Lauren Davis
REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West | 508-254-0449 | Lauren@LaurensListings.com


Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/15/2017

There are a lot of real estate agents out there to choose from. It might be hard to tell one from another. There’s so many ways to find an agent these days including recommendations from friends and family to simple online searches. You want an agent that understands your needs from the neighborhoods that you’re looking to buy a home in, to the layout of the market that you’re selling in. Each agent has different specialties from relocation needs to foreign languages to FHA approved property searches. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you find the perfect realtor for you. 


Pick Someone Who You Can Have Straight Talk With


You’ll need to like the person you pick as your realtor, but you’ll also need someone who you can talk business with. You don’t want a family member who you don’t feel comfortable knowing your financial picture, or someone who won’t understand your desire for a certain location or neighborhood. 


Match Your Personality


You’ll be in touch with and will be spending a lot of time with your realtor. You want to find a realtor who can work well with you. Match your personality with theirs. Do you like someone who is a bit aggressive? Would you rather have a realtor who is a bit more easy-going? How often do you want to be in touch with your agent? Just remember that if you don’t like your agent, there’s a good chance that other people may not like your agent either! 


The Choice Is Yours


Remember that the choice is yours when you’re looking for a realtor. You want to find a realtor who you know you’ll work well with. You also want to know that your realtor will work for you. It’s important that your realtor be ethical, communicative, and be a part of your team throughout the process of buying and selling. Here’s some questions that you should ask your realtor in order to help you understand if they’re a good fit for you:


  • Will I be working with you exclusively?
  • Are you a full or a part-time agent?
  • How much experience do you have?
  • What broker do you work for?
  • Have you closed homes in this neighborhood before?
  • Do you work with any lenders or have a seasoned team to help us through this process?

  • Asking these questions can help you to get a better understanding of who your realtor is and how they can help you to buy your dream home or sell your current property. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect throughout the process.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/8/2017

There’s many different reasons why you might want to consider choosing a mortgage payment over a monthly rent check. But there’s also a few drawbacks to buying a home. One big obstacle is that of the down payment. When you’re renting a property, there’s a lower amount of money that you’ll need to come up with in order to secure a place to live. With a 20% down payment required to buy a home, saving for that down payment seems a lot more daunting than renting. There’s so many financial advantages to owning a home.  With quite a few factors to consider, buying a home may not be so far out of reach for you. 


Rates Are Low


Even though mortgage rates fluctuate from time to time, they’re still low enough that it makes sense to buy a home and make it a much cheaper monthly cost than renting.  


Rental Rates Are Not Guaranteed


Your rent is not guaranteed to stay the same over time. The price can go up after the lease ends. Another problem with renting is that the landlord can decide that he wants to make improvements to the building at any time, even improvements that you’ll be required to move out for. You could end up in a bind fairly quickly if you’re put in this situation. 


If you buy a home, the only change to your expenses would be if you choose an adjustable rate mortgage or if there’s changes in property taxes and insurance rates. Your expenses are more predictable when you buy a home. 


You’ll Build Equity When You Buy A Home


One of the top reasons to buy a home is to enable you to build equity. Over time, you’ll have a piece of property that will provide cash that you’ll be able to tap into when needed. Home equity doesn’t replace the other ways that you save, but you’ll have another source of financial backing. Your monthly mortgage payment is in essence going into the “bank” of your future. 


There’s Plenty Of Tax Breaks For Homeowners


This is one known financial benefit of owning a home. The initial years of your home ownership mainly go towards paying down the interest on the home. The good news is that this expense is tax deducible. Also, you’ll benefit financially when you sell your home as you won’t have to pay tax on gains you have earned if you live in your home for at least half the time within the 5 years before you sell. Home insurance and mortgage insurance are also tax deductible. 


While the idea of buying a home may seem like a feat, financially, it’s a smart decision. When you’re renting, you don’t see a return on the monthly check that you shell out. If you own a home, you own it and it’s your to do with as you please. You get out of your home what you put into it. 





Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/1/2017

It's no surprise that buying in bulk is cheaper. Manufacturers can offer you the same items with less packaging and fewer processing steps. Then, at the store, less time is required for employees to stock these items onto the shelves. Basically, bulk buying is a win-win for everybody. Knowing which items to buy in bulk, however, is a bit trickier. We would all buy everything in bulk if we had the storage space in our homes or a cart big enough at Walmart. There are certain home goods you can count on for always being smarter to buy in bulk. In this list, we'll cover the top bulk items that are worth the space in your closet and where to find them. 1. Toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins The trinity of paper items. These three purchases are always worth buying in bulk. Running out of them can range from an inconvenience to an emergency, so it's good to have plenty stocked up. The undisputed champion when it comes to buying toilet paper is Costco. However, most warehouse clubs also have good deals. If you'd rather spend a bit more and not have to carry a huge box to your car, Amazon also has some good deals on these three paper goods. 2. Liquid hand soap and body wash Those tiny bottles of liquid hand soap won't get you very far and can be quite pricey. If you have a favorite, odds are you can find a large jug of it on Amazon to refill your smaller bottles as needed. 3. Tupperware One good set of tupperware will outlast 5 cheap plastic sets. That said, you can still get a good deal on a large set of tupperware and it's worth it if you pack lunches in advance or have a large family. Amazon is also the price to beat when it comes to plasticware. 4. Batteries One item that typically isn't cheaper online is batteries. Walmart is the place to buy large packs of batteries. If you really need to have a lot of them on hand, however, it will probably save you much more money in the long run to buy some good rechargeable batteries, especially AAs. 5. Diapers If you're a parent, you've most likely noticed the magical disappearing properties of diapers. A full box of diapers seems to vanish into thin air within a couple days time. Frugal parents have found that off-brand diapers, such as Target's Up & Up diapers, are high quality and much more affordable than name brand options. Alternatively, Amazon Mom will help you save on gas and on diapers, and offers many other baby-related goods as well. 6. Over the counter medications First, go generic--it will save you a ton of money on non-prescription meds. As to where the best place to buy medications, consumer reports show that Costco and Sam's Club are the cheapest, whereas drug stores like CVS, Rite Aid are the most expensive.




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Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/25/2017

A garage door protects your vehicle from the elements of nature. It could keep your vehicle’s paint and body from getting dented during hard storms. If you have an attached garage, you could stay warm longer on cold days and nights, as you’d only have to walk a few feet from the comforts of your house to your vehicle.

To continue enjoying these benefits, you have to know what to look for in your garage door. You have to know how to spot issues like those highlighted below before they become too big for you to handle on your own.

Signs that your garage door needs some TLC

Binding – If your garage door is hard to open or close, you may have a binding problem. Other signs that the door is not binding properly include the door getting jammed, the door not fully closing or the door making loud noises when it is opened or closed. For example, your garage door might start to close then stop closing half an inch from the ground.

Cracks or holes in the garage door – Strong storms, rocks being thrown at your garage door or a vehicle, including a bicycle, ramming into your garage can create cracks and holes. You could have cracks or holes in the door if you see chipped paint or dents.

Uneven or imbalanced garage door – Your door should safely open and close with the automatic opener turned off. Test the door by turning the automatic opener off and raising and lowering the door. If the door raises but does not stay open, it could be off balance.

Pests – The main portion of your house isn’t the only place that pests enter and turn into a cozy dwelling. Pests could enter your house through your garage door. Check your door for nests and small openings.

Sensors – If garage door sensors are missing or become damaged, your automatic door opener may not work properly. This could cause the garage door to lower when someone presses the up lever, the very thing that could lead to a minor or major injury. If sensors are not functioning property or are missing,your garage door could also keep lowering after it has touched an object or the ground.

Dry rolls and tracks – When garage door rolls and tracks become dry,the door will not open and close efficiently. Signs that rolls and tracks are too dry include squeaking, squealing or clanging noises. Repairing this problem should be an easy fix. Simply lubricate the rolls and tracks.

Loose joiners – In addition to lubricating rolls and tracks, make sure that hinges are properly lubricated. Also, make sure that garage door bolts and screws are tight. Loose screws and bolts could cause the door to raise and lower slowly or off balance.

Generally, a few minutes a week is all it takes to check your garage door. More thorough inspections should be conducted annually. You can spot signs that there is a problem with your garage door quickly if you know what to look for. Keep your family safe by repairing the door or replacing parts as needed.




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Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/18/2017

Don't let past housing experiences, including your childhood experiences, keep you from entering home ownership gradually and smartly. Right away, you might think that your housing choices are only influenced by your current family size, housing costs, business arrangements and personal preferences.

Don't let the past hold you back from enjoying row house living

What you might not know is how much your past living experiences are influencing the types of houses that you're open to buying as an adult. If you feel a need to stay connected to your childhood or family traditions, you might have a blind spot to certain types of houses. For example, you might:

  • Refuse to buy a house that doesn't have large, bay windows (even if a house with smaller windows provides an equal amount of natural light to a home)
  • Communicate to your realtor that you do not want to see houses that have less than three stories (you might make this demand even if a one to two story house has the same number of rooms as a three story house)
  • Look at houses that are painted the same color that your childhood home was painted in (Of course, you could repaint house walls. But, if you're deeply connected to the past, you might disallow yourself access to this awareness.)
  • Turn away from houses that don't have long side driveways, an attached garage or a covered parking area

Focus on what really counts when looking at row houses

You also might convince yourself that if you buy row houses, the value of the properties will only decline due to the fact that not as many people want to live in row houses as the number of people who are looking for a traditional, unattached house. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially if the number of people willing to release the past and take advantage of row house living grows.

Another thing that you might miss is the fact that it's a house's interior that wins many people over. Smartly designed rooms, more than enough living space, a beautiful decor and low utility expenses are measurable housing advantages that row houses also offer. Some row houses are designed with long, side driveways, the type of driveways in which you could park up to three or four vehicles. Be willing to step away from the past to realize these and other row house benefits.

Get over row house stereotypes

If you're feeling stuck, it could be because you're holding onto the past. Housing is one area where you might make decisions that are based on your past. If you, your parents and grandparents grew up in an unattached house, you might consider living in an unattached house as being "normal". Should you have grown up in an unattached house, you also might have stereotypes about row houses.

The stereotypes could be erroneous or flat out wrong. Believing that people who live in row houses re financially inept, socially challenges or less educated and positive than people who live in traditional, unattached houses is inaccurate. Move into a row house and you might quickly find that family background, a thirst for ongoing education and personal goals and vision are the core determinants of how well neighbors interact with each other.

Additionally, unless you were gifted a house through a will, this mindset could cost you. Row houses, especially older row houses, may save you thousands of dollars both over the short and long term. Included among savings that row houses could yield are homeowner's association fees, property taxes and interior and exterior housing maintenance costs.




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