Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/16/2017

Home is, first and foremost, a place of rest and relaxation. Itís where we come home to after a stressful day to be with our family, our pets, or our favorite books and television shows.

But sometimes, the home also has to double as a place of work. Whether you have a job that allows you to work from home, or you just need a quiet place to sit down to pay bills or do taxes, at some point your home will need to be a place where you can focus. Thatís where the home office comes in.

Designing and decorating a home office is different than the rest of your home. Youíll have to create a balance between being comfortable and but also uncluttered. You want to give it your personal touch, but at the same time avoid filling it up with distractions. Finally, youíll have to think about your personal requirements for a home office. Will it be used often enough to merit a dedicated room in your house? Or can your office items fit right into your bedroom, opening up space for things like childrenís play rooms and spare bedrooms.

The bare necessities

There are a few things that nearly all home offices will have in common. Weíre talking desks, organizers, office supplies, etc. However, itís easy to get carried away with file organizers or containers filled with 10 different sizes of multicolored paperclips. One of the benefits of cloud computing and paperless billing is that all of your important paperwork can usually now fit in one small folder.

So, before you start picking out organizers, go through your important papers and find out what you can shred and what needs to be saved. Tools like Google Drive allow you to scan documents right with your smartphone camera and store them safely and securely in the cloud. That means fewer papers and less money spent on organizers and staplers that will just clutter your desk.

What kind of worker are you?

A hard one, Iím sure--but what type of environment helps you be the most productive? Are you better off tucked away in a dark corner surrounded by pillows and blankets, or do you work best in a well-lit room sitting upright at a clear desk.

Before you start decorating and arranging furniture in your office, take into account your needs. Thereís no use spending money on a large wooden desk if you work better curled up on the couch.

If you fall asleep and lose focus in the dark, consider arranging your desk next to a window or even purchasing a UV light for rainy days or dark nights. These will help you stay refreshed and alert to tackle whatever tasks you have before you.

Use space wisely

If you have a lot of items to store, consider a desk with drawers or a cart that you can push out of the way. This will help you from letting your desk get overcrowded.

When it comes to furniture, shop modular. Space-saving furniture can make a world of difference in a home office, which tend to be one of the smaller rooms in your home. Cube bookcases that let you choose a size are excellent for home offices because you can buy only as many as you need. You can always add more cubes later on.

Similarly, desks can also be modular and adjustable. One great option for home offices is a wall-mounted fold up desk. This will allow you to open up the room when youíre not using the desk if your office doubles as a home fitness room.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/9/2017

There are dozens of factors to consider when shopping for a new home -- ranging from property taxes and school district quality to square footage and roof condition. As you may be discovering, balancing your priorities and meeting your family's needs can be an overwhelming process! What's Important to You? While just about everyone factors in daily commuting distance in their decision, other key needs and considerations are often overlooked. There's certainly no "one size fits all" strategy for picking the perfect house, but getting your thoughts down on paper is a good starting point. If you have children or are expecting new arrivals in the near future, your priorities will be a lot different than someone at a later (or earlier) stage in life. For example, you might want to research local hospitals to identify the best maternity care options. Being close to public parks, playgrounds, and nursery schools would also be highly desirable for young families. Depending on your lifestyle, you might also prefer a home that's not too far from restaurants, concert venues, and movie theaters. If physical activity and sports are a big part of your life, then nearness to golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails might be worth considering. Other Convenience Factors You may have noticed in perusing real estate ads that many of them mention proximity to major highways, public transportation, and local airports. Whether your goal is to explore the region or simply navigate your way to doctors' appointments, job interviews, shopping centers, or business meetings, access to a variety of transportation options can make life a lot less stressful. By clarifying the features and conveniences in a home that are most important to you, your overall satisfaction with your final choice will be a lot higher. That's not to say that you shouldn't stay somewhat flexible in your requirements. Virtually all real estate purchases involve a few trade-offs and compromises. For example, if an urban lifestyle appeals to you, then a two-car garage and large backyard are probably not going to be part of the package. As far as the actual layout and design of your living space, key features which could make your daily routine easier are a first-floor laundry room, spacious closets, and easy-to clean, energy-efficient windows. For some people, the ideal home may include a rec room, a workshop, and a home office. A lot depends on your past experiences, your goals, and your personal passions. Having the ability to predict future needs will be invaluable in choosing a home that you and your family will be delighted with for years to come. Comparing Features and Amenities When you stop and think about your "wish list," your "must haves", and the dozens of property features you'll be evaluating, it underscores the importance of being methodical and organized. If those two qualifies are not among your personal strengths, don't worry! Your real estate agent can provide you with guidance, checklists, and day-to-day help in evaluating and comparing the many property choices available to you.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/2/2017

Finding a mortgage lender should be easy, particularly for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-quality residence without having to worry about spending too much. However, many mortgage lenders are available nationwide, and the sheer volume of lenders can make it difficult to choose the right one.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to accelerate the process of choosing the perfect lender.

1. Know Your Credit Score

Your mortgage interest rate may vary based on your credit score. As such, you should learn your credit score before you begin your search for the right lender. This will enable you to boost your credit score if necessary Ė something that may help you get a preferred mortgage interest rate.

You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can find out your credit score and map out your search for the ideal mortgage lender accordingly.

2. Meet with Several Mortgage Lenders

There is no shortage of mortgage lenders in cities and towns around the country. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to meet with several credit unions and banks to explore all of your mortgage options.

Each lender can provide details about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, how these mortgages work and other pertinent mortgage information. This information can help you make an informed decision about a mortgage.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions when you meet with a mortgage lender. If you obtain plenty of information from a mortgage lender, you'll be able to understand the pros and cons of various mortgage options and make the best choice possible.

3. Review a Mortgage Closely

A mortgage may enable you to secure your dream residence, but it is important to understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a mortgage before you select a lender.

For example, if you decide to purchase a condo, your mortgage might only cover the costs of your property. Meanwhile, you still may be responsible for condo homeowners' association fees that total hundreds of dollars each month, so you'll need to budget properly.

Of course, you should feel comfortable working with a mortgage lender as well. The ideal mortgage lender should be available to answer your concerns and questions at any time and help you stay on track with your monthly mortgage payments.

If you need extra assistance as you consider the mortgage lenders in your area, you can reach out to a real estate agent for additional support. This housing market professional can provide insights into mortgage interest rates and may even be able to connect you with the top local lenders.

Take the guesswork out of finding the right mortgage lender Ė use these tips, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to buy your dream residence.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 9/25/2017

When youíre selling a home, remember that honesty is the best policy. If you do decide to be dishonest as a seller, there can be some major legal consequences heading your way at a later date. As a general rule, if you think you should disclose something then you probably need to tell the buyer about it. There are a few things that are major concerns for sellers. If you know about any of the events mentioned below, you need to include it in your sellerís disclosure.


Lead Paint


Lead paint is a major concern especially for families with children. If your home was built before 1978, youíll need to sign a disclosure stating whether or not you know of any lead paint on the property. If you are unaware of any issues with the paint, then you are not legally obligated to provide information, since you donít know any better. If you did know that the home was de-leaded or have had lead paint testing done, youíll need to disclose this info for the buyerís knowledge. 


Emotional Defects


If there was ever a death on the property that you knew about, youíll need to disclose this to your buyers. Murders, suicides, and violent crimes all need to be revealed if they happened on your property. While itís an unpleasant thing to think about, buyers have a right to know. Deaths that have occurred before a certain time span may not need to be disclosed. You can check with the specific rules in your own state.    


Paranormal Activity



When it comes to selling your home, there are certain things that you may find silly but others find that they need to know. This includes any kind of paranormal activity like ghosts. Some states require that you release any information you may have about ghosts on a property in order to sell your home. If you believe the house is haunted, you have an obligation to tell buyers about it. If an exorcism or other strange activity has occurred on the property, youíll need to tell buyers about that as well. Thereís no issue too small when it comes to disclosing things about your home.


Water Issues


If your home has any kind of flooding problems or drainage issues, you should tell your buyers about it. Everything from a basement that floods to standing water in the backyard can be an issue. If you know about it as a seller and do not tell your buyers, you could face some serious consequences from it. If you have fixed these issues in the past, itís also worth adding to your disclosure as buyers will know that you have been proactive in taking care of any problems on the property.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 9/20/2017

Welcome to this beautifully maintained Colonial in the conveniently located Arlmont Village neighborhood. The first level of this enchanting property features an inviting living room where you'll enjoy a fireplace, a spacious dining room, a light and airy kitchen with newer dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave, and a lovely refurbished half bath. The second level offers 3 bedrooms - 1 with a double closet, 1 with a large single closet, and the third with charming French doors. A refurbished full bath completes the second level. The large lot, surrounded by gorgeous gardens and mature plantings, provides plenty of space for yard games or a play structure, and even has a white picket fence to complete the package. Enjoy the seasons from the lovely rear deck with access from the kitchen. Lots of smart updates have been completed by the current owners including a new roof in 2016. Excellent commuter location with the convenience of public transportation to Alewife just steps away.

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