Chris Werme and Mike Boland - ERA Key Realty Services - Westborough



Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 1/19/2021

Image by Breadmaker from Shutterstock

When you're motivated to get the most from your sale, it pays to add property value through preparation. Get started today with some of these tips:

Have your local real estate agent evaluate your home. As a professional, they know what sells and what doesn't in your area. They will assist you in determining how to spend your money wisely to get the best return.

  1. Pay for a home inspection. A certified home inspector will point out those areas needing fixing, correction, or removal.

  2. Clear up landscaping messes and debris. Add regionally appropriate and low-maintenance plants and ground cover.

  3. Paint your walls to a neutral but modern color. Gone are the instructions for all-white walls. Stick to gray or taupe tones though, to give a hint of timeless freshness. Remove dated, stained, peeling, or faded wallpaper. Instead of replacing it, finish and paint the area in a neutral palette with an appropriate finish.

  4. Request a home energy audit from your utility company. Most energy companies offer this service for free. Sometimes simply making changes to lighting or adding insulation gives your house a higher energy rating. Efficient homes are generally more attractive to buyers.

  5. If your home has "popcorn-style" texture on the ceiling, consider removing it. Replacing it with smooth plaster or a modernized surface increases your home’s value. Do not DIY this, however, until you make sure that your ceiling texture does not contain asbestos. Up until the late 70s, many textured ceiling preparations used asbestos flakes. If your home is newer than this, you're likely fine handling this on by yourself. An older home, however, requires a licensed professional with experience in asbestos removal and disposal.

  6. While you’re at it, replace old light fixtures. Upgrade them with high-efficiency fixtures and for little expense, bring your home into the LED era. Upgrade exterior lights with automatic options to add a safety factor to your home's exterior.

  7. Replace your roof. When living in storm-prone areas, hail or windstorm may cause damage that you cannot see and affect your roof’s integrity. Get a roof inspection (most roofing contractors do this for free). If your roof is storm damaged, contact your homeowner’s insurance to see about replacing it. In some policies, storm damage replacement has time limitations. If you've experienced heavy hail or windstorms, immediately have your roof evaluated or you may end up paying for repairs yourself. While a new roof may not increase your sale price, a damaged roof will lower it.

  8. Expose your hardwood. When you have wood flooring hiding underneath stained, faded, or worn carpeting, take time to remove the carpeting and expose the hardwood. Refinish the floor if you can do so. Even if you cannot, use some of these quick fixes to make your wood floors appear inviting to homebuyers.

When in doubt, always refer to number one above: call your real estate pro. They’ll help you determine the best options for you to get the most from your home.





Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 1/12/2021

Buying a home is a decision that could have a major impact on your life for the next five to ten years (if not longer). That's why it's extremely important to know your requirements and what you need to be happy.

If you're in the process of looking for a house to buy, it pays to do an analysis of your financial resources, your goals, and your desired lifestyle.

For example, if expanding your family is part of your five-year-plan, you'll want to make sure the home you buy has enough bedrooms, play areas, and safety features to meet your future needs. The broad category of "safety features" could cover everything from the neighborhood crime rate to the amount of road traffic the street is subject to. Proximity to emergency services is also among the many things to consider when shopping for a new home.

Choosing an experienced real estate agent to help you navigate the many challenges of house hunting will increase the probability that the property you choose will be a good fit for your needs. A bank loan officer or mortgage broker can assist you in determining the type of mortgage you can afford and be approved for.

Other than affordability, sufficient space, and safety considerations, here are a few other items to keep in mind as you shop for your next home.

  • Commuting distance: Finding the ideal house that is located less than a half an hour from your business or place of employment can be difficult. That challenge becomes even greater if both you and your partner commute to work every day.
  • Number of bathrooms: Some homes only have one bathroom, which can quickly become a source of conflict and frustration in growing families. Making sure your home has enough bathrooms to meet your current and future needs is a key priority for all house hunters.
  • Miscellaneous requirements: Depending on your lifestyle and other factors, your home-buying priority list could include everything from a two-car garage and basement to a backyard patio and deck. If privacy is high on your must-have list, features like fencing, privacy hedges, and sufficient space between neighbors will also be important. Other items to consider may include a fireplace, space for a home office, and an eat-in kitchen.
There are literally dozens of characteristics, features, and advantages to look for when house shopping, so it pays to create a detailed list of everything you want, hope for, and can't live without! While it may be necessary to be flexible with certain items on your list, things like a good school district, a safe neighborhood, and house that's structurally sound and in good condition are requirements you may not want to waver from!





Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 1/5/2021

Photo by 3D Animation Production Company via Pixabay

If you’re retired, own your own home and have trouble making ends meet, a reverse mortgage may seem like the answer to prayers. You get to stay in your house and you’ll have some extra cash to see you through. Before you run to the nearest lender, however, consider the downside as well as upside to these instruments.

What is a reverse mortgage?

A financial institution lends you money, either a lump sum, a stream of payments or a line of credit, against the equity in your home. Unlike most loans, however, you’re not required to pay it back on a regular basis. You can let the loan ride until you die, move or sell the home, at which your home is sold and the proceeds pay off the loan.

While there are several flavors of reverse mortgage, most are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) under a program called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).

Am I eligible for a reverse mortgage?

Everyone on the title must be 62 or older. The home must be your primary residence, and your equity needs to be at least around 50 percent. Also, you have to attend consumer counseling before signing up.

What are the pros of a reverse mortgage?

  • You stay in your home. You keep the title until you sell, move or die.

  • There are no required monthly payments. Any previous home loans are paid before you receive your proceeds.

  • If you choose to make payments, there’s no prepayment penalty.

  • The money you receive is not taxable, nor does it affect your Social Security or Medicare eligibility.

  • The loan is non-recourse. Regardless of your loan balance, you'll never have to pay back more than the house is worth.

What are the cons of a reverse mortgage?

  • Unless you make payments, the loan amount will continue to increase. It’s unlikely you’ll pass the home on to your heirs.

  • You must continue to pay taxes, insurance and necessary maintenance and repairs. Failure to do so can lead to foreclosure.

  • There are upfront and ongoing mortgage insurance premiums as well as a loan origination fee. These (and interest rates) trend higher than for other mortgage loans.

  • Your favorite bank may not offer reverse mortgages. Most issuers are small banks, credit unions and online lenders. Some lenders have made misleading claims that understate the risk.

  • If you go into a nursing home you will have to sell the home and pay off the loan.

  • While Social Security and Medicare are not an issue, reverse mortgage income can affect your eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

Should I apply for a reverse mortgage?

If you plan to stay in your home well into retirement and are having trouble with ongoing expenses, it may be right for you. However, if you aren’t cautious about what you’re getting into, or if you’ll have trouble paying taxes, insurance and upkeep even with the extra money, it isn’t a wise choice.




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Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 12/29/2020

Most Americans dream of owning their own home. The size of that pictured house is often spacious. As the housing market gets tighter, the prices of homes go up. The bigger the home you wish to buy, the larger the price tag. Keep in mind that the bigger the house you buy is, the more everything else will cost. That means you have to look deep into your budget and far beyond the list price of a home to understand what you have to work with financially. Some things that a more prominent home might bring are:


Higher utility bills due to more space that you have to heat and cool

Increased property tax

Higher insurance premiums

More expensive repairs

More expensive renovations

Bigger yard to landscape


These are all additional costs that you should consider before you take the plunge to buy a larger home. The longer you live in the house, the more these expenses can add up. Many things like flooring, carpet, concrete, and roofing materials are priced by the square foot. While living large can be a great decision, the additional expenses can really add up.  


If You Have Kids, Reconsider


Raising children is expensive. While you may want your child to have a large room and a lot of amenities right inside their home, there are so many other things that kids need. Consider your child’s hobbies. How much of your budget do you devote to those? Do your kids hope to attend college? How much extra money in your budget do you have for vacations and other activities that you may want to do as a family? Buying a bigger house could mean that you have less money in your budget for these things. Understand all the ways that you need to stretch your money before you have your eyes set on a larger home. 


Consider The Rest Of Your Needs


A more massive home means a more substantial monthly mortgage payment. That leaves less for you to save for things like retirement, rainy day funds, and other financial goals. Don’t let the fact that you have your eyes set on a big house shadow the rest of your life and your needs. A large part of buying a home is planning ahead. It will be a smart decision all around for you and your family to buy a home that’s affordable.            


Buying a larger home fulfills a dream for many homebuyers, but don’t let that idea become a singular goal.       





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 12/22/2020

Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash

Whether you need to hang bath towels in the bathroom or hand towels in the kitchen, a towel rack is an awesome thing to have around. And it is even better if made custom to suit your tastes and elevate the look of your home. For even more brownie points, you can make the towel rack yourself — and all it takes is some old picture frames and a little bit of elbow grease. Ready to start this fun project? Follow these seven easy steps.

1. Gather Your Tools & Materials

To create your custom towel rack, you will need:

  • 7 Old picture frames in various sizes
  • 1/2-inch screws
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood filler
  • Plastic wall anchors
  • Paint and brushes
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Old newspaper
  • Hanger
  • 2. Mock Up Your Design

    Working on the ground, mock up the design for your picture frame towel rack. Start with the largest frame in the center, as that will be used to secure the completed towel rack to the wall. You should have the frames overlap enough that you can secure each one together using two screws.

    3. Screw the Frames Together

    After finalizing your custom design, use your drill to create pilot holes for your screws. Then, screw the frames together, one by one, being careful to avoid cracking the wood. Cover the tops of the screws with wood filler, creating a seamless surface.

    4. Sand & Paint the Frames

    With the frames assembled, sand down the exterior surfaces to scuff up the finish. This will help the paint stick to the surface. Then, put down newspaper and place your frames on top. Use your paintbrushes to apply a new coat of paint in your desired color. Allow the initial coat to dry for four hours, then repeat. Allow the second coat to fully dry overnight, though 24 hours is better.

    5. Add a Hanger to the Back

    Unless your central picture frame already has a hanger, you will need to add one to the back to create a solid mounting point. If your towel rack is a bit on the large side, consider using two mounting points to give it enough strength when the extra weight of the towels are added.  

    6. Mount the Rack on the Wall

    Put the towel rack against the wall to find your preferred installation point. Remember to account for the length of the towels when they are folded over the bottom edges of the frames. Then, drill a hole, or two if you have dual hangers, in the wall, big enough for the plastic anchor.

    Use the handle of your screwdriver to tap the plastic anchor into the holes you just made. Then, add a screw to each plastic anchor and secure them almost all the way down with your screwdriver. With those in place, you can then hang the towel rack from the screws in the wall.

    7. Add Towels & Enjoy

    After securing your towel rack to the wall, you just hang your towels to complete this project. You can then go about your business, secure in the knowledge that you always have a towel close at hand when you need one.




    Categories: Uncategorized  




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