COVELLE & CO’s Guide to Prepping Your Home for the Market

You may have had selling your home in the back of your mind for a long time, or maybe you’ve just been watching too much HGTV — either way, the time has come to start prepping your home for the market. Though it may seem like a daunting task, if you take it step-by-step, and have COVELLE & COHEN by your side, you’ll have your home ready for the market in no time. We’ve compiled our top 5 CoCo tips for listing your home:

CoCo Tip #1: Declutter

First impressions are everything. You’ll want to start prepping your home for the market by purging, packing, and putting away any unnecessary items. Section off parts of your home and go room by room until you have decluttered every room. Less is more and clutter eats equity!

CoCo Tip #2: Spatial planning

Don’t scare potential buyers away from your space — plan it well! Try incorporating spatial planning by assessing areas of your home and developing plans for furniture layout and decor placement. It’s important to assess the rooms in your home that normally get a lot of traffic first and find ways to maximize their potential space.

CoCo Tip #3: Staging

Staging is one of the most important aspects of getting your home on the market and SOLD. Be sure to stage your home before it hits the market. You want buyers to be able to picture themselves living there. It may be tempting to keep up your favorite decorations or photos of your family, but it is better to depersonalize your home when you are planning to sell.

CoCo Tip #4: Repairing and cleaning

Buyers will quickly know what needs to be fixed, especially if they are requesting a home inspection. Make a list of everything that’s broken or worn out in your home and fix it before putting it on the market. Making minimal improvements such as patching the walls and ceilings, and fixing leaky faucets can make a huge difference to a buyer.

CoCo Tip #5: Curb appeal

When it comes to selling, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior. This is the real first impression people get of your home. Potential buyers could not even step foot inside the house if they don’t like the way it looks on the outside. Amp up your curb appeal by power washing the siding of your home, painting any trim that needs it, and freshening up your landscaping.

We are here to help! COVELLE & COHEN is a team of professional real estate agents here to sell your home for top dollar. Experience our white glove service and cutting edge strategies firsthand — contact us today.  

5 Tax Breaks Homeowners Should Take Advantage of this Tax Season

Though it may not have been your sole purpose of buying a home — tax breaks are a huge perk of homeownership. According to U.S. News, as many as 19 million taxpayers will benefit from itemized deductions this year. We spoke with Robert Covelle Sr of COVELLE & COVELLE Public Accountants, a firm who specializes in taxes and is certified by the IRS, about how homeowners can benefit this tax season.

Here are 5 tax breaks you should take advantage of:

1. Mortgage Interest

Something every homeowner can count on this tax season: deducting mortgage interest. In other words, you are able to deduct any interest you paid on your residence — up to $1 million in loans. This also includes deducting interest on a refinanced mortgage (with certain debt limitations).

2. State and Local Taxes

Don’t fret — those thousands of dollars you paid for state and local property taxes are actually deductible. As a matter of fact, you can deduct a maximum of $10,000 of your paid total property tax, state income tax, or state/local sales taxes.

3. PMI

Pre-Mortgage Insurance with properties that have less than 20% down is deductible.

4. Rental Property

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

5. Energy Tax Credit

Taxpayers who upgrade their homes to make use of renewable energy may be eligible for a tax credit to offset some of the costs. As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit. The credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021. Claim the credits by filing Form 5695 with your tax return.

For more information on how you can benefit this tax season, please contact Robert Covelle Sr at 781-844-2935 or rcovelle@comcast.net.

COVELLE & COVELLE Public Accountants is a firm who specializes in taxes and is certified and approved by the IRS. With over 40 years of experience, COVELLE & COVELLE has prepared more than 10,000 tax returns and has a proven track record. They are dedicated to providing clients with professional and personalized services in a wide range of financial, accounting and tax needs.

 

Behind The Transformation — 56 Brookbridge Road

From the distressed to the daring, every property contains a great deal of potential.  Believe us — small changes make a huge difference when it comes time to sell. Did you know? Average real estate agents will dramatically discount a house based on poor appearance because they, like many buyers, can’t see the transformation possibilities underneath the clutter and outdated decor.

Luckily, our Erica Covelle was born with a gift of making things look fantastic. It’s what she loves most about her job selling real estate, and it’s this talent (and experience as a professional interior designer) that sets her apart from all other agents. She transforms “what it is” to “what it can be,” building equity and setting the scene to achieve top dollar numbers! Intrigued? Buckle up — we’re taking you “Behind the Transformation” at 56 Brookbridge Road in Stoneham.

Here’s how the home looked before our renovations and staging:

56 Brookbridge fit the definition of “lived in,” but loved. An elderly brother and sister lived in this home for many years. They inherited this home from their parents and had been the single owners of this well-cared for home for years. But when the brother fell ill, the sister couldn’t live alone in this big home by herself. The time had come to sell.

The sad reality here is that people think they can take advantage of the elderly, and oftentimes — they succeed.  Neighbors came around offering this family an extremely low price. One even offered as low as $200,000 for a home that we priced at $600,000! We make it our practice to treat every home and family as we would our own. We abide by the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Erica procured the listing and set forth on a journey to transform this home and bring it from 1970 to 2018. Here’s just a snippet of how we transformed this home:

Kitchen

← SLIDE →
  1. Removed dated countertop and backsplash with new and stylish current trends.
  2. Updated the flooring to open up a more neutral space with fresh hardwood flooring.
  3. Replaced the backsplash with a monochromatic tile to widen the space.
  4. Updated center light to act as a focal point of the room.
  5. Changed cabinet knobs to add a golden contemporary finish.

Here are some standout before and after shots from other areas of the home:

Living Room

← SLIDE →

Goodbye, blue carpet! Hello hardwood and chic modern decor.

Basement

← SLIDE →

A deep clean was in order. Underneath? Untapped space!

Bathroom

← SLIDE →

From drab to fab — freshly painted and staged with a new vanity top and hardware.

Master Bedroom

← SLIDE →

With brighter furniture, less clutter and a modern feel, this space really opened up.

Home Exterior

← SLIDE →

From average home to luxury single family, we pulled off a major transformation.

In the end, we sold this home for more than $600,000! We transformed what was a shabby single-family to a thriving residence for any stylish buyer. With COVELLE & COHEN by her side, this seller MADE MONEY — and avoided potentially leaving $200,000 on the table.

Selling your home? It’s clichéd but it’s true — you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Don’t leave money on the table. COVELLE & COHEN GREATER BOSTON REAL ESTATE helps clients sell two times faster for an average of 1.4 percent more. At an average sale price of $600,000, that’s $24,000 more! Call us today to hear more about our top agents offering an exclusive white glove service: covellecohen.com/contact-us  


How to Qualify a Realtor

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season coming to an end, you now have time to focus on those New Year’s resolutions. If selling your home is one of them, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing your realtor.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to qualify a professional realtor:

    1. Ask them how the property will be marketed.
      Any real estate agent can give you a price, but it is critical to hire realtors that know how to correctly price and effectively market your home. Not only are we highly analytical and transparent in our suggested pricing, we use an effective strategy that will get your listing in front of the right people. From professional photography to custom email marketing, open house brochures, exclusive property videos, and targeted social media advertising, we pull out all the stops to get as many eyeballs on your listing as possible. That’s something that can’t be said for every realtor!

      Within one week on the market, COVELLE & COHEN received multiple offers over the asking price on this Cambridge condo, listed for $1.1 million!
    2. Find out how many listings they have marketed and sold and what their average ratio of listing price to selling price is.
      Experienced realtors have solid reputations in the industry, strong negotiation skills, and can guide clients through closings smoothly. The COVELLE & COHEN Greater Boston Real Estate Team are seasoned realtors with tenure and experience coupled with talent and originality. During the past few years, we listed and sold more than 100 properties, and represented buyers in over 60 property sales. Our list to sale price ratio is 105 percent.  With an average list price of $700,000 — this means an extra $35,000 for our sellers!

      "Erica and Mike's combined knowledge, expertise, attention to detail, and hands on approach sold our home in a timely manner and for $25,000 over asking" - Mike Marra

    3. Investigate their online presence.
      How is their online presence or do they even have one? Many real estate agents tend to let their brokerage handle all of the marketing. While we agree that a brokerage should market properties, in our practice, we ensure that our clients’ properties are marketed in a more omnipresent way. Your realtor should have their own established brand, look, and following that is polished and professional. In a digital world, a robust online presence is critical to reach buyers and sellers. You should be able to tell the amateur from the professional just by taking a look at their established presence online.

      No other real estate team has a stronger online presence than ours! With a fierce social media and digital advertising strategy, we’ll get your listing on phones and feeds of local, interested buyers. With more than 7,000 local followers, we reach tens of thousands of people daily on social media. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see for yourself!

      COVELLE & COHEN market where people are — on their phones and in their feeds!
    4. Get to know them.
      Getting to know your realtor is key! It is essential to work with someone you can connect with and trust. COVELLE & COHEN truly has all of their clients’ best interests at heart, and strives to provide white glove service.

      Erica Covelle was born with a gift of making things look fantastic. Her interior design background and top notch creative marketing skills set her apart from all other realtors. Mike Cohen’s niche is in effectively putting and keeping a deal together, providing great communication along the way, selling all kinds of property for top dollar and under the best terms possible. Together, they’ll make your home come alive and get it sold faster and for more money.

      In an image driven society, COVELLE & COHEN creates the image that drives the sale.
    5. Ask for references.
      The biggest compliment a realtor can get is a referral from a past client. Successful agents should always be able to provide this for you and you can find many of our testimonials on our website, Facebook, Zillow, and Realtor.com.

      "The Covelle & Cohen team ensured that I made informed decisions and guided me through the home buying process from beginning to end" - Maggie Toomey

New year, new home. If 2019 is the year you’re planning on buying or selling your home, contact us today and get to know the COVELLE & COHEN difference.

How to Winterize Your Home (And Why You Must)

How to Winterize Your Home (And Why You Must!)

In comes November, and up goes that thermostat! New England’s winter chill is just around the corner. Sit at ease in front of the fireplace with a cup of cocoa this season knowing your home is prepared and protected through frost, sleet, deep freeze, nor’easters, and all else Old Man Winter brings.

Weatherproofing your home can not only help you save money on utility bills — it can save you hundreds if not thousands in repairs. The last thing any of us want is a burst pipe in the middle of a winter storm. And when late spring comes and you reach for the sprinklers to water your fertilized lawn, you’re in for a big, expensive surprise if you failed to blow out your system the previous fall.

Trust us — you really ought to spend a little money and time upfront to weatherproof and spare yourself thousands of dollars (and headache) in the long run. Protect your investment with this winter home checklist:

  1. Make sure your home’s pipes and hot water heater are insulated. If we’re expecting a very cold night, let the faucet drip. Reading this in February? Here’s how to safely thaw pipes and make temporary repairs.
  2. Locate and seal cracks and openings in the walls, attic, basement, or crawlspace. Caulk and foam are your friends! Check to see your ducts are properly sealed, too.
  3. Insulate crawl spaces, basement windows, and garage doors; and replace old windows with storm windows, adding weatherstrips to both doors and windows with drafts.
  4. Clean your fireplace before lighting it up this season. This prevents dangerous dust and soot from entering your home, and you’ll be able to determine if any creatures have made your home their home, if you know what we mean…
  5. Install a programmable thermostat. The Nest thermostats are great, especially for people not often home. Have peace of mind knowing your house is warm enough for safety while you’re away.
  6. Consider a generator. Power outages often last for hours, days or even weeks, and they can be costly if you’re not prepared.
  7. If you have a gas furnace, maintain it seasonally. Vacuum the interior, change the air filter, check the fan belt, lubricate oil bearings, and more.
  8. Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles, and have them replaced.
  9. Clean out your gutters. Wet leaves can freeze, become heavy, and cause great damage to your gutters and home.
  10. Winterize the sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems need to have all the water blown out of them before winter freeze-up.
  11. Drain and turn off any exterior water spigots, including any hoses or air conditioning pipes.

Overwhelmed? Hire help. Get in touch with us today and we’ll connect you with our network of plumbers, electricians, and handymen in Greater Boston with proven track records. Email us today at info@covellecohen.com!