SouthernWolf Realty Services | Vincenzo Talarico | Belmont MA Real Estate, Waltham MA Real Estate

What’s the optimal commute time for most people to get to and from work? According to many surveys and research studies, this amount of time is around 30 minutes at the most. The closer you live to your job, the happier you’ll be (that is of course if you do like your job!) If you live further from work, you may think that the bigger house is worth it because of your paycheck. If your commute is miserable, however, you may want to rethink your journey. 

You’ll choose where you live based on a variety of factors including the neighborhood dynamics, the school system and the safety of the area. You may be willing to sacrifice one of these factors to gain another. 

Metropolitan Or The Suburbs? 

Generally speaking, the center of jobs tends to be in metropolitan areas. Yet, better schools and neighborhoods are often seen outside of the city. This makes for longer commute times. Depending upon which city you’re talking about, commute times can vary widely. New York and Los Angeles may beat smaller cities like Cleveland or Kansas City in the average number of minutes that people commute to work.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy 

Your happiness factor is very important when it comes to your living situation and your commute time. Whatever is most important to you should go on the top of your property search list. If you don’t mind spending an hour in the car each way to get to and from work, then you can live a bit farther away without much issue. You’ll also need to add in factors like public transportation, if that’s important to you.   

If you do prefer to take public transportation to get where you need to go, you may need to weigh a few factors. You’ll need to look in areas where trains and buses are more accessible. Living closer to public transportation can often come at a bit of a higher price tag. However, you’ll be able to save some money on the cost of keeping a vehicle. All of these factors need to be kept in mind when you’re beginning your house search and making your wishlist.   

Remember that the area of the country that you choose to live in has an effect on your commute. While some cities have more traffic than others, jobs my be more plentiful in a wider area, making it easier and more affordable to live closer to work. New York City has a much different dynamic than Tulsa, let’s say. 

Working From Home

In the most ideal of situations, maybe your commute is only to your home office! In this case, you’ll only need to be mindful of how far it is to get to the places you need to visit most often. You’ll also want to find a home that has a good space for you to have your office in. 

We all need to work in order to pay for the beautiful homes that we own. Why not make it much easier to get to and from work, and be mindful of commute times in your home search? With today’s technology, it’s a whole lot easier to get this information, so do your research! Happy house hunting!

After you receive an offer to purchase your house, you likely have only a short period of time to make your decision. Ultimately, determining whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuyer's proposal can be tricky. But if you plan ahead, you should have no trouble performing a comprehensive analysis of a buyer's offer, regardless of how much time is available.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you review a homebuying proposal.

1. Weigh the Pros and Cons

Creating a pros-cons list may prove to be ideal, particularly for a seller who is struggling to decide how to proceed with an offer. With this list in hand, you can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of accepting a proposal and determine the best course of action.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to assess your homebuying goals relative to an offer. If you goal is to maximize your profits, for example, you may want to accept an offer only if it matches or exceeds your house's initial asking price. Or, if your goal is to move out of your current residence as soon as possible, you may be willing to accept a proposal, even if it falls short of your home's initial asking price.

2. Assess the Housing Market

Housing market data is readily available that may help you make the best-possible decision about a home offer. If you analyze this information closely, you may be better equipped than ever before to decide whether a buyer's proposal is "fair" based on the current real estate market's conditions.

Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a home appraisal before you list your residence as well. Following a home appraisal, you'll receive a property valuation that may help you price your residence and evaluate home offers down the line.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to examine a home offer on your own. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can receive expert recommendations as you assess a homebuying proposal.

A real estate agent is happy to work with you at each stage of the home selling process. This housing market professional will make it simple for you to list your house and promote it to the right groups of buyers. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events to showcase your residence. And once you receive an offer on your house, a real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you make an informed decision.

Lastly, if the first home offer that you receive fails to impress, there is no need to worry. You should not feel pressure to accept the initial offer on your house. In fact, you can always counter this proposal to set the stage for negotiations with a buyer, which could increase the likelihood of a successful home sale.

Get ready to review a homebuying proposal – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully assess any offer that you receive.

We live in a time when there are countless services from which to choose. From streaming video services, to grocery home delivery, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to finding entertainment and services.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can save money each month. Whether you’re saving up for a big purchase, or you just want to spend less on your monthly expenses, this article is for you.

Entertainment costs

If you’re a fan of movies, books, music, or video games, then you likely know how quickly these expenses can add up. New books and movies can cost up to $30. And video games much higher, at around $60 per game.

Monthly services have made these expenses easier to access and seemingly less expensive. However, if you’re paying for Netflix (TV and movies), Spotify (music), Audible (audiobooks), and Xbox Live (games), then you could be spending over $50 per month on entertainment alone. That adds up to around $600 per year.

To cut down on those entertainment expenses you have a few options.

  • Check to see if you qualify for discounts. Many times, customers offer introductory rates, student and senior discounts to encourage people to sign up. If you don’t meet those requirements, check for any coupons that might be available online. If you studied at college at some point in your life and still have access to your .edu email address, you might be able to take advantage of college discounts for a number of services.

  • Get a library card. There’s a lot more than books at your local library. Audiobooks, the latest video games, recently released movies, and even music can all be found amongst the stacks of your local library. Better yet, most libraries are connected regionally. So, if there’s a particular title you’re looking for but your library doesn’t have it, they will ship it *for free* to your library.

  • While you’re at the library… weekend entertainment for the family can be pricey as well. The library has you covered here as well. Libraries often offer free or discounted passes to local museums and attractions.

Slash your utility bills

Utilities can be a daunting bill to receive in the mail each month. You might not know what to expect each month due to fluctuations in usage and weather. That uncertainty is cause for stress for many homeowners.

There are, however, a few ways you can save on your monthly utility bills.

  • Go solar. Solar panels are more efficient and easier to access than ever. Better yet, leasing programs allow you to install rooftop solar without putting any money down. If panels on your roof aren’t your thing, you can look into off-site solar to power your home. It works just like rooftop solar without the eyesore.

  • Still paying for cable? It might be time to cut the cord. You can find most TV shows on Netflix or Hulu these days. And if you pay for cable for the news channels you might be surprised to find that many major stations stream their newscasts live on their websites.

  • Make your home energy efficient. For under $100, you can upgrade your light bulbs, insulate your windows (for the winter months), and purchase power strips that will allow you to turn off several devices at once that might otherwise be using electricity on standby.

Looking to add your home to the real estate market in the near future? Home interior improvements are a must, especially if you want your residence to stand out from the competition.

Believe it or not, your bathroom can serve as a key differentiator for your home. With a neat, tidy bathroom, you may be able boost your home's appeal to potential homebuyers. On the other hand, a messy bathroom is unlikely to do you any favors in a fierce housing market.

If you spend some time cleaning your house's bathroom from top to bottom, you could increase your chances of a quick home sale. Lucky for you, we're here to provide simple, effective bathroom cleaning tips so you can enhance your house's bathroom.

Here are three bathroom cleaning tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Use an All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner on the Sink

Dirt and grime may form in your bathroom sink over an extended period of time. Thankfully, an all-purpose bathroom cleaner will make it easy for you to eliminate residue from your bathroom sink.

An all-purpose bathroom cleaner is a great option to remove light soil and film from a bathroom sink. And if you need extra help, you can always use an abrasive or soft-scrub cleaner as well.

2. Scrub the Shower and Bathtub

When was the last time you cleaned your shower and bathtub? If it's been several years, then there's no time like the present to scrub down every inch of your shower and bathtub and give them a fresh look and feel.

Abrasive scrubbing pads are ideal to remove bathroom rings or deposits on shower floors. Also, tile brushes will enable you to scrub tile grout and clean cracks and corners as needed.

3. Spend Some Time Cleaning the Toilet

Let's face it – no one likes cleaning the toilet. However, a home seller will need to spend some time cleaning the toilet to ensure a home's bathroom stands out for all the right reasons.

Toilet bowl cleaner dissolves deposits and kills germs, and as such, can help you speed up the process of cleaning a toilet. Plus, you can use a toilet bowl cleaner in conjunction with a strong, durable toilet bowl brush to eliminate all deposits with ease.

Lastly, don't forget to use a disinfecting spray cleaner on the toilet rims, seat, lid, tank and bowl exterior. Wipe down these areas, and you'll be able to enhance your toilet's overall appearance.

If you're unsure about how to improve your bathroom, be sure to consult with a real estate agent before you list your home. This real estate professional is happy to provide home selling tips and ensure you can revamp your house's interior and exterior.

A real estate agent can serve as an expert guide to the home selling process and will offer tips along each stage of the home selling journey. Therefore, if you work with a real estate agent, you should have no trouble maximizing the value of your house.

Did you every hear the old expression, "Trust in God, but lock your door"? Not only has that adage been passed on from one generation to the next, but it's a lyric in an old Kenny Rogers song, and you'll occasionally see it on bumper stickers. Although keeping your home safe from intruders is a serious topic, that old saying reminds us, in a humorous way, that we shouldn't take home security for granted. In addition to high tech approaches to home protection, there are also easy and inexpensive steps you can take to discourage burglars. Although many of these safety measures seem like common sense, you'd be surprised at how many homeowners forget to lock doors, leave lights on, and take other simple precautions when they're away. Here's a handful of smart steps you can take to substantially reduce the risk of having your home broken into.
  1. Make a habit of locking your doors and windows. While this piece of advice may sound like a "no-brainer," many reports of home break-ins mention an unlocked window or door as the point of entry for burglars. The first thing you can do to tighten up security and feel safer in your own home is to increase your awareness of potential threats, and emphasize to your family the importance of taking precautions. The ideal scenario involves reinforcing positive habits, without instilling a sense of fear. After all, your home should be a peaceful place where your family always feels safe and comfortable.
  2. Shine a light on the problem. You would think that everyone would leave lights on when they're not home at night, but -- for one reason or another -- many don't. Keeping your home well lit, both inside and out, is a good strategy for thwarting crime. To save money on energy bills and to avoid the appearance of always having your lights on, you can purchase inexpensive lighting timers. Leaving a radio or TV on when you're not home, or connecting it to a timer, is another way to create the illusion that someone is home.
  3. Barking dogs are a known burglar deterrent, as are "Beware of Dog" signs. The actual dogs are obviously more effective than the warning signs, but many people bring their pets to a boarding facility when they're away on vacation. One solution is to arrange for a house sitter or an on-site pet care service to stop by. If you have a trusted neighbor or family member who can feed and walk your dog while you're away (maybe, water your plants, too!), then your canine security guard can remain on duty in your absence. Many communities also have licensed and bonded pet care services that can stop by and take care of your dogs, every day, eliminating the need for your pets to be away from home.
  4. Landscaping features can be a risk factor. Be aware that high bushes and hedges can make it easier for burglars to hide while breaking into windows. Keep shrubs and branches trimmed back as much as possible to eliminate this chink in your security plan. If you're still concerned about the effect of bushes on home security, then make sure your window locks are sturdy and fully functional. Inexpensive battery-operated window and door alarms are also an option.
One method that can virtually eliminate the problem of forgetting to lock your doors and turning on lights is to have a high-tech security system installed. This technology enables you to activate locks, lights, and even thermostats from any location with your cell phone, laptop, or other mobile device. While these automated systems and monitored alarms incur a monthly service fee, the peace of mind and added control you get over your home environment is often more than worth the expense.