Head and shoulders photo of Randal Engelmann and Erik Gould of Focus Real Estate

Through Mass Save, Being Energy Efficient Pays Off

Sponsored by Focus Real Estate

Energy efficiency in one’s home is important at any time of year. As winter approaches, many homeowners in Massachusetts may take another look at improving the comfort and efficiency of their home to stay cozy throughout the colder months and to keep those winter heating bills under control. But often, homeowners are unsure about steps they can take to be as energy efficient as possible, and they recognize that remediation costs—to update existing appliances or add more insulation, for example—can quickly add up. Many Massachusetts residents may be unaware that the state’s Mass Save Program offers a range of incentives and rebates that can help them improve home energy efficiency. It's important to note that residents are already paying for this program through their home energy bills—so why not take advantage of some of these offerings, while increasing home comfort, helping the environment and saving yourself some money at the same time?

Head and shoulders photo of Randal Engelmann and Erik Gould of Focus Real Estate

How to Prioritize Home Improvements

Sponsored by Focus Real Estate

Any time of year is an excellent time for homeowners to take a look at their house or condo and decide if there are home improvement projects they want to undertake. There are no hard-and-fast rules about where to start home improvements -- the highest floor, the basement, or outside the house all hold potential depending on an individual's particular needs and desires. But while homeowners may be eager to get their home improvements going, they should not start tearing out walls, let alone lift that paintbrush, without first taking stock of their entire home and prioritizing improvements accordingly. Create a master plan

"The plan is the most important part of starting any project," said Randal Engelmann, partner at Focus Real Estate. "Look at the big picture and consider everything you would like to accomplish in your house.

Head and shoulders photo of Randal Engelmann and Erik Gould of Focus Real Estate

Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House

Sponsored by FOCUS Real Estate

The spring real estate season gets a lot of love from buyers and sellers alike, but let's not forget about its highly attractive counterpart. Just as some prefer fall foliage to springtime blossoms, some homebuyers will willingly forsake springtime madness in favor of finding their perfect home later in the year. For current homeowners looking to sell their houses, attracting these buyers means adjusting their selling strategy to suit the particulars of both the season and the circumstances of this category of buyer. Here are five reasons to embrace the fall as a great time to sell your home. The selling season is short.


4 Mortgage Myths Dispelled for Today’s Homebuyers

Sponsored by FOCUS Real Estate

Today’s homebuyers are awash in information that can sway what is probably the biggest purchase of their lives. Especially to those new to the home search, it can be difficult to wade through sometimes-conflicting advice on home mortgages, particularly when guidelines that were generally accepted in the past may no longer apply in today’s home-buying environment. Here are four mortgage myths today’s homebuyers might encounter during their home search. You need 20 percent down to secure a loan
Following the recent mortgage crisis in the late 2000s, many housing lenders began to require at least a 20 percent down payment from buyers in order to reduce their own loan risk. Twenty percent down is still a good practice, but in expensive markets like Greater Boston, it can be extremely difficult to amass a down payment in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars -- especially for first-time homebuyers who do not have the ability to leverage the proceeds of a previous house sale.


How to Lure House Hunters: Use Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

One local real estate company is using a novel method to lure people to open houses: A free meal from a food truck after visiting the home for sale. "It's definitely brought more people in," said Erik Gould, a partner at Focus Real Estate, which is based in Jamaica Plain. "We had people preregister [for open houses] who said they were going and wanted to verify they were on the list to get Roxy's Grilled Cheese." Gould said that Randal Engelmann, Gould's partner at Focus Real Estate, heard that California real estate companies were teaming with food trucks to lure people to open houses and figured they'd give it a shot -- and it's worked. Last Saturday, the Roxy's Grilled Cheese truck parked in the lot at Curtis Hall close to the featured property, and many house hunters strolled over for their free meal after viewing the home.