Susan McPherson - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth | Natick, MA Realty, Sherborn, MA Realty, Dover, MA Realty


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A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.

Wood fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations. 

Potential for smoke: If the flue does not open correctly or if there is a blockage within the chimney, you may find smoke coming into your room instead of out the flue.

Chimney maintenance: The wood you burn and the temperature of your fire determines how clean your chimney stays. At least annually, have your chimney professional swept to remove the buildup of creosote that can cause house fires.

Ashes: You will need a plan for disposing of the ashes once the fire is out.

Natural gas

A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line. 

An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.

Gel system

A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.

Electric

Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.

No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.


Common sense is powerful, particularly for those who plan to sell a house in the near future. If you use common sense as you consider myriad home selling decisions, you may be better equipped than ever before to make the best-possible choices.

Now, let's look at three tips to help you take a common sense-oriented approach to selling your house.

1. Analyze Your Home

You believe you have a great home that will attract plenty of interest from potential buyers. Yet the housing market offers no guarantees. But if you analyze your residence, you can identify its strengths and weaknesses and proceed accordingly.

It may be beneficial to conduct an inspection before you list your residence. During an inspection, a property expert will review all areas of your house. You then will receive an inspection report that you can use to evaluate various home problems.

2. Perform Home Improvements

Home improvements are key, as they can help you transform property weaknesses into strengths. If you allocate time and resources to upgrade your house, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.

Oftentimes, it helps to mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades to enhance your residence's curb appeal. Because if your home boasts amazing curb appeal, your residence may stand out to dozens of prospective buyers.

You should clean each room in your home, too. If your home's interior dazzles, buyers are sure to be impressed with it as soon as they walk through the front door. Perhaps most important, buyers will have no trouble envisioning what life may be like if they purchase your house.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

As you explore ways to streamline the house selling journey, collaborating with a real estate agent may prove to be an excellent decision. A real estate agent can take the guesswork out of selling a house, and as such, help you achieve your desired results.

Generally, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to list your house. He or she also will promote your residence to potential buyers and set up home showings and open house events. Plus, a real estate agent will help you assess any offers to purchase your house and ensure you can get the best price for your residence.

Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent provides as you navigate the home selling journey, either. If you are unsure about how to proceed during the home selling journey, a real estate agent can provide recommendations and suggestions. He or she can respond to your home selling concerns and queries as well.

For those who want to reap the benefits of a successful home selling journey, using common sense is ideal. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can navigate the house selling journey like a real estate market expert and accomplish your home selling goals.


If you decide you're ready to purchase your dream house, you should submit a competitive homebuying proposal from the get-go. Otherwise, you could risk missing out on the opportunity to acquire your ideal residence.

Submitting an offer to purchase your ideal house that meets the expectations of a property seller can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your dream house.

1. Examine the Local Housing Market

The price of a home in a big city may prove to be much higher than the price of a comparable house in a small town. Much in the same vein, a housing market that features an abundance of sellers is likely to be far different from a market that includes many buyers. However, if you assess the local housing sector closely, you can identify real estate market patterns and trends and craft your homebuying proposal accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in the city or town where you want to live. You also may want to find out how long these homes were available before they sold. That way, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and put together a competitive offer to purchase based on the present's real estate sector's conditions.

2. Analyze a Home's Age and Condition

A brand-new home may prove to be more expensive than an older house that is in need of major repairs. Comparatively, a recently renovated house is likely to be a great choice for buyers who want to avoid property repairs, while a "fixer-upper" home may be a top option for those who are ready to tackle property repairs on their own.

As you analyze a home's age and condition, you should consider how much you are willing to pay for this residence. It sometimes helps to consider potential home upgrades and repairs that may need to be completed. And if you evaluate possible home improvement costs, you can account for these expenses in your offer to purchase.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and his or her goal is to ensure you can acquire a great house at an affordable price. Thus, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can put together a competitive offer to purchase in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will offer housing market insights that you may struggle to find elsewhere. And when you're ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream home, a real estate agent will help you craft a homebuying proposal that is sure to get a seller's attention. Plus, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent to help you get the best price on your ideal house.

Ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can put together a competitive homebuying proposal and quickly accomplish your homebuying aspirations.


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When you view a home for the first time and speak to the agent hosting an open house or showing the home, you're talking to someone working for  the seller -- not for you. Anything you share could be passed on to the seller -- and used to leverage a better offer from you if you do end up wanting the home. The best way to avoid this scenario is to work with a buyer's agent. This is a real estate agent that works for you and helps you get the best possible deal on a home. 

A buyer’s agent represents you, the prospective buyer; this ensures that the agent you work with has your best interests in mind and that they do not have a stake in showing you one particular property over another. Just calling the name on a “for sale” sign isn’t enough if you want someone who can truly represent you and your needs – and successfully negotiate on your behalf. Agents who are working for a seller need to sell the home, and are not out to get you the best possible deal.

A buyers agent will show you a variety of properties and help you determine which one meets your needs best. Once you find a property that you love, your agent will help you get the best possible deal. You’ll sign a contract with this agent and they will receive a commission from the seller when you do buy a home. You should make sure that any contract you sign is a buyer’s agent agreement – and that the agent does not also represent the seller of a home. Any real estate agent you are considering working should reveal any conflict of interest before you sign a contract.

Benefits of Working with a Buyer’s Agent

When you work with a buyer’s agent you have someone on your side who can help you through the negotiation process. They will also be aware of market conditions, of terms that would be favorable to you and when you’re ready, help you make an offer. The agent you choose will have a big impact on your success and how much you enjoy the process.

Finding the Right Buyer’s Agent for your Home Search

Any agent you are considering should be a dedicated buyer’s agent. An Accredited Buyer Representative is someone who has been certified in this role. You should ask any agent who you are considering if they also list homes – and determine if there is a conflict of interest.

Choosing an agent who understands your needs and works with buyers like you can also help you have a successful experience. Some agents work mostly with luxury homes and well-established buyers, while others are dedicated to helping first-time buyers find a home.

Your buyer’s agent should be familiar with the areas you are most interested in. If they are not in the immediate area, they may not be able to provide you with the assistance you need to make a great deal

Choose the Right Agent from the Start

Since a buyer’s agent has such an impact on your success and the process, it is important to choose the right person from the start. Interview a few agents to see who you feel comfortable with and who meets your needs best. This is the person that will help you find your next home, so you should be confident in their abilities and able to work with them for a prolonged period of time.


Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.




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