George P. Goulas - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY | 508-509-3833 | GGoulas@kw.com


Posted by George P. Goulas on 4/1/2020

If you’re looking to increase the value of your home before you sell, there are certain things that you can do to attract buyers and get a high return on your investment in your home. There’s only so much time and money that you have to invest in your home. You will be purchasing a new place most likely and will need some capital for that. Read on for some tips on how to cheaply and efficiently make some quick improvements to your home. 


Stage Your Home 


You don’t have to create a significant expense to make changes to your home. If there’s one thing you should know about selling your home, you should make an appearance. Clear out the clutter in your home. Then, take some time to stage it. No one who is touring your home should see your personal papers, children’s toys, and celebrity shrines. Think minimalistic when it comes to the things that need to be in your home when it’s put on the market. Having a clean house can make all the difference in selling your home.


First Impressions Are Everything


A mess never makes a good first impression. If things appear in disarray around the property, it’s going to deter interest in the home. Make sure the yard looks presentable. Add some plants to the outside of the house. A simple clean up can make a big difference in the property. 


The Kitchen And The Bathroom Are Points Of Interest


People pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms of a home. One reason for this is that these rooms are particularly expensive to renovate. At the very least make sure that these rooms are clean. If you have the time and funds to replace tiles, or replace the sink, definitely complete these projects. 


Don’t Try To Take On Projects Yourself


It’s important to recognize what you can and can’t do. Hiring a professional to complete your projects can make a big difference. If you don’t have a grasp on home renovation procedures, an improvement can turn into a nightmare. It could end up costing you more money and time in the long run. 


Hire A Real Estate Agent


Hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home. Real estate agents understand how to price and market a home for an optimal sale. Fees for seller’s agents are very reasonable and worth it if you want a good price for your home.  


As you can see, there are many simple ways you can get more value out of your home when you head to sell it.            





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Posted by George P. Goulas on 3/25/2020

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, odds are you’ve thrown the words “prequalified” and “preapproved” interchangeably. However, when it comes to home loans, there are some very important differences between the two.

For buyers hoping to purchase a home with a few missteps and misunderstandings as possible, it’s vital to understand the procedures involved in acquiring financing for a home.

Today, we’ll break down these two real estate jargon terms so that you can go into the mortgage approval process armed with the knowledge to help you succeed in securing a home loan.

Mortgage prequalification

Let’s start with the easy part--mortgage prequalification. Getting prequalified helps borrowers find out what kind and what size mortgage they can likely secure financing for. It also helps lenders establish a relationship with potential customers, which is why you will often see so many ads for mortgage prequalification around the web.

Prequalification is a relatively simple process. You’ll be asked to provide an overview of your finances, which your lender will plug into a formula and then report back to you whether or not you’re likely to get approved based on your current circumstances.

The lender will ask you for general information about your income, assets, debt, and credit. You won’t need to provide exact documents for these things at this phase in the process, since you have not yet technically applied for a mortgage.

Prequalification exists to give you a broad picture of what you can expect. You can use this information to plan for the future, or you can seek out other lenders for a second opinion. But, before you start shopping for homes, you’ll want to make sure you’re preapproved, not prequalified.

Mortgage preapproval

After you’ve prequalified, you can start thinking about preapproval. If you’re serious about buying a home in the near future, getting preapproved will simplify your buying process. It will also make sellers more likely to take you seriously, since you already have your financing partially secured.

Mortgage preapproval requires you to provide the lender with income documentation. They will also perform a credit inquiry to receive your FICO score.

Mortgage applications and credit scores

Before we talk about the rest of the preapproval process, we need to address one common issue that buyers face when applying for a mortgage. There are two types of credit inquiries that lenders can perform to view your credit history--hard inquiries and soft inquiries.

A soft inquiry won’t affect your credit score. But a hard inquiry can lower your score by a few points for a period of 1 to 2 months. So, when getting preapproved, you should expect your credit score to drop temporarily.

After preapproval

Once you’re preapproved for a mortgage, you can safely begin looking at homes. If you decide to make an offer on a home and your offer is accepted, your preapproval will make it easier to move forward in closing on the home.

Once the lender checks off on the house you’re making an offer on, they will send you a loan commitment letter, enabling you to move forward with closing on the home.





Posted by George P. Goulas on 3/18/2020

Photo by Edar via Pixabay

Before you sign on the bottom line, know which items are negotiable and which negate the deal entirely. Clearly defining these in advance can save you significant headaches when the buying bug takes over. Your agent will remind you of your non-negotiables and keep you on the right track.

Here are some big-ticket items to keep in mind before closing out a contract:

  • Major construction issues. During the inspection, if issues with the roof, a significant system like the wiring, plumbing, or HVAC comes up, negotiate to have them fixed or walk away.
  • Review any protected or wetlands designations that apply to the property. Even though the home, pool, fence, pond or ditch is already there, these designations mean you’ll have to get permission from a conservation committee or agency in order to make any changes to your property.
  • If any questions come up in the title search, and it seems there may not be a clear title, walk away. Even though the legalities could eventually get sorted, you’ll be out attorney fees, stress and time lost.
  • Review the right-of-way, easements and utility access. Utilities with lights, poles, pipes or wires crossing the property have the right to inspect, repair, dig and otherwise take care of the utility. Before you can put in a pool, fence or flowerbed, you may need their permission. In addition, some cities have right-of-way clauses meaning they can add berms, boulevards or widen roads into your property. They also have the right to approve where you can locate a driveway and the setback (how close structures are to the property line, roads or easements), which may severely impact how you can build.

If there is land behind your property that does not have egress, that landowner may have easement rights. That means, they may install a driveway right through your land to get to theirs. Easements are listed on the deed, so have your agent or title lawyer clarify anything you don’t understand.

Make sure your real estate agent knows what’s non-negotiable for you so that the property you fall in love with is the one of your dreams, not your nightmares.




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Posted by George P. Goulas on 3/11/2020

Technologies for home theater audio are rapidly changing. At one time if you wanted a good listening experience in your living room you have to spend hundreds on surround sound speakers, subwoofers, and receivers. Then, you had to run wires throughout the room and try programming your remote to make it all work.

While surround sound speakers are still a good option, there are other ways to experience quality audio in your home. In this article, we’re giving you a guide to choosing a home audio system that fits your needs and, more importantly, your budget.

Sound bars 

The latest addition to home theater audio is the sound bar. These are slim, sleek speakers that usually come with a small subwoofer.

Sound bars come in several varieties. Some are plug-and-play, meaning you don’t need to worry about purchasing amplifiers or devices, you just plug them into your television via an HDMI cable or connect to your TV through Bluetooth and you’re done.

Other sound bars are more like bases that your TV sits on top of. Sound bases aren’t as popular as they once were, so there are limited options. Furthermore, they typically don’t include a separate subwoofer so they can lack deep bass.

The other benefit of sound bars is just how simple they are to use. Even the cheapest sound bars often come with Bluetooth, so you only have to worry about one outlet spot for the power cord.

For most homeowners who want sound quality far better than their television’s internal speakers can provide, sound bars are an easy way to vastly improve your audio experience without breaking your wallet.

Before buying a sound bar, try them out at a local electronics store to gauge what quality you need. You also might want to measure your television to find one that matches its width.

Surround sound

The classic home theater experience is a bit more complicated. However, you can often buy a “home theater in a box” which includes everything you need for an audio system.

Most commonly, you’ll find 5.1-channel surround sound. This means there are five speakers and one subwoofer included in the box. These systems have one central speaker, two speakers that are placed to the left and right side of the television, and two rear speakers. However, you can also find 7.1-channel systems which include two extra speakers.

Many “home theater in a box” packages include an audio receiver. However, if you already have one, your money will be better spent on buying a higher quality speaker system than replacing your receiver.

The downfall of buying a speaker/receiver package is that their quality is often only marginally better than a (much simpler and easier to set up) sound bar. To get the optimal experience out of a surround sound system, you’ll need to spend more and do your research.

So, if you have a high budget and want a dynamic, high-quality surround sound system, your best bet is to buy a quality receiver (usually somewhere in the $600 range) and then spend the bulk of your budget on speakers.




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Posted by George P. Goulas on 3/6/2020


199 New Boston Road, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Single-Family

$219,900
Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
1
Baths
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY 3/3/20 From 1-2pm. HERE IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO OWN THIS 3-BEDROOM RANCH IN THE GREAT TOWN OF STURBRIDGE. THE HOME HAS BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED WITH A NEW SEPTIC SYSTEM AND SOME INTERIOR UPDATES INCLUDING A HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM. LOCATED JUST A FEW MINUTES TO RT.20, INTERSTATE-84 & THE MASS PIKE. BIG BACK YARD HAS BEEN RAISED DUE TO THE EXPENSIVE SEPTIC SYSTEM THAT WAS RECENTLY INSTALLED.  THE ABOVE-GROUND SWIMMING POOL NEXT TO THE SUNROOM HAS NOT BEEN USED FOR A FEW YEARS, BUT IT SEEMS TO BE HOLDING WATER. WITH SOME WORK, IT COULD BE BROUGHT BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL BEAUTY & WOULD MAKE FOR GREAT ENJOYMENT IN THE SUMMER.  WHY RENT WHEN YOU CAN OWN? TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY & BECOME A HOMEOWNER. GREAT PLACE TO & BUILD EQUITY. HOME HAS MANY RECENT UPDATES INCLUDING BUT NEEDS SOME COSMETIC WORK THAT WOULD MAKE IT WELL WORTH THE EFFORT. BARN ROOF HAS STARTED TO COLLAPSE IN THE MIDDLE & WILL NEED A NEW ROOF.
Open House
Sunday
March 08 at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY 3/3/20 From 1-2pm. HERE IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO OWN THIS 3-BEDROOM RANCH IN THE GREAT TOWN OF STURBRIDGE. THE HOME HAS BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED WITH A NEW SEPTIC SYSTEM AND SOME INTERIOR UPDATES INCLUDING A HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM. LOCATED JUST A FEW MINUTES TO RT.20, INTERSTATE-84 & THE MASS PIKE. BIG BACK YARD HAS BEEN RAISED DUE TO THE EXPENSIVE SEPTIC SYSTEM THAT WAS RECENTLY INSTALLED. 
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Location: 199 New Boston Road, Sturbridge, MA 01566    Get Directions

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