3 Tips for Selling a Condo

Ready to upgrade from a condo to a house? You’ll first need to add your condo to the real estate market to ensure that you can sell this property and buy a new residence. However, selling a condo sometimes can be difficult, particularly for those who are selling a property for the first time.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you take the guesswork out of selling your condo. Here are three tips that you can use to list your condo on the real estate market and maximize your property’s value.

1. Set a Competitive Price for Your Condo

Spend some time learning about the prices of condos in your area. By doing so, you’ll be able to establish a fair price for your condo and improve your chances of generating substantial interest in it.

Condo sellers should look at the prices of similar properties in their respective neighborhoods. This will enable condo sellers to understand how much other condo sellers are asking for their properties, along with how much various condos have sold for over the past few months.

Also, don’t forget to include your assets in your condo listing. If you have extra storage space or a covered parking spot, you may be able these amenities into your condo listing to help your property stand out from others.

2. Understand Your Condo Association’s Rules

A homeowners association (HOA) sets guidelines and rules for condo owners to follow in a community. And if you fail to comply with these regulations, you may face fines or other penalties from the HOA.

When it comes to selling your condo, it always is better to err on the side of caution. Thus, you should reach out to your HOA in advance to inform the association of your decision to sell your condo. This will allow you to find out whether a homebuyer will need to be approved by the HOA before he or she can purchase your condo.

3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Professional

Collaborate with a real estate agent who understands what it takes to sell a condo. With this real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your condo in a short amount of time.

An experienced real estate agent will possess many years of condo selling experience and can share his or her insights with you. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions about selling your condo, your real estate agent will be happy to respond to these queries immediately.

In addition, an experienced real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to sell your property. He or she will host condo showings and keep you up to date about any potential offers. This real estate professional also will provide expert guidance to help you optimize the value of your property.

Hire an experienced real estate agent to sell your condo, and ultimately, you can streamline the condo selling process.

3 Tips for Purchasing Homeowners Insurance

Home insurance is a must for any homebuyer. However, getting the right coverage at the right price may seem impossible, particularly for those who are buying home insurance for the first time.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you take the guesswork out of buying home insurance. Here are three tips that you can use to obtain the right home insurance coverage for your residence.

1. Understand What a Homeowners Policy Covers

Homeowners insurance offers protection against damage to your property and personal belongings. It also safeguards you against liability for any injuries or property damage that you may cause to other people.

Typically, homeowners insurance offers a package policy that ensures you are protected against natural disasters and other unforeseen risks. On the other hand, homeowners coverage does not protect you against every possible danger. And in some cases, you may need to buy additional coverage to supplement your homeowners policy.

For instance, a homeowner who lives in a floodplain likely will need to purchase flood insurance, as a homeowners policy does not offer flood coverage. Or, if you own a trampoline or your home features a swimming pool, you may need additional coverage as well.

Speaking with an insurance agent will allow you to learn about the ins and outs of a homeowners policy. If you ever have concerns or questions about homeowners insurance, a home insurance professional will be able to respond to your queries at any time.

2. Get Multiple Home Insurance Quotes

When it comes to finding home insurance, it pays to shop around. By doing so, you’ll be able to get multiple home insurance quotes and find the best coverage at the best price.

Meeting with at least three home insurance companies usually is a good idea. This will enable you to find out how home insurance will impact your monthly expenses and receive responses to all of your home insurance queries.

3. Don’t Forget About Preventative Measures to Supplement Your Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance offers protection in a number of areas, and ultimately, provides a great option to safeguard your property and belongings against risk. Furthermore, there are many quick, easy ways to minimize risk without having to increase your homeowners insurance coverage or add supplemental insurance.

For example, if you own a large collection of antique coins, it may be worthwhile to purchase a safe to secure these items. Also, if you buy a security system for your home, you can safeguard your residence and belongings against theft and may be able to get a discount on your home insurance too.

Purchasing home insurance is a major decision, and if you need extra help along the way, your real estate agent may be able to point you in the right direction.

Your real estate agent may have home insurance contacts, and as such, can connect you with these contacts instantly. Thus, you can move one step closer to buying home insurance that enables you to safeguard your property and belongings both now and in the future.

3 Tips for Buying a Condo

Buying a condo represents a life-changing investment. As such, you’ll want to allocate the necessary time and resources to ensure that purchasing a condo is right for you.

So what does it take to determine whether to purchase a condo? Here are three tips for those who are evaluating the pros and cons of buying a condo.

1. Understand What Condo Life Is All About

A condo and a house are two very different types of properties. Thus, you’ll want to understand what condo life is all about before you purchase a condo.

For example, homeowners likely will have a front yard and backyard that they will need to maintain year-round. Homeowners also can plant a garden, install an in-ground pool and perform various home maintenance and upgrade projects at any time.

On the other hand, condo owners frequently live in closer proximity to one another in comparison to homeowners. This means condo owners likely won’t have to mow their own lawns or shovel their walkways in winter. However, condo owners might lack the space to set up a personal garden, and they may require homeowners association (HOA) approval to complete any home exterior modifications as well.

2. Know the HOA Fees

Although you’ll pay a mortgage as part of a condo purchase, you will still need to consider the HOA fees in addition to your monthly mortgage costs.

HOA fees cover the costs of insurance, maintenance and other property expenses. Plus, if your condo’s roof is severely damaged or destroyed, you should be covered thanks to your HOA fees.

To learn about your HOA fees, you can contact the HOA directly. Also, your real estate agent will be able to provide insights into the HOA fees associated with a condo.

3. Collaborate with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a condo, all real estate agents are not created equal.

Finding a real estate agent who possesses many years of experience with condos is paramount. This real estate agent will be able to help you understand the ins and outs of condo life, examine HOA fees closely and discover whether a condo purchase is right for you.

Furthermore, your real estate agent should be able to help you along each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will be able to set up condo showings, assess condos that match your price range and provide expert homebuying tips as you move along the homebuying journey.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent understands that the process of buying a condo can be challenging. As a result, your real estate agent is happy to respond to your concerns and queries. That way, if you’re uncertain about purchasing a condo, you can consult with your real estate agent and get the best support possible.

Hire a real estate agent with condo experience – you’ll be glad you did. With this real estate professional at your disposal, you should have no trouble finding your dream condo in no time at all.

Why New England Is A Great Place For Millennials To Live

Popular places like Martha’s Vineyard may make people think that New England is mainly a prime spot for baby boomers. As much as New England offers baby boomers, it’s known for being a great place to live among millennials. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) makes commuting to and from school, work or entertainment areas convenient. You can take the subway or train around Boston and its surrounding areas using MBTA. Amtrak provides transportation as far as New York, Washington, DC and beyond.

There are also several roadways and routes that you can take to get around the region. These roadways and public transportation options lead to great schools, arts,entertainment, sporting events and getaways that millennials appreciate. See how many New England hot spots or top happenings you’re familiar with.

Great colleges and universities -Boston College, Harvard University, Yale University, Brown University,Dartmouth College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),University of Connecticut, Amherst College and Smith College are just a few of the top post secondary schools in New England. There are hundreds of majors that millennials could pursue at these schools.

Arts and Entertainment – In New England, there are nightclubs for the under 21 crowd. There’s also plenty of nightlife for young adults who are closer to 30. Rise, Improv Asylum and Bleacher Bar are examples of popular nightclubs frequented by millennials under the age of 21. House of Blues, Royale and The Estate are types of clubs that attract millennials older than 21. Street festivals and arts fairs showcase local talent. You don’t have to be a part of the club scene to have a good time in New England.

Businesses – Gillette, Reebok, Fidelity and Dunkin Donuts all started in New England. Major cities in the region host companies like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, the Boston Globe, Beacon Hill Staffing Group and Edward Jones. Additionally, Comcast, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, HubSpot, MassMutual Financial Group, Seaport Companies and VA Boston Healthcare System have offices in New England.

Politics – Since the American Revolution, New Englanders have been at the front of local, regional and national politics. Whether young adults start getting involved in the political spectrum via community service or by completing internships with area politicians, opportunities to influence laws impacting the region and nation abound.

Beaches – Cape Cod, Plum Island,Revere, Martha’s Vineyard are just a few of the beaches that millennials living in New England swim, play and surf at. Because shopping, dining and entertainment are at these spots, it’s easy and convenient to spend a day or more close to the beach.

Sports – Collegiate, minor teams and professional sports are big in New England. The University of Connecticut’s basketball teams have dominated collegiate sports for years. The Boston Blades,Hartford Whalers and New England Black Wolves are minor teams that millennials can enjoy watching compete or even tryout for or join. At the professional sports level, there are the New England Patriots, Connecticut Sun, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and the Boston Red Sox.

Food – It may be hard to find better lobster, beer, oysters, coffee milk, corned beef hash and clams anywhere else. Whether you order a sit down or carryout meal, you’ll love the region’s savory cuisines, snacks and drinks.

To truly enjoy New England, you have to spend time in the region. It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit or move to the area. You’re bound to find something that to love.

Sparkling Windows

washing windowsDon’t do windows? Think again. A house with sparkling windows all around sends the impression of property well cared for. This is a chore that none of us look forward to, and the outsides of the windows, particularly on the upper floors, are a pain to do. But newer houses have windows that tip inward, so you can wash both sides from inside your home. Try moving the windows; you may be surprised at how easy it is.

Make a solution of 50% tap water and 50% white vinegar in a spray bottle. No need to buy that smelly chemical cleaner. Use lint-free material to wipe the windows clean; newspaper works best, but any lint-free material will do. If using newspaper, crumple up a sheet for streak-free results. For very dirty windows, it may be better to wash them first with soapy water and then use the spray bottle with the vinegar/water solution.

Don’t do windows on a sunny day, at least in direct sunlight, however. The sun bakes the cleaner on and the glass dries too quickly, before you have a chance to wipe the grime away. It’s best to wait for a cloudy day; that way you can get all the windows done at once. Make a plan to complete this work in the spring and in the fall. It’s a good idea to clean your windows twice a year. Brush the screens off, also. Dust and pollen accumulates and your hard work of cleaning the glass may not be so noticeable. Special roller brushes made for just this purpose are sold at hardware stores.

Once you have completed these tasks, walk around your house and observe how clean the glass surfaces of your house look—you’ll never say “I don’t do windows” again!

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Rapid advances in technology have radically changed our lives in more ways than we can begin to contemplate. It is no surprise that integrating technology into one of the home’s most functional rooms is one of the hottest trends in interior design. From aromatherapy showers to self-flushing toilets, the most used room in the home is getting an opulent, hi-tech makeover with bathroom upgrades that won’t sacrifice style.

The latest design trends in residential bathroom appliances, gadgets, and gizmos incorporate features once restricted to luxury spas and upmarket gyms. Today, it is easy and affordable to turn a bland and boring home bathroom into a spa-like retreat with high-high tech innovations that add functionality and elegance. Whether you are building or remodeling, consider these ways to tech up your bathroom.

Surround Yourself With Sound
There is no need to blast the television from an adjoining room so you can listen to music, catch-up on the weather report or latest traffic conditions as you shave or apply make-up. With appliances especially designed for a moist environment, you can watch television integrated into a two-way mirrored cabinet. When the television is off, it’s invisible.

Listen to music through moisture proof in-ceiling speakers or magnetic wireless speakers that can be moved to bedroom or patio.

Eco-Friendly Hi-Tech Features Save Water And Electricity
If your bathroom appliances and fixtures are outdated, they may be costing you money. Digital showering systems save water with the push of a button, controlling flow and temperature. The digital interface eliminates bulky manual valves, giving the shower stall a smooth, uncluttered appearance. Conservation features, such as a pause setting or a shower timer, save money without sacrificing performance.

Conserve water by installing a new high-efficiency dual flush combination toilet and bidet that sends less water down the drain, shaving dollars off your utility bill. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises, “Older toilets, manufactured before 1992 when the Energy Policy Act mandated water efficient toilets, use up to 3.5 gallons per flush. Replacing these toilets with WaterSense labeled toilets could save nearly 2 billion gallons per day across the country. Switching to high-efficiency toilets can save a family of four, on average, $2,000 in water bills over the lifetime of the toilets.”

Water heating is reported as the third highest energy expense in the home. Provide a continuous supply of hot water with an energy-efficient, cost-effective, space saving hi-tech tankless water heater, solar water system or heat pump controlled with an app on your I-Pad.

The EPA reports that bath faucets account for more than 15 percent of indoor water use. Reduce consumption by installing high-tech faucets that shut off with just a wave of your hand. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year, making a water-conserving faucet a prudent investment.

Sanitation
Protect your family from cold and flu germs with a self-sanitizing door handle equipped with an ultra-violet light that kills bacteria on contact.

Lighting
Forget having to remind family members to shut off the bathroom light. Brighten bathrooms with motion activated energy-efficient LED colored mood lighting that turns off when you exit the room.

Pamper Yourself In Privacy
High-tech steam showers, personal saunas, and soaking tubs provide the ultimate upscale personalized spa experience. Look for fixtures that include underwater pressure jets, aromatherapy, in-tub water heaters, massage programs, mood lighting and built in sound speakers.

Getting Your Kids to Help with Housecleaning

Rare is the child who wakes up on a Saturday morning excited to help clean a house. If your kids are reluctant to help with housecleaning, try these approaches.

Start by giving your kids a day and time to finish chores. For example, you might tell your kids that everyone in the family will help clean the house on Saturday mornings and will finish all cleaning by noon. You could also tell your children that they are not allowed to go outside or play indoor games until they finish their chores.

Add in Rewards and Fun
Consider giving your kids an allowance if they do their chores. You could also give your children an allowance only if they do their chores well and with a pleasant attitude.

Have your children clean two or three rooms at your house or take on all household chores for just one day. This provides a lot of real time contrast. After cleaning two to three or more rooms at your house, taking out the garbage and sweeping the kitchen floor may appear real easy.

Turn on music to add energy to the morning. Face it, chores are boring, not only to kids but also to adults. The sound of music playing in the background can add a bit of fun to an otherwise boring task.

Call out or verbally recognize your kids’ good housecleaning efforts. Let your children know that you appreciate their pitching in. Tell them how completing their chores helps to keep the entire house sanitary and looking good. Avoid criticizing your children or using chores as a way to punish your kids for poor school performance or other missteps that they may make.

Housecleaning Independence Works
Give your kids opportunities to determine how they will tackle chores. For example, if your son washes breakfast dishes on Saturday morning, let him decide whether he’s going to wash skillets and pans first or if he’s going to wash bowls and plates first. Leave it to your son to decide how he’s going to stack dishes in the drainer.

As tempting as it might be to tell your kids how to complete each step of a chore, doing so can make housecleaning seem like punishment. It also sends the message that you don’t trust your children and that you think your ideas and way of tackling a chore is better.

By alternating chores among your kids, you can keep chores from becoming boring. Alternating chores could also help your kids discover certain types of housecleaning projects that they might like better than others.

Recruit your kids to help with housecleaning early. It could prevent a bad habit, such as thinking that it’s someone else’s responsibility to clean up their messes, from setting in. Performing chores also teaches your children how to be organized, time management, and how to work well with others. Perhaps most importantly, helping with housecleaning helps your children learn about accountability.

The Time is Now to Buy a High-End Home

The news has been bombarded with negative stories about the real estate market over the past few years, but the tides are turning and inventory is now lower than ever. There are still many opportunities for buyers as prices still remain low. For savvy homebuyers looking to buy in the high-end or luxury marketplace there is tremendous opportunity.

If you’ve always dreamed about buying a luxury property but considered it just out of reach, today’s market may has put downward pressure on the prices of higher-end homes making them more affordable than ever. To buy your dream home you will want to have a strategy.

1. Choose your agent wisely.

Your agent is your advocate. You will need an agent who is experienced and successful in the luxury home market. Agents who deal in luxury property have the right knowledge to help you locate and negotiate an offer on a high-end home.

2. Take the time necessary.

The high-end home search may take more time and patience. The supply of luxury homes may be smaller, you may even need to expand your search or rely or your agent to find homes that may not be currently up for sale. The home will be bigger, have more features and thus there will be more to consider in the purchase decision.

3. Prepare the perfect offer.

Cash is king in today’s market. According to the May 2011 REALTORS® Confidence Index from the National Association of REALTORS®, 30 percent of all purchases between mid-April and mid-May of last year were financed with cash. The number was even higher for luxury properties.

Even though many luxury sellers may also be in a distressed property situation they are typically more particular about who was buying their property as well as the final selling price. Use your agent to carefully craft the perfect offer.