The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/18/2018

You may not think much about your hot water heater. Unless of course, your hot water heater ends up breaking down. Hot water is so important in our homes, yet we take this resource for granted. Hot water does a lot in our homes from clean our laundry to disinfect our dishes to heat up our showers. We use it without thinking about it.  


If you neglect your hot water heater it can cause some costly damage to your home. Your basement could end up flooded. Pipes can burst. You can be without the use of hot water for days- even weeks- if you’re not vigilant about taking care of your hot water heater. 


Once water is gushing from the source, the best course of action is to simply shut the water off to your home. Before you even get to that point there are some tell tale signs of damage to your hot water heater that can be detected before major issues arise. First, if you notice any type of water around your hot water heater, you should get it checked out. Don’t look at it as “no big deal.” Any type of moisture or water stains around the water heater itself are a sure sign that something isn’t right with the unit.


As a homeowner, you should know just how old your hot water heater is. Usually, the installation date on the heater is noted somewhere along with the serial number. The typical hot water heater lasts about 9-11 years. If you live in an area with hard water, this number can vary.   



The Cleanup


Once the damage is done to your hot water heater you’ll likely have a large cleanup project on your hands. You’ll need to call water extraction services that will help dry out the area and clean up any baseboards that can become hazardous. Sometimes, these projects can get a bit bigger than you’d ever expect. After the water is pumped out, the cleanup has only just begun.  


Why Hot Water Heaters Fail


The minerals from water tend to build up (especially in the case of hard water) and cause the unit to rust out form the inside. While the inside of the tank contains glass, it does have metal pieces that can rust. You can replace certain parts of the hot water heater from time to time to keep it in good working order, the best prevention is to replace your water heater when the time is right. Don’t let the unit sit until way past its expiration date.


Being The Homeowner


As a homeowner, you probably wonder if something like a broken water heater were to happen if your insurance would cover the cost of the damage. The insurance will cover the cost of cleanup and repairs. The insurance will not cover the cost to replace the hot water heater or any labor costs. The only way the entire cost would be covered is if you have a home warranty. 


A simple thing that you can get to help alleviate major damage to your home from a hot water heater is to get an alarm. This little device is inexpensive and will alert you when any water hits near the areas of the alarm. This could save you a lot of costly damage and repairs. The most important thing that you can do in your home to prevent major damage from a hot water heater is to stay vigilant and keep on top of maintenance and replacement timelines.           





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/11/2018

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.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/4/2018

If your family includes one or more dogs, your house-hunting checklist will probably include some very pet-specific features.

While these wish-list items are not absolutely essential to everyone, they will help make pet ownership more pleasurable and hassle-free for both you and your dog.

Large, fenced-in backyard: Since dogs love to run, play, and exercise, a spacious backyard is a desirable aspect of a new home. Kids love them, too! Fenced-in yards are ideal for families with dogs, since it helps prevent your pet from wandering away, bothering your neighbors, or straying into traffic. A solid, well-maintained fence can also help protect pets from wildlife, such as coyotes, raccoons, and foxes. Although gaps at the bottom of the fence need to be blocked to prevent small animals and pets from going in or out, a well-maintained fence can provide a lot of protection, security, and privacy. If your dog happens to be a loud or frequent barker, it would also be beneficial to find a house that is sufficiently spaced from other homes in the immediate area. (For many suburban house hunters, that's already a strong preference!)

Walkable neighborhood: One of the many advantages of dog ownership is that it helps motivate you and your family to get some regular exercise. Since dogs love to go for daily walks with their owners, an ideal neighborhood would offer one or more of the following features: residential streets with light traffic, sidewalks, or easy access to a public park. If a neighborhood you're considering has a designated dog park nearby, that's another desirable amenity to keep in mind. While not all dogs (or owners) feel comfortable in dog parks, others thrive in that environment.

Dog-friendly flooring: Dogs bring a lot of positive qualities into our lives, but neatness is rarely one of them! Even the most well-trained dogs have a messy accident every once in a while, so certain kinds of flooring are less desirable than others. Carpeting and pets are almost never a good combination -- especially if the carpeting isn't stain resistant and darkly colored. All types of flooring have their pros and cons, but some materials are easier to clean, more scratch resistant, and less prone to water damage. Those include vinyl, stone tiles, and laminate flooring, If hardwood is your flooring material of choice, then a coating of urethane will make it more resistant to stains, spills, and scratches.

From a convenience standpoint, it's also desirable to buy a house that's relatively close to essential services, such as a veterinary clinic, boarding facility, and grooming services. When moving to a new community, it's always a good idea to check on any local regulations, licensing requirements, and restrictions that might apply to your four-legged companion(s). Much of that information can usually be gleaned from town, municipal, or HOA websites.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/28/2017

Although you'd like to sell your residence soon, your home's bathroom remains an eye sore, one that could make it more difficult for you to generate interest in your home in a highly competitive real estate landscape.

Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of generating lots of interest in your residence and accelerating the home selling process.

Here are three tips that you can use to enhance your residence's bathroom, and as a result, boost your chances of a quick home sale.

1. Change Out the Hardware.

Believe it or not, updating bathroom hardware like drawer pulls and faucet handles may make a major difference in the eyes of homebuyers. Plus, changing out the hardware usually requires minimal time and effort, making it a fast, effective way to bolster your bathroom's appearance.

Ultimately, you'll want your bathroom to stand out to homebuyers for all the right reasons. And if you spend some time revamping your bathroom hardware, you can move one step closer to transforming your ordinary bathroom into an exceptional one.

2. Check Out the Lighting.

Does your bathroom feature sufficient lighting? If not, your bathroom may prove to be a liability rather than an asset to homebuyers.

Sconce lighting often represents a wonderful option for bathrooms because it can help brighten up big and small spaces. In fact, sconce lighting may even help you make your bathroom appear larger, as this type of lighting empowers you to illuminate your bathroom like never before.

Furthermore, you may want to consider dim lighting in your bathroom. Dim lighting is ideal for those who want to enjoy a relaxing bath and is yet another feature that may help your house stand out to homebuyers.

3. Install Proper Ventilation.

Without the proper bathroom ventilation, mold and mildew can cause severe damage. However, those who dedicate the necessary time and resources to install new bathroom ventilation or repair their existing ventilation can avoid long-lasting problems.

Measure the square footage of your bathroom before you install a new vent fan. By doing so, you'll be able to find a vent fan that can help you minimize mold and mildew consistently.

Also, when in doubt, be sure to consult with a plumber. This professional will be able to evaluate your bathroom's current vent fan, determine if a new one is needed and act accordingly.

Updating your bathroom may seem like a substantial investment, particularly for home sellers who lack extensive time and resources. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you establish home selling priorities and ensure you can revamp your residence to make it an attractive option for homebuyers.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will help you prepare your home. In addition, this professional will outline a strategy for improving your home's interior and exterior, ensuring your house will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Bathroom improvements may help you differentiate your home from others on the real estate market. And with a real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be better equipped to optimize the value of your residence and accelerate the home selling process as well.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/21/2017

If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, one of the best things you can do is adopt a "go with the flow" attitude!

Unless market conditions are ideal and all the stars are in perfect alignment, there will probably be a few ups and downs on the road to getting your house sold!

In all probability, there will be encouraging days and a setback or two, but with the help of a resourceful real estate agent and a little planning on your part, good luck is sure to come your way! What do we mean by the word "luck" in this case? The answer to that question can be found in a quote by the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!"

While a proactive real estate agent will create opportunities to attract potential buyers and present your home to its best advantage, the "preparation" part of the formula will mostly be up to you. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of that "window of opportunity" that opens up as soon as your agent puts your house on the market and plants a for sale sign in your front yard!

Curb appeal: Making a great impression from a street point-of-view can be one of your most effective forms of advertising. When your property looks neat, well maintained, and nicely landscaped, you'll be sending a positive message to potential buyers. By showing people that you have pride in ownership, they'll realize and appreciate the fact that your home has been well taken care of. Some homes require more preparation than others to convey that image, but when you pay attention to details, the desired results often follow.

Home staging: Staging your home for maximum impact involves strategies like arranging furniture in conversational groupings. In other words, if the configuration of your furniture lends itself to socializing, relaxation, and comfort, you'll be sending a positive message to people about the desirability of your home. It's also to your benefit to convey a feeling of spaciousness, cleanliness, and good taste. Although everyone has different taste when it comes to decorating, your real estate agent can offer helpful tips, based on their experience, objectivity, and training.

Most upgrades, repairs, and improvements to your house can potentially increase the chances of selling your home within the shortest period of time. Your agent can help you prioritize tasks you need to do to make a favorable impression on house hunters. They will provide you with professional advice on factors like cost effectiveness, urgency, and putting your best foot forward. In many cases, there are simple and relatively inexpensive measures you can take to improve your home's marketability, eye appeal, and perceived value.







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