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Blog :: 03-2017

Clever Design Upgrades to Help Sell Your Home

What is it about a home that catches a buyer’s eye? Why is it when two homes are comparable to one another, buyers go with the one that just “feels right”? Sometimes the difference is so small, they don’t consciously notice. Little touches can give a home a major edge in the market. And, with the Boston housing market expected to be a strong "seller's market" in 2017, design upgrades that you can make when selling your home are always welcome.

In fact, here are five clever design upgrades which can provide your home with that indefinable feeling that it’s of higher quality than the competition:

1. Light switch plate upgrades. Homeowners always overlook their own dirty, chipped, or cheap-looking switch plates. If you spend a few bucks to swap out switch plates, any room in the house will seem a tiny bit fresher. Better yet: In the bathroom and kitchen, match the color of your new switch plates to the tile. Look at the accent color in the bathroom or the backsplash in the kitchen for inspiration.

2. Dimmers on major rooms. Bright lights are great for showing off a home, but there’s a little sense of luxury when the overhead lights in living, dining, family, and master bedrooms are on dimmer switches. For fixtures controlled by one switch, get single pole dimmers. For those controlled by two, you’ll need 3-way dimmers.

3. Tasteful crown molding. For rooms without crown molding, adding this touch can really make a plain room feel high-quality. Entryways and master bedrooms are good choices if you have a limited budget, but if you want to go all out, include the other bedrooms as well. The key is adding molding which doesn’t seem ostentatious or inappropriate given the size and existing decor in the room.

4. Custom home address plaque. For between $50 and $100, you can have an address plaque created with the home’s number and the street name spelled out. Look online for inspiration and a design which fits your home. This is a killer upgrade and many homeowners overlook it when they’re trying to add curb appeal to their house.

5. New cabinet and drawer hardware. It’s astonishing how much modern handles and drawer pulls go towards rejuvenating tired or outdated storage. At a minimum, concentrate on the kitchen, but if you want to go all out, look for options to upgrade the bathroom as well.

You might not be able to quantify the exact return these clever upgrades will net you, but you can bet they will help your home stand out from sellers who won’t take the time to make some simple changes.

So...are you ready to sell? What are you waiting for? Contact me today at (617) 899-3162 or mpallares55@gmail.com

The Truth Behind Renting vs. Buying a Home

Buying vs Renting

Are you doing the math these days around renting versus buying a home? Trying to decide if you can afford to buy? If so, you’ve probably Googled one of the many “rent versus buy” calculators out there to help you get a handle on your budget. Here's one eye-popping fact to keep in mind while you conduct your research: As of the first of the year, average apartment rent in Greater Boston is $2,955 with one-bedroom apartments going for $2,455 a month on average and two-bedroom apartments renting for an average of $3,062. Ouch.

While online calculators are helpful, and they can also help clue you in to things like insurance expenses and property taxes, they do overlook a number of key factors in the decision.

1. A mortgage is a surefire way to build wealth. Provided you don’t buy more home than you can truly afford, your mortgage is like a mandatory savings account. A portion of your payment each month is going straight into your equity in your home. With renting, it’s your landlord who is building equity, not you.

2. The tax situation has profound implications, especially in expensive markets. Until the laws change (and there’s little probability they will any time soon), your mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible on your income taxes. In expensive markets, this can represent  massive deduction. (Also remember: Early on in a traditional mortgage you pay the most in interest and your deduction is the highest.)

3. Renting puts your wallet at the mercy of the market more often than buying. If you have a year-long lease on an apartment, your rent could go up significantly should the rental market heat up. Your rent isn’t likely to stay the same over a long period of time. In most cities, in fact, it will steadily go up. With a standard mortgage, however, your payments are fixed and predictable. It might seem like a lot at first, but if you buy within your means, it’ll seem like less and less of an expense as the years go on.

4. A mortgage gives you more future financial flexibility. The longer you have a mortgage, the more equity you build. The more equity you build, the more options you have to borrow against that equity or use it in ways which may be advantageous for debt and tax purposes. With renting, no such long-term benefit exists.

The key here, of course, is accepting the fact that you must buy a home you can afford which is priced in accordance with the market. Even if you’re not ready today, having a conversation with a Realtor will help you prepare for tomorrow.

How does renting look now? Should we have a conversation? Contact me today so we go over all your options.

Michael A. Pallares, Realtor (617) 899-3162, mpallares55@gmail.com

Michael A. Pallares

at Andrew Mitchell & Company

617-899-3162 | mpallares55@gmail.com Offices in Concord & Marion, Ma