Pinder Braich - Grafton, MA Real Estate, Hopkinton, MA Real Estate, Shrewsbury, MA Real Estate


When you’re searching for a home to buy, you’ll probably attend many different open houses. The open house is meant to help you get a feel for different properties. While you can’t get to know all the ins and outs of a home in a short time, you can get an understanding of some of the best things (and not so great things) about a property. Below, you’ll find some of the biggest warning signs that a property may not be all that it appears to be. 


There’s A Lot Of Odor Masking Elements In Place


When you walk into an open house, you may get the smell of freshly baked cookies or a lovely candle. While these are great marketing techniques, they also can be a tactic to hide things. Perhaps there are some offensive odors in the house from mold, leaks, smoke, or mildew. You may not be prepared to deal with these kinds of problems once you move into a home. 


You Notice Glaring Issues


While the home inspection will reveal many problems that may be invisible to the casual observer, you should still be on the lookout for issues on the surface of the home during the open house. These issues can include cracks in the ceiling or walls, cracks in the floor, or even squeaky floor boards. If you happen to see patchy walls in the home, that could indicate that repairs have been made several times. Be alert for these potential problems.


Does The Home Look Well-Kept?


When you pull up in front of the home is the lawn trim? Does the home appear clean? While everyone would hope that a homeowner would clean up their property before an open house, small and big things like this can indicate a bigger problem. If the home is not cared for on the surface, how many other underlying maintenance issues are there in the home? Neglected regular maintenance can cause larger problems of all kinds in a home.


Strange Cosmetic Fixes


A freshly painted wall could be suspect of a big problem. Under the paint could be mold, cracks, or other issues. Some homeowners do put fresh paint on their walls before selling in order to give the home a neutral feel. However, you should be on the lookout for other signs of problems in the home.          


Channel Your Inner Detective


While you don’t need to dig as deep into a home as a home inspector does, you should be on the lookout as you scan a home for the potential livability for you. Things like glaring cracks in the ceiling, or a strong odor of cigarette smoke could be signs of future problems living in the home. The open house is your time to find a home that fits you and your life, so make the most of the opportunity.  


The summer is a much-anticipated season. It often means you get to enjoy those lovely outdoor activities you've missed like gardening or treating your friends to barbecue on chilly evenings.After the cold, you'll be happy to use plenty of warmth and sunshine. However, the weather in summer can be extreme in some locations, so you have to ensure your home is in perfect shape when it comes.

Here are some great ways to prepare your home for the warm weather:

Prevent water damage

Summer does not only come with heat. You should expect a lot of rain too. Damaged shingles or faulty flashings in your roof can give way for water to seep into your home. You certainly don't want to deal with some messy mold problems that will cost you more. Check walls, vents, windows, and doors for cracks and be sure to seal them properly. Make sure to unblock the gutters, so you don't end up taking in water instead of keeping it away.

Keep out the bugs

While you're planning to remain cool during summer, insects are also on the lookout for great hideouts too. Most of them don't thrive in the cold weather so when summer comes; you may have bugs crawling around your home. An excellent way to avoid this is by spraying your home for insects. You should also seal cracks and holes that can serve as an entryway to them.

Check your cooling unit

In preparing your home for summer, the primary concern is keeping cool as much as possible. Because air conditioners are put out of use for a long time before summer, it is essential to change the air filters, inspect the refrigerant and coils. Also, remove debris from the condensing unit outside. This season is the right time to install a smart thermostat to save cost and energy. If you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate counterclockwise. It will keep your home fresh in summer.

Give your home a retouch

There will be plenty of sunlight, and you need those bright rays in your home during the day. You can repaint the walls with bold, reflective colors and change the drapes. Materials that allow light in are also perfect. Pressure wash external walls before coating them with paint to clean off mildew. If you have shrubs around, you should trim them off for some serene greenery. 

Some of the tips above you can perform yourself, but for additional help, visit your local home hardware store to talk to an expert.


When you have kids sharing a room, there will be conflict. It just happens, no matter how much they get along, at some point, there is going to be a fight about something. Fights about tidiness, noise levels, or just about anything. Now sometimes your kids can come to some sort of solution without intervention by applying a little bit of creativeness. Other times you will need to step in and mediate a solution.

Creative Borders 

One option for ongoing sibling space sharing issues includes the traditional, but none too practical, splitting the room in half. You can do this any number of ways; painters’ tape may be the least damaging to flooring and walls, a border made of blankets, or a curtain panel hung from the ceiling. These options may give the roommates some sort of illusion they have separate private rooms. More than likely they will come to the conclusion they will need to compromise on some things to really make a life together more peaceful.

Layout the Lair 

If your kids have several areas of shared interest, they can start with those items when they set up their space. A “common” area, so to speak, can create a sense of camaraderie and bonding. From there you have them could move into planning the furniture layout and traffic flow. Maybe discuss schedules and who wakes up first and how the morning routine needs to play out. Next, an agreement on a bedtime routine can help avoid any conflicts when everyone is tired and out of patience. Finally, figuring out how and when things like studying, reading, friends hanging out or other activities will take place in the shared space. You may need a third-party mediator to help shape some of the details and provide an objective perspective on issues.

Contract for Compromise

Writing out the agreements and signing you will give each person ownership over the space. This way any issues can be settled by going over the written agreement. As time goes on, the deal can have amendments, but these need to be agreed upon by all before being added. When it comes to living together in harmony, healthy boundaries and common courtesy go a long way. When you can remember to show respect to the other person you can often iron out any issues about shared room space easily with little conflict. When moving kids into a shared bedroom space have each kid list a “rule” for their area, write it down and hang it up in the room.

Need extra space for your growing family? Talk to your real estate agent about a larger home in your budget.


Hopefully, you've made plans in case of emergency and prepared your family by discussing your arrangements and creating an emergency kit. However, surviving the crisis is only part of the battle. The recovery takes a lot longer and requires even more early planning. You can prevent a lot of damage to your home by designing it or updating it to handle whatever comes.

Check and Reinforce your home.

If your area is subject to hurricanes, you need to be careful about choosing the right windows, doors, and roof. Have a professional check out your roof and determine how well-braced it is. They can provide suggestions on the best way to reinforce or add bracing to protect your roof from strong winds. If your windows or doors break and open during the storm, the interior damage to your home will be much more significant. Review your doors and windows to determine if storm shutters and reinforcing bolts are necessary improvements. Don't forget about the garage door. If you're at risk, your local government probably requires wind-resistant garage doors so check your building codes and make sure your door comes appropriately equipped. If it's not, get a retrofit kit to stabilize the door.

Live in tornado alley or an area with high thunder and hailstorms? Plan a yard that will be safe in case of disaster. Keep trees away from your home to prevent them from falling in and causing damage and consider wood chips or mulch instead of gravel which can act like additional hail in high winds. Review your roof and determine its impact resistance to see if you can make any improvements. If improvements are not an option, then be aware of how much damage you might suffer so you can plan for the financial ramifications. High storm areas are subject to flooding, but you might be in a flood-risk area just due to your altitude or if there is nearby water. If you live in a flood-risk area, ensure that your furnace, water heater and electrical panels are off the floor or foundation. Use waterproofing compounds to seal basement and ground floor walls and install "check-valves" in your sewage lines to prevent backup into your drains.

If you're likely to experience an earthquake, you need to check the stability of the entire home. Have a professional check the whole property from roof to walls to the foundation and any brickwork to determine if you need any fortification. If its an older home, especially pre-1935, ensure the house itself is bolted to the foundation. Once you've stabilized the house, you need to do the same thing with your belongings. Use wall and floor fasteners to secure heavy furniture that could be dangerous if it slides around or tipped over. Also, secure large appliances and look into breakaway cords to allow smaller devices to disconnect from the wall instead of pulling on your utility lines. Make sure you have an extra secure space for your family to retreat to in case of danger.

Everyone is in danger of fire, no matter what your location or weather. Protect yourself by installing smoke alarms on every floor, specifically near all sleeping areas and near any appliance with an open flame. Regularly check the batteries on your alarms, ensure they work all the time and replacing batteries if necessary. Make sure all sleeping areas have an available exit to the outdoors, especially upstairs bedrooms. Any window that opens can have an escape ladder nearby or installed to allow for quick and safe exits.

Check Your Insurance and Save Just in Case

All homeowners' insurance is different. Triple check that your policy covers all the disasters you possible in your area. Most policies cover tornadoes and fire, but hurricanes, hail, storms, and flooding are often not covered at all. Check with your insurance carrier about your options to increase your protection. Even the best insurance has a deductible, but it usually requires additional funds to recover your property after a disaster. It is not too early to establish funds in case of a rainy day (or a flaming day, shaking a day or windy day) by putting aside money regularly. You've put so much into the home, that you don't want to lose it. Research the likely damage and replacement costs given your location, risks, and home construction. Once you have the appropriate information, you can start estimating possible expenses and set a reasonable goal amount for your fund.

Always find out your risks before purchasing or building a home when possible. Ask your real estate agent for help finding a home prepared in case the worst happens.


If you’re selling your home it can be frustrating when you aren’t receiving any offers. Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s a seller’s market and that the offers on your house would be flying in. However, it’s more complicated than that.

Whether or not your house receives offers is determined by a number of reasons--some that in your control, others that aren’t. But, that doesn’t mean you have to give up and sell your house at a low price.

In this article, we’ll discuss what to do if your house just isn’t selling. We’ll talk about some reasons why people may be hesitant to bid, to inquire about a showing, and to seal the deal and purchase your home.

Revisit the comparable properties

If your home has been on the market for a while, it’s a good idea to check out the other recent homes in your neighborhood to see how their prices compare to the listing price of your home. Since the market fluctuates, other sellers could be adjusting the cost to reflect the current rates, leaving yours higher than it should be.

When pricing your home, make sure you are comparing your house to those that have actually sold. Using houses that have been on the market for a while as a baseline might mean you’ve priced your home too high to sell just like theirs.

Also, make sure you are using houses that share many of the common features that yours does. This can include:

  • Square footage

  • The year the house was built

  • Number of bedrooms and baths

  • The lot size

  • The condition of the home

Remember, it isn’t all just about location.

Getting more leads

If people aren’t making inquiries about your home, there are a few things you should check up on. First, make sure your listings are updated and accurate. The contact info should be easy to find, and you or your real estate agent should provide multiple means of contact (email, cell phone, text, etc.).

Next, ensure that you’ve given enough details about the house. If people are searching for a specific number of rooms but your listing doesn’t mention the number of rooms you have, you might be missing out on several inquiries.

Finally, make sure your photos are high resolution and well-lit. You want to make sure visitors to your listing can get a clear idea of what your home looks like. If your photos are small, dark, blurry, or if they make the house look cramped and cluttered, you should retake your photos or consider hiring a photographer.

Getting more offers

If you’ve had plenty of inquiries and showings but you aren’t getting any offers there may be a deeper, underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Usually, this means your home needs important repairs and upgrades that buyers simply don’t want to make.

If your house is priced to be move-in ready but it’s not, you’ll have to make some upgrades or lower the price.

Not working with an agent

Sellers can also have a difficult time getting offers if they attempt to sell the home themselves without using a real estate agent. If your home is FSBO (For Sale by Owner), you’re missing out on a number of listing services and connections that an agent can provide.




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