Matthew Quinlan - Quinlan Realty Team | North Reading MA Real Estate, Reading MA Real Estate

You may be thinking to yourself that it’s time to get your hands dirty. The sun is shining and the warm weather has arrived. But, you’re at a crossroad of what to do first. Should you mow? Should you start weeding? Or should you start with the gutters? If these thoughts are a bit too familiar,you should consider hiring a professional. Oftentimes, we become elated that spring is finally here and we can finally turn our home into the beautiful oasis it once was. Take a look at the tips below for why you should hire a professional.

1. Spring and fall clean ups are essential

There are two things that are crucial to the health of your lawn and yard—spring and fall cleanups. A spring clean up entails the rejuvenating of your yard and bringing life back into your lawn and plants—and your home. A fall clean up preps your yard and home for the winter ahead, ensuring that your home will quickly come to life once spring arrives. Together, these deeds will keep your yard in tip-top shape and the envy of the neighborhood. And you didn’t have to lay a finger on it.

2. One less thing on the to do list

You work, have a social life and/or have children, work some more, sleep, and so much more. Simply put, you’re busy. There’s never enough time in a day to do everything you wanted. Now add on the home care demands that come with the warmer weather. So, if you’d rather enjoy the spring and summer months instead of worrying about planting those flowerbeds and mowing your lawn each weekend, hire the professional. The outdoor labor your home requires does not need to be another facet of your demanding life. Go out and enjoy life and leave your lawn care to the professionals.

3. They know what they’re doing

Last, but certainly not least—they know what they’re doing. They’re professionals. They perform this type of work day-in and day-out. Professionals will get the job done right and in a timely manner. And that’s really what counts, right?

Finding a professional is easy. As you drove down the street this morning, I’ll bet you saw at least two landscaping companies already at work. Next time, take note of the companies’ names and check out the work they’ve done. Oftentimes, they are small business and there’s not a lot of information online for you to determine their reputation. The best ways to find out their reputation and work they execute is through word of mouth and inspecting the homes they’ve done work for. But, it is the age of technology and it’s very likely they at least list a phone number and their services online so be sure to check there too.

What do buying a house, opening a credit card, and getting approved for an auto loan have in common? They all depend on your credit score.

Building credit is a multifaceted undertaking. In a way, this is a good thing--you wouldn’t want lenders to base their opinions solely on one aspect of your financial history. The downside is that understanding just what makes up your credit score can be difficult.

To complicate matters further, there isn’t one standard method for scoring your credit, and different credit bureaus each use their own criteria.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the factors the major credit bureaus use to calculate your credit, and give you some ways you can boost your credit.

But first, let’s talk about some of the implications of having a good credit score.

Why credit matters

Typical credit scores range anywhere from 250 to 850. The three main reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Most lenders use a combination of those scores that is reported by FICO.

Most credit reports will rank your category from “bad” to “excellent.” Here’s an example of what a credit ranking might look like:

  • Excellent: 750+

  • Good: 700 - 749

  • Fair: 650 - 659

  • Poor: 550 - 649

  • Bad: -550

U.S. legislation makes it possible for Americans to receive a free report of their credit score and to challenge and correct the score if it contains inaccuracies.

If you’re thinking about buying a house, opening a new line of credit, or taking out a loan of some kind, then the provider will likely run your credit score. Those providers are going to want to see a return on their investment, so they’ll charge interest.

If you have a high credit score, it tells the lenders that you are a low-risk investment, and therefore they can offer you a lower interest rate, saving you money in the long run.

Components of a credit score

There are five main factors that credit bureaus take into consideration when formulating your credit score. Not all of the factors are treated equally. Your ability to pay your bills on time, for example, is considered to be more important than the types of bills you have. Here’s a breakdown of the five components that make up a credit score:

  • 35% - Bill and loan payments

  • 30% - Current total amount of debt

  • 15% - Amount of time you’ve had credit (since you took out your first loan or opened your first credit card)

  • 10% - Types of credit (cards, loans, etc.)

  • 10 % - New credit inquiries

Quick tips for building credit

It takes time to build credit and improve your score. So, if you’re hoping to buy a home within the next few years, now is the time to start working on your credit. Here are some best practices for building credit:

  • Set up autopay for your bills to avoid late payments. Even if the service doesn’t offer autopay, you can likely set up recurring payments through your bank.

  • Settle outstanding debt. Avoiding debt that you can’t pay off will only hurt you more in the long run. Call your creditor and see if they offer debt relief programs. More likely than not they’d rather work with you to ensure they receive some repayment rather than none at all.

  • Start budgeting the right way. New budgeting software like Mint and “You Need a Budget” are easy to use and link up with your accounts. They’ll help you monitor your spending and start paying off debt.

  • Don’t open new lines of credit close to when you want to take out a loan. New credit inquiries can briefly lower your credit, especially if you make more than one. Viewing your free credit reports doesn’t count as an inquiry, so feel free to do that as often as needed to check your progress.

  • Get credit for bills you’re already paying. You can report your monthly rent payments, switch bills into your name that you contribute to, or take out a credit builder loan. All three will help you build rent without changing your spending habits.

Getting your home ready for sale is a long process that will require some patience and hard work on your part. However, if you’re successful, you’ll be able to market your home to the best buyers and get top offers, making the whole thing worth it.

There are potentially an endless number of things you can do to prepare your home before listing it for sale. So, in this post, I’m going to talk about some of the most important steps you should make before selling your home to get the best results from your listing.

1. Make simple fixes

Before you start thinking about making bigger renovations, take a moment to make any small fixes around the home that you’ve been putting off. That door that gets stuck in the winter time, the blinds that creak when you open them… the little things add up and can give buyers a negative impression of your home. 

2. Get a professional home inspection

Serious buyers will get the home inspected before making a purchase. However, if there are any issues with your home, you’ll want to know for yourself long before selling time. Take the time to get a home inspection by a licensed professional so that you’re aware of any big renovations you’ll have to make in the near future.

3. Depersonalize (pack away those family photos)

Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your home. Having all of your personal belongings laying around can make that difficult. Neutralize your home by removing things that are unique to you and your family.

While this step can be tedious, you can also look at it as a good way to reduce the amount you’ll need to pack when it comes time to move.

4. Rearrange and declutter to open up the rooms

As homeowners, we accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. All of that stuff can easily make a home feel cluttered. Before you put your home on the market, it’s a good idea think about some ways to make your home ready for photos and visitors

5. Taking the best possible photos

How well-received your real estate listing will be will rely heavily on your photos. To get the best results, choose your photos wisely.

First, start by making sure your house is impeccably clean. Then, if you plan on doing any painting, get that done first.

Next, plan your photos for a nice day and take photos of the inside and outside of your home at different times of day. Since the Sun will cast shadows on different parts of your home throughout the day, it’s best to experiment with various lighting.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take a lot of photos. The more photos you have, the better the chances are of having a few really great ones that will portray your home in the most positive light.

Resourcefulness is a key trait of a successful home seller, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Typically, a resourceful home seller will be able to identify opportunities to promote his or her residence in any real estate market, at any time. This home seller also will know what it takes to accelerate the property selling cycle and maximize the value of his or her residence.

So what does it take to become a resourceful home seller? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market can be difficult to navigate, particularly for a first-time property seller. Fortunately, housing market data is readily available and can provide you many insights that can help you become a resourceful home seller.

For example, home sellers can check out the prices of houses that are similar to their own any time they choose. With this housing market data in hand, property sellers can understand how their residences stack up against the competition.

Home sellers also should evaluate the prices of recently sold residences in their city or town. That way, home sellers can find out whether they are preparing to enter a seller's or buyer's market.

2. Understand Your House's Strengths and Weaknesses

Although you've allocated substantial time and resources to maintain your residence over the years, it is important to realize that no house is perfect. However, a resourceful home seller will understand his or her property's strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly.

A home appraisal offers a great learning opportunity for a home seller. During this appraisal, a property inspector will examine a home both inside and out. Then, a home seller will receive a report that outlines a house's pros and cons.

After a home appraisal, a property seller may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for his or her house. As a result, this home seller can boost his or her chances of speeding up the property selling process.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Even resourceful home sellers know that navigating the property selling journey on their own can be tough. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can help you analyze the housing market and get the best results during the home selling journey.

A real estate agent can help you set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers and much more. In addition, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and work with you to achieve them quickly and effortlessly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can provide you with home selling resources and insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. He or she can teach you about the ins and outs of the real estate market and ensure you can seamlessly sell your house.

Get ready to sell your house – use these tips, and you can become a resourceful home seller.


       The Real Estate Market is GREAT! Yeah right, that is what everyone keeps telling you, but they aren’t the ones trying to move. Even if you get the benefit of the seller’s market, you then become a buyer! If you are currently trying to find a new home, you know the biggest struggle is the lack of inventory. Whether you are looking for your first home, or trying to move out of your first home, you have to be creative to accomplish your goals. We all have sympathy for buyer’s attempting to buy their first home in our current market. Incredible competition, historically low inventory, and the threat of increasing interest rates leave many buyers very anxious as Monday offer deadlines pass and they await a response from the sellers who just received multiple offers. First time home buyers are not the only ones in multiple offer situations and for current homeowners, moving is that much more difficult.  Although I have strategies to help buyer’s make their offer more competitive (which I will share if you reach out), this is not about First Time Home Buyers, this is about First Time Home Sellers!

       No one takes the time to teach and guide FTHS’s through the process of selling and buying homes at the same time. Few people are in a place to be able to close on a new home before selling their current home, so how do people do it? I recently sold my first home and moved into a home that I could see my family living in for many years to come. As a realtor, I saw that there was an opportunity to cash in on my first home. Although I just remodeled my kitchen, had two functioning bathrooms for the first time and finally had the home in the condition I wanted it, I knew that it was not my forever home. Being on the corner of two busy roads, having small second and third bedrooms and an awkward yard were all things buyers would be willing to overlook with such limited inventory. With that, my home was up for sale Thursday afternoon, with open houses Saturday and Sunday, and I accepted an offer above the asking price on Monday. The next steps were to find a temporary rental, get my finances in order with my mortgage lender and prepare to make a clean offer on my family’s dream home. I did have some extra transition costs associated with the process. Those costs included paying an extra month’s rent at the beginning and 2 months rent at the end of my lease as well as renting a storage unit. The sting of my transition costs were minimized by the sellers accepting my offer, which was cleaner and more competitive than my competition. Although I felt the best way for my family to move was to Sell, Rent, Buy, not everyone is willing to do that. So, what are your other options?

       The first option you may consider is making your offer subject to selling your current home, a home sale contingency. In a market like this, I’m sure you believe your home is going to sell first weekend, so why wouldn’t a seller be willing to accept a home sale contingency? The reason sellers are not accepting them is simple: they do not need to. In a multiple offer situation, you are likely competing with someone who doesn’t need to sell a home first. Even though you may be able to accept an offer after the first weekend, your buyer still needs to complete a home inspection, sign a purchase and sale agreement, and obtain their financing. These are all potential hang ups that the seller is considering. By accepting a home sale contingency, the seller is taking the risk that you may not sell your home and they are left starting over at square one.

       The second option is to make the sale of your current home subject to finding suitable housing. By doing this, you are able to accept an offer on your home, complete the inspection, and sign a purchase and sale agreement. This helps make your offer more competitive and gives you a better idea of what profit you have to work with while considering the strongest offer for your next home. The buyer for your home takes on the risk in this situation. They are paying for an inspection, paying for an appraisal, and committed to your contract while you shop for your next home. If you decide you are unable to find a new home, you are not obligated to sell your current home. The important thing to know is that by asking the buyers to take the risk, you may also be limiting your buyer pool.

       This is a simple overview of common contingencies utilized while trying to sell one home and buy another. Obviously, these contingencies require much more detail, which you should discuss with your real estate attorney. If you do not have a real estate attorney, I have great ones in my network of Quality Local Resources! Keep in mind, everyone’s situation is unique and making the move in the current market is challenging. Do not wait to plan until after you have lost your dream home!   I would love to grab coffee with you to make a personalized plan to help you accomplish your real estate goals!