Carol Snider & Laura Snider Cooperman, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Metrowest Real Estate


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Burglary is one of the more common types of crimes in the US today. Every day, many homeowners wake up or get back from work to discover their homes robbed. Given the financial, psychological, and physical damage that can happen, protecting your home is always ideal. You don’t have to be a victim. Put a security system in place to protect your home.

A range of home security systems are available. Deciding on which one could be a daunting task. To save you time and stress, here are some tips on how to select a security monitoring system for your residence.

Survey your home.

The first thing you need to do is to survey your home and assess its security needs. Start by counting the doors, windows, and other entry points. Check the distance of the doors and windows from where you intend to install the controls. Knowing this is essential as it will help you know the coverage of the wireless system or the length of the wires needed.

Know where to place the controls.

Place the controls somewhere only you will have quick access to. Many people prefer the control pads close to the main door. But that's not a promising idea because others can easily find it. According to security experts, it is best to place the control pads in an area that guests will not have easy access. A good example is your bedroom. 

Consider the people who live with you.

If you intend to go with motion detectors, consider movement in your home during the night. If you have kids or older parents that move around at night or you have pets that pace the house at odd hours, it is highly likely that they might trigger the alarm and cause a disturbance. Triggering the alarm system that alerts the police department may cause them to respond to a false alarm from your home.

Research the Security company.

Reputation is key. Although there are security systems that you can install yourself, working with a licensed and trustworthy security company is an optimal consideration. They will recommend the perfect system for your home and even give you useful tips to protect better protect your home. 

Be sure to ask the following questions;

How long have they been operating?

What services do they offer?

Do they carry out background checks on their employees?

Do they lease or sell their security systems?

Do they offer a warranty?

Finding the perfect home security system is vital because it assures you that your home is well protected. To get more information about the types of home security systems available, and how installing one can help you gain peace of mind, ask your agent for a recommendation for a reputable security service.


A home appraisal enables a seller to learn about the value of his or her house relative to the current housing market. As such, an appraisal represents an important opportunity, particularly for a seller who wants to maximize the profits from his or her home sale.

Ultimately, it helps to plan ahead for a home appraisal. If you prepare for an appraisal, you can use the appraisal results to achieve your home selling goals in no time at all.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to perform a home appraisal.

1. Learn About Your Home's Strengths and Weaknesses

What you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match the current value of your residence. Fortunately, if you understand your house's strengths and weaknesses, you can prioritize home improvements and complete these upgrades. As a result, you may be able to boost your chances of receiving a favorable property valuation during a home appraisal.

Also, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection before you schedule an appraisal. That way, you can use the inspection results to determine which areas of your house need to be upgraded.

2. Assess the Housing Market

The present real estate sector will impact the valuation of your house. To establish realistic expectations for a home appraisal, it often helps to analyze the current housing market.

If homes are selling quickly, this likely indicates that a seller's market is in place. This market favors sellers and may enable you to receive plenty of offers if you establish a competitive price for your home.

Comparatively, if homes linger on the real estate market for many days, weeks or months, a buyer's market may be in place. In this market, you may need to set an aggressive price to help your residence stand out to potential buyers.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A home appraisal is an important part of the home selling journey. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can work with a home selling expert who can help you maximize your property valuation during an appraisal.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the home selling journey. A real estate agent can put you in touch with the top home appraisers in your city or town. Furthermore, a real estate agent can help you determine how to price your house to ensure you can stir up significant interest in your residence.

A real estate agent also is happy to help you review any offers on your home. If you're unsure about whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Ready to conduct a home appraisal? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can perform a home appraisal before you add your residence to the housing market.


Photo by Jonathan Rolande via Pixabay

Dipping your toes in the real estate investing waters can feel intimidating--especially when it comes to making a large up-front investment. Although there are ways to get started in real estate with lower up-front costs (low- or no-down payment VA and FHA loans, for instance), it's smart to have some savings to cushion your first year. Here are a few ways to find the money for your first investment property--even if you're operating on a shoestring budget. 

1. Make Some Sacrifices 

Think investing should be sacrifice-free? It's a thought popular with the Instagram philosophers of today--you know, just secure the right mindset and the money will follow. Unfortunately, real life--at least, the real estate investing life--doesn't work that way, especially at first. Cut back your discretionary spending and earmark it to begin your investment portfolio. Your side hustle might be the springboard you need to save up a down payment for your first property--if you're willing to do the work. Tighten your belt until you close on your first property, and you'll reap the rewards in the long-term. 

2. House Hack Your Existing Property 

Already own your home? Consider renting out a room, or setting it up as an AirBnB. If you have a partially-finished basement or mother-in-law suite, you could even renovate to create a true ADU (additional dwelling unit). Et voila! You're off and running as a real estate investor, improving your monthly cash flow scenario in a way that allows you to save for a larger investment down the road. 

3. Know Where Your Money is Going 

If you don't already have a budget, get one. No matter what system you use, you need a system--whether it's Dave Ramsey's envelope system, an online program like YNAB or Minted, or an Excel spreadsheet of your own design. It's also smart to talk to a financial advisor and/or accountant as you set goals and adjust your budget to fit your needs. No matter how much capital you are (or aren't) working with right now, an advisor can help make sure you're taking big strides in the right direction. 

You'll find that if you're dedicated to your goals, it's incredible how quickly you can stack up enough savings for a down payment on your first property. Impatient to get started? While you're saving, learn everything you can about the market in your area. The time you spend saving and educating yourself will change your life. 


Whether you’re shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.

With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features you’re looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.

In this article, we’re going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house you’re looking at to get a better idea of whether or not it’s the perfect match for you and your family.

1. Re-read the listing

If you’re like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.

Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listing’s pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.

2. Do your online research

The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:

  • School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, you’ll want to know what your options are for your child’s education. It’s often a good idea to check out the local schools’ websites to see what

  • Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isn’t always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but it’s a good place to start.

  • Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--you’ll want to know what’s in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things you’ll want close by.

  • Street view. While we’re on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. You’ll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.

  • Crime ratings. Don’t get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area you’re moving to is a safe place

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, don’t be shy when you arrive. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to be a burden in someone else’s home. But remember--if you’re considering living there someday you’ll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.

Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!


Image by Andy Giraud from Pixabay

Your backyard is just as much a part of your property as your kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. And yet, you may not spend very much time enjoying the space when all is said and done. If you want to give yourself a reason to get out in the fresh air, you may have to invest in a few luxury items that will make the Great Outdoors worthwhile. 

Just Add Water 

The trickling of water can bring a sense of peace to residents and visitors alike. Displaying it near a dining table can make a meal, snack, or glass of wine that much more enjoyable, especially at the end of a difficult day. Look for fountains that fit the home's overall style. A more modern home may look better with a fountain of intricate stonework than a traditional two-tiered contraption.

You can also consider adding a rain garden to the yard (an indented area that collects runoff from the roof or driveway). Rain gardens are great for the environment and they're perfect for planting colorful flowers and attractive beautiful butterflies.

The Drama of Fire 

Permanent fire pits can be installed in the yard to add more character as well as functionality. These pits can be used year-round, giving warmth to chilly nights and even providing a chance to roast anything from hot dogs to marshmallows. (A fire pit should be placed away from the home, ideally on a patch of concrete or stone pavement.)

You can also purchase a quality grill, one with countertop and fridge space for more gourmet cook-outs. Even amateur home cooks can add a little flair to their burgers, sausages and chicken by giving everything just the right amount of char. 

Lights Above 

Industrial lighting strung over the backyard can give it an outdoor bistro vibe that's perfect for quiet nights and big gatherings alike. It's equally fitting for winter holidays as it is for summer festivities. Use ambient lighting throughout the main areas and task lighting to illuminate the paths and deck of the yard. 

Adding a cluster of lights above an outdoor bar can also be a way to create extra stations on your property. From the fire pit to the cooking station to the bar, you create a flow to the outdoors that will keep everyone having a great time. 

No matter how you spruce up your back yard, remember that there's no harm in investing in the area. If you're only using a small fraction of your property, you're missing out on everything you've worked so hard to build.  




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