Michelle Sebio Savje | Franklin Real Estate, Bellingham Real Estate, Blackstone Real Estate


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When it comes to homeowner’s associations, you need to know what type yours is before you determine whether to “join” it. There are two types of associations, covenant-based and voluntary. When homeowners ask about requirements to join a homeowner’s association, they may believe it is optional, but if our association is covenant-based, you have automatic membership by virtue of being a property owner.

Here’s How They Work

A voluntary association is a group of property owners that collectively decide how to improve their neighborhood. By the time you move into the neighborhood, the HOA may be well-established, so you’re not aware of how it started. Such HOAs are more similar to neighborhood improvement clubs, local sports team sponsors and other folks that join in order to develop a sense of community.

A covenant-based HOA is a contract that is part of the land purchase agreement within a development. That means that all property owners automatically must retain membership and that agreement is binding on all future owners within the specified development.

Future Owners

You might question how a contract is binding on future owners, but in the case of a covenant-based homeowner’s association, the covenant “runs with” the property as recorded in the county land records office. The document that spells out the covenants attaches to the property deed. When you buy a lot or home in the development, the original deed and any liens or covenants that attach to it become your responsibility.

Often, the original developer set up and controlled the association until the last piece of land sold or a sufficient number of homes sold so that the running of the association could transfer to the owners. Typically, these determinations are part of the original covenant documents filed with the county records. HOAs run by a board of elected owners from within the development. Unlike a voluntary association, renters or leaseholders cannot become members even though they are bound by the rules and conditions of the association.

Know Which Type It Is

Before you choose to purchase a home in a neighborhood with an association, learn whether it is voluntary or covenant-based. Ask to see copies of the covenants, conditions and rules (CC&Rs) before you commit to purchasing in that development. Your real estate agent can write a contingency into your purchase contract to require approval of the CC&Rs if you’re concerned about living within the HOA.


Ready to sell your house? Ultimately, you should conduct a home appraisal before you add your residence to the housing market, and for good reason.

A home appraisal enables you to better understand what your home is worth. Plus, an expert home appraiser will be able to offer comprehensive insights into your house's strengths and weaknesses so you can prioritize assorted home improvement projects accordingly.

Preparing your home for an appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If you allocate time and resources to get your house ready for an appraisal, you can increase your chances of getting favorable results during the appraisal itself.

What does it take to prep your house for an appraisal? Here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.

1. Consider a Home Appraiser's Perspective.

A home appraiser has an eye for detail, one that helps this professional understand whether a house is a viable long-term investment. Meanwhile, a home seller who steps into a property appraiser's shoes may be better equipped than others to enhance his or her residence.

For example, a home seller should evaluate a house's interior and exterior prior to an appraisal. And if you notice chipped paint on a home's walls, cracked shingles on a home's exterior or other cosmetic issues, you should address these problems immediately.

Even minor cosmetic issues can negatively affect a home's value. However, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty to correct these problems may be able to improve his or her house's appearance before a home appraisal.

2. Conduct Plenty of Housing Market Research.

How does your residence stack up against the competition? Learn about the local housing market, and you can find out what you'll need to do to differentiate your residence from similar properties.

An home seller should learn about the prices of recently sold residences as well as homes that are currently available. That way, you can set realistic expectations for your home appraisal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent.

A home appraisal can be a stressful experience, especially for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available to help you streamline the home appraisal process.

Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the home selling process. He or she can connect you with qualified home appraisers in your area and ensure you can find a home appraiser who will provide honest, unbiased feedback about your residence.

A real estate agent also will help you maximize the value of your house. This housing market professional will ensure you can set a fair price for your residence and market your home to the right groups of homebuyers. He or she will even set up home showings and open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf to further simplify the home selling process.

When it comes to getting a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for a home appraisal.


You probably know that in your home surface cleaning is much different than deep cleaning. Once you get the right spots down that need to be dusted, next, you need to vacuum up all of that dust and dirt. A well-vacuumed house is a happy house (and a dust bunny-free home!) The areas listed below are easy to miss, but once you get the hang of cleaning them, your home will be that much cleaner.


Between The Chair Cushions


Your kids may surf the couch cushions for extra change, but there’s another treasure to be had under there: plenty of crumbs and dirt. People eat on the couch and hang out there a lot. That means there’s dust, dirt, crumbs, hair, and more under those cushions of each chair in your home. Take the time to vacuum and get up all of the gunk. 


The Stairs


You probably go up and down your stairs at least a dozen times a day, but do you always take the time to vacuum them? The problem is that it can be hard to find an outlet for the vacuum and it can be a pain to move the attachments in order to get in all of those nooks on the stairs. Your best bet is to use a separate vacuum all together on the stairs. Use a lightweight cordless unit to make your life easier. 


The Windows


Your windows and window treatments are most likely neglected. Take the time to vacuum these up the next time you have the vac unit out. Curtains and blinds can harbor a lot of dust that’s difficult to remove. Use the brush attachment to achieve squeaky clean windows.   


The Doormat


You wipe your feet on it every time you come in the house, but o you remember to clean it? Start by shaking out the doormat outside to get loose debris off of it. You should take the time to vacuum up dirt and debris that collects around the doormat to keep anything leaves or dirt from entering further into your home. 


Lampshades


This part of the house may be a less obvious place to vacuum. If your lampshade is dirty, the light won’t correctly shine through the lamp. Remove the lampshade then use a hose attachment to remove dust from the inner and outer portions of the lampshade.


Mattress


The next time you change your bedding, flip your mattress, or the seasons change, take the time to vacuum your mattress. Dust mites and all kinds of things can be harbored in the mattress. It’s important to give your bed some TLC every once in a while.     



The neighborhood you live in has just as much to do with the value of your home as the features of the house itself. The right amenities in a community can increase the value of your home significantly. Read on to find out the most desirable features of any area.


Places To Walk


Whether it’s immaculate sidewalks, hiking trail, or parks, anywhere that you can be outdoors and walk easily increases the value of the nearby homes. This is because it’s great for families to get out, get some exercise, and not have to go very far. This feature can bring in anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars above your home’s asking price.  


Trees


We often take trees for granted, but trees that have grown up around a property can add some value to the home. Think of it in the context of, however natural a neighborhood is, the higher the value of the homes in it. Before you think about cutting down any trees around your house, consider the fact that grown trees can increase the cost of a home by up to 5%!


History


Neighborhoods that are surrounded by historic districts, landmark homes, or other places of historical interest have the higher value. For one, these are usually walkable neighborhoods. Second, your area has a story unlike any other. It’s a fun place to get out and explore. All homes in these historic districts aren’t ancient; you can find some newer construction homes in these areas, which means that there’s truly something for everyone! 


Dog Friendly


A dog-friendly neighborhood is a valuable neighborhood. People love places that they can take their dogs like dog parks. This especially holds true in the city where yard space is limited. Even better is a neighborhood where dogs can be seen in restaurants and coffee shops. If you can drive around the block and see people walking dogs everywhere, it’s a good bet that it’s dog-friendly! People love their pets and want them to be a part of the family, so they need to live in a place that allows them to do that. 


All The Essentials


If your neighborhood is near all of the essential things that people need on a daily basis, your home’s value may increase. Places like grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping malls, hospitals, and safety support services all play a role in improving the value of homes in a neighborhood.


A Sense Of Community


If a neighborhood has community groups, a neighborhood watch, or other organizations that help to bring about a community feel, your home may be a bit more valuable than you think it is.   



There is no right or wrong time to sell a home. However, it is important to remember that selling a home is a life-changing decision. And as such, the decision to sell a home should not be taken lightly.

If you are unsure about whether now is the right time to add your house to the real estate market, there is no need to stress. For those who understand all of their options, they can make an informed decision about selling a residence.

Meanwhile, if you ultimately decide to list your residence, there are several things you can do to boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful home selling experience. These include:

1. Analyze Your Home's Condition

The condition of your home can have far-flung effects on your home selling experience. If you allocate time and resources to analyze your house's condition, you may be able to identify problems that otherwise could slow down the home selling journey. Then, you can address these issues before they escalate.

Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a home inspection before you list your residence. This inspection will enable you to quickly identify any underlying problems with your residence and determine the best ways to correct these issues.

2. Learn About the Local Housing Market

The local housing market may impact how much a buyer is willing to pay for your residence. For example, if an abundance of high-quality residences is available, a buyer has no shortage of options at his or her disposal. In this instance, home sellers likely will need to do everything possible to stir up interest in their houses due to the sheer volume of properties available to buyers.

If you learn about the local housing market, you can determine whether a buyer's or seller's market is in place. For instance, if the number of homes exceeds the number of property buyers, the real estate market likely favors buyers. Or, if the number of homebuyers exceeds the number of top-notch homes available, the real estate market likely favors sellers.

Don't forget to review the prices of homes in your city or town that are comparable to your own, either. That way, you can use this housing market data to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a home selling expert who can guide you along each stage of the property selling journey. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to sell your home and maximize your house sale earnings.

In addition, a real estate agent can provide helpful resources as you navigate the home selling journey. And if you ever have home selling concerns or queries, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to them.

Ready to list your residence? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you could reap the benefits of a successful home selling experience.




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