Posted by Tom Mahedy on 2/8/2019

Deciding to put up a fence on your property may seem like a simple decision, but there are a lot of things to consider before hiring a contractor to get it done.

One question to ponder is whether your neighbors might be offended or annoyed by the sudden appearance of a fence near the edge of their property. The answer to that question would partly depend on your relationship with your neighbor, the size of your lot, and whether the fence is tasteful or an eyesore. The problem with that standard is that "tasteful" is in the eyes of the beholder!

Tall fences can and sometimes do have a way of changing the look and feel of your immediate neighborhood, so the installation of a fence could potentially cause resentment from other property owners. The decision to put up a fence on your property is a personal one, but there's also a lot of value in maintaining friendly neighbor relations. (It can be a delicate balance!)

One Step at a Time

In some places, local ordinances or Homeowner Association rules may impose restrictions on fences and other structures. Many towns and municipalities require that you (or your contractor) obtain a building permit before putting up a fence, so a quick phone call or email to the appropriate local official can shed light on requirements, restrictions, and other assorted rigmarole!

Since the cost of installing a fence can easily run into the thousands, it always pays to get a few estimates and proposals from reputable fence companies. Other decisions include choosing the best height and composition of the fence. Fencing materials range from metal and chain link to vinyl and wood. Composite fencing materials are also an option.

Your choice will depend on a lot of factors, including cost, durability, maintenance aspects, and appearance. Online information, free brochures, and meetings with contractors can help you learn more and make an informed decision.

Once you've moved beyond the potential issues of installing a fence on your property, there are several distinct advantages to fencing in your back yard.

  • Enhanced privacy: While "privacy" can mean different things to different people, a tall fence offers an immediate solution to a variety of privacy-related problems. 
  • Pet containment: If you don't always have the time or energy to take your dog(s) for a walk in the neighborhood, it's a major convenience to be able to let them out in a contained area to relieve themselves and get a little fresh air. It can also be a good way to keep them safe and out of trouble!
  • Wildlife barrier: Although there are often gaps at the bottom of fences that prevent fences from being completely wildlife-proof, a properly installed fence can drastically reduce the chances of wildlife sneaking their way into your back yard. Whether you want to protect your vegetable garden or pets from wild animals, a solid fence can be the barrier that you need.
  • Increased security: While fences are not always an impervious barrier to burglars, trespassers, and other intruders, it does provide some protection from those potential threats.
If you're searching for a new home or looking to improve your existing property, the right kind of fence can provide you and your family with a myriad of benefits.





Posted by Tom Mahedy on 2/1/2019

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to make your residence an attractive choice for buyers. Because if your home stands out from the pack, you may be better equipped than other sellers to enjoy a fast, seamless and profitable house selling experience.

Ultimately, there are many ways to make your home an attractive option for buyers, and these include:

1. Perform Home Improvements

If your home has a leaky roof, defective heating and cooling system or other problems, there may be no time like the present to perform house upgrades. That way, you can transform assorted home weaknesses into strengths.

For home sellers who are uncertain about how to upgrade their residences, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection. This evaluation enables a home inspector to review your residence both inside and out. Then, a home inspector will provide a report that details his or her findings, and you can use the report results to prioritize home improvement projects.

2. Remove Clutter

If your home is full of antiques, furniture and various personal belongings, it may be tough for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence. Conversely, if you eliminate clutter from your home, you can show off your living space's full potential to buyers.

Oftentimes, it helps to rent a storage unit before you list your residence. This unit will allow you to store a wide range of personal belongings in a safe place until your house sells.

It also may be a good idea to host a yard sale or sell excess items online. By doing so, you can simultaneously remove clutter and earn extra cash.

3. Boost Your Residence's Curb Appeal

Your house's curb appeal is a difference-maker in homebuyers' eyes. If your home boasts a pristine front lawn, flawless siding and other dazzling exterior features, your residence may stand out to buyers as soon as they see it. Comparatively, if your house has a messy front lawn, damaged siding and other noticeable flaws, your residence is unlikely to make a positive first impression on buyers.

Allocate time and resources to bolster your house's curb appeal – you'll be happy you did. If your home makes a positive first impression on homebuyers, you may receive lots of interest in your residence. And as a result, you may be able to accelerate the house selling cycle.

Lastly, as you search for ways to distinguish your residence from other available houses, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert recommendations and suggestions to help you enhance your residence. Plus, if you have any concerns or questions throughout the home selling journey, a real estate agent will always be available to address them.

Ensure your residence is an attractive option for buyers – use the aforementioned tips, and you can differentiate your house from the competition.




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Posted by Tom Mahedy on 1/25/2019

While there's a lot to be said for the value of high-tech home security systems, there are many basic, inexpensive things you can do to safeguard your home from intruders. Keeping your home secure begins with awareness, good communication, and positive habits.

Where does good communication come into play? One example is the need to have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home when you're out of town or away on vacation. Even if you've had the foresight to suspend your mail and newspaper deliveries during your absence, things don't always work out as planned!

When you factor in the possibility of human error, unplanned deliveries, or even power outages, it's a good idea to have a friend, relative, or neighbor check on your house when you're gone. Unexpected deliveries could run the gamut from free phonebooks left on your front steps to promotional literature placed on your doorknob or stuffed into your mailbox. And even if you don't subscribe to a newspaper, free sample issues may occasionally be left in your driveway -- often with an invitation to become a subscriber. An alert neighbor can clear away any telltale signs that no one's home. They can also notify you or the local authorities of any suspicious activity on your property.

A good rule of thumb when you're away for more than a few hours is to make your house look as if it's occupied. Even old-school techniques, like hooking up a couple indoor lights to automatic timers, can create the impression someone's home. If you happen to have outside lights on a timer or motion-detector floodlights, then that can help deter nighttime trespassers, too. Solar-powered lights which turn on when the sun goes down are another option.

In spite of good habits, like locking doors and staying in touch with neighbors, windows left open can be an overlooked security breach -- especially if you didn't leave them open, yourself! This can and often does happen in unexpected ways, like when your houseckeeper decides your home smells a little stale and needs an infusion of outside air to freshen things up! Although their intent is typically helpful and good, they may be solving one problem while creating another.

The same thing could happen if you have painters or other contractors doing interior work at your home. You can address that problem by reminding them to close windows when they're done for the day. You can also leave a note to that effect. Just in case they happen to be on the forgetful side, though, it's always a good idea to follow up your reminders with your own security checks! Since other people (especially those who don't live in your house) may not be nearly as security conscious as you, it's always better to err on the side of caution!





Posted by Tom Mahedy on 1/18/2019

So, you’re looking for a real estate agent and you find one with a “Seller Guarantee”—If your home doesn’t sell in 6 months, I’ll buy it! Sounds a little too good to be true, right? When provided by legitimate agents, these aren’t scams, but rather a genuine option if you need to sell your home quickly.

With enough time on the market, a good seller’s agent, proper staging and a marketing plan, most homes will sell in a seller’s market. That “time on the market” requirement can be a hang-up for some sellers though. If you are moving on a strict timeline due to a new job, divorce, inheritance sale, or any other reason, a guaranteed timeline can be a win-win. On the other hand, the purchase will likely be lower than market price so if you can afford the time, selling to your agent could be a terrible deal.

Common types of Guarantees

  • “Percentage of Value Guarantee”— The agent promises you a portion of the market value if the home doesn’t sell. Keep in mind that the promised percentage will be based on fair market value, fewer fees, and commissions, so it will come out to be a lower take-home percentage.
  • “Timeline Guarantee”—The Agent promises to buy your property if it doesn’t sell in a certain length of time. Usually, timeline requirements go together with price requirements, meaning that you likely must agree to a specific markdown plan, so your agent has the price they want by the end of the timeline. Given this markdown schedule, you likely will receive less than fair market value for your property, but you can be sure that it will sell within the specified timeline.
  • “I’ll Buy It Guarantee”—Usually, this type of offer comes from agents who work with a group of investors. Investors either want to re-sell your property or rent it out for profit, so you can expect to lose a percentage of the equity. 

The Real Win-Win
You will always get the best results from choosing a real estate professional that knows your market and can help you sell your home at true market value or higher through good advertising, proper staging and curb appeal. However, if the timing is more important one of these seller guarantee options could be the better choice for you. 

Thinking of Selling? Talk to your agent about all your options including any seller guarantees available to you.





Posted by Tom Mahedy on 1/11/2019

As a homebuyer, it is important to do everything you can to find your dream residence. Once you discover your ideal house, you should be ready to submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

Ultimately, there are several factors to consider as you try to put together a competitive offer to purchase your dream house. These factors include:

1. A Home's Age and Condition

Examine a house closely before you craft an offer to purchase – you will be glad you did. Because if you leave no stone unturned in your quest to learn about a residence, you can create an offer to purchase that accounts for a house's age and condition.

If you have questions about a house, you should reach out to a seller's agent. That way, you can address these questions before you submit an offer to purchase.

Also, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask about a house. A home purchase may be one of the biggest transactions you will complete in your lifetime. And if you devote time and energy to learn about all aspects of a house, you can ensure you are ready to purchase this home. Perhaps best of all, you can identify potential home problems that otherwise may prove to be costly and time-intensive down the line.

2. The Current State of the Housing Market

Differentiating between a buyer's market and seller's market is key, particularly for those who are ready to submit an offer to purchase a house. If you assess the local housing sector, you can find out whether a buyer's or seller's market is in place and submit an appropriate offer to purchase your dream residence.

In a buyer's market, homes may remain available for many weeks or months after they are listed. Thus, a seller may be willing to accept an offer to purchase, even if it falls below his or her initial home asking price.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is a shortage of quality houses available. And in this market, the best houses sell quickly, which means you likely will need to submit a competitive offer to purchase to secure your ideal home.

To determine if a buyer's or seller's market is in effect, take a look at how quickly houses are selling in your city or town. You also should find out if homes are selling at or above their initial asking prices. With this information in hand, you will be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream house.

3. Your Homebuying Budget

There is no need to overspend to buy your ideal house. Therefore, you should try to submit an offer to purchase that accounts for your homebuying budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you embark on a home search. This will allow you to get pre-approved for a mortgage and enter the homebuying journey with a budget at your disposal.

As you navigate the homebuying journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent, too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble crafting a competitive offer to acquire your dream residence.




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