Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA
Leading Edge Real Estate | 781-944-6060 | [email protected]


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 2/21/2019

At itís best, packing and moving your things when you buy a new home is a lot of work. At its worst, it can be downright dangerous if you arenít careful when lifting and moving heavy items.

A necessary evil of moving to a new home, packing is probably the least favorite part of moving for your average homeowner. However, there are ways you can make this process easier, saving you time and ensuring that decorating your new homes is a simple and satisfying task.

In todayís post, Iím going to run down the list of 5 packing and moving tips to help make your move faster and easier than you thought possible.

1. Cleaning and decluttering

One of the best times to clean out your home is leading up to a move. First, if youíre selling your old home, it will pay off to make the house as clean and uncluttered as possible to attract potential buyers. However, youíll also likely find that there is a lot of junk that you simply don't need to bring to your new home.

When packing each room, keep a garbage bag with you for things you might want to donate or throw away. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if youíve used or appreciated the item in the last two years. If not, you might find that itís easier just to get rid of.

2. Schedule your packing

There are some items in your home that youíll want available up until the day you move. Others you might not need for weeks or months until after youíve settled into your new home. You can lessen your workload by spreading out your packing process across the span of a month or so, tackling a few items each week.

A good example of planned packing is to start packing your seasonal clothing that you wonít need until the next winter or summer.

3. Have someone carry away your old junk

If you have bulk items or furniture that you plan on getting rid of, put them on Craigslist or call a donation center with pick-up a month in advance of your move. This will help you get rid of large items without ever having to leave your home.

4. Hiring movers

Hiring movers might be out of some new homeownersí budgets. However, there are certain times of the week that you can get lower prices. Movers are typically the busiest on the weekend, often making weekdays a more affordable alternative.

5. Find your local box stockpile

Thereís typically no need to spend money on boxes if you give yourself enough time to find a good supplier. Some grocery and department stores will give away their boxes for free because youíre saving them on recycling costs.

Another good option is your local liquor store who probably has several empty wine and beer cases to give away.




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Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 2/14/2019

You found the perfect home. It has everything you want from location to bedrooms to that art studio in the back, AND the mortgage payment will be lower than or the same as your current rent. You got qualified for the loan and the agent has all the paperwork ready to go. So thatís it, right? Time to buy!

In all the excitement of finding that new home, itís easy to ignore the warning signs of ďoverspendingĒ and forget that there are more costs than just the mortgage payment. This can be a dangerous game because once those papers are signed, you are stuck with your purchase. 

Additional Monthly Costs
For the best home-buying experience, calculate ALL your monthly costs and try to budget that into your life before you make any final decisions. Determine what you are willing to give up in order to get that extra bedroom or live in that perfect neighborhood. Some additional monthly charges include:

  • PMI ďPrivate Mortgage InsuranceĒ: Pay attention to the mortgage you qualify for and make sure to calculate for PMI in your new monthly budget if it applies. PMI exists to protect your lender in case you default on your mortgage loan. Itís usually included when you have a lower credit score or a smaller down payment and can range from $75 to $300 per month or more.
  • Homeowners Insurance: Youíve been paying renters insurance for a while now probably, but homeownersí insurance is a completely different ball game. Your insurance cost will be based on the estimated cost to fix or rebuild your home after a catastrophic event, NOT its market value. That means any special features with historic value, specialty windows, etc. will increase the price. Also check out if the home is in a weather damage area, somewhere prone to tornadoes, flooding, hail, etc. It also covers everything inside your home from furnishings to clothes and electronics. The more stuff you have, the greater the cost to insure it.
  • Property Tax: Unlike tenants, owners pay taxes to local governments for schools, roads, city governments, etc. These vary greatly from area to area, so be sure to find a good local property tax calculator to help estimate what those charges will be. If youíre buying a home in a new neighborhood or a gentrifying one, there may be additional taxes to cover the cost of roads, streetlights, parks, and other new area features.
  • Association Fees/Dues: Nearly all condos belong to Home Owners Associations (HOAs). Depending on the neighborhood you choose, your single-family home may belong to one as well. HOAs handle neighborhood maintenance including streetlights, pool upkeep, exterior maintenance, parks, and even security. HOA dues can range from $50ish per month up into the hundreds of dollars or even more.
  • Services: You know all those utilities and local services currently included in your rent? As an owner, you must pay for all of them separately. That means water, power, trash, sewage, recycling, internet, cable, and phone bills all get added on top of your monthly payments as well. Some cities such as Austin, Texas, also have local monthly fees separate from property taxes, usually to cover extra city features like parks.

Other Costs
The most difficult costs to calculate or plan for are maintenance costs. If your landlord currently covers bug treatments, light bulbs, paint, carpeting, landscaping and generally all other maintenance, you will need to try and estimate how much of that youíll need to pay for in your new home. There is no one else to pitch in, so this can end up being a huge additional cost.

So, How Do I Buy a Home Safely?
First, find yourself a good agent. A well-qualified agent who is familiar with your area and property needs can help you figure most of these costs. All you must do is ask. If your agent is unable or unwilling to help you plan for these, find yourself a new agent.

Ask your agent today if they can help you put together a true cost budget for each of the homes youíre interested in, that way you can make the best-informed decision. 





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 2/7/2019

Let's face it Ė no condo seller wants to deal with a high-pressure negotiation. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selling your condo so you can avoid stressful negotiations with property buyers.

What does it take to remain calm, cool and collected during a negotiation with a condo buyer? Here are three tips that every condo seller needs to know.

1. Consider the Condo Buyer's Perspective

As an informed condo seller, it is important to consider both sides of a negotiation. By doing so, you can evaluate a condo buyer's perspective and plan your next move accordingly.

For condo sellers, the goal is to get the best price for a property. As such, a condo seller who performs extensive housing market research probably understands the true value of his or her residence.

On the other hand, a condo buyer is likely to conduct real estate market research on his or her own. This property buyer also will assess the current condition of a condo in relation to his or her budget and submit an offer that accounts for these factors.

Ultimately, a condo seller and buyer should try to find common ground. That way, both parties can work together to get the best results out of a negotiation.

2. Review All of Your Options

After a condo seller accepts a buyer's proposal, the next step likely involves a property inspection. At this point, a condo acquisition may move forward, or a condo seller might need to rethink his or her plan.

If a condo inspector discovers myriad problems with a property, a condo buyer may ask the seller to complete repairs or lower the price of the property. Meanwhile, a condo seller will need to review all of his or her options quickly.

Following a condo inspection, it is important to consider the results of the evaluation.

If a condo seller discovers major repairs are required, he or she should consider completing the repairs or lowering the price on a property.

Or, if a condo buyer asks for a major price reduction even though only minimal repairs are needed, a seller should be unafraid to say "No" to the buyer's requests.

It is important for a condo seller to feel comfortable with any decision that is made throughout the property selling cycle. Thus, if a condo seller is uncomfortable with completing property repairs or reducing the price of a residence after a property inspection, he or she should be ready to decline a buyer's demands.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent will handle negotiations between a condo seller and buyer. Therefore, this housing market professional can play a pivotal role in a seller's ability to get the best price for a condo.

Consulting with a real estate agent who possesses condo experience is key. This real estate agent can keep you up to date during negotiations with condo buyers and ensure you are fully satisfied with the final results.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your condo.




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Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 1/31/2019

When you think of making improvements to your home, you probably often turn to the inside of your home to bring the value of your home up. The outside of your house provides the same type of opportunities and adds value at the same time. People not only like to live in the indoors of their homes, but the outdoors as well. Maximizing the outdoor space allows for entertainment opportunities and increased living space without maximum costs.


Spruce Up Your Garden And Landscapes


The landscape of your home is a revolving battle. Youíll need to continually maintain these areas of the home. Choose your plants based on the climate you live in. Keep the grass looking green, or plant a drought-tolerant yard. Adding trees for shade, shrubbery for beauty, and other types of plants not only helps increase the curb appeal of your home, but plants and trees can lower energy bills and keep your home cool at the same time.      



Build An Outdoor Space


Building something like a deck or a patio to your home can really be effective at adding living space and value to your home. Whether you decide to go all out and attach a deck to your home for you to step out on, or do things a little more simply and pave a patio, youíll find a return on your investment. Most homeowners look for a nice outdoor space to hang out on, so this improvement can make a big difference. 


Curb Appeal Matters


The curb appeal of your home is what it looks like when people pull up tot he front of the house. Having a better looking home from the outside can increase the value of your home and the future appeal it has to buyers. Your home will be more inviting by doing improvements like repaving the driveway or adding a stone wall. Whatever you think the front of your home needs to make it more inviting should be done not only if youíre planning on selling your home, but for your own enjoyment as well. 


Add Other Touches


There are certain luxuries in a yard that can make a big difference. Add a small waterfall or a fountain to add a lot to a yard. Along with your deck or patio area, you should also consider adding a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These items attract people for their immense enjoyment. The design doesnít even need to be elaborate. These can be some of the biggest, yet most inexpensive improvements that you can make to your yard. 


Remember that no matter how you want to spruce up your yard, itís all about enjoyment and the ability to make use your yard. Add the personal touches that you know will make your yard special and purposeful.




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Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 1/24/2019

After buying a gorgeous new house your old furniture can feel a bitÖ outdated and drab. Suddenly your favorite pieces are beaten up and shabby. And the ones you thought were okay are intolerable, eyesores.

If after your move a top-to-bottom redecorating project isnít option right away, and for most of us it isnít, you donít need to feel stuck with unappealing furniture.

The truth is you just need some creativity and a few free weekends to dedicate to reworking your current pieces.

Start with the pieces that just need a facelift. Touch up scratched or scuffed paint and polish any hardware. Then experiment with their placement. Maybe the office bookcase looks better in the living room and the credenza is right at home in your bedroom. Being willing to experiment to find the most unique and best fit!

Reupholster chairs, stools or even your sofa for a whole new lease on life. If youíve never reupholstered before start with a simple project like a chair before jumping into a more advanced one (like your couch). Choose a bold new color for a statement piece or fresh neutral for a crisp, clean feel.

Add new legs to a sofa, chair or table. And yes! You can change out the legs to a couch. Add thin modern legs to update an old couch or swap out a round shape for a square-one, or vice-versa. You can even DIY a new table altogether by installing your top of choice onto a set of legs.  

You donít always have to add to your furniture to make it look fresh and new. Sometimes itís what you take away that counts. Experiment with removing hardware altogether from drawer pulls and doors from cabinets for an open shelf look. Try removing arms from a chair or the back altogether from a sofa. These last two are perfect to try if youíre already upholstering the furniture.

Add contact paper in your color or pattern of choice to update a glass top or particle board piece. There are so many options and in classy options. You can opt for faux marble print or just a sleek black. Metal furnishings can be freshened up with metallic spray paint in a new modern tone. Or go all in and refinish a natural wood piece after sanding.

Avoid dwarfing your apartment-sized furniture by arranging it away from the walls. This will create a feeling of spaciousness in the room. If you have an area rug large enough to do so arrange all of your furniture within its bounds. This makes a room feel more pulled together and will keep your furniture from slipping all over bare wooden floors.

When it is time to upgrade do so slowly over time and prioritize by its importance to your lifestyle. This could be a new mattress, couch or cool new rug. What will make the biggest difference to your lifestyle? Start there.




Tags: furniture   home decor   apartment  
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Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA