Things That Shouldn’t Influence Your Home Buying Decision

Many first time home buyers go into the market looking for the home of their dreams. They picture a house filled with their favorite furniture, illuminated by plenty of natural lighting, and highlighted by bright and cheery wall colors.

While it’s good to have aspirations for your new home, it’s also important to remember that the house you’re buying is essentially a box. Sure, you’ll put plenty of nice things in that box, but ultimately you want to make sure it’s a sturdy box that’s in good shape before thinking about the contents.

When shopping for a new home, here are some things you shouldn’t let influence your decision.

Walls and carpets

It can be off-putting when you go and view a home and the walls are covered in antiquated wallpaper or painted a color you can’t stomach. It can also be hard to ignore, since the walls make up such a large, visible portion of the house. Instead, try to envision the room with the walls painted the colors you would use.

If a home has a carpet that looks straight out of the 70s it can definitely be a distraction and give you trepidations about the house. However, just like walls, this is a relatively simple fix if you have the budget for it. Imagine how the room would look with hardwood floors, tile, or a carpet that’s more to your liking.

An unkempt yard

The first thing you see when arriving at a house is the yard and driveway. Maybe the grass hasn’t been mown in a while, the mulch is looking faded and there are weeds growing up along the walkway. These are all aesthetic problems that can be easily and, if planned correctly, inexpensively fixed.

A good rule is to determine if the parts of the yard you dislike can be cleaned up in a few afternoons or if they would require a lot of time and money.

It feels like someone else’s home

Viewing a home can be awkward. If the seller still lives in the home you might feel like you’re intruding. In some cases, they could even be at home while you’re viewing the house. As you walk through the home, be sure to remind yourself that if you lived here the picture frames would have your family photos in them instead.

Similarly, if the seller has (to put it nicely) a “different” taste in decoration it can seem distracting and off putting. Fortunately, they’ll have to take all their decorations with them when they move–even that wall mounted deer head in the living room.

Decide based on these factors instead

Now that we’ve talked about the things to ignore, here are the details you should look for when shopping for a new home.

  • Size. The size of the home, the rooms, the yard, and the driveway will all be a huge factor in your decision.
  • Architecture. Take note of how the home was built and if there are certain architectural aspects that you love or hate.
  • Windows and lighting. Natural lighting is an oft overlooked feature that really enhances the atmosphere of a home.
  • Plumbing and electrical. Make sure you’re happy with the condition of the home’s HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems because these will be time consuming and expensive upgrades.
  • Kitchen and bathroom features. Look for a home that has the kitchen and bathroom design elements you love, the space you need, and the features you desire (appliances, shower type, sink type, etc.)

Open house on 2/19/2017 at 48 Federal Beverly, MA 01915


Date: 02/19/2017 Time: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM  
For Directions: feel free to contact me.  
For more information: click here for the full details  

Rarely available, second floor unit with loads of windows and tons of sunlight. Granite, stainless and maple kitchen. Bedroom is on the larger side with a walk in closet with custom shelving. Bonus room suitable for guest space, home office or additional living space. Hardwood floors throughout, tile bath, In unit laundry, energy efficient gas heat and central AC. Garage parking with additional outdoor guest parking. Elevator in building. This building is located downtown Beverly with in very close proximity to the commuter rail station, highway access and all the fine dining culture and shopping Beverly has to offer. Open house canceled today due to weather.

Lighting Tips For Homeowners

Choosing the right lighting for your home not only enhances it visually, but can also make it a safer and more secure place to live.

While an interior decorator or electrician can offer you additional suggestions about upgrading your home’s lighting efficiency and appearance, here are a few helpful lighting tips and ideas to consider.

  • Dimmer switches can be a highly desirable feature to include in most rooms in your house. You only use them on an as-needed basis, and they’re great for reducing eye strain, creating a more relaxing environment, and conserving electricity. Although dimmer switches are relatively easy to install, hiring a reasonably priced electrician is good insurance against getting an electrical shock or doing it incorrectly.
  • Flood lights strategically placed in different areas of your property can help keep away trespassers, burglars, and vandals. Motion-activated security lights are especially effective at deterring crime and sending intruders on their way. While lighting alone does not comprise a fail-proof home security system, it is one of several methods that, when used together, can keep your home, property, and family safe.
  • Adequate outside lighting helps prevent family members and visitors from falling, tripping, and getting injured on your property when approaching your home at night. This is especially important for those who are elderly or vision impaired.
  • Outdoor lighting can also be effectively used for decorative purposes on porches, patios, backyard decks, and walkways.

Light Bulb Facts

If you’re wondering why old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs are becoming harder to find on store shelves, it’s because of two things:

  1. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: It was enacted to for several reasons, including eliminating wasteful energy products from the market, helping the United States become more energy independent, and reducing harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. Although some consumers prefer the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb, it’s interesting to know that they’re only 10% efficient. What that means, says the EPA, is that 90% of the electricity it uses is lost to heat.
  2. Consumers want to save money on energy consumption. Here’s what the EPA says on the subject: “Because lighting accounts for approximately 12% of the average household’s energy bill, more efficient options will help consumers save money on their utility bills.”

Those more efficient options include compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light emitting diode bulbs (LED), and halogen bulbs. Although energy efficient lights can be somewhat more expensive initially, they last longer and typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. That’s the word from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Based on figures from the EPA, consumers can also save money by using Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

With its economical features and versatile uses in and around the house, there are a lot of benefits to be had from choosing the right lighting.

Open house on 2/12/2017 at 48 Federal Beverly, MA 01915


Date: 02/12/2017 Time: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM  
For Directions: feel free to contact me.  
For more information: click here for the full details  

Rarely available, second floor unit with loads of windows and tons of sunlight. Granite, stainless and maple kitchen. Bedroom is on the larger side with a walk in closet with custom shelving. Bonus room suitable for guest space, home office or additional living space. Hardwood floors throughout, tile bath, In unit laundry, energy efficient gas heat and central AC. Garage parking with additional outdoor guest parking. Elevator in building. This building is located downtown Beverly with in very close proximity to the commuter rail station, highway access and all the fine dining culture and shopping Beverly has to offer.

Where Home Staging Meets Home Safety.


In the hustle and bustle of prepping a home to be sold, many people overlook one very important detail; home safety. And while you’d like to think that prospective buyers visiting your home are upstanding citizens, the simple truth remains that selling your home opens your door wide open to complete strangers…Strangers who are going to be encouraged as potential buyers to explore every detail of your home. Luckily, by taking a few small steps, you can rest a little easier.

1. Hide you valuables – This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to put away common valuables like jewelery, high-value collectables, expensive perfumes, and high-end designer accessories like handbags and money clips. Be sure to go from room to room, keeping an eye out for anything that may hold appeal for a potential thief, and tuck away anything you think might draw a thief’s attention. Do a follow-up walk of your house the next day, just in case you may have missed something.

2. Firearms – If you are a homeowner who is also a gun and/or weapon owner, then you are probably already taking the necessary precautions in regard to gun safety. However, for some collectors, prominent display is one of the things that a gun owner may take pride in. Just because your guns are in a locked, secured display case doesn’t mean that they still don’t hold risk to you or your loves ones. In a private setting, a locked display case is just fine…But in a situation where you are selling your home, complete strangers will have the ability to see that you are a gun owner, how many guns you have, and the precise location of your collection. Considering the value of a gun collection can run into the thousands, they should be treated just like any other valuable in your home; locked away and out of sight.

3. Personal mail – Things like bill invoices, credit card statements, and social security information should be put out of sight. Identity theft is on the rise, and by taking the proper precautions, you can avoid your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

4.Prescription medication – Be sure to remove medications from your medicine cabinet that carry the potential for abuse.

5. Parental safety – If you are a parent, you’ll obviously want to take precautions to keep your children safe. Remember…You are allowing complete strangers full access to your home. For peace of mind, consider removing family photos, personalized items such as prominently displayed school jerseys and embroidered pillows, and that A+ math test on the refrigerator. Many people feel this step is either unimportant or unnecessary. If you feel fine with displaying these items, then feel completely free to.  The odds of a person wanting to do your family harm are fairly low.  But if you are a “better safe than sorry” kind of person, then consider this step.

As long as a few precautions are met, you have no reason to feel uneasy about your home being shown. The vast majority of the people who are going to be looking at your house are responsible members of society, looking for a home to either start or grow their own families. That being said….Better safe than sorry.

Jade Plants Make Great Houseplants

Jade Plants

Tough and hardy, succulents are some of the easiest houseplants to grow indoors. While there are hundreds of different varieties of succulents, a tried, and true favorite is the Jade plant (Crassula ovate) which can survive for decades on loving neglect.

Native to South Africa, the Jade plant thrives in arid conditions, developing thick fleshy leaves that trap the moisture the plant requires. The Jade plant prefers full filtered sun or semi-shade. The leaves overheat and become brown along the edges when the plant receives hot, direct sunlight

A Lucky Plant

Individuals applying Feng Shui principles in their home organization and décor, embrace the hardy succulent. The full, round leaves of the Jade plant symbolize health and vitality. The easy care plant is known as a “lucky” or “wealth-attracting” greenery.

Grow outdoors on the patio in the summer months and move indoors before the first frost. Jade plants cannot tolerate freezing temperatures.

Watering Your Jade Plant

Do not overwater or have your Jade plant standing in a dish or tray that traps water. Water only once a month during the dry summer season and every six to eight weeks during the winter months. Jade plants “rest” during the winter and prefer parched soil during this period.

Excellent drainage is required, and plants do best in a sandy, gravel soil mixture. If you are transplanting a Jade plant, use a cactus potting soil mixture. If water is allowed to collect around the roots, root rot will occur and kill the plant. If a stem or a few leaves drop off your Jade plant, it is sure sign that it is receiving too much water. Keep an eye on your plant and if leaves start to appear to wilt, it’s time for a bit of water.

Lighting

Jade plants enjoy the sunshine but will tolerate a low light location, Avoid exposing your plant to full noonday sun as leaves can become sunburned and will turn brown on the edge of leaves.

Pruning

Because the stems and leaves of the Jade plant store water, they can become top heavy, To keep your plant from becoming lopsided or top-heavy, trim back occasionally, Keep your plant from becoming “leggy” by pinching off new buds.

Propagation

Thriving on neglect, Jade plants are easy to grow as well as to propagate and share. Start new plants by snipping off the tip of a branch. Cut off a piece that is two to three inches long and place it in a container with moist sand or cactus potting soil. Some gardeners cut off a section of stem and leaves and place it on a dry surface to let the cut “heal” and seal over before placing in damp sand to root.

Water infrequently and do not disturb the cutting to check for root growth for at least six weeks or more.

Repotting Your Jade Plant

Jade plants prefer to be somewhat root bound. Do not repot unless you notice roots growing out of the bottom of the container. Jade plants are slow growers, producing small white flowers when grown outdoors but typically does not bloom when cultivated indoors.

Save Big on Home Owners Insurance

Who doesn’t want to save money these days? The cost of home insurance has been on the rise but that doesn’t mean you have to always keep paying more. Take the time to examine your policy and see if there are some ways to save some money. Here are some suggestions on how to look for ways to gets the best rates possible:

  • Shop around. Get at least three quotes.
  • If you can afford it out some money in the bank and instead raise your deductible. The higher your deductible, the less premium you’ll have to pay.
  • Combine your policies. Some insurance companies will reduce your premium up to 15 percent if you have at least two policies (home and auto for example) with their company.
  • Look for discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts for installing smoke detectors, burglar alarms and dead-bolt locks. Ask about what types of discounts the company offers some insurers even offer discounts for a sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations.
  • Be a loyal customer. Many companies offer discounts for longer-term customers. Compare prices against other companies once in a while.
  • Review your policy and the value of your possessions often.