Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 2/8/2018

The average American knows little about the origins of the architecture that surrounds them on a day-to-day basis. Yet one name that most Americans have heard is that of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most celebrated architects in American history.

Wright was known for the style of organic architecture, which attempted to find a sense of harmony between human dwellings and the nature that surrounded them. Wright designed the Fallingwater home in Pennsylvania, built atop a waterfall and surrounded by natural growth.

In New York, Wright designed the Guggenheim Museum over a period of sixteen years. This and many other works have solidified Wright as an architect of great repute who built large and illustrious structures. However, Wright had other pursuits that he would devote much of his time to.

Coming out of the Great Depression, there was a need in America for an affordable single-family home. When approached to design such a home in 1936, Wright jumped at the opportunity.

The style of Wright’s houses reflected a vision he held for the future of American neighborhoods, something he would call “Usonian” architecture.

Elements of Usonia

At its core, Usonian architecture was meant to be affordable, mass-produced, and in harmony with its surrounding natural elements. What many of us know to be “mid-century modern” architecture and “ranch” homes are both heavily influenced by Wright’s Usonian vision.

Wright’s designs were of small, single-story homes with a carport. There were no attics and no basements. Homes were designed with little ornamentation and had open floor plans. This openness, combined with large windows and natural lighting, gives Usonian homes a sense of spaciousness that even today’s large suburban homes can’t match.

Community planning

The Usonian homes themselves were only part of Wright’s grand scheme. Ultimately, Wright’s vision for America (or “Usonia” as he thought it ought to be called), was one of the suburbs. Small, modular homes that coexist with their habitats on plots of land that were crossing into one another, rather than today’s square plots, were what Wright hoped the future would hold.

Late in life, Wright had begun work on such a neighborhood. In New York, just 30 miles north of Manhattan lies the town of Mount Pleasant. The neighborhood became known as Usonian Historic District and to this day is occupied by homes designed by Wright and his apprentices. In all, 43 buildings make up the district.

Wright’s continuing legacy in American home architecture

Though Wright’s vision for America has never been fully realized, much of his ideas are alive and well. The ranch home drew elements from Wright’s style, and ranch houses are now ubiquitous across the country.

With growing land costs and a culture shifting towards minimalism, many people today are opting to live in smaller dwellings. The “tiny house” movement has gained traction in the United States. In some places, neighborhoods of tiny houses are putting down roots and forming small communities centered on having a minimal environmental impact. Frank Lloyd Wright would likely see this as a net gain, though he might have a few pointers for the architects of today’s modular homes.

Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 2/1/2018

It's not always easy to see your home through the eyes of prospective buyers, but there are a few things worth knowing that can make or break a potential sale.

While your real estate agent will often be the best source of information and advice when it comes to home staging, here are a few crucial basics that many homeowners overlook:

  • Curb appeal: Sometimes first impressions can be the strongest and most indelible memory in the minds of potential buyers. If your front lawn needs mowing and your hedges are looking shabby, it definitely sends the wrong message to would-be buyers. Conversely, if you have a manicured lawn and impeccable landscaping, it speaks volumes about the pride of ownership and quality of care that the current owner (you) has given to the property. One important thing that a lot of homeowners forget about curb appeal is the "drive by factor." Many house hunters will screen properties that potentially interest them by driving by and getting a quick, general idea of how it looks. This process of evaluation (and elimination) is often done on a pass/fail basis. In other words, if the appearance of your property creates an unfavorable impression, they will cross your house off their list and move on to the next one.
  • Clutter is always a turnoff. Many homeowners equate "clutter" with too much furniture in a room. While crowded, cramped living spaces do comprise a big part of the problem, there is much more to it than that. Other symptoms of a cluttered home are tables and counter-tops that have little or no empty space. The same can be said of walls that are too "busy" with framed photos, paintings, clocks, nick-knacks, and miscellaneous memorabilia. Very often understatement and simplicity create a better impression than visual clutter and excessive "busyness". One aspect of your home's appearance that is especially worth mentioning are your closets. While some people might say that closets are "out of sight and out of mind," unfortunately, that principle does not apply when your home is on the market. Since the type and amount of storage space available is a high priority item for many potential buyers, they are almost invariable going to open and look in every closet and storage space in your house. If those areas are crammed with clutter of every description, then that is going to leave prospects with a bad feeling about the cleanliness and the amount of care the house has received. If you're getting ready to sell your house, it's definitely time to de-clutter those closets and other storage areas. (Hopefully, people will be a little more forgiving about the appearance of your basement and attic, since you may be in the process of packing up to move!)
Maximizing your curb appeal and minimizing the clutter in your home are two of the most important things you can do to enhance the marketability of your home. Scraping off peeling paint and touching up areas that need a little TLC are other relatively easy fixes you can do to make your home look more inviting and well cared for. Your real estate agent can give you a list of other helpful home staging ideas that can help make the difference between a quick sale and a property that languishes on the market for months.

Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 1/25/2018

Purchasing a deluxe home at an affordable price may seem impossible, particularly for property buyers who are searching for a residence in a seller's market.

Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of buying a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price, regardless of the current housing market conditions.

Now, let's take a look at three factors that homebuyers need to consider before they enter a seller's market.

1. Your Timeline

What is your homebuying timeline? Ultimately, you'll want to consider how quickly you need to relocate to a new residence. This will enable you to map out a homebuying journey that boosts your chances of getting the best results possible.

For example, if you have several months to plan ahead, you may be able to wait out a seller's market. You can pursue a wide range of residences over an extended period of time. And if you find a residence that you like, you can submit an offer on it.

On the other hand, if you need to move right away, you'll likely need to speed up the homebuying journey. In this scenario, you'll want to make the most of the time and resources at your disposal. If you can optimize the time and resources that are available, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to discover a great home in a seller's market.

2. Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a home? A seller's market favors property sellers, so you'll want to do everything possible to budget appropriately and avoid the temptation to overspend to acquire a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about your mortgage options and choose a mortgage that matches your finances perfectly.

With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the housing market with realistic property buying expectations. You also may be able to narrow your home search, and as such, speed up the process of purchasing your ideal house.

3. Your Homebuying Expertise

What do you know about the housing market? In most cases, homebuyers lack real estate expertise. However, working with a real estate agent ensures you can receive comprehensive support as you navigate a seller's market.

A real estate agent is a friendly, knowledgeable housing market professional, one who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you during the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new properties as they become available and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. He or she will even provide honest, unbiased recommendations, guaranteeing you can get the expert insights you need to make informed homebuying decisions.

When it comes to exploring houses in a seller's market, why should you be forced to leave anything to chance? Consider the aforementioned factors closely, and you can improve your chances of acquiring a stellar home without having to break your budget.

Categories: buying tips   Buying a Home  

Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 1/18/2018

Bidding on a house can be a stressful process, especially when you’ve found your dream home. While the wait to hear back on if your bid has been accepted can be a time of anxious anticipation there are things you can do to make it less so. By being prepared ahead of time and knowing what to expect you can create a smoother, and therefore, less stressful bidding process. Keep reading for some tips on how to do just that below! Know what you’re willing to spend. Decide on what your ideal price and what the maximum amount you will be willing to spend are before beginning the bidding process. This is an ideal step to take before beginning house hunting as well. Doing so will allow for a more streamlined bidding process, especially if there is a bidding war. Knowing when an offer is out of your budget will prevent financial stress now and in the future as well. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Before putting in your bid get everything you need in order to ensure you are pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you are approved you can show the seller your pre-approval paperwork when placing your bid. This will help you look more serious about your offer and even a more attractive buyer to the seller. Schedule a home inspection. Scheduling a home inspection before placing your bid will allow you to make a more informed offer on the house you are interested in. To get the most out of your inspection have a list for the inspector of any concerns you had about the house during your walk through. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to an inspector they know and trust as they will have worked with many before. The real estate agent knows best. Listen to any advice your real estate agent may have for you throughout the bidding process. They are an expert in the home buying field and familiar with the different intricacies of home buying procedures. Not every home buying process is the same and an experienced real estate agent should be familiar with variations to each sale. If your real estate agent suggests a course of action follow suit to ensure that the buying process goes more smoothly. While I can’t guarantee an entirely stress-free experience when bidding on a house, there are things you can do to help ease any anxiety that comes with attempting to buy your dream home. With preparedness and a smart real estate agent on your side you can feel more confident and less anxious in your bidding process. Once you have the keys to your new home in hand you will be glad you took the steps necessary to create a smooth and successful process!

Posted by REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West on 1/11/2018

Choosing a neighborhood is one of the most important aspects of the home search. Neighborhoods encompass the schools children will attend and the people you will interact with on a daily basis. You’ll truly never feel at home in a house if you don’t love your neighborhood. To choose the right home, you’ll need to do a little bit of ground work. You should figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a home and a neighborhood, and then research to find an area that suits your needs. There are certain things that you should keep in mind to research for the neighborhood with the perfect fit. Below are some things that you should consider when looking for the best neighborhood for you. Make A List Think about what you really want in a neighborhood. Then, categorize your desires. Put a column for what’s high priority, then use other columns for less pertinent things that you’re looking for in a neighborhood. If you’re unsure of what exactly to put on this list here’s some ideas: Cool For School Do you have children or are you planning to have children? Every parent knows that one of the most important things to look for in a neighborhood is the quality of the school system. Parks and community centers are also key things to live close to if you have children. Keep in mind that property values in areas with sought after school systems are higher. Home Style What type of home are you looking for? The type of neighborhood that you move to will depend upon the home style that you’re seeking. Single family homes, condos and apartments tend to stay in clusters. Keep this in mind when searching for a home. What’s Your Commute Time? How far are you willing to commute to work? This can be a deal breaker in finding the perfect neighborhood. If you take mass transit to work or if you don’t own a car, this can also be a huge area of concern for you in choosing the right neighborhood to purchase your home. What Do You Value? If you love coffee shops, then you may not want to live far from a city center. If you love the beach, don’t pick a neighborhood that has you landlocked. Having access to the things you love and value has a lot to do with your own happiness in a neighborhood. When home searching, you should consider what your current neighborhood is lacking and see if you can find a place to fill that void. Visit the Neighborhood and Use Your Senses As you start on your research, check out the neighborhoods and get a feel for them. Get out of your car and walk around. Although it sounds strange, see how the neighborhood smells. Listen to the noise of the traffic nearby. Maybe you’ll even sense the quiet! Take a look at how the homes in the neighborhood are designed and if you could actually see yourself living there. Do Some Digging There’s plenty of ways that you can research neighborhoods from the comfort of your couch. You can always find crime statistics for certain cities online and even see school rankings throughout cities. Real estate agents in the area can also help provide you with the statistics that you’re looking for. Trust your gut when it comes to choosing a neighborhood. With a little intuition and some research, you’ll be able to choose a place to live that’s perfect for you!