How To

Better Homes and Gardens The Shanahan Group joins Rebuilding Together Boston for National Work Day

It’s time to get the band back (Rebuilding) Together!  We’re so excited to be just over a week away from our second annual Rebuilding Together Boston Work Day! 

Team Shanahan

Not surprisingly, we’re passionate about home ownership.  So much so, that we’re willing to put our money - and our talents - where are mouths are.  In addition to our company donations, each member of our team, has individually donated the money used to purchase the needed supplies to bring necessary health and safety improvements one deserving person’s home.  Then we really get to work!

Rebuilding Together BostonNational Work DayBetter Homes and Gardens The Shanahan Group

This year, rather than having the day all to ourselves, we’re participating in Rebuilding Together’s National Rebuilding Day!  Just within the 3-4 block radius of our work site, there will be more than ten additional teams working on other projects.  What an exciting opportunity to bring life and value back to an entire community and improve the life of a deserving homeowner! And have so much fun doing it!

Helping with Friends

This year, we are again partnering with our friends at G&N Insurance and The Shant Banosian Team at Guaranteed Rate Mortgage and additionally welcome the expertise and know-how of JP Walsh Plumbing and Heating of Medford and carpenter, Mark Bronakant.

The Shanahan team consists of returning Rebuilders Nan and Rich Shanahan, our captain, Caroline Staudt, Karen Garrett, Rebecca Brennan-Laird, Stephanie Walsh, Christine Curtin, and our chief parger (yeah, we didn't know what it was, either), Felicity Tuttle.  First-time Rebuilders include Paula Buono, Cheryl Twomey, and Dara Singleton.

Hope you enjoy the snaps from last year’s Work Day.  At the end, we were tired, dirty, and gratified to know we had helped improve a homeowner’s life.  If you’re interested in becoming involved with Rebuilding Together, please visit their Boston or national site. 

Tis the Season (for Eating well)

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Today, Mary Price is sharing another Holiday Party favorite of ours because after all...Tis the season for eating! This is Mary's famous and delicious Easy Hot Cheese Dip. There is simply nothing about these four words together that sounds bad to us. And Mary is even kind enough to give a shout out to her friend and former neighbor. Mary Price's Cheese DipEASY HOT CHEESE DIP: Originally from Joyce Edwards (my former neighbor) 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese I use the block cheese grated in a food processor. I like Cabot brand: Seriously Sharp. Any sharp cheese will work. 1 small onion (also put in processor) Put into a mixing bowl and add: approx. 1/3 cup mayo Mix together usually, I add a few red pepper flakes Put in appropriate size baking dish Sprinkle paprika on top Bake ate 350 degrees for approx 25 minutes (until bubbling) 20-30 minutes. MOST TIMES, I DOUBLE THIS RECEIPE AND DO BAKE FOR A FULL 25 MINUTES. ALSO, BEFORE SERVING, I BLOT THE EXTRA MAYO OIL ON TOP. Serve with pita chips, vegetables, crackers, bread sticks...just about anything! Enjoy!

Choosing the Right Realtor as Your Buyer's Agent

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Choosing the right Realtor to represent you can be overwhelming. There are many things you as a buyer need to factor in. I will help guide you through this process and feel free to contact me with any questions. The first step in the process of choosing a Realtor is picking up the phone and talking to different agents. When a buyer contacts Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group I always have prepared questions so I can better understand their wants and needs. I am always curious in how long someone has been looking, if they live in the area, and what their timing expectation is. It is extremely important that Realtors ask questions -- not only for their own knowledge but to form a connection with you as a prospective client. A Designated Buyer Agent works solely in the buyers BEST interest and you as a buyer should make sure you form a connection with your Realtor. Remember, you will be spending lots of time with your Realtor! I always recommend setting up a time with my clients either at our office or in their home for a brief meeting. I present how I, as a Realtor will represent them and Ill ask more questions about the clients wants and needs. A sit down discussion about you, the client, should not be scary. I know it is overwhelming, having someone ask a handful of questions about your personal life. Remember, buyer agents work for you and cannot disclose information. Everything remains confidential and questions are only for your Realtors knowledge to help find you the BEST HOME for the BEST PRICE. Here are just a few questions a good Realtor should ask his or her clients:

  • How soon do you need or want to be in a new home?
  • How do you plan to finance the purchase of a new house?
  • Have you been in contact with mortgage lenders in your area?
  • What price range are you looking?
  • How much had you planned to put down?
  • What are your top priorities?
  • Are you familiar with the home buying process?
Next, I set up a search based on my clients home criteria - price range, towns, type of home, number of bedrooms, age of the home, etc., with email alerts directly through MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Not only will this show buyers homes which are currently available on the market, but also alert buyers to price reductions, new homes on the market, and even open houses. Once you find the home of your dreams, I provide my client with relevant market data as well as my own experience and expertise so we can develop the strongest offer. Once we decide on the best price, I present our offer to the listing agent personally, discussing what makes my client the best buyer for the property. We give the seller a time frame on when we need to hear back which usually is about 24 to 48 hours. We then wait for a response. Best case, they accept, but if not the sellers can either counter offer or reject. If the sellers counter-offer, I will negotiate with the listing agent for the best price and terms on behalf of the buyer, always keeping you informed throughout the process. Once an offer is accepted, your Realtor will help advise you on next steps, most notably a home inspection and other inspections needed by law. Its important for the buyers to follow their inspector during a home inspection. Its a great time to ask questions to learn more about the property you are in the process of buying. Other to-do items you may discuss with your Realtor include homeowners insurance, certifying funds for down payment and closing costs, and advising you about utility turn overs and movers. Last but not least, the closing and funding. Just before settlement you and your Realtor should make one last walk through to make sure the home is in the condition you expect. Buying a new home should be enjoyable and the right Realtor should help make this process stress free. Remember to interview a Realtor and discuss how they will best represent you. Relax, take a deep breath, and have fun finding your dream home!!! stephanie Once again, we're happy to have Stephanie Walsh blogging for BH&G Shanahan. You can reach Stephanie at 781-572-9218

The Most Attractive Buyer

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NAR MAP Q-1 Prices

The Real Estate landscape has changed dramatically over last year - sales are up and prices are up.Inventory remains low and as a result, many properties are being sold above asking price - and with multiple offers. The trick is to be the most attractive buyer while still operating within your budget and your comfort level. Let's talk about how:

Preapproval- In this market, the potential buyer who has not been preapproved will not not even make the list. Period. Make sure you're preapproved (not simply pre-qualified) by a reputable bank. When submitting your offer, time permitting, you should have a formal preapproval letter specific to this property, from your lender, stating your offer amount. Contingencies Love Letter Accommodating - Does the seller want a quick closing? Do they want to wait until the end of the school year before moving? Are they also trying to buy and need to get the property under agreement as soon as possible? The more you can work within their timelines, the easier you can make the process for them, the more likely it is your offer will make it to the top of the pile. Responsive Percentage Down Inspection (no nickel and dimeing)

Moving With School-Aged Kids

I am a Realtor. At this particular juncture, I'm also a home buyer and seller, a wife, and a working mom. Moving with school-aged kids. I know this process and I've been here before helping others through exactly this transition. This time, I'm just a wee bit anxious. Cause this time, it's personal. There are two schools of thought regarding moving with school-aged kids:

  1. Move over the summer so they're not walking into a new school in the middle of already established friendships, groups, and cliques.
  2. Move during the school year and you're instantly introducing your school-aged kids to a ready-made set of potential friends who, at a minimum, share a classroom and an age.

In our case, we are moving just a few towns away - and have an amazingly creative Realtor (ahem), who was able to coordinate our sell and buy to coincide with the end of the school year. I like to think we've done at least a few things right in preparing our kids for "The Move." Moving with School Aged Kids In the beginning:

  • Let them know why you're moving - Do you need a bigger house? More land? Are you interested a particular school system? Is the move job-related?
  • WIFM - what's in it for me? Talk to them about their wish lists and try and incorporate those into your own.
  • Don't be surprised when "POOL" repeatedly comes up as the kids' number one priority.
  • Take them with you (occasionally) to open houses or out with your buyer's agent so they better understand the process.
  • Ask for their input.

Validate their feelings and work to lessen their anxieties (and yours):

  • Let them know it's a little scary for you, too - but also exciting!
  • Make sure they know that although you're moving, they'll still have their friends - if it's a relatively close move, plan some playdates!
  • Find out about your new town. Look into extracurriculars, sports, clubs, and camps where they can meet future classmates/BFFs.

After you've found The House

  • Make an appointment to see the house again. Show them which rooms will be theirs - or ask them which they'd like. Let them get sense for what the house will feel like when it's just your family at home.
  • Point out any features which are particularly appealing - the finished basement that can fit a ping pong table and the 'sledable' area of the backyard were big hits for us!
  • Think features and benefits - with a bigger room, won't it be great to have sleep-overs?
  • Take drives around the neighborhood (don't feel weird; we all get a little stalker-ish during this period), point out basketball hoops, kids playing, bicycles, and other obvious signs of kid-dom.
  • Make an appointment to see the school and possibly have your child shadow another kid to get a feel for how the building looks and sounds when school is in session.

Once you're in:

  • Step out of your own comfort zone. Go out of your way to chat up your new neighbors and get the lay of the land. The sooner you feel comfortable, the sooner they will as well.
  • Last but not least, a little bribe never hurts. Remember when you brought your first child to the hospital to meet your second? Remember there may have been a wonderful little 'big brother/sister' present waiting from the baby? Same deal. It doesn't need to be big- something as simple as a cool, fun sprinkler to play with in the new yard.

Around here, we're still in negotiations about a trampoline.