Lynne Hagopian - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 6/29/2020

Everyone is looking for something different when it comes to finding the ideal home. While some people prioritize architectural styles and curb appeal, other house hunters place the most value on the quality of the school district and proximity to jobs.

Neighborhood quality is also a significant factor in house-buying decisions. What exactly does "neighborhood quality" mean, though? Although definitions may vary, the characteristics that are typically considered to be desirable include a low crime rate, relatively light street traffic, a minimal amount of "noise pollution," and neighborhoods in which houses and properties are consistently well cared for and in good condition.

If peace, quiet, and tranquility are high on your list of house-buying requirements, here are a few other items you might consider adding to your "wish list."

Space between neighbors: While it's generally a good thing to get to know your neighbors on a first-name basis, you don't necessarily want to get to know them too well -- or vise versa! In other words, it's nice when you can sit out on your back porch without having to be too concerned about being overheard or needing to edit your conversations. If privacy is a top priority for you, then you might want to limit your search to properties that provide a comfortable buffer zone between houses.

Greenery and privacy hedges: A residential street with green, well-tended lawns and mature, leafy trees is not only visually appealing, but it's also a sign that people take pride in their property and care about the neighborhood. Homes for sale that offer a "park-like setting" on a nice street can be the ideal environment for creating a private, backyard refuge.

Fireplaces: Even if a fireplace is not on your "must have" list, it's a relatively inexpensive luxury to have and enjoy during the holidays and when the temperature drops. Regardless of the climate in which you live, there are going to be plenty of wet, cloudy, or snowy days during the winter months. When the weather turns chilly, there's nothing like a crackling fire in the fireplace to infuse your home with a cozy, relaxing atmosphere!

Large windows: Large bay windows, picture windows, and floor-to-ceiling windows not only let in a lot of natural light, but they also help you enjoy views of your neighborhood and backyard. That combination of sunshine, green foliage, a well-landscaped property, and the smell of freshly cut grass can set the tone for a relaxing home environment -- both indoors and out! Along those same lines, a sunroom can also be a highly desirable feature in a new home you're considering buying.

Although there are a ton of things you can do to enhance the beauty and relaxation value of your next home, the starting point is to find a peaceful neighborhood and a spacious, nicely landscaped property on which to add your own personal touches.





Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 6/22/2020

Image by Nancy Buron from Pixabay

If you're like many homeowners who prefer a natural landscape plan, your outdoor living space undoubtedly features lush vegetation and bright, blooming flowers. However, you might also have the sense that something is missing but can't quite put your finger on what it might be. If this describes you, the missing element is probably hardscaping. Hardscaping refers to elements of landscaping that aren't plants, such as water features, statuary, gazebos and garden paths.

At its best, hardscaping brings functionality to the table as well as enhances aesthetics. Few things do this better than a rustic stone walkway meandering over the property. Here's how to make it happen yourself over the course of an average weekend. 

Select Your Stones

Stones used for walkways should be flat, wide and thick enough to withstand foot traffic. Choosing stone that is found naturally in your area cuts down on retail and delivery costs. Avoid using polished stones because these present potential slip-and-fall issues due to their slick surfaces. Stones that are between two and three inches thick offer better stability than their thinner counterparts and often come with a more attractive price tag as well. 

Lay Out Your Walkway

The first step is to determine your walkway. Avoid straight lines -- stone walkaways are meant to meander. Garden hoses are ideal for marking garden paths that curve. Use a sod cutter and a flat spade to cut and remove the grass, and dig out the soil where you want to place the stones to about a depth of five inches and make sure it's firmly tamped down before placing landscape fabric and adding a two-inch layer of sand over it. 

After smoothing down the sand so it provides a flat surface, it's time to lay down the stones. This part is a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, so take your time to figure out the placement. Be sure to use a carpenter's level to make certain that the stones are at the same height, and add or remove sand as needed. However, if you live in an area that receives significant amounts of precipitation, slightly sloping the larger stones toward the outside of your walkaway helps prevent standing water issues.

Landscape the Walkway

Some people prefer the clean, austere aesthetic of pebble or oyster shell mulch in the gaps between the stones, while others like the rustic, tousled look provided by low-growing herbaceous plants. Corsican mint is an excellent choice because it has a bright green color all year round and releases a divine, minty aroma. Other choices include creeping thyme, rock cress, artemisia and sedum. You can also mix it up with a variety of ground covers for a classic, cottage garden look. 




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Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 6/15/2020

Photo by Sumanley xulx via Pixabay

Homeowners looking to get top dollar for their house often invest in improvements to make their home more appealing to prospective buyers. Sure, they can slap up a coat of paint and make other minor cosmetic improvements, but these won’t necessarily increase their home’s value.

In a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors®, eco-friendly homes and energy-efficient products are in high demand with 59% of realtors® responding homeowners were “very” or “somewhat” interested in sustainability. Agents also indicate promoting energy efficiency in their listings increases buyer response.

Adding Energy-Star rated appliances is a great start—here are other top green features you can consider adding to your home.

1. New Windows and Doors

Older windows and doors allow drafts, burning extra fuel and electricity for heating and cooling.  Installing Energy-Star rated (or triple-pane, glass, insulated) windows and a high-quality door promote energy efficiency. As a bonus, they boost a home’s resale value. Homeowners who install windows see a return of investment (ROI) of roughly 70% and steel doors about 75%. They also save 7% to 15% on their energy bill after the installation. Not a bad ROI!

2. Add a Solar Water Heater

Solar water heaters cost between $6,000 and $17,000, so it’s not a cheap upgrade, but you might want to consider this investment. Solar heaters increase the value and marketability of your home and can add a 4% to 4.5% resale value. Plus, you’ll save on your energy bills while you’re still in your home.

3. Replace Bathroom Fixtures

Toilets, sinks, and shower heads installed prior to the mid-1990s are water hogs and don’t meet current federal, water-saving standards for fixtures. The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners buy fixtures with the “WaterSense” labels. With these upgrades, you can save big on water and on utility bills. Some statistics suggest even minor bathroom upgrades will bring you a 102% ROI. A renovated kitchen and bathroom definitely perk a buyer’s interest, but these days energy-efficient upgrades will get you a better ROI than the usual remodels.

4. Upgrade Insulation

The quality of home insulation matters because it has a direct impact on your heating and cooling bills. Angie’s List reports two-thirds of homes in the U.S. aren’t properly insulated. Homes over 10 years old are likely not insulated to current standards. If you want to upgrade your insulation, a good place to start is in the attic because you can recoup 116% of your costs.

By adding green features, you’ll increase your home’s appeal and better solidify your asking price. If you want to learn more about Energy Star appliances or how green features add value to a home, feel free to reach out!





Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 6/8/2020

If you have been looking for homes online for some time, you may be tired of viewing them on a screen. While online home searches are helpful and a perfect starting point for finding a home, you need to see a home to get a feel for it. Whether you are attending open houses or have set up private showings with your real estate agent, there are certain things that you can do to make the most of touring potential homes. You only have a limited amount of time to see a home. Your agent wonít wait around for you all day while you explore every nook of a house and people still live in the house. Thereís a good chance someone may need to come back in at some point! Read on for tips on how to use your time and resources wisely when it comes to searching for a home to buy.


Donít Waste Time


First, you should select the right homes to view. Donít waste your time looking at properties that you canít afford or arenít the right size for you. From your online search, make a list of properties youíd like to see in person. You can narrow down your search quickly by doing the following:


Carefully read property details

Check out the photos of the home in detail

Find out from your realtor if there are any comparable properties for sale


Know What You Can Afford


If you canít afford a property, donít waste your time looking at it. Be realistic in your home search, finding the properties that will suit your needs and your budget. Remember that many factors go into a listing price for a home including the location, the size of the house, the neighborhood, the amenities, and more. The bottom line is to stick with homes that fall in your budget to make your search much more manageable.


Work With Your Realtor To Schedule Home Showings


Make use of your agent. They can schedule private showings for you or alert you to upcoming open houses. You can send your agent a handful of listings that youíre interested in, and they can make a schedule for you to maximize your time seeing properties in specific locations.


Hiring a real estate agent is an essential step in buying a home. They can help you to find and view the properties that could potentially come your next home.    





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Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 6/1/2020

In a not-so-distant future, American homeowners may not have to worry about blackouts any longer. Teslaís giant battery recently powered up Australiaís grid after a power outage in just milliseconds. And, with new, green technologies, constantly being pursued, it could be within reach to say goodbye to blackouts once and for all.

However, weíre not quite there yet. And, if you live in the colder areas of the country, youíre also at the beginning of the worst season for snow and ice that can wreak havoc on power lines.

So, to help get you prepared, Iíve written this list of things you can do to start preparing yourself, your family, and your home for your next power outage.

Read on for the list.

1. Emergency supplies list

Itís vital to have the supplies on hand before a power outage hits so that you donít have to be wandering around your home in the dark fishing for things you might not even have.

To avoid this, itís a good idea to keep a supplies bag packed and tucked away somewhere safe. Itís also important that your family knows where this bag is located in case youíre away when the power goes out.

Now, letís make your list:

  • Flashlights and batteries - Two quality flashlights with batteries should be on everyoneís emergency list. Make sure your batteries were recently bought and that they are of high quality that wonít run out of juice in just a few minutes. Also, consider including a wind-up flashlight that doesnít require batteries for use in case you forget to replace your old batteries.

  • Radio - Most of us keep our cell phones charged up, but weíve all been guilty of letting them get too low on charge. In these situations, itís good to have a battery-powered radio to listen to the news.

  • Power bank - Speaking of cell phones and their poor battery life, consider buying a power bank and keeping an extra charging cord in your bag. Make a note to charge up your power bank every few weeks to ensure it will be charged when you need it most.

  • Cash - If the blackout effects more than just your neighborhood, many storesí ATM and credit card machines may be down. Itís a good idea to have a stash of cash for emergencies.

  • Optional: generator - while you donít need to buy a generator for your average power outage, it can help if you live in an area that experiences them frequently.

2. Familiarize yourself with your home

Find out where the shutoff valves for water are, learn the layout of your circuit breaker, and learn how to use the manual release on your garage door.

If you have an electric stove, consider purchasing and learning how to use a small propane grill for emergencies.

3. Best practices during a blackout

If you have children, make sure they know what to do if the power goes out when youíre not home. Especially during the winter months, it gets dark out early enough that many parents havenít even arrived home from work yet. So, be sure your kids know not to start lighting candles in dangerous places and keeping the refrigerator open for extended periods.

Finally, itís a good idea to turn off power strips and unplug appliances that were turned on when the power went out. This can stop surges from damaging your appliances and save you money.




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