Judy Rivard - Sawicki Real Estate


Photo by Breadmaker via Shutterstock

You may be thinking that your best investments are inside the home: a snazzy new kitchen, a spa-like bathroom or new wood floors, but you can actually get a high return on investment (ROI) if you focus on your home's curb appeal.

The first impression potential buyers have of your home is the outside. If you had to guess, what's the best purchase? If you guessed a garage door, you'd be right! Studies show that the recouped cost of a new garage door is usually around 97%, which means you basically get the whole amount back in home value.

Fixing Up the Outside

Before you go investing $4,000 in a new garage door, though, start by fixing up the existing features of your home. That means repairing or replacing vinyl siding, powering washing the outside and giving it a new paint job if necessary. Make sure windows and shutters are clean and without cracks or dings. Most importantly, if your roof is nearing the end of its warranty, or if you have known problems like leaks, now is the time to fix it. While the ROI on a new roof is only about 60%, roof problems can be a huge turn off for buyers, causing your home to sit on the market for longer and costing you more in the long run.

Landscaping

Start on your landscaping plan by cleaning up your yard. Get rid of the trash and yard debris so the yard stays presentable. If you have a green lawn, now is the time to review it. If your grass is growing well and covering the dirt, great! Keep it mowed and you are good to go. If your lawn is having problems, you may want to consider mixing it with other ground covering like gravel, recycled rubber or wood pellets. They are all much easier to maintain, especially in dryer climates not as well suited for grass. If you have empty or dying flower beds, now is the time to fill them up with seasonal flowers and bushes. These give you great color and make your home seem more welcoming to buyers. 

Before you start shelling out big money for upgrades, have your real estate agent review your home. They can suggest the best options for your market and price range, as well as provide accurate feedback about your home’s curb appeal. They may even have ideas for professional help to get your home in perfect selling shape.


This Single-Family in Hadley, MA recently sold for $260,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Judy Rivard - Sawicki Real Estate.


246 River Dr, Hadley, MA 01035

North Hadley

Single-Family

$269,000
Price
$260,000
Sale Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
1
Baths
Charming ranch in No Hadley. Hardwood floors, many built ins, fireplace and walk up attic with plenty of storage. Beautiful country location though located in center on Rte 47. Private backyard with porch. Full basement with more storage. 3 bedrooms and 1 bath with lovely living room and several corner windows. Make this into your home and enjoy the low Hadley taxes!!

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Setting up and completing a home inspection may seem like a long, arduous process. However, an inspection is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time.

With a comprehensive home inspection, you can identify any potential problems with a house. And if you don't like what you find in an inspection report, you can always ask a home seller to complete improvements or reduce his or her asking price. Or, if you prefer, you can walk away from a home sale altogether.

Ultimately, there are several steps that you'll want to follow to conduct a home inspection, and these are:

1. Find an Expert Home Inspector

When it comes to a home purchase, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, if you hire an expert home inspector, you can avoid the risk of missing possible issues during a home inspection.

Not all home inspectors are created equal, so you'll want to evaluate all of the options at your disposal.

To kick off your search for a home inspector, browse the web. This will enable you to find dozens of home inspectors in your area and assess online client reviews.

Also, don't hesitate to ask a home inspector for client referrals. If you obtain client referrals, you can better understand whether a home inspector can match or exceed your expectations.

2. Attend Your Home Inspection

Although homebuyers are not required to attend a home inspection, it generally is a good idea to walk with a home inspector as he or she examines your residence. By doing so, you may be able to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report.

A home inspector may notice home problems that range from minor to severe. The inspector's job is to identify a problem and include it in a home inspection report.

If you attend a home inspection, an inspector may be able to provide you information about potential home problems, along with an estimate about how much assorted home repairs may cost. That way, you are better equipped than ever before to determine whether potential home problems could deter you from buying a house.

3. Evaluate the Home Inspection Report

A home inspection report can play a key role in the homebuying process. If you evaluate this report closely, you can learn about a home's strengths and weaknesses and decide whether to proceed with a home purchase.

If you have questions regarding a home inspection report, you can always follow-up with the inspector that provided the assessment. This will allow you to obtain the insights that you need to make an informed homebuying decision.

Lastly, it certainly helps to collaborate with a real estate agent before, during and after a home inspection. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying process and ensure that you can get the best possible results.

Follow the aforementioned steps, and you should have no trouble conducting a home inspection.


Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.



3 Oakwood Dr, Belchertown, MA 01007

Single-Family

$265,000
Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
2
Baths
Make memories in this Cape-style home in the desirable Mallard Estates. This home boasts a spacious eat-in kitchen that was completely redesigned with an eye to both form and function, featuring copious cabinet/counter space, ceramic tile flooring, a breakfast bar and a large dining area-perfect for sharing good meals and conversation. Off the dining area, sliding doors lead to a beautiful stone patio and a large, flat backyard that are perfect spaces for a summer party, a cookout with friends and family, or simply time to yourself, enjoying some sunshine and the company of the birds that visit. Speaking of sunshine, you won't be soaking it up alone: the rooftop solar array (which you'll own outright) will be taking it in as well, virtually eliminating your electric bills and earning income--to the tune of$1439/yr on average from quarterly SREC payments. The bright, airy living room beckons with gleaming hardwood floors, 2 comfortable bedrooms and a full bath complete first floor.
Open House
No scheduled Open Houses

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