Swampscott MA Real Estate | Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS - Sagan Realtors


As a home seller, you likely will search for fast, simple home improvement projects to enhance your house's appearance. However, in many instances, performing home repairs could prove to be costly and time-consuming. And in some cases, completing home renovation tasks may be more trouble than it's worth, especially for those who lack the necessary home repair skills and expertise.

Fortunately, your home's basement represents a valuable home renovation opportunity, one that should not be taken lightly. With hard work and dedication, you can revamp your basement's appearance and make it a valuable asset that could help your residence stand out in the eyes of homebuyers.

What does it take to renovate a basement? Here are three tips to help you simplify the process of transforming your basement into a sleek, stylish and comfortable living space.

1. Choose Practical Flooring.

Basement floors may wear down over the years, and how these floors look could impact your ability to sell your residence. Lucky for you, there are many practical flooring options available that ensure you can revamp your basement floors without breaking your budget.

Carpet, laminate and vinyl floors often look and perform great in basements. These floor types will maintain their quality for an extended period of time and are sure to make a great first impression on homebuyers when they visit your residence.

Also, wood floors frequently serve as sub-par choices in basements. These floors may shrink or expand over time, creating gaps or warping. Thus, you may want to avoid wood floors in your basement.

2. Illuminate Your Living Space.

Many terrific lighting options are available to brighten up a basement. Plus, these lighting choices usually are easy to install and can help you transform an ordinary basement into an unparalleled living space in no time at all.

Recessed lighting represents a top choice in basements and makes it easy to illuminate big and small spaces. Or, you may want to consider track or pendant lighting to eliminate shadows on basement surfaces.

Of course, don't forget about table and desk lamps as well. These lamps will brighten up your basement and allow you to show off your distinct sense of style at the same time.

3. Get Organized.

There is no reason for your basement to be filled with clutter. Therefore, you may want to pick up a bookcase, shelving unit or other storage options that enable you to organize your basement belongings quickly and effortlessly.

Getting organized will enable you to show homebuyers just how much space is available in your basement. Furthermore, de-cluttering now may help you save time after your home sells, and you won't have to worry about scrambling to get rid of junk at the last minute when you move out.

Working with a real estate agent may help you determine the best ways to enhance your basement too. This professional will work with you to prioritize home improvement projects and ensure you can maximize the time and resources at your disposal. As a result, a real estate agent may be able to help you revamp your basement and boost your chances of selling your home quickly.


The homebuying process can be stressful, particularly for those who are purchasing a house for the first time. From the time it takes to find your "dream" home to the final closing, there may be many hurdles that you'll need to overcome to secure your ideal home. As such, it sometimes can be difficult for a first-time homebuyer to maintain a positive outlook during the most challenging times.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you remain calm, cool and collected throughout the entire homebuying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers maintain a positive outlook at each stage of the homebuying journey:

1. Establish Realistic Expectations

Although first-time homebuyers would like to believe the property buying journey will be quick and seamless, it is important to realize that problems can arise without notice. However, homebuyers who understand the ins and outs of purchasing a house should have no trouble identifying potential issues and minimizing their impact.

For example, a homebuyer who defines his or her ideal residence can narrow a home search accordingly. This homebuyer also will be able to check out a variety of houses based on assorted property buying criteria and boost his or her chances of discovering the perfect residence without delay.

A homebuyer who establishes realistic expectations will be ready for the worst-case scenarios too. And if this homebuyer submits an offer to purchase a home that ultimately gets rejected, he or she will remain confident and be ready to restart the homebuying cycle from stage one.

2. Become an Informed Homebuyer

A first-time homebuyer who learns about the housing market can improve his or her chances of getting the best possible results.

Allocating the necessary time and resources to understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market, for instance, can make a world of difference for any homebuyer, at any time.

Furthermore, an informed homebuyer may be more likely than others to get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this property buyer can set a budget for his or her home search and increase the likelihood of securing a terrific house at an affordable price.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a home for the first time, why should a homebuyer leave anything to chance? Instead, a homebuyer can work with a real estate agent to reduce the risk of potential pitfalls throughout the homebuying cycle.

A real estate agent is happy to respond to a homebuyer's concerns and questions as the property buying journey progresses. This housing market professional will even help a homebuyer maintain a positive outlook, regardless of what happens. That way, a real estate agent can assist a homebuyer through both good times and bad and ensure a property buyer can purchase a first-rate house that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Take advantage of these tips, and any first-time homebuyer can keep things positive at each stage of the homebuying cycle.


If you're planning to purchase a home in the near future, one thing's for sure: You've got your work cut out for you! However, when you finally find the house of your dreams, the time and effort will be more than worth it!

Your to-do list will include calculating how much you can afford to spend on a house, obtaining a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage lender, and eventually comparing loan estimates.

One of the first things home buyers usually need to do before getting too caught up in their real estate search is to check their credit score. Your credit report, which is basically a detailed profile of your credit history, plays a major role in your ability to get approved for a mortgage and obtain favorable interest rates. Consumers are entitled to get a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Before applying for a mortgage, it's highly recommended that you check the accuracy of your credit report. If it contains mistakes, inaccuracies, or obsolete information, that could affect your ability to get a mortgage -- or obtain favorable interest rates and terms. Fortunately, errors can be disputed and corrected by the appropriate credit reporting company.

The Impact of Your Credit Score

The most widely used scoring system to determine a borrower's ability (and willingness) to stay current on loan payments is called a "FICO score." Depending on your credit history and bill paying habits, your FICO score can range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. If you're wondering how your FICO score stacks up against other homebuyers and consumers in the U.S., the median FICO score was recently in the neighborhood of 721 (although that number fluctuates). That means 50% of borrowers are above that score and 50% fall below that mark.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the best mortgage interest rates are generally offered to borrowers who have earned FICO scores in the mid- to high 700s. If your credit score falls between the high 600s and the low 700s, the interest rates available to you may be somewhat higher.

Those who are saddled with a credit rating below the mid 600s may have difficulty getting approved for a mortgage. If you're in that situation, your real estate agent or loan officer may suggest applying for an FHA loan rather that a conventional loan. Although FHA loans can be more expensive, the standards for getting approved are more lenient. These government regulated and insured loans also allow for a more affordable down payment of as little as 3.5 percent, as oppose to the "typical" down payment of between 10 and 15 percent.


If you own a city home but are ready to relocate, now may be a great time to list your residence. In fact, there are many reasons why an individual may choose to sell his or her city residence, and these include:

1. You want to downsize or upgrade.

Although your city house likely has served you well for many years, it may become too big or too small for you due to changes in your living situation. Fortunately, if you sell your city residence, you can downsize or upgrade as needed.

If you decide to list your city house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Therefore, if you craft a property selling strategy, you can determine what steps you'll need to take to quickly sell your city home and maximize your house sale earnings.

2. You want to live closer to family members and friends.

Your city home probably provides convenient access to a wide array of attractions and landmarks. But in some instances, a city residence may be far away from family members and friends.

If you want to live closer to loved ones, there is no need to worry. By listing your city home, you can take the first step to relocate closer to family members and friends outside the city. And after you sell your city house, you may be able to reap the benefits of quick, easy access to loved ones.

3. You are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city.

Let's face it – the city is a busy place. A city home may have seemed like a fun, exciting place to live, at least at first. But if you've grown tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, you may want to sell your current residence and relocate to a new home in a small town.

If you know how to promote your city home to the right groups of potential buyers, you should have no trouble stirring up interest in your house. And if your city residence boasts amazing curb appeal and a stunning interior, you could boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.

As you get ready to list your city home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. With this housing market professional at your side, you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the home selling journey.

A real estate agent will allocate time and resources to learn about you and your city residence. Next, he or she will craft a personalized home selling strategy designed to help you achieve your property selling goals. And if you have any concerns or questions as you put your house selling plan into action, a real estate agent is happy to address them.

Take the guesswork out of selling your home in the city. Employ a real estate agent today, and you can receive comprehensive support as you list your city home and navigate the property selling journey.


Relaxation and a hot bath are practically synonymous. However, more and more homeowners these days are opting for stand up showers in lieu of a bathtub to create more space in their bathrooms. Whether you have decided to skip the tub or recently bought a tub-less home you can still create the infamous relaxing experience bathtubs are known for in your stand up shower. Preparation. Start by cleaning your bathroom and especially the shower. Scrub away any soap scum or mildew that may be lurking. You want to create a luxurious experience for yourself and a sparkling clean room will start you off on the right foot. Let your family know you intend to take some time to yourself or even put up a “do not disturb” sign on the bathroom handle. Have all your bath items on hand before beginning your shower. To create a relaxing experience you want to be able to focus on your time in the shower without jumping in and out to grab fresh towels or a specific bath product. Ambiance. Part of what makes taking a bath relaxing is the atmosphere we create for ourselves to truly enjoy it. There are many of the same techniques you can use when taking a shower as well as some swaps you can make to recreate a calming experience. Begin by dimming the lights and even lighting a few candles. You may also want to choose a soothing music playlist for your shower if you have a waterproof speaker. Use an essential oil diffuser or hang some dried leaves of lavender, eucalyptus or lemongrass from your shower head to fill your bathroom with calming scents and create a spa experience. Add some plants for an extra touch. Plants like pothos, philodendrons, spider plants, orchids, bamboo, peace lilies, Boston ferns, and ZZ plants all do well in the low lighting and moist environment of the bathroom. Products. Make your relaxing shower a real treat by choosing some luxurious products you wouldn’t normally use for your everyday shower. Think items like a body scrub, richly lathering body wash, tingly shampoo or a nourishing deep conditioner. Go the extra mile by transferring these products to some gorgeous glass containers for a spa-like feel. You’ll want some fluffy towels waiting for you, perhaps even warmed in the dryer first and a bathrobe. During. Massage your scalp when lathering up your shampoo and give yourself a facial massage when washing your face. Try your hand at a little meditation or a relaxing visualization while in the shower to feel like you are in another world. Take deep slow breaths to release tension and stress from the day. Practice feeling grounded and in the now to truly appreciate this luxurious experience you are creating for yourself. Give moisturizing products time to really sink into your hair and skin. You can even give yourself a body massage while you wait. At the end of your shower consider standing under a blast of cold water before getting out. This will add shine to your hair as it seals down the cuticles and is great for your blood circulation. You may not normally think of your shower as a place of relaxation but with some splurges and a little time you can have a spa-like experience that would make even a bath enthusiast jealous. So whether you’ve had a hard day, grueling workout or all round stressful week go ahead and use the tips above for your next shower. You deserve it.



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