Douglas Schmidt - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 9/18/2017

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For home sellers, transforming an ordinary kitchen into one that garners homebuyers' attention is no small feat. However, there are many quick, easy ways to clean your kitchen and ensure it will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Here are three kitchen cleaning tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Eliminate Wall Splatters.

Wall splatters can be major eyesores in any kitchen. Fortunately, home sellers who spend a few minutes identifying and addressing wall splatters can beautify their kitchens with ease.

If you notice waterborne kitchen wall splatters like ketchup, mustard or wine stains, you can use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe away these problems immediately. Or, if you find grease stains on your kitchen walls, be sure to utilize a mix of dishwasher soap and water to minimize such issues.

Try to eliminate kitchen wall splatters as soon as you notice them. Wall splatters may become more difficult to minimize over time, and the sooner you identify them, the sooner you can eliminate them altogether.

2. Clean Out the Refrigerator.

Homebuyers will examine every nook and cranny of your house, so don't be surprised if they take a look inside your refrigerator. However, if your refrigerator is messy, overloaded with leftovers or has not been cleaned out in several years, it could negatively affect a homebuyer's impression of your residence.

Even devoting a few minutes to cleaning out your refrigerator daily can make a world of difference for home sellers. Wiping down the refrigerator shelves, cleaning the refrigerator drawers and getting rid of outdated products can give your refrigerator a clean, streamlined appearance.

Don't forget to place an open box of baking soda inside your refrigerator every few months too. This box will help absorb and eliminate odors consistently.

3. Check Out Your Dishwasher and Sink.

If you run your dishwasher daily, you'll want to clean it out and ensure there are no dishes, pots, pans or cooking utensils inside of it when homebuyers visit your residence. Instead, you should try to keep your dishwasher looking pristine, as this will help you show homebuyers exactly what your kitchen has to offer.

Plus, you should keep your sink as clean as possible. Be sure to clean the sink itself after you wash dishes in it. Also, try to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, as this may cause odors to form that could move throughout your home.

Maintaining a clean, beautiful kitchen can be tricky, but there is always extra help available if you need it.

For example, your real estate agent may be able to offer kitchen cleaning recommendations and ensure you can find a professional cleaning company to help you beautify your kitchen. That way, you can reap the benefits of an immaculate kitchen, one that homebuyers are sure to appreciate and may enable you to speed up the home selling process.

Conduct an in-depth review of your kitchen today, and you can move closer to transforming a bland kitchen into a fabulous one.




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Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 9/11/2017

Forget the fact that rising housing prices are often used to signal a strong economy. For many house hunters, three or more months of consecutive upticks in area housing prices are too much to swallow. It's not hard to understand why.

Despite signs of economic recovery, new home buyers want low housing prices

Following the Great Recession, homeowners lost a painful sum of money on houses that they were trying to sell. It left some homeowners with no choice except to stay in a house that had become too expensive. This was especially a fact for homeowners who had experienced a job loss or a severe cutback in their work hours.

What happened was that housing prices rose dramatically prior to the housing bubble then sunk, leaving some homeowners responsible for ballooned mortgages. When these same homeowners tried to sell their houses, they either took a loss (as home values tanked) or they found themselves staring at a house that had been on the market for three months or longer.

Housing price costs of stronger economy

Even if the economy continues to get stronger, it could prove costly for house hunters to buy residential property when prices are going up. Slight economic shifts could put these house hunters at risk of defaulting on mortgages they barely afforded when the economy was good. It's why knowing the signs of potential housing price increases is valuable.

As with most real estate issues, a good first pass is to check with local residents. Find out what current homeowners are planning to sell their houses for and why. Do a little research and surface competitive house prices in areas you're thinking about moving to. Also research prices in low costs areas. Stay open to moving to lower costs areas that offer safety, great commutes, education,entertainment and business opportunities. As you conduct due diligence, think about the signs of rising housing prices.

Spot potential increases in housing prices early

Here are some signs to look for if you're in the hunt for a new house and want to avoid buying in an area that's about to experience a rise in housing prices. Although these signs may not cover every situation when housing prices could spike, the following signs do offer clues that you may want to pay attention to as you continue your house search:

  • Professional sports arenas are under development - Ask Brooklyn, New York residents how rents and housing prices can soar after a professional sports arena is constructed in the area. Housing prices rose so much following the opening of Brooklyn's Barclays Center that some long time Brooklyn residents made plans to move from the area so that they could, once again, better afford housing costs.
  • Shopping centers - If retailers expect an area to grow, housing prices could start creeping up.
  • New quality schools - It's not every day that you see new schools being constructed. Should this happen, it might be a sign that developers and investors are planning to sink money into the area.
  • Increasing investor attention - Although investor attention is good, an abundance of investor attention could find current homeowners and housing developing raising prices.
  • Entertainment options are expanding - Similar to professional sports arenas, a growing number of entertainment options could attract more affluent home shoppers. This could cause you to see a spike in area housing prices.

Waiting to see how far housing prices will climb may be the last thing that you want to do if you're in the market to buy a new residential property. Do yourself a favor and look for signs that an area is strengthening and growing. If an area becomes significantly attractive to house hunters and investors, don't be surprised to see area housing prices head upwards.




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Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 9/4/2017

Student loan debt does more than keep some millennials up at night, trying to figure out how they will stay current in their monthly student loan payments while they also pay for food, clothing, transportation and rent. Student loan debt is keeping some people from owning a home. As with credit cards and as challenging as it can be, the sooner you pay off student loans, the better.

Steps to Less Student Loan Debt

However,simply paying the loans down could qualify you for a mortgage. So too could setting a limit on how much student loan debt youíre willing to take on. To reduce the amount of student loans you have to repay, consider:

  • Living with your parents until you get your degree
  • Applying for educational grants and scholarships(Donít just apply for one grant or one scholarship. Apply for several grants and scholarships annually or each semester.)
  • Sharing an apartment or house with two or more roommates
  • Creating a spending budget and sticking with it
  • Working a full-time or part-time job while attending college

Go with low interest student loans when you do take out loans. Compare private loan interest rates against federal rates. Donít assume that one is automatically lower than another. Whichever route you take, look to student loans as a last option to pay for tuition.

Ask your parents to check with their employers to see if they offer scholarships or grants. If you work, check with your employerís human resources representatives to see if you qualify to receive tuition assistance. Earning high grades could help you to get most of your tuition paid for by your employer, depending on the type of tuition assistance program your employer offers. Also, check with the college or university youíre attending to see if they offer tuition assistance or know of places where you can apply for scholarships and grants.

Limit the amount of loans youíll take out compared to the salary that jobs in your major pay. For example, if youíre studying to be a cosmetologist and jobs for cosmetologists where you live pay $35,000 or less, you may not want to take out a $20,000 loan to get a cosmetology certificate or degree.

Which leads to another point - consider enrolling in a community college or technical school to get certificates or your associateís degree. Two years at a community college could save you hundreds of dollars in tuition. Just make sure that the majority of the credits that you earn at a community college are transferable to a four-year school.

Road from Student Loans to Home Ownership

Should you take out student loans, start paying extra on the loans. Even if you pay $50 extra a month on loans, it can make a difference over the lifetime of the loans. Create a student loan repayment plan. Avoid taking on new debts while youíre repaying your loans. Another option that you could consider is to work with an experienced financial advisor. This option might prove beneficial if you invest a portion of your money and start building long term equity.

Consider a rent to own option. Include a clause in your rent to own agreement that allows you to walk away from the mortgage should you decide not to buy the property at the end of the lease agreement. If you're a school teacher or public servant,check with the government to see if you qualify for loan forgiveness. Serving in AmeriCorps or the military could also offer you repayment options that could put home ownership within reach.

Move to a rural area and you could take advantage of a USDA home loan. Think about what you want to do after you graduate from college. If your work aligns with a rural lifestyle, check into how much you'd pay on a house in a rural neighborhood. Home ownership might also come through the purchase of an older home that you fix up.





Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 8/28/2017

When guests first pull up to your home, they take a visual survey of the property that they are entering. While they are excited to see you, they also want to feel at home in your space while theyíre visiting. Below, youíll find some ways to make your home one of the most welcoming on the whole block from the outside. 


Clear Clutter


There shouldnít be any type of clutter on your front lawn. Clutter is a broad term. This can include hoses, lawn ornaments, toys, and other household items. You donít want your front yard to become a catchall for everything thatís outdoor maintenance. These items should be put away in a garage or towards the side yard. Everything needs a proper place. Any of these items should be out of sight from the front view of your home.


Make The Entrance Welcoming


If you have some kind of a structure near your entryway, the home looks much more welcoming. This could include a covering over your front doorstep, a trellis, an arbor, or pergola. This helps to clearly define the main entrance and give the home an inviting feel.


Keep It Well Lit


The entryways to your home should all be well illuminated. Anyone entering the home at night should be able to see a clear path to the doorways. For decorative purposes, you should also try and highlight the features of your home that you like best such as statues or artful shrubbery.   


  

  Add Planters


Add a few planters to the front of your home. You can use large pots for a dramatic effect, or you can use several smaller planters such as windows boxes to really fill in the front of your home with greenery. For best results, vary the sizes of the containers that you choose to bring the eyes of those viewing the front of your home to several key focal points.     

Fix It Up


You should fix up the front of your home and leave it looking flawless. This will include repairing siding, retouching peeling paint, updating hardware, power washing the home, replacing lighting fixtures, and more. Even replacing or painting your front door and accompanying fixtures can bring on a brightening effect to your home.  


Clean Up The Driveway And Walkways

Few parts of our homes are as neglected as the driveway is. To bring about a great first impression of your home, patch up holes and dips in the asphalt. Even out the terrain if you have the resources to do so. Give the driveway a good cleanup including a sweep and a hose down. Your walkways should be cleared of debris and patched up as necessary as well. These little touches can make a big difference in the impression your home gives.




Tags: landscaping   front door  
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Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 8/21/2017

Shopping for a new home is difficult and time-consuming. With all of the homes listed for sale, itís tempting to want to visit all of them. However, if youíre juggling house-hunting with your work and personal life, then you likely wonít have time to set aside many hours to visit several homes.

 This is where you can use technology to your advantage. With free, modern tools online you can find out plenty about a house and the neighborhood itís in without ever having to go and visit it. Better yet, you can do so in just a few minutes right from home.

 In this article, weíre going to teach you how to become a real estate investigator from the comfort of your own couch, helping you save time while hunting for the perfect home for you. 

 Know what youíre looking for

While itís okay to browse homes for pleasure, when it comes to getting serious about buying a home youíll want to keep your search as specific as possible. Think about what you or your family need in a house and neighborhood, rather than focusing on idealized versions of those things.

A good way to do this is to sit down and make a list of your budget and the five most important things youíre looking for in a home. These could be things like distance to work, being in a certain school district, or having a certain number of bedrooms. Once you have these details in mind you can begin your search.

Search tools

There are a number of search tools for locating homes near you. The key to searching, however, isnít the tool you use but how you search. Refer to your list for things like room numbers, square footage, and location.

If you donít come up with as many hits as youíd like, try setting up email or text alerts so you can be made aware of the new results for your area.

Once you have a list of about ten properties, youíre ready to start researching them further to see which sellers you want to contact to view the home.

Researching a potential home

Many people are surprised at the number of things you can learn about a home just from a Google search. However, Google will be an indispensable tool in your search for the perfect home.

Letís start our search on Google Maps. Type in the address for the house youíre researching and see if there are any photos of the home that arenít on the listing page. Next, enter the satellite view of the home to get an idea of the layout of the home and property.

While youíre in Google Maps, itís a good idea to browse the local area for businesses, hospitals, schools, parks, and other services that might affect your decision. Then, set a driving route between the house and your place of work to find out how long it would take you to get to work if you moved there.

Once youíre done in Google Maps, head back to the Google search page and browse the results for the address. This could show you information on previous owners, prices, and crime statistics. All of this will be useful information in your search.

Repeat this search method for the rest of your homes on your list and youíll be narrowing down potential homes to visit in no time.







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