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Blog :: 2019

Nine ways to secure your home while on vacation.

Finally, it’s time for a much-deserved holiday. The last thing you want to do is fret about your home while you’re away. Before you pack up and head out for your annual week on the Cape or the cabin in Maine, take a few precautions so you can really relax!

toys at the beach

Nine ways to secure your home while on vacation:

1. Put Lights on timers

Simple timers, available online or at your local hardware store, can be plugged into your lights to create the illusion of occupancy. Automatic motion sensor lights by your entrance are both useful when you are home and a real deterrent to potential thieves.

1. Install a home monitoring system

There are many affordable home monitoring systems on the market today. A simple monitoring camera such as the Wyze Cam is easy to install, allowing you to check in on your home remotely from your phone. More advanced programs such as Indigo Home Automation or Domoticz work with devices like X10 that plug into electronic outlets, allowing you to turn lights on and off remotely and monitor your home from virtually anywhere in the world. Some offer instant phone alerts in case of fire or break-in.

house lit up at night

3. Leave a key with a friend or family member

Having a trusted person close by to periodically check on your home is a real benefit.  You’ll also have someone to call on if something comes up that requires access, or if you lose your keys while away. Do not leave your hide-a-key in its usual spot. Chances are a determined thief can find it.

4. Enlist a house sitter

If you have pets or are going to be gone for an extended period, have a friend or family member house sit. Your pets and plants will get the most personalized attention, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing someone is there to keep an eye on things.

5. Keep up on yard maintenance

Keep a regular schedule of yard and pool maintenance so that your home does not look neglected. If you usually take care of these tasks yourself, hire a local company to maintain things temporarily. As an added benefit, you will have a much nicer place to return to.

6. Hold your mail and newspapers

Overflowing mailboxes and newspapers littering the yard are clear signals that you aren’t home. Contact your newspaper to suspend your paper delivery. Go to the post office and arrange to have your mail held, or ask a neighbor to collect it.

secure your valuables

7. Secure your valuables

If you don’t have a fire-proof box, now is the time to get one. Stow your valuable papers and jewelry in a well-hidden place. Be sure that tempting items such as laptops are not in open view from outside. Take in any statuary that could easily be carried off from your yard.

8. Don’t advertise your whereabouts on social media

As tempting as it is to post all about your adventures, be cautious about sharing your whereabouts on social media. Check your settings and limit access to your posts to trusted viewers only.

9. Double check your doors and windows

Disconnect your garage door, as these devices can be easily hacked. Close blinds on the ground floor.  Are your windows all closed tightly and locked? Make a last check to be sure. 

Buying or Selling a Home in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts?

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Help for First Time Homebuyers

Do you think that a home of your own is beyond your reach?  Many potential home buyers are unaware that there are resources that can assist in making the dream of owning a home a reality. Valley Community Development (Valley CDC)  is an amazing organization right here in Western Massachusetts.  Their team has guided scores of people through their home buying experience.

The Valley CDC offers First Time Homebuyer workshops every month at a different location, rotating between Easthampton, Northampton, & Amherst. Each workshop series meets 4 times, once per week, from 6 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Classes are always held on weekday evenings. The workshops are open to anyone, regardless of where you live or work, or whether or not you are a First Time Homebuyer. Topics including budgeting, home inspections, closing procedures and more are covered. See the workshop schedule here. And of course, we at Delap are here for you and always delighted to help! If you are not yet in the market, or just starting out, or have questions-stop by our office, give us a call, or contact us by email. We can begin the journey with you to find a new home. It is nearer than you think!

 

 

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Win the Bidding War and Get the House You Want

By Holly Young, Co-Owner

Shopping for a home can be fun and rewarding as well as frustrating and discouraging. Finding the home you love only to have your offer edged out by another buyer can be heartbreaking, but in this market it’s almost a rite of passage. In a hot market, where the supply of homes is low and the demand high, you may find yourself in a bidding war with multiple offers.

Here are 6 tips to making a winning offer:

Buying a Home

1. Include a preapproval letter with your offer

Don’t prohibit a seller from taking your offer seriously by not including a preapproval letter or proof of funds (in the case of a cash offer). The seller will be assured of your financial viability with a letter from your lender that corroborates your ability to make a purchase. Getting preapproved before looking at homes will ensure you can pounce quickly when you find the home you want. You will also avoid the stress of submitting preapproval paperwork and writing an offer at the same time.

2. Make a clean offer

Put yourself in the seller’s position: if you were presented with two identical offers but one was firm and binding and the other conditional upon inspection, upon financing, or upon anything, which one would you choose? Sellers want offers that are clean and concise. If you know other bids are coming in and you really want a home, avoid putting in too many contingencies or making too many demands. That being said, one contingency you should think twice about before waiving is the home inspection. Should the inspector discover a major problem at the home, you may want to protect your right to back out of the purchase.

3. Have the best terms

In a bidding war situation, the seller is reviewing more than one offer to determine which the best fit is for them. The terms of the offer, not just the price, may determine which offer they choose. A good agent will give you the edge by finding out what the seller’s desired close date is so you can marry your offer to that date. A sizable deposit may also help sweeten the impression of your offer over another. If it comes down to a few thousand dollars, an offer with more attractive terms may win the day.

4. Write a letter to the seller

While this won’t overcome a large difference in your bidding price, it will definitely help at the margin. Let the seller know who you are and why you love their house. A heartfelt and sincere letter that includes a picture of yourselves, children, or pets will make you stand out as more than just a number on a page and build rapport with the seller.

5. Use an escalation clause

An escalation clause is a term in an offer that states you will pay x price for the home, but if the seller receives another offer that's higher, you will increase the offer by some increment up to y price. In theory, an escalation clause is fairly simple. In practice, there are a lot of details involved, especially if there are two or more offers submitted that contain escalation clauses. Some sellers don’t like escalation clauses and prefer that buyers submit exactly what they're willing to pay. Your agent can find out whether an escalation clause will be favorably received.

6. Work with an agent who knows the market

Working with a real estate professional who is an expert in the market is crucial in a multiple offer situation. There are countless strategies and details that an experienced agent can navigate to give you the competitive edge. That edge may determine whether you will be on the winning or losing end of a bidding war.

Are you thinking about buying a home in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts? Contact Delap Real Estate or start your home search today!

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Welcome to our new blog!

We look forward to making this the best resource for information about real estate, our local area, and current topics that impact you. Please feel free to comment on our posts if you have questions or reactions to share. If there is anything you'd like to see us write about, we'd love to hear your ideas.

Contact Delap Real Estate for all of your buying and selling needs in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

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