Blog :: 04-2017

Antique Houses & Historical Societies

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William McGinn real estate advice

If you are a new owner of an antique house, you will most definitely want to join one or more of our local historical societies.  

Sharon Historical Society, Salisbury Association, and Northeast Historical Society are but a few of the local ones.  Litchfield Historical Society, Dutchess County Historical Society and Columbia County Historical Society are active groups at the county level.  

The restoration and preservation process naturally requires research into local vernacular architecture.  These historical societies offer a wealth of resources in their libraries and archives.  

I have personally found the staff of each of these organizations to be most helpful and friendly.  For those of you who are really enthusiastic, please consider joining Historic New England. This organization offers a number of resources for its members, including help with research of an historic property.

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    Considering a Fixer-Upper?

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    Mary Taylor - Real Estate insights

    The fixer upper has been sitting on the market for over a year. Price reductions seem to make the house very attractive. How do buyers determine whether cosmetic fixes or a rehab are in order and within their budget? 

    A thorough building inspection is necessary.  Once you have firm knowledge of any issues with the home, do homework on costs to fix. Often expenses associated with inspection issues can be negotiated with the seller. Get a professional!  Have a general contractor do a comprehensive analysis of the inspection report and include a list of what you would want changed and updated - then generate a budget. 

    Making a Cost-Effective Home Improvement Plan

    Rehab vs. cosmetic updates -- painting and floor refinishing are easy and inexpensive. Replacing a furnace, shoring up a bad floor, or moving walls is not. Things like running new plumbing, updating from fuses to breakers in the electric box, or changing a bedroom to a first-floor laundry is not. Think about the task at hand and commitment required.

    Bringing a home back to life can be a rewarding experience.

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      Smarter Homes

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      Martha Mullins real estate insights

      Every year the tech market produces the next device for a “smart home.”  Last year the smart “home hub” was all the rage.  A voice-generated command station, the home hub supplies web-generated answers to any questions from the weather to current interest rates to the time in Bora Bora. It can process online orders.  

      The greater use of these hubs happens when you link it to your home applications. The hub can set timers for your roast, play music, serve as an alarm clock; manage your home security, recordings on TV, the thermostat, and turn lights on and off. 

      All these tasks and more are possible by linking your home hub with online services you already use. The software that drives these devices is currently being installed on tablets.  So, if you’d prefer not to add another device into your home, you may want to wait for one of these services to become available via an app for your device.  Amazon’s Alexa is currently available on its Fire tablets. 

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        Getting the House Ready to Rent

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        Preparing a house to be rented (whether furnished or unfurnished)  requires planning, time, and some hard work. Having recently worked with clients who are both landlords and tenants, here are a few suggestions to make renting a property go more smoothly:

        1.  Ask a realistic rent which reflects current market rates.

        2.  Do a professional cleaning.

        3.  Prepare a list of operating expenses to give to the prospective tenant: heating oil, electric, cable, snow plowing, mowing, cleaning.  They always ask.

        4.  Prepare a list of contact numbers for caretaker, plowing, mowing, propane, plumber, electrician, cleaning person and other services that might be needed on short notice.

        5.  Remove irreplaceable items.

        6.  Buy an inexpensive set of new cutlery, dishes, and pots, if the rental is furnished.

        7.  Provide new sheets and towels, if possible.

        8.  Empty all closets and cabinets of personal effects.

        9.  Clean the basement and outbuildings so that they are usable for tenant storage.

        10.  List the property with a local realtor. 

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