Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Century 21 North Shore / Cape Cod



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 12/7/2017

Renting is a great short-term housing solution for millions of Americans each year. And, for those who donít want the responsibilities of homeownership, it can also serve as a longterm lifestyle for those uninterested in equity. However, if you do hope to someday purchase a home, there are several reasons it is one of the best financial decisions in the long run.

Finding out when is the right time to buy a home is a difficult question to ask yourself. Youíll have to consider your current budget and future financial goals, your employment situation, and personal lifestyle preferences.

In todayís post, Iím going to discuss several of these considerations to help you determine if now is the time to buy a home or if you should continue renting for the time being.

Mortgage rates through history

One of the features of homebuying that is largely out of your control is the historical average mortgage interest rates.


While your specific rate will be based on things like your income and credit score, as well as the type of mortgage you choose, real estate trends will also have an impact on the rate that lenders use.

Rates are, on average, lower in the last five years than they were throughout the 80s, 90s, and 00s. With rates under 4%, these levels are unprecedented in the last 3 decades. However, last year did see a slight increase to 4.1%.

What are your long and short-term plans?

Many people who are considering buying their first homes are more concerned with whether itís  financially feasible than if it fits into their life and career goals.

Before you start shopping for houses and contacting lenders, itís a good idea to sit down with your family or significant other and start thinking about a timeline.

First, are you prepared to live in your next home for 5-7 years? This a good baseline for the amount of time you need to stay in a home to make it worth the costs.

Next, would you have better career or education prospects if you were to move elsewhere in a few years?


Of course, these questions are not objective--you may never know for sure which is the best decision. However, having the conversation is vital to moving forward.

Are you prepared for the extra workload?

Homeownership is work. Aside from just having to mow the lawn and take out the garbage, youíll also be responsible for repairs and maintenance that previously your landlord was required to do.

The good news is you can learn most things on YouTube. However, some repairs can be costly and require calling in a professional. Just like owning a car, homeownership has itís associated upkeep expenses.

However, with that added responsibility comes independence. You can paint and change your home how you see fit without worrying about losing a security deposit.


Start considering these questions now and in due time youíll have a better understanding of your current and future goals. This way, youíll be able to choose the best possible time to buy a home.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 12/4/2017

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH... but YOU can make it shine again! Check out this 3 bedroom, 1 full bath Ranch offering a fireplace living room, hardwood floors, kitchen with slider to wrap around deck. Full unfinished basement with interior access and bulkhead. Forced hot air heating by gas. Title 5 in hand. Property is being sold ''AS IS''. Terrific location close to everything....this could be the one!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 11/30/2017

If you have driven around any American neighborhood lately, you may have noticed a big addition to many houses, particularly if you look up. Solar panels have been soaring in popularity the past few years. As of 2015, 784,000 U.S. homes and businesses have gone solar, according to Solar Industry Data. So what is driving all of these home and business owners to go solar? For one, the worldís recent consciousness of the environment, and the upswing of renewable energy sources has certainly had a big impact and can be seen more in mainstream media and advertising (i.e. the hybrid car). But solar companies and the government are making solar panels even more appealing with incentives, and with the promise of savings. Homeowners who utilize solar energy save thousands on their energy bill every year. There are many incentives that could also aid in saving money. As of 2015, the government offers a 30% Federal Tax Credit for homeowners who add solar panels to their homes. Many states have their own programs that reward anyone for going green. For example, Massachusetts has a program called the RPS Solar Carve-Out II, which is an incentive to support residential, commercial, public, and nonprofit entities in developing new solar installations across the state. Massachusetts and New Hampshire offer Energy Certificate programs which allow homeowners to sell their solar energy, generating many dollars in tax-free income. Because of these incentives, and also the quick payback, solar panels can be a sound investment. Most homeowners can be revived from their investments within 10 years. You can compare that to any other utility upgrade, such as an air conditioner, which costs money to install, and then more money to run. For anyone thinking about moving soon, solar panels will actually increase the value of a home. According to a study done by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), homes sell 20% faster when solar panels are installed. Since solar energy seems to be an upward trend, it could be appealing to the housing market. Solar panels are also a guaranteed performance. Because solar panels create energy from the sunís rays, it will never run out. Compare that assurance to the unreliability and fluctuation of other non-renewable utility companies. As for maintenance, solar energy requires little to no upkeep for the homeowner. Once it is installed, there is nothing to do but soak up the sun! Aside from being a trendy look for homes, there are many benefits to adding solar panels to your home. All else aside, decreasing your carbon footprint can be a sunny incentive for all of us.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 11/23/2017

A home showing may play a key role in your ability to sell your house. If a showing is successful, a buyer may submit an offer in the hours or days that follow. On the other hand, if a home fails to impress during a showing, a buyer likely will continue to search for the perfect residence.

It can be easy to ensure that a home showing is successful. Now, let's take a look at three steps that home sellers can follow to increase the likelihood of a successful showing.

1. Clean Your Home

A neat, tidy home is likely to make a positive first impression on potential buyers. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your home from top to bottom prior to a showing.

Mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform assorted home exterior maintenance. That way, you can instantly boost your house's curb appeal.

Also, wipe down countertops, vacuum carpets and complete various home interior maintenance. By doing so, you can guarantee that potential buyers will like what they see as soon as they walk through your home's front door.

2. Remove Personal Belongings

The goal of a home showing is to help a potential buyer envision what life would be like if he or she purchases your house. As such, you'll want to take down artwork, photographs and any other personal belongings before a home showing. Because if you keep these items on display, it may be tough for a buyer to picture himself or herself as the owner of your home.

Don't forget to eliminate as much clutter from your home as possible too. If you put excess items in storage or sell or donate these items, you can cut down on clutter and show off the true size of your residence.

3. Be Flexible

After you perform extensive home interior and exterior cleaning and remove myriad personal belongings from your residence, it may be only a matter of time before a home showing is scheduled. If you remain flexible, you can boost your chances of hosting as many home showings as possible.

There is no telling when a prospective buyer will want to check out your residence. Thus, if you maintain your flexibility, you'll be ready to leave your house at a moment's notice to accommodate a buyer's request for a showing.

After a home showing, you may receive buyer feedback as well. If a buyer leaves negative feedback about your residence, there is no need to worry. Use this feedback to identify and address problem areas in your house, and you can guarantee that future home showings hit the mark with buyers.

Lastly, if often helps to work with an expert real estate agent when you sell your house. This housing market professional is happy to help you get ready for a home showing and will offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you get the best possible results throughout the home selling process.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 11/16/2017

American homes have been growing larger for decades. This trend is partly due to personal preference for more space, and partly caused by local laws mandating minimum square-footage of all new properties.

Owning and maintaining a home is a huge expense. Especially if youíre heating and maintaining parts of your home that you donít really need.

As a result, a growing number of people are renting out parts of their home in various ways. From Airbnb to subletting, and all the way up to renting out their basement as a separate apartment, there are a number of ways you can earn money on your home.

The appeal is obvious. However, there are a number of factors you should consider before renting out part of your home. After all, your home is the place you and your family spend your days and nights, and sometimes the idea of having a stranger in your midst can be frightening to some homeowners.

For others, however, welcoming people into their home is a fun way to meet new people, help someone find affordable housing in a place they otherwise wouldnít, and earn some extra money.

Know your local laws

It should be noted up front that not everyone can just legally rent out a portion of their home. Whether it is due to local laws, building code requirements, or homeowners association rules, there are a number of reasons you might not be able to rent out part of your home.

Before you consider listing a room or portion of your home, read up on the landlord-tenant laws in your area to make sure youíre comfortable with your legal obligations.

Make the necessary preparations

Renting a room in your home isnít just a matter of giving someone the key to the front door. Youíll have to plan to install deadbolts, remove doorknobs with inside locking mechanisms, make repairs to the room and any amenities the tenant will have access to and document the state of your home.

Make a clear renterís agreement

Would it make you uncomfortable to have a dog or cat in your home? Does your home have a smoking policy?

There are a number of things you should think about and add to your renterís agreement and any online listing you post. This will help you narrow down your renter options and give you a better chance of finding someone right for your home.

Finding a tenant

There are a number of ways you can find people to live in your home. Most homeowners list their spare room or apartment online, but it can also be a good idea to reach out to people you know and trust.

Once you have interested parties, you might want to purchase a background check and determine if youíll require certain documents (proof of income, credit score, etc.).

Document everything

Thereís a reason you have to do so much paperwork when you rent an apartment--the landlord wants to make sure they are covered in case anything goes wrong.

Before signing an agreement with your new renter, make sure it covers all of the ďwhat-ifĒ scenarios that could happen. There are several sample lease agreements online that you can use as a template.

Furthermore, once the tenant moves in, be sure that your discussions and agreements are documented. If the tenant denies you access to perform a check for pests, make sure you have some documentation that shows this denial.




Categories: Uncategorized