Sue Ryan - Hudson, MA real estate, Marlborough, MA real estate, top producing real estate agent.


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It sounds like it should make things easier -- selling your home to a friend or family member should be a breeze for both parties -- but in reality, a home sale can disrupt your relationship if you don't go about it the right way. With the exception of parent to child transfers (and even some of those have issues) real estate transactions with family can go horribly wrong. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent strife and ensure that both parties get what they need from the process and that the relationship stays intact or even improves. Here's what to know when you sell your home to a friend or family member. 

Don't Attempt to DIY your Home Sale

For Sale by Owner transactions are already tricky, but if you try to navigate not only the purchase price, conditions and transfer of ownership on your own, you could end up in a family feud that lasts long after the sale is done. Working with an agent ensures you have an objective third party and that everything runs as smoothly as possible. While they won't be your referee or babysitter, these skilled negotiators can make sure everyone walks away happy, with the relationship intact. 

Get Objective Opinions

Use fair market value to determine the houses selling price, and be willing to make concessions. When you have an objective agent help determine the right price, you can be sure it is fair to both parties and that everyone's needs are met. Simply trying to work it out on your own can result in  sale that leads to resentment and trouble later, if the home ends up being worth less (or more) than you expected. A professional appraisal done by someone who is a stranger to all involved can help set the right price. 

Hire an Inspector

With an eye for home conditions and the ability to detect even minor issues, this valuable team member is even more important during a friendly real estate transaction. You won't have to rely on your own knowledge or on your family member to let you know what needs work. Your inspection report will reveal everything you should know to strike the right bargain -- and let you know what you are getting into. Going into the transaction fully informed prevents unhappy, relationship-damaging discoveries later. 

Work with an Agent for a Trouble Free Sale

Of all the ideas above, insulating yourself by working with an agent will help you the most. This ensures that any conflict can be absorbed by a third party and that questions can be answered objectively. Whether you both use the same agent or you each have your own, that objectivity can go a long way towards ensuring a successful transaction that delights both sides of the table. Get in touch today to discover how easy selling your home to someone you already know can be and for help navigating this sometimes tricky process. 


The home selling process should be fast and profitable. Yet problems may arise that make it tough for a seller to optimize the value of his or her house and enjoy a seamless property selling experience. Lucky for you, we're here to help you plan ahead for the home selling journey and avoid potential pitfalls.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you identify and overcome home selling hurdles before you list your residence.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

You might believe that your house is in great shape and requires no repairs. However, if problems ultimately are discovered when buyers check out your residence, you may struggle to quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling journey.

For a home seller, it may be beneficial to employ a home inspector. With a home inspector at your side, you can gain expert insights into your house's condition and perform assorted home repairs as needed. As a result, you can eliminate the risk that home problems may prevent you from maximizing the value of your house.

2. Get a Home Appraisal

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your residence's current value. Fortunately, a home appraisal can help you gain a better idea about the present value of your house based on its condition, age and various real estate market factors.

Typically, a home appraisal report can be prepared in just days, and this report's benefits can be significant. A home appraisal report provides you with a property valuation that you can use to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your house. As such, a home appraisal may help you price your residence competitively and boost the likelihood of stirring up plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

The home selling journey can be long, complex and challenging, regardless of whether you're an experienced or first-time property seller. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you navigate the home selling journey.

A real estate agent will work with you to help you achieve your desired results. Thus, if you want to get the best price for your residence, you and your real estate agent can brainstorm ways to upgrade your residence and bolster its value. Or, if you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

Of course, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your home selling concerns and questions too. And if you are unsure about how to address home selling issues, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible.

Want to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble identifying and resolving a wide range of home selling hurdles faster than ever before.


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What do you picture when someone says 'laundry'?  Is it piles of dirty clothes, sock singles lost to some undisclosed dimension, a moldy smell and lost hours?  Or is it shrugging on a warm shirt straight from the dryer, lemon scent and the zen of folding: a little pocket of peace and quiet on a hectic, cold day?

People who fit into the latter category aren't from Stepford.  Chances are, they've made the deliberate choice to craft a laundry room the way they design other rooms in their house: for their comfort, convenience, and in the case of the laundry room, for utility and ease of use. 

Often a key component to creating a harmonious space is to minimize clutter.  Check out these three tips for creating a clutterless, clean, and welcoming workspace!

Incorporate Drying Racks

Drying delicates can create a lot of clutter!  Where do you put the stand-up drying rack?  Where to put it when you've folded it away? 

Solve that problem in a snap by making fold-away drying racks part of your interior design straightaway.  You can easily purchase or create cabinet-style drying racks like these:

The bars swing down for ease of use, but when you release them, they snap upright to keep your drying clothes out of the way.  Centsational Style shows you how to make your own here

Alternately,  you can incorporate rails on which to hang your clothing from hangers right in the laundry room, for things that are best dried while hanging, or just to store clothing that's clean and ready to wear. These rails are best incorporated under cabinets or a ledge that may not be in use.

Even small spaces can make use of this trick.  Try creating a  hanging bar, made simply from two thick, leather straps and a copper rod (or metal rod of your choosing).  It looks incredibly upscale but would cost very little to make. Just fix two, 3-4 inch leather straps to a ledge or underneath weight-baring cabinets, then slide the rod through.

If you're feeling crafty, you might also consider making an old ladder into a drying rack for a farmhouse feel.

Keep Your Laundry Basket Space in Mind

Keep laundry baskets out of the way by creating drawers or shelving space for them.  If you're staging a house, buy baskets that fit so that these drawers' purpose is clear to potential buyers -- and so no one has to hunt for the right-sized baskets later on.

You can also create a laundry basket holder of your own from freestanding shelving units if you don't have built-in drawers or have trouble finding a fitting that will work for your space.

Feeling crafty? Here's a great article on how to create a do-it-yourself mobile laundry basket holder.

Keep Your Ironing Board Out of the Way

Your ironing board can take up a lot of space if you keep it set up, and it can be a challenge to yank it forward out of a nook or wrestle it down from a high spot if you keep it folded. 

Consider hanging it up on coat hooks.  Be sure to hang it so that the cloth of the board (where you'd grip it to lift) is at shoulder height, making it easy to set down and hook back up.

You can make one of these from scratch using these instructions from The Inspired Hive, but you can just as easily purchase one and unscrew any extraneous hooks before hanging it.

Employ these space-saving tactics and your laundry room will be a calm, peaceful, and orderly oasis!


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When your pocketbook determines you can’t afford a new, energy-efficient home, you can still satisfy your preferences by upgrading an older house. Try these options for improving energy efficiency in your home.

  1. Apply for the FHA’s Energy-Efficient Mortgage program. With an EEM, you can finance an already energy-efficient home or use funds for certified home improvements that promote responsible energy use. Contact your lender to see if your state participates in this federal program.

  2. Ask your utility provider for an energy audit. Most utilities offer this as a free service to customers. They’ll check for leakage around doors and windows, outlets and vent pipes and make suggestions for improvement, repair or replacement.

  3. Have your home inspector check your attic spaces. You'll gain knowledge about how deep your insulation should be to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

  4. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and air conditioning, ductwork, and airflow. If your ducts need cleaning, employ a service to handle that. Not only will you have improved circulation, but you'll also reduce allergens, and lower your energy costs.

  5. Trade out traditional toilets for low-flow models. Add aerators and flow restrictors to faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.

  6. Install solar-operated power vents to your attic to expel heat in the summer. Consider a solar-powered water heater too. And, if your roof can handle it, install solar panels to boost your electrical power. Many states offer rebates for solar panel installation, so check to see what’s available in your area.

  7. Install a programmable thermostat to help you conserve energy when you are away from home.

If you have a larger improvement budget, consider big-ticket items such as a geothermal heat pump, a residential wind turbine, or a fuel cell. You’ll find that on-going tax credits for these items can save you money over the years. If your municipal codes allow it, add a roof garden or mini-ecosystem to cover your existing roof. These systems retain moisture and insulate your home from heat or cold.

Your property specialist can help you determine which homes lend themselves to these upgrades. They'll introduce you to mortgage lenders that specialize in energy-efficient loan products.



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A deck adds valuable outdoor living space to your home's square footage, but to be an asset, it needs to be well-maintained. If your deck has missed a few annual cleanings or is showing popped nails, splintered boards or water damage, consider resurfacing it instead of replacing it. The money you save will be significant. Here's how:

Inspect Your Existing Deck

Look for rot, termite damage, warped or weakened boards and missing screws. Fix any problems you find by replacing individual boards and railings with similar materials. Make sure everything is structurally sound and sanded smooth before moving forward with the next step. 

Choose the Right Deck Wash

Step two involves giving your deck a good scrubbing to remove all traces of algae, dirt, mildew or mold that may have formed. You'll need a good wire broom or brush, eye protection and waterproof gloves, because some deck wash can be damaging to skin. You'll want to protect any nearby plants as well. Cover them in plastic while washing down your deck. 

Deck wash can be painted on, sprayed on with a garden hose, or applied with a pressure washer. A simple mixture of laundry detergent, bleach and warm water may be all it takes to begin bringing your deck back to life. Once applied, work the cleaning solution into the wood using your brush or broom. Rinse clean and allow the wood to dry before proceeding to the next step in resurfacing your existing deck. 

Apply Deck Stain

Lastly, you'll need to re-stain to apply a protective coating to your freshly cleaned decking. For older wood that still shows imperfections, try using a semi-transparent stain, instead of something that's clear. This will help to hide flaws and resistant stains.

You can spray, roll or brush the stain onto the deck, or you can use a combination of techniques such as spraying the stain down, then using a brush or roller to even out puddles and to trim out around railings. Apply the stain evenly, and then add the second and third coats while the stain is still damp. This helps keep old, thirsty wood from absorbing all the stain. Once applied, you'll need to re-stain your deck every other year to keep it looking its best. 

The total cost to replace your old deck can run upwards of $10,000, says ProRemodeler. Compare that with the $4,000 you might spend to replace worn boards and connectors, and you're looking at a significant savings. If your existing deck is worth repairing, that's usually the better option. But it must be structurally sound by the time the work is done. If you're unsure, call in a pro for an inspection. 




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