Stewart Woodward, REALTOR Selling Metro West Real Estate


Posted by Stewart Woodward on 2/22/2018

If there's one thing more stressful than moving it's moving over long distances. Moving far away often means new jobs, new friends, and a new way of life. It's a big change that doesn't need to be made any more difficult by a complicated moving process. In this article, we'll cover some ways to prepare yourself for a long distance move so that you can rest easy knowing you're ready for this new chapter of your life.

A new home, a new lifestyle

If you're moving across the country you probably don't know where to begin when it comes to preparing yourself. A good place to start is with the basics of daily life. Ask yourself these questions before you start packing:
  • Do I have the right clothes? You don't need a whole new wardrobe before you move, but you don't want to brave a Northeast winter with just a sweatshirt either.
  • What can I get rid of? Think about all of the items you have and how much you use them. If you haven't used something in a year there's a good chance it's not worth hauling across the country.
  • How much space will I have? If you're moving into a house bigger than the one you have now you might not need to part with many bulky items. If not, consider having a yard sale before you move.
  • Do I know enough about where I'm moving?  When moving to a new place, you'll want to know where the closest hospitals, gas stations, and grocery stores are. Explore Google Maps and websites for the area you're moving to to get to know the place beforehand. Write down important addresses and telephone numbers.

Create a timeline

With all of the changes that are about to happen in your life, odds are you'll get overwhelmed with many of the details of moving. Create a moving timeline, whether it's in an app on your smartphone or on a piece of paper. On this timeline, write in dates you'll need to accomplish certain items by. Here are some sample items for your timeline:
  • Pick a move-in/move-out date by today
  • Choose a moving company by today
  • Sell or donate unwanted items by today
  • Sign paperwork and exchange keys today
  • Donate clothes by today
  • Going away party by today
  • Pack up office by today
  • Pack up living room by today

Packing your belongings

When packing for a long distance move there is more pressure to do it right and not forget anything. Follow these packing tips to ensure a safe travel:
  • Take inventory. Use an app that helps you categorize your belongings. Check off important items as they're packed and cross them off as they're unpacked at your new home.
  • Pack one room at a time. This will help you keep everything together and ensure you don't forget anything. It will make unpacking much easier.
  • Don't forget to label all your boxes. Keep that Sharpie in your back pocket at all times.
  • Communicate. Make sure everyone who is moving with you and helping you move are all on the same page when it comes to packing so that no details are overlooked.
  • Use extra padding. A longer drive means more opportunities for something to get broken along the way. Pack boxes full and put fragile items on the bottom of the truck.




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Posted by Stewart Woodward on 2/15/2018

If you were to look at a photo of a suburban neighborhood from the 1950s and one from today, you would notice many similarities. The houses have gotten much larger, but they still have perfectly manicured lawns and milky white fences. American culture has come a long way since the days of nuclear families. An emphasis on conservation and environmentalism has added recycling bins to many of our homes. But by and large our backyards remain mostly unchanged. Some people are electing to deviate from those norms to make their homes and yard more eco-friendly. Part of that change has been to adapt natural landscaping techniques that make your backyard seem less chiseled-out and more a part of its natural environment. With proper planning and care, natural landscaping can give your yard both a modern and natural look, and it won't look messy or overgrown. Here are some tips to get you started on natural landscaping in your backyard.

Native planting

A big part of natural landscaping is understanding your local plant life. Planting flora that is native to your area is not only helping your yard look more natural but also helping your local plant and wildlife. Often we bring in "exotic" plants and flowers without understanding the ecological issues that can arise from invasive species, both on other plants as well as on the local animals. So what are some ways you could alter your yard to house more local plant life? That depends entirely on your taste and on your local flora. If you live in a coastal, warm area, you might choose a sand or shell path in your yard that leads through tall grasses. If you live inland it might make more sense to choose stones or pebbles for your walkway and a variety of shrubs, flowers, and grasses for around the yard.

Lawn dividers

You won't find any white picket fences naturally occurring in the woods. But nature has its own barriers that can be adapted for use around your property. Vines, trees, bushes, and even rocks can all be used as natural barriers. People have used rock walls to mark of their property for centuries, and for good reason: they last forever (with some occasional maintenance) and they compliment the natural environment of your yard.

Make your lawn livable

Your lawn should be hospitable for your plants, your local wildlife, and for you. Using natural wooden benches, tree swings, and maintained paths will make your backyard look like the walkthrough gardens that we see in old English manor houses. But you should also keep in mind the birds, bugs, and other animals that will frequent your yard. By not using chemical insecticides or weed killers you're already helping your local wildlife thrive. But you can attract even more birds by setting inconspicuous feeders in the trees around your yard.

What's to gain from natural landscaping?

Aside from looking nice, natural landscaping has countless other benefits. When you're growing plants native to your area you know the plants are predisposed to grow well in your yard. That means less maintenance, watering, and less money spent buying replacements for dead plants. You'll be helping the local wildlife fit in, and you'll be helping yourself by giving your yard a refreshing, natural look.





Posted by Stewart Woodward on 2/8/2018

Let's face it – even though many great homes are available, securing your dream house at the best price can be extremely difficult due to the sheer volume of homebuyers. Lucky for you, we're here to help you stand out from the competition so you can purchase your ideal home at a price that matches your budget.

What does it take to differentiate yourself from the homebuying competition? Here are three tips to help homebuyers gain a competitive edge over rivals:

1. Submit a Competitive Offer

There is no time for hesitation in a highly competitive real estate market. Thus, if you see a home that you like, be ready to submit a competitive offer immediately.

With a competitive offer, you can improve your chances of securing your dream home in no time at all. This offer shows that you are serious about purchasing a residence – something that may help your proposal stand out from others. Plus, a competitive offer will be based on housing market data and research, ensuring that your proposal will meet your needs as well as a home seller's.

Furthermore, if a home seller counters your initial offer, be ready to negotiate. Keep an open mind, and ultimately, you may be able to land your dream house quickly and effortlessly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to establish realistic expectations before you begin your search for your perfect home.

Check out what various credit unions and banks have to offer prior to agreeing to mortgage terms. By doing so, you can find a mortgage that will correspond with your finances.

With a mortgage in hand, you can start your home search. Be sure to explore lots of houses that fall within your price range. And when you're ready to submit an offer, a home seller may be more likely to accept your proposal thanks in part to the fact that you have already secured financing.

3. Employ an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents possess plenty of housing marketing knowledge and expertise. Therefore, they can help you streamline the process of securing the perfect residence.

Finding a real estate agent who understands the ins and outs of the housing market is paramount. This real estate professional will keep you informed about new houses in your area as they become available, set up home showings and even help you submit competitive offers on residences. In addition, if you're ever uncertain about how to proceed, your real estate agent can offer guidance and tips throughout the homebuying journey.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. He or she is happy to help you in any way possible and will ensure that you can differentiate yourself from the homebuying competition.

Hire an experienced real estate agent, and you can gain a competitive edge that is sure to serve you well in any housing market, at any time.




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Posted by Stewart Woodward on 2/1/2018

Let's face it – selling your home is no simple task. As such, you'll want to find a real estate agent who can guide you through the home selling process and ensure that you're able to maximize the value of your residence. Ultimately, there are many reasons to find a real estate agent to help you sell your residence, including: 1. Industry Experience A real estate agent will possess comprehensive industry experience that makes him or her exceedingly valuable. This professional understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and will be able to assist you in several areas. From determining the best price for your home to offering home improvement tips, a real estate agent knows what it takes to sell a residence in any real estate market, at any time. 2. Local Knowledge Selling a home in a big city can be very different from selling one in a small town. Fortunately, a real estate often recognizes the key attributes of selling a home in a specific area and will work with you to find interested homebuyers consistently. The local knowledge that a real estate agent possesses can make him or her a great resource, particularly for home sellers who are hoping for a fast sale. This professional will work with you throughout the home selling process, and ultimately, ensure that you are fully satisfied with the end results. 3. Expert Negotiation Skills A real estate agent represents you throughout the home selling process and will operate as a liaison between you and a homebuyer. That way, if a homebuyer wants to negotiate for a better price for your residence, your real estate agent can serve as a facilitator who can help you get the best price for your home. Negotiating can be a stressful, exhausting experience, particularly for home sellers who are offering their residences to homebuyers for the first time. Thankfully, your real estate agent will help you streamline any negotiations with a homebuyer. 4. Friendly, Professional Approach A real estate agent understands that the process of selling a home is rarely simple and is happy to respond to your concerns and questions at any time. Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date as he or she tries to find homebuyers. This professional will take a friendly, professional approach to promoting your home to a wide range of prospective homebuyers, hosting open houses and home showings and ensuring that you get the attention you deserve while you try to sell your home. With the right real estate agent to help you sell your residence, you can enjoy a stress-free journey through the home selling process – one that is likely to conclude with a home sale that satisfies your needs. Choose the right real estate agent as you prepare to add your home to the real estate market. By doing so, you can take the guesswork out of promoting your home to the right homebuyers and increase your chances of a quick sale.





Posted by Stewart Woodward on 1/25/2018

As a homebuyer, it is easy to envision finding the perfect house, submitting an offer on it and acquiring it right away. However, it is important for buyers to consider the worst-case scenarios as well.

A buyer who understands the worst-case scenarios that he or she may encounter during the homebuying journey can plan accordingly. That way, this buyer will be better equipped than others to avoid various homebuying worst-case scenarios altogether.

Now, let's take a look at three common homebuying worst-case scenarios, as well as how buyers can avoid these situations.

1. You find your dream home, but it falls outside your price range.

If you enter the housing market without a mortgage in hand, you may need to act quickly to acquire the necessary financing to purchase your dream house. But once you kick off a search for a mortgage, you may find that the cost to acquire your dream home falls outside your budget.

When it comes to getting home financing, it often helps to be proactive. Fortunately, if you meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search, you can determine exactly how much money you can spend on a residence.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals. With these mortgage experts at your side, you should have no trouble getting pre-approved for a mortgage at your convenience.

2. You discover a wide range of problems during a home inspection.

A home inspection likely will be completed in the days after a seller accepts your offer on a residence. And in some instances, an inspection may force you to reconsider whether you want to purchase a house.

If you encounter problems during a home inspection, you still have lots of options. You can ask a seller to perform assorted home repairs or reduce your offer. Or, you can walk away from a home sale and restart your home search.

For homebuyers who are worried about any problems that they encounter during a home inspection, it is paramount to look closely at all of the aforementioned options. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with a home purchase or reenter the housing market.

3. You employ a real estate agent who fails to help you achieve your homebuying goals.

Many real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide. But if you fail to conduct an extensive search for the right real estate agent, you may struggle to accomplish your homebuying goals.

When choosing a real estate agent, you should learn about this housing market professional's industry experience. It also helps to meet face-to-face with a real estate agent and discuss your homebuying goals with him or her. This will enable you to determine whether you're comfortable working with a particular real estate agent.

Enjoy a quick, stress-free homebuying experience – consider the aforementioned worst-case homebuying scenarios, and you can minimize the risk of potential pitfalls throughout the homebuying journey.




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