Mary Moloney - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Merrimack Valley



Posted by Mary Moloney on 1/19/2021

Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

You can extend your living area by activating your outdoor spaces. Whether your yard is large or small, you can create a spot to entertain, read, or just relax with these tips:

Seating

Most outdoor spaces can accommodate some type of seating option. If youíre working with a smaller porch space, try a hanging swing or a bistro table and chair. Add a dining table to a larger patio area or deck if you plan to host outdoor dinner parties or game nights. If youíre looking for something more relaxed and flexible, opt for outdoor living room pieces. Search for weather-resistant, modular options that can be easily rearranged.

Sun and Insect Protection

If you have an uncovered patio space, consider introducing a pergola or a canopy. These options offer protection from the sun and wind which will make your time outside more enjoyable, especially if you live in a warmer climate. A canopy can be beneficial because it will often include netting options that offer protection from mosquitos and other flying insects.

Introduce Light

Add some lighting to your space to boost evening ambiance or to accommodate outdoor dining and games. If you opt for a canopy or pergola, consider introducing strings of twinkle lights, placing candles on tables or installing bug-repellant torches. For something more substantial, you may introduce a firepit. Wood, natural gas, propane and gel fuel options are readily available. Select the source that works best for your location and budget.

Introduce Color and Texture

You can liven up your space with pops of color and texture. Some options could be an outdoor rug, bright cushions and pillows for your chairs or planters filled with flowers and foliage. Hang a mirror on a wall or fence to create the illusion of extended space and depth whether your space is large or small.




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Posted by Mary Moloney on 1/12/2021

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Image by Mabel Amber, still incognito... from Pixabay

Baby Boomers remain the single largest demographic, and their transition into retirement age continues to change the senior living landscape. At more than 74 million strong, this generation will completely cross the retirement age threshold in the next decade, and 52 million Americans are already enjoying their golden years. That being said, the quality of life needs impacting our valued elders are likely to shake up the status quo going forward. These are senior living trends that are expected to unfold in 2020.

1: Location Matters

Today’s health and wellness conscious seniors are living more energetic lifestyles. With that in mind, retirement communities are increasingly being developed in close proximity to robust shopping, dining, and cultural arts facilities. Gated communities that offer amenities such as health and fitness centers, recreational spaces, and public transportation for day trips are enticing places for seniors seeking improved quality of life.

2: Embracing Technology

It wasn’t many years ago that the complexities of emerging technologies limited their usefulness to Baby Boomers and older generations. But innovation has all but eliminated the user unfriendliness of those early desktops and hand-held devices. Seniors are increasingly pleased with Smart-home technologies that are voice operated, such as the friendly Alexa. Beyond controlling lights, televisions, and other home items via voice command, tech gadgets are topping lifestyle wish lists.

3: Fifty-Five & Older Communities Prove Desirable in 2020

The 2019 housing market saw modestly inflated single-family listing prices. That was largely due to low inventory and fierce competition between downsizing Baby Boomers and upstart Millennials. The latter struggled through some economic adversity, such as student loan debt, that caused them to buy starter homes a tad later than previous generations. A log jam between the two groups over smaller homes has developers creating more 55-and-older communities that eliminate competition of younger homebuyers.

4: Aging in Place is a Thing

While some aging parents and grandparents opt to downsize, buy into communities with other seniors, or move into assisted living facilities, many are determined to remain in their family home. The priceless memories of holiday gatherings and children’s first steps are not worth trading. Aging in place continues to trend among independent-minded seniors, and family members may want to consider augmenting this lifestyle rather than try to persuade mom or dad to relocate.

Support systems such as community groups, volunteerism, and having a visiting nurse check-in on parents and grandparents are more likely to enhance the quality of daily living. It may seem logical to children and grandchildren to have your elders come live with you. However, it’s essential to respect their independence.

5: Isolation Issues

It would be something of an understatement to say that our valued elders enjoy an independent spirit. As admirable as that sense of self-determination may be, the loss of a spouse or community members tend to reduce the human interactions our elders have on a daily basis. Isolation can be the downside to independence, and it’s up to friends and family members to maintain the communication channels open.

It’s worthwhile to set up group texts and emails to make sure loved ones consistently visit. Getting involved with pastimes such as going to sporting events and impromptu family get-togethers can go a long way to reduce feelings of isolation.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Moloney on 1/5/2021

Photo by Mostafa Safadel on Unsplash

The penthouse is the pinnacle of real estate in many markets -- and places like New York and Miami -- have plenty of options to choose from. It's easy to get caught up in great decor or fall in love with a view, but there are other considerations as well. Here's what to think about when you shop for a luxury penthouse unit. 

Expect to Pay  a Premium: Most penthouses are priced above similar sized units in the same building, so be prepared to spend a little more for that amazing view and those amenities. A single penthouse spanning the top floor will command more of a premium rate than one that shares the floor with one or more other units. 

You Can Still Negotiate: While a penthouse will command a higher price than any other unit in a specific building or location, you can and should negotiate the best deal. In cities with a glut of inventory in this price range, you may be able to secure a better price, simply by presenting the right offer. Your real estate agent can help you determine how flexible a price is and what fair market value is for a home you are considering. 

Inventory Impacts Price: In high-rise dense cities like New York, there are always penthouse properties available. Outside of cities, though, you may have fewer options  In vacation and resort areas with coveted views, there are only a small number of penthouse properties to begin with, and they are not all on the market at the same time. Act swiftly if a property you truly want becomes available to avoid missing out. 

Visit at All Hours: If you will live in the penthouse property, you should visit it during the day, at night and on weekends. Because this property is near the roof, it may also be near HVAC and elevator equipment -- these can get noisy when in heavy use. Newer penthouses have insulation and soundproofing, but older ones may not, so the home could be noisier than you expect when everyone else in the building is home. 

Is the view guaranteed? A building that faces the ocean and is directly on the beach will have a view that is not interrupted by future construction, but not all penthouses fit this description. You should be aware of zoning and building possibilities -- could a taller building be placed in front of yours -- disrupting your view? Your agent can help you discover if this nightmare scenario is a risk factor in any home you are considering. 

Buying a penthouse is different from other luxury property purchases, because the view and position of the home offer so much and contribute to the price. Be aware of the setup of the building and its location -- and be ready to move if a penthouse becomes available in a market with scant inventory. Your real estate agent can watch for new listings and help you be first in line to view new luxury properties as they arrive in the marketplace and ensure you don't miss out on the home of your dreams. 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Moloney on 12/29/2020

While it's not always possible for conditions to be "perfect" when a real estate agent is showing a home for sale, things usually go more smoothly when homeowners are not present.

There are several reasons for this, including the fact that the family's presence at a real estate showing may make the prospect feel self conscious and uncomfortable.

Among other things, the potential buyer may feel like they're intruding and being an imposition. Some buyers also find it harder to concentrate on the many details they need to focus on to evaluate the home.

The ideal scenario happens when house hunters are able to picture themselves as the future owners of your home -- perhaps imagining what it would feel like to cook dinner in your kitchen, entertain guests in your living room, and relax on the back porch. However, when you and your family are there, it makes it more difficult for them to conjure up those images in their mind. So, to the extent that it's possible, it's often a good idea to take the kids out for ice cream or go on a short trip to the mall when a showing of your home is scheduled.

Granted, it may be a little inconvenient -- especially if the visit was set up at the last minute -- but you don't want to unintentionally dissuade someone from making an offer on your house. You never know what might "upset the apple cart!" There's a lot at stake and every prospect is a potential buyer.

Ideally, prospects should feel unpressured, unhurried, and free to express their opinions about what they're seeing. If they feel like they have to weigh their words carefully and be discreet about every reaction, then their discomfort may spill over into their feelings about the house, itself. Since buying a home is often an emotional decision, any negative feelings in the prospect could potentially derail the chances of a purchase offer being made.

Real estate agents not only serve as knowledgeable "tour guides" and objective sources of information for house hunters, but they're also there to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative aspects of a property. One of their main objectives is to put prospects at ease and help them appreciate all the desirable aspects of your home.

There are dozens of details, property features, unique attributes, and flaws that potential buyers are trying to assimilate and remember, so the fewer distractions there are, the better! That's why it makes sense to keep the atmosphere as uncomplicated as possible. It can be a bit of a delicate balance for real estate agents to maintain, but most have the training, experience, and finesse to keep things on an even keel and moving forward!





Posted by Mary Moloney on 12/22/2020

Whether youíre 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 youíre 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, weíre going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house youíre looking at to get a better idea of whether or not itís the perfect match for you and your family.

1. Re-read the listing

If youíre 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 listingís 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, youíll want to know what your options are for your childís education. Itís often a good idea to check out the local schoolsí 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 isnít always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but itís a good place to start.

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

  • Street view. While weíre on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. Youíll 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. Donít get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area youíre moving to is a safe place

3. Donít be afraid to ask questions

If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, donít be shy when you arrive. Itís understandable that you wouldnít want to be a burden in someone elseís home. But remember--if youíre considering living there someday youíll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.

Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and donít be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!







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