Patricia Dearborn - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


If you are in hot pursuit of your dream home, it is important to do everything you can to gain a leg up on the competition. That way, you can acquire your ideal residence as quickly as possible.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you gain a competitive advantage over your homebuying rivals.

1. Keep Track of the Local Housing Market

The top houses sell immediately, and as such, you may need to act fast to find and purchase your dream residence. If you keep track of the local housing market, however, you will be better equipped than other buyers to instantly acquire a house that suits you perfectly.

Monitor the housing market in cities and towns where you want to reside. Then, if you find a house you may want to buy, don't hesitate to set up a showing. And if you like what you see, you should submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Entering the housing market with pre-approval for a mortgage usually is a good idea. Because if you know how much you can spend on a residence, you can tailor your house search accordingly.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Find out what mortgage options are available, and learn how different types of home financing work. Next, you can select a mortgage that enables you to begin your house search with a budget in hand.

Of course, if you have any concerns or questions about home financing, you should address them right away. If you speak with mortgage specialists at a bank or credit union, you can get the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker, particularly for a homebuyer who is shopping for a residence in a fierce housing market. Typically, a real estate agent will work with a buyer to craft an in-depth property buying strategy. A real estate agent and homebuyer then will work together to put this plan into action and streamline the property buying journey.

In addition, a real estate agent offers guidance at each stage of the homebuying cycle. He or she first will help you hone your home search to a select group of cities and towns. A real estate agent next will keep you informed about houses that become available that match your homebuying criteria. If you find a house you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit an aggressive property buying proposal. And if your offer to buy a home is accepted, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to finalize your house purchase.

As you get ready to pursue your dream residence, you should devote plenty of time and resources to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prep for the homebuying journey, gain a competitive advantage over rival buyers and accelerate your house search.


Are you shopping for art for just the right piece to complete your décor? You'll find a plethora of art at vintage stores and antique malls. Some stalls cater specifically to old paintings, maps, or empty frames, so take a peak in all the kiosks and booths. But know what you're looking at before you go.

Paintings versus prints

It's easy to mistake a print for a painting when it is in an old frame and sold as antique or vintage. Don't misunderstand, a print, especially one known as a hand lithograph, can be quite valuable, and certainly be the perfect choice for your décor, but it's best to know the difference. Paintings have discernable brushstrokes while print reproductions have very tiny dots. Take a good look, up close and personal. The value in the painted art is that it is original. The value in hand lithographs is the work and detail involved. 

Lithographs typically come numbered and not mass-produced. Prints, on the other hand, when mechanically reproduced are less valuable than a lithograph with their evenly spaced dots and uniform color. But a print is still worth purchasing if it fits your décor, just know before you overpay for it.

What if it’s cracked?

Old paint cracks. That's part of its charm and value. The fine web-like cracks have a particular name: craquelure. In no way does craquelure indicate that there is something wrong with your painting. It often denotes your pieces is likely authentic and sought after by collectors.

Should I reframe it?

Original frames and the nails used to hold the painting in the frame and hold the frame together often contain vital information that dates the piece. If the wood has aged or the metal patinaed, that indicates the frame might be older. Often, framers placed a mark, label, or stamp on their work too, so if your frame or backing has such a mark, it might reveal, with a little internet sleuthing, the frame’s age.

What if there isn’t a frame?

While it’s nice to find the perfect piece in the original frame, some art makes its way to vintage shops because of a damaged or broken frame. Don’t be afraid to put an older print in a modern frame for an eclectic look.

Is it authentic?

When shopping at an antique mall or store, try to learn as much about the art as possible. The dealer might have information on where it came from, or how old it is. It may have come as part of an estate sale and could even have accompanying documentation to prove its age and ownership.

If you have the art, but no place to hang it, your real estate professional will happily help you find just the right place to showcase your collection.


The infamous phrase - "the dress makes the man" translates to "the curb appeal makes the home" in the real estate world. Face it, the curb appeal of a house is the first thing home buyers see when they step into the property. And studies show that it takes a home buyer eight seconds in a property to make a decision. With that time-frame in mind, it is safe to conclude that most home buyers make their decisions from the exterior of the house. Therefore, investing in your home's curb appeal doesn't just increase your chances of attracting more buyers but also bolsters your chances of closing the deal.

However, curb appeal is not designed exclusively to sell a house. You could give your home a facelift to enjoy the beauty and admiration from your neighbors. The exterior of your home certainly deserves just as much attention as you pay to the interior, so here's a list of curb appeal ideas that fit perfectly into any budget.

  1. Design the Exterior with Flowering Plants. It will amaze you how little efforts like planting hundreds of flowering plants can boost the appeal of your home. They spread a unique touch of beauty as they blossom in their different colors. Homebuyers cannot resist the natural beauty of well-placed plants.
  2. Upgrade Old Hardware. As insignificant as you may think such things are, hardware plays a role or two in boosting the appeal of your home. A dingy mailbox, cheap door knockers, tarnished handles, or grubby peephole sends a negative message to potential buyers. Try replacing old hardware before listing your home.
  3. Pay Attention to Colors. Color is a crucial part of your curb appeal. The exterior of your home should reflect the interior aesthetic taste. Pay attention to the colors while remodeling the outside. The color of the door could either invite them in or chase them off.
  4. Make your House Number Unique. People tend to ignore their house numbers while giving their exterior a facelift. Each house number is unique, and it is one of the first things people see as they pass by or walk onto your property. Give it the unique touch it deserves. Design it to reflect your aesthetic taste.
  5. Upgrade Lighting Fixtures. The lighting fixtures of a house wield power to make or mar the curb appeal. Which is why it is advisable to include lighting fixtures in your remodeling plan. Like jewelry, give your home a dramatic touch with the right accessories.
  6. Add a Finishing Touch of Weather-Resistant Artwork. Nothing adds more appeal than weather-resistant artwork. Sculptures, birdbaths, and wind chimes will fit perfectly into any home décor.

If you're concerned about adding the most value to your curb appeal, talk with a property specialist in your neighborhood.


This Single-Family in Chelmsford, MA recently sold for $465,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Patricia Dearborn - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.


10 Crabapple Lane, Chelmsford, MA 01824

Single-Family

$470,000
Price
$465,000
Sale Price

8
Rooms
4
Beds
3/1
Full/Half Baths
Don't miss out on this spacious oversized ranch! This 8 room, 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home features a large kitchen with oak cabinets, center island, tile flooring and eat-in area. A pretty living room/dining room with gleaming hardwood floors and woodburning fireplace overlooks the level and private back yard. The family room off the kitchen has hardwood flooring and sliders to a large deck. A separate laundry area and half bath will have newly installed flooring. This wing of the house also has an office with hardwood flooring that is located away from the rest of the house for privacy. Three nice size bedrooms with hardwood floors and ample closets complete the first floor. Partially finished lower level with 4th bedroom, full bath and walk out basement. This home has a new roof, central A/C and tons of storage. This home is owned by the original owners and has been well maintained. Located in popular Chelmsford subdivision on Cul de Sac. A must see home!

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