Judy Rivard - Sawicki Real Estate




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Homeowners wishing to sell their home for top dollar might consider a kitchen remodel to increase its value and efficiency. Aside from the kitchen being the heart of the home, it also has several surfaces you can quickly upgrade that affect the entire space. The tips below give you a guide to which areas in your kitchen give you the best return for your investment.

Cabinets and Hardware

Cabinetry is often the primary component that determines the style of your kitchen. Replacing or refreshing your cabinets is one way to improve the look and feel of your kitchen. If the current cabinetry is in decent shape, refinishing or repainting the faces might achieve the look of new without the expense of a complete replacement. If you choose to tackle this project yourself, take the time to remove the doors, and hardware before you begin. For best results, closely follow notes for sanding and drying time for the paint or stain you’ve selected. Top off your cabinetry with updated hardware.

Paint or Wall Finish

A fresh coat of paint gives the house a clean, updated look. If you decide to paint your kitchen walls, create a neutral but inviting kitchen space. Colors trends are often regional, so let your realtor in on your plans and follow their lead for the best options. 

Another trend for kitchen walls is adding a backsplash. While its purpose is to protect the kitchen wall from water damage, the backsplash has become a modern kitchen focal point. Choose neutral materials that complement the counter and cabinet surfaces and show the kitchen in the best light.

Countertops and Fixtures

Of all the surfaces that add value to your kitchen space, countertops are most desirable. Materials like natural granite and marble give you a good return on your investment. For people who want a countertop that can resist scratches and stains and requires little or no maintenance, quartz serves perfectly.

Replacing tired or scratched faucets with new, updated versions not only enhances the look of your kitchen, but it also improves functionality. Consider a high-profile faucet with a pull-out sprayer and single-handle operation in a style that matches your kitchen’s aesthetic.

Light Fixtures

Lighting has a powerful effect on a room. It brightens your kitchen up, making it appear more inviting. Use lighting to create a vintage style kitchen with chandeliers and or give a modern twist with recessed lighting or pendants. Under-cabinet or task lighting gives a soft glow and makes meal prep easier.

Flooring

An overwhelming variety of flooring options exist for your kitchen; from vinyl and tile to laminate and hardwood. For stylish kitchen flooring design, choose a product that enhances the other elements in the room. A cohesive look is more important than spending all your money in one place.

There are many areas in your kitchen where you can make simple changes to add value to your home. Determine your budget and consult with your realtor on the best options for the greatest return on your investment.


This Single-Family in Belchertown, MA recently sold for $256,000. This Cape style home was sold by Judy Rivard - Sawicki Real Estate.


3 Oakwood Dr, Belchertown, MA 01007

Single-Family

$265,000
Price
$256,000
Sale 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 featuring copious cabinet/counter space,ceramic tile flooring,a breakfast bar and a large dining area.Off the dining area,sliding doors lead to a beautiful stone patio and a large, flat backyard.The bright, airy living room beckons with gleaming hardwood floors.Two comfortable bedrooms and a full bath round out the first floor.Upstairs you'll find a large bedroom with hardwood floors, a private full bathroom and another room ideal for in-home office,craft space,music room or extra bedroom for guests.The partially finished basement makes for a great recreation or playroom. Mallard Estates offers safe, quiet streets, green spaces, bus stops and easy access to hiking trails. It also provides great access to the Mass Pike, Quabbin Park and Five Colleges.The rooftop solar array virtually eliminates your electric bills and earns income from qrtly SREC payments for a green dream!

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While buying a home in a seller’s market, it pays to stand out from the crowd. One way to do that is with a memorable offer letter that captures the seller’s attention from the start. You must include all the right elements, however, to effectively win them over and earn the chance to buy your dream property. To make the biggest impact, here’s what to include in your offer letter.

The Story of Your Journey

Although you do not have to go into great detail, it is helpful to share information about you and your family in your offer letter. You can simply talk about your journey toward finding the perfect home and how their property fits your vision for the future. Or you can go even further in creating a connection by talking about your:

  • Family dynamics
  • Hobbies
  • Pets
  • Career

Aim to create a connection with the seller by highlighting shared interests that you may have picked up on during the open house.

Your Plans for the Space

When you share your plans for how you will use the home, sellers can start to envision you making the purchase and living there. Consider talking about your family’s various activities, such as baking and sports, and share how different areas of the home would support those endeavors.

Strive to weave in compliments about the home’s current design as you share your plans, helping create a strong connection with the seller. If you are planning on fully renovating the space, leave out those details, as sellers often feel protective of their current home design.

A Heartfelt Appeal

While remaining upbeat, add a heartfelt appeal that speaks to the heart of the seller. Use this moment to give context to your bid, explaining why you offered what you did. Then, politely ask that they consider your offer and help you realize your dreams of owning that property.

Focus on your journey and hopes for the future rather than the challenges you have encountered along the way. Remaining positive helps generate warm feelings that make it more likely your offer will be accepted. For the same reason, close your letter by expressing your appreciation of them taking the time to read and consider your offer. 

Now that you know what your offer letter should include, you can sit down with a pen and paper and write it out. Although it takes more time, skipping the word processing program allows you to keep it as personal as possible. If you have a dedicated real estate agent, they can help you craft the perfect letter and send it out by the deadline. Don't have a real estate agent yet? Feel free to reach out and let's begin your homeownership journey together!


Image by Amy Hirschi from Unsplash

Situations arise where prospective buyers find themselves in a bidding war with another buyer over the house they desire. Circumstances like this occur in a seller’s market where the demand for property is higher than the market can provide. It’s not uncommon to see multiple buyers vying over the same property in a seller’s market. In these cases, buyers often attempt to best their competitors by submitting ever-increasing offers. To help you win a bidding war, you need to stand out from other buyers. Consider the following methods that may boost your chances of securing the home you desire. 

Up your offer

In a bidding war, the person with the highest bid ends up with the home. If you want to increase your chances of becoming the owner of a house when you have competitors, offer more money for the home. You do not have to go overboard when increasing your offer; a few hundred dollars more may make a difference. In this case, follow the guidance of an agent experienced in negotiating bidding war situations.

Be ready to show your pre-approval

To give yourself a winning edge during a bidding war, show the seller you are a serious buyer and that you are prepared to see the transaction through to the end. Sellers pay more attention to buyers that come prepared and ready to finalize the contract. A pre-approval letter from your lender can give you that edge.

Waive your contingencies

A contingency is asking the seller to make a concession on your behalf. Examples include closing delay contingencies based on your current home selling or your receiving proceeds from probate of a will. Other contingencies might be asking the seller to repair a roof or broken window before the close of the agreement. If you decide to waive your contingencies during a bidding war, it speaks volumes to the seller of how badly you wish to proceed with the transaction. You want to be careful though when waiving contingencies so that you do not end up in a situation where you lose your earnest money – be sure it’s a risk worth taking. 

Pay in cash

Offering to make payments for the house in cash gives you a chance over other competitors. It’s not an option everyone can afford, but if you can pay cash rather than getting financing, put the offer on the table. If you are offering to pay cash for a property you are in a bidding war to purchase, it eliminates third parties, reduces closing time, and makes the seller understand that you are serious. 

Include an escalation clause

An escalation clause is an addendum included in your offer telling the buyer that you are willing to increase your purchase offer by a certain amount if another buyer is matching your offer. An escalation clause comes in handy when you are trying to win a closely fought bidding war. 

To win a bidding war over a home you like, you must be strategic and ready to go the extra mile. Make sure your real estate agent knows your maximum budget to negotiate for you appropriately.


Buying a vacation home may prove to be a great investment. It enables you to spend time at a terrific location at your convenience – all without having to worry about hotel or motel costs. Plus, a vacation home can be tailored to your individual needs. You can decorate your vacation house however you would like, and ultimately, find ways to make this residence a fun spot to visit any time you choose.

If you decide to search for a vacation home, it helps to prepare for the house buying process accordingly. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful search for a vacation residence.

1. Know Where You Want to Go

Consider where you want to purchase a vacation house, as well as how far away you want this residence to be from your primary home. Then, you can narrow your vacation house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns.

Think about your vacation home must-haves, too. Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of vacation home must-haves that you can use to guide your house search. Once you have this list at your disposal, you can use it to accelerate your quest to find a vacation home that suits you perfectly.

2. Establish a Homebuying Budget

Find out how much you can afford to pay for a vacation residence. Because if you conduct a vacation home search with a budget in hand, you could find a superb house that offers the ideal blend of affordability and quality.

Generally, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a vacation home search. These financial institutions employ home financing specialists who can teach you about various mortgage options. Also, you can work with a home financing specialist to establish a house buying budget that ensures you won't have to spend beyond your means to acquire a first-rate vacation residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to searching for a vacation home, there is no need to work alone. If you employ a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance as you navigate the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a vacation home in any city or town, at any time. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your vacation homebuying goals. A real estate agent next will help you hone your vacation home search and set up property showings. Finally, if you find a vacation home you want to acquire, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to buy this residence.

Ready to purchase a vacation home? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips – you will be happy you did. By using these tips, you can quickly and effortlessly perform a comprehensive vacation home search. Perhaps best of all, you can speed up the process of finding a top-notch vacation residence that matches your expectations.




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