Laura Hsieh | Newton Real Estate, Brookline Real Estate, Allston-Brighton Real Estate


If you want to enjoy a fast, seamless and profitable home selling experience, it helps to be flexible. That way, you won't feel pressure to accept the first homebuying proposal that comes your way. Instead, you can listen to various homebuying offers, consider their pros and cons and choose one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Unfortunately, the stress associated with selling a house can escalate quickly. And if a home seller is not careful, he or she risks making rash decisions that may lead to subpar results.

When it comes to selling a house, it generally is a good idea to be flexible. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help sellers maintain their flexibility throughout the home selling cycle.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

The current housing market may favor buyers or sellers. If you want to maximize the profits from your home sale – and maintain your flexibility throughout the home selling journey – you should examine the real estate sector closely.

Assess the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. This will allow you to see how your residence stacks up against the competition and price it appropriately.

Furthermore, evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your area. With this housing market data, you can determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

2. Don't Hesitate to Counter a Buyer's Offer

After you list your house, it may be only a matter of time before you receive an offer on your house. However, just because you receive an offer on your house does not mean that you have to accept this proposal.

Remember, your duty as a home seller is to accept the ideal homebuying proposal based on your home selling goals. If an offer fails to meet your expectations, you should not hesitate to counter or reject this proposal.

In most instances, it helps to counter a buyer's proposal. If you submit a counter-offer that matches a buyer's needs, both you and a buyer can move forward with a transaction. Or, in the worst-case scenario, a buyer will reject the counter-offer, and you can move forward with your attempt to sell your house.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to stay flexible throughout the home selling journey, you can always hire a real estate agent. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the insights that you need to succeed in any housing market, at any time.

A real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and help you map out a successful home selling journey. Plus, he or she will list your residence, promote it to the right groups of potential buyers and ensure you can make an informed decision about whether to accept, reject or counter a buyer's proposal.

Want to sell your house? Consider the aforementioned tips, and you can operate as a flexible home seller.


Most homeowners can get by just fine without a backyard shed, so it might be a stretch to call it a "necessity". However, when your yard does not have a shed, you may be missing out on many advantages ranging from convenience to being more organized and efficient. There's also a lot to be said for being able to store, protect, and quickly find the right tools, gardening supplies, or pool chemicals when and where you need them.

If you're a serious gardener, swimming pool owner, or do-it-yourself landscaper, a backyard shed can make your life a lot easier and your maintenance work less of a chore. Since a small shed can run you as little as $300, affordability is usually not an issue—especially when you factor in the long-term benefits.

Whether you decide to build your own shed, hire a carpenter to do it, or buy a prefabricated one, it's an expense that's not difficult to justify. Here are a few of the many ways that a shed can serve your needs for years to come:

  • Reduces clutter in your basement and garage: As all homeowners know, it doesn't take long for basements and garages to get cluttered and disorganized. By designating a separate space for things like tools, small machinery, gardening supplies, and pool chemicals, you'll make it a lot easier to maintain order in your home (and other storage areas).
  • Good solution for storing riding mowers: The typical garage gets filled up pretty quickly with two vehicles, several bicycles, trash barrels, barbeque grills, golf clubs, tires, and other miscellaneous items. Squeezing in a riding mower among all those other things can be difficult, if not impossible! The solution: A large-enough shed with a sturdy ramp for driving your rider mower in and out.
  • Protecting tools from the elements: Metal tools sometimes get left outside when there's not a convenient place to store them, and moisture can wreak havoc on their condition and usability. By having a dry, protected place to store your gardening and landscaping tools, they'll last longer and provide more long-term value for you.
  • Other uses for a shed: Depending on the size of the shed and your family's needs, that extra space can be used for everything from firewood storage to woodworking projects, painting, and other activities. If you own a swimming pool, a nearby shed can be a convenient and relatively safe place to store sanitizing chemicals, pool maintenance equipment, inflatable toys, ladders, and pool games.
Although most people use sheds for storing tools, yard supplies, and equipment, a decent-sized shed can also be used as an art studio, a home office, an exercise area, or a game room. As the expression goes: The possibilities are limited only by your imagination (and your budget)!


Most new home shoppers have a list of must-have features in their new abode. Having such a list is a great way to zero in on which houses will make the cut and which are off your list. You will also be able to have a more clear idea of how much of your budget to allocate for upgrades after the final sale for any missing features. Afterall with such a large investment shouldn’t your new house be your dream home?

Here four sensible upscale upgrades you’ll want to add to your list ASAP.   

Radiant heat flooring throughout the home will keep your feet warm and room temperatures steady. Your energy bill will be cut significantly while also avoiding the on/off repetition of other heating systems that leave you hot and cold. The only flooring radiant heat doesn’t work well with is carpeting. So if your home has any consider this your ticket to finally replacing them with some gorgeous hardwoods.   

Whole-house electrostatic precipitator is installed into the ductwork of your home's forced air heating system. The electrostatic allows these electrically charged filters to catch particles like pollen, smoke, and dander as if they were a magnet. And while installing this system is an investment upfront, unlike other filtration systems you don’t need to buy replacement screens each month. Instead, you simply wash the plate every few months and pop it back in to continue doing its job.   

Plan extra outlets for better cord management. Floor outlets under a desk, entertainment center or dining room table allow for easy cord management and avoid tripping hazards from cords stretched, mid-air across a room. Place an outlet mid wall where you plan to hang your television for another clever cord management solution. While installing you should also consider picking up an in-wall cord system kit to easily DIY a hidden path for tv to console cords.

Energy efficient features come with multiple benefits and never an upgrade a homeowner would stick their nose up at. I’m sure the first that comes to mind is windows. They keep heat/AC in and outdoor temps where they belong - out. A smart thermostat can help you learn how much energy you’ve used before your electric bill comes in and which temperature settings are the most efficient. Not to mention you can easily adjust the temperature from its app so you no longer need to get up just to change the thermostat.

Upscale upgrades aren’t all indoor basketball courts and massive home theaters. There are many that are sensible and add to your quality of life for the better. Keep a running list of which homes on your wishlist have these features and how much budget to set aside if they don’t.


Many of us work long hours all week so that we can afford the luxuries of a nice home. Unfortunately, keeping your home clean and updated requires even more time that you don’t have.

The good news is that there are a growing number of ways to make your home less high maintenance. Things like automation, decluttering techniques, and cleaning hacks have made it easier than ever for us to take care of our homes while still having time to enjoy them.

Home automation

Tony Stark’s skyrise in Iron Man, the Jetson family’s house, and Nathan’s lab in Ex Machina all have one thing in common: robots that help make our home lives easier. What was once reserved for sci-fi, however, is beginning to be introduced at affordable prices in the real world.

There are many different types of home automation devices available on today’s market. One of the simplest time-saving devices is Amazon’s dash button. You can buy a button for several different household items. You keep the buttons in your cabinet or pantry and when you run out of, say, laundry detergent you can simply press the button and Amazon will automatically order and ship more.

For something more advanced, home assistants are gaining in popularity. Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, and others are currently gaining traction. They typically look like a normal small speaker. But with them you can order items online, set alarms and reminders for things like cleaning or car maintenance, control your lights and thermostat, and more.

Cleaning robots

You’ve probably seen the Roomba before--the small robot that vacuums your house for you by learning the floor layout. If you haven’t, now’s the time to look into them. The market is diversifying and the technology is improving, making them even more helpful to have around the house.

Robots aren’t just for the indoors. You can now purchase a robot that mows your lawn for you. It learns the parameters of your yard, how to avoid obstacles, and soon it’s cutting the grass while you sit back in a lounge chair.

Smart weatherproofing

While we’re on the topic of your home’s exterior, let’s discuss some ways to make the outside of your home low maintenance. Gutter guards and leaf filters are a great way to make sure your gutters don’t get clogged, protecting your gutters and in turn your foundation.  

When it comes to roofing, there are now several alternatives that will outshine and outlast traditional shingles. Metal roofs are growing in popularity as they now come in several aesthetically appealing forms.

Cleaning hacks

The best cleaning hacks are the ones that save you time and reduce the number of times you have to clean something. For the shower doors in your bathroom, cleaning them with Rain-X glass cleaner (built for car windshields) will keep them clear and shining longer.

Dusting a home takes a lot of time. Most people see dusting as an inevitable weekly task. However, there is a way to reduce the dust that gets kicked up in your home. The amount of dust that builds up on the surfaces of your home is largely due to air conditions. An air purifier and a humidifier can both help to reduce that amount of dust in your home.


Ready to buy a home? You'll likely need a mortgage to ensure you can afford your dream residence. Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions are happy to help you discover a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Ultimately, meeting with a mortgage lender may seem stressful at first. But this meeting can serve as a valuable learning opportunity, one that allows you to select a mortgage that is easy to understand and matches your budget.

When you meet with a mortgage lender, here are three of the questions to ask so you can gain the insights you need to make an informed decision:

1. What mortgage options are available?

Most lenders offer a broad range of mortgage options. By doing so, these lenders can help you choose a mortgage that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Fixed-rate mortgages represent some of the most popular options for homebuyers, and perhaps it is easy to understand why. These mortgages lock-in an interest rate for a set period of time and ensure your mortgage payments will stay the same throughout the duration of your mortgage.

Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages may prove to be great choices for many homebuyers as well. These mortgages may feature a lower initial interest rate that rises after several years. However, with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you'll know when your mortgage's interest rate will increase and can plan accordingly.

2. Do I need to get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Pre-approval for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea, and for good reason.

If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you may be able to enter the homebuying market with a budget in mind. That way, you can pursue houses that fall within a set price range and avoid the risk of overspending on a home.

On the other hand, you don't need to be pre-approved for a mortgage to submit an offer on a home. But with a mortgage in hand, you may be able to gain an advantage over the competition, one that might even lead a home seller to select your offer over others.

3. How long will a mortgage last?

Many mortgages last 15- or 30-years – it all depends on the type of mortgage that you select.

A lender can explain the length associated with various mortgage options and highlight the pros and cons associated with these mortgages.

Moreover, you should ask a lender if there are any prepayment penalties if you pay off your mortgage early. This may help you determine whether a particular mortgage is right for you.

When it comes to finding a lender, don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow you to discover a lender that offers a mortgage with a low interest rate. Plus, it enables you to find a lender that makes you feel comfortable.

If you need assistance in your search for the right lender, be sure to reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide details about local lenders and ensure you can accelerate your push to acquire your dream residence.