Twila Palmer - Westford Real Estate | Westford, MA Real Estate, Chelmsford, MA Real Estate


They say a picture is worth a thousand words and we often focus so much on the photos of our home that we put little emphasis on the words that are used in Words are powerful and because the multiple listing service limits the amount of words that can be used in a listing it is important to make them count. Here are some words and phrases to bring in the buyers: Create an emotion: Buyers buy on emotion so be sure to tell them what it is like to live in the home. Paint a picture of sitting by the fire or entertaining in the open floor plan. Use specifics: Don't just say new or updated. If the kitchen boasts high-end appliances tell the potential buyer the brand name. Describe the shelves and racks in the walk-in closets or the brand name replacement windows. Highlight location: Is the home blocks away from stores, transportation or can you see the beach from the bedroom window? If so, tell the buyer exactly how close it is to desirable amenities and community resources. Update the listing: Change up the wording if the house has been on the market for a while. Try highlighting some different features. Don't forget to remove the comments about the Open House or how the listing "won't last". The words that describe your home can be just as important as the pictures so make sure that you use every character allowed to highlight the features and bring in the buyers.  

The last thing you want is a smelly house. When you are trying to sell your home the presence of household odors can affect the sale-ability and the bottom line price. Some of the most common offensive odors are cooking odors, particularly fish and curry odors, smoke from cigarettes or oven fires, pet odors or the odor from illness or incontinence. In order to remove stubborn odors you will need to give the home a thorough cleaning. Here are some tips to get you on your way to a fresh smelling home. 1. Open windows and doors. Place a large fan in a doorway or window. Have the fan where blow fresh air in. Use a second fan to exhaust the odors out. 2. Believe it or not the smells could be coming from your attic insulation. Odors from cooking rise in the heat and are trapped in the attic insulation. The insulation cannot be cleaned or effectively deodorized so it must be replaced. 3. Clean carpets and upholstered furniture using a steamer. A commercial steam extractor can be rented from an equipment rental place. Things like mattresses and foam pillows will most likely need to be replaced as it is almost impossible to get odors out. 4. All clothing, bedding, and drapes in the home will need to be laundered or dry cleaned. Odors get trapped in these are can linger. Check labels for care instructions and follow the directions. 5. Odor causing particles can get trapped in the duct work. You may need to have the ducts professionally cleaned to remove the particles. Before you do that, you might consider changing the furnace or air conditioning filters once a day until you no longer smell offensive odors. 7. Wash all the ceilings, walls and floors. Use a cleaner designed for this as you would not want to damage the paint or wood floors. 8. Wash your stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer inside and out. Don't forget the back of the stove and the coils of the refrigerator. 9. Place small dishes of vanilla extract, baking soda, sliced lemons or potpourri throughout the house to capture the odors and replace them with a better alternative.

A common question for sellers is if they will owe capital gains tax when they sell their home. The answer to that question: it depends. The capital gains tax law known as the Taxpayer Relief Act went into effect in 1997 but there is still a lot confusion over who pays what and why. If you sell your home you will not have to pay capital gains tax if:
  • You are selling your personal residence.
  • You have $250,000 in profit or less if you are single and $500,000 if married.
  • You have lived in your home for two of the last five years.
  • The home is not an investment property.
The capital gains exclusion can be used as many times as you like as long as it meets all of the above criteria. If you are going to make more than $250,000/$500,000 in profit you will be taxed at a 20% capital gains tax rate on the amount over the $250,000/$500,000 threshold. There are exceptions to the rule. You may be eligible for a tax break if:
  • You need to sell your home because a change in health.
  • You need to sell your home because of a long distance relocation.
  • You are in the armed services and moved to fulfill your service commitments.
Your individual tax situation may be different, so make sure to consult a qualified tax accountant or attorney.  

Whether you are a buyer or a seller it is time to get off the fence. Despite years of bad news surrounding the real estate market, the time has come when it is both a good time to be a buyer and a seller. Why Buy? Here are just a few reasons why you should get off the fence and buy: 1. When investors start gobbling up real estate you know it's a good deal. In 2011, investors upped their buying by 64%.  While it is still not time to start flipping for a profit the clock is ticking down to an uptick in prices. 2. Interest rates are historically low. You have been hearing this for a while but they are hovering right around 4%. 3. First-time buyers are in a unique position. They didn't lose money in the housing market. 4. It's a great deal! Prices are at all-time lows. So you may be saving as much as 40% off a home if you buy now. Why Sell? Here are just a few reasons why you should get off the fence and sell: 1. Inventory is shrinking. Demand is up and in certain areas and price ranges there is limited inventory so putting your home on the market now will most likely result in a sale. 2. Mortgage availability has stabilized. Mortgage restrictions are loosening and especially first-time buyers are able to get mortgages as they were not affected as much by the financial crisis. 3. Unemployment is not as bad as you think. One is 30 Americans is unemployed as a result of the recent financial crisis. There are lots of able buyers out there. 4. Houses are selling and some are even going to bidding wars. Homes that are priced according to the market are selling and selling quickly. 5. Don't wait for prices to increase. This could be a long wait.

You have decided to sell. But before you put the sign in the yard there are some things you will want to make sure you have done. Time spent doing research and setting the right price will most likely yield you a better return in the end. A home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

Track your neighborhood values
Find out what homes similar to yours are selling for in your neighborhood so you will have a good idea what your home is worth.

Buyer or seller market
You need to judge whether it's a sellers' market or a buyers' market in

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your neighborhood. Remember that all real estate is local. You will want to research things like interest rates, home inventory, job forecasts, and even time of year.

Research inventory
How many homes are for sale? If you live in a desirable neighborhood and there aren't many homes for sale, you will have a clear edge here. However, if you see lots of homes on the market and they're not selling very quickly, you might have to reduce the price you had in mind.

Know the average days on the market
Review the homes in your neighborhood and their days on market sometimes referred to as DOM. Look at trends for the past year and assess whether homes were appreciating or depreciating.

Monitor the job market
Is a big company relocating workers to your area? Or are they moving out and shutting the doors? The job market has a lot to do with the real estate market.

Attend nearby open houses
Observe how other properties are showing and compare them to your home. At an open house you can often feel the "mood" of potential buyers.

Get a professional opinion
A real estate professional will be able to help you gather all of the above information and come up with a CMA or comparable market analysis to determine the best price range for you home.




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