Archive for the ‘Staging’ Category

5 Tips Maximize Summertime Burlington House Showings

When the Burlington weather turns sizzling, you might think that house showings might go better by holding off for milder weather. After all, as the mercury rises, energy levels tend to wilt, so prospective buyers willing to take on a big initiative—like lining up a new house—might seem to be in short supply. You might think that—but the evidence actually points in the opposite direction.

It seems that the hottest weather invites more home buying instead of less. At least that’s what the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests—and experts at Fannie Mae agree.

The NBER finds that “warm weather may have a positive impact on home sales.” In warm weather, if a home has features like access to a swimming pool or A/C, “buyers can see themselves enjoying the home on a nice day.”

Indeed, Fannie Mae’s research into how consumers feel about buying a home at different times of the year points to a similar seasonal effect. Part of Fannie’s Economic & Strategic Research Group’s findings line up with real estate’s well-known seasonal bias. Part of the strength of Burlington’s traditional spring and summer selling season may be due to prospective buyers’ need to make a change before the new school year starts, but if so, it’s a strong enough incentive to obscure any discomfort brought on by the July and August heat.

It’s all welcome news for homeowners planning Burlington house showings at this time of year—but it’s still a good idea to make some weather-wise adjustments. Here are 5 tips for hot weather house showings:

  1. Let the A/C rip! Most experts say 72 degrees is the correct setting for central air systems—but I find that it’s really dependent on the difference between outside and in. When you walk through the front door, if the atmosphere gives you a refreshing lift (not a shivering chill), that’s the right setting.
  2. Be vigilant about smells. Summertime brings out any pet or musty aromas that aren’t as apparent during the rest of the year, so pay special attention to what your nose knows. If a dehumidifier helps eliminate a damp area, set it to work. This is also the right time to invest in quality scent-producing oils or candles.
  3. Refreshments. A pitcher of ice water with lemons or similar thoughtful provision will be greatly appreciated by your guests (and your Realtor®!)
  4. Green. The lawn and plantings are always central to creating the curb appeal that sets the stage for everything else, so keep the front yard as green and welcoming as practical.
  5. Leave lights on. Even though it can feel cooler in dark rooms, let the climate control do that work. House showings go better in a light and bright environment any time of year.

If your Burlington home has excellent cooling systems or an inviting swimming pool setup, now is the time to make the most of it. Give me a call to see if we can get started before summer starts to slip away!

 My 5-year Tesla Plan is fanciful, but based on what could be the situation some Billerica renters can probably relate to.

The imaginary 5-year Tesla Plan participant could be any gainfully employed Billerica renter who has been living comfortably in a nice rental for the past few years. It’s either a comfortable home or a nice apartment: that doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the monthly rent has been rising. It’s now $1,570. This is now gobbling up just about every spare dollar of the Billerica renter’s income, perhaps leaving only an annual $6,000 bonus for savings, which the tenant has banked religiously for the past five years. The renter is driving a seen-better-days Subaru, newly paid-off. In fact, the renter has recently been tempted to take that $30,000 bonus savings and buy a brand new Tesla Model 3 sports sedan—but so far, prudence has won out (besides, the trove is $5,000 short of the Tesla’s price tag).

The 5-year Tesla Plan gets started with a call to my office (actually, any Billerica Realtor® could be called—but this is my Tesla Plan, after all!) The object is to find a suitable Billerica home to buy. This we accomplish with a spacious 3-bedroom 2 ½ bath in an out-of-the way location. Its asking price is low because the motivated seller has been absent for months and now, in July, the yard looks terrible. So it’s a real buy at the just-reduced asking price of $210,000. (Whether the actual number is $210,000 or $2,100,000—the logic remains).

The average nearby comps come in at $240,000, so the bank has no trouble offering a home loan at that week’s rate of 3.835%. The bonus trove will cover nearly 15% as a down payment (saving those annual bonuses instead of buying the Tesla was certainly a good idea)! Because the down payment was less than 20%, the new homeowner will have to add about $65 a month extra for private mortgage insurance (PMI)—but even so, it’s still a great deal.

The bottom line is a monthly mortgage payment of $1,137 including property tax, house insurance, and the PMI insurance. So the proud new Billerica homeowner is now saving $433 every month. This might seem to be an annual saving of $5,200—but that’s not so! There are two other financially lucrative things going on that weren’t available to renters.

First is the appreciation in the value of the house once the yard is back in shape. But that’s not part of the 5-year Tesla Plan—it’s just a long-term bonus.

The second advantage most definitely is: a hefty income tax break. During those first five years, the mortgage interest paid equals $32,636—the entirety of which is a federal income tax deduction. So is the $3,900 in PMI payments. In the 25% tax bracket, that comes to $9,134 less headed to Uncle Sam. When you add everything together, during the first five years, the new homeowner will have pocketed about $35,134.

That’s good because it just so happens that the Tesla Model 3 is being advertised at a starting price of $35,000. So who needs to even trade in the now-rusty Subaru?

That’s my fanciful 5-year Tesla Plan—which gets you your new Tesla at the same time you are establishing a long-term Billerica real estate investment. Individual tax situations differ, and should be always be referred to a tax professional—but you don’t have to be driving a rattletrap Subaru to benefit from the moral of this story—which is the undeniable financial advantage in store for Billerica renters who make the arithmetic work for them when they choose to become Billerica owners. Also, it’s easy to start: just give me a call!

Laer Realty Partners   Joan_Parcewski (1 of 1)


It’s All About First Impressions –

A special welcome to our newest guest blogger, Janet Poulain from Perfectly Placed for You, a local staging company. On a personal note they have recently staged a new construction in Bedford for our company. What a different impression when you walk in the door.

Staging Vacant Properties Makes Perfect Sense

Imagine yourself out shopping at the mall or downtown. If the retail stores left their window displays empty would it draw you in? Do you think you would even want to shop there?

I know what you are thinking. Most people do their shopping on line. And you are actually right. Many people start their house search on line. Which is why we believe it is imperative to have your property looking its best for its debut. You’ve heard it before, but it is worth repeating. A picture is worth a thousand words.

It is our goal to have buyers feel welcomed as soon as they open the door. Being greeted by a piece of art, greenery or a floral arrangement is one option, and so much better than walking into a blank space. First impressions count.

Take a look at the before and after photos to see if you agree. (if unable to view, please cut and paste – it is worth taking a look at the difference – you will be amazed)

When a property is empty, buyers tend to focus on negative details. In addition, vacant homes can often seem confusing to buyers. Staging emphasizes the homes features and can offer solutions to challenging areas, as well as showcasing the homes layout and architectural features.” In short, a staged property will evoke warmth and comfort, giving the buyer that much needed emotional connection to make an offer.

Liz Larson & Jan Poulain
Perfectly Placed For You
Redesign & Staging Creating Inviting Spaces

Selling Your Home? – Hire A Professional Photographer


Staging your house for sale is certainly an art with LOCATION and LIGHT being the most important qualities buyers seek. The battle to sell your house takes place on the Internet with curb appeal no longer driving initial buyer interest. After you have staged your house, a professional photographer can display its assets online.


STAGING your house in its best light is critical with LIGHTING being everything. A brightly lit (whether artificially lit or using bright sunshine) and clutter-free house attracts buyer attention.  Houses look better in the spring when a professional photographer can capture images of the exterior and interior spaces and flood them with light.  Winter is the least appealing time to sell.  But if you must, a professional photographer can capture a night shot of your house’s exterior flooded with bright light from within.  The photographer is your best partner in creating that great first impression that makes your house appealing to buyers.


The photographer does not stage your home for you.  After you have perfected the art of staging, often with the assistance of a professional stager in concert with your real estate agent’s expertise, the photographer captures what you choose to have posted on the Internet. Unnecessary items should be removed to assist buyers in mentally “moving in” with their own furniture and artifacts.  And after your house has attracted buyers on the Internet, all lights and lamps should be on during showings to set an inviting mood.


Home staging is about illusion.  It is about perfecting the art of creating a mood.  It can make your home look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, and, best of all, make home buyers want to buy it. So staging is about dressing your house for sale.


Once you have perfected the fine art of staging that highlight your house’s assets, a professional photographer can create pleasing images for display on the Internet


Some general staging tips in prepping your house for sale are:

–        Make the house shine from top to bottom.

–        Remove unnecessary items from areas that attract the most clutter.

–        Bring the outdoors inside through the use of greenery and plants. Examine       and remove any dead plants.

–        Make sure all lights and lamps are on for showings.  This sets an inviting          mood.

Proper staging will turn your house into a marketable home. The services of a professional photographer will showcase your staging online.

Maria Fonseca Photography



Staging and Sellers – Where to Begin

We are very pleased to welcome another guest blogger to our community, Janice Poulin from Perfectly Placed for You.   It is important to remember that you view your home one way and a buyer views your home totally differently as they are trying to picture themselves in it.  That’s where staging and stagers can help you to get the most money for your home:


Why is staging important and where do sellers begin?


Whether a property is occupied or vacant, staging it will help potential buyers envision a desirable lifestyle. Purchasing a home is an emotional process, and fostering a feel good connection with buyers will significantly increase the odds of a sale.


Sellers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the process of staging. Often, people have accumulated a life time worth of memories in a home, and they aren’t quite sure where to begin.


First, try to look at each space and pretend that you are a potential buyer. What is your eye drawn to first? Is it a selling feature?


Evaluate each space with these 5 points in mind:


1. Consider repairs and key upgrades.

2. Clear away excess belongings, furniture, family photos and personal or religious items

3. Place furniture to establish function and highlight selling features

4. Use color to highlight key areas and to create an overall appealing response

5. Introduce emotional cues to help buyers connect with the property – i.e. possibly an entertaining  vignette on an island or peninsula in an open kitchen


Make a list as you move through each space. It may also be easier to work backwards and to imagine that the room is empty. Ask yourself what key pieces are needed to establish function and to create a welcoming feel?


No doubt for some, staging will be a sizable investment of time and energy. However, if a picture is worth a thousand words, making the effort to create a positive image online and in person is an investment well worth making.


Now take a deep breath and get started!

Janice Poulin   –    Perfectly Placed for You        978-337-3266




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