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


When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.

1. Electrical work

So you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in an electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.

2. Hazardous materials

Many people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.

3. Roofing and siding

There's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.

Buying a home is one of the largest commitments you will make in your life. It's also one of the best. Being a homeowner comes with a sense of independence that renting simply can't match. You can do with your home whatever you like, making it the place you love to go home to at the end of the day. Knowing when you're ready to buy a home is a complicated issue. But it's also a learning process that everyone is new to at some time in their lives. Sure, buying a home can be anxiety-inducing. But you don't need to add any more nerves to the process because you feel uninformed. In this article, we'll lay out a basic checklist that will help you determine when and whether you're ready to buy a home so that you can worry less about your credentials and focus more on finding the right home.

The checklist

  • Finances. We hate to put it first, but the reality is your finances are one of the main things that determines your preparedness for becoming a homeowner. Unlike renting, there's a lot more that goes into the home financing process than just your income. Banks will want to see your credit score to ensure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll also use your credit information to see how much debt you have and if you'll be able to take on homeowner's expenses on top of that. Another financial impact for buying a house is to determine if you can afford a downpayment. It's one thing to see that you can cover your bills with your income, but unless you have enough money saved for the downpayment (and any emergency expenses that may come up) you should wait a while and save before hopping into the market.
  • What are your longterm plans? Many people are excited at the thought of home ownership to the extent that they forget their life circumstances. If you have a job that might cause you to relocate in the next 5-7 years you might want to consider renting rather than buying. Depending on factors like the price of the home, cost of living in your area, and how long you plan on living in your new home, it may be cheaper to buy or rent in the long run. There are calculators available online that will tell you which option is probably more cost-effective for you. As a general rule, however, if you plan on living in a new home for under 5-7 years, it might be cheaper to rent.
  • Do you have the time and patience to be a homeowner? Owning a home means you can't call on the landlord to fix your leaks anymore. Similarly, you probably won't be able to depend on someone else to shovel snow or mow the lawn for you. It takes work to be a homeowner, and if your job has you away from home for long periods of time or working very long hours, renting might not be appropriate at this time.
  • Plan for new expenses. If you can comfortably pay rent and you find out your home loan payments will be comparable, you should know that there will likely be new expenses to consider as well. Home insurance, property taxes, and expenses for things like sewer, plumbing and electrical repairs all should be taken into consideration. Additionally, you will likely have new utility bills, including electricity, water, oil, cable, and others depending on the home.

There's nothing more frustrating than being at a climactic moment in your favorite show on Netflix and suddenly losing internet connection. On my TV, it actually shows my download speed slowly disappearing. 10mbps... 7mbps... 2mbps... flatline. At this point, many people are prone to either throwing their remote across the room or calling their internet provider to complain about horrible service. However, there are some things you can do right in your home that can help you boost your internet speeds.

Diagnosis

Before you start buying new routers or range extenders, you should first get an idea of what your average download speed currently is. There are many free websites out there that can tell you this information, but speedtest.net is one of the veterans in the field that is user-friendly and widely trusted as one of the best. Run the test at different times of the day. See how it's affected by someone else streaming videos on a another device. This will all help provide insight into the issue you're having. If you notice a problem only at certain times of the day, the problem might not be your modem or router, but rather that your internet provider is oversubscribing and getting backed up during internet rush hours. It's also a good idea to change the password on your Wi-Fi network in case you have a neighbor that you're providing free internet too.

Update your hardware

If you're paying $60+ per month on high speed internet but can't ever stream videos there's a problem. Many people assume that paying more for internet automatically means they'll get faster download speeds. If you're using an outdated router, however, it won't matter how much you pay monthly, you're still going to see slow speeds. Check out some of the latest model routers on Amazon or at Best Buy and read the customer reviews. You won't want to buy any routers that are more than a couple years old as Wi-Fi technology progresses somewhat rapidly.

Tweak your router

If you recently purchased a brand new router but aren't getting the results you expected, maybe you need to make some changes to the router itself. Try setting the antennas vertically and placing the router on top of a cabinet in your house for better signal reception. Alternatively, you could look into replacing the antennas on your router for ones that will emit a stronger signal.

Expand your signal

If you live in a large house or often use devices in the basement, far away from your router, you might consider buying a wireless range extender. Extenders come in various shapes and sizes. Some are tiny adapters that stick out of your power outlet, others look just like routers, and others work as a system of small routers that you place around your home to provide blanket internet coverage.

Pretend you're in IT

There might be some changes you can make to your router that will make a huge difference in internet speeds. Sometimes that means updating the firmware of your router, other times it means switching the channel your router is broadcasting on to avoid interference with other routers or wireless systems. To make these internal changes, type in the IP address (usually located somewhere on the bottom or back of your router) into your browser and type in your username and password, then follow instructions for your specific router.

Selling or buying a home in the winter time seems counterintuitive to many of us. Everything seems to slow down during the colder months. Roads are made slippery with snow, animals go into hibernation, and humans spend their long evenings indoors having Netflix marathons. It seems only natural that houses would not sell as well in the winter.

However, recent data shows that homes listed between December 21 and March 21 are the most likely to sell within six months. On average, homes listed during those three months are on the market for 26 days compared with 32 days for spring and summer, and 34 days for fall.

In pre-internet times, when people had to commute to see a home, it may have been more difficult to sell your house when the days are shorter and temperature colder. However, now that countless homes are just a click away, it has become much easier to shop for your dream home during the winter.


Benefits of Selling a House in the Winter Time

Now that we’ve talked about the data, let’s discuss some of the other reasons you might want to sell a home during the winter.

  1. Easy curb appeal.  Depending on where you live in the U.S., you might benefit from not having to put too much extra effort into landscaping. The grass won’t need to be mowed as frequently and you don’t have to worry about caring for flowering plants. Plus, if you live in a place where it snows, having a home that looks warm and cozy covered in snow adds a lot of free curb appeal.

  2. Less competition. Since most people assume they shouldn’t list their home in the winter, that means you’ll have fewer houses to compete with on online listings.

  3. Necessity. Most people don’t choose to move in the winter. It can be difficult to commute and move boxes in the cold, and dealing with utilities can be harder. Some people are relocated by their jobs to start the new year in a new location. Others may need to find a home quickly for others reasons. Either way, a buyer’s short timeline is another incentive for them to buy your home now.


How to Prepare a Home for Sale in the Winter

  1. Handle the heating issues. You’ll want to make sure your heating system is in great working condition and that the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature when potential buyers come to view the home.

  2. Show diverse photos. Show off your home in all different conditions online. Someone may come visit your home in the winter but they’ll want to know what it looks like during a sunny, summer afternoon as well.

  3. Make your home seem easy to live in. Winter hardships like shoveling snow, clearing roofs, cleaning furnaces or pellet stoves, or removing salt marks and melted ice from your floors all can make a home seem less desirable to potential buyers. To avoid making a bad impression, take care of all of these problems beforehand.






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