Spruce up Your Yard


Selling a house is a stressful experience. You have to look at your home with the eyes of a potential buyer and, when you do, all those nicks, stains, scratches and worn finishes become glaringly obvious. The same thing happens when you look around your yard: all those flaws you’ve managed to ignore all these years suddenly become visible.

There are many things you can do–with or without professional help–to fix up your property and get it ready for sale. Most people focus on the house
itself; after all, freshly painted walls and steam cleaned carpets do make a big difference. But there’s one area that’s often overlooked–one that can
make a big difference not only in attracting potential buyers but also in sales value. “Curb appeal”: you’ve probably heard the phrase before. But what exactly is it and what can you do to achieve it?

Curb appeal is evident in that first glance at your property: does it look well-kept, is it attractive, does it look like someplace your prospective buyer would like to call home? The first step is to take a walk around your property, looking at it as if you were a stranger. It can be very helpful to have your realtor take this inventory with you–a trained eye can make a big difference.

Look for the obvious things first: bald spots in your lawn, overgrown shrubs, cracked steps, dandelions, piles of leaves and sticks. Make a list of everything you see. It may seem overwhelming and you may not have the means to take care of everything, but prioritizing will help. If you can afford professional help, all the better; if you can’t, there are things you can do yourself to improve the appearance of your property.

The following list will help:

• Start with general yard clean-up: remove any branches, piles of leaves or dead plants. If you have a dog, make sure there are no “land mines” on the property.

• Reseed and fertilize your lawn; make sure it’s kept mown and watered at all times while you’re trying to sell. Take an edger and neaten up where the grass meets walkways and foundation. If you have areas of dead grass, consider treating for grubs. And, get rid of those dandelions!

• Trim overgrown shrubs, especially those close to your house. If you don’t have any shrubs, consider buying a few. Even a small evergreen on either side of the front door can make a welcoming difference.

• If you have flower beds, make sure they’re free of weeds. Renew or add a layer of mulch around flowers, shrubs and any trees you have in your yard. Not only does mulch keep weeds down and help retain moisture in the soil, it makes the beds look neater. mulch comes in different colors: choose one that will complement your flowers and your house. If your yard slopes, a low stone retaining wall will not only hold the soil (and flowers) in place, but it will also make the bed look neater.

• What about the approach to your house–do you have a walkway? If you do, it may need replacing. If you don’t, now is the time to add one; even a few simple pavers between the driveway and the front door can make a difference. If you don’t have a railing on your front steps, consider adding one. Make sure your front door is clean and in good shape.

• Do you have a driveway? If you have asphalt, look for cracks and oil stains. If you have dirt, consider laying down some gravel or pea stone.

• Fencing can make a big difference in your home’s salability. People with young children or dogs will most likely want one for safety’s sake. Privacy is another reason for fencing; it doesn’t have to be a stockade fence–a few fast-growing evergreens like arborvitae can make a big difference. Aesthetics is another reason to edge your property. If your home is in a rural area, you may already–like many homeowners in New England–have a stone wall around your property. If so, check it for loose or fallen rocks.

• If you don’t have any perennial flower beds, consider planting some annuals. Flats of bright, long-lasting blooms like marigolds and impatiens are inexpensive and add to your yard’s beauty. As with any plants, consider the growing zone in which you live. If you’re purchasing shrubs or perennials, choose ones that are hardy and require little maintenance. If the soil has a high clay concentration, loosen it up and enrich it by mixing in some loam.

• If you have a deck, you may need to power wash and re-stain or paint it. Check for loose support beams; sand any areas that feel rough and might produce splinters. If you have a patio, make sure it is free of weeds and cracks. Consider replacing a cement patio with slate or brick which not only look nicer but are easier to replace.

• Check your outdoor lighting; replace the bulbs, remove any dead insects. If you don’t have any, consider adding some. If you can’t afford wiring, solar-battery stake lights are inexpensive. If your mailbox is battered or wobbly, replace it.

It sounds like a lot to consider and there’s no denying that selling your home can be a difficult thing on more than one level. You want the highest price you can get, however, and these things that add curb appeal will increase your home’s value and can make the difference between someone who makes an appointment to look at your home and someone who drives by and keeps on going.

Choosing a Home That’s Conveniently Located

When choosing a house or condo to live in for the next several years, comfort, convenience, and affordability are among the most important factors to keep in mind. A fourth item that many real estate agents would add to that list is “location.”

The location of your next home is crucial for many reasons — not the least of which is future resale value. Ideally, you want the value of your home to appreciate over time, which will help improve your financial situation. Whether you decide to upgrade or downsize in your next real estate purchase, the equity you’ve built up can benefit both your lifestyle goals and real estate objectives.

In addition to the investment features of picking a good location for your next home, there are also several other worthwhile advantages.

  • A reasonable commute time, preferable under a half an hour, will help reduce your stress level, enable you to spend more time with your family, and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle. A short commute can also help you save money on gas, highway tolls, depreciation, and insurance. One way to reduce your driving time is to look into telecommuting possibilities at your job. Even if you have a relatively long commute to work, that can be offset by having the freedom to work from home a couple days a week. Fortunately, more and more businesses are realizing the mutual benefits of allowing or even encouraging telecommuting. While it may be necessary to prove to your employer that your productivity won’t suffer when you’re working from home, doing so can save you money, lower your stress, and improve your overall quality of life. Let’s face it: There are a lot more fulfilling things you can do with your time than getting stuck in traffic jams and feeling frazzled when you return home every night!
  • A convenient location can also mean proximity to shopping, entertainment, recreation, family, friends, and places of worship. Being close to medical, dental, and veterinary services can also make your life a lot easier — especially when you need to get there quickly.
  • From a health and fitness standpoint, it also pays to live within a short distance to public parks, tennis courts, golf courses, bike paths, gyms, and bodies of water for swimming, kayaking, and other aquatic sports.
  • For younger families, being close to childcare resources — whether it be a daycare center or nearby (and available) relative — can also be a major factor in getting to work on time, making sure your children are properly cared for, and minimizing chaos in your life!

While there are dozens of priorities to keep in mind as you search for the ideal location, determining what matters to you the most will help make sure everything falls into place when you settle into your new home.

Condo – 24 Norman St Unit 111 Salem, MA 01970 is now new to the market!

VERY desirable downtown Salem walk-able location for this multilevel style condo with youthful-lifestyle-oriented layout including a loft for master bedroom, raised kitchen and full bathroom, and HUGE WINDOWS featuring LOTS of light! One of the largest units in this renovated brick telephone building complex with an open, spacious, and bright floor plan. Raised level eat-in kitchen with new fridge, range, and dishwasher has plenty of cabinet space and large sunny window. Built-ins and great storage add to the extras. Common laundry room available in finished basement. Close to commuter rail, stores, restaurants, historic sites, Ferry service, Salem State University, harbor, and all the amenities the North Shore has to offer. Temporary onsite parking is available on the right side of the building for loading/unloading.A parking pass is included with the condo fee at no extra charge and parking is available at any metered space free of charge within the Salem central lot using the pass

This is a Garden/Mid-Rise/Loft style home and features 3 total rooms, 1 full bath, 1 bedroom, and is currently available for $189,900.

For complete details click here.

How to Speed Up the Homebuying Process

Want to find your dream house quickly and effortlessly? You’re not alone. In fact, many homebuyers across the United States browse the real estate market regularly in the hopes of finding their perfect residence.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways for homebuyers to accelerate the process of purchasing a house, and here are three tips to help homebuyers discover their dream houses without delay.

1. Set Realistic Expectations for Your Home.

When it comes to finding a residence, it is important to note that every house has its strengths and weaknesses. Thus, you’ll want to set realistic expectations before you begin your search for the perfect home and differentiate the must-haves from the must-wants.

For example, you will need electricity, hot water and other utilities at your new home. On the other hand, you may want a house that features an indoor swimming pool, a fenced-in backyard and other deluxe amenities, but you need to keep in mind that you can live without these features as well.

Make a checklist of what you need and what you want from a future house. By doing so, you can simplify your home search and move one step closer to checking out houses that fulfill your needs perfectly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage.

What good is finding your dream home if you are unable to afford it? Instead, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your home search – you’ll be glad you did. This will allow you to establish a budget for your home search and browse properties accordingly.

Don’t forget to consult with multiple lenders as you explore your mortgage options. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can find out about all of the financing options that are available.

Furthermore, be sure to check your credit score and get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting bureaus annually. And if you obtain a copy of your credit report, you can find out your credit score, work to improve it and boost your chances of securing a mortgage.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent.

Hiring a real estate agent is essential for those who want to accelerate the homebuying process, and for good reason. With a friendly, professionally trained real estate agent at your side, you can learn about new homes that are available, submit offers on residences and more.

Your real estate agent will act as a liaison between you and a home seller. As such, he or she will work on your behalf to ensure you can purchase your dream home as quickly as possible.

Find a real estate agent to help you move along the homebuying process. This housing market expert will be happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries, and ultimately, make it easy to navigate each step of the homebuying journey.

How To Make Your Home Handicap Accessible

When a loved one needs a bit more help to get around the house, whether they have simple physical limitations or rely on the use of a wheelchair, you’re going to need to make some major changes both inside and outside the home. You may be overwhelmed with the idea that you need to overhaul your entire home in order to make suitable accommodations. The good news is that you can boost safety around the property and make your home easier for you or loved ones to get around without huge renovation projects that will take months at a time. Below, you’ll find some of the most important projects that will need to be completed in order to make a home handicap accessible as well as safe and healthy.

Check The Doorways

If wheelchair use is part of the accommodation, you’ll need to check the width of the doorways. Some doorways may need to be modified in order for wheelchairs to move freely about the home. Widening doorways can cost anywhere between $500-$1,000 to complete depending on where the throughway is in the home. 

Adjust The Showers

The safest way to make a shower handicap accessible to is make it a walk in tub or a wheelchair accessible tub. Depending upon the extent of the accommodations that are needed, you can go a cheaper route and install a bench seat in an existing shower. Hand rails can also be added to the tub for extra safety.

Think Of The Entire Bathroom

The simple addition of grab bars can make a big difference in the safety of a bathroom. Make sure that the bars are installed in easy to reach places. Also any supplies that are needed in the bathroom like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste should be easy to reach. A toilet riser can also be considered to help people who have issues bending down in order to make the toilet easier to use. 

Don’t Forget The Kitchen     

The kitchen should be a place where accommodations for handicap individuals are definitely present. First, all supplies should be easy to reach. Next, appliances should be adjusted accordingly. Grab bars should also be installed in the kitchen to make safety a priority and accessibility easy.

Install Ramps


Whether or not a disabled person uses a wheelchair, installing a ramp can make a huge difference in the home for a disabled individual. Converting stairways to ramps actually isn’t as expensive as you might think it would be, with costs starting at just $100 for a basic ramp. Custom ramps can run a bit more expensive- as much as $1,000. These make it easier for disabled people to get in and out of the home or around the inside of the home with ease. The total cost can vary based on the size of the ramp and the type of materials being used.

Mind The Floors


To make a home handicap accessible, thick carpets should be removed. Any types of flooring that make it hard to maneuver a wheelchair or walker should be modified.

These Mortgage Blind Spots Could Be Dangerous

Mortgage blind spots could be dangerous, especially if you are living on a tight budget. Blind spots are generally tied to unexpected fees and emotions that cause you to overlook what would otherwise be obvious. A common mortgage blind spot has to do with the loan origination process.

Loan processing fees are just the start

Included in loan origination costs are underwriting and processing fees. These fees pay for work that lenders perform to evaluate the financial help of loan requesters. During the evaluation, lenders might also evaluate the condition and financial value of a house.

Loan origination costs aren’t the only hidden mortgage fees that could increase the amount of money that you pay to own your home. Total costs of loan origination fees could top one percent of the total price on a house. That’s more than $1,500 on a house priced at $150,000.

Then, there is mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance and homeowner’s association fees. Other than mortgage insurance costs, these expenses may be more commonly known about. What you may not expect to pay when applying for a mortgage are:

  • Mortgage application fees (Depending on the lender, you might be able to negotiate your way out of paying mortgage application fees. This is a time when it might be worth it to let your real estate agent lobby for you, working to gain you a win.)
  • Title fees (Similar to how you receive a title on a car, truck, motorcycle or boat that you purchase, you should receive a title to your house after you pay the mortgage off. Title fees are not free. But, this doesn’t mean that you have to pay high title fees. You or your real estate agent can shop around for good title fee prices.)
  • Courier fees (These fees are associated with closing costs. Although relatively small, courier fees could be easily overlooked when buying a house.)
  • Mortgage prepayment fees (To protect their financial investment, some lenders ask homeowners to pay several months of their mortgage in advance. Sign a mortgage that has mortgage prepayment fees stipulated in the writing and you could be hit with late prepayment penalties.)
  • Discount points (These fees can be negotiated. Handle these negotiations the right way and you could end up paying lower closing costs.)
  • Late fees (As they do with bank account fees, mortgage late fees can add up, reaching into thousands of dollars.)
  • Unexpected home inspections (Depending on the lender, you could be hit with fees associated with unexpected home inspections that your mortgage lender makes.)

Financial institutions are in business to earn money, to turn a profit. Unscrupulous financial institutions aren’t the only organizations that charge homeowners hidden mortgage fees. Well known and highly respected lenders also tack hidden mortgage fees onto loans.

The only time when you might become aware of hidden mortgage fees is when you are late making a payment. You also might become aware of hidden mortgage fees if you fall behind in your mortgage payments and your loan goes into default.

How to Become a Resourceful Homebuyer

Ready to enjoy a successful homebuying experience? Ultimately, becoming a resourceful homebuyer will make it easy to transform your homeownership dream into a reality.

A resourceful homebuyer possesses the skills and know-how needed to streamline the property buying cycle. Plus, this homebuyer will be better equipped than others to maximize the time and resources at his or her disposal and speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips that you can use to become a resourceful homebuyer.

1. Know What You Want from a Home

You know that you’d like to own a house, but what are you looking for in your dream residence? As a resourceful homebuyer, you’ll know exactly what you’d like to find in the perfect home. That way, you can narrow your home search.

Creating a checklist of dream home “must-haves” usually is a great starting point for a resourceful homebuyer. This checklist will enable you to determine what features you want in your ideal residence.

In addition, keep in mind that every house has its pros and cons. And if you set realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you’ll be able to boost your chances of finding a home that can serve you well for years to come.

2. Take Advantage of Housing Market Data

There is no shortage of housing market data available. With this information in hand, you should have no trouble entering the housing market with the resources that you need to succeed.

Examine the prices of available houses in cities or towns where you’d like to live. By doing so, you can better understand how much it will cost to acquire your dream residence.

Also, check out the prices of recently sold houses in areas that you’re considering. This housing market data will help you differentiate between a buyer’s market and a seller’s one and ensure you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Even a resourceful homebuyer knows his or her limitations. Luckily, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market experts can help homebuyers fill in the gaps along the property buying journey.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of purchasing a great home at an affordable price. This housing market professional will set up home showings for you, keep you up to date about new residences as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. Furthermore, he or she is happy to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

Let’s not forget about the confidence that a real estate agent provides to a homebuyer, either. A real estate agent will help you seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. Thus, he or she will simplify the process of acquiring a top-notch residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Start your homebuying journey today – use these tips, and you can become a resourceful property buyer.

Single-Family – 11 Alison Way Lynn, MA 01904 is now new to the market!

WARD ONE garrison Colonial built in 1991 has six rooms, three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms.First floor has Living Room, Dining Room with sliders to rear deck, Oak Cabinet kitchen, formica countertops, Linoleum, & half bath. 2nd floor has three brs., with MBR/bath, and 2 other BRs. with one additional bathroom, & pull-down attic stairway.Basement accessible from 1st floor & garage has w/d HU and garage access. Sloping rear yard with ledge at rear. Side stairs, rear deck,and wood trim need work.Interior needs updating throughout. Some wallboard seam cracks in stairwell. GREAT LOCATION in a single family neighborhood convenient to Lynn Woods, commuting routes, and all WARD ONE amenities.Furnace updated in 2014. Maple HW floors LR/DR.15 stairs up to front door from driveway.HOUSE IS IN NEED OF REPAIRS BY PURCHASER AND WILL NOT meet appraisal repair-by-seller requirement guidelines. PLEASE, do NOT show or make offer if your clients’ financing has this requirement for a mortgage commitment.

This is a Garrison style home and features 6 total rooms, 2 full baths, 1 half bath, 3 bedrooms, 0.26 Acres, and is currently available for $299,900.

For complete details click here.