Should you add a bathroom?


Here’s a great infographic about adding a bathroom.

In communities North of Boston, its common to see many 1 bath homes.  While its generally not recommended to sellers to add a bath simply for the sake of re-sale, for buyers, sometimes its worth taking a look at 1 bath homes.  Even if the search criteria  calls for 2 bathrooms, some 1 bath homes have the potential for a 2nd bath, and an oppurtunity for buyers to get a return on their investment.   In a low inventory market this gives buyers more opportunities, while staying within the same budget with the added benefit of enjoying a brand new bath.



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Should I Pay a Mortgage Interest Rate over 4%?

Should I Pay a Mortgage Interest Rate over 4%?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Along with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.
This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact they may no longer be able to get a rate less than 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades.

Historic Mortgage Rates By Decade | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago; a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

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3 Ways to Renovate a Home for Millennials

Great Article.. Todays homebuyers in the North of Boston real estate market really prefer the open concept living areas and homes that look like those out of magazines. For sellers looking to get instant equity with a small investment, showing off hardwood floors, painting and adding the right cosmetics make a home a lot more appealing to todays buyers.

3 Ways to Renovate a Home for MillennialsDAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2015

The millennial generation is primed and ready to step into home ownership. First-time buyers accounted for 29 percent of sales in September, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest housing report. Echoing this, a new report from the Commerce Department found that the home ownership rate for those under age 35 increased to 35.8 percent in the third quarter of 2015, representing the largest gain for that population since the second quarter of 2004.

Read more: Millennials Say They Don’t Want a Home Like Their Parents’
These stats demonstrate why it’s important for baby boomers looking to sell to consider the needs of young buyers when undertaking remodeling projects. The

main thing to keep in mind: most young buyers are not looking to take on a fixer-upper.

“For the most part, Millennials are looking for the finished product and will pay for it. They want what they see in magazines — nothing less,” says Sabine H. Schoenberg, president of the real estate brokerage firm PrimeSitesCT in Greenwich, Conn. “They don’t seem to view themselves living in any one place for a very long time, so there’s no time for gradually rolled out home improvements.”

These are three upgrades that millennial buyers expect:

Open space to congregate. Young buyers are drawn to open floor plans, and in particular they want kitchens and family rooms that are open and connected, with plenty of room for people to hang out. “As a real estate broker, I frequently hear statements from millennial buyers like: “I don’t want to be in separate parts of the house and never see my family,” says Schoenberg. Owners may want to consider adding a center island with a few stools to the kitchen, to emphasize the room as a prime entertaining space.

WiFi is key. The lack of a strong wireless internet connection is not just a deal killer in high-rises and condos in urban areas. If your house suffers from spotty wireless service, you may need to install WiFi boosters. However, if the cell signal in your home is strong, you’ll definitely want to mention that to young prospects.

Think green. Young buyers generally prefer wood floors to carpet, so focus on upgrading to eco-friendly materials such as bamboo flooring and wood with FSC (Forestry Stewardship Certification). They’re also looking for healthy homes with good air quality, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and most importantly, no environmental issues like mold and fungus, and non-toxic paint that contains low or zero VOC.

Source: “How Boomers Can Sell Their Homes to Millennials,” NextAvenue (Oct. 23, 2015)

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Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home!

Why You Should Hire A Professional When Buying A Home!


You Need an Expert Guide if you are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”.

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

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Spring & Summer Bucket List!

I don’t know about you, but I love to have a “spring & summer bucket list” every year. I’m always trying to add to it and explore new places with my kids. And after the winter we have had, that’s all I can think about lately! So, I thought I would share my “bucket list” with you. Most of these are my tried and true favorites with a couple of new places I added that I would like to try. I would love to hear if you have any great favorites and categories that aren’t on my list. Amusements: Santa’s Village Canobie Lake Storyland Beaches! Some of my favorites in no particular order: Crane’s Beach, Ipswich – just watch out for greenhead season! Good Harbor, Gloucester Wingaersheek, Gloucester Lynch Park, Beverly – this is an all time favorite for many reasons. Beach area, beautiful rose garden, picnic area with concession stand, and playground area. Dane Beach, Beverly Castle Island Farms: Davis Farmland, Sterling Kimball Farm, Westford – so much to do here! Water bumper boats, arcade room, mini golf, ice-cream, picnic area, farm animals & more! Ingelsby Farm, Boxford, Parlee Farm, Tyngsboro Smolak Farm, North Andover Cider Hill, Amesbury Great Brook Farm, Carlisle – also has great walking & biking trails Ice-Cream: Benson’s, Boxford Kimball Farm, Westford – so much to do here! Water bumper boats, arcade room, mini golf, ice-cream, picnic area, farm animals & more! Great Brook Farm, Carlisle Mad Maggies, North Andover Meletharb’s, Wakefield Parks and Recreation: Cashman Park, Newburyport – I also just love taking a drive to Newburyport. walking the pier, checking out the boats. So many great places to stop and get a snack or an ice-cream. Concord Playground Endicott Park, Danvers Hingham Community Playground Patton Park, Hamilton Benson’s Park, Nashua NH SMILE Sudbury Playground Lynch Park, Beverly – this is an all time favorite for many reasons. Beach area, beautiful rose garden, picnic area with concession stand, and playground area. Ipswich River Park, North Reading Park at Lake Quannapowitt, Wakefield Look Memorial Park, Florence Wading Pools & Water Slides: Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield Breezy Picnic & Waterside, Douglas Davis’ Farmland, Sterling – great water park as well as farm area, playground, etc etc Great Wolf Lodge Zoos/Aquarium Mystic Aquarium, CT York Wild Animal Kingdom, York, ME Southwick Zoo, Mendon

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5 Demands to Make on Your Listing Agent

This is great advice to home sellers.  Its very common that we see 1 and 3 go wong which leads to failing on #5

5 Demands to Make on Your Listing Agent

Are you thinking of selling your house? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.

Here are the top 5 demands to make of your Real Estate Agent when selling your house:

1. Tell the truth about the price
Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. Surveys show that there was a challenge with the appraisal on almost 20% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing
You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible
It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them and their family (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into a super hero when they are negotiating for you and your family with the buyer.

4. Help with the relocation
If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!
There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

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10 Interior Design Trends That Turn Off Home Buyers

Home Improvement, Sell | By: Patricia-Anne Tom |

You want your home to look its best, and maybe you’ve been inspired by the interior design trends you’ve seen in magazines, on TV or on design websites.

But following some of the hottest home remodeling and interior design trends can backfire when it comes time to sell your home.

Buyers want to picture themselves in a home, and highly individualistic touches can get in the way of that.

When you’re ready to sell your home, it’s best to put things in pristine, move-in condition and remove all of the individual touches that made your house a home.

After all, your goal is to get potential buyers to picture themselves in the home—and they won’t be able to do that if your decorating style still dominates.

Check out the caveats that go along with these home interior design trends.

1. Boldly Painted Walls

Decorators often tout black or another bold paint color as the perfect backdrop to metallic accessories or appliances in modern home design.

The reality is that people prefer the exterior and interior walls of a home to be neutral. Even though repainting is cheap and relatively easy to do, it’s still a pain and buyers might not want to bother.

When decorating, your best bet is to stick to an appeasing hue for the walls and use accessories to provide pops of color.

2. Wallpaper

Bold, graphic patterns increasingly are being incorporated into interior design, often in the form of wallpaper.

But wallpaper—even if it’s only on one wall—is an extremely personal choice and time-consuming to remove if it doesn’t appeal to the buyer

Consider replacing wallpaper with a neutral paint for broader appeal.

3. Lavish Light Fixtures

While potential buyers want rooms that seem airy and bright, beware of installing a showpiece light fixture that is too modern or ornate.

Fixtures should enhance your home—not steal the spotlight.

4. Gleaming Gold

Designers may be mixing silver and gold to give homes star quality, but it might be wise to change out fixtures if they have the wrong metallic sheen.

Gold can give a home an outdated, ’80s feel. Switching out the faucet and door handles with a more appealing finish—such as brushed nickel—is relatively inexpensive and can help make your home appear sleek rather than out of style.

5. Converted Garages

People want a covered parking space so that they have a safe place for their car—especially in areas where street parking is at a premium. Additionally, people often use their garage as storage space.

If you convert your garage into a space tailored your specific needs, such as a music practice room, it may not suit your potential buyers.

6. Converted Bedrooms

Like with the garage, people want rooms built for their original purpose.

If you’ve converted an unused bedroom to an office, walk-in closet, or a game room, make sure you can easily convert it back to a bedroom when you’re ready to sell.

7. Carpets

While designers love to play with the texture of shag carpeting as it feels soft underfoot, the majority of home buyers prefer hardwood floors.

People assume carpets trap dirt, germs and odors, and they don’t want to go through the hassle of steam cleaning their home before they can move in. Potential buyers also don’t want to spend time removing carpet to expose hardwood floors.

If someone really loves carpet, it’s much easier for them to add it themselves—after the purchase.

8. Too-Lush Landscaping

The “outdoor living room” is all the rage, and you may be tempted to build out your backyard into a lavish wilderness of flowers.

But potential buyers may be hesitant to buy a home with an overly landscaped property requiring a lot of maintenance.

Focus on creating or maintaining a nice and neat outdoor space that people can enjoy without too much fuss.

9. Pools and Hot Tubs

A pool may seem like a luxurious feature, but it can be a big turnoff for buyers.

Pools are perceived to be expensive to maintain and potential safety hazards, especially for families with children. Above-ground pools are eyesores and can leave a dead spot in the backyard.

These sentiments extend to hot tubs, too. Many people see hot tubs as breeding grounds for bacteria, and they are not a feature easily removed from the deck or back yard.

10. Fancy (or Not) Pet Products

Sales of pet products are expected to increase nearly $3 billion from last year, and there’s an increasing market for luxury pet items.

But even animal lovers don’t want to see another family’s pet paraphernalia in a potential home. Even if your home is immaculate, the presence of pet-related items will give the impression that it’s dirty.

Be sure to remove all traces of your pet—including toys, food dishes and photos—before listing your home for sale.

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Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It?

Simplifying the Market
Making Real Estate Easy to Understand

Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It?
October 7 2014
Should I Rent My House Instead of Selling It? | Keeping Current Matters

A recent study has concluded that 39% of buyers prefer to rent out their last residence rather than sell it when purchasing their next home.

The study cites that many homeowners were able to refinance and “locked in a very low mortgage rate in recent years. That low rate, combined with a strong rental market, means they can charge more in rent than they pay in mortgage each month… so they are going for it.”

This logic makes sense in some cases. Residential real estate is a great investment right now.

However, if you have no desire to actually become an educated investor in this sector, you may be headed for more trouble than you were looking for. Are you ready to be a landlord?

Before renting your home, you should answer the following questions to make sure this is the right course of action for you and your family.

10 Questions to ask BEFORE renting your home
How will you respond if your tenant says they can’t afford to pay the rent this month because of more pressing obligations? (This happens most often during holiday season and back-to-school time when families with children have extra expenses).
Because of the economy, many homeowners cannot make their mortgage payment. What percentage of tenants do you think cannot afford to pay their rent?
Have you interviewed experienced eviction attorneys in case a challenge does arise?
Have you talked to your insurance company about a possible increase in premiums as liability is greater in a non-owner occupied home?
Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? How big a dog?
How will you actually collect the rent? By mail? In person?
Repairs are part of being a landlord. Who will take tenant calls when necessary repairs come up?
Do you have a list of craftspeople readily available to handle these repairs?
How often will you do a physical inspection of the property?
Will you alert your current neighbors that you are renting the house?
Bottom Line
Again, renting out residential real estate historically is a great investment. However, it is not without its challenges. Make sure you have decided to rent the house because you want to be an investor, not because you are hoping to get a few extra dollars by postponing a sale.


RE/MAX Leading Edge
Reading, MA
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Finding the Right Agent is Crucial

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Top 100 Safest Cities in the U.S.

Many Massachusetts’ communities made the list including Reading and Andover!



NeighborhoodScout’s ®
Top 100 Safest Cities in the U.S.

Our research reveals the 100 safest cities in America with 25,000 or more people, based on the total number of property and violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, forcible rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. Data used for this research are 1) the number of total crimes reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and 2) the population of each city. See our FAQ on how we rank the safest cities in America

rank city
100 Windsor, CA
99 San Clemente, CA
98 Upper Arlington, OH
97 Ossining, NY
96 Palatine, IL
95 Leander, TX
94 Soledad, CA
93 Spanish Fork, UT
92 Glen Ellyn, IL
91 New Milford, CT
90 West Chicago, IL
89 Missouri City, TX
88 Lehi, UT
87 Arlington Heights, IL
86 Peachtree City, GA
85 Plainfield, IL
84 Poway, CA
83 Highland Park, IL
82 Chino Hills, CA
81 Mission Viejo, CA
80 Dublin, OH
79 Marshfield, MA
78 Arlington, MA
77 Carol Stream, IL
76 Billerica, MA
75 Park Ridge, IL
74 Yorba Linda, CA
73 Melrose, MA
72 Hanover Park, IL
71 Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
70 Laguna Niguel, CA
69 Fair Lawn, NJ
68 Westport, CT
67 Belmont, MA
66 Vernon, CT
65 San Ramon, CA
64 Holly Springs, NC
63 Blacksburg, VA
62 Menomonee Falls, WI
61 Midland, MI
60 Newton, MA
59 Lincoln, CA
58 North Ridgeville, OH
57 Winter Springs, FL
56 Mundelein, IL
55 Foster City, CA
54 Glenview, IL
53 Shelton, CT
52 Milton, MA
51 Wheaton, IL
50 Bethel Park, PA
49 Temple City, CA
48 Dracut, MA
47 Parker, CO
46 Milton, GA
45 Plum, PA
44 Kaysville, UT
43 Long Beach, NY
42 Weston, FL
41 Little Elm, TX
40 Agawam, MA
39 Ridgewood, NJ
38 Danville, CA
37 Moorpark, CA
36 Fishers, IN
35 Los Altos, CA
34 Glastonbury, CT
33 Carmel, IN
32 Friendswood, TX
31 West Linn, OR
30 Westfield, NJ
29 Florence, AZ
28 Keller, TX
27 South Kingstown, RI
26 Needham, MA
25 Syracuse, UT
24 Wellesley, MA
23 Aliso Viejo, CA
22 Andover, MA
21 Cheshire, CT
20 Buffalo Grove, IL
19 Merrimack, NH
18 Rexburg, ID
17 Flower Mound, TX
16 Fort Lee, NJ
15 Bartlett, IL
14 North Chicago, IL
13 Reading, MA
12 Saratoga, CA
11 Bella Vista, AR
10 Shrewsbury, MA
9 Ballwin, MO
8 Sammamish, WA
7 Lexington, MA
6 Johns Creek, GA
5 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
4 Greenwich, CT
3 Parma, OH
2 Bergenfield, NJ
1 Franklin, MA

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