A Quiz to Help You Sell Your Home

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It’s early April, we’re in the height of the Spring market, and you’ve decided that it’s time to sell your home. To help with this often-complicated and nuanced home-selling undertaking, I’ve created this quiz, which covers a variety of aspects that go hand-in-hand with the process. From pre-listing your home to showings and the post-offer timeframe, these true or false questions are designed to effectively guide you through the successful selling of your home (🤞🏻)…

  1. I should price my house so that I have negotiating room when an offer comes in. True or False?

    False. It might sound illogical, but the best way to price your home is as close to the price for which you think it will sell. And if you do, it can often result in multiple buyers jumping in with offers, which then results in your house selling quickly and for more money than if it sits on the market for days and months, and you end up “chasing the market down.” Pricing to Do’s and Not to Do’s When Selling Your Home can provide additional information on this complex topic.

  2. I should refrain from cooking fish or other foods that might smell strongly prior to showings. True or False?

    True. These strong smells can be a real turnoff to buyers. If the smells are too overpowering, the buyers won’t be able to focus on the fabulous features of your home. And the odors may be the only thing they remember about your house. Check out Smelling Your Home for more on this subject.

  3. Storing items in the garage and unfinished basement areas is better than storing items in the living areas of the house. True or False?

    True. Yes, yes, yes. Often it’s hard to get rid of all of the clutter prior to listing your home. And if this is true in your case, place the extras in the garage or basement where buyers expect to see “storage” and where it doesn’t detract from the show-ability of the living areas of your home.

  4. The first offer is always the best. True or False?

    False. Although this is most often the case (probably 95% of the time), it’s not always the case. That being said, it’s prudent to treat it like it is - and will be - the best offer you’ll see. Otherwise you very likely could be hitting yourself for not working with it.

  5. The look of my home’s exterior is very important as one never gets a second chance to make a first impression. True or False?

    True. This type of statement is pertinent and true in many aspects of our lives, and it’s especially accurate with the home selling process. Your home’s exterior is the first thing a buyer sees and is paramount to the formulation of their first impression about the property. And it’s something you can’t take back or have the chance to do over….

  6. Removing dated curtains, fabrics and painting neutral colors will help appeal to today’s buyers. True or False?

    True. These days, “dated” can translate into buyers having negative reactions to your home. First, they may not find the house visually appealing and therefore may not be able to envision themselves as the owners. Second, they may feel that the house needs more work than it actually does. And this leads to the third response, which is that they may further discount the price of your house because of the perceived work that needs to be done.

  7. Being at my home during showings will be helpful to the buyers because they can ask me pertinent questions about the property. True or False?

    False. Buyers feel uncomfortable and awkward if you are there for the showings. They want to visualize themselves in the home and have the freedom to do so during the showings. If they can’t do this because you are there, it can have a negative effect on their feelings toward your home.

  8. Having the windows, carpets and house throughly cleaned prior to listing it will help make it sparkle and will be appealing to buyers. True or False?

    True. I like to call this Staging 101, and it’s where to begin when it comes to staging. If you can’t afford the often pricey process of professionally staging your home, you will go quite a long way just by cleaning it from top to bottom. Click Appealing to the Visual Sense: Selling a Shiny, Sparkling Home to read more on this subject.

  9. If I am lucky enough to have multiple offers on my house (a.k.a., a bidding war), there will be one offer that will be the clear cut winner. True or False?

    False. Unfortunately this is rarely the case. You have to make the best decision with the limited information you have. Part of this is because choosing the right offer is about choosing the right buyer, which is next to impossible. There is no way to determine if the buyer you’ve chosen in the bidding war will ultimately go through with the purchase of your house. Even if the offer is at full asking price without any contingencies and the buyers seem excited to go through with the sale, they could eventually get cold feet and back out. You and your agent need to weigh each offer and buyer’s interest, and try to determine which offer/buyer is most likely to endure through the process to ultimately buy your home. Selling Your Home: Which Offer to Choose provides even more thoughts on this topic.

  10. The deal most often falls apart between the time of the accepted offer and the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S). True or False?

    True. The 10-14 days from the accepted offer to the signing of the P&S is largely when deals fall through. Most of the time it is because of the inspection. But it can also come down to the buyers having a change of heart for emotional, financial or a variety of other reasons.

How did you fare on this quiz? When you were selling your home, did you come across some of these questions and scenarios? And if you haven’t yet sold a home, I hope these questions can help guide you through the process when you ultimately do. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories…..

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

New Listing in Wayland, MA - 7 Coltsway

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Compass and Lisa Curlett of Compass are thrilled to announce the listing of 7 Coltsway in Wayland, MA. Situated on a cul-de-sac in an idyllic setting, this one-floor living, stand-alone home is a rare offering at Mainstone's Stoneridge Village! Beautifully updated, the unit has a well-appointed kitchen with a sunny eat-in area, spacious dining room and adjoining living room with a fireplace and views to the private grounds. There is a generous master bedroom with a renovated bath and walk-in closet as well as an additional bedroom, which can also be used as an office. The unit features hardwood floors throughout, many windows providing an abundance of natural light, wrap-around exterior deck, two-car garage and a basement for storage and with the potential for finishing. Additionally the home offers breathtaking views of the woods and conservation land, the use of a pool and tennis courts as well as a convenient location with close proximity to commuting routes. The unit is also handicapped equipped and accessible. A must see!

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Listed for $549,000, this fabulous home offers two bedrooms, two full baths, and 1,553 square feet of living space. For more details on the property, please visit 7coltsway.com. And to see the property or for more information, please contact Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com).

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New Listing in Weston, MA - 2 Shady Hill Road

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Compass and Lisa Curlett of Compass are thrilled to announce the listing of 2 Shady Hill Road in Weston, MA. Situated in a coveted Southside location, this renovated, warm and welcoming home is one-of-a-kind. A multitude of windows and skylights offer an abundance of natural light and views to your own private oasis with a pond and walking trails. With an open and versatile floor plan, beautiful hardwood floors and well proportioned rooms, the home features a gourmet kitchen with stainless appliances and granite countertops, a family room with a gorgeous stone fireplace, elegant dining room and a solarium with a wet bar and radiant heat. There is also a first-floor master suite with a luxurious bath and fireplace as well as a guest room with ensuite bath. The walk-out lower level is perfect for family or guests with a sitting room, two additional bedrooms, a full bath plus exercise and game rooms. There are great entertaining spaces both inside and out. Ideal for commuting, close proximity to the train and easy access to Weston and Wellesley town centers. Convenience with nature at your door!

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Set on 1.98 acres, this contemporary home offers four bedrooms, three full baths, one half bath, and 4,1000 square feet of living space. For more details on the property, please visit 2shadyhillroad.com. And to see the property or for more information, please contact Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com).


When to List Your House in the New Year?

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At this time of the year - right before and after the holidays - “When should I list my house in the New Year?” is the question I hear most from sellers. And what that question really means is when is the best time for me to list my house in the New Year when I will maximize the activity of the Spring market and sell my house for the most amount of money. Of course as I always like to say, there is never an answer that is 100% right or wrong in the world of real estate, but there are some trends and behaviors upon which we can draw to come up with a best guess answer. I know that’s a bit frustrating, but there isn’t a real estate crystal ball plus we don’t know how the market is faring until we’re actually right in the middle of it. That being said, here are some things to consider about the best timing for listing your house in the New Year to try to maximize the Spring market activity and get the best price for your house.

Market Trends to Consider

  • We know that the height of the Spring market for Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns generally runs from the end of February after school vacation week through Memorial Day - and often into the first few weeks of June.

  • During this 3+ month timeframe, buyer demand is theoretically at its zenith but so are competitive listings. That being said, many sellers don’t get their homes on the market until mid-end of March into April when they’ve finally finished preparing their homes for the market; this process often takes much longer than anticipated.

  • There are definitely less competitive listings on the market in January and early-mid February, which can give your home an advantage in the market all things considered*.

Buyer Behaviors

  • Buyer demand can be strong at the start of a New Year when there is still pent-up demand from those who didn’t buy in the prior Fall market. These buyers will hit the ground running and will be ready to act when they see the right home. But others will want to wait “to see what else comes on the market.”

  • External factors, such as upticks in the interest rates, volatility in the stock market, a downturn in consumer confidence/the economy among other things, can cause buyers to hold back on home buying.

  • Some buyers would rather buy now when they know the state of these external factors rather than wait to buy when these external factors could be better but also could be worse.

  • Weather can also affect home buying behavior. If there are mounds and mounds of snow and ice on the ground, buyers are less interested in going out to tour - and therefore ultimately buy - homes. Not to mention that buyers can’t see the land/yard they are buying when it is covered in snow - another disincentive to buy.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line that I’ve found is that sellers who can list their homes earlier in the Spring market - late January into early February - can often get higher prices for their homes than those who wait. At this time, there are less listings with which to compete, and there are active, serious buyers who want to buy now. These buyers will act regardless of the fact that they don’t have a full inventory from which to choose, and they feel more comfortable buying when they know what the external factors are and the effects therein on their home purchase. Given where we are in January 2019 with some talk of a softening of the market, an uptick in interest rates, the recent volatility of the stock market plus the lack of snow, I believe that listing your home sooner than later this year will behoove you**. Best of luck, and Happy Selling!

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever sold a home in the Spring market? Were you able to list your house earlier or later in the Spring market? What was your experience given the timing? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.


*By all things considered, I mean if your property is competitively priced (and not overpriced), if it’s in good condition, and if it’s effectively marketed.

**All this said, if you can’t get your house on the market earlier in the Spring market, don’t despair. Sometimes it’s just not physically possible to get your house ready for sale as soon as you’d like, and there is always a certain amount of buyer demand throughout the Spring market and the rest of the year.

How Selling Your House Is Like Dating

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Have you ever heard that selling your house is like dating? In my opinion after 15+ years in the real estate business, I can 100% attest to the fact that selling your house is indeed like dating – in more ways than one…. As a professional in the world of real estate and a sometimes practitioner and full-time observer in the world of dating, here are my thoughts on how selling your house is like dating*:

#1. If buyers like your house, you’ll know. This is actually the statement that got me started on the parallelisms between real estate and dating. When buyers are interested in your house, they will come to see it right away and then come back for a second time as soon as they can after the first showing. They will ask how you are handling offers. They will ask for utility costs and other specific information. And then they will put in an offer. Not only will they show their interest by behaving in certain ways, but they will also exude a sense of attraction for your house, and you will feel it. Sounds like dating to me….

#2. Pursuing buyers too aggressively can have the reverse effect. This is Rule #1 in the dating world, and it’s the same when it comes to selling your house. The biggest turnoff to a buyer (and a date) is coming on too strong as it ultimately makes you look desperate. And we all know that looking and acting desperate can be the kiss of death, especially in the world of dating. As mentioned above, when a buyer likes your house, you’ll know. If you don’t hear back from the buyer’s agent after a showing, especially if your agent has already reached out to the buyer’s agent for feedback, the writing is very likely on the wall. Don’t then instruct your agent to keep pursuing the buyer’s agent. S/he will be in touch if there’s interest. I promise! Give the buyers space to formulate their thoughts and interest in your house. Don’t smother them or their potential interest with call after call or email after email just to “check in.” Less is more as they say.

#3. You only have one chance to make a first impression on buyers, and it’s an important one. This is a fact of life in almost any situation, and it couldn’t be more true in the worlds of real estate and dating. First impressions matter! The front yard and entryway are what the buyers initially see when visiting your home, and so you want to make these areas as visually appealing as possible. Make them shine, sparkle and impress because if you don’t, you might not get another chance to do so….

#4. The better the appearance of your home, the more buyers you’ll attract. This is a cold, hard reality in real estate – especially nowadays. Most buyers want to just move right in, set up their furniture and be done with their “newly bought” home. Given our busy and complicated lives these days, buyers don’t want to be saddled with endless, time-consuming and expensive house projects. In other words, condition is king in the current home buying process. Buyers are flocking to – and paying up – for homes with A+ appearances. And although it doesn’t all come down to looks in the world of dating, it is true that an attractive person and one that cares about his/her appearance often ends up enticing many suitors.

#5. Expect buyers to have interest in multiple properties. As you know with dating, especially at the beginning, people often date several people at the same time. Then once they get more serious with one person, they stop dating others and just focus on that one special somebody. It’s the same with home buying and real estate. Buyers often cast a wide net, looking at multiple properties in several towns, and it can take some time before they boil it down to just one house.

#6. If it’s meant to be, it will be. How many times have we heard this saying when it comes to relationships? Well it’s the same thing in real estate. When you’re selling your home, you can’t control the thoughts and decisions of the buyers, you can only control yourself and your actions. Your home has to be the right fit for the buyer, and when it is, “it will be.”

Hmmmm…. What are your thoughts about the parallels between real estate and dating? When selling your home, have you run into similar concepts and behaviors in the worlds of real estate and dating? And did you follow some of the above tips? If so, did they help you during your home selling process, and/or did you experience other dating-type similarities with the sale of your home? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Getting to a Happy Closing Table

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Getting to a happy closing table may be harder than it sounds, especially for you as sellers, who are often parting with years of history and memories with your home. The process can be sad and painful – not to mention disappointing if you haven’t sold the property for as much as you would have liked. Furthermore, the sale – and purchase – of a home is a long process and journey for you and the buyers. In other words, it’s not just an accepted offer, followed by the signing of a Purchase & Sale Agreement, which ultimately culminates in the closing. It’s the inspection, buyer visits to the property, appraisal, mortgage contingency, saying goodbye to the house, packing up, preparing the house for the buyers and more.

And so getting to a happy closing table can be complicated, and it means cooperating, treating one another with respect, making compromises, understanding the other’s emotional mindset and working together so that you achieve happiness during that final hour when the deed is transferred from you to the new owner of your home. Here are some tips – mostly for you as sellers – to keep in mind to make the process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Allowing access to the property – Believe it or not, this is often a heavily contested and heated issue. As sellers, many of you are stressed when thinking about all of the tasks and packing that must be done to get to the closing table. Therefore the thought of allowing the buyer into the house at possibly inopportune times for measuring or meeting contractors might send you over the edge. But in these instances, try to remember the golden rule and strive to be as civil, gracious and generous as you can be. In reality, three or four buyer visits prior to the closing aren’t really going to derail your efforts to be out of the house on time. (Note for buyers – endeavor to be equally respectful to sellers by grouping contractor visits, for example, so that several come during one visit to the house instead of separate appointments for each of them. This minimizes the inconveniencing of the seller and goes a long way.)

  • Doing repairs in a timely manner – Often there are action items and repairs that you have to do prior to the closing. Make sure to do these tasks in a timely manner and send the receipts to your agent and attorney as soon as the work has been done. This will save unnecessary stress in the days before the closing when you’re searching for the work receipts needed at the closing.

  • Walking the buyer through the home – This is over and above the call of duty, but by taking the time to walk the new owner through your home, conveying useful information about the house and neighborhood, showing him/her how the systems work and what makes the house special to you, you will be helping the buyer more than you know. “Pay it forward” as they say.

  • Leaving any manuals and warranties for the buyer – This is another golden rule moment and a nice courtesy for the buyer. How appreciative and happy would you be if the seller did the same thing for you when buying a house? That says it all….

  • Ensuring a smooth final walk through – There are basically two critical elements to having a smooth final walk through. First, that you’ve left your home, both inside and out, in “broom clean” condition. By making sure that your home is in neat and tidy condition, you will be making for a happy buyer. Second, that you’ve left any and all items that have been included in the sale of your home for the buyer.  Note that this doesn’t mean the remnant tiles, wallpaper and paint cans, for example, that “go with the house.” No items “go with the house” unless you and the buyer have agreed that they do – even if those things were left at the house when you bought it.

  • Saying goodbye to your home – Every seller has their own version of this, but it’s a healthy thing to do after the years you’ve spent in the house and memories you’ve built there. Some plan a weekend or evening when all family members come back to the house to reunite, while others say a prayer/blessing before leaving for the last time.

  • Purchasing a gift for the buyer – This is another over and above, but it happens more than you might think. It’s such a nice way to leave the house for your buyer. And think, good karma…. In fact, my friend, Landis, uses a series of quotes from It’s a Wonderful Life when she leaves gifts for the next owner of her home. “Bread….that this house may never know hunger. Salt…that life may always have flavor. And wine….that joy and prosperity may reign forever.” She writes the words, and then leaves bread or a bread mix, salt or salty nuts and then a fabulous bottle of wine for the buyer! How thoughtful and magical at the same time.

What are your thoughts on getting to a happy closing table? Have you had some of these issues when selling – or buying – a home? How did you deal with them? And did you ultimately get to a happy closing table? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Selling a Home: The 3 Do’s of Responding to an Offer

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After writing the post, Buying a Home: The 3 Do’s of Putting in an Offer, I couldn’t ignore those of you who are selling your homes and give some tips on how to respond to these offers…. Hence, this post – The 3 Do’s of Responding to an Offer.

1. Do stay objective. This is crucial and also very hard to do. If you can do anything, don’t let your emotions overtake you and guide your response to the offer. Your real estate agent can help with this because s/he will be objective no matter what as s/he deals with buyers, sellers and the offer process, day in and day out. Being level-headed and approaching this as a business transaction will ultimately help you make more prudent, rational decisions.

2. Do assess the state of the current market. This goes hand in hand with Do #1 and will help you stay objective. Instead of focusing on what you “need to get” or “should get” for your house based on what you put into it or the price for which your neighbor’s house sold, look at the comparative solds, pendings and actives on the market. This information will truly give you insight into what your home is worth from an objective market perspective.

3. Do respond to the initial offer. You never know where the buyer will go both from a price and terms (i.e., close date and contingencies) perspective. If his initial offer was low, remember that it’s just a starting point, and he may still surprise you. Furthermore you can communicate your mindset/reaction to the offer with your counter, and see how he responds. But shutting down and refusing to come back with any kind of counter certainly won’t get your home sold – which, let’s not forget, is hand’s down your primary objective.

Have you been a home seller and faced this kind of scenario? If so, what do’s and don’ts did you follow? Were they effective and did they result in achieving your ultimate goal of selling your home? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

The Pre-Moving Day Checklist for Sellers

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Last month, I featured a blog on “The Pre-Moving Day Checklist for Buyers,”and now it’s time to look at things from the seller’s viewpoint.  Again, I’m hoping this list can help you focus on the task at hand given how crazy life can become leading up to moving out of and selling your home*.  You’ll see some similarities on this list to the buyer’s pre-moving day checklist, but it also has some distinct differences:

  • Contact the utility companies – make sure that the gas/oil, electricity, cable and any other utility services know that you are selling your home and the day you will be closing on the property.  They will likely schedule a time to do any appropriate final readings (i.e., your oil tank, propane tank and/or water meter). This helps ensure that you won’t receive utility and other bills on a home you no longer own.

  • Confirm receipt of your smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) inspection certificate and/or your Title V inspection certificate (if appropriate) – your listing agent will likely have coordinated this inspection with the town’s fire department for the smoke and carbon monoxide devices.  There is a nominal fee payable to the town, and the final certificate is part of the closing paperwork.  Similarly, if you live in a town with private sewerage, you need to have a Title V inspection done to make sure your septic system is functioning and compliant with the state’s regulations.  The Title V inspection costs a few hundred dollars (depending), and it is also part of the closing paperwork.

  • Reserve a safe place for important documents and items – this is important for sellers too during a move when things have a tendency to get rather chaotic.  Put your passports, birth certificates, medications, etc., in a designated place so they don’t get lost in the move.  In fact, I recommend putting them in your purse or briefcase so they are “on your person,” as they say, rather than on a moving truck.

  • Confirm your moving logistics with the moving company – by this time, you will have hired a mover so check in with the company to confirm the arrival time on moving day and any other logistics.

  • Pack up any last minute items – make sure not to forget the harder items to move or package, including plants and/or extremely fragile pieces that you want to transport yourself.

  • Finish up any remaining home inspection items – after the buyer’s home inspection, there may be items that the buyer has asked you to address or repair.  Before you close the door for the last time and before the buyer’s final walk through (see the next bullet point), take another spin around the house and make sure all of the inspection items have been properly fixed and completed.

  • Make sure the house is “Broom Clean” for the buyer’s walk through – most buyers schedule a walk through of their new home the day before or morning of the closing. During the walk through, the buyer will check to make sure everything has been removed from the property (including all of the knick knacks in the cabinets and drawers) and that all inspection items have been repaired or resolved.

  • Review the HUD-1 Settlement Statement with your real estate attorney – the HUD-1 Settlement Statement is usually available to review with your attorney prior to the closing. In fact, most sellers don’t usually attend the closing and will instead give power of attorney to their attorneys.  So it’s important to make sure you’ve reviewed, understand and approved the settlement statement in advance of the big day.

  • Remember the tax stamps – where we live in Massachusetts, the tax stamp rate is $4.56/$1,000.  So if you’ve sold your home for $1,000,000, you’ll owe $4,560 in tax stamps at the closing.

  • Leave any appropriate keys, garage door openers or other relevant devices for the buyer – this is crucial because otherwise you will be getting a phone call from the buyer asking how he can get access to his new home.

  • Compile a list of vendors, operating manuals, warranties, etc. to leave for the buyer – this is a very nice and helpful thing to do for the buyer, and most sellers are happy to compile this information to pass along to the new homeowner.

  • Complete a change of address form at your post office – it’s important to make sure that you are the one who gets your mail and not the buyer who just bought your home.

  • Leave a personal note and/or gift for the new homeowners – I have seen this done several times, and it’s such a warm and gracious way to end the home selling process.  It also coveys good karma all around.

  • Have some bubbly – you have successfully sold your home, and it’s time to move forward with your life whether that be in a new home you’ve just bought or a condominium you’ve just rented – Bubbly Time….

I think I’ve touched on almost everything….  When you sold your home, were there other things you did just prior to moving day that you would add to the checklist? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

* This list does not include the packing of items and furniture and the determination of what is being given to goodwill or other family members, thrown away, potentially sold at a yard sale or to a consignment shop and/or moved to your new destination as these efforts are part of the overall and ongoing moving out process.