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Marie Souza Realty Team's Blog

By Marie Souza Team | Broker in Centerville, MA
  • Avoiding Moving Scams

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Centerville, How To... in Centerville, Moving in Centerville  |  October 11, 2013 12:36 PM  |  355 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! 
  • Buying Your First Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Sandwich, Financing in Sandwich, Moving in Sandwich  |  May 22, 2013 1:25 PM  |  620 views  |  No comments

    Home buyersYou've been thinking about buying your first home and it is a very big decision. It is typically not a decision you make overnight instead you need to take the time prepare yourself.  Here are the basic steps that you should follow when it is time to buy a home.

    1. Ask are you ready? Home ownership is quite different than renting. It is a lot more expensive than renting. You will have added expenses and responsibility. There will be expenses like repairs, added utility costs, such as garbage and water, plus taxes and insurance related to your home. You will want to make sure to have an emergency fund, before you purchase your first home.
    2. Shop for a loan. Your first step will be to get preapproved. Knowing how much you can afford will help you to look for homes within your price range.
    3. Figure out how much you can afford. Just because you are preapproved for a certain loan doesn't mean you can afford that in the real world. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between twenty five and thirty percent of your income. You don't want to be house poor.
    4. Use a real estate professional you can trust.  A good real estate professional will listen to your wants and needs carefully. It is important that you are also educated on the process of buying a home. A good real estate professional will help meet your needs while navigating you through the process and advocating for your best interests.

    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!

    1. Downsizing Tips for Seniors

      Posted Under: Home Buying in Centerville, Home Selling in Centerville, Moving in Centerville  |  May 22, 2013 1:22 PM  |  655 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!

    2. Waterview Cape with Tons of Space

      Posted Under: Home Buying in Marstons Mills, Home Selling in Marstons Mills, Moving in Marstons Mills  |  August 6, 2012 5:11 PM  |  360 views  |  1 comment

      Sprawling 2,600 sq ft, 4 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath Cape in a cul-de-sac neighborhood offers VIEWS of Little Pond, Vaulted Entry Foyer, Formal Living & Dining Rooms + Eat-In Kitchen opening to the Cathedraled Family Room w/Fireplace. 1st Floor Master Suite, Hardwood Floors, Walkout Lower Level & 2 Car Garage. In very nice condition! $525,000

      Full details & more photos 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!

    3. Pimlico Ponds Property

      Posted Under: Home Buying in Sandwich, Home Selling in Sandwich, Moving in Sandwich  |  July 31, 2012 5:14 PM  |  301 views  |  1 comment

      Sandwich - "Pimlico Ponds"


       2,700 sq ft 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath Cape w/ Hardwood Floors, Beamed Ceilings & Kitchen w/Eat-Up Island + Granite Counters! Living Room w/Fireplace & Cathedraled Ceilings + Formal Dining Room & Walkout Lower Level w/access to 2 Car Garage. Skylit Master Suite & more! On 1.3 Acre Lot! $389,900 MLS# 21205302
      All details  and more photos can be found 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!

    4. Northside Condo with GREAT 1st Floor Living! In Dennis off 6A

      Posted Under: Market Conditions in Dennis, Home Buying in Dennis, Moving in Dennis  |  July 23, 2012 2:59 PM  |  421 views  |  No comments
      CRANBERRY KNOLL CONDOMINIUM

      Northside Location! Beautifully renovated End Unit w/1st Floor Master & Laundry. All new kitchen w/corien counters, Living/Dining w/hardwood floors & slider to enclosed private patio. Master w/slider overlooks patio as well. New windows & full basement for great storage! Spectacular 1st Floor Living!  $159,900 MLS# 21203146

      Pool & Tennis too!

      Get full details here

    5. 8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

      Posted Under: Home Selling in Marstons Mills, Curb Appeal in Marstons Mills, Moving in Marstons Mills  |  July 9, 2012 11:26 AM  |  350 views  |  No comments

      Here are eight ways to help your home put its best face forward.

      The way your house looks from the street--attractively landscaped and well-maintained--can add thousands to its value and cut the time it takes to sell. But which projects pump up curb appeal most? Some spit and polish goes a long way, and so does a dose of color.

      Tip #1: Wash your house’s face

      Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the outside of your house. REALTORS® say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses.

      A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding. Power washers (rental: $75 per day) can reveal the true color of your flagstone walkways.

      Wash your windows inside and out, swipe cobwebs from eaves, and hose down downspouts. Don’t forget your garage door, which was once bright white. If you can’t spray off the dirt, scrub it off with a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate—TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers—dissolved in 1 gallon of water.

      You and a friend can make your house sparkle in a few weekends. A professional cleaning crew will cost hundreds--depending on the size of the house and number of windows--but will finish in a couple of days.

      Tip #2: Freshen the paint job

      The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it, and appraisers will value it.
 
Of course, painting is an expensive and time-consuming facelift. To paint a 3,000-square-foot home, figure on spending $375 to $600 on paint; $1,500 to $3,000 on labor.

      Your best bet is to match the paint you already have: Scrape off a little and ask your local paint store to match it. Resist the urge to make a statement with color. An appraiser will mark down the value of a house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition.

      Tip #3: Regard the roof

      The condition of your roof is one of the first things buyers notice and appraisers assess. Missing, curled, or faded shingles add nothing to the look or value of your house. If your neighbors have maintained or replaced their roofs, yours will look especially shabby.

      You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of a new asphalt shingle roof is about $21,200.

      Some tired roofs look a lot better after you remove 25 years of dirt, moss, lichens, and algae. Don’t try cleaning your roof yourself: call a professional with the right tools and technique to clean it without damaging it. A 2,000 sq. ft. roof will take a day and $400 to $600 to clean professionally.

      Tip #4: Neaten the yard

      A well-manicured lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home.

      Replace overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in pots.

      Green up your grass with lawn food and water. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly.

      Tip #5: Add a color splash

      Even a little color attracts and pleases the eye of would-be buyers.

      Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. Get a little daring, and paint the front door red or blue.

      These colorful touches won’t add to the value of our house: appraisers don’t give you extra points for a blue bench. But beautiful colors enhance curb appeal and help your house to sell faster.

      Tip #6: Glam your mailbox

      An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out.

      High-style die cast aluminum mailboxes range from $100 to $350. You can pick up a handsome, hand-painted mailbox for about $50. If you don’t buy new, at least give your old mailbox a facelift with paint and new house numbers.

      These days, your local home improvement center or hardware stores has an impressive selection of decorative numbers. Architectural address plaques, which you tack to the house or plant in the yard, typically range from $80 to $200. Brass house numbers range from $3 to $11 each, depending on size and style.

      Tip #7: Fence yourself in

      A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. Not only does it add visual punch to your property, appraisers will give extra value to a fence in good condition, although it has more impact in a family-oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community.

      Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

      If you already have a fence, make sure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace broken gates and tighten loose latches.

      Tip #8: Maintenance is a must

      Nothing looks worse from the curb--and sets off subconscious alarms--like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint. Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they can decrease the value of your house by 10%.

      Here are some maintenance chores that will dramatically help the look of your house.

      • Refasten sagging gutters.
      • Repoint bricks that have lost their mortar.
      • Reseal cracked asphalt.
      • Straighten shutters.
      • Replace cracked windows.

      By: Pat Curry

      Published: February 18, 2011

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