Joyce Crommett, Westborough MA Real Estate, Southborough MA Real Estate, Northborough MA Real Estate


For homebuyers, a home inspection is paramount. This inspection enables you to look closely at a house and identify any problem areas. It also may force you to rethink your decision to buy a house, particularly if you discover a wide range of problems during the inspection.

Ultimately, it pays to consider your options following a home inspection. In fact, if you take an in-depth approach to potential home repairs, you can determine whether to ask a seller to complete these repairs before you finalize a purchase agreement.

Before you ask a seller to perform home repairs, there are several questions that you should consider, and these are:

1. How much will it cost to complete assorted home repairs?

A damaged roof is much more expensive to repair than a defective light fixture. Fortunately, if you assess the costs of potential home repairs, you can differentiate major home repairs from minor ones and plan accordingly.

If a home requires thousands of dollars in repairs, it may be worthwhile to ask a seller to complete these repairs. Otherwise, you'll be responsible for allocating the necessary time and resources to perform costly home repairs after you finalize your house purchase.

On the other hand, minor home repairs may be easy to handle on your own. If you feel comfortable completing minor home repairs, you may want to avoid submitting a request to a seller to perform these repairs. Because if you ask a seller to complete myriad minor home repairs, he or she may walk away from a potential home sale.

2. Are there any required repairs that must be completed right away?

Required repairs, i.e. repairs that will address hazardous conditions in a house, sometimes will need to be completed following a home inspection. These repairs include water penetration issues and local code safety violations.

If required repairs go unaddressed, your lender is unlikely to provide you with the financing that you need to acquire a house. Thus, you should request a seller complete these repairs as soon as possible.

3. Is it worth my time to ask a seller to complete home repairs?

There is no right or wrong answer to the aforementioned question, as every homebuyer and home seller is different. If you are uncomfortable with a house following an inspection, you should examine the inspection report and determine the best course of action. And if you feel that asking a seller to perform home repairs is essential, it is important to do just that.

Lastly, if you need assistance throughout the homebuying journey, it helps to work with an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional usually will attend a home inspection and help you assess a house. Plus, an expert real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations and suggestions to ensure you can make an informed home purchase.

Take the guesswork out of evaluating a house following an inspection – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can determine whether to ask a seller to complete home repairs after an inspection.


Buying a new home can be an exciting but anxiety-inducing experience. With so many things to consider, it can be difficult to keep track of the things that matter most to you.

This process is complicated further when you discover a second or third home that you like as much as the first and you’re trying to decide which one to make an offer on.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can effectively compare houses to ensure that you’re making the most sensible, long-term decision for you and your family.

It’s all about the spreadsheet

Today, our method isn’t going to rely on any fancy new apps or paid tools. Everything you need to accomplish your spreadsheet is a tool like Google Sheets (it’s like a free version of Excel) or a simple pencil and notebook.

The columns of your spreadsheet will be made up of the factors that will influence your decision. This will include the obvious details like the cost and square footage of the home, but also finer details like its proximity to key places in your life.

The rows of your spreadsheet will be the properties you’re comparing. Now, it may be tempting to start listing every house on your radar in the columns of your spreadsheet. However, I think it’s more time-effective to only include the homes that you’re likely to make an offer on. This means doing some hard thinking and having a conversation with your family about your realistic goals for buying a home.

What is most important to you in a home and neighborhood?

Let’s turn our attention back to the top row of your spreadsheet. We want to fill that section with around 10 factors that are most important to you in a home and the location the home will be in.

In this section, you can include the estimated cost of the home and the estimated monthly expenses for owning that home (utilities, taxes, etc.).

Here’s the secret weapon of our spreadsheet, however. Rather than listing the actual cost of the home in this row, we’re going to give it a rank of 1 to 5. A score of 1 means the house is a lot more expensive than you want. A score of 5 means the house is the ideal cost. A 3 would be somewhere in the middle.

We’re going to use this 1 to 5 ranking system for all other factors on our spreadsheet as well.

Next to these costs, you’ll want to add other important factors to your home buying decision. Does it have the number of rooms you’re looking for? If a backyard is important to you, does it provide for that need?

In terms of upgrades, how much work will you have to do on the home to make it something you’re satisfied with? For DIY-minded people with time to spare, home improvement might be a welcome concept. For others, it simply would take too much time to accomplish everything you want. So, when you fill out the “Upgrades” column of your spreadsheet, make sure you determine a system for ranking the homes that suits your needs.

House location shouldn’t be overlooked

It’s a sad truth, but in today’s busy world, the average homeowner spends most of their time away from home, whether they’re at work, commuting, or bring their kids to and from after school activities.

You’ll want at least one column on your spreadsheet to be devoted to location. When ranking the location of a home, consider things like commuting time, distance to schools, hospitals, parks, and grocery stores. All of these things will have a larger impact on your day-to-day life than small details of the house itself.

Ranking the homes

Now that you have the first row and column of your spreadsheet built, it’s time to fill in the details and tally up the totals. These numbers will help inform your decision as to which house is really right for you.


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.

Selling a home in a buyer's market may seem like a major struggle, particularly for those who are listing a residence for the first time.

Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of selling your house so you can get the best price for your residence, even in a buyer's market.

To better understand how to succeed in a buyer's market, let's take a look at three factors that every home seller should consider before they list a residence.

1. Your Home's Condition

What is the current state of your home? Ultimately, your home's condition will play a key role in how quickly you can sell your house, regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.

Before you add your residence to the real estate market, it often is a great idea to complete a property appraisal. This evaluation will allow you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses and prioritize home improvement projects.

Furthermore, there are many quick, easy ways to enhance your home's interior and exterior.

Removing clutter from your home offers an excellent option for those who want to free up space inside a residence. Or, you can always trim the hedges, remove dirt and debris from walkways and perform other home exterior tasks to bolster your house's visual appeal.

2. Your Timeline

When do you need to sell your home? If you're in a hurry to sell your home, you'll need to proceed cautiously, especially if you're operating in a buyer's market.

In this scenario, you'll want to establish a competitive price for your home from the get-go. This will require you to analyze the prices of similar homes in your area so you can better understand how your house stacks up against the competition.

If you have several months to sell your home, you may be able to wait out a buyer's market. In the meantime, you can always complete assorted home improvements to upgrade your house both inside and out.

3. Your Housing Market Expertise

How do you intend to get the best price for your home in a buyer's market? You may need extra help along the way. Lucky for you, a real estate agent is happy to provide you with the assistance you need to succeed.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to sell a home in a buyer's market. He or she will be able to help you prep your home for the real estate market so you can speed up the home selling journey.

Usually, a real estate agent will promote your house to potential homebuyers, keep you up to date about offers on your house and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. This housing market professional also can provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations at each stage of the home selling cycle.

Remove the guesswork that is commonly associated with selling a home in a buyer's market – use these tips, and you should have no trouble generating plenty of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

A fire pit adds a cozy and fun element to any backyard. Think of the roasting of marshmallows or just enjoying a toasty fire on a chilly fall night. Building a fire pit is a relatively straightforward DIY project. To get started, you’ll need the right materials, tools, location and confirmation you will build it both the legal and correct way.

  • Materials: Cast concrete wall stones, cap stones, gravel and sand.
  • Tools: Shovel, tape measure, level, steel rake and tamper.
  • Location: Choose a place away from your house (or other structure), and be sure your fire pit is not positioned underneath low-hanging trees or placed too close to any hedges or bushes.
  • Legal requirements: Check your municipality’s building codes and your HOA’s rules (if applicable) so you can ensure you follow all required specs and regulations.
  • Safety first: Call 811 to check for any potential utilities that may be underground where you plan to dig.

Once you’ve got everything together and in order, you’re ready to get started. Here are the next steps you’ll need to take.

Step 1: Lay out your stones in the shape and size of your fire pit, approximately 36 to 44 inches in diameter – make sure the stones are touching and connected.

Step 2: Mark your circle for the pit and then temporarily move the rocks.

Step 3: Dig a foot-deep hole within the perimeter you marked to serve as your pit.

Step 4: Pour gravel/sand into the hole, wet it down and then tamp it.

Step 5: Stack your stones around the hole’s perimeter one row at a time until they are one foot above the ground, be sure to stagger the joints with each layer. Apply landscape/masonry adhesive between layers of stone to lock them into place.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 two to three additional times until you get the right height for your wall (total layers should be three to four).

Step 7: Pour additional gravel and sand into the hole, making it about four inches deep.

Tip: If you’re a little concerned about choosing the right materials on your own, you can also purchase a fire pit kit from any big box or another type of hardware store.

Building a fire pit is a DIY project that can easily be done over a weekend. Once you’ve put it together, you can sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labors.




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