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Marie Souza Realty Team's Blog

By Marie Souza Team | Broker in Centerville, MA
  • What Buyers Want

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Centerville, Home Selling in Centerville, Property Q&A in Centerville  |  January 27, 2014 6:54 AM  |  466 views  |  1 comment

    home question markToday's homebuyers are savvy and they know what they want. If you are looking to get top dollar or a quick sale you will want to make sure you home has what it takes to meet the high standards of today's buyers.

    Here are a few things that top buyer's lists:

    1. Smaller: Believe it or not buyers are purchasing smaller homes but that doesn't mean they are sacrificing for smaller spaces. Open and flowing floor plans are big hits with buyers today.

    2. Energy Efficient Appliances: Buyers know energy efficient appliances save money and they want them in the home they purchase.

    3. Storage: Who doesn't love storage? Built-ins, custom closets and shelving sells homes.

    4. Outdoor living space: Living space on a deck or patio increase the square footage and usable space and buyers are looking for a private outdoor area to relax and entertain.

    5. A kitchen with eating area: Kitchens sell homes. Buyers want a large kitchen with a designated eating area.

    6. Home office: More and more people are working from home and need a place to work that is away from the hustle and bustle of the main living area.

    Think about inventive ways to use space in your home to show a buyer that your home has everything they want. You may want to use a home stager to help you showcase these areas.

    Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here!
  • Avoiding Moving Scams

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Centerville, How To... in Centerville, Moving in Centerville  |  October 11, 2013 12:36 PM  |  352 views  |  1 comment

    Friendly Moving CompanyIf you've never heard of a moving scam, then consider yourself lucky. But many people across America are falling victim to these scams. Moving scammers have a multitude of ways that they can take advantage of you. The main scam seems to be packing all of your household items into their truck, and then adding on exorbitant additional fees in transit, effectively holding your items hostage until you pay up. Less popular scams involve unlicensed movers posing as legitimate companies, by-the-hour rates where you are charged even while no work is being done, and in the rare case, a sham company showing up, packing up all of your possessions, and driving away, never to be heard from again. To minimize your risk, follow a few simple guidelines.

    • Use a local, reputable business.
    • Never do business with a broker. Always do business with the actual moving company.
    • Always be sure that the company is licensed to do the work they are to be performing. This includes getting the business's full name and address, motor carrier (MC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) license numbers, phone numbers and an e-mail address. If a company cannot provide you access to these things, then move on.
    • Be sure to use a company with actual employees, and not day laborers. If they use day laborers, there is a chance that they may not have the proper insurance in place.

    Additionally, be sure to get any estimates in paper form. They are legally obligated to do so, and if they balk at the idea, then it's time for you to move on, and find a company that will play by the rules.

    Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here! 
  • Preparing Your Home for Selling

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Dennis, Curb Appeal in Dennis, How To... in Dennis  |  May 22, 2013 1:30 PM  |  688 views  |  1 comment

    Red For Sale Real Estate Sign on White with Clipping Path Isolated on a White Background.When selling your home, you want it to appeal to a wide variety of people, not showcase your personality or preferences. While you might love deep red walls in your dining room, it might be too bold for a potential buyer. Your goal is to sell your home and having the right buyer appeal is key. There are a few things to think of when staging your home.

    Paint color is a must unless you already use neutral colors in your home. When looking for paint colors think of beige, olives, yellows, tans and greys. Outdated wallpaper patterns are a big no-no. Not only will an outdated look not be appealing to a buyer but the thought of having to take it down after buying the home can be a negative to a buyer. Taking down the wallpaper, fixing any imperfections in the walls with spackle and sanding, and applying a new coat of paint will go a long way. Choosing a paint with a low sheen will help hide any imperfections that may still remain.

    De-cluttering your home will give it a clean, organized look that will appeal to a buyer. Minimal items should remain in your home and going through your space to take out anything you don't need and sending it to storage is ideal. Think about your furniture as well, since often too much furniture can cause spaces to look small. In addition, by pulling furniture away from the walls and placing them in conversational groups, you add space to a room.

    Having the right decorative items can help to create an inviting space. Rather than having items lined up, trying grouping different items together, like on the coffee table. Hang pictures and art work in groups as well, avoiding a traditional straight line on the wall. Make sure that you have things such as decorative towels and soaps in the bathroom to help set the scene. And adding the right lighting can help set a welcoming mood. Make sure you have a variety of lighting in each space, from table lamps, to accent lighting, and whole room lighting.

    Basically, when staging your home, you want to make it a place that someone would want to live. Little touches here and there can really make a difference. With a little investment you might just find you are getting the offers you were hoping for.

    Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here!

  • Downsizing Tips for Seniors

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Centerville, Home Selling in Centerville, Moving in Centerville  |  May 22, 2013 1:22 PM  |  651 views  |  1 comment

    Group of happy elderly men laughing and talking

    For many seniors, the idea of selling the home that they have raised a family in can be met with some resistance. And while many seniors are perfectly capable and comfortable taking care of a large home, there are some who would much rather do away with the hassle of home maintenance and lawn upkeep, opting instead to spend their golden years in a more relaxed setting with a more comfortable climate.  If you find yourself thinking about selling your home and settling in greener pastures, then there are a few things you will need to consider.

      • Are you moving because you want to, or because you think that taking care of your home is becoming a burden?
      • Do you want to move closer to family?
      • Is the climate you currently live in aggravating any medical conditions you may have?

    Firstly, you must ask yourself what you'd want in your new residence.  Do you want to live in a place where things like lawn care and home maintenance are taken care of for you, or would you just prefer a smaller home?  Would you like to stay within your community, or are you thinking about an out-of-state move?  Florida has long been known for its retirement communities, but places like Arizona and New Mexico are quickly becoming retirement hot spots due to their affordability and warm climate.

    A few things to consider.

        • Availability and access to medical care
        • Would you like to have access to a swimming pool for exercise?
        • Are you open to the idea of living in an area with group activities?

    Once you've settled on a potential destination, it's time to establish how much your home is worth.  A qualified real estate agent can help you through this process.

    For more moving tips for seniors, please click here. 
    Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here!

  • What is My Home Actually Worth?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in 02632, Home Selling in 02632, Investment Properties in 02632  |  February 5, 2013 8:53 AM  |  692 views  |  4 comments

    It is common question that real estate professional get; what is my home worth? Unfortunately, it is a question that does not have an exact answer. There are ways to determine about what your home is worth. You may find online estimates that say one thing but is that a true test of what the market will bear? So, how can you really determine what your property is worth?

    1. Consider Solds-Look at other comparable homes in your area that have recently sold. This will give you a good idea what buyers are willing to pay.

    2. Consider Under Agreements/Pendings-Although it is difficult to tell what a home has sold for before it closes you may be able to tell the demand in a price range. Look at the asking price of the home and how long it was on the market. If you see a trend of homes going under agreement quickly you may assume they are going closer to the asking price.

    3. Consider Active Listings-Real estate is about competition just like any other commodity. It is important that your home be competitively positioned against other comparable listings. The asking price is a part of the marketing plan of the home.

    4. Online Values-Be wary of online estimates. The very definition "online" takes the human factor out of determining the value. A computer program cannot take into account the nuances of location, home style and home condition.

    5. Sell It-The only way to know a home's true market value is to sell it. At the end of the day a home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.

     Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here!

  • How to Prevent a Break-In

    Posted Under: Crime & Safety in Yarmouth, Home Selling in Yarmouth, Property Q&A in Yarmouth  |  February 5, 2013 8:46 AM  |  599 views  |  No comments

    Each year in the U.S. there are more than five million home burglaries. Most of those crimes were preventable. There are simple steps you can take to make your home less enticing to would-be burglars and reduce your risk of being burglarized.

    Here are some ways to keep your home safe from thieves:

    1. Don't advertise

    After you buy that expensive new television or computer do not leave the box sitting on the curb. You are telling would-be burglars you have things in your home that could fetch money. Cut the boxes into smaller pieces and put them inside the recycling bin out of plain sight.

    2. Pretend someone is always home

    Typically if burglars think someone is home, they won't attempt to break in. When you leave the house, create an illusion that someone's still there by leaving a light on, or even the television. You can also set timers to set lights to go on and off throughout the home at different times.

    3. Secure sliding doors

    Locks can easily be picked on sliding doors so take extra precaution to secure them. Place a strong dowel, steel bar or two-by-four and slide it into the back groove of the sliding door to prevent the door from being opened even if the lock is picked.

    4. Lock it up

    Forty percent of break-ins happen without the use of force. Lock all the windows and doors and use the dead bolt on the door if you have one. When you leave make sure to lock the door leading from the garage to inside of the home. Even if your garage door is down, someone can easily open it.

    5. Don't provide easy access

    Never leave a spare key hidden outside of your home that's an open invitation for a burglar. Instead, give a spare key to a neighbor or hide a combination lockbox to keep a key in.

    6. Trim the shrubs.

    Don't provide a hiding place for criminals. Keep the shrubs in front of windows low and cut away any tall tree branches that reach upper story windows.

    7. Don't advertise you are away

    If you're leaving town for a while, let the police know and request that they drive by your property to check on things. Break-ins spike during July and August when homeowners are usually away on vacation. Tell your neighbors you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Have a house sitter pick up mail, shovel the driveway or mow the lawn. These are all telltale signs of an empty home.

    Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here!

  • Choosing an Exterior Door

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Mashpee, Curb Appeal in Mashpee, Investment Properties in Mashpee  |  February 5, 2013 8:45 AM  |  599 views  |  2 comments

    You should understand the pros and cons of steel, fiberglass, and wood exterior doors before choosing the one that's right for you.

    Steel

    If you're looking to save money, a steel door may be a good choice, particularly if you have the skills to hang it yourself. A simple, unadorned steel door can sell for as little as $150 (not including hardware, lock set, paint, or labor) and typically runs as much as $400 at big-box retailers. Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood in this area is slight.

    Even better, replacing your entry door with a steel model preserves home value. Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report estimates the total project cost of installing a 20-gauge steel door at about $1,200--and the project, on average, returns about 73% of cost.

    Still, the attractive cost of a steel door comes with an important caveat: Its typical life span under duress is shorter than either fiberglass or wood. A steel door exposed to salt air or heavy rains may last only five to seven years, according to Bob Bossard, general manager of 84 Lumber in Clarksville, Del. Despite steel's reputation for toughness, it actually didn't perform well in Consumer Reports testing against wood and fiberglass for normal wear and tear.

    With heavy use, it may dent, and the damage can be difficult and expensive to repair. If your door will be heavily exposed to traffic or the elements, you may be better off choosing a different material.

    Fiberglass

    Fiberglass doors come in an immense variety of styles, many of which accurately mimic the look of real wood. And if limited upkeep is your ideal, fiberglass may be your best bet. "Nothing is maintenance-free," Bossard says, "but fiberglass is pretty close. And it lasts twice as long as wood or steel."

    Fiberglass doesn't expand or contract appreciably as the weather changes. Therefore, in a reasonably protected location, a fiberglass entry door can go for years without needing a paint or stain touch-up and can last 15 to 20 years overall. Although it feels light to the touch, fiberglass has a very stout coating that's difficult for an intruder to breach; and its foam core offers considerable insulation.

    Fiberglass generally falls between steel and wood in price; models sold at big-box stores range from about $150 to $600. Remodeling Magazine lists the cost of a fiberglass entry-door replacement project at around $3,600. Although a fiberglass door doesn't generate as high a return as a steel door, it recoups about 56% in home value.

    Wood

    Wood is considered the go-to choice for high-end projects; its luxe look and substantial weight can't be flawlessly duplicated by fiberglass or steel, though high-end fiberglass products are getting close. If your home calls for a stunning entry statement with a handcrafted touch, wood may be the best material for you.

    Wood is usually the most expensive choice of the three--roughly $500 to $2,000, excluding custom jobs--and requires the most maintenance, although it's easier to repair scratches on a wood door than dents in steel or fiberglass. Wood doors should be repainted or refinished every year or two to prevent splitting and warping. (Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report doesn't include a wood entry-door replacement project.)

    If you're concerned about the environmental impact of your door as well as its energy efficiency, you can purchase a solid wood door certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which assures you that the wood was sustainably grown and harvested.

    Tracing the environmental impact of a particular door--from manufacturing process to shipping distance to how much recycled/recyclable content it contains--is quite complicated and probably beyond the ken of the average homeowner, notes LEED-certified green designer Victoria Schomer. But FSC-certified wood and an Energy Star rating are an excellent start.

    A final note on choosing a door based on energy efficiency: Because efficiency depends on a number of factors besides the material a door is made of--including its framework and whether it has windows--look for the Energy Star label to help you compare doors. To qualify for the federal tax credit, look for solar heat gain coefficient and U-factor values less than 0.3.

    By: Karin Beuerlein

    Published: December 28, 2009

    Brought to you by
    The Marie Souza Team
    Call us @ 508-790-2000, drop us an email info@mariesouzateam.com and/or visit us on the web
    See what our past clients say here!

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