smart-home

Is Your Home Smart?

Remember the Jetsons, that futuristic family from the popular ’60s cartoon? Their house had all types of neat gadgets and gizmos that you probably wished for in your own life. Believe it our not, today’s tech is making these “homes of the future,” accessible now — and it’s more practical than you might think.

In today’s post, we’re taking a look at some recent smart home innovations. Make coffee with a voice command or turn off the lights from the grocery store! You might be surprised to learn that these kind of smart technologies are actually increasing the value of homes, making them more attractive to potential buyers.

  1. Ring Doorbell – A motion-activated video doorbell system with an app that enables you to see and even speak to visitors at your door from anywhere. Also available for use within your home, for security.
    Cost: $99 – $249
  2. Smart Light Bulb – Dimmable, Wi-Fi-enabled LED light bulbs that allow you to change lighting from anywhere — even while away from home — using an electronic devise of smart speakers.
    Cost: $10 – $12 per bulb
  3. TP-Link Smart Plug – Wi-Fi enabled adapter that you can plug appliances like your coffee maker into, so you can turn them on and off from an app on your smartphone.
    Cost: $15 – $17
  4. Nest Thermostat – A sleek thermostat you can control from your phone or table to adjust your heating and air. This device learns the climate of your home, automatically adjusting the temperature when conditions change.
    Cost: $170 – $235
  5. Smart Speakers – Smart speakers like Google Home or Amazon Echo can use Wi-Fi to sync with your smart electronics, allowing you to use voice commands to lower the lights, turn on the heat or even make your morning cup of coffee.
    Cost: $50 – $200

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The Not-So-Hidden Talents of Your Real Estate Pro

In a world where you can buy or sell a home with the click of a button, the work of a real estate agent becomes even more critical. Sure, you may be able to perform an actual sale on the web, but the extra perks an agent provides simply can’t be replaced by the internet. If you’ve ever worked with a real estate pro before, you know that this process is much more than just a clickable transaction.

This post will share a few “not-so-hidden talents” of the real estate pros at Lindo Realty Group. A home is one of the largest purchases you’ll make in life, and we’re here to make it a positive experience. You know we can help you buy or sell, but did you know we can also provide you with these perks:

Skills for a Smooth Transaction
We use our exceptional sales and marketing skills during every point of the transaction. Our goal is to negotiate a fair and competitive price whether it’s for a home you are selling or the dream home you want to purchase.

Perks After the Sale
We’ll pop by occasionally with small items to brighten your day and send you valuable monthly information. We want to continue our relationship past the sale so you know that we can help with all of your real estate needs.

Save You Time and Energy
We’ll handle all the hard work during your transaction–marketing, communication, paperwork–leaving you with less stress and more time for what you actually want to do.

Network of Referrals for All Your Needs
Our robust contact list of trusted professionals on the South Shore is full of contractors, accountants, mortgage pros and other experts to assist you in any area of your life.

A Real Estate Guide
We’ll stay up-to-date on market trends and news to keep you informed. Whether you’re currently in a transaction or just curious, we’re here to answer your questions and provide information on the market and industry.

Make You a Hero
We’re a part of a vast network of agents across North America who can set your family and friends up with a great experience. If you need a referral for an exceptional agent outside our area, just give us a call.

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lindo-realty-group-goals

Make Your Dreams a Reality

Whether you want to visit the Great Wall of China or start your own business, chances are you’ve got a dream in your life that you’d like to turn into a reality. The hard part is figuring out how to make that happen! With a little inspiration and some direction, it’s possible to translate your dreams into achievable goals.

Last year, I turned my dream of owning my own real estate agency into a reality. Building Lindo Realty Group has required a lot of hard work, but has been worth every minute! In the year and half that we’ve been in business, we’ve welcomed several new and seasoned real estate agents to the LRG team, including my lovely wife, Renee, and celebrated a record number of closings in one month. There is nothing I love more than helping members of the South Shore community buy or sell their homes!

This month, I’m sharing a road map to help you begin your journey. My hope is that this information will leave you hopeful and inspired.

Tips on how to turn your dreams into solid goals:

  1. Visualize Your Dreams – Create a vision board with pictures of what you want to achieve, and glance at it regularly. Don’t worry if your dreams seem far-fetched at first. Dreams require you to do what you’ve never done, to go where you’ve never gone!
  2. Anticipate Obstacles – Think of all the factors that may disrupt your dreams – thoughts such as, “I can’t afford it,” or “The kids schedules are too busy.” As you write your goals, acknowledge your circumstances and plan accordingly.
  3. Set Actionable Goals – Write down steps to help you achieve each goal, like putting away $50 extra per month in a travel fund or getting a passport. Finally, determine by what age or date you will achieve these goals to add urgency.

Best of luck turning your dreams into goals, and goals into results!

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gardening

Get Your Home Ready for Summer

Spring into action and complete maintenance work, so when the warm weather hits you can sit back, relax and enjoy a hot dog on the grill at your perfect barbecue. Use this list to give your home a smooth transition with the change in seasons.

  1. Wash your home’s exterior. Depending on the siding you have, power-washing can potentially do harm. In most cases, a garden hose and a cleaning wand attachment is all you need. Remember to tarp your plants and shrubs!
  2. Clean your deck or patio. After cleaning a wooden deck, remember to treat the wood, stain and seal it once everything is dry. Most patio furniture can be freshened up with an all-purpose cleaner. On furniture cushions you can use soap, water and a soft bristle brush.
  3. Tend the garden. Lay down mulch to protect your plants from a drought, boost their growth and give a finished look to your yard.
  4. Air out your home’s interior. Open all the windows and run the air conditioner on low to rid your home of any winter mustiness.
  5. Swap out wintery decor. Swap out your dark linens for a lighter look. Make the inside of your home look and feel like it’s ready for summer!
  6. Add a fresh coat of paint. Notice any chipping or peeling exterior paint? Consider a touch-up. If you hire a professional, you’ll want the work done in the spring so it’s ready by mid-summer.

Do you think you need professional help with any of these tasks? Call me for a great referral at 781-635-9022.

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pay-off-mortgage-early

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

Only 34% of Americans own their homes free and clear. All other homeowners have a mortgage they’re chipping away at. If you’re in the 66% of homeowners with a mortgage should you pay it off early?

Before you begin, you should know…

Some states allow lenders to implement prepayment penalties, which means it could actually cost you more to pay off your mortgage early. Regulations vary per situation, so before you proceed, find out from your lender if you’d face a prepayment penalty.

If there is a penalty, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth it to you. Fines are typically a percentage of the mortgage itself. So a careful analysis of the risk versus reward needs to be completed before committing.

If there is no penalty, now may be the time to start chipping away at your principal. The first five years are the best years to make additional payments toward your principal.

7 STRATEGIES TO PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE EARLY

Even if you implement just one or two of these strategies you could find yourself on the fast-track to owning your home outright.

  1. Bi-weekly payment plan – Pay half your monthly payment every two weeks. Some months will have an additional payment, this could add up to an extra full payment per year.
  2. Matching principal payment plan – Add your initial principal payment to every monthly payment that follow. This shaves years off your mortgage and saves interest.
  3. Make an extra full payment per quarter – In some cases this can take up to 11 years off your mortgage.
  4. Cash influx – Put unexpected cash – like an inheritance, birthday gift, tax refund, etc – toward your principal balance.
  5. Refinance to a 15-year loan – This is helpful if you’re on track to pay it off early, rates are low, and you’re early in the mortgage. Consult your mortgage professional if you’re not sure.
  6. Divide your mortgage payment by 12 – Add this amount to your monthly payment and make one extra payment per year.
  7. Do what you can – Make small budget cuts and save money to contribute to your principal.

Make sure you talk to your bank or lender and tell them your plans before you get started. If you want to learn more about these best practices, but don’t have a trusted mortgage professional call me at 781-635-9022 for a great referral.

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comparative-market-assessment

Thinking of Selling This Year?

Are you thinking of SELLING your home this year? Here are three things to do now:

  1. Call your LRG agent or Robbie (at 617-699-8928) for a free comparative market assessment. We’ll show you what your home is worth and how we obtain the assessment, as well as offer suggestions to improve your home’s value.
  2. Declutter your storage and living spaces. It’s easier to sort through and donate items now, instead of waiting until it’s time to move.
  3. Assess your home’s condition and make a list of potential repairs. This will help you prioritize the home repair tasks you need to complete before you list your home.

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market-correction-2019

Will We See a Market Correction?

You may have already seen news headlines predicting the next recession. The economy has been growing since 2009, the longest stretch in US history. Since the economy is cyclical, it’s only natural to wonder when the economy will begin to retract.

Causes of a downturn. Recessions are often caused by unforeseen events or circumstances that shock the market. Sixty-two perfect of experts say an overheating economy will lead to the Fed tightening its belt. Others say a financial meltdown may be caused by an asset bubble, fiscal crisis or international trade disruptions.

Reason to be optimistic. Housing isn’t likely to play a large role in the next recession. Although affordability remains a concern in many areas of the country, experts say that housing is unlikely to cause another recession.

Take headlines with a grain of salt. Experts predicted recessions in 2011 and 2016 , and neither transpired. It is important to remember that growth doesn’t last, so a downturn would be considered natural. Over the next year, economists predict the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will continue to grow and unemployment rates will fall further. The risk of recession in the next year is only about 15%, and the changes to the tax code effective this year are expected to drive business investment spending.

*Facts and figures for this post were sourced from the Wall Street Journal.

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housing-market-outlook-2019

The US Housing Market Outlook

Although it’s impossible to predict the future, current trends and statistics create a picture of the market’s health.

THE NATIONAL MARKET AS WE BEGIN 2019.

Home prices are up 4.6% and the average home value is $264,800. Sales may be down, but prices will continue to rise. This is good news for sellers, but may keep buyers on the sidelines in high-price markets.

Home sales are down 1.5% from a year ago. Experts say that many buyers are priced out of the market or they’re waiting until more homes within their price range are available.

Homes are selling fast. Homes are on the market for an average of only 29 days, with 52 percent of homes on the market for less than a month.

Inventory is tight. People are staying in their homes longer and housing stats are at an all-time low. However, housing permits are up 8.4% over last year, which means more inventory to come.

Competition is high. First-time buyers made up 31% of home purchasers. For those in the market to buy, get pre-approved for a mortgage to stay competitive. If you need a lender I can refer you to a great one in my network.

New tax code may have an impact. The interest deduction is capped at $750,000 (down from $1 million) and the property tax deduction is capped at $10,000. This may mean less expendable cash for those with, or needing, a big mortgage.

Let’s set a time to talk about our local housing market. I’d love to share my housing market insights with you and do an annual review if you currently own.

  • Sources for this article include: National Association of REALTORS, CNN Money, National Association of Home Builders, HousingWire and the Wall Street Journal.

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lindo-realty-group-pay-off-debt

Benefits of Reduced Debt

Thinking about buying your first home or moving to a bigger place in the near future? It’s a good idea to pay down your debt first. According to a study by NerdWallet more than 40% of Americans have a goal of paying down debt this year in sight. Learn how long it will take to pay off your debt using this calculator. 

As you probably know, reducing or paying off debt benefits your finances, but it can also benefit your health by reducing your stress levels! When you commit to paying off your debt, you also commit to your overall health by working to minimize this type of stress.

Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Get an overview of your debt. Gather your financial documents and make a list or spreadsheet of all your monthly expenses. Include the name of creditor, interest rate, balance and minimum monthly payment.
  2. Decide which debt to pay off first. In many cases it makes the most sense to pay off the one with the highest interest rate first, while making the minimum payment on the rest.
  3. Sign up for automatic payments. Never miss a payment again!
  4. Create a budget. Once you get a clear picture of your debt, and a strategy to pay it off, the last thing you’ll want to do is add more! Try using only cash or your debit card to make purchases. And be sure to track all expenses against your budget. Using an app or online service like Mint is one way to keep track of your budget on a daily basis.

If paying down debt with your current income seems out of reach it may be time to get creative. Consider a side hustle. Do you have a hobby or skill that could help you make money on the side? This article from Forbes tells you what you need to know to get your side hustle started! 

If a side hustle isn’t for you, what about renting out extra space in your home? 4.5 million people now list their homes or spare rooms on Airbnb.com. What started out as a website for millennial couch surfers is now being embraced by families, couples and travelers of all ages as a way to travel while still enjoying the comforts of home. (Be sure to check the regulations in your area before signing up.)

One last idea for generating extra income, that will also benefit your home when it’s time to sell or move, is clearing the clutter. Sort through your stuff and set aside items items in good condition that you no longer use. Consider selling them online (Facebook marketplace is a great way to connect with local buyers), at a consignment shop or in a garage sale.

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How to Boost Curb Appeal

Maintaining your home’s curb appeal has never been more important! Many potential buyers start their search online and are more likely to schedule a showing if they see a well maintained exterior.

If you’re thinking of selling your home soon consider these projects to boost curb appeal:

  1. Wash the exterior. A pressure washer can remove dirt, grim and cobwebs that collect over the years.
  2. Paint. Update your home with a fresh coat or two of your existing color or choose a new, neutral shade. Don’t forget the front door and shutters. Painting these in a complementary color to the rest of the exterior can really make your home shine.
  3. Install vinyl siding. This one is not cheap, but can really pay off. Vinyl siding is durable and low-maintenance.
  4. Repair or replace the roof. If your roof is in god condition, you may just need a professional cleaning. However, if your roof is due for replacement, it is best to do so before you list. Average return on investment for a new roof is 109%.
  5. Pay attention to the details. Match door hardware, light fixtures and house numbers for a cohesive, polished look.
  6. Nurture your landscape. A well-maintained lawn adds to the home’s appeal and weed-free, colorful landscaping adds colorful dimension to any yard.
  7. Build a fence. A fence increases privacy and may add value to your property as long as it fits with the style of the home and your neighborhood.
  8. Stay on top of maintenance. Regular maintenance not only helps prevent costly damage, it can also add to the value of your home. And really make it shine in a competitive market.

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