Rachel (Hillman) Foy - Hillman Homes



Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 7/8/2020

Image by Marzenna Gaines from Pixabay

With spring just around the corner, your thoughts may turn to enjoying the great outdoors. By making a few improvements, you can create your own restful, outdoor oasis even as you add value to your home.

Research has found that homeowners often gain the most value by improving backyards and investing in outdoor upgrades. Among enhancements you can make outside your four walls, kitchens and living rooms rank as the most popular — and they allow you to move your entertaining outside, where you can enjoy seasonal beauty.

What are some steps you can take to create an appealing outdoor living space?

Upgrade an Existing Patio

Before you begin creating your outdoor common area, consider your goals. Do you prefer a place to entertain or a serene, private retreat — or a combination of both? Your intended use of the space will guide you in choices for design, landscaping and furnishings.

Take a look at your patio or deck structure. Is it stable, sturdy and in good shape? Could it use a comprehensive refurbishment or at least a new coat of paint? 

You may want to take some measurements to ensure that everything you plan to include in your outdoor retreat will fit in the intended space. If you come up a little short, consider working with a contractor to expand or rework your existing patio. Alternatively, you may opt to build a completely new home base for your outdoor living space.

In addition, take a look at the areas surrounding your patio or deck. Are the walkways in good shape? Is there direct access from parking areas to the yard so that guests need not come through your house to join the party? Does the path for foot traffic keep people off your lawn? If you’d prefer a different traffic pattern, now is the time to make changes.

Add Some Personal Touches

Once you’ve created the basic footprint for your new outdoor living area, it’s time to start making the space your own with some personal touches. Start by considering comfortable seating options to accommodate your maximum number of guests.

Beyond seating, the sky is the limit when it comes to appointing your outdoor space. If you love to cook outside, consider adding a full kitchen setup with grilling station to your entertaining area. Enjoy the warmth of a cozy fire on chilly nights? Add a fireplace — complete with pizza oven. Meanwhile, landscaping details such as water features enhance the natural beauty of your outdoor area.

With a little creativity, you can create an outdoor living space that adds value and enjoyment to your home for many years to come.




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Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 7/1/2020

Ready to sell your house? Ultimately, you should conduct a home appraisal before you add your residence to the housing market, and for good reason.

A home appraisal enables you to better understand what your home is worth. Plus, an expert home appraiser will be able to offer comprehensive insights into your house's strengths and weaknesses so you can prioritize assorted home improvement projects accordingly.

Preparing your home for an appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If you allocate time and resources to get your house ready for an appraisal, you can increase your chances of getting favorable results during the appraisal itself.

What does it take to prep your house for an appraisal? Here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.

1. Consider a Home Appraiser's Perspective.

A home appraiser has an eye for detail, one that helps this professional understand whether a house is a viable long-term investment. Meanwhile, a home seller who steps into a property appraiser's shoes may be better equipped than others to enhance his or her residence.

For example, a home seller should evaluate a house's interior and exterior prior to an appraisal. And if you notice chipped paint on a home's walls, cracked shingles on a home's exterior or other cosmetic issues, you should address these problems immediately.

Even minor cosmetic issues can negatively affect a home's value. However, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty to correct these problems may be able to improve his or her house's appearance before a home appraisal.

2. Conduct Plenty of Housing Market Research.

How does your residence stack up against the competition? Learn about the local housing market, and you can find out what you'll need to do to differentiate your residence from similar properties.

An home seller should learn about the prices of recently sold residences as well as homes that are currently available. That way, you can set realistic expectations for your home appraisal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent.

A home appraisal can be a stressful experience, especially for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available to help you streamline the home appraisal process.

Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the home selling process. He or she can connect you with qualified home appraisers in your area and ensure you can find a home appraiser who will provide honest, unbiased feedback about your residence.

A real estate agent also will help you maximize the value of your house. This housing market professional will ensure you can set a fair price for your residence and market your home to the right groups of homebuyers. He or she will even set up home showings and open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf to further simplify the home selling process.

When it comes to getting a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for a home appraisal.




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Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 6/24/2020


 

Taking good pictures of a house up for sale can be challenging, especially when trying to make your home standout against all the other homes on the market. A good picture portrays your home in a great light and tends to make your house look attractive to prospective buyers. Some home sellers hire a professional photographer to take high-resolution pictures; others may opt to take the photos themselves. Whether you're a professional or a novice, utilizing the following tips will help you capture the best photos for your real estate listing:


Use a High-Resolution Camera

Your camera is the most important tool in your arsenal. No matter the technique or angle of the shot, without the resolution-backing power of a high-quality camera your images may fall short. DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras are relatively inexpensive and provide a large range of operating options to suit your photography prowess, no matter what it may be.


Rearrange and Organize

Before beginning your home photo shoot, you may want to make sure the aesthetic is pleasing to the eye. Tidying up a room by putting items away, making sure the surfaces are properly dusted and cleaned, and even rearranging a few things to fit into a geometric space with plenty of negative space (space without any items) may aid in making your home more appealing.


Use Good Lighting

Lighting can often make or break a picture. If you opt to use natural lighting, make sure the weather is favorable to avoid any unwanted flares or shadows. Consider starting your photo shoot in the morning or early evening when the sun is not overbearing but still provides an adequate amount of natural light. This way, your property is not directly under the sun. If you decide to use artificial lighting, look at the colors in your home and decide if you'd like a warmer atmosphere or more radiant one. Soft white light will give your home a more homey feel, whereas bold white lights will highlight everything underneath them.


Stabilize Your Photos

Blurry images distort what prospective buyers see when they look at your house. A way to avoid blurry photos is to use a stand specifically designed for the camera you've opted to use. You may also use a table or steady your arms across a larger piece of furniture, depending on what you're snapping at the time. Many cameras also have a stabilization feature that allows them to remove or minimize the movement of the operator.


Pictures speak thousands of words. Get the right images for your home listing by following these tips or hiring a professional real estate photographer to give your home the best, glowing, visual reference on the market.





Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 6/17/2020

Image by Alex Qian from Pexels


 

Even higher-end homes need renovation after so many years. Fashions go out of style and things get worn out. If money is not an object and the sky is the limit, you can do beautiful things with a remodel. However, if you are remodeling because you are ready to sell your home, it’s better to keep colors neutral and update carpets and flooring with easy to clean materials that will match several styles and colors. It is easier to sell a home when people can picture their personal items in the house, and they match with the current updated color scheme.

Full Kitchen Update

If it’s been some time since you updated the kitchen, start your remodel project there. Both bamboo flooring and natural stone are popular products that will last and that clean easily. Choose neutral colors if you are selling your home or go bold with your favorite colors if you are updating everything for yourself.

Update the appliances to energy-saving appliances. For a larger kitchen or a kitchen that you will be enlarging, consider a French door fridge with a double freezer drawer and a gas stove with six or eight burners and a double oven. If you must go with electric, consider a stovetop and purchase a double oven that is built into the wall. Add an island that also functions as a bar.

When looking at new cabinets, you might consider upper cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. However, keep in mind that the top shelves are harder to reach, especially for people who aren't vertically gifted. Light-colored woods, such as maple, are in and dark-colored woods are out. For the bottom cabinets, choose a set with drawers. Some manufacturers are making cabinets without drawers, which leads to a ton of wasted space and no place to store smaller items. While they may look great, they aren’t the best use of space.

Full Bathroom Update

If your bathrooms are small and cramped, consider enlarging them. Use adjoining closet space or add on to the house so that you can redesign the layout for the bedrooms and bathrooms. If you’re adding on, consider combining two small bedrooms into one large bedroom, den or office space with its own bathroom.

Choose natural stone tiles for the showers. They last for a long time, and if you choose neutral colors or even browns, they’ll match many color schemes and stay in fashion longer. Update the toilets to water-saving, high-pressure flush toilets. Update the vanities to something decorative instead of the typical square vanity with a single sink and cabinet, especially if you are enlarging your bathroom.

Consider adding a stand-alone shower in the master bathroom and adding a jetted tub. Large 5-foot showers with two or even three shower heads are popular. When you choose flooring, go with a natural stone tile that will withstand the humidity better. Add an exhaust fan with heat built into the fan. These are perfect for the winter months when the bathrooms always feel cooler than the rest of the house.




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Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 6/10/2020

Gorgeous, sun-drenched colonial on cul-de-sac in the sought-after Walnut Hill neighborhood. First floor features an open concept family room with soaring vaulted ceilings & working fireplace, a cabinet-packed kitchen with granite counters & breakfast area. A laundry room with sink (W/D will stay) and pantry lead into a two car garage with built-in storage. A formal dining room with wainscoting and office round out the first floor, along with a half-bath. On the second floor are a large master bedroom with walk-in closet and en suite bath (with Jacuzzi), 3 other well-sized bedrooms all with ample closets, a sitting area and a second full bath. Fabulous walk-out basement is finished and used as an exercise room, play area and TV lounge, plus a substantial storage room. Spacious deck perfect for entertaining overlooks the huge, fenced backyard, nicely landscaped with sprinkler system. Less than a mile from town woods and trails, train station & downtown Natick.

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Rachel (Hillman) Foy