Robin Spangenberg
Northeast Signature Properties, LLC | 508-277-4144 | robin@nesignature.com


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 6/25/2017

If you're in the process of trying to find a dependable contractor for a home improvement project, there are several steps you can take to ensure a positive outcome. Since clear and frequent communication is the foundation of any successful relationship with a contractor, knowing what questions to ask can make all the difference. Here are some general guidelines for screening potential contractors and determining which one would be the best match for your budget, your home improvement needs, and your personality. Not only is it important that the contractor be experienced, dependable, and conscientious, but it's also crucial that they're easy to work with and customer service oriented. If they're too abrasive or don't seem genuinely interested in ensuring your satisfaction, then you'd probably be better off looking elsewhere. Being competitively priced is also very important. Questions to Ask Contractors Although each situation is different when dealing with home builders, handymen, or home improvement contractors, here's a list of questions that would apply to most companies:

  1. "How long have you been in business?" One of your top priorities is to avoid fly-by-night operations that are in business today, and nowhere to be found, next week. Longevity in business is usually a sign that the contractor is conscientious about customer satisfaction, that they care about doing good quality work, and that they're in compliance with the legal requirements of running a contracting business. It's certainly not a guarantee of any of those things, but it's a good starting point in evaluating their qualifications.
  2. "Would you provide me with some recent customer references -- preferably ones who had the same type of work done as what I'm planning." If the contractor balks at this, then they may have something to hide -- like a trail of dissatisfied customers or a just a lack of customers. The ideal scenario, of course, is to get a contractor recommendation from a trusted family member, a friend, or a neighbor. When that isn't possible, a brief telephone conversation with a couple current or past customers of a contractor you're considering can provide a lot of insights into key factors like timeliness, professionalism, the quality of their work, whether they leave their work site clean, and their level of customer service and communication. By the way, one online source for neighbor recommendations is a social networking site called Nextdoor.com.
  3. "What type of insurance do you have?" If they're not current on their personal liability insurance, Workers' Compensation, and property damage insurance coverage, then you could potentially be liable for any injuries and damage that take place on your property during the project. However, reputable contracting companies recognize the importance of carrying the necessary types of contractor insurance, and they make it their business to keep those policies current and up to date. As a side note, it's also wise to find out if there will be any subcontractors working on the job, and if they also have the required licenses and insurance coverage. Asking for copies of insurance certificates is generally the only way to make sure the needed coverage is in place.
While many home improvement or construction projects come with their share of frustrations, setbacks, and minor headaches, if you take the time to screen and compare potential home contractors, your chances of getting the best value for your money and the highest possible quality will be greatly increased.





Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 6/18/2017

Shopping at yard sales is an art. First you have to find the good yard sales, then hunt down the best deals while avoiding distracting impulse buys, then you have to smartly negotiate your offer. Sure, there will be a lot of competition out there, but with the right planning you can give yourself enough of an advantage to find the hidden gems amongst all of the junk that people get rid of at their yard sales. In this article, we'll give you a crash course in yard sale shopping. Come Sunday afternoon, you'll be heading home with a smile on your face and that perfect addition to your home in your trunk.

Finding the right sales

The first step to finding the best yard sale deals is to find the right yard sales. Sure, it can be fun to aimlessly drive around your area Saturday and Sunday morning looking out for yard sale signs, but there are smarter ways to use your time.
  • Craigslist. Many people post announcements on Craigslist when they're going to have a yard sale. They'll often specify a date, time, and the type of things that will be for sale. If someone says "MASSIVE multi-family moving sale" you can be pretty sure there will be lots of good stuff there.
  • Facebook. Search Facebook for local community pages for your town or city. Oftentimes people make pages for buying and selling in their area, or just to have heated debates about local happenings. Sometimes, however, people post about their upcoming yard sales.
  • Local news. If your local newspaper has a classifieds section they might advertise yard sales as well.

Making your shopping list

When you go to a yard sale you should be prepared in terms of what you're looking for. You want to avoid making impulsive buys on things you don't need, but you also can't expect to find the exact color and model of vacuum cleaner that's on your Amazon wish list. Think of some things you'd like to look for and determine whether getting them at a yard sale makes sense. Plan your transportation accordingly. If you're looking for big items, make sure you bring a truck or SUV that can fit what you're looking for. Bring bungee cords, rope, a tarp, and whatever else you think you might need. Then head out to the sales.

When you find that must-have item

So you've found the exact vacuum cleaner you were looking for AND it's in great shape. It has a tag on it for $30 and the proprietor of the yard sale is going on about what a great vacuum cleaner it is. Before you start throwing money at them, consider these tips:
  • Research. With a smartphone in your pocket, you basically have instant access to valuing any object. While you browse other items, pop open your phone to read reviews, check used prices, and see if it's a deal that makes sense.
  • Be friendly. Sure, yard sales are all about making a quick buck, but neighborhoods are about community. Don't be afraid to share some small talk with the proprietors of the yard sale. It might pay off in the end.
  • Negotiate. There are general rules of negotiation that have been proven to get you better deals. Your first offer should be lower than what you're willing to pay. For example, if the vacuum is $30 and you're ready to pay $25, offer the salesperson $20.




Tags: home   yard sale   sale   shopping   garage sale  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 6/11/2017

There are several undeniable benefits to having an occasional garage sale on your property, but there's a lot more to it than just setting out a few unwanted items in your driveway and raking in the cash. If you're an entrepreneur at heart, then holding a garage sale should be second nature to you. Good organizational skills and a basic knowledge of advertising is helpful, as is the ability to do a little friendly negotiating. By adopting the mindset of a small business owner, you'll tend to be more effective in dealing with the many details of planning and running a garage sale. From putting up signage and doing advertising to handling customer relations and merchandising, knowing the basics of business marketing will definitely be to your advantage. If you've never held a yard sale before -- or if you could use a quick refresher course -- here are few helpful tips:

  1. Cost-effective advertising: While cheap classified ads can help draw a bevy of eager bargain hunters to your home, you can also get a lot of mileage out of free forms of advertising. Garage sale signs, which can be purchased cheaply at any hardware store, can attract dozens of potential customers. In addition to posting a sign directly in from of your house, other good spots are nearby intersections and street corners. Handmade signs can sometimes work, but they have to legible, easy to read, and rigid enough to resist wind and moisture. Other free methods of advertising include flyers, posting announcements on social media, and taking out free ads on Craigslist.
  2. Preparation and presentation: When the day of your garage sale arrives, you need to be organized, prepared, and ready to welcome your first customers early in the morning. Publicizing the hours of your sales event is a necessary part of the planning process, but don't be surprised if you see a few cars starting to pull up before you've finished carrying all your items out to your driveway. Garage sales always attract hard-core bargain hunters who do not want to miss a single item. In all likelihood, the first few hours will be the busiest, and attendance will probably drop off in the afternoon. As far as preparation, getting all your items set aside and labeled (priced) the night before will help avoid last-minute stress, awkward delays in getting started, lost sales, and impatient customers. Display tables are optional, but will make it easier for people to browse your sale items.
  3. Time investment: While some families devote the entire day -- or even the whole weekend -- to their garage sale, others limit the event to four hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning. A lot depends on your patience, how fast your items get sold, and whether you have any plans for the afternoon. At a certain point, you'll start noticing diminishing returns on your time, so you might decide to wrap things up and count your money around noon.
Holding a yard sale can be a great way to make some extra money and get rid of household clutter, but be prepared to devote time and energy to the event -- before, during, and after. Mother Nature can also be a factor in the timing of a garage sale, so keep an eye on the forecasts and reschedule if the weather doesn't cooperate.




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Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 6/4/2017

Showings begin at Sunday OH 1-3. Unique setting with Charles River views on private way. Newer Colonial with 3 levels of living plus unfinished basement. Open concept Living Room with Hardwoods and deck access with commanding views. Sunny Dining Room with hardwoods open to Kitchen - all appliances convey! Convenient 1/2 bath on main level. 2nd floor features 2 spacious bedrooms plus full bath with jacuzzi tub. 3rd floor boasts oversized Master bedroom with en suite and lovely views! Close proximity to Charles River for canoeing, kayaking, fishing! Full, unfinished basement for expansion if needed! Gardener's delight, fenced in yard, terraced landscaping. Millis Award Winning Schools!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts




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Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 6/4/2017

The longer you live in your home, generally the more repairs you’ll have to perform. Live in your home for 10 or more years and you could easily spend $2,000 a year on maintenance and repairs. That and the fact that your family dynamic has grown or shrunk significantly have inspired you to move. But, there’s this big catch.

Stop robbing yourself of the chance to move on

You keep pumping the brakes just as you near closing. This house that is costing you upwards of $2,000 a year has become your baby. You complain to friends about the leaks, worn roof and old kitchen cabinets. Yet, you also complain about every potential buyer who attends an open house or staging event at the very house that you put up for sale.

Make it easier on yourself and potential buyers. Set aside one to two days to discuss how you feel about your house, selling your house and moving into a new home.Talk it over with a family member or a friend. Think about the advantages of buying a new house. For example, buying a new house could lower your home repair costs. It could also shorten your commute to work or reduce your monthly mortgage payments.

After you are certain that you’re ready to move forward with the sale of your house, steer clear of clogging the house sale process by:

  • Talking with people who attend open houses that your real estate agent organizes without interviewing the potential home buyers
  • Removing family photos and personal decorative items out of staging rooms
  • Staying away from contradicting your real estate agent when she answers a potential home buyer’s question
  • Leaving your home during a home staging or open house
  • Spending personal money on furniture and other home staging products

If you’reselling your house through a real estate agent, ask the agent if there’s anything that she needs your help with regarding staging your home. Costs of staging your home might be included in your real estate agent’s fee.

Should you still find it difficult to step aside and let your agent interact with potential buyers, discuss your concerns with your real estate agent. She may have had similar experiences with previous home sellers and might be able to offer tips on how you can better transition through the home sale process.

Another action that you can take is to focus more on shopping for your new house. This way, you won’t feel as if you’re losing by letting go of your home. Visit neighborhoods that you’re interested in moving to. Check out videos of new houses online. Start talking to people who live in communities you want to become a part of.

If you’ve lived in your house for several years, it may be challenging at first. But, you can adjust to leaving your current home and moving into a new house. To enjoy a successful home sale, accept the idea that other people are going to live in your house, making it their home. You’ll do the same as well when you move into a new house that matches your family’s needs.




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