Joseph Federico - Donahue Real Estate Company | Dedham, MA Real Estate, Canton, MA Real Estate



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Today's home buyers are looking for ways to maximize their space and their enjoyment of that space. While having friends and family over to enjoy a meal out on the patio or a backyard BBQ has long been a favorite way of spending time with loved ones, it's frequently left the hosts separated from the guests. Adding an outdoor kitchen offers numerous advantages. It could boost interest in your home and set it apart from similar ones in the area. 

1. Makes Entertaining Easy

One of the most exciting things about having your own home is the ability to entertain more. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home means that the home buyer is instantly set up for a home-warming party or any other type of gathering. 

2. The Hosts Can Participate

As mentioned above, one of the best reasons for installing an outdoor kitchen is that it eliminates the separation of the cook -- which is nearly always the host -- from the rest of the party outdoors. 

3. It Becomes a Team Effort

With an outdoor kitchen, there are more opportunities to make cooking a group effort. By keeping food prep as part of the overall party, it's easier for other people to jump in and help out. It's also great for when the homeowner wants to plan for shared cooking experiences. 

4. It's Cozy

While the gathering place inside a house used to be the living room, the past few years have seen the kitchen take over that spot. If you think about it, this transition just makes sense. People like to gather where there's food. It encourages chatting and camaraderie. An outdoor kitchen that includes tables and chairs or other outdoor furniture encourage the same kind of coziness. 

5. Increases Living Space

Adding an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be complicated. One idea is to use the covered porch or patio you already have as the foundation for the outdoor kitchen space. Next, add the appropriate appliances. The result is that you've instantly increased the living space of your current home without having to add on another room. 

If you're in an area of the country that is going through a housing boom, you might wonder if you should spring for an outdoor kitchen. Adding this highly-desirable feature to your home could also increase its value and make it easier to get your asking price during its sale. 


Putting your home on the market is a life-changing decision and, for some people, it may involve conflicting feelings.

Ideally, all members of your family should be on board with the decision to sell. If you, your spouse, or your kids are ambivalent or even against the idea of moving, it could send a negative message to prospective buyers, estate agents, and others. Helping your family stay positive and motivated can ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction.

A common stumbling block for many sellers is the inclination to attach too much sentimental value to their home. While you may associate your home with fond family memories, years of hard work, and thousands of dollars in home improvements, your actual selling price should be a reflection of market conditions and the price comparable houses in your neighborhood recently sold for.

Based on a comparative analysis, your real estate agent can help you come up with a realistic asking price that will reflect both its market value and major improvements you've made in recent years. Although remodeling your kitchen or bathrooms will not provide you with a dollar-for-dollar return on investment (ROI) when it comes time to sell, prospective buyers will be much more attracted to a home that's been updated and well maintained.

When selling your home, perhaps the most important principle to keep in mind is that "You don't get a second chance to make a great first impression." By minimizing the negatives and making the most of your home's attributes, you'll be increasing the probability of selling your house within the shortest period of time

Keeping your home meticulously clean for every showing can often be a challenge, but it's a goal worth striving for. Other ways to make a favorable impression on potential buyers is to focus on maximizing your home's curb appeal and minimizing clutter -- both inside and out. While it may seem like a tall order to declutter your home, keep your lawn looking manicured, and apply fresh coats of paint where needed, you'd be surprised at how much you can accomplish by setting your mind to it. One simple but effective strategy for getting things done is to create checklists of priorities, projects, and important tasks that need to be completed. When you commit goals to writing and review your priority list every day, you'll tend to be much more organized, action oriented, and focused.

Although a lot of people take a sense of humble pride in saying that their home is "a work in progress," once it's on the market, you need to have as many of those rough edges smoothed out, as possible! Putting your best foot forward for every showing could make the difference between a fast sale and a house which lingers on the market for months!


Image by David Pereiras from Shutterstock

Your FICO score is a key factor used to determine if you qualify for a mortgage. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) is the creator of the most common credit score used by home loan providers. The algorithm used to create your score is a closely-guarded industry secret. But in general, it factors in your payment history, debt burden, length of credit history, and recent applications for credit. Your FICO score is powerful but there are things it cannot account for.

It does not indicate how much you can afford.

It does not reveal how much you have saved up for a down payment.

It does not understand your ability to budget.

It does not display your current bank account balances.

What does it do?

Your FICO score tells you (and your potential lender) how you have handled credit over the length of your credit history. Scores range from 300 (poor) to 850 (excellent). The primary factors that can hurt your credit score are late-payments and the debt-to-credit ratio.

Late Payments

Make your payments on-time every month especially if you are hoping to secure a mortgage. The more on-time payments you have the better your score will be. In some cases, on-time payments can dilute the impact of late-payments in your credit history. Newer incidences can be more detrimental to your score than older late-payments. Payments that are received 60, 90, or 120 days late count more against you than those that are late by over 30 days.

Credit Utilization

The total amount you owe is a consideration but the relationship between how much you owe and the credit available to you weighs more heavily when it comes to determining your FICO score. Another term for this is your credit utilization. Your debt-to-credit ratio is a measure of how much of your available credit you are using within a 30-day window. The higher the ratio of debt compared to available credit, the more likely you are to have a lower FICO score.

For instance, let’s say you and your partner both owe $1000 on credit cards. Your available credit is $1500, making your credit utilization two-thirds or 66 percent of your available credit. Your partner’s available credit is $4000, making their credit utilization 25 percent of their available credit. If all other factors are equal, your partner’s FICO score will appear higher. 

Ask your real estate professional for recommended financial resources in your area.


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The right home security system can make a profound difference for your peace of mind and make your home an unappealing target -- but do you have to go with a conventional (and expensive) alarm service? In the past, homeowners had few choices, but now, if you own a home and like to DIY you have more options than ever before when it comes to home security. Is a DIY home security system right for you -- or are you better off with the traditional model? Consider these factors as you determine the best way to protect your home. 

DIY vs. Conventional Alarm Services

While the installation and monitoring may differ, both DIY and conventional systems share some factors; both offer wireless connections and monitoring points, both improve the overall security of your home and both can be installed in a day or less. The differences lie in the overall cost, commitment and approach to monitoring. 

A DIY Alarm Service is Right for You If: 

You are handy: If you can do basic home repairs and set up your DVD player or smart-home technology, you have the skills needed to install a DIY alarm system. Alarms used to be very complex and require electrical knowledge. Today's systems are fast and easy to install with the tools you probably have on hand. 

You're wary of contracts: One of the primary consumer complaints about alarm companies in general involves not service, but contracts. Being locked in for a long period of time takes away some of your flexibility. If you move and you have a monitoring contract, you either have to pay to have your system relocated or continue paying for a service you no longer use. Since DIY systems don't require equipment rental or contracts, they are more flexible and forgiving. 

You're on a budget: When you work with a DIY brand, you can buy just what you need, and you'll spend less on equipment and installation. A national brand will charge you for equipment, installation and even ongoing protection fees, making them a more expensive option. 

Since the actual monthly service is very similar, most families benefit from opting for DIY systems. There are a few exceptions. If you have a very large home with many entry points, are unable to do the work needed to install the system or you need more monitoring features, then a traditional system might work. Seniors with limited mobility may have more needs than a growing family or a single individual, and may prefer the all-in-one service offered by a conventional brand. Anyone else can benefit from the low costs and convenience of DIY security systems. 

Reviewing your options allows you to choose the best possible alarm service for your home and family -- and the one that has the perfect balance of cost, commitment and coverage to protect your home. 


Let's face it – clutter can be a problem, particularly for those who intend to sell a home in the foreseeable future. But if you allocate time and resources to remove clutter from your home now, you may reap the benefits of your efforts during the home selling cycle.

Ultimately, there are many reasons for a home seller to eliminate clutter before he or she lists a residence, and these include:

1. You can help a homebuyer envision what life may be like as the owner of your house.

Oftentimes, homebuyers want to picture what life may be like if they purchase a particular residence. Yet a home that is filled with antiques, decorations and other items may make it tough for a homebuyer to do just that.

If you remove clutter from your residence, however, you can make it simple for a buyer to see your home's full potential. As a result, a buyer may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether your residence is the right choice.

2. You can earn extra cash.

Although your house may be loaded with a wide range of personal belongings, you don't necessarily have to throw these items away. In fact, you can always sell excess items to simultaneously remove clutter from your house and earn extra cash.

It may be a good idea to host a yard sale before you list your house. This will enable you to sell excess items as well as inform neighbors about your upcoming plans to add your residence to the real estate market.

Of course, you can sell excess items online as well. Or, you may be able to donate assorted items to local charities.

3. You may speed up the home selling process.

The home selling process may prove to be long and complicated, especially if a house is overloaded with clutter. Thankfully, removing clutter may make it easy for you to stir up lots of interest from potential buyers as soon as your residence becomes available.

A clutter-free residence is more likely to be clean and tidy in comparison to other houses. Thus, when buyers enter a clutter-free residence for the first time, they may fall in love with this house right away. And if a clutter-free home makes a positive first impression on a buyer, a seller soon may receive a competitive offer to purchase his or her house.

If you're searching for help as you try to remove clutter from your residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer plenty of assistance throughout the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will help you list your house and promote it to potential buyers. Plus, if you need help as you get your home ready for the housing market, a real estate agent will make it simple to prepare your residence and ensure it makes a positive impression on buyers.

Eliminate clutter from your house, and you may increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.




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