Michelle Gillespie - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices N.E. Prime Properties



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/15/2017

If you intend to list your residence, you'll need to think about how you'll price your residence. However, what you initially paid for your home is unlikely to match its value today. And if you set an initial asking price that is too high, you risk alienating potential homebuyers.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you determine the ideal initial asking price for your residence to increase the likelihood of a fast home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to establish a competitive price for your house.

1. Look at Housing Market Data

Housing market data is easy to find and can show you how your residence stacks up against recently sold homes in your area.

Evaluate the prices of recently sold local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data in hand, you can better understand pricing trends for houses in your city or town.

In addition, don't forget to check out the prices of available houses in your region. This housing market data will help you understand the current state of the real estate market.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is valuable because it allows you to receive a property valuation from a home expert. When the appraisal is complete, you may be able to prioritize various home improvement projects as well.

During a home appraisal, a property expert will examine your home's interior and exterior. This property expert also will assess the prices of recently sold and available homes in your area, including the prices of residences in your neighborhood. Following the appraisal, you'll receive a property valuation.

If a property valuation falls below your initial expectations, there is no need to worry. Remember, you can always perform assorted home maintenance and upgrades to boost your house's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Work with a real estate agent throughout the home selling process – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that you can get the best price for your residence, regardless of the housing market's conditions.

A real estate agent first will learn about you, your home and your home selling goals. Next, this housing market professional will list your residence, promote it to large groups of homebuyers and host home showings and open house events. If a homebuyer submits an offer on your residence, your real estate agent will help you analyze the proposal and determine whether to accept, reject or counter it.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling questions. This housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a residence, and as such, is ready to respond to your home selling queries at all times.

Get the best price for your home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can price your house appropriately.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/8/2017

For many families, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. With the exception of homes that have narrow galley kitchens, this living space is often thought of as the nerve center or heart of a home.

The kitchen is typically the focal point of everything from meal preparation and consumption to holiday parties and social gatherings . It's usually the first place families congregate in the morning and often the last place they see each other before going to bed. Choosing a kitchen that's a good match for your lifestyle and decorating tastes can have a major impact on your satisfaction with a new home.

Starting out your home search with a clear idea of what your ideal kitchen should look like will increase the likelihood of bringing that image into reality. Perusing kitchen design stores, websites, and magazines is often a good starting point for developing a clear mental picture of what you want There are dozens of features and characteristics to keep in mind when searching for the ideal house, but the most important ones can be boiled down to three categories:

Space: If you entertain a lot or have a big (or growing) family, a spacious kitchen is probably the best match for your needs. The same thing holds true if you want an eat-in kitchen or if you tend to have more than one person preparing meals at the same time. Without enough space to accommodate your family's habits and lifestyle needs, the kitchen can quickly become cramped quarters. Another vital aspect of kitchen space is cabinetry and storage. For most people, the ideal kitchen would include plenty of cabinets, shelves, drawers, and closets that would provide storage space for dishes, non-perishable food items, kitchen implements, pots and pans, and cookbooks. Last, but not least, having a sufficient amount of counter space and food preparation area can often make the difference between a great kitchen and a marginal one.

Design: When it comes to modern kitchen design, the choices are mind boggling and virtually limitless! Some of the more basic decisions, however, typically revolve around questions like cabinet color, countertop material, flooring, lighting, color choices, backsplash patterns, and the desirability of a kitchen island.

Functionality: Some kitchens are more functional than others, but a lot depends on the size of your family, the amount of time you and your spouse spend cooking and preparing food, and how often you entertain. The configuration of a kitchen should -- and usually does -- enable the "chef" to move around efficiently and quickly between various food preparation areas, including the refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, sink, and counter areas. If you happen to do a lot of cooking, baking, and entertaining, a kitchen with a double oven may be the best option for your needs. A larger-than-standard refrigerator may also be a better fit for your lifestyle.

While there's never a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the right kitchen design, forming a clear vision of what you want is always a good starting point for getting it!





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/2/2017

If you recently bought or sold a home, you likely need to move quickly to pack up your family's belongings. In fact, you may have only a limited amount of time to get your child's toys packed up and ready to go to your new address.

Ultimately, packing a child's toys can be quick and simple – here are three essential packing tips for toys that every parent needs to know.

1. Make a List of Your Child's Toy Inventory

If your child has a wide selection of big and small toys, you may want to make a list of toys that need to be packed up prior to moving day. That way, you can ensure that all of your child's toys will make it from Point A to Point B.

As you create your list, think about the toys that your child uses frequently. If possible, you'll want to avoid packing these toys until the last possible moment.

On the other hand, you can immediately start packing toys that your child rarely uses. Pack up as many toys as you can, and you may be able to minimize stress as moving day draws closer.

2. Involve Your Child in the Packing Process

Packing can be a stressful process for kids and parents alike. Fortunately, you can involve your child in the packing process to help your son or daughter prep for moving day.

In many instances, children can pack up toys on their own. Kids may require supervision while they pack, but with the help of their parents, these children can get their toys ready for an upcoming move.

With the right approach, packing can be a fun bonding activity for parents and kids. Together, parents and children can pack up toys and other items and ensure all of a family's belongings can safely be transported from one destination to the next.

3. Pack and Label Your Moving Boxes

Parents will want to guarantee that no toys are broken or damaged during a move. As such, it is essential to use bubble wrap, packing paper and other packing supplies to ensure all of a child's toys remain intact.

Furthermore, parents will want to make it easy for kids to find their toys as soon as a family reaches its new address. If you use bright markers to label moving boxes that contain a child's toys, your son or daughter can instantly unpack his or her toys and start getting settled into a new home.

If you need extra help getting ready for a move, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best moving companies in your area.

Don't leave anything to chance as you prepare to move to a new location – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble packing up your child's toys.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/24/2017

You may have heard that you will need 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down in order to buy it. As the prices of homes continue to rise. 20 percent of the purchase price of any home may not seem like a small feat to save up. It’s not impossible to buy a home. You may be able to get around the 20 percent rule in a variety of ways. Keep in mind that putting down as large of a down payment as you can will help you to land the home of your dreams a bit faster. 


The 20 percent down rule is sort of a myth. While the more you have saved up, the better your chances of standing out among other buyers are. You can still get a mortgage with less than 20 percent down from most banks. The drawback in not putting down 20 percent on a home is that you will need mortgage insurance (also known as PMI). Mortgage insurance is necessary if you put less than 20 percent down because the lender wants protection in case the home is foreclosed on due to a lack of payments.


All About PMI Payments


If you do put less than 20 percent down on a home, your PMI payments won’t go on forever. Once your loan is paid down a bit, you’ll be free and clear of PMI payments. As a rule, if the loan-to-value-ratio reaches 80 percent, you can ask your lender to cancel the insurance for you. When the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent, the lender will automatically cancel the PMI. This is a welcome decrease in expenses since PMI insurance can add up to be hundreds of dollars per month.      


Finding A Way Around 20 Percent Down


Before you even decide to buy a house, you should look at financing options. There are certain programs that are available to you to help. If you know about them ahead of time, you’ll be able to take advantage of them.  


Government Programs


Many different government agencies have programs available to help people get a home easier. These programs will provide home loans with a low interest rate and little to no down payment. The downside to these programs is that many of them actually require you to purchase private mortgage insurance as a contingency to get the loan. You’ll need to plan for these extra expenses. There are even grants available to help you with your down payment. Check in your state or local HUD office for details on various programs that can assist you with your down payment on your first home. Through a bit of savings and research, owning your first home can be possible with or without 20 percent down.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/17/2017

There are several benefits derived from the right home office. Set up a successful home office and you could create multiple streams of income or start your own business. You could also enter a successful telecommuting arrangement for an employer or pursue deep, lifelong passions or hobbies.

Profits linked to a successful home office

Website design, freelance writing, real estate investment, interior design and insurance sales are just a few of the many business and hobby avenues that you could explore after you set up a home office. However, simply having space to work or create out of won't necessarily connect you to inner and financial rewards.

You have to feel confident working from home, and that is not a given. It might not seem like it, but there are several challenges inherent in working out of a home office. Among these challenges are requests to perform personal errands for family and friends, childhood responsibilities and background noise.

If you're easily distracted, you may need to sound proof your home office. You also might need to keep televisions and telephones out of your home office. Even if background noise doesn't generally distract you, to succeed while working out of a home office, you need mental discipline.

Path to a successful home office

Signs of mental discipline include only checking emails during certain times of the workday and avoiding non-work related online searches until after you finish projects. You simply must be focused to get the most out of working from home. Other musts are the right tools and equipment. Generally, a successful home office has:

  • An ergonomically fit work desk and chair - Your desk and chair should be properly aligned. If not, you could experience back, wrists or neck pain.
  • Storage space - Even if you store documents on your computer, it's a good idea to have a backup storage space which might come in the form of filing cabinets or removable disks.
  • Robust computer - A computer with a small amount of memory and bandwidth will slow you down. Even if you have to invest money in a new computer, if you plan on working from home full-time, it may be well worth it.
  • Office supplies - Depending on the type of work that you do from home, you may need copy paper, staples, a stapler, scissors, file folders, stacking trays, writing pads and pens.
  • Mailing - Should you do a lot of mailing, a mail weighing station could prove to be a benefit.

Successful home office setups could benefit the economy

Home offices may continue to become attractive, especially as the numbers of people pursuing independent business endeavors grows. If companies that are operated out of a home office yield significant revenues and profits, successful home office setups could strengthen the overall economy.

These offices could also give serious minded professionals increased work life flexibility. After all, it's not just work life balance that can support smart business owners. Work life flexibility is also a huge gain for employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset.

Getting the most from a home office requires the right setup. It requires smart forethought, planning and sufficient resourcing. After that, workers need focus, commitment, resiliency and vision. Passion for the work that is being pursued is a must. Working out of a comfortable, supportive home office could help workers to experience many of the aforementioned benefits.




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