Jenny Mendez Isenburg | Boston Real Estate, Brookline Real Estate, Natick Real Estate


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Termites are one of the worst possible nightmares you can face as a homeowner. These common insects can cause major structural damage right under your nose and eventually lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Because they live in underground nests and inside the foundation of the home, it can be difficult for homeowners to identify termites before serious damage has already been done. However, it is possible to save yourself lots of time and money by preparing your home for a termite infestation before they strike. Keep reading to check out a few of our top termite prevention tips.

Termite Prevention: What to Do Before an Infestation

Although it’s not always possible, for those who are building their new home, termite prevention works best during the planning stages. If possible, utilize a Basaltic Termite Barrier (BTB) which is made of rocks that are packed together so tightly under the home that termites are unable to penetrate the barrier. For those who aren’t able to be part of the planning stage for their new home, you can still look for builds that include BTB, termite mesh, steel frames or termite-resistant wood framing materials.

Preventing Termites in Existing Homes

There are many other steps you can take to help prevent termite infestation in homes that have already been built. A good place to begin your termite prevention is to work at reducing all possible wood-to-soil contact around the structure. Homeowners should take the time to remover any wood, lumber, plants, cardboard and paper from around the foundation. If possible, create at least a 4-inch barrier with non-wood mulch around the perimeter of the home. As a good rule of thumb, only your concrete foundation should be touching the soil, ensuring that siding begins at least 6-inches above it.

Plants and foliage should always be kept a few feet away from the home. Structuring storm drains to empty several feet from the foundation will not only help to prevent moist soil but it can keep termites at bay as well. Excess moisture is the enemy of a termite-free home, so it’s essential to do everything you can to eliminate any sources of additional moisture on the property. This can include fixing leaky faucets promptly and staying on to of HVAC maintenance year-round.

Termite Signs to Look Out For

Regular termite inspections can also help to catch an infestation before it spirals out of control. Homeowners should inspect the property regularly for signs of “frass” or “carton,” two types of termite waste left behind by drywood and subterranean termites. Additionally, patterns in the wood around the home can help to identify different types of termite infestations. Subterranean termites prefer to eat softwood between the grains. But drywood termites much prefer eating across the grains without any distinguishable patterns.

Call in the Professionals

If you’ve followed these preventative steps and still think you have a termite infestation, you need to reach out to a professional extermination team. While DIY methods can be tempting, when it comes to protecting the integrity of your home, professional advice should be considered.


An ambitious home seller may be better equipped than his or her rivals to enjoy a seamless property selling experience. In fact, this individual likely will go the extra mile to ensure buyers can learn about his or her house and make an informed purchase decision.

Believe it or not, becoming an ambitious home seller can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the home selling journey.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

The local housing market may have major ramifications on the home selling journey. If you review real estate market data, however, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. Then, you can map out your home selling journey accordingly.

Review the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. Also, check out the prices of recently sold homes in your area and find out how long these residences were available before they sold. With this housing market data in hand, you can distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market. Plus, you may be able to find innovative ways to differentiate your home from the competition.

2. Evaluate Your Home

Your home – like all other residences – has various strengths and weaknesses. If you perform a comprehensive home evaluation, you can identify your house's weaknesses and explore ways to transform them into strengths.

It may be helpful to schedule a home inspection prior to listing your residence. During an inspection, a property expert will walk through your home and identify any underlying house issues. He or she next will provide you with an inspection report that you can use to prioritize home repairs.

In addition, you may want to perform an appraisal. If you obtain an appraisal report, you can receive a property valuation that accounts for your house's condition and the current state of the housing market. You then can use this property valuation to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your home.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. He or she will help you promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and host home showings and open house events. Furthermore, a real estate agent will help you review any offers to purchase your residence and provide assorted house selling tips.

If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive lots of insights into the housing market that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, too. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time.

For those who want to enjoy a successful home selling experience, it helps to prepare for the home selling journey. By using the aforementioned tips, you can become an ambitious home seller and quickly generate significant interest in your residence.


Deciding whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house can be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you assess the pros and cons of a homebuying proposal and ensure you can make an informed decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether to accept an offer to buy your home.

1. Examine the Current Housing Market

The current housing market may play a role in your ability to stir up interest in your house. In addition, the real estate sector may impact whether you're able to receive multiple home offers at or above your residence's initial asking price.

To understand the present state of the housing market, you should look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. If houses are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market. Or, if houses linger on the market for many weeks or months before they sell, you may be operating in a buyer's market.

Ultimately, a seller's market may lead to many offers on your house in the foreseeable future. If you receive an offer that fails to match your expectations when you're operating in this type of market, you may want to decline or counter the proposal in the hopes of receiving superior offers down the line.

On the other hand, it usually requires hard work and persistence to sell a house in a buyer's market. And if you receive a competitive homebuying proposal in a buyer's market, you may want to accept this offer.

2. Consider Your Home's Condition

The condition of your house may prove to be a critical factor as you debate whether to accept an offer. If you assess your house's condition closely, you may be better equipped than ever before to make the best-possible decision about a homebuying proposal.

If you feel a home offer is fair based on the current condition of your house, you may want to accept the proposal. Conversely, if you feel a buyer has submitted a "lowball" proposal based on your home's condition, you should not hesitate to reject or counter this offer.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to evaluating a homebuying proposal, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of accepting an offer and determine the best course of action.

Typically, a real estate agent will present a buyer's offer to you and offer recommendations about how to proceed with this proposal. As you assess all of your options regarding a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have too.

Ready to take the guesswork out of reviewing a homebuying proposal? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of deciding whether to accept an offer to purchase your home.


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If you’ve never sold a home, you might not understand the complexities of what your agent provides for you. You could be tempted to sell your home on your own. After all, with the availability of the Internet, how hard could it be?

According to most research, FSBO (For Sale by Owner) nets a lower selling price than selling through a professional marketing agent. Even accounting for the commission paid to the agent, the profit to the homeowner is higher.

Marketing

Some sellers believe that all an agent does it show the home a few times a week. Anyone can do that, right? But a great agent provides much more. Top agents offer a marketing strategy, professional staging, excellent photography, listing on the MLS and access to their network of buyer's agents.

When you interview your agent, ask them what their plan is. How do they specifically intend to market your property? Who will they invite to the open house? Will they offer a unique open house just for their network of seller's agents?

Pricing

The greatest challenge to FSBO is how to price your home effectively. Yes, you can see what’s out there on Zillow and Trulia, but your agent has been in dozens of homes. They've spoken to hundreds of buyers. The single most damage you can do to a home sale is to price it wrong for the market and then have it languishing, unsold, for months.

Paperwork

Unless you've sold a home recently, you may not know all the paperwork involved in making the sale. You have the offer, counteroffers and the acceptance letter. Then there's the negotiation over items that come up in the inspection. If the buyer wants a warranty, do you know where to go for that? What if the buyer wants a contingency? Do you know how to write that up so that you're not left holding the bag? Do you have a relationship with a title office or escrow officer? Your agents' broker does.

When you add up all the work they do, and the expertise they offer, you'll see that your agent is worth the commission. If you follow their advice, you can be off on your next venture, and they'll take care of the sale for you.


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With a mortgage, a buyer is applying for financing to purchase the property in its entirety. They're relying on their credit and assets for approval before assuming responsibility of the full property. In a land contract, you're cutting out the need for a formal lender and relying on the seller to approve or deny your application.

The seeming simplicity of the transaction may make some people discount the importance of negotiation. However, there are a few things to keep in mind so both the buyer and seller are comfortable with the terms of the agreement. 

Talk to the Seller 

With a land contract, you may be more beholden to the seller than you would be to a lender in a traditional mortgage. If the seller thinks of you as a tenant rather than an owner of the place, you'll need to discuss their exact involvement over the course of the contract.

Because the seller won't receive the full value of the property upon sale, their financial insecurity is entirely understandable. They may want to check up with you over the phone, in-person, or through a third-party. If you're uncomfortable with the level of oversight, you may need to speak up or find a different property. 

Make sure you understand your obligations during this time. Some buyers are treated as a renter of the property — until it comes time to make significant and costly repairs. If you're responsible for all upkeep, you may be able to negotiate more freedom in exchange for the additional expense. 

Think Through the Finances 

One of the starkest differences between a traditionally financed home and a land contract is the speed of repayments. Even if you do find a seller willing to extend the contract, it can still be a major strain on your finances. As you factor in your current assets and credit score, you should also consider the future.

If the final payment is large enough, it may still require a substantial loan. If your credit hasn't improved enough by the time the contract nears the end, it could be a significant blow to your savings. And if you can't meet the terms of the contract, the seller will get to keep the money you've already paid them (as well as the property). 

Negotiating a land contract means thinking through the repercussions of each clause. While the terms may seem looser than a standard mortgage, there may be strings attached that aren't as obvious at first glance. Ensure that you understand your financial and practical responsibilities before signing on the dotted line.