Maura Cutting - BHHS Commonwealth - Needham, MA Real Estate, Newton, MA Real Estate


If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, one of the best things you can do is adopt a "go with the flow" attitude!

Unless market conditions are ideal and all the stars are in perfect alignment, there will probably be a few ups and downs on the road to getting your house sold!

In all probability, there will be encouraging days and a setback or two, but with the help of a resourceful real estate agent and a little planning on your part, good luck is sure to come your way! What do we mean by the word "luck" in this case? The answer to that question can be found in a quote by the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!"

While a proactive real estate agent will create opportunities to attract potential buyers and present your home to its best advantage, the "preparation" part of the formula will mostly be up to you. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of that "window of opportunity" that opens up as soon as your agent puts your house on the market and plants a for sale sign in your front yard!

Curb appeal: Making a great impression from a street point-of-view can be one of your most effective forms of advertising. When your property looks neat, well maintained, and nicely landscaped, you'll be sending a positive message to potential buyers. By showing people that you have pride in ownership, they'll realize and appreciate the fact that your home has been well taken care of. Some homes require more preparation than others to convey that image, but when you pay attention to details, the desired results often follow.

Home staging: Staging your home for maximum impact involves strategies like arranging furniture in conversational groupings. In other words, if the configuration of your furniture lends itself to socializing, relaxation, and comfort, you'll be sending a positive message to people about the desirability of your home. It's also to your benefit to convey a feeling of spaciousness, cleanliness, and good taste. Although everyone has different taste when it comes to decorating, your real estate agent can offer helpful tips, based on their experience, objectivity, and training.

Most upgrades, repairs, and improvements to your house can potentially increase the chances of selling your home within the shortest period of time. Your agent can help you prioritize tasks you need to do to make a favorable impression on house hunters. They will provide you with professional advice on factors like cost effectiveness, urgency, and putting your best foot forward. In many cases, there are simple and relatively inexpensive measures you can take to improve your home's marketability, eye appeal, and perceived value.


Photo by Sumanley xulx via Pixabay

Homeowners looking to get top dollar for their house often invest in improvements to make their home more appealing to prospective buyers. Sure, they can slap up a coat of paint and make other minor cosmetic improvements, but these won’t necessarily increase their home’s value.

In a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors®, eco-friendly homes and energy-efficient products are in high demand with 59% of realtors® responding homeowners were “very” or “somewhat” interested in sustainability. Agents also indicate promoting energy efficiency in their listings increases buyer response.

Adding Energy-Star rated appliances is a great start—here are other top green features you can consider adding to your home.

1. New Windows and Doors

Older windows and doors allow drafts, burning extra fuel and electricity for heating and cooling.  Installing Energy-Star rated (or triple-pane, glass, insulated) windows and a high-quality door promote energy efficiency. As a bonus, they boost a home’s resale value. Homeowners who install windows see a return of investment (ROI) of roughly 70% and steel doors about 75%. They also save 7% to 15% on their energy bill after the installation. Not a bad ROI!

2. Add a Solar Water Heater

Solar water heaters cost between $6,000 and $17,000, so it’s not a cheap upgrade, but you might want to consider this investment. Solar heaters increase the value and marketability of your home and can add a 4% to 4.5% resale value. Plus, you’ll save on your energy bills while you’re still in your home.

3. Replace Bathroom Fixtures

Toilets, sinks, and shower heads installed prior to the mid-1990s are water hogs and don’t meet current federal, water-saving standards for fixtures. The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners buy fixtures with the “WaterSense” labels. With these upgrades, you can save big on water and on utility bills. Some statistics suggest even minor bathroom upgrades will bring you a 102% ROI. A renovated kitchen and bathroom definitely perk a buyer’s interest, but these days energy-efficient upgrades will get you a better ROI than the usual remodels.

4. Upgrade Insulation

The quality of home insulation matters because it has a direct impact on your heating and cooling bills. Angie’s List reports two-thirds of homes in the U.S. aren’t properly insulated. Homes over 10 years old are likely not insulated to current standards. If you want to upgrade your insulation, a good place to start is in the attic because you can recoup 116% of your costs.

By adding green features, you’ll increase your home’s appeal and better solidify your asking price. If you want to learn more about Energy Star appliances or how green features add value to a home, feel free to reach out!



 Photo by evondue via Pixabay

A home-buying wish list may sound like a cathartic way to imagine a dream home that's dripping with luxury everywhere you turn, but it's really a practical way to help homeowners narrow down their options. When buyers look at too many homes, they may find that each property starts to run together. Use this tool as a means of viewing just a few homes that will meet all of your criteria. 

Questions to Ask 

Wish lists start with the answers to the following questions:

  • Would you be willing to purchase a home that's more than 10 years old? More than 70?
  •  Do you need to live near a bus or subway line?
  • Can children be driven to school or will they need to walk?
  • How much effort are you willing to put into repairs and renovations?
  • Do you need a formal dining area or can a table be placed in the kitchen?
  • Will you need to prepare for the home for those with physical disabilities?

If you're planning to host your elderly parents at some point, you may need to look for a one-story ranch for maximum accessibility. Similarly, if you're planning to have children, you may want to buy a home with carpeting to provide extra traction for unsteady feet. While a lender will have the ultimate say in how much you can afford, you have plenty of control over the home you choose within your budget. 

The Wants 

As buyers sketch out their wish list, they should separate it into the absolute deal-breakers. For example, you may prefer a full two bathrooms but you'll settle for one full plus a half bathroom. Consider how large of a yard you want, the ideal type of HVAC system, and the type of home that will work best for you Some people prefer smaller homes so they can cut back on the amount of cleaning and maintenance they have to perform. 

Room for Flexibility 

If there aren't many homes that are meeting your minimum criteria, be prepared to be a little flexible along the way. You can always install carpeting or central air if you absolutely need to. You may also need to compromise on the age of the home, which is highly encouraged as long as the home passes inspection. 

A wish list doesn't have to be the defining document for a home, but it can keep you from seeing homes that are absolutely not right for you. The more you can streamline your home buying journey, the less stressful the transition will be. 


The last thing you want to experience after purchasing a new home is "buyer's remorse!" With that in mind, it pays to look at all angles when house shopping. Although emotions and first impressions are going to play a big role in your home-buying decisions, a thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons of every home that appeals to you will help ensure you're making the best decision for you and your family.

While your real estate agent will help you find houses for sale that have the necessary number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, you'll need to make sure they're fully aware of your "wish list," your desired lifestyle, and your personal preferences. Here a few examples:

Commuting distance: Unless you've found your dream home that's absolutely perfect in every way (if such a thing exists), a long commute to work, every day, could dampen your enthusiasm about an otherwise great house. Since everyone has a difference tolerance for long commutes, there's no hard-and-fast rule for that facet of home buying. Having a comfortable vehicle, listening to books on tape, or streaming your favorite music or radio programs can help make a long commute more acceptable -- even enjoyable. If you take a train to work, every day, you also have the option of catching up on your reading, preparing for meetings, or even meditating. So while a long commute does not have to be a "deal breaker," it is an important factor worth pondering.

Privacy level: This is another aspect of home ownership that's based on personal preferences. However, if you realize -- after the fact -- that you don't have enough privacy from neighbors or passersby, then you might end up feeling less-than-satisfied with your new home. Fortunately, you can compensate for lack of privacy by installing fences or planting privacy hedges, but the best laid plans are generally formulated before you make a purchase offer. If you consider privacy to be a high priority, always take notice of a house's distance from neighbors and streets.

Leaky basements: Although there are solutions for wet basements, there's a lot of expense and inconvenience associated with having to implement them. Excessive moisture can not only damage stored furniture, books, and other belongings, but it's also a fertile breeding ground for mold and mildew. A qualified home inspector will generally point out issues like that, but it's much better to notice them before you get to that advanced stage in the home-buying process.

An experienced real estate agent who represents your interests can provide valuable guidance and help you notice potential "red flags" that could adversely affect your future enjoyment of a home. A buyers' agent can offer you the expertise, professional insights, and objective point of view you might not otherwise have.


The real estate market can be tough to navigate, especially if you want to obtain the best price for your house. Fortunately, we're here to help you analyze the housing sector and make informed decisions as you sell your residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you review the real estate market before you list your home.

1. Assess Housing Market Data

Learn about the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own residence. That way, you can establish a price range for your house.

Furthermore, it often is beneficial to check out the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This real estate market data will enable you to see how quickly houses are available before they sell. As such, this information may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market.

2. Conduct a House Inspection

A home inspection generally is reserved for buyers who request an inspection after a property seller accepts an offer to purchase. However, taking a proactive approach to a home inspection may go a long way toward helping you distinguish your residence from others in a competitive housing market.

During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your residence both inside and outside. This property expert then will offer an inspection report that details his or her findings. And once you have this report, you can prioritize home repairs.

Ultimately, a home inspection may help you take an objective view of your residence. After you conduct an inspection, you can complete home repairs that may help you boost your house's value as well.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you are struggling to understand how the housing market works, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can collaborate with a real estate agent and receive housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and help you map out a home selling strategy. This plan will account for the age and condition of your home, your home selling goals and the current state of the real estate market. As a result, your home selling strategy will enable you to achieve the optimal results at each stage of the home selling journey.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent will provide as you navigate the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events to promote your residence to prospective buyers. Also, if you receive an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and determine the best course of action.

Perform a deep analysis of the housing market before you list your residence – you'll be happy you did. By reviewing the real estate sector, you can find unique ways to ensure your house stands out to potential buyers and accelerate the home selling journey.




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