Wolcott Realty | Westfield Real Estate, Russell Real Estate, West Springfield Real Estate


One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.

Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers' agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.

Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you're in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you're looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it's vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.

Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.

  • Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that's convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family's needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
  • Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
  • Condition of the Home: Some of a house's flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you're willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.
There are literally dozens of features, characteristics, and quality standards to keep in mind when shopping for a new home, but location, structural condition, and style are three factors that are well worth including on your priority list.

When you have a small yard, you may feel like there’s not much you can do with your landscaping scheme. The good news is that there is plenty that you can do to perk up your yard and give it some character. Read on for tips for your small yard. 


A Yard With A View


First, you should create a focal point in your yard. You want a place that your eyes are drawn to each time you enter your yard. This focal point could be a fountain, a pergola, a tree, or even some outdoor artwork.


Create An Intimate Spot


Even though your backyard might be small, having a spot for intimate conversation and entertaining can be a nice touch to your yard. When there is a space that exists for reading, relaxing, eating, or whatever you like to do outside, it becomes more inviting. This is landscaping with a purpose.   



Use Color To Your Advantage


Make bold colors pop in your yard. Attention will be detracted from the size of your yard and the focus will switch to the beautiful blends and colors that are in the space. Placing bright colors strategically will even make your yard appear larger. 



Trick Imagery


By creating a focal point and allowing your yard to form in long, clean lines, the perspective of the outdoor space will change from small to just right. One trick is to use fences to define your yard. If you have a garden, you can use a small fence to define this area. Define the boundaries of your backyard with a fence as well. Repeating rows of flowers or bushes is another way to create those straight, defining lines. 


Use Vertical Features


When space is limited, just as you would in the inside of your house, don’t be afraid to go up! You can plant things that grow on a vine and can be tamed with a trellis or pergola. This creates and elegant effect in your home. 


No Lawn No Problem


If your yard is small enough that you may not even have much grass, don’t fret. Any kind of greenery can help you to enjoy nature. Whether you live in a rural area or a large cityscape, there’s always room for plant life and green natural accents.      


Don’t Forget To Add What You Love


If you have an admiration for sitting by the fire, you certainly should install a fire pit. If you want a fountain, you should install it. No matter what the size of your yard, it’s a place that you love and should serve you and your needs. No yard is too small for enjoyment. The key is that your outdoor space allows you to bask in the glory of your own little piece of natural heaven.    


 



If you plan to sell your house, you likely will need to craft a home listing. As such, you may want to put together an outline of the information that you'd like to include in your home listing to optimize its effectiveness.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every seller should include in his or her home listing.

1. Home Price

The price of your home likely will play a major role in how quickly your residence stirs up interest from homebuyers, and for good reason.

If you offer a competitive price for your residence, you should have no trouble generating substantial interest in your house as soon as it becomes available. Comparatively, if your home is overpriced, your risk alienating potential buyers. Or, if your residence is underpriced, you may miss out on an opportunity to maximize the value of your house.

Performing a home appraisal often serves as a great way to get an accurate valuation of your house.

Also, look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town. This will help you understand how your residence stacks up against the competition so that you can price your home accordingly.

2. A Detailed Home Description

What sets your house apart from other residences? Ultimately, if you create a detailed description of your home's features, you can increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

When you put together a detailed description of your home, be honest. That way, you can empower homebuyers with the insights they need to determine whether your residence is right for them.

In addition, copy edit your home description before you publish your home listing. Because if your home description is littered with grammatical errors, these mistakes may drive potential buyers away from your residence.

3. Nearby Attractions and Landmarks

If your home is located near amusement parks, national monuments, schools or other popular attractions or landmarks, you should incorporate this information into your home listing. By doing so, you can further differentiate your residence from the competition.

Don't forget to provide details about how far away your home is located from nearby attractions and landmarks too. For instance, if your house is only a 5-minute drive from a top local park, you should include this information in your home listing.

If you want to get the most out of your home listing, it pays to hire a real estate agent as well. With a real estate agent at your side, you can create an in-depth home listing that will hit the mark with prospective buyers.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to create an effective home listing. He or she will learn about your residence and your home selling goals and ensure that your home listing stands out from others.

Ready to craft an engaging home listing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of creating a terrific home listing in no time at all.


Photo by Lee via Pixabay

Putting a new mailbox up? Be sure to follow the official guidance from the U.S. Postal Service.® 

Here are a few rules, tips, and suggestions to make your mail carrier's day a little smoother.

Putting Up a New Mailbox

USPS-approved mailboxes have Postmaster General (PMG) approval labels. Have your post office approve your mailbox plans if you're making your box. Its height should be 41-45 inches above the ground, and set 6-8 inches back from the curb. Your number should be clearly marked on the mailbox. It's helpful to number your home as well. If on a corner, mark your mailbox with your complete street address.

Switching to a wall-mounted box? Get your post office's go-ahead first. No PMG approval label is required. Just be sure the box can handle your normal volume of mail, including magazines. Place it in a spot that's visible and convenient for the carrier. 

Tip: Think about your carrier (and the substitutes). If you put up wind chimes and garden lighting, hanging baskets and so forth, be mindful of the carrier's path.   

Installing a Post for the Mailbox

A proper mailbox post is strong and stable, but will bend or fall if hit by a car. It's two inches in diameter if made of metal. It's four by four inches if made of wood.

Posts should be buried up to two feet deep. (Concrete-filled containers are not recommended.)

Tip: When inclement weather arrives, remember that your mail carrier needs a safe approach — free of mud, ice, or snow — to the mailbox or mail slot.

Best Practices for Door Slots 

If the mail comes through a slot, be sure the opening is 7 by one and a half inches, or larger. The bottom of the slot must be thirty inches above the ground.

Is the slot horizontal? The flap should open upward, hinged at the top of the slot. If vertical, it must be hinged opposite of the door hinge side.

Tip: Be sure the opening is clear for the carrier to deliver your mail without struggling. There are approved inner shields for slots to use, rather than stuffing anything in the slot to insulate your place from a draft. Oh, and do you happen to have a cat? With claws? Be sure the cat isn't making a sport out of grabbing the mail or trying to catch the carrier's hand through the slot! Being mindful might not be a rule, but it's nice. 

Creating Carrier-Friendly Neighborhoods 

Sun, rain, snow, or wind... Mail carriers brave it all for us. Help your neighborhood stay carrier-friendly in return. Know the rules. Consider the mail from your carrier's point of view. 

 


“Short sales” may have one of the most deceiving names in real estate. Any client who is undertaking the purchase of a short sale property will ask, “Why is this taking so long?” Short sales generally happen due to lapsed payments on a mortgage. In the short sale, the owners take a loss on the property, but it saves them from being foreclosed on by the bank. Many of these sales are circumstantial by divorce, or a sudden change in job. The seller asks the bank to take less money than the amount owed on the house in a short sale transaction. 


If You’re Buying A Short Sale Property


If you have made an offer and the seller accepts it, your dealings are far from over in a short sale. The seller’s bank needs to approve the sale. Since the bank is losing money in the deal, this is where the hold up can be in the entire transaction.


The First Step


The seller’s bank must review the short sale package first. The seller needs to submit a complete picture of their finances to the lender. The seller’s credit score will also be reviewed. A bank would not approve a short sale if, let’s say, the seller happened to have a lot of extra cash just sitting in a bank account. The lender needs to protect themselves.


The listing agent should be on top of all of the paperwork that should be done in order to have the transaction approved. As a buyer, you’ll appreciate a good short sale listing agent. 


Make Sure Everything Is In Order


There’s a lot of paperwork to sign in order to get a house. There’s even more paperwork to sign in order to secure the purchase of a short sale. If just one page of the documents are missing or one signature is left unsigned, the entire process can be slowed down even more. As a buyer, you should confirm that all the required documents have been signed and received. 


Another problem that can occur is that documents quickly become outdated. Bank and other financial statements are a good example of this. By the time paperwork is ready to go through the lender, last month’s bank statement could be completely outdated. The lender will then need an updated statement, holding up the process even more. The seller and agent need to be ready for these circumstances. The faster the lender is responded to, the smoother the process will go.          

 

Remember You’re Working With Two Banks


When you’re purchasing a home that’s a short sale, you’ll need to deal with two banks- your lender and the bank handling the short sale. Be mindful of the timelines that each bank has. If you aren’t, you could be approved hours too late to buy the property, leaving you and the seller to start from scratch. 


Buying a short sale is risky because there is always a greater chance the sale will fall through or succumb to foreclosure due to some kind of circumstances beyond the buyer or the seller’s control. If you have the right realtors on both sides of the table, the process of buying a short sale should go as smoothly as can be expected.      




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