Posted by Betsy Graziano on 1/15/2018

If you're a homeowner or are planning to become one in the near future, hiring contractors to maintain and upgrade your home is a fact of life. Although older homes often need more TLC than newer ones, "newness" (like youth) can be a fleeting quality! Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your house needs a fresh coat of paint, landscaping improvements, or even wet basement solutions.

There may be times when you're tempted to accept the first estimate you're given for a home improvement project, but there are sound reasons for taking your time and choosing home contractors carefully and in a methodical way.

  • Saving money: It's not unusual for one home contractor to quote a price that is literally thousands of dollars more than the competition. While, on one hand, very low prices may be a sign of inferior quality, there is no guarantee that high prices assure superior quality. Fortunately, there are plenty of good contractors who charge competitive prices and make it their business to provide customers with exceptional value. If you get references, read online reviews, and make sure your prospective contractor has all the necessary insurance coverages, licenses, and relevant experience, then you'll be ready to make an informed decision based on quality, service, and pricing. Regardless of the caliber of a contractor's work, if you don't get at least two or three estimates, you'll always be wondering if they overcharged you. When you get multiple quotes, you'll never be plagued by that nagging question!
  • Getting helpful ideas: In addition to finding a qualified tradesman with solid expertise, project management skills, and competitive pricing, it also pays to choose one who offers innovative suggestions and creative ideas. By interviewing three contractors, you'll gain insights into their communication style, their overall attitude, and their willingness to provide helpful advice when needed.
  • Personality factors: After meeting with prospective contractors, you'll know which of the three you feel the most comfortable doing business with. Many home improvement projects can easily last between 3 days and a couple weeks, so you'll tend to be a lot more satisfied with a contractor who's courteous, punctual, above the board, friendly, professional, and customer-service oriented. If they seem annoyed with your questions or evasive in their responses, you can be reasonably sure there will be problems down the road in working with them -- possibly even quality assurance issues. If they tend to complain about other customers or berate their competition, then that is also a potential red flag.
Once you've received three project proposals and are able to compare "apples to apples," you're in a good position to choose the right contractor for your needs -- one who takes pride in their work, looks for solutions not problems, and provides a high level of customer value for a good price.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 1/11/2018

This Single-Family in Gloucester, MA recently sold for $629,800. This Contemporary style home was sold by Betsy Graziano - William Raveis Delta Realtors.


11 Revere Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

Annisquam

Single-Family

$649,000
Price
$629,800
Sale Price

8
Rooms
3
Beds
3
Baths
This gorgeous architect-designed custom Contemporary home is bright and airy. The flexible open floor plan is perfectly laid out for today's active lifestyles. The serpentine lines of the living room hold walls of glass, overlooking the expansive brick terrace. The well equipped kitchen has stainless steel appliances, pantry and overlooks the dining room. The large family room features an adjacent home office. The master bedroom suite has cathedral ceilings, walk-in closets and cedar closet. Multiple French doors lead out to the grounds, which are a gardener's delight. Mature specimen plantings, granite outcroppings, elevated playhouse and garden shed. Short walk to association Pasture Beach. Convenient to Annisquam Village, Lobster Cove and Yacht Club.

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Categories: Sold Homes  


Posted by Betsy Graziano on 1/8/2018

Is there anything more classic and charming than an old house? One aspect of older homes that make them so cozy is all the built-in shelves, drawers and other nooks and crannies that make each house one of a kind. While houses that have been more recently built usually lack these features, it doesn’t mean you can’t add them yourself.

Today I have six custom cabinetry ideas for you to create your own charming abode, even if it’s builder-grade.

When creating faux cabinetry the only limit is your imagination. Search home magazines and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Save ideas you love to a gallery on your phone or print out in one document. With inspiration in hand head out to your local home improvement store to find millwork options that match your vision.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Install floor to ceiling bookshelves with a bench tucked in between to create a cozy reading nook. Add molding and other decorative millwork to take this D.I.Y. to a true polished built-in look.

Capitalize on any empty corners by adding corner shelves or a corner cabinet. Adding beadboard before installing the shelves and finishing off with molding. There are also many corner cabinetry options on the market to choose from today. Choose one that fits the height of your room in a color that matches the molding in your home.


For cabinetry with drawers and doors add charm by replacing with reproduction brackets, knobs and pulls. Or if you love the thrill of the hunt check out your local yard sales and flea markets for vintage sets. Sites like Ebay and Etsy are another great way to find matching sets of vintage finds.


Add personality with splashes of bold color. Blues, greens, and yellows are popular hues for a pop of color while maintaining classic old home character. Paint on of your new custom pieces a charming shade to bring a room to life. Alternatively, installing cabinetry with glass front doors allows you to put bright decor on display without committing to one particular color. Add vintage books, glassware, and small paintings to shelves for smaller doses of color.

For a luxurious touch, stained glass windows look stunning in a bathroom and allow for privacy while still allowing light shine through. Adding custom sized stained glass windows to the upper portion of a wide doorway works well in homes with higher ceilings and will have guests in awe.  

When house shopping sometimes we have to make compromises when it comes to our wants to prioritize our needs. But that doesn’t have to mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. With a little bit of creativity and a few D.I.Y. projects, you can add a dose of old home charm to any house to make a cozy, welcoming home.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 1/1/2018

After you receive an offer to purchase your house, you likely have only a short period of time to make your decision. Ultimately, determining whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuyer's proposal can be tricky. But if you plan ahead, you should have no trouble performing a comprehensive analysis of a buyer's offer, regardless of how much time is available.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you review a homebuying proposal.

1. Weigh the Pros and Cons

Creating a pros-cons list may prove to be ideal, particularly for a seller who is struggling to decide how to proceed with an offer. With this list in hand, you can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of accepting a proposal and determine the best course of action.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to assess your homebuying goals relative to an offer. If you goal is to maximize your profits, for example, you may want to accept an offer only if it matches or exceeds your house's initial asking price. Or, if your goal is to move out of your current residence as soon as possible, you may be willing to accept a proposal, even if it falls short of your home's initial asking price.

2. Assess the Housing Market

Housing market data is readily available that may help you make the best-possible decision about a home offer. If you analyze this information closely, you may be better equipped than ever before to decide whether a buyer's proposal is "fair" based on the current real estate market's conditions.

Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a home appraisal before you list your residence as well. Following a home appraisal, you'll receive a property valuation that may help you price your residence and evaluate home offers down the line.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to examine a home offer on your own. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can receive expert recommendations as you assess a homebuying proposal.

A real estate agent is happy to work with you at each stage of the home selling process. This housing market professional will make it simple for you to list your house and promote it to the right groups of buyers. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events to showcase your residence. And once you receive an offer on your house, a real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you make an informed decision.

Lastly, if the first home offer that you receive fails to impress, there is no need to worry. You should not feel pressure to accept the initial offer on your house. In fact, you can always counter this proposal to set the stage for negotiations with a buyer, which could increase the likelihood of a successful home sale.

Get ready to review a homebuying proposal – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully assess any offer that you receive.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 12/18/2017

In times of rising temperatures and growing concerns of climate change, many of us are looking for small ways we can make a difference in our everyday lives. What better place to start than your own home?

It can be overwhelming to plan drastic eco-friendly changes to your home. That’s why we’ve broken these tips down room-by-room so that you can make changes in just one area and then build from there. Starting small will help you see your environmentally-minded project through to the finish.

Read on for tips for each room of your home to make your life more eco-friendly.

Bedroom

We’ll start with a small and easy one: the bedroom. Odds are your bedroom isn’t hogging too much power or creating a lot of waste. However, there are a few small changes you can make that will help you save some money while helping out the environment.

If your bedroom tends to get chilly at night, try using insulating curtains to help keep the cool air from slipping in through the windows. Similarly, on hot days close the curtains at peak sunlight hours to keep the bedroom cool. This small change could save you from having to turn up the heat or air conditioner when you enter your room each night.

The next time you clean out your closet, bring your items to a local thrift store or charity drop-off. You can even ask for a receipt which will make your donation tax-deductible. This way your clothes can extend their lives and stay out of a landfill a bit longer, and you’ll be helping out someone who could use the clothing.

Kitchen

Kitchen appliances offer a lot of opportunity for energy and water waste. When shopping for appliances, seek out appliances that meet Energy Star standards.

When it comes to water, forego the plastic bottles and buy a glass or metal refillable water bottle. Tap filters can greatly improve the taste, and you might find after a few days that you don’t even notice the water tasting differently.

Consider composting kitchen scraps in a composting bin. You can later use this for fertilizing plants in your yard and garden. And, finally, be sure you’re recycling all of your empty food and beverage containers.

Living Room

Is your living room your entertainment center? If so, many of your devices, like cable boxes and streaming media devices, might continue running on “standby mode” wasting electricity. To prevent this, simply plug all of your devices into a power strip and turn it off at night.

Bathroom

Start by using refillable hand soap containers rather than buying a new one each time you run out. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and save you trips to the store as well.

If your hot water takes a long time to heat up and you find yourself running the tap often, consider installing a recirculating water pump in your bathroom.

House-wide improvements

To save on electricity throughout the house, make sure you’re using compact fluorescent bulbs and only keeping the lights on when you’re in the room.

When cleaning, try using non-toxic cleaners or making your own from solutions of water, vinegar, and citrus essentials.