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


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!

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

City Living: What are the Benefits?

Life in the big city can seem daunting, but have you considered the benefits? Often times city living is painted as rushed, inconvenient, and unhealthy… but it is actually quite the opposite! Here are just a few reasons why a metro move could be the right one.

We spend a large portion of our lifetime in the car. The commute to work alone from a rural area means hours on the road, and hours being sedentary. We often don’t get the exercise we really need living that way. But living in the city is a perfect remedy. City dwellers walk everywhere! The need for a car is drastically reduced when you live in a place that is made for walking. Sidewalks galore, pedestrian lanes and crossing signals, and convenient pathways line the city and make it quick and easy for you to get in some extra steps on the daily. A lot of growing cities, including Boston, are littered with public bicycles. For just a few dollars, you can safely ride around in well-marked bike lanes to speed up your commute even more. Not only can an active commute save you money on gas, but it can also keep you healthy. 

Maybe walking isn’t your style for getting to work, when you’ve got a nice suit on, or a pair of heels. Public transportation is readily accessible and cheap for getting around to all the major parts of the city. Not sure what the best way to get there is? Lucky for you, these places are filled with people who have already figured it out. City workers are everywhere and ready to answer your questions, and point you to any signs, machines, or apps that can make your commute easier.

Cities aren’t just for working. They’re built for living. Close proximity to excellent healthcare and gyms, can cut down on time wasted. Major areas

are where all the best hospitals and schools are located. Health and education go hand in hand with culture and entertainment. Being in walking distance to museums, theaters, music venues, and the like is a great way to keep up to date, in touch with history, and keep a pulse on the future. Whether it’s for a research paper, or a day out with the family, there is plenty to do on a day off.

Living in the city is great for relationships and friendships since all your circles are in arms reach. Boston is a fantastic city to find that out. With some of the greatest hospitals in the country, a wide variety of food from around the world, our theatre and arts districts, and quiet places to catch up on our favorite book, Boston could be the best fit for you.

Check out some of our listings and give the city a chance!