Tips From the Experts

Over 30 years of being in the real estate business has taught us a thing or two about home ownership and preparing your property for the market. Whether you are in search of a fantastic landscaper or need something fixed in your home, we can help you find the right person! Below, please find some advice from a couple of our favorites!


Kevin Newman of Kevin Newman Landscape and Tree, Inc.:

Suggests people who are selling their homes make sure that trees and shrubs are away from the house. "Airflow to the house is needed not just for visual and safety reasons, but also to prevent mold from forming. So far as Fall preparation, clear dead branches when it is more obvious (what is dead), in late summer or fall.  Note that in the winter pine trees are denser, and act like a sail in the wind, possibly causing more damage if left unpruned."


Boyd Rourke of Brinc Design, Inc.:

"Congratulations on listing your house; it’s often a difficult decision.  Your house’s architectural details, layout, and organization will help you showcase your house well for quicker success than your furnishings.  Accordingly, it may help you to begin by thinking of your house as your former house.  This shifted view may help you to edit your belongings to present your former house to its next owner in the best possible light.  It’s important to edit and remove enough that the space is the focal point rather than any of your furniture groupings or art.  Approaching the situation rationally rather than emotionally will make moving seem easier and allow you to focus on your new home."


Jack Farrell of Farrell Electric:

"It’s important to make sure that there is adequate service coming into the house. While 100 amps are acceptable, 200 is preferred. Sellers with fuses should upgrade to circuit breakers (cost:  $3,000 or higher). Knob and tube wiring is not acceptable, especially to buyers who want to add insulation to the house. Removing knob and tube wiring is $10,000 and up."


Frank McGuire AIA, Principal of Frank McGuire Architects Inc.:

"Typically, we advise our clients to take some time to "listen to the house". These buildings have stories to tell, and lives that have passed through them. It is as important to think about what should remain as to focus on what needs to be changed. Many of these buildings are much more flexible than they first appear, and it is sad to see a cohesive period building lose its fundamental character and style to a large renovation that may be itself soon dated, expensive to do, and if excessively personalized, detract from long term value. 


Woody Hughes of W. Hughes Construction:

"Sellers don’t necessarily need to renovate bathrooms and kitchens because buyers often like to design and choose their own options for bathrooms and kitchens. For sellers, we’re often called in to neutralize the space and paint interior walls, Linen White. He recommends sellers touch-up paint on woodwork and walls and sand and refinish worn hardwood floors. The key is to make the house look fresh, clean, and organized. No broken doorknobs or leaking faucets. Above all, get your personal clutter out of the house."


Marty Sandborg of Sandborg Plumbing:

"Heating systems should not be a deal-breaker. If you live in an older house, and your system is older, and/or you have rust seepage from the ground leeching onto the interior walls of the basement, that should not be a deal-breaker. However sellers should know how old their heating system is and have no open plumbing or gas permits on the residence;  if there is a septic system, sellers should have up-to-date records available. In addition, sellers should have fuel and electric costs ready for buyers’ review, along with pest extermination records. If you are on town water and sewer, be sure that pipes to the house are copper or steel, and any lead pipes have been replaced.

Percentage-wise, plumbing, and heating systems are relatively small costs, compared to the total value of the house. In an older home, you can only change what you can see."


Advice From One of Our Favorite Tax Lawyers

"Assuming the residence was owned for at least one year, the federal capital gains tax rates range from zero to 20%, depending on the taxpayer's tax bracket. High-income taxpayers are also potentially subject to the 3.8% net income tax. The Massachusetts long-term capital gains tax rate is 5%. "

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Long time residents of the Brookline area, Vicky and Blake Whitney, offer exceptional knowledge of the market and local communities.

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