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


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 5/6/2018

If you live in an older home or neighborhood there’s a good chance your house holds a rich history within. Aside from talking with the previous owners, most people don’t look much further into the stories their house might have.

If you’re curious about your family history there are resources available so you can find long lost relatives and discover where your family lived over the years. Most people don’t think to do the same research for their home, even though they might spend years in it.

?Why should I research the history of my home? 

There are many reasons why someone might want to learn more about the history of their home. The main reason is because it’s fun and interesting. Your search will bring you to places you’ve likely never been before, whether it’s federal records on the internet, or to dusty microfilm archives in your basement.

Aside from the fun of researching, your work could also bring to light useful information. You might be able to add to resale value by discovering additional details about the home. Similarly, if you come across old photos of the home you could attempt to restore some architectural and design details to their original form. Whether you do this to stay true to the roots of your home or to attempt to add value is up to you.

Where should I begin?

Like most research projects, the internet is probably your best place to start. To learn more about the property your home sits on you could search the National Archives land records. These records detail when a piece of land was transferred from the U.S. government to private ownership. In other words, you might be able to find information about the first person to ever own your home.

A good place to head from there is to run a title search on your property. You will most likely need to visit the town clerk or your local courthouse to access titles. This will paint a fuller picture of who the people who owned your home were.

Now that you know who, learning about the home itself will be much easier. There are several genealogy sites online (some free, others paid) which will help you learn about the previous inhabitants of your home. Feel free to Google their names, especially if they were a public figure. You might even find photos of your home.

What to do if you can’t find any information

Just because you can’t find any photos or details online doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You might need to reach out to relatives of previous owners to find out more information. 

Another option is your local library. Not only do libraries have a local history section complete with town records, but the librarians are also trained researchers who will be able to help you navigate the stacks. You could discover books containing details like population, town meeting notes, and new ordinances, including building codes.

Once you’ve learned a bit about the history of your home, see if you can spot the changes that have been made to it over the years.




Tags: home history   home   history   research  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 12/3/2017

When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.

1. Electrical work

So you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in an electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.

2. Hazardous materials

Many people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.

3. Roofing and siding

There's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.





Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 7/9/2017

Do you ever wonder if those items stored away in your attic or basement are worth any money? Most people assume that their antique furniture and family heirlooms couldn't be worth the trouble of finding out their value. However, there are some items that are currently taking up storage space that you could get quite a lot of money for. In this article, we'll cover some of the items you're likely to have that are worth a lot of money and how to find out just how much they're worth.

Collectibles

Some collectible items gain value as the years pass. Sometimes a craze becomes so popular (i.e., Pokemon cards) that people snatch up every item they can find hoping that someday they'll be worth thousands. In reality, it's hard to know what items will be worth something decades down the road. However, there are many items that are currently very valuable that you might have laying around in your attic (hopefully still in the original packaging!).
  • Rare vinyl records Your mom's stack of dusty Kenny Rogers records might not be worth much, but you should dig through and old records and look them up online to see how much they're going for. Some editions of Bob Dylan and The Beatles sell for tens of thousands of dollars. You never know...
  • Comics Just like rare records, rare comic books can sell for thousands to serious collectors. Condition is key, but if you find any comics in the attic you should ask an expert how much they go for.
  • Musical instruments Antique guitars, violins, and pianos are highly sought after by collectors. Four things make an antique instrument valuable: the person who made it, the person who played it, the condition it's in, and the quality of the instrument.
  • Designer fashion If grandma used to have a taste for high fashion, it might be a good idea to look into who made her old purses and jewelry. Similarly, if there is an old wrist watch or pocket watch in the attic, see if you can find any details about it online.
  • First edition books There's a good chance your grand parents or great grandparents were book readers. They didn't have the internet or video games so what else could they be doing all day? If they happened to collect some first editions of the classics, you're in luck--The Great Gatsby with the original dust jacket recently sold for an incredible $194,000.

Artwork

You can probably guess that paintings by prominent artists are some of the most valuable collectibles in the world. However, it doesn't take a van Gogh to turn a profit off of some old paintings and sculptures that might be sitting in your basement. When we say art, we also include things like movie posters and old signs and advertisements. An original Star Wars movie poster can go for up to $100,000.

Antique wooden furniture

You've probably seen old furniture selling for thousands on television. The important things to look out for when it comes to valuing your old furniture are: is it made of all original parts? What time period is it from? Why type of wood is it made of? Which company crafted it? Only an expert can answer these questions for you.




Tags: money   home   basement   antique   antiques   valuable   collectibles   attic  
Categories: Uncategorized  


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 4/23/2017

Leading a minimalistic lifestyle isn't a modern trend. Simple living dates back to various religious and spiritual traditions of the Orient. In the mid 1900s, minimalism found its way into the world of art and music, with artists creating sparse paintings and writing simple songs with few instruments. In the United States many of us are constantly surrounded by excess. We have endless options at the grocery store, channels on television, and apps in the App Store. All of this can be overwhelming, and as a result some people are choosing to live a simpler life. Here are some ways to take that simplicity to your home.

Why make your home more minimalistic?

It's nice to own things you like. It's fun to shop for them, too. So why should you aim for less? There are a number of measurable benefits associated with simple living. Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of acquiring things that we forget to stop and wonder why we want those things in the first place. Here are some of the more pronounced benefits:
  • Reduce stress. Do you put in extra hours at work to support your lifestyle? Do you lack sleep, or wish you got to spend more time with your family or just relaxing alone? Minimalism can help with all of these by cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
  • Less cleaning. Owning fewer things means having fewer things to clean and clean around. All of that time cleaning adds up.
  • A more relaxing space. Cluttered rooms are not very inviting. It's hard to feel relaxed or be productive in them.

Ways to make your home more minimal

Which parts of your home you want to be more minimal is up to you. If you want to create a minimalist haven in your home office, maybe that's the only room you need to alter. However, there are some shared traits that minimal rooms have in common.
  • Clear surfaces. Many of us have developed a tendency to cover every surface in our home with stuff. Floors, countertops, and desks can all quickly become cluttered. Take a look around your home and ask yourself if those items are adding any value to the room.
  • Use storage smartly. One natural extension and benefit of minimalism is that you'll need less storage because you'll have less things. That enables you to use the storage you do have wisely. Keep things you aren't using stored out of sight to create a more open atmosphere.
  • Get rid of extra furniture. It's easy to find yourself with too much furniture in your living room. People have a tendency of buying new chairs or benches and putting the old ones somewhere else in their house. The same is true for pillows, tables, and so on. When you buy new furniture, sell or donate the old items to get them out of the way.
  • Simplify your wardrobe. This is the most difficult for many people. It's hard to give away clothes because you have the nagging thought that you might want to wear them again some day. Open up your closet and think about your wardrobe. Are there items that don't go well with your other clothes or that you hardly ever wear? Do you have multiple things you only need one or two of (bathing suits, belts, etc.)? Simplifying your wardrobe is a great exercise in simplifying the rest of your life.