Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/9/2019

If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/2/2019

If you own a dog, cat or other pets and plan to list your residence soon, there may be no time like the present to conduct an in-depth home cleaning. By performing extensive home cleaning, you can eliminate pet odors from your residence and ensure that your house is show-ready.

Ultimately, there are many quick, easy ways to remove pet odors from your house, including:

1. Wash your pet regularly.

When was the last time that you gave your pet a bath? If it's been a few months, now may be the perfect time to wash your pet thoroughly.

Ideally, you should bathe your pet at least every two weeks. This will help reduce the risk of pet odors that can emanate throughout your residence.

To bathe your pet properly, it is paramount to eliminate loose fur during the lathering process. Also, use a drain cover in your bathtub or shower to prevent pet hair from clogging the drain.

2. Clean your pet's bed.

Pet beds may be used frequently, and as a result, can collect assorted pet odors over time. Fortunately, these beds usually are simple to clean.

In many instances, pet beds are machine-washable. Look at the tag attached to the bed itself, and you likely will find instructions about how to wash this bed.

Also, be sure to clean your pet's bed on a monthly basis, at the very least. This will ensure pet odors won't linger for an extended period of time.

3. Don't hesitate to reach out for professional assistance.

As a home seller, it is essential to do everything possible to keep your house looking and smelling great. Thus, if vacuuming the furniture, scrubbing the floors and other home cleaning tasks aren't enough to eliminate pet odors, it may be worthwhile to reach out to a professional home cleaning company for extra help.

A home cleaning company will allocate significant time and resources to clean your residence from top to bottom. That way, your home will look show-ready in no time at all.

Perhaps best of all, a home cleaning company always employs friendly, diligent staff members who are happy to help you in any way possible. These staff members will make it easy to remove pet odors from your residence and can even offer expert guidance to prevent these odors from returning to your home.

Lastly, if you need help selecting a home cleaning company, a real estate agent may be able to assist you.

A real estate agent can provide insights into the top home cleaning companies in a particular city or town. He or she also can serve as a guide throughout the home selling journey, ensuring that you can showcase your residence to the right groups of homebuyers.

If you're struggling to remove pet odors from your residence, you're not alone. But with the aforementioned tips, any home seller can quickly and effortlessly eliminate pet odors from a home, thereby increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/25/2019

The amount of money you will need to ensure you can purchase a house varies based on a number of factors. For example, if you want to purchase a house in a big city, you may need to save more money than you likely would require to buy a residence in a small town. Meanwhile, your decision to choose a fixed-rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate mortgage – or vice-versa – can impact your monthly housing costs. And let's not forget about the costs of home utilities like electricity and water, either.

Ultimately, it helps to put together a homebuying budget before you embark on a house search. Because if you know how much money you have at your disposal, you can map out your house search accordingly. And as a result, you can minimize the risk of spending too much to acquire your dream residence.

Let's now take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying budget.

1. Evaluate Your Current Expenses

An in-depth assessment of your current monthly expenses is key. If you conduct an expense evaluation, you can find out how much you spend on various must-haves and wants. You then can take steps to reduce your monthly expenses and increase your savings for a new home.

It also never hurts to consult with a financial planner. If you have a financial planner at your side, you can gain expert insights to help you evaluate your current expenses. Plus, you can work with a financial planner to determine the best course of action so you can eventually buy your dream residence.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions and explore your mortgage options – you will be happy you did. If you assess your mortgage options closely, you can find one that complements your finances. And once you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house.

Generally, it is beneficial to meet with as many banks and credit unions as you can. If you consult with myriad lenders, you can receive extensive insights into many mortgage options. Best of all, you will be better equipped than ever before to find the lowest-possible interest rate on a mortgage.

3. Consider Your Down Payment Options

The down payment required for a home purchase varies, but it commonly ranges between 5 percent and 20 percent of a house's total price. If you account for a down payment as you craft a homebuying budget, you can use this total to plan ahead for the property buying journey.

Lastly, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to launch a home search. In addition to helping you find your dream residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with potential lenders and offer plenty of guidance throughout the property buying journey.

Ready to pursue a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you create a successful homebuying budget.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/23/2019

This Single-Family in Lexington, MA recently sold for $859,000. This Split Entry style home was sold by Mary-Lou McDonough - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty.


249 Worthen Road E, Lexington, MA 02421

Single-Family

$798,000
Price
$859,000
Sale Price

7
Rooms
3
Beds
1/2
Full/Half Baths
Cherished and maintained by the same family since the year it was built, this immaculate home is ready for the next owners to make their own memories. Enjoy living on one of Lexington's peaceful and widest tree-lined streets with sidewalks on both sides. A true walking neighborhood of connecting side streets may be enjoyed even during the winter weekdays since the nearby school has priority with town plowing! The main level offers a spacious living room with brick fireplace, dining room, eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms, and two baths. The lower level provides a family room with built-ins and second fireplace, a half bath, and a large laundry/utility room with exterior access. Most notable in a home at this price point is the two-car garage with interior access and a maintenance-free deck providing a wonderful outdoor space for entertaining, dining or just relaxing with your morning coffee. A commuter's dream location with easy access to Alewife, Route 2, and public transportation.

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Categories: Sold Homes  


Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/22/2019

This Single-Family in Lexington, MA recently sold for $1,949,000. This Colonial style home was sold by Mary-Lou McDonough - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty.


231 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02420

Single-Family

$1,995,000
Price
$1,949,000
Sale Price

14
Rooms
5
Beds
5
Baths
New project by premier Lexington developer! With handsome cedar shingle siding and natural stone accents, this 5 Bedroom, 5 Bath residence offers an exceptionally open floor plan with wide hallways and a lofty, sun-filled interior. Designer lighting, tiling and rich, custom millwork. With a full Guest Suite on the third floor, this home offers generous space for every lifestyle. Still time to work with interior designer to select colors and personal touches before moving in this summer! Enhanced Energy package, above and beyond Energy Star Ratings. Beautifully landscaped, park-like grounds. Across from the Clarke Middle School ball fields and tennis courts. A short stroll to shops, the MBTA bus stop, Lexington center, Meadowmist Farm for organic produce. Access to breathtaking, treasured 100+ acre Dunback Meadows conservation and walking trails. Easy access to Routes 2 and 95/128. Highly convenient, rare location convenient to work and schools.

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Categories: Sold Homes