Ben Esposito - RE/MAX Real Estate Center

Posted by Ben Esposito on 1/20/2019

OK, so moved into your new home, got the right insurance, the new lawn mower, unpacked all the boxes and then just went back to your life. That was everything. Right? Wrong. If you didn't create or update an emergency plan for your home and family, you could be putting everyone in danger. It is critical to be prepared well in advance for any disaster to keep your family as safe as possible. Preparedness sounds like a no-brainer, but even though the news is always full of fires, storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes, the majority of families don't have a plan for where to go or what to do if an emergency strikes. 

Know Your Risks

Each area has different disaster risks. The internet is your best friend here. Look up your area to find out what is most likely to happen. If your area is at risk for natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes, your community likely has resources available for you. Get on the right mailing lists, websites, social media profiles, and texting lists, so you always know what's going on in your area. If you don't already get the WEAs (wireless emergency updates) from the national weather service on your phone, check with your wireless provider to make sure your phone is compatible and get those turned on ASAP. For more information, check out NOAA Weather Radio online. Download a variety of weather apps with alert systems from your phone or desktop app store.

Find the Right Shelter

It's important to understand what disasters require evacuation to a safer area, and which you can wait out in your home. Each different disaster has a different method to keep your family safe, and your community should prepare in case evacuation measures are necessary. Check with your local government for emergency services and locations. If you have kids, make sure to check with their schools and get familiar with their emergency response plans as well. That way, no matter what happens, you know your kids will be safe.

  • Hurricanes – First, secure the fridge and freezer: plan for the power to go out, so turn them all the way down to as cold a setting as possible and secure them shut to keep your food cold for as long as you can. Since you won't want to open it, if possible, get some dry, shelf-stable food to get you through the storm. Make sure you disable as many appliances as possible to keep them from shorting out due to power fluctuations or water damage. Lastly, close up your hurricane shutters and board any windows without them to keep them from shattering in the wind. Depending on its severity and the security of your home, you may be able to wait out the storm in place. Watch for evacuation notices though, and when told to leave, do it. Your family's safety is more important than staying in your home.
  • Thunderstorms and Tornadoes – If at all possible, make sure you have access to underground shelters. If you have a basement or cellar at home or work, this will be your best bet. Even walkout basements are safer than upper floors, so long as you stay well away from the windows and doors and keep near the walls braced all around by the ground outside. If an underground space isn’t available, stick to interior rooms like closets and bathrooms. Your best choices will have sturdy walls and no windows. If a tornado is in your immediate vicinity, huddle down in a bathtub and away from any glass or possible falling objects
  • Earthquakes – These disasters tend to have the least warning. If you live in an earthquake danger area, its best to prepare your house from the outset. Make sure that any hanging decorations or items are earthquake safe and secure. You don't want them falling and injuring your family or getting damaged. Appliances should also be secured to prevent them from pulling away from walls and floors or tipping over when the ground moves. Get familiar with the safest spots in your home — the sturdiest interior walls or spaces under furniture where you can brace during the event. Also know what areas of your home to avoid, specifically around hanging objects, light fixtures, windows or mirrors. In a pinch, you can brace in an interior door frame to keep yourself safe, but it is better to have a more protected space. For the best results, immediately drop to your knees when the earthquake strikes then move to your most secure area while protecting your head and neck. Once you get situated, continue bracing and protecting your head and neck until the earthquake stops.
  • Flooding – Floods can happen with minimal warning, and the water level can increase much faster than you can plan for. Don't risk it. The moment your area is under a flood warning, get to higher ground. Whether that's finding a hill outside, or just moving to the second floor of your home, don't ignore these warnings. If its late at night, grab the kids and go upstairs for a storm slumber party. That will keep your kids calm and safe at once.
  • Fire – If there is any sign of a fire in your home, get out and stay out. Plan for a variety of ways to exit your home depending on where the flame is greatest. If you have a second, or perhaps a third story, make sure that all working upper windows are armed with fire ladders so you can get out without using the stairs. Don't be left without a way out. Plan a meeting place nearby, but at a safe distance, so your family can re-convene after exiting the home, just in case you all go different directions. Make sure your kids are aware of what to do and practice with a home fire drill just like they do at school. Once your family is outside, call 911 and follow the directions of your emergency service providers.

Evacuation Prep

City or town-wide evacuations can be panic-ridden and chaotic. The evacuation itself is dangerous because those who are unprepared are more scared and unsure what to do. Keep both you and your family calm and safe throughout the process by being prepared ahead of time. Have an emergency kit with a change of extra fuel, clothes, water, some candles, and food in your garage or car if you can. That way your family is ready at a moment's notice. Learn the evacuation procedures of your community, so you know how they will direct you in case of emergency. Always make sure to follow evacuation orders as quickly and calmly as possible. Evacuation is a last choice, so stalling because you "don't think its necessary" puts your family in danger and over-taxes emergency personnel. If there were any other options, your community would avoid the evacuation order.

Make sure to ask your real estate professional what disasters are frequent in your area before buying your home.

Posted by Ben Esposito on 1/13/2019

You may have a rough idea of what your home is worth. Maybe you have recently been given an assessed value on the home, or have peeked on an online search as to what comes up for your home. Do you really understand all of the things that affect the value of your home? There are many things that may not be obvious but are important to the number that you’ll come to when you decide to sell your home. 

The Number Of Your House

Do you live at 13 Elm Street or 7 Winner’s Way? Buyers have superstitions that surround numbers and street names. Don’t be surprised if the number of your house or even the name of your street brings buyers in or sends them running. There’s not much you can do to change the house number or street name, but it’s something to keep in mind. Sometimes the reason that certain buyers are turned off from your house is truly out of your control. If you do live on a desirable street, that can help bring up the value of your home due to the demand in the area. Remember that what some consider “unlucky” others consider a blessing (like the number 13!) 

The Neighborhood

While your home may be perfectly pristine, you don’t have much control over what your neighbors do. If there are neighbors nearby that have strange items in their yards, strange colored homes, or other eccentric tastes, buyers may be turned off from your home. This could actually cause the price of your home to drop slightly. You should be prepared for this to affect the sale of your home, but don’t be discouraged. If buyers enjoy your home enough, they’ll be able to turn off that all too bright paint color next door.


Trees and greenery increase the value of a home. Don’t think of cutting down those trees on your property unless you have to! Trees that have grown up on your property will add a lot of value to the home in the future. If you’ve been living at your residence for 20 years or so, think of the value that those first seeds and bushes you planted have added! 

Interests Are Not Universal

If you have displays, shrines, or rooms dedicated to a certain hobby, it could either be beneficial or detrimental to your home sale. This all depends on who comes walking through the door for a home showing. If you’re a Veteran and have some Marine Corps things around the houses, it could attract the attention of other Vets. However, that strange Marilyn Monroe room you have might actually deter from the pool of people available to buy your home. Buyers like to be able to see themselves living in the home. Some circumstances make it easier than others for buyers to have a vision for themselves in your home.    

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Ben Esposito on 1/6/2019

If you want to sell your house and achieve the optimal results, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for the home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for selling your residence.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's current value. Fortunately, you can perform a home inspection and appraisal to ensure that you can price your house appropriately.

During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your house both inside and out. This property expert will identify any underlying problems with your house, allowing you to address such issues before you list your residence.

Meanwhile, a home appraisal ensures that you can receive a property valuation based on the age and condition of your residence, as well as pertinent housing market data. This appraisal enables you to better understand how to price your house, enabling you to establish a competitive initial asking price.

2. Enhance Your House's Interior and Exterior

A dazzling home interior and exterior can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. If you dedicate time and resources to perform home upgrades, you may be able to boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

To enhance your house's interior, you may want to remove as much clutter as possible from your home. That way, you can make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they buy your house.

Furthermore, you should trim the front lawn, clear outdoor walkways and do everything you can to improve your house's exterior. Because with a stunning home exterior, your home's curb appeal will increase, making it more likely than ever before that potential buyers will fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to plan ahead for the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent, and this housing market professional is happy to help you get ready to sell your house.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who will learn about you and your home selling goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you develop an effective plan to sell your house and maximize its value.

In addition, a real estate agent will serve as an expert guide throughout the home selling journey. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing, promote your house to the right groups of buyers and review any offers on your residence.

When it comes to selling a house, it may be a good ideal to plan ahead. If you use the aforementioned tips, you can create a home selling strategy that ensures you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling journey.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Ben Esposito on 12/30/2018

As a home seller, it is crucial to do everything possible to get your residence "buyer-ready." In fact, if your house dazzles a buyer, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your home sale earnings.

Ultimately, it can be quick and easy to get a house buyer-ready – here are three tips to help you prepare your residence for prospective buyers:

1. Bolster Your House's Curb Appeal

When a potential buyer goes past your home, you'll want your residence to make a great first impression. And if your residence has outstanding curb appeal, a prospective buyer may choose to set up a property showing right away.

To improve your house's curb appeal, you should mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and do whatever it takes to make your residence attractive to potential buyers. Of course, if you need extra help to bolster your home's curb appeal, you may want to employ professional contractors as well.

2. Remove Clutter

Antiques, paintings and other décor may help you transform your house into a home. However, these items may do more harm than good when you try to show your residence to prospective buyers. And in some instances, various personal belongings may make it tough for you to show off the true size and beauty of your residence.

It generally is a good idea to remove as much clutter as you can from your residence. Remember, your goal as a home seller is to make it simple for a buyer to envision what life may be like if he or she purchases your house. If you eliminate clutter from your residence, a buyer should have no trouble imagining what life may be like as the owner of your home.

3. Clean Each Room of Your Home

A neat, tidy home is sure to impress prospective buyers. Thus, if you allocate time and resources to clean each room of your house, you could boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Oftentimes, it helps to hire a professional home cleaning company. With this company at your disposal, you can get the help you need to improve the appearance of each room of your home.

As you get ready to add your house to the real estate market, you also may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to help you get your house buyer-ready, as well as prepare for each stage of the property selling cycle.

A real estate agent will offer expert guidance throughout the home selling journey. He or she will provide recommendations and tips to help you showcase your residence to the right groups of prospective buyers. In addition, if you ever have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them.

Get your house buyer-ready – use the aforementioned tips, and you can improve your home's appearance and increase your chances of enjoying a seamless property selling experience.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Ben Esposito on 12/23/2018

If you're planning on making the transition from apartment renter to homeowner in the near future, you can be sure that the experience will be both exciting and challenging!

While some first-time home buyers are fairly well prepared for the changes that accompany homeownership, others encounter a myriad of unexpected expenses, neighbor problems, and household emergencies. Keeping surprises to a minimum and knowing how to handle difficulties when they come up are two strategies for keeping your life on an even keel in your new home.

When taking your initial plunge into homeownership, here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid problems and get the most from your new home.

Budgeting for expenses: When you're a renter or living with your parents, three things you generally don't have to concern yourself with are home repairs, appliance replacement, and yard maintenance costs. The longer list of homeowner expenses that could take a bite out of your paycheck or bank account includes furnace and AC services, chimney cleaning, snow removal, landscaping, exterminator services, plumbing leaks, and lighting installation. Many first-time home buyers also need to buy items like a lawn mower, clothes washer and dryer, and furniture. Although you can delay or spread out some of these expenses, they do need to be considered when creating a household budget.

Privacy is a factor: Depending on the proximity of houses, the openness of your yard, and the extent to which you want to get to know your neighbors, you might find yourself wanting to have some fencing installed or privacy hedges planted. Ideally, these are alterations you'd want to have done shortly after you move in -- if not before. That way, next door neighbors will have less of a tendency to take it personally when you erect barriers between you and them. And speaking of privacy, curtains and blinds are often a priority that needs to be taken care of immediately. While some homes for sale may include window treatments, there's a good chance your home decorating shopping list may include curtains!

Neighbor relations matter: If you happen to have neighbors who are easy going, relatively quiet, and likable, then consider yourself very fortunate! Being a good neighbor is, of course, a two-way street, so try to keep your noise level down to a "dull roar" and be the kind of neighbor you'd like them to be! That's no guarantee, of course, that everyone's going to get along famously and be the best of friends, but mutual respect and showing a modicum of friendliness to neighbors does help establish a cordial neighborhood atmosphere.

By creating a realistic household budget, being neighborly, and factoring in your need for privacy, you can begin setting the stage for a satisfying and fulfilling homeowner experience.