Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Century 21 North Shore / Cape Cod



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 1/11/2018

If you want to increase the value of your home there are certain things that you can do to make sure that you get the most for your money when it comes to the sale of your property. One barrier to activities that increase the value of your home is that you only have so much time and money that you can invest before the home goes on the market. Take a look at these tips to increase the value of your home by quite a lot. 


Clean Out Your Home And Stage It 


You don’t need to make expensive changes to your home in order to make an appearance. If you take the time to clear out the clutter of your home and stage it, it will look like a brand new place. No one wants to see piles of papers, dog toys, and crumbs as they walk through a potential home that they might buy. The difference that cleanliness and a little maintaining of your home makes can be huge. 


Make A Great First Impression


Messy yards and exterior issues on your home can really cost you quite a bit when trying to sell your home. If things appear disarrayed and broken around the outside of the home, you need to clean it up before you sell it. To add some spice to your curb appeal, you can do things like add some potted plants to the front of the yard. This is so simple, yet can make such a huge difference.


Pay Special Attention To Your Kitchen And Bathroom


Doing something as simple as adding fresh paint to the bathroom and kitchen can really add a lot of charm to your home. While you may not have the funds to do a complete renovation of these rooms a simple “cleanup” of the spaces can help.    


Hire Professionals


As much fun as DIY jobs are, sometimes hiring a professional can really make a huge difference. If you’re not too keen on the type of job that you’re undertaking you should really hire a professional.


Another professional that you may want to hire is a real estate agent to help you sell your home. Realtors are experienced in marketing homes and understand the complete process from home showings through the closing on the sale. While you may think that you can sell the home on your own, you’ll get a much better return if you leave it to the experts.


As you can see, these simple actions are a great way to increase the value on your home when you’re ready to sell. Take your time, and get a better return on your property investment.




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Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 1/4/2018

Applying for a mortgage is one of the biggest decision that an individual can make in his or her lifetime. As such, it is important for a first-time homebuyer to dedicate the necessary time and resources to employ the best mortgage lender – without exception.

So what does it take to hire the ideal mortgage lender? Here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer quickly and effortlessly choose the right mortgage lender.

1. Consider a Variety of Lenders

There is no shortage of top-notch lenders in cities and towns across the United States. Thus, a first-time homebuyer can meet with a variety of credit unions and banks to explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal.

Spend some time learning about lenders in your area. Look at each lender's experience and reputation, and you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to select the ideal lender based on your individual needs.

Furthermore, conduct face-to-face meetings with lenders. These meetings will allow you to learn about a wide range of mortgage options and will make it easy for you to make an informed decision.

2. Ask Plenty of Questions

When it comes to getting a mortgage for the first time, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Instead, ask plenty of questions as you consult with assorted lenders, and you can gain the insights you need to pick a lender that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, particularly when it comes to mortgages. If you meet with various lenders, you can get all of your mortgage concerns and queries addressed without delay.

A first-time homebuyer who asks lots of questions may be able to avoid potential financial pitfalls down the line too. In fact, this homebuyer should have no trouble selecting a great lender who can fulfill his or her mortgage needs for years to come.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – selecting a lender may prove to be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased advice to help you find the right lender in no time at all.

A real estate agent understands the challenges of obtaining a terrific mortgage, and as a result, will do everything possible to help a homebuyer discover a lender that can provide outstanding support day after day. Plus, a real estate agent can even help a homebuyer alleviate stress as he or she searches for the right lender.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide throughout the entire homebuying journey, either. Typically, a real estate agent can keep a homebuyer informed about new residences as they become available, set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller on buyer's behalf and much more.

Get the right mortgage any time you choose – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 12/28/2017

House hunting can be enjoyable but becomes overwhelming pretty quickly. After looking at many different houses, they can all start to look the same. It’s hard to remember what homes had what features. In order to make a right decision on which home to make an offer on, you’ll need to remember the details of each house. Read on for tips to help you house hunt like a pro.


Keep Track Of The Homes You Have Looked At


Whether you’re doing simple online searches or touring open houses, it’s easy for your mind to get jumbled as to what you have seen. It’s a good idea to keep a record of homes with their addresses as to where they are located, the color of the house, and the desirable features contained within the home. This way, you can have an overall picture of what you want. 


Know What Features Are Important 


You should make a list of everything you’re looking for in a home before you even start searching. Include things like:


  • The price range
  • How big of a house you’re looking for
  • How many bedrooms
  • How many bathrooms
  • Additional features like walk-in closets
  • Eat-in kitchen or dining room
  • What type of home you’re looking for
  • How many stories you want the home to be



You can then branch off from the essentials on the list adding other desirable features in a property like a pool, a jacuzzi, a large backyard, or a fireplace. Then, you should make a list prioritizing what is the most important to you in your home search. Things like the number of bedrooms and the size of the home will be a higher priority than a jacuzzi tub. 


Look At Your Commute


One of the most significant factors in finding a home is how far it is from your workplace. The closer you are to work, the less stressful your life will be. If you take the train or a bus to work, it may be easier to live close to a station or stop. On the flip side, to be closer to work what are you sacrificing? Are you close to schools, parks, stores, and other regularly visited spots? See what locations suit your lifestyle.


Review What You’ve Looked At

Once you have done your research and decided what you need and want, it’s time to make comparisons. Look at the prices of each home and see what they have to offer for the money. Once you decide the price and amenities are on par with your original wishlist, the house is a good candidate to put an offer on.             






Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 12/21/2017

Everyone knows it's a bad idea to go grocery shopping when you're hungry, but we all do it occasionally!

Going to the supermarket on an empty stomach not only causes you to spend more, but it weakens your resolve to avoid foods with empty calories and unhealthy ingredients. When hunger pangs undermine your self discipline, you may also be more likely to buy a jumbo bag of potato chips, pick up a block of cheese and some crackers along the way, and maybe order a pound of Genoa salami while at the deli counter.

Then, of course, there are all those chocolatey temptations at the checkout counter -- peanut butter cups, for example! Maybe you're stronger willed than that, but I know plenty of people who are not!

Although I haven't read any scientific studies on the topic, I'd make an educated guess that when you go grocery shopping hungry, there's a tendency to buy more food than you ordinarily would -- probably to compensate for your hunger. So perhaps having a healthy snack first or going grocery shopping after breakfast or lunch would be a good strategy for avoiding the pitfalls of food shopping on an empty stomach.

Here are a few more ideas for saving money and limiting junk food purchases:

  • Create a grocery list and stick to it! That's often easier said than done, but it can make a big difference in the quantity and quality of food you buy. Impulse purchases may provide immediate gratification, but they can wreak havoc on your waistline and your budget.
  • Avoid bringing your children grocery shopping, whenever possible. When childcare is not available, there's no way around it. However, with kids in tow, expect to be buying "a few" additional items that you hadn't planned on. Try as we might to resist the requests, suggestions, and demands our kids make at the grocery store, it's not unusual for a parent's resolve to weaken -- especially if they happen to be tired or stressed out. A lot depends on the age of your children, how persistent they are, and whether they're hungry when you're out food shopping. Many factors come into play!
  • Using coupons and taking advantage of discounts, special promotions, and two-for-one sales can noticeably reduce your grocery bill and, consequently, leave more money in your wallet. It may require that you pore over weekly newspaper inserts, clip coupons, and keep them organized, but getting in that habit can help reduce the strain on your household budget. It also pays to shop at supermarkets that offer double coupons. They're often the ones that are the most competitive and willing to help you stretch your dollar.

So if you've been noticing more junk food appearing in your kitchen cabinets, and your grocery bill seems to be taking on a life of its own, consider some of these economical ideas to help reign things in.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 12/14/2017

 When it comes to the marketability of your house, appearances are everything! If your house is up for sale or you have plans to put it on the market soon, there are a lot of details you need to attend to before prospects stop by.

Although it's difficult to make a lived-in house look immaculate all the time, the closer you can come to that high standard, the better! Whether they're actively looking for signs of cleanliness or just noticing it subconsciously, the overall condition of your home can and does make an indelible impression on prospective buyers.

The reason "curb appeal" is emphasized so strongly by real estate agents is that the initial impression you make on house hunters can impact the amount of time your property stays on the market. That's especially true in "drive by" situations in which prospects quickly check out your house from the street and make a snap judgement about whether or not they like what they see. If your house and yard look appealing to them, then they may follow up with either the listing agent or their buyers' agent. On the other hand, if there's peeling paint visible, an aging roof, or weeds growing out of cracks in the driveway, they'll probably drive on and continue their search elsewhere. As you can imagine, there's a lot riding on curb appeal, so it pays to keep your lawn looking manicured and other landscaping features well maintained.

Once prospects are inside your home, they're going to notice everything from scuffed walls and cluttered furniture to the smell of toast you burned that morning or greasy cooking odors. Pet odors can also be a major turnoff for many prospective buyers, especially if they're not dog or cat fans to begin with! A worst-case-scenario, of course, is to have a last-minute pet accident happen on the floor when prospects are touring the house. That's not just a hypothetical situation; it occurs more often than you might think. To prevent that potential "disaster," some home sellers make arrangements with friends, relatives, or pet daycare services to have their dogs or cats taken care of outside of the house when tours are scheduled. While that's not always practical or even possible, it can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on potential buyers.

The bottom line when it comes to effective home staging is that people are going to notice "the good, the bad, and the ugly." Your objective, of course, is to do everything possible to diminish the negatives and accentuate the positives. Your real estate agent can be an indispensable resource for providing you with the unvarnished truth about what needs to be repaired or cosmetically improved to present the best possible image of your home to the public.