Philip Ottaviani | Framingham Real Estate, Marlborough Real Estate, Ashland Real Estate


Adding your residence to the housing market can be tricky. And for those who are unprepared for the potential pitfalls of the real estate market, it may be difficult to get the best results from the home selling journey.

Fortunately, we're here to teach you about the housing market so you can understand what it takes to optimize the value of your home.

To better understand the ins and outs of the real estate market, let's take a look at three common misconceptions that are frequently associated with selling a house.

1. Your home has increased in value since you initially purchased it.

What you paid for your house a few years ago is unlikely to match what it is worth today. As such, it is important for a home seller to understand the current state of the real estate so he or she can price a residence accordingly.

A home seller should look at the prices of comparable residences before adding his or her home to the housing market. By doing so, this home seller can see how his or her residence stacks up against the competition and price it based on the current housing market's conditions.

Also, a home seller should complete a property appraisal. This evaluation allows a home seller to receive expert insights into a house's pros and cons. Plus, a home appraisal ensures a property seller can prioritize myriad home improvement projects to help boost a house's value.

2. You should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your house.

Although a home seller enjoys his or her residence, there is no guarantee that homebuyers will feel the same way. Therefore, a home seller should allocate the necessary time and resources to enhance a property's appearance both inside and out.

Completing simple home exterior improvement projects like mowing the front lawn and clearing dirt and debris from the walkways can make a world of difference in homebuyers' eyes. These home exterior improvements will help you bolster your house's curb appeal and boosts your residence's chances of making a positive first impression on homebuyers.

In addition, don't forget to declutter your residence's interior as much as possible. This will make it easy for homebuyers to imagine what life may be like if they purchase your home.

3. You don't need support from a real estate agent.

When it comes to selling your residence, it is always better to err on the side of caution. With a real estate agent at your side, you may be able to accelerate the home selling process and improve your chances of maximizing the value of your house.

A real estate agent will help you manage challenges throughout the home selling process. He or she will show you how to list your residence and promote it to the right groups of homebuyers, along with provide comprehensive responses to your home selling questions.

Employ a real estate agent to guide you along the home selling process – you'll be happy you did. A real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can sell your residence quickly and effortlessly.


Staging a home requires a seller to think about how to differentiate his or her residence from others that are currently available. Fortunately, a home staging checklist can make it easy for a seller to ensure his or her house stands out from the competition.

A home staging checklist allows a seller to take a step-to-step approach to enhance his or her house's appeal, which may lead to a fast, profitable home sale.

In addition, this checklist is simple to create and may include the following items:

1. Removing Clutter

Although you likely have collected a variety of antiques, artwork and other attractive items over the years, you may want to remove some of these belongings from your house. That way, you can help homebuyers envision what their lives may be like if they decide to purchase your residence.

Remember, the goal of a home seller is to stir up substantial interest in a house. If you eliminate clutter from your home, you can enable homebuyers to see exactly what your residence has to offer and help them make an informed purchase decision.

To remove clutter from your home, you may want to host a yard sale or sell excess items online. You can always donate excess items to local charities or give them to family members or friends too. Or, if you want to keep all of your belongings, you can put various items in a storage unit until your residence sells.

2. Cleaning a Home from Top to Bottom

An immaculate residence is sure to garner substantial interest from homebuyers. Thus, if you clean your home from top to bottom, you can increase the likelihood that your residence will make a positive first impression on potential buyers.

Go room by room and clean as much as possible. If you require extra assistance, you can hire a professional home cleaning company as well.

3. Collaborating with a Real Estate Agent

If you need expert guidance as you sell your residence, you should hire a local real estate agent.

A real estate agent is a difference-maker throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional can help you stage your home, along with provide real estate market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

When it comes to home staging, it often pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will learn about your house and offer personalized home staging recommendations.

Furthermore, a real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house and can help you make tough decisions throughout the home selling journey. He or she can work with you to determine an initial asking price for your residence, whether to accept an offer a home and much more. Also, if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.

Take the guesswork out of staging your residence – include the aforementioned items in your home staging checklist, and you can quickly and effortlessly get your house show-ready.


Image by Sue Smith from Shutterstock

House owners frequently remodel, upgrade, or otherwise make changes in their homes for which they do not secure a permit. While some changes do not require permitting, others do. The challenge comes when you attempt to sell the home. You may run into a problem when a buyer makes an offer on such a property, and their inspector discovers unpermitted changes. Their mortgage lender may be unwilling to give them a loan until you remedy the permit issue.

Additionally, since building codes often change from year to year and certainly from decade to decade, and the property may have changed hands more than once before it came to you. Even if the upgrade occurred before you purchased it, you might be the one responsible for fixing it with your municipality.

What can you do? When you believe your home has unpermitted construction, learn as much as you can about it:

  • When did installation take place? Before you took ownership of the house? After? 

  • What is the construction? A pergola? A sunroom? That necessary second bathroom?

  • In the year or era of construction, was a permit required? Is there a permit in place of which you're not aware?

  • Can it be grandfathered?

What is “Grandfathering”?

The term “grandfather clause” refers to an exception to a code, restriction, or legal requirement. It allows anything already done legally “at the time” to continue even if a new limitation would not allow it. Regarding unpermitted home upgrades, if the construction was before the change in the code, check to see if the code requires retroactive compliance. In that case, exceptions typically pose a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property and need remediation. When code changes do not require retroactive compliance, knowing the date of the construction puts you in the clear.

Retroactive Permitting

When you discover retrofits, additions, upgrades, or renovations in your home, search city or county records for a permit. Ask for help to see if that type of work in the year(s) of its completion required one. If it needed a permit, and you do not find one in place, either request a retroactive authorization or plan to sell your home "as is" to a willing buyer. Municipalities often have methods in place to offer retroactive permits. Check to determine the total cost of the permitting process. In addition to the permit fee, you may have to pay fines, inspections, and other fees. Any modifications required because of the permitting process become your responsibility. When the total cost of obtaining retroactive permits and related fees and construction costs is higher than the return on your investment, consider the “as is” process.

Selling Your Home "As Is"

When you choose to sell your property "as is," you no longer need to disclose to the municipal building department that you may have unpermitted construction. Until you are sure you want to request a retroactive permit, do not disclose information when you communicate with building code offices that might trigger an inspection. 

In the selling process, however, fully disclose to your real estate agent all items you know about for certain. That is, tell them about additions or upgrades you installed while in ownership. Make sure a sale is not delayed or falls through because a lender requires a permit. Have an appropriate "as is" clause written into the sales contract. 

Confer with your real estate agent to determine if seeking a permit is in your best interested when selling with unpermitted additions.


Adding a house to the real estate market should be simple. However, a home seller must consider various factors before listing a home, or risks missing out on opportunities to stir up interest from potential homebuyers.

Some of the top factors to consider before you list a residence include:

1. Your Home's Interior and Exterior

Ultimately, your home only gets one chance to make a positive first impression on homebuyers. If a home seller dedicates the necessary time and resources to update a house's interior and exterior, he or she may be able to increase the likelihood of a quick home sale.

To improve a house's interior, it is important to declutter as much as possible. Remove any non-essential items from a home; these items can be sold at a garage sale or online or put into a storage unit until a home sells.

Furthermore, to enhance a home's exterior, a home seller should mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform assorted home exterior maintenance projects. With a dazzling home exterior, a home seller can help his or her residence stand out from other available houses.

2. The Local Housing Market

How does your home stack up against the competition? Study the local housing market closely, and you should have no trouble establishing a competitive price for your home.

Examine the prices of available residences that are similar to your own. Also, take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. With this housing market data in hand, you can understand whether you're preparing to operate in a buyer's or seller's market and price your residence appropriately.

3. Home Appraisal Results

When it comes to getting a home ready for the real estate market, it never hurts to conduct a home appraisal.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will assess a house's condition. After the appraisal is finished, this inspector will provide a homeowner with a copy of a home appraisal report.

A home appraisal report offers valuable insights into a home's condition and enables a home seller to prioritize myriad home improvement projects. As such, the report may help a home seller find ways to enhance a residence before he or she adds it to the real estate market.

Lastly, if you're looking to list a house in the foreseeable future, working with a real estate agent is key.

A real estate agent is happy to help you prep your residence for the housing market. He or she will offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations and ensure you can upgrade your house as needed. Plus, this housing market professional will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and do whatever it takes to help you sell your residence.

Get your house ready for the real estate market – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can transform an ordinary residence into an awe-inspiring home.


If you intend to add your residence to the real estate market, you should try to differentiate your house's weaknesses and strengths. That way, you can plan ahead for the home selling journey and make myriad house improvements before you list your residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you identify your house's weaknesses.

1. Analyze Your Home from a Buyer's Perspective

Oftentimes, it helps to take an objective view of your house and consider why a buyer may choose to purchase your residence over others. At the same time, you may want to think about why a buyer may shy away from your residence too.

By analyzing your house from a buyer's perspective, you may be better equipped than ever before to identify potential home problems. Then, you can take the necessary steps to address these issues. And as a result, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.

2. Perform a Home Inspection

A home inspection may be worthwhile for a home seller, and for good reason. Conducting a house inspection enables you to receive in-depth insights into your home's condition that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. And with a house inspection report in hand, you can prioritize home improvement projects accordingly.

Of course, if you decide to conduct a house inspection, you should hire a qualified home inspector. Perform a comprehensive search for home inspectors in your area, and you're sure to find plenty of great options. If you choose a home inspector who possesses lots of industry experience and a sterling reputation, you can conduct a house inspection and gain the insights you need to upgrade your house.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about how to promote your residence to prospective buyers, there is no need to panic. Because if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to showcase your residence to the right groups of potential buyers.

A real estate agent is a home selling expert who is unafraid to be honest. Thus, he or she can provide unbiased home selling recommendations and suggestions and ensure you can upgrade your residence in no time at all.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will help you craft an effective home listing, set up home showings and open house events and keep you up to date about any offers to purchase your residence. Plus, if you have concerns or questions as you navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

For those who want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey, it helps to identify a house's weaknesses as quickly as possible. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can immediately identify any home weaknesses and address such problems early in the home selling process.




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