Julie Sagan GRI - Sagan REALTORS ®, Swampscott, MA Real Estate, Marblehead, MA Real Estate

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: 

What To Look For When Choosing Yours

Choosing the perfect home for you and your family is important and there are a lot of different factors about the house itself that influence your decision. But one of the most important factors actually lies outside your home… your neighborhood. Here are some make or break elements for picking the perfect neighborhood.

Talk to your neighbors. People love to talk, and they love to share their opinions. Don’t be afraid to knock on your potential new neighbors’ doors and ask them what they think of the neighborhood. What is it lacking? What is their favorite part? They’ll all have at least one thing to share that can help you make your decision. 

Take a walk. Get a feel for the neighborhood yourself. Talking to your neighbors will help you get a read on whether there is a real sense of community and trust between the residents of the neighborhood. When you walk around, do you feel safe? Could you picture yourself living here, and bringing the kids for a walk with you?

Where there’s a park, they will play. Having a well maintained, well-populated park in the neighborhood speaks well of the overall safety of the neighborhood, and the pride the residents and town take in its community. If the local parks are empty or aren’t well kept, this may be a sign to keep walking. 

Educate yourself. Ask the neighbors, and research yourself, what the schools are like in your town and the surrounding towns. The better the school, the better impact it will have on the value of your home, especially if you plan to sell in the future. Is there a library nearby where the kids can spend extra time reading? If there is a library, you can most likely find out what types of events they hold for residents and local communities.

Be curious about community activities: Take interest in local events like farmers’ markets to see how involved the community is with one another. Many

towns host community-building activities where you can get to know your neighbors and work together to keep making the neighborhood better.

Commute Conscious: How far, and how easy is it to get to work every day? Is there a grocery store nearby? Small inconveniences add up when they happen every day or every week. When there are many retail shops, coffee shops, local restaurants, and amenities nearby like gyms, community pools, and emergency rooms, life will be easier for you and your family.

Grow big and grow homes: The presence of new communities and homes being built nearby, and more well-kept retail/grocery stores going up is a sign that your neighborhood is a growing one. This is a good thing for future selling, but also keep an eye on the local flora and fauna. Mature trees and abundant nature provide the area with clean air, much-needed shade in the New England summers, and show that the community values what they have organically. 

When you’re choosing a new neighborhood, take the time to visit at different times of the day. Whether on your feet or in the car, you can get a good sense of whether it’s a good fit for you pretty quickly. For more information and tips, I’m always here to lend a helping hand. Let me be your friendly neighborhood real estate agent.


Open House 101: Rules to Follow & Questions to Ask

It might seem simple. Walk through the door, take a peek around, and ask a few questions. But an open house is much more than that. It’s an opportunity. It’s an interview between you and your future home. So what should you keep an eye out for? What should you ask? What should you wear? Where should you go? I’ve got you covered with perfect open house etiquette to ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Make sure you dress to impress. Remember, this is an interview. The seller and their real estate agents are looking for the perfect person to take care of the home they’ve cared for all this time. Dressing appropriately can make a great impression. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you’re really going to look around and stay awhile.

You may think, “this is an open house, so I have free reign to poke around…” Not so fast. This is still the seller’s home. It is important to see every nook and cranny, but ask permission before you start opening doors and looking in drawers. A door may be closed for a reason, so feel free to ask why, and feel free to ask permission to look inside. A little politeness may go a long way.

You won’t be the only ones looking at the house. Keep an eye on the competition, and listen to the questions everyone else is asking too! You may get an idea of who you’re up against, and the reasons why your fellow open house-goers are looking to buy.

Now it’s time for the questions. Before you go room to room, think big. Ask: Why is the house for sale? How long has it been on the market? Has the price fluctuated, or have offers been made? Ask to see the property disclosures, and follow up on any issues you might see. 

Look around at your environment. Are you near a good school for the kids? Are there loud highways, or noisy neighbors that may disturb your peace? Where does the sun fall as it makes its way down?

As you make your way through the house, the real estate agent present should be willing to walk with you and answer any questions you may have. In each room, ask if any major renovations have been made. If there is carpet in the bedrooms or living rooms, ask how long it has been there, and what’s underneath in case you plan to remove it. Have any of the rooms been recently painted? As for the kitchens and bathrooms, this is where the water issues lie. Ask about water pressure, and if there have been any issues concerning water. If there is a basement, ask about mold and water issues there as well.

If the house you’re looking at has a yard, be sure to inquire about problem spots, pest control, and water flow for heavy rain periods.

The interview is coming to an end. You’re about to shake hands and move on. If you have any more questions and concerns, this is the time to ask them. Ask the agent if the sellers have a timeline so that you may make your decision wisely and in a timely fashion. You can feel great about being thorough and well-informed. This is a major decision after all, and real estate agents are here to help!

Homeowner How To: Skills Everyone Should Have

Owning a home can seem daunting when you’re suddenly responsible for every aspect of your new house. Tricky situations pop up all the time, but with a little list of know-how, you can easily keep your home in check and stay on top of regular maintenance. If you take the time to learn how to do simple fixes at home, you can save time and money, and yourself from the hassle of unexpected problems.

One of the easiest ways to save money is to learn how to change your HVAC filters. Changing them quarterly, or as often as they need it, keeps your system running at full capacity. Dirty filters cause your systems to work harder and make your energy bills skyrocket. By changing them regularly, you keep your home’s air clean and your bills low.

No one likes the hassle of a clogged drain. Learning how to assess the issue and how to use a drain snake can save you loads of time and money

when a simple draining liquid won’t do the trick. Maybe you’ve got the opposite problem and your faucets are annoyingly leaky. Taking the time to learn a bit about how your plumbing works, and how to swap out the failed pieces cuts down on time and money wasted. While we’re talking about waterworks, let’s think about the gutters. If your gutters aren’t regularly cleaned and cleared of debris, rainwater can get trapped and seep into the house. Keeping up with the gutters prevents a build-up of water-trapping leaves and a big clean up project later.

Knowing how to cut the water and gas supplies is a big safety concern. Find out where your water supply valve is located and learn how to quickly and correctly turn it off when you need to. If you smell gas, always call for help first and leave your home. Know where your gas meter is, and ask a professional how to properly turn the shut-off valve to promptly prevent any further issues. 

Something as easy as hanging a picture can cause a hassle if you don’t know how to do it properly. Knowing how to find a wall stud is a valuable piece of information. Most studs are 16 inches apart. Start at the corner, and measure out 16-inch increments to find them.

Caulking and sealing cracks can keep out unwanted air, water, and bugs. Most cracks occur around windows, doors, pipes, and walls. Your local hardware store can guide you in finding the correct product suited to your problem.

As always, safety first. If you aren’t sure how to fix any of these problems on your own, call a professional for guidance. A little bit of research and a good teacher can add to your storehouse of home maintenance knowledge and save you time and money. Stack up your homeowner know-how and make life easier!

The Sagan Difference

Finding a suitable home for your family is an important task. It’s where your kids will mark their heights on the wall. It’s where your teenagers will pack up for college. It’s where everyone meets back at the end of the day to feel together again. Your real estate agent has the power to make that experience memorable, meaningful, and monumental. Julie Sagan is the right woman for the job. She took the time to chat with us about her experience as a real estate agent, and why she was made for this job, and made for you.

What do you love about the Boston/North Shore area? What about growing up there makes it better than somewhere else? I feel very lucky living on the North Shore and being so close to Boston. I grew up in Rochester, NY which was a great place, but when I left to go to College in Boston I fell in love with it. I love that I can walk from one end of the city to the other. I never get tired of enjoying the swan boats, walking through the public gardens, then walking up Newbury street. The city has really changed since I went to school there. There are so many more restaurants and shopping available. I love that living on the North Shore is easily accessible to Boston. The commuter rail is a quick trip to North Station. There are so many cute towns on the North Shore, many on the water. They really give you that New England feel. I feel so lucky to live where I do because I am able to enjoy our community and also be very close to Boston for theatre, sporting events or to meet friends. I love the sports fans in our area.  It brings everyone together and all of our teams are always fun to watch.

How does being a mother make you a better real estate agent? Being a mom of two boys, I know what young families are looking for in a home. Now that my boys are in their twenties I am even able to predict what family needs they will have and am familiar with schools in the area.

If you could tell potential clients one thing to remember, what would it be? Remember to enjoy the journey of finding a home. Try to see the potential, and remember that rooms can be renovated over time.  

Why is being a real estate agent so rewarding? Challenging? I love being a realtor because I get the opportunity to help people reach their real estate goals, whether it is a young couple starting out, a growing family, or someone looking to downsize.  These chapters in people’s lives are so important and I want to be there along the way helping them out. 

What should clients look for in a good real estate agent? Clients should look for someone who is truly dedicated to their trade. They should feel they can ask their agent any question and feel comfortable doing that. It can sometimes be a lengthy process so liking your agent is important because you may be spending a good amount of time with them. You want to have fun!!

Julie’s got what it takes to set you up for success. A motivated family woman who gets joy from making her clients happy, Julie is the realtor you’ve been looking for! Feel the Sagan Difference and allow Julie to help you during this important journey!

Investing in the Future: Why Buying a Condominium Instead of Paying for Dorming may be the Smartest Strategy

College is expensive. This is something we, and our pockets, know all too well. There’s no real way around it. Going to a good school, in an expensive city like Boston, is going to cost a pretty penny even with a little help. Tuition, books, dorms, they all add up. So there has to be a smarter way to save money, and create an opportunity for our students. 

Many students pay for room and board, or spend way too much money on renting an off-campus apartment. But once they’re done with school, they’re stuck with paying off their tuition on top of rental fees. Instead of losing money, many parents are doing something to help their students by buying a condominium for them to live in while focusing on their education. BostonPrivate.com comments, “For many, this strategy of converting room or rental costs otherwise lost into an investment has proven to be a practical method for building equity, diversifying a portfolio, enjoying tax benefits, and in some cases, capturing profits that offset tuition.”

If you’re looking into an opportunity like this there are many factors to consider. Remember that once your student graduates, you’ll have to rent it out, or put it on the market. Paying a little extra for a great, and safe location (one with access to basic needs- groceries, healthcare, etc) will help you in the long run. Other parents, or families looking to rent or buy will be looking for the same things. 

Of course, this investment means some hard work. Becoming a landlord, either to your child and his or her roommates, or future renters, probably involves more than you think. So make sure you’re ready to take on this responsibility before committing. 

Having a great real estate agent, can relieve a lot of the stresses this involves. I know how to find you the perfect spot to benefit you and your child now, and in the future. The right property will provide a safe place for your child to comfortably continue their education, and be easy to turn into a profit later. I know the housing market, and can guide you in knowing when to buy and when to start looking for renters or potential buyers. I can make you aware of risks and benefits to undergoing a project like this, and can make sure you make the smartest decision now to eliminate unseen future problems. 

There’s a smart way to start this process, and it’s with me, Julie Sagan. I can help you take advantage of intelligent and profitable opportunities like this one, and make you and your child’s educational experience all the more beneficial. If your child is planning on attending school in or around Boston, I can help you find an investment property right in the city, or surrounding areas like Somerville, Medford, Brookline, and more. Invest your time in me, and turn your child’s college experience into an investment opportunity of a life time. 

Sources: https://www.bostonprivate.com/our-thinking/vault/articles/is-buying-a-condo-for-your-college-student-the-right-choice-305