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Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley (508) 648-0013's Blog

By Cape Cod Real Estate for Sale | Broker in Centerville, MA
  • Congrats to Jeanette and Sue on Lietrim Sold in Centerville!!

    Posted Under: Home Selling in 02632, Property Q&A in 02632  |  March 16, 2013 11:33 AM  |  100 views  |  2 comments

    Cozy 2 bedroom, 1 bath Ranch featuring hardwood floors throughout. Living room with fireplace. New windows and new roof. Full basement with workshop, storage and additional finished space that could be used as office or play room. Hot air heat by gas including central Air Conditioning, Conveniently located in established neighborhood. Huge Sunroom, oversized yard, garden shed and mature plantings. This darling home has a new homeowner! Congrats to all involved!

    Kriss Stevens, Broker, ABR, CRS
    Team Stevens &Manley
    Century 21 Cobb
    Kriss 508-648-0013
    Scott 508-360-1771
    wwwStevensManleyRE.com
  • 5 Tips to Reduce Plastic and Ocean Pollution

    Posted Under: General Area in 02632  |  March 11, 2013 12:26 PM  |  120 views  |  4 comments

    5 Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste and Ocean Pollution

    It’s a growing problem in the northern Pacific Ocean and one that could change life on our planet within the next 20 years.

     “I remember the first time I felt it; I was paddling out on my surfboard and noticed a mushy, plastic-like substance sliding through my fingers. That’s what started my obsession with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” says charity fundraiser and environmentalist Veronica Grey. “The patch is located between Hawaii and California in the northern Pacific Ocean, where millions of small bits of plastic have gathered in a vortex of ocean currents known as a gyre.”

    As someone with ample experience raising awareness for worthy causes, Grey paired her professional skills with her personal passion for the ocean, creating the award-winning documentary “Aqua Seafoam Shame,” which spotlights the mess in the ocean that has garnered precious little media attention, she says.

    “Fifteen years ago The Patch was the size of Texas, but now it’s the size of the continental United States,” says Grey, who used her iPhone to shoot the documentary, which features renowned scientists, journalists and environmentalists.

    Plastic in the ocean has far-reaching implications that, if not addressed within 20 years, could change life on this planet, she says. To date, 177 species of sea life are known to ingest plastic; other species feed on those creatures, extending the chain of damage.

    “People eat the seafood that eats plastic, and the planet gets its rain from the oceans, which are being polluted at an exponential rate,” she says. “We use significantly more of our planet’s surface as a dump than for growing food; this has to change.”

    To begin addressing plastics pollution, Grey encourages people to use alternatives:

    • Americans buy 2 million bottles of water every five minutes; ditch plastic bottles and use glass or recyclable cans.
    • Carry a cost-effective canvas bag instead of getting disposable plastic bags at the grocery store. We waste 10 billion plastic bags every week!
    • Do not line your trash cans with plastic bags. Use paper bags or nothing.
    • Skip the lid on your to-go drinks. The paper cup is normally recyclable but the lid usually isn't.
    Remember that each and every time you flush; it all ends up in the ocean. Be mindful of what you toss in your toilet!

       Brought to you by~ Stevens & Manley RE

    Kriss 508-648-0013  or Scott  508-360-1771
        View all cape cod homes for Sale & Sold visit: 
    www.CapeHomesUnlimited.com

      Visit Stevens & Manley Blog

  • Are you moving or improving?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in 02632  |  March 11, 2013 12:21 PM  |  111 views  |  2 comments
    Moving or Improving? Tips for a Flawless Painting Project

    Did you know spring is the best time to sell your home? And now that the housing market is bouncing back, there's never been a better time to do it. But even if you're planning to stay put for the long haul, chances are there are some much needed touch-ups you could be doing to keep your home in tip-top shape. And you don't have to break your back, or the bank, to do it. In fact, adding a new coat of paint is a quick, affordable and possibly the most impactful way to get your project done.

    Prep, prime and primp

    Misusing color can be a surefire way to turn people off from your home. For a more inviting look that nearly everyone can enjoy, opt for neutral paint colors. A subtle beige, slight grey or even white can do the trick.

    First, move furniture out of the room and place drop cloths to protect the floor. Remove any picture frames, outlet covers and wall decor. Then, gently scrub the walls with a mild detergent and water mixture using a soft sponge to remove any dirt, grime or lint. Don't forget to prime your walls before applying color to ensure the best end-results.

    Paint like a pro

    When applying paint, start at the top and work your way down. For superior results, you'll want to fill the well of your roller tray with paint, dip the roller in half-way and then roll it back onto the tray's angled platform to easily remove excess paint. This will reduce dripping and improve overall paint cover. The best approach for applying paint? Use your roller cover to make an overlapping "W" pattern in a 2-foot by 2-foot area; then fill in and repeat.

    Keeping your color conviction

    If you're still feeling deprived of color after your painting project is complete, never fret. There are several ways to add a pop of color throughout your home without slathering the walls with offensive paint colors. Try incorporating fun accent pieces in your favorite colors - think lamps, frames, pillows and rugs. You can even include larger focal pieces like royal blue armchairs or a patterned couch to make a bolder statement. By keeping the overall aesthetics of your home neutral and inviting, and enhancing them with a few sight-provoking embellishments, house guests will be asking you for home decorating tips. And if your end goal is to get your home sold, consider these minor improvements a step in the right direction.

    Kriss Stevens, Broker, ABR, CRS
    Team Stevens &Manley
    Century 21 Cobb
    Kriss 508-648-0013
    Scott 508-360-1771
    wwwStevensManleyRE.com

  • Septic System Information

    Posted Under: Home Buying in 02632, Home Selling in 02632  |  March 8, 2013 10:21 AM  |  120 views  |  4 comments

    When selling a home in Massachusetts and your property is being serviced by a septic system, one of the most important considerations is getting your Title V certification done. The last thing you want is a problem with your septic system!

    As a Massachusetts Realtor who is involved in quite a few home sales it continues to amaze me that many sellers are not getting their title V out of the way prior to putting their home on the market or at the least within the 1st few weeks that it gets posted for sale.

    The financial burden that a failed septic system creates is fairly substantial for most. The cost to replace a septic system can range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more depending on the soil conditions and the water table.

    Aside from the unexpected financial headache, it also involves digging up your yard to install a new system. So what happens if your septic system fails and your title V does not pass?

    The 1st thing you are going to need to do is get in touch with a local engineer and the board of health. Here is a Board of Health roster for Massachusetts. The engineer is going to determine if there is a "reserve area" on the original septic design where additional leach trenches could be added.

    It may be determined that another area is needed for the system to be placed in which case the engineer will draw up a "septic design". The septic design is drawn by the engineer based upon soil testing that will need to be done. These tests are called "perks and deep holes". The perk test will determine how quickly the soil leaches and the deep hole test will determine the level of the water table. Soils that have more gravel are better than those with clay and rock. A higher water table is not a good thing when it comes to septic systems. With a high water table you may need to have what is called a "raised system".

    Most buyers will not want to find out that the beautiful level yard they bought will now have a large mound!

    Once the septic system design is done and approved by the board of health you will want to send it out to bid by a few septic installers. I would recommend at least three bids, as in my experience the estimates can vary greatly.

    If you are in the middle of a Real Estate transaction and find out your septic system has failed and it will not be able to be repaired or replaced before the closing, the bank giving the buyer the loan will require you to escrow 1.5 times the estimate to fix or replace the system. For example if the cost of replacing the septic system is $20,000 you are going to required to escrow $30,000. Please note that not every bank will allow a septic escrow. The buyer may end up having to wait until the installation is complete.

    As you can see getting your Title V done and out of the way with no problems is a huge deal! If you are unfortunate enough to have to replace your septic system, there are a few programs to ease the pain. See the Loan and tax credit information below:

     

    Homeowner Septic Loan Program

    If your septic system has failed Title 5 inspection there is a loan program in place that can help you. Participating banks offer low interest rates to eligible homeowners through this Massachusetts Housing Program. For more information contact the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA), 617-723-0500 or go to their Web site:
    MassHousing Web site
    Here is the PDF for the Homeowner Septic Loan Repair program.

     

    Tax Credit

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides a tax credit of up to $6,000 over 4 years to defray the cost of septic repairs to a primary residence. Forms are available from the Department of Revenue (DOR) to allow homeowners to claim up to $6,000 in tax credits for septic upgrades. The credit cannot exceed $1,500 in any year and may be spread out over 4 years. The tax credit is limited to work done on a primary residence only. Tax Form Schedule SC is the correct form for the tax credits.
    MassDOR Web site

    You may be wondering how this all applies to cesspools. Cesspools are much harder to pass in Massachusetts. Does every single one automatically fail? NO.

    Only those cesspools that exhibit signs of hydraulic failure, are located very close to private or public water supplies, or otherwise do not protect or pose a threat to the public health, safety or the environment will need to be upgraded. Also, cesspools must be upgraded prior to an increase in design flow (e.g., the addition of a bedroom to a home.

    So what if you decide not to sell? A Title V is good for two years from the date it is completed. It can be extended for a 3rd year if it is pumped in both years.
     
    Title V, Septic Systems and Bedroom Counts

    One other important subject revolving around the Title V and septic systems is the proper representation of bedrooms in a home.

    According to errors and omission insurance for Massachusetts Realtors, one of the areas that has drawn the most recent litigation is the misrepresentation of bedrooms when the home is serviced by a septic system.

    Septic systems are rated according their bedroom capacity. When someone says the septic system is "rated" for four bedrooms it means that the system will handle the waste generated by four bedrooms. It has nothing to do with the amount of bathrooms in a home!

    Where sellers and Realtors get into to trouble is when there are rooms in a home that are counted and marketed as bedrooms when in fact they are not. As an example, you could have a home that has three bedrooms on the 2nd floor and another room on the 1st floor that is called a "bedroom". It may have a closet and a window large enough for a person to fit through - both requirements of being a bedroom.

    The problem, however, is that if this home has a septic system that is rated for only three bedrooms, it is not a four bedroom home and should not be marketed as such.


    The misrepresentation occurs when the seller or Realtor represents this room to be a bedroom through various marketing channels such as the multiple listing service(MLS). The buyer then relies on this information, only to later find out through town hall or other means that in fact it is not a four bedroom home. There are certainly differences in market value between three and four bedroom homes regardless of the overall size of the house.

    Another example would be a home that has had an addition and the room added is called a bedroom but there has been no corresponding "upgrade" to the septic system.

    As a Realtor, whenever there is any doubt about the bedroom count, records should be verified to determine the correct information. This information can be found at the local board of health. This information is found on the septic design. If there has been a Title V inspection already done on the property it can be found on the report as well.

     

    Ever wonder how a septic system works? The short video below is an excellent tutorial of how a septic system functions.

    Septic System Anatomy

    Thinking of selling a home condo or other Real Estate on Cape Cod? Call Team Stevens & Manley Real Estate-Century 21 Cobb. We can be reached Kriss: 508-648-0013 or Scott 508-360-1771

       Brought to you by~ Stevens & Manley RE

    Kriss 508-648-0013  or Scott  508-360-1771
        View all cape cod homes for Sale & Sold visit: 
    www.CapeHomesUnlimited.com

      Visit Stevens & Manley Blog

  • The DO's in Negotiating!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in 02632, Home Selling in 02632, Property Q&A in 02632  |  December 16, 2012 5:29 AM  |  108 views  |  5 comments
    When you are looking at buying a home there are don’ts you should be aware of. Many times the handling of the negotiation can mean the difference in huge amounts of money. This is why it is vital to have an experienced agent on your side. Here are just a few common pitfalls to avoid.

    Not doing your homework

    Doing your homework is important in such a large purchase. Ask your agent for a list of comparable homes recent sale prices. Look to see how long comparable listings have been on the market and what the average sale to list price ratio is. This will give you the information you need when making an offer and negotiating a final sale price.

    Not understanding the seller

    Try to look at the deal from the opposite side of the table. A sale is typically emotional for a seller. When making an offer try not to insult the seller, offering a fair and realistic offer to purchase will typically get you further in the negotiations. If you know the seller’s motivations for selling you may also be able to offer terms that might be more attractive like a quick close or inspection.

    Showing your cards

    While you want to know as much about the seller as possible divulge as little about yourself in the negotiation as possible. Any knowledge the seller has about your motivation can be used as leverage in the negotiation.

    Getting your heart set

    Buying a home can often be an emotional process. Identify several properties you’d be happy with as well. Be careful not to get your heart in the way of your head as it can sometimes hinder the deal.

    Trying to win

    In a sale there needs to be two ingredients: a seller who wants to sell and a buyer who wants to buy. Try not to getting caught up in the game. Ultimately it is about buying a home and not winning a negotiation.

    Call Team Stevens & Manley Real Estate for more information! If you are thinking of buying or Selling a home on Cape Cod~ Call us first! Kriss 508-648-0013 or Scott 508-360-1771 or visit our website: www.CapeHomesUnlimited.com

  • Aging In Place!!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in 02632, Home Selling in 02632, Property Q&A in 02632  |  October 22, 2012 5:18 AM  |  120 views  |  3 comments

    Brought to you by~ Stevens & Manley RE

    Kriss 508-648-0013  or Scott  508-360-1771
        View all cape cod homes for Sale & Sold visit: 
    www.CapeHomesUnlimited.com

      Visit Stevens & Manley Blog

  • Open House Checklist for Sellers

    Posted Under: General Area in 02632, Home Selling in 02632, Property Q&A in 02632  |  August 28, 2012 4:46 AM  |  162 views  |  7 comments

        Plan Ahead

    Walk through each room and criticize the home from a buyer's perspective.

    Consider getting a professional home inspection and making necessary repairs.

    Hold a yard sale. Sell, donate or trash anything you don't need.

    Steam clean carpets and drapes.

    Get rid of all dust bunnies.

    Repair cracks and holes in the walls.

    Paint interior walls with neutral colors, like beige, cream or light pastels.

    Pale blues and greens are good for bathrooms.

    Remove excess and oversized furniture.

    Rearrange furniture to maximize space.

    Organize room closets and store out-of-season clothes.

    Thoroughly clean the entire home.

    Scrub tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.

    Clean hardwood floors.

    Secure valuable items, including cash and jewelry.

    Remove all small appliances, toys, magazines and pet items.

    Remove family photos, personal collections and medications.

    Remove items from the garage and store them off-site.

    Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize

     Maximize Curb Appeal

    Paint the home's exterior, including trim, doors and shutters.

    Power wash the siding and windows.

    Inspect the roof and make repairs as needed.

    Repair cracks in the driveway and sidewalks.

    Sweep the entryway and walkways.

    Mow, water and fertilize the lawn.

    Trim shrubs and trees and rake the leaves.

    Plant colorful flowers.

    Store any toys or equipment lying on the yard.

    Clean up pet droppings.

    Clean the gutters and downspouts.

    Mop and wax/polish the doors.

    Clear the countertops.

    Replace outdated hardware.

    Clean appliances and Fixtures.

    Clean and organize the pantry, cabinets and drawers.

    Replace old caulking around sinks and bathtubs.

    Remove stains from sinks, toilets and bathtubs.

    Keep all toilet seat lids closed.

    Hang fresh towels.

    Pay Attention to Kitchens and Bathrooms

     

    Appeal to the Senses

    Bake cookies or burn scented candles.

    Offer light refreshments.

    Install higher wattage incandescent light bulbs to brighten rooms.

    Turn on all the lights.

    Open windows to let in fresh air.

    Open curtains or blinds to let in natural light and show off views.

    Turn off TVs.

    Relocate pets on the day of the open house.

    Refrain from smoking in the home.

    Remove rugs to show off hardwood floors.

    Pull back drapes to showcase nice views.

    Stage the front porch or deck with furniture and potted plants.

    Make sure -replaces are in working condition.

    Clean the pool area.

    Show Off Your Home's Best Features!

     Spread the Word

    Hold an exclusive brokers' open house to let local agents know your home is on the market.

    Offer food and refreshments.

    Inform family, friends and neighbors of the date and time of your open house.

    Put ads in local newspapers, real estate publications and on free Web sites like Craigslist.com.

    Put up “Open House” signs on the front lawn and at nearby intersections with directions to the house.

    Give each visitor a fact sheet with your contact information and a description of all the home's

    features, including room measurements, amenities and all appliances that will stay.

    Ask visitors to sign in a guest book.

    Have important documents available, such as homeowner's association rules, inspection

    reports and purchase offer forms.

    Ask for buyer feedback. Give buyers a preprinted questionnaire and pen when they arrive

    and ask them to leave it face down on the coffee table before they leave. They can include their contact information or be anonymous.

    Brought to you by~ Stevens & Manley RE

    Kriss 508-648-0013  or Scott  508-360-1771
        View all cape cod homes for Sale & Sold visit: 
    www.CapeHomesUnlimited.com

      Visit Stevens & Manley Blog

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