan carries a higher risk to the lender.

Escrow

This is the part of your monthly payment that goes towards property taxes and insurance.

The only way to know what your mortgage payment will really be is to work with a mortgage broker to find out what they can get you given your personal circumstances.  However, here are some great examples of homes from Madeira Real Estate that won’t break the bank each month.

 

100 Cromesett Rd., Wareham, MA

8 rooms/ 5 bedrooms/ 3 baths

I bet your apartment doesn’t come with these views! This home includes a downstairs in-law suite with private entrance, a master bed with an ensuite bathroom and a balcony in the treetops. It has a big beautiful yard, and water views that can be seen from the kitchen, loft, and master bedroom. Three levels of living; master suite, loft and a bar area up top, a bright kitchen open to a spacious living room on the second floor with additional bedrooms, and on the lower floor a private bed, bath and living area. Plenty of space to add a kitchenette for your in-laws. To schedule a showing call me at (508) 317-0201, or email me at erin@madeirare.com.

10 Dunham Rd., Freetown, MA

6 rooms/ 3 bedrooms/ 2 baths

Excellent price to get into a great neighborhood in Freetown, MA. This home has a lovely farmer’s porch and a private yard that is surrounded by trees. It has solar panels, a garage, new roof and a new water filtration system. It is ready for your family to move in! To schedule a showing call Madeira Real Estate at 508-617-7748.

23 N Precinct St., Lakeville, MA

9 rooms/ 4 bedrooms/ 2 baths

This is a great house for a growing family. A raised ranch with a lot of space both inside and out, it has been well-maintained. It is situated on 1.61 acres, close to Poquoy Brook Golf Club! The price has just recently dropped on this lovely home, so it won’t last long. To schedule a showing call Madeira Real Estate at 508-617-7748.

 

6 Landscaping Pro Tips for the Northeast That Help Sell Your Home

cute puppy chewing plastic yellow pig on green lawn

 

  1. Trim the Hedges, Weed the Garden and Mow the Lawn

This one is first because it is the most important. If you do nothing else, a thorough clean-up of your yard is absolutely necessary. The state of the outside says a lot about how well the house has been cared for, and you don’t want potential buyers to get the wrong impression. A neat and tidy exterior gives the assurance that they will find the same fastidious care on the inside. 

  1. Buy a brightly colored hanging plant for a front porch or potted flowers for the front steps

AJ Kaufman of the Dept. of Tropical Plant and soil Sciences at the the University of Hawaii, and V. I. Lohr from the Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture of Washington State University have this to say about plants:

In addition to the physical benefits that plants provide within the built landscape, plants promote positive physiological, psychological, and economical responses in people. Viewing nature is associated with reductions in stress, improvements in mental alertness, greater productivity, and, in areas of commerce, increased spending (Ulrich, 1986; Relf, 1991; Lohr et al., 1996).”

Because of our deeply ingrained survival instincts, people are attracted to healthy looking plants. They create a sense of security and sustainability. These are definite pluses when looking for a home to buy.

  1. Turn the Well-Worn Path in your Yard into a Stone Walkway

Is there a yellowed or dirt patch in your lawn from the shed to the house, or the garden to the porch? Whatever the path is connecting, it will look better and more planned out if you can demarcate it with flat stones.

  1. Add a Seating Area

Creating a restful point of interest adds to the general feel of planned landscaping, which goes back to the idea of giving the impression of a well thought-out landscape. A nice patio set also increases the living space your home has to offer in the warmer months. This is a very valuable addition. Complete it with a fire-pit, barbecue and some chairs with comfortable cushions and it’s the outdoor living room everyone is looking for.

  1. Plan Attractive Features for Year Round Good Looks

Sure, your yard looks great in the spring when everything is in bloom, but how about when skies are grey and the trees are bare? Here are some excellent plants that create interest year-round in the northeast:

  • Holly- a deep green evergreen that looks great in the snow
  • ‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed Grass- purple green plumes turn coppery gold in the fall
  • Moonlight Climbing Hydrangea- red stems in winter are eye-catching
  • Witch Alder- fragrant blooms in spring turn to thick blue-green foliage in the summer which transforms to into a spectacular fall display of yellow, burnt umber and red.
  • Red Sprite/ Winterberry- this is a deciduous holly that has red berries in fall and winter and small greenish white flowers in spring and early summer
  • Mountain Laurel- evergreen shrub that has pink showy blossoms in the spring and summer and green leaves in the fall and winter.
  1. Get your swerve on: turn straight garden edges into curves

A crisp edge to a garden bed is fantastic, but a curve adds a very interesting dynamic. The key is to have a clean edge to your garden, and then you can add features like stones or pavers to accentuate those edges. The curves and turns take it to the next level, and then continue to add interest in the late fall and winter months when the plants are gone.

Implement these six features into your outdoor space, and you will have a yard that looks fantastic through all of New England’s four seasons.