Jill Finkelstein - Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Town and Country Real Estate



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 5/20/2018

Depending on its condition, a basement can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, basements can provide an abundance of storage space to help keep your home organized. On the other hand, basements can be plagued with water leaks, excess moisture, and mold growth.

Some solutions to wet basement problems can be expensive, such as installing French drains, perimeter trenches, or exterior waterproof membranes. If you're considering buying a house that may have basement moisture problems or water damage, a good home inspector can identify these issues beforehand and let you know how serious they are.

Moisture Control Tips

Relatively simple solutions to wet basement problems include buying a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier extracts excess water from the air and can help prevent mold growth and moisture damage to your belongings. Ideally, a home basement should be a place where you can safely store everything from clothing and holiday supplies to tools and family heirlooms. A humidity meter, also called a hygrometer, can be a good way to keep track of relative humidity (RH) in your basement. Whether you'd want to buy a cheap one or a more costly model depends on the value of the items you want to protect.

The EPA's Energy Star program recommends maintaining a humidity range in your home of between 30% and 50% to prevent bacterial and mold growth. (For homeowners living in colder climates, it may be necessary to keep the RH level below 40% to prevent window condensation.) Note: If you're storing moisture-sensitive items like wooden musical instruments, important documents, or cigars, it's vital to carefully monitor humidity levels and follow all recommendations for optimal care and preservation. (Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary to keep track of other climate control factors, such as room temperature, dust, and air quality.)

What to Do About Clutter

Another common basement problem that often develops after homeowners have lived in the house for several years is clutter and disorganization. The ideal scenario is to set up an organization system in the basement immediately after moving into a house. In the real world, however, many people tend to postpone unpacking moving boxes and allow clutter to accumulate over a period of years.

The solution may consist of buying shelving units for the basement, setting aside and organizing things you want to keep, and dispensing with items that no longer serve your needs. Options for getting rid of unwanted stuff may include holding a garage sale, donating old belongings to charitable organizations, giving them away to friends and relatives, or paying a junk removal service to haul them away.

Although keeping your basement dry, organized, and clutter free is an ongoing task, the benefits almost always outweigh the short-term inconvenience.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 5/13/2018

A first-time homebuyer may believe that he or she can submit a "lowball" offer on a residence, even if a house has been available for many weeks or months. However, the risks associated with submitting a subpar proposal are significant, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to purchase a top-notch residence as soon as possible.

Ultimately, a lowball offer may result in an instant "No" from a home seller. Perhaps even worse, the proposal could sour potential negotiations between a homebuyer and home seller and cause a property buyer to miss out on an opportunity to acquire his or her dream residence.

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, there is no need to risk submitting a lowball offer.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time homebuyer avoid the temptation to make a lowball proposal.

1. Evaluate a Wide Range of Houses

An informed first-time homebuyer may be better equipped than others to provide a competitive offer to purchase his or her ideal residence.

For example, a homebuyer who assesses a broad range of houses in a particular area can determine a price range for similar residences. Then, if this homebuyer would like to submit an offer on a house, he or she can use housing market data to submit a fair proposal without delay.

With housing market data, a homebuyer can determine whether he or she is operating in a buyer's or seller's market too. That way, this homebuyer can leverage housing market insights to quickly and effortlessly put together a competitive offer on any residence, at any time.

2. Understand Your Finances

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is a great idea for a first-time homebuyer. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will be able map out a homebuying journey based on his or her finances.

To receive pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will should meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders can offer details about a variety of mortgage options and help a homebuyer make an informed mortgage decision.

After a homebuyer is pre-approved for a mortgage, he or she can submit an offer on a house and understand exactly how much money is available for a home purchase. As a result, this homebuyer can put his or her best foot forward with an initial offer, thereby reducing the risk of submitting a lowball proposal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

The homebuying journey can be long and complicated, especially for those who are pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can collaborate with a real estate agent to obtain deep housing market insights.

A real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased home offer recommendations. By doing so, this housing market professional can help a first-time homebuyer submit the best offer on a residence – without exception.

Ready to purchase a home for the first time? Use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can avoid the danger of submitting a lowball offer on a residence.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 5/6/2018

MOVE-IN READY AND TOTALLY UPDATED CAPE! This beautiful, well-maintained home is located a short walk to the train and town center, and features many amenities such as a quartz stainless kitchen with a breakfast bar, an over-sized deck with a hot tub, a large fenced-in yard, a swing set, a large electrified shed, a one car heated garage, hardwood floors and a finished lower level family room. Enter the foyer and make yourself at home in the living room with its cozy fireplace and expansive wall of built-in bookcases. The first floor also offers a formal dining room with a china cabinet and chair rail, a gourmet kitchen with gas cooking, a study/bedroom, and a full bath with a heated floor. The second floor has two good-sized bedrooms and a full bath. The finished lower level has many flexible uses as well as ample storage and a laundry room. This is a fantastic opportunity to live in Needham! Showings begin on Saturday, May 5th and Sunday, May 6th, 12:00-2:00PM.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 5/6/2018

The homebuying journey may seem daunting at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Be Diligent

A diligent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless and successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer likely will do whatever it takes to find the right house at the right price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

To become a diligent homebuyer, it generally is a good idea to learn about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. With this information, you can determine whether you're pursuing a home in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.

2. Know Where You Want to Go

Establish homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. If you know what differentiates your dream house from others, you can quickly and effortlessly search for residences that match your expectations.

Also, you may want to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. For example, if you want to find a house close to your office in the city, you may want to explore residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if your goal is to buy a house near the top schools in a particular state, you should narrow your house search based on school rankings and other pertinent data.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buying a house is no small feat, and ultimately, there is no reason to try to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can provide expert support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a must-hire, and for good reason. He or she will guide you along the entire homebuying journey and respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. In addition, a real estate agent offers recommendations and suggestions to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your dream residence.

Usually, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you. He or she next will keep you informed about available residences that meet your criteria and set up home showings. Once you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house. And if your offer receives a "Yes" from a home seller, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can kick off a house search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 4/29/2018

There are a number of reasons you may want to sell your home quickly. Whether you’re hoping to avoid making two mortgage payments, or if you are moving a long distance and have a limited time to close on your old home, it can become imperative to sell quickly.

Many homeowners in a rush to sell their home are at a loss for what they can do to increase their chances of selling quickly without substantially lowering the price.

If you’re in a competitive buyer’s market it can be even more difficult to make a quick sale. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help expedite the selling process. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to do just that.

Read on for tips on selling your home faster so you can move on to focusing on your new home.

Presentation matters

To give yourself the best chance of attracting buyers, you’ll want to focus on cleaning and staging your home.

Many sellers leave their belongings in the home and simply fill up their closet and basement while selling their home. A better approach is to rent a storage unit to keep your belongings in. This will make sure you can showcase the size of your closet and other storage areas in viewings and in your photography.

When it comes to photography, using high quality photos that show off the lighting and spaciousness of your home will attract more leads on your home. Spending money to hire a photographer for the day can save you valuable time and give you quality, marketable photos of your home.

Rethink your pricing

If you need to sell quickly, the easiest way to do so is to make sure you’ve priced your home reasonably. Many sellers have a tendency to aim high, thinking that they will be haggled down by a buyer.

However, fewer people will reach out if your home is outside of their budget. Set your home price close to its market value and make adjustments accordingly.

Add quick curb appeal

Curb appeal is the measure of how welcoming and desirable your home looks upon driving by or pulling into the driveway. This can be achieved with landscaping, paving the driveway, and cleaning the house’s siding.

However, you don’t have to spend thousands to clean up the outside of your home. Sometimes simply mowing and edging the lawn and adding fresh mulch goes a long way toward improving curb appeal.

Another thing to consider is the best time to take outdoor photos of your home. If you have a great view or sunsets, try taking photos at different times of the day to show off all your property has to offer.

Remove personal items

You want your home to appear livable--not lived in. Make sure family photos and other personalized items have been removed for real estate photography, open houses, and viewing.

Similarly, if you have any rooms painted colors that others may find jarring, re-paint them in a neutral, calming color. And, if any of your walls are painted a dark color, brighten them up to make the room appear larger.

This approach stands true for the driveway and garage as well. You want potential buyers to imagine how they could use the space--not how you’re currently using it. Make sure your vehicles and outdoor equipment are out of sight in your photos and during showings.