RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 7/1/2020

With few exceptions, a backyard shed is a resource that's going to provide you with an array of benefits for as long as you own your home.

If you're in the house-hunting mode, right now, a storage shed is a desirable feature that is usually worth including on your wish list. While many sheds are purely functional in nature, some can be used to dramatically enhance the landscaping and aesthetic appeal of your property.

In many cases, new homeowners don't realize how much they need a shed until after they've settled into a house that doesn't have one. When your tools, equipment, and supplies are easily accessible, your gardening, yardwork, and maintenance tasks will become much more convenient and less of a chore. Having an enclosed, protective structure to easily store your rakes, shovels, and hedge trimmers will also decrease the likelihood that they'll be left out in the yard and subjected to the elements of nature.

Although sheds are useful to any property owner who does their own mowing, raking, and snow removal, some homeowners find them indispensable.

  • Gardeners: Whether you cultivate vegetables, flowers, or other plants on your property, you'll need a convenient and dry place to store everything from tools and fencing material to seedlings, gardening soil, fertilizer, peat moss, clay pots, and statues. A well-organized shed can also help you keep track of when supplies are low and need to be replenished.
  • Swimming pool owners: When you consider the daily and weekly tasks that are involved in maintaining a swimming pool, it makes sense to have a dedicated space for safely storing and organizing equipment, pool chemicals, extra patio furniture, and even floatation devices. If you leave these items outside they tend to get dirty, damaged, or even stolen. Securing and storing pool chemicals away from children and pets is also a major safety consideration.
  • Most other property owners: As long as you have grass that needs to be mowed regularly, bushes that require trimming, and deciduous trees that shed their leaves in the fall, yard maintenance is an inescapable aspect of home ownership. For those who live in snow-prone areas of the country, keeping shovels, bags of rock salt, and possibly a snow blower on hand are often considered necessary elements of winter survival. While some people try to cram all those items into their garage, having a separate storage building on the premises can make life a lot more organized and less cluttered.
Whether you assemble your storage shed or have it custom-built by a carpenter, you'll probably find it to be one of the most useful features of your property. Assuming your available yard space and budget can accommodate a decent-quality storage shed, the probability is high that you'll be putting it to productive use for many years to come!




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/24/2020

If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/17/2020

Photo by Nina Garman via Pixabay

Moving into a new home can be a very exciting experience. From getting to know new people to starting a new job, it can all be a very enjoyable transition. However, there are some aspects of moving that many people don’t really enjoy. And the biggest factor of all is the money involved. From hiring movers to buying boxes, all of the expenses can add up very quickly. However, there are some tips and tricks if you want to save as much money as possible.

Donate Your Unused Goods

One tactic to save on moving costs involves getting rid of the things you never use. This strategy is especially useful if you’re hiring a moving company to help with the transition. While these professionals are typically paid by the hour, you’re going to want to downsize to prevent spending an arm and a leg for this service; the more stuff you have, the more money you'll have to fork over. Furthermore, the more belongings you bring, the bigger the truck you’ll have to rent. To save time and loads of money, do good for yourself and others by donating the items you don’t need.

Don’t Move During Peak Season

While this is sometimes out of your control due to a job or another reason, you should always try to move during the off-peak season. People tend to move from May until September, so try your best to schedule a move between October and April.

Do the Move Yourself

Many people decide to hire a moving company when they’re moving to a new home. However, this can cost thousands of dollars. If you want to save, consider renting a truck and moving everything yourself. While it may take a lot of time and energy, you can experience tons of savings. Try to find family members or friends that are willing to help, then you can have the whole process done quickly. Not only can this lead to a great deal of savings, but you can also get some quality time with loved ones and a solid workout in the meantime. However, if you have large items and are not comfortable moving them, utilize a professional service once you've reached your destination.

Rent a Moving Container

Another beneficial option is to rent a moving container. These still can be expensive, but it is far cheaper compared to hiring a moving company. In addition, these containers are becoming far more common nowadays, which has really dropped the price of this service. It’s best to choose a container if you have a larger time window for the move, and especially if you’re doing most of the work yourself.

Moving can be expensive and stressful, but by focusing on the tips mentioned above, you can save hundreds of dollars as you’re making this important life transition.




Tags: moving   Buying   moving expenses  
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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/10/2020


 Photo by Tod Franklin via Pixabay

What makes you happy? Do you love to sit and read? Or are you more of a hang-out-with-friends kind of homeowner? Regardless of what moves you, there's a way to create space for it in your own backyard. Even better -- you can increase your home's resale value in the process. Use these tips to inspire you:

Plant a Perennial Garden

Perennial gardens are low-maintenance, especially if you use plants such as purple coneflower or coreopsis that began life as hardy, native wildflowers. Plant once, and you'll enjoy blooms for years to come. And if you plant according to bloom-times, you can have flowers right up to frost. This option will scent the air beautifully, too. It may even help repel flies and mosquitos. The prettiest gardens combine plants with other features, such mulched walkways or small ponds filled with hardy goldfish, paradise fish or white cloud mountain minnows. 

Add a Hardscape

Hardscapes are the manmade features that complement your landscaping. They include rock walls, paved walkways, stone benches, concrete steps and more. All Hardscapes add elegance to your outdoor getaway, but they can also be functional by adding extra seating for guests.

Provide Shade

Mature, well-positioned shade trees such as maple or magnolia are always a selling point for future buyers. They can actually increase your home's resale value as much as 19 percent, says HGTV. So consider planting one or two if you have vast expanses of shadeless backyard. Position them away from foundations, wells and septic tanks so roots won't damage anything costly. Additionally, don't plant them where they will someday block the view to your home's entrance. And when you need immediate shade for yourself, consider adding a pretty pergola, arbor or gazebo.

Consider Fencing

Fencing is another home improvement that will send property values soaring. Metal and stone top the list of fencing materials that provide the biggest ROI, but they're also pretty costly to construct. If budget is a concern, consider blending the two into a fence that features occasional stone pillars or posts, joined by metal sections of fencing. 

Add Comfort

Most importantly, your outdoor getaway needs to provide a comfortable space for family and friends to congregate. This means investing in some nice-quality outdoor furniture such as chairs, sofas, and love seats to help everyone settle in. Purchase furniture that's made from materials easy to maintain, such as synthetic wicker, teak, concrete, stainless steel or aluminum. For upholstery, buy fade-resistant and waterproof fabrics. 

Additional tweaks to make your outdoor getaway more enjoyable include string lights, fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, a bubbling fountain, and outdoor art pieces made of mosaic tiles or driftwood sculptures. Whatever makes you happy, whatever inspires you -- these are the most important elements to include in your new backyard oasis. 




Tags: DIY   home impovements   Landscape  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/3/2020

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

You may hear someone say that you should get into real estate, but truthfully, it isn’t for everyone. While real estate investing can be a lucrative opportunity, if you don’t know what you’re facing, things can quickly get out of hand.

Why Real Estate Investing?

Ultimately, the goal is to invest in something that will give you a return, or profit. In order to be successful, you must understand the logistics and the risk. It’s sort of like Monopoly – you buy properties, improve the land to collect rent, avoid bankruptcy and buy more properties. Just because the concept is simple doesn’t mean that’s how things will flow. The consequences of making bad decisions can be brutal, so being properly prepared is key.

Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Consider real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  • This helps get your feet wet without the physical property. Consider these like mutual funds, but they are companies that own commercial real estate. A common investment in retirement, these usually pay high dividends. If you’re new at this, it’s best sticking to publicly traded REITs, which you purchase through a brokerage firm.

  • Rental property
  • Consider buying properties and leasing them. You may also want to consider occupying your property and renting out rooms or units in a multi-unit building. By house hacking, you can purchase a property with up to four units and still qualify for a residential loan.

  • Online platform
  • An online real estate investing platform connects real estate developers to investors who want to finance projects through debt or equity. These usually have monthly or quarterly distributions, but you pay a fee and have a large amount of risk. You may also have to be an accredited investor, but there are alternatives, like RealtyMogul and Fundrise.

  • Flipping properties
  • You’ve heard and seen it on TV. Purchase a property that needs repairs, fix it up and resell it for a profit. Although HGTV and DIY Network may make it look easy, it’s a lot harder than it looks. You don’t know how much the repairs will be, and you’re initially on the hook for paying a mortgage. If you live in the home while fixing it up, that could save some money.

  • Renting rooms
  • Consider this the alternate version of Airbnb. You rent certain parts of your home (a room) and reap the benefits. This way, you don’t have to commit to someone long term and you can control how things work.

    It’s important to go into this with a clear head and complete understanding of your finances and the risk it may take. Having a conversation with a real estate broker and other professionals in the industry can help point you in the right direction. The location of your investments will also play a role in how much money you will have to spend. Take your time and find out everything you need to know to make an informed decision. Good luck!







    Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team
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