Real Estate and *stuff *

Real Estate and *stuff *

A real person helping real people with real estate

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All Generations Believe Renting Is More Affordable Than Owning—Even Though It’s Not True

February 6, 2019

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According to new research from lender Freddie Mac, every generation—from millennials to Gen Xers to Baby Boomers—are continuing to rent because they think it’s saving them money. According to the report, 76% of Millennials, 75% of Gen Xers, and 81% of Baby Boomers said renting was the more affordable option.

But with rents rising across the country, that’s just no longer the case. According to the most recent Market Outlook Report from Realtor.com, rents rose year over year in nearly ¾ (73%) of counties across the United States. And according to Trulia, it is now more affordable to own a home than to rent in a whopping 98% of the largest metro markets in the US.

The Takeaway

The misconception that renting is more affordable than homeownership is not only costing renters of every generation money, it’s also costing them the ability to own their own home. If you’ve been renting because you believe it’s saving you money—no matter how old you are—it’s time to look at the facts, reevaluate your situation, and consider transitioning to homeownership.

Contact me for information on the local MA market and what may be your best move!

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3 Bedroom Home Available in Leicester, MA

February 4, 2019

Nicely renovated large farm house style colonial on a tree lined country road is ready for you!

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Large rooms and high ceilings provide a light and airy flow to this house. This living room has newly refinished parquet wood floor, a fireplace with gas insert, beamed wood ceiling and entrance to the deck.

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Great outdoor space with a wrap around farmer’s porch, flat yard and 3 bay garage.

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Updated kitchen includes granite counters, mud room/pantry, stainless steel appliances and propane cook stove.

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Dining room features newly refinished hardwoods, a pellet stove and is bright with multiple front windows!

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Master bedroom has a dedicated staircase and cathedral ceilings with decorative window.

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New well and septic! Great yard and commuter location! Three generously sized bedrooms, large living space and over 1700 sq feet!

Click the photo of the back yard and take a 3-D interactive tour!

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The 7 Worst Habits Homeowners Need to Break Now

February 3, 2019

Guilty of buying cheap stuff? Pack-ratting? Here’s how to change your ways.

Bad habits are so easy to fall into. But in the end, we know they only make us miserable.

They’re “the opposite of what makes you happy. They’re what make you miserable,” says M.J. Ryan, author of “Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals.” Especially when they cost you money.

Here are 7 bad habits to break now for a happier you (and a fatter bank account):

#1 Taking Long, Steamy Showers

Spending 20 minutes in the steam may be good for your pores, but it’s also great for mold and mildew. Run the exhaust fan while you’re singing in the shower, squeegee the walls afterward, and scrub that grout every few months.

“Once you let the grout go, it gets worse and worse, and harder and harder to maintain,” says Mylène Merlo, a REALTOR® in San Diego. Grungy grout is a big turnoff for buyers. And redoing it is a pain and expensive to hire out.

#2 Keeping Out the Sun

Shutting your shades on winter days might seem smart. More insulation from the chilly weather, right? Your energy bill disagrees. A sunny window can warm your home and lower your heating costs. And as a bonus, you could see a decrease in seasonal depression.

But your original idea wasn’t totally wrong. Closing those blinds at night can keep your home toasty.

Bad habits are the opposite of what makes you happy. They’re what make you miserable.
M.J. Ryan, author of “Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals”

#3 Compulsively Buying Bargains

Finding a deal feels so good, but cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, budget buys might cost you more in the long run. For instance, dollar paintbrushes will leave annoying streaks, requiring a costly re-do.

And when it comes to appliances, permit a little splurge — especially if selling your home is on the horizon.

“I always err with going for high-quality appliances,” Merlo says. “There is a noticeable difference between the cheapest and next-cheapest models. And buyers want to see stainless steel.”

#4 Running a Half-Full Dishwasher

You get a gold star for always remembering to start your dishwasher before bed, right? Clean dishes every morning! Go you! Yeah, about that: Your dishwasher wastes water unless it’s completely full.

Dishwashers do save more water than washing by hand (just try telling that to your mom), but most machines use the same amount of water regardless of how many plates you’ve stuffed inside, making a half-empty cycle significantly less efficient. For a household of one or two, once a day can be overkill.

#5 Mega-Mulching

A “tree volcano” might sound like a grand ol’ time, but it’s actually damaging your foliage. Too much mulch suffocates your tree, causing root rot and welcoming invasive insects. REALTOR® TipYour precious trees really are precious. Each one can add $2,000 or more to your home’s value while saving on energy costs. Protect your precious trees by packing mulch loosely, letting water filter properly toward the trunk.

#6 Going on a Remodeling Rampage

Don’t break out the sledgehammer for a demo three weeks after moving in unless your home needs serious, obvious work. Give yourself time to understand the home’s quirks before renovating.

“You don’t know what your needs are when you first move into a home,” says Merlo. “You should live there for at least six months to figure out the space you need. If you do too much too soon, you’ll regret it.”

For instance, you could dump $15,000 into a kitchen remodel — only to realize the original layout would have worked better for holiday parties. Or you paint a room your favorite color, Wild Plum, only to realize the natural light in the room makes it look more like Rotten Plum. Whoops.

#7 Packratting

You know clutter is bad, but you just… can’t… help it. You had to put that unused exercise bike in the spare room instead of by the road as a freebie because what if? Plus, there’s so much in there already, and decluttering seems like such an insurmountable goal — even though every jam-packed square foot is space you can’t enjoy.

If the task seems impossible, Ryan recommends starting small.

“Do one small thing,” she says. “Clean out a drawer or reorganize your counter, and then you feel the satisfaction of having done it. It becomes easier to do the next small thing.”

Just remember: Breaking habits takes time and a lot of slip-ups. “It’s important to be kind to ourselves when we blow it,” Ryan says. “When we create new habits, we’re building new wiring, but it’s not like the old wiring disappears. Don’t turn goof-ups into give-ups.”

4 Bedroom Unique Home in Sturbridge, MA

February 1, 2019

Oasis in Sturbridge!

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A commuter’s dream! Sitting on 1.5+ acres with deeded lake rights you can enjoy country living AND an easy commute.

roadThis house has been tastefully updated to open concept living with character. The chef style kitchen with granite, stainless steel appliances, double wall ovens, center cooking island and gathering island is open to the fireplace living room and upper deck.

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Full pantry and plenty of storage! The main level Master has a walk in closet, accessory office space, separate side entrance and private bath with tiled shower and jetted tub.

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The lower level has been updated with a fantastic family room. The double fire place wall accents the room with a separate entrance, granite, wet bar and stove.

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There is also additional space for a guest room or office. Two generous sized bedrooms and a full bath complete the top floor!

Take a 3-D Interactive Tour by clicking the photo below!

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The property is also being sold with a .78 acre lot on Leadmine Road for additional frontage! (Optional bomb shelter in basement)

5 Tricks to Keep Your Pipes from Exploding This Winter

January 31, 2019

Even if you think they’ve already started to freeze.

New homeowners may have heard that winterization is important, but in the hubbub of your first year living in a home you own (finally!), it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead. After all, it’s just not something renters deal with; prepping pipes for winter is often the landlord’s job.

Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.

Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting:

#1 Turn On Your Faucets

 

If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

#2 Open Cabinet Doors

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

#3 Wrap Your Pipes

If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer

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A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)

Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.

Half Acre Lot Available in Sutton, MA

January 30, 2019

Tired of not finding the right home in Sutton?

17 fuller rd plot map

Build the right house!

Raw land available on a great street! Buyer to perform any and all due diligence but here is a 1/2 acre of completely undeveloped land for your imagination!

4 Behind-The-Scenes Ways Your Real Estate Agent Supports Your Home Sale

January 29, 2019

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure.

But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent’s job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they’re working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you’re not looking.

Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:

1. Performing market research

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When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn’t just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent’s recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that’s attractive to both buyers and you, the seller.

Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price.

All the insights gathered from your agent’s behind-the-scenes research are crucial to pricing your property correctly — and wouldn’t be possible without your agent’s hard work.

2. Gathering relevant information for buyers

A critical part of the home selling process is providing accurate and complete information to potential buyers. But most of the information buyers want isn’t something you, as a seller, will have ready and available.

Your agent gathers all the information a potential buyer might want to know so that if and when they request it, it’s ready to go. Agents research things like the average utility usage of your property for the past 12 months, a breakdown of the home’s floor plan, and a list of all available electricity and gas vendors in the area to make it available to buyers, which saves you a ton of time and hassle.

3. Phone calls and scheduling

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As part of their marketing efforts, your agent likely has your property listed on both the MLS and multiple public forums in order to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as popular. And while the increased exposure is great for driving interest in your home, someone needs to manage all the inquiries, follow up with interested buyers, and schedule viewings.

And that person is your real estate agent.

When your agent calls you to schedule a tour, that’s just a small part of the process. Before they called you, they’ve already answered email inquiries, fielded multiple phone calls, talked to buyer’s agents, and weeded out people who aren’t serious about viewing — and potentially buying — your home.

The call you get to schedule the tour is the last step in a lengthy scheduling process — most of which your agent manages behind-the-scenes.

4. Managing the close (and all the logistics that go with it)

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Now, once a qualified buyer makes an offer on your home — and you decide to accept it — your agent’s job goes into high gear. Now, that’s not to say that managing the close happens entirely behind-the-scenes; obviously, your agent is going to work with you to get the job done. There’s plenty of the closing process (from negotiating with the buyers to reviewing contracts) that you’ll get to witness up close and personal.

But there’s a lot more that goes into managing the close of your home then what you actually see from your agent.

They have to make sure the signed contracts are sent to everyone who needs a copy, including the lender, the buyer’s agent, the title company, and any involved attorneys. They have to file a status change with the MLS from “For Sale” to “Pending” and, finally, to “Sold.” They need to schedule the final walkthrough with the buyers and their agent.

Closing on your home? It’s kind of a logistical nightmare.

But luckily for you, when you work with a real estate agent, they take care of all the (many) details and logistics that need to be managed throughout the closing process, saving you immeasurable time, money, and frustration.

When you work with a real estate agent, it’s easy to see the value that they bring to the table during the process of selling your home. But what you see is just the beginning. The hours you see your agent putting in — the home tours, the open houses, the phone calls — are just a tiny fraction of the work they’re actually doing. Your agent is working around the clock to get your home sold… and the majority of that work takes place behind-the-scenes.

3 Bedroom Home Available in Leicester, MA

January 28, 2019

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Nicely renovated large farm house style colonial on a tree lined country road is now ready for you!

outside

Large rooms and high ceilings provide a light and airy flow to this house.

stairsandfire

Great outdoor space with a wrap around farmer’s porch, flat yard and 3 bay garage.

garage

Updated kitchen includes granite counters, mud room/pantry, stainless steel appliances and propane cook stove.

kichen.png

The living room has newly refinished parquet wood floor, a fireplace with gas insert, beamed wood ceiling and entrance to the deck.

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Dining room features newly refinished hardwoods, a pellet stove and is bright with multiple front windows!

stairsandfire

Master bedroom has a dedicated staircase and cathedral ceilings with decorative window.

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2 additional bedrooms are also generously sized. New well and septic! Great yard and location!

Click the photo below to take a 3-D interactive tour!

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12 Of The World’s Most Unique Roofs

January 27, 2019

A roof makes a serious statement for whatever structure it adorns. The structures in this gallery were created to be unique for inspirational purposes, technological reasons, or a combination (actually, one was more out of spite). Like jeweled crowns, these rooftops will definitely make you take notice, and perhaps want to see them in person. Enjoy.


1. This open air home from Rio de Janeiro was designed by Mareines and Patalano to inspire interaction between humankind and nature.

This beach house is the perfect place for parties and social gatherings, and the open design maximizes use of trade winds for ventilation.

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2. These traditional Torajan houses are known as Tongkonan, which means “to sit.”

These majestic roofs make them look like a crowned gathering place, and they are the centers for social activities in the Torajan culture.

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3. The Qizhong Stadium in Shanghai was the largest tennis facility in Asia for some time.

It is known for it’s eight piece “magnolia roof.” Magnolia is Shanghai’s official flower. The ceiling takes about eight minutes to fully bloom or wilt (open or close), providing the atmosphere for outdoor or indoor events. Apparently, even Roger Federer is impressed by this amazing feat of engineering.

4. Here’s a lovely building from Barcelona, Spain, known as Casa Batllo Gaudi. It looks kind of like the back of a colorful dragon.

5. The Eden Project, in Cornwall is an educational charity with huge biomes that house the largest rain forests in captivity.

The purpose is to educate humanity on how to properly exist and build with nature. This building is known as The Core. It is based on the design of a sunflower, and is a central hub for educational displays and projects.

6. Here’s the “Up Sided Roof” at Seixal, Madeira.

7. This Barcelona structure is known as la Pedrera. Gaudi decided to create a roof with sentinels to stand guard. Who needs gargoyles?

Aside from that, the varying shaping, angles and structures make it an appealing part of the Barcelona architectural history.

8. This is a proposed, concept village for Sweden’s Gothenburg.

The village is to be named Heden, and is a beautiful union of nature and civilization. Wonder if they got any inspiration from conglomerations like the Eden Project.

9. This is the Florian Tower in Dortmund, Germany. It is a landmark and telecommunications tower, named after St. Florian, the patron saint of gardeners.

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10. The Academy of Sciences in California has taken rooftop recreation to the next level with this man made park.

11. While the roof is pretty cool, it’s the inside of the Sistine Chapel that truly makes it stand out. Ol’ Mikey really knew what he was doing!

12. St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna is another example of old school that will never fade from fame.

Besides the designs being worked in a way that looks like artistic snake skin, the 12th century building looks like the result of a castle and church having a love child.

1.1 Acre Land Lot in Sutton!

January 26, 2019

Tired of not finding the right home in Sutton?

37 leland

Build the right house!

***PRICED BELOW ASSESSED VALUE***

This buildable lot is located at the top of Leland Hill Road on the Grafton side of Sutton. Enjoy coming home to your new construction in the country! Quick access to Routes 146, 395, 290 and the Mass Pike. Commuter friendly to Worcester, Boston, Putnam and Providence. Convenient to the Blackstone Valley Shoppes and Restaurants. Sutton has a newer school system, new Police Department Building and newer shopping center with Market 32, Starbucks and more! Buyer to perform all due diligence necessary for intended use with accepted offer. Lot is zoned for a one family residential.