Lisa Westerman - ReMax Professional Associates

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When you start designing a new home, you need to decide which type of foundation you want: crawlspace, basement or a slab foundation. All three have pros and cons that you need to consider. Basements in particular have many advantages, but some important disadvantages to consider. Here we will go over both the pros and cons to help you decide if a basement is right for you.

Basement Benefits

Extra Space

The biggest benefit of having a basement is the amount of extra space it adds to your home. Whether you want to build an in-law apartment, a game room, additional bedrooms, or make a home office in the basement, you have the space to do it. Another popular use for basement space is storage.

More Entrances

If you choose to build your house on a hill, the basement provides an opportunity for an additional door to the outside. Adding French doors or sliding doors from the main basement area, such as a game room or an office, gives you a view of the back of your property and allows you to step outside without going upstairs. Depending on the layout of your lot, could also use your basement as a garage space.

Energy Saving

Basement walls are thick and insulated by the ground. It's easy to heat a basement, and since heat rises, you'll save on the energy needed to heat the first floor of your home.

Repair Access

Unlike a slab foundation, all the pipes you need are under the first floor. This makes it easy to access pipes and other utilities for maintenance, repair, or general upkeep.

Emergency Shelter

It's easy to create an emergency shelter in your basement. Even without adding a reinforced roof between the top of the shelter and the floor joists for the first floor, a basement is the safest place during heavy storms.

Safe Storage

You can even add a hidden safe in the basement. If you add another small room with access on the outside wall from inside the basement, and hide that access, you'll have a large safe that will be difficult to find. You can build a small room around a large safe or simply build a room with a locked door and keep a safe in the room.

Basement Disadvantages

There are two major cons to having a basement: the cost and the possibility of flooding. As for the cost, if you are building your dream house, you want to do it once and be done with it - without regrets. Basement cost is calculated by square foot, so it will depend both on the going rates in your area as well as the size of your house. It's also common for basements to increase mortgage payments, so make sure you confirm the possible ongoing costs of adding or including a basement.

The other downside to having a basement is the risk of water seepage and moisture. When you discuss your basement with a builder, make sure the builder uses the best basement waterproofing to mitigate excess water from seeping into your basement. If your home is on a slope, you can also install a French drain or other drainage several feet away from your home. The extra drainage will direct water away from a basement or crawlspace.

When building a home, take into consideration the benefits of a basement as well as the potential setbacks. In the end, only you can decide what's best for your home and your budget.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Those considering the sale of their home will often consider the return on investment (ROI) of any such improvement. You don't, after all, want to spend $20,000 on a major improvement that will likely only see a $5,000 payback after the sale. But improvements also have other benefits. For one, they can help sell a home more quickly, and in real estate, time is money. There's another benefit as well. Certain upgrades can help widen the appeal of a home. This makes your home more appealing to wider audience, or even a target audience. 

Here are some improvements to consider for those who want to broaden the appeal of their home.

Home Security

Home security has become an increasingly significant factor for homebuyers. Security ranges from heavier entrance doors to deadbolts and security window glass. It can also include a security or camera system. Improving security can also save you and any future owner on home insurance premiums and that appeals to everyone. 

Making a Home More Accessible

Accessibility doesn't just appeal to those who are handicapped. It is appealing to seniors, senior caregivers and to those who simply want a home that is safer and more easily navigable. This can include use of handrails in bathrooms, taller toilets, rocker electrical switches, wider doorways where practical and other conveniences. 

"Smart" Features

Smart features in a home have become more commonplace and now appeal to a wider audience than just young buyers. Everyone is beginning to see the value and convenience of smart thermostats, lighting and security features. Even small conveniences like adding USB capable outlets can broaden the appeal of a home. 

Make It Turn-Key

Unless a buyer is purchasing a home to "flip", the majority are in search of a home that is ready to move in. Take care of the small stuff like dripping faucets, stuck windows and creaky steps. First time homebuyers, for example, have waited longer to buy a house because many didn't want the "burden" of home ownership repairs. You can ease these fears and broaden your home's appeal by making it "move-in" ready. 

Ask Yourself This Question:

Odds are you have created a living space that appeals to you. The question to now ask is "What can I do to broaden the appeal of this house?" What would make it attractive to those who may be younger or older than you? How can you improve upon its strengths and minimize its weaknesses? Look at your home with the "fresh eyes" of a potential buyer. Even a wall phone in the kitchen can make a home look outdated. 

Broadening the appeal of your home can help you sell it faster at a more appealing price. Avoid stereotyping your home and its potential audience. 

This Single-Family in Holden, MA recently sold for $570,000. This Colonial style home was sold by Lisa Westerman - RE/MAX Prof Associates.

86 Pilgrim Dr, Holden, MA 01520


Sale Price

Full/Half Baths
A rare find - 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath Colonial with an attached In-law apartment located in the desirable Birchwood neighborhood. Updates completed in the last 10 +/- years include roof, windows, deck & hardwoods. Main house has a spacious formal living rm w/ hardwoods, dining rm w/ hardwoods & sliders to deck; remodeled kitchen boasts a dining nook w/ palladium window; 1st floor Family room w/ Fireplace & a remodeled 1/2 bath w/ laundry. 2nd flr has gleaming hardwoods in all 4 bedrooms. LL has 692 sq ft of finished space ideal for a game rm, family rm or office. The attached in-law has its own separate entrances, yet accessible from the main house & ideal for someone who needs a separate space for an in-law, teen suite or for working from home. It has spacious living rm, full kitchen, full bath & a bedroom w sliders to deck. Outside boasts a tree-lined flat lot w/ firepit & large deck. Great commuter location, close to Worc line, highways & shopping. Showings begin Sat 12/5 @ OH.

Similar Properties

Adding a home to the real estate market offers a great first step to sell your residence. However, before you list your house, you'll want to consider the short- and long-term ramifications.

Ultimately, there are several key decisions for home sellers to make before they list their residences, including:

1. What Are My Future Plans?

After you sell your house, where will you live? You'll need to consider life after your home sale so that you can map out the home selling journey accordingly.

For example, if you've recently accepted a new job in a new state, you may need to sell your home as quickly as possible. This also may require you to find a new place to live immediately.

On the other hand, if you already have another residence lined up, you may be able to slow down the home selling process. This will ensure you can take your time, perform plenty of housing market research and do everything possible to maximize the value of your home sale.

2. How Much Is My Home Worth?

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. As such, you'll need to understand what your home is worth today so you can price it appropriately.

A home appraisal will make it easy for you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. During this appraisal, a home inspector will examine your property's interior and exterior and identify any problem areas. Then, you can better understand the true value of your house.

Don't forget to look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town too. This can provide you with valuable housing market data and help you understand whether you're getting ready to sell a home in a buyer's or seller's market.

3. What Can I Do to Enjoy a Fast, Seamless Home Selling Experience?

The home selling journey can be tricky, particularly for those who are preparing to sell a house for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.

A real estate agent boasts comprehensive housing market experience. He or she can offer tips to help you revamp your house's interior and exterior before you add your residence to the real estate market. That way, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.

Also, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open houses, keep you up to date about offers on your home and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your queries immediately.

Collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to embark on the home selling journey, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your residence.

Every home seller wants to enjoy a positive property selling experience. Yet ensuring your home selling strategy goes according to plan may be difficult, particularly for a seller who lacks property selling expertise. Lucky for you, we're here to provide the help you need to achieve the optimal results at each stage of the home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a positive home selling experience.

1. Set an Aggressive Initial Home Asking Price

How you price your home will have a significant impact on how quickly your residence sells. If you establish an aggressive initial home asking price, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your residence as soon as your home becomes available.

Check out the prices of available houses in your area that are similar to your own residence. Then, you can establish a price range for homes in your area and price your house accordingly.

Furthermore, it often helps to evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. With this housing market data at your disposal, you can find out whether you're getting ready to sell your home in a buyer's or seller's market.

2. Remove Clutter

Clutter is problematic, particularly for a home seller who wants to streamline the property selling cycle. Fortunately, home sellers who identify clutter now can eliminate this problem before they list their houses.

Antiques, paintings and other excess items inside your home should be removed. You can always rent a storage unit, which will enable you to keep these items safe until you sell your house. Or, you can host a yard sale or sell excess items online prior to listing your residence.

Don't forget to remove lawn decorations and other clutter from outside your house as well. By doing so, you can instantly improve your house's curb appeal and increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is prepared to do everything possible to ensure you can enjoy a positive house selling experience. In fact, this housing market professional will offer plenty of support at each stage of the home selling journey.

Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you before you list your house. He or she then will craft a home selling strategy designed to help you accomplish your home selling goals. Next, a real estate agent will promote your house to dozens of potential buyers, set up home showings and open house events and keep you up to date about any offers to purchase your residence. And if you decide to accept an homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will guide you through the home closing process.

Ready to reap the benefits of a positive home selling experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can seamlessly navigate the home selling journey.