Wellesley & Weston Real Estate News

Oct. 11, 2019

4 Tips for Upgrading Your Kitchen on a Budget

After living in a home for a few years, you might start itching for a kitchen upgrade. However, it can be difficult to come up with a list of kitchen upgrades that you can complete on a budget. The average kitchen remodel costs nearly $20,000—a figure that is far beyond the reach of the average family on a budget. Instead of doing a full kitchen remodel, consider taking advantage of some of these affordable kitchen upgrades that will not break the bank.

 

1. Replace Outdated Light Fixtures

 

One of the most obvious signs of age in your kitchen is a dated light fixture. A brightly colored pendant light will give your kitchen a more modern look. These can be found online at surprisingly affordable prices. Taking some time to shop around is well worth your time. 

 

2. Install New Handles or Pulls for Cabinets and Drawers

 

Cabinet fixtures come in a wide range of colors and styles that include everything from traditional metal handles, such as copper or brushed nickel to trendy styles like handles that resemble tiny silverware. Replacing your cabinetry hardware is a quick, easy and affordable way to give your kitchen a facelift. 

 

While some people love trendy designs, carefully weigh your options before settling on something unusual. You might like it now, but how will you feel about it a year from now? You will not want to spend money replacing the handles again if you get tired of them or if the trend goes out of style.

 

3. Repaint Your Cabinets

 

If just replacing the hardware is not enough, consider repainting the entire row of cabinets. For the cost of a can of paint and a few hours of your time, you could have your kitchen cabinetry looking as good as new. Brand-new cabinets can be a costly upgrade, but freshly painted cabinets are almost as good at a fraction of the cost. 

 

4. Remove Cabinet Doors

 

If repainting your kitchen cabinets does not appeal to you, consider removing the doors entirely. Open-faced cabinets can instantly give your kitchen a more modern look. The one drawback to this strategy is that you will need to keep the contents of your cabinets neat and tidy in order for it to work. For this reason, many designers use open-faced cabinets on the upper levels and traditional closed cabinets on the lower levels.

 

Using one or all four of these strategies can help give your kitchen a facelift without breaking the bank or going over your budget on the project.

 

Oct. 8, 2019

How to Add Drama to Your Front Door

If only your front door looked as good as the day you installed it. But it deals with a lot of foot traffic and may be showing its years. Don't worry! The simplest way to make a new statement is to paint it a new color. Here are some other ideas:

  • Install a door that complements the details in your home's architectural style or lets in some light.
  • Hang a wreath or other decoration to personalize your entrance.
  • Clean and fix anything dirty or broken near your door—restore the old shine of your mailboxes and light fixtures!
  • Install a lantern—it's simple yet adds depth to a flat exterior.

A final tip: Preserving symmetry is a classic way to dress up your front entrance. Whatever you do, let symmetry be your guide.

The main act

Your front walk frames your front door—let your personality spill out from the stage and into the audience. Here are some plans to make it pop:

  • Install outdoor lighting along a front path. Consider using solar fixtures to go green and avoid the hassle of wiring! But keep in mind that they are not as bright as electric lights.
  • Create a quick and affordable container garden and bring nature right up to your doorstep. Buy arrangements or plant your own plants in many different sizes to impress the eye.
  • Decorate a mailbox. Paint the post the same color as your house and adorn it with flowers around the base for a finished look.
  • Update planter beds by pulling weeds, resetting old stone walls, adding new mulch, or installing features like arbors, walkways or fountains.

A final tip: Be sure any plants you add don't have aggressive roots that could damage buried utilities or trees that could drip sap onto your parked car.

The stage itself

You want your home to be One Singular Sensation. To jazz up the whole exterior of your home, consider these ideas:

  • Repainting always freshens up the look of a home, whether it be a complete new coat or just the trim and shutters.
  • Adding window boxes in copper, iron or wood is a charming way to introduce more plants to your exterior.
  • Updating the driveway by staining the concrete or installing flagstones can have the effect of a complete redo without the cost.

A final tip: Many of the tips above will work not only to increase the beauty of your home but also to hide the garage. Bright paint elsewhere, soft foliage, and a nice front walkway will all draw the eye to the front door instead.

Use the above guidelines, add your own imagination, and see what happens!

 

Sept. 27, 2019

Great Closet Secrets to Use Today

 Yes, there are a lot of professional closet organizers out there, but you shouldn't need an expensive consultant to get the most out of whatever storage space you have. All you need is a free weekend to realize at least one of your New Year's resolutions: a better-organized house. And it will give you a workout — without the parking hassle.

 

The first step in organizing your closet is to remove everything. (This is another stellar opportunity to start off your year with a clean slate!) Go through and donate anything you haven't worn in the past two years.

 

The next step is to group articles according to your lifestyle. Do you work in an office that requires business attire? Save space and morning frustration by hanging outfits together on one hanger. Work by Wi-Fi? Group similar pieces in an orderly fashion so you can dress according to mood or climate.

 

Now, you can have fun with hanging. Old shower curtain rings make great hangers for shorts or accessories. Slip a ring through a belt loop or purse strap, and hang a selection of scarves, or even baseball caps, from it. Oh, and the tops of soft-drink cans can add another layer of hanger space. Slip the tab over the hanger hook, and then slip another hanger through the tab to hang something else.

 

Remember: Use all the available space, and be sure to upcycle. Shelving doesn't have to be wire or wood; you can use wine boxes to store shoes or T-shirts. PVC pipe can be used for all sorts of storage for things from shoes to necklaces, depending on the size of the tube. The latest adhesive hooks allow for more hanging space, even on the back of your closet door.

 

If you box up items, make sure you label the boxes. Have fun with a label maker, or cajole a youngster to break out the marker pens. That way you're not undoing all your hard work by rifling through the boxes when it comes time to retrieve something.

 

Working our way down, let's address the shoe situation. My favorite solution is a box or basket. A magazine storage box is an easy and inexpensive way to organize shoes. You can even kick off your shoes directly into the box.

 

Another brilliant shoe hack is an old CD rack. Hang the frame or leave it on the floor, and then slide rubber sandals into the spaces.

 

For larger shoes, and for those who can't seem to keep the wine rack full, move the wine bottle holder into your closet. You can place shoes in the curved openings just as though they were bottles.

 

Finally, wicker baskets are the ultimate cheat in organizing. They are decorative and opaque, so at a glance you look organized even if the contents of the basket are a mess. They just might be the organizer's best friend!

 

Sept. 23, 2019

4 Must-Do Tasks for Your Autumn Lawn

Do you want to ensure a beautiful lawn for next spring? There are things you can do now, as fall and winter approach, that will help keep your lawn intact so it can reveal its true beauty once the snow melts.

 

1. Be a good barber!

 

Give your grass a proper haircut — exactly what it wants. Grass keeps growing until the first frost, so don't let up on cutting your lawn. The ideal length is around 2.5 to 3 inches, so adjust your mower to hit that sweet spot. Don't leave it too long or short on top! Cutting your grass too long for winter paves the way for fungi to swoop in, but too short is no good either — your grass needs to have enough roots to handle the harsh snow. Remember that grass length equals root length, so strike a happy medium when mowing. A nice trim will keep your lawn healthy and beautiful.

 

2. Remove those grays!

 

Clearing leaves from your lawn is, unfortunately, an absolute necessity for grass health. A few minutes spent in the yard now rather than later will be invaluable to your lawn. Leaves left on grass crush it underneath and smother it by cutting off its access to sunlight. They also trap moisture below, which will leave your lawn soggy come spring. So enjoy the nice weather with your rake or leaf blower in hand! Or make your lawn mower do the work by mulching up your leaves into a healthy compost.

 

3. Cover up bald spots.

 

Summer heat exhausts grass, so by now it probably needs some tender loving care. Fall is the best time to reseed any bare patches in your yard. Over-seeding will push out weeds and fill in the gaps because not all seeds will germinate. Remember to keep your seeds moist by misting them once or twice a day and planting them far enough in advance of the cold weather so that they have time to take root. Those bald spots will be gone in no time — no Rogaine needed!

 

Just like you keep your 'do healthy, make sure your lawn has enough fertilizer — in the right doses of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — to face winter head on. Not sure how much of each to apply? Simply pick up a soil test kit from your local home improvement store and stick it in the ground. Balancing your NPK levels will keep your lawn strong.

 

4. Make it a regular appointment.

 

Fall is always a fun and busy time. Spending a little time on your lawn will make it happy and healthy now and beautiful in the spring. If your to-do list grows too long, consider hiring a professional lawn service to take some of those items off your plate. Or ask around in your neighborhood and local community to see if anyone has a son or daughter willing to rake leaves for some spending money. Planning out your fall now will keep you on the path to spring success!

 

For more tips on lawn maintenance, give us a call today!

 

Sept. 12, 2019

A Great Time to Buy!

Bidding wars. For a time, it seemed like certain homes in certain price points and markets were apt to sell in a multiple offer or "bidding war," situation. But is the tide shifting? Boston.com recently published an article that indicated multiple offer home sales are at an eight year low. Good news for buyers.
These numbers tell one story but every home and marketing strategy is unique. As the article points out, Boston is still seeing one of the highest percentage of multiple offer sales (15%) where Atlanta was one of the least competitve markets at only 2.4% of homes being sold in a bidding war.
Click here to access the full article on Boston.com. Contact us today to insure you sell your home for the most amount of money in any market or "win" the home of your dreams in a multiple offer situation.

 

Aug. 14, 2019

Make a Pet-Friendly Space

Hazard-proofing

 

Take a look around your house with fresh eyes to reveal a myriad of dangers to animals. The most common to watch out for are:

 

  • Anything that could choke or electrocute. Tuck away wires and looped cords, and keep pulls for window blinds short.
  • Food and medications should be sealed away and out of reach, even from determined cats, which can climb up high.
  • Trash cans are a huge temptation for curious pets! Be sure yours closes with a tight lid.
  • Monitor your greenery, as some plants, including lilies, mums and aloe vera, are toxic to pets. Check inside and out for these plants, and research a new plant before you buy it.
  • Household cleaning products, fertilizers, pesticides and antifreeze all are toxic to humans, let alone your pets. Keep them in a secure place away from sniffing noses.
  • Be sure window screens are sturdy and correctly installed to stop falling felines.

 

Inside the home

 

Fido and Tabitha have needs of their own just as you do, and they probably need a bit of space designated just for them.

 

  • Give your pets a bed, a water source and some toys to create their own area.
  • Consider giving them access to the door so they can run outside at their leisure; a well-exercised pet doesn't get into trouble or bug you all night.
  • Put the litter box in an area that has some but not too much privacy so your pet feels comfortable using it.
  • Decorate inside with sturdy furniture fabrics and hardwood floors that will withstand wear and tear. Carpet can trap germs your pet brings in, so vacuum it twice a week. Stains are always easiest to remove fresh, so get on them quickly!

 

Careful eats

 

The Food and Drug Administration has your furry friend at heart; it's best to follow its suggestions for storing and serving pet food:

 

  • Dry food should be stored in its original bag and then placed inside a food-grade plastic container to keep away pests. Don't use a trash can, which can leach chemicals into food over time.
  • Use a small cup to scoop the food out of the bag; do not use the food bowl.
  • Store wet food in the refrigerator.

 

Special care for pets

 

Some animals require more special care than cats and dogs do. Small animals are deceptively high maintenance and often are given to children as "starter" pets. But they need the most specialized care and demand the same amount of attention as dogs and cats. Always do your own research on any animal you adopt for your home.

 

The best thing you can do for your pet is provide a comfortable home with loving company. Attend to their needs and they are sure to stay happy and healthy and live a long time. Enjoy the love!

 

June 7, 2019

5 Simple Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

No one likes cleaning the kitchen. It's a tedious chore. However, there are ways to make it less grueling. Check out our five kitchen cleaning hacks so you can save time to do the things you enjoy!

 

Oven hack

 

There are many techniques for cleaning your oven that involve a few household ingredients and a little patience while you wait for the grease to slowly release. But an even quicker way to a clean oven is to never get it dirty in the first place! Buy yourself an oven liner so that the next time you make your famous roast chicken, you have only the liner to clean. 

 

Sticky cabinet hack

 

You know that layer of sticky dust that settles on kitchen cabinets or on top of your refrigerator? It is almost impossible to remove with just about any type of cleaning product, except one — mineral oil. Just spread a thin layer of it on surfaces, and then a little dish soap and warm water on a cloth will wipe off all that nasty dust!

 

Stainless steel sink hack

 

Your sink is a catchall for every type of food, oil and acid that you use to cook with or consume. It's seen its fair share of diverse ingredients, so it deserves some TLC. However, it can be difficult to cut through the grease that settles on the bottom and sides of your sink. The best way to remove it is with some baking soda. You will be amazed at how well this ingredient cuts through the grime and reveals a sparkling clean sink.

 

Stove hack

 

Your stove sees it all, including your forays into different types of cuisine. Also, the stove is one item in your kitchen that needs to be cleaned often, especially if you're an avid cook. The best and quickest way to get it clean is by using a combination of dish soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. First, put a layer of dish soap on the surface and follow it up with the baking soda and then the hydrogen peroxide. Use some kind of soft bristle brush to gently scrub away dirt.

 

Microwave hack

 

Sometimes the microwave gets overlooked because the mess is concealed behind a closed door. But you definitely want to keep this appliance clean so that old food spills don't seep into the new food you heat up in the microwave. Here's the hack: Put water and lemon in a bowl and bring the water to a boil in the microwave. Then let the steam work away at the dirt and grease. Follow up by wiping everything clean with a cloth. 

 

Looking for even more household tips? Give us a call today! We love spreading our knowledge.

 

June 4, 2019

5 Lawn Care Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Lawn

5 Lawn Care Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Yard

 

Everyone wants a lawn covered with lush green grass and verdant plants. But what mistakes are preventing you from achieving this? Read on to learn about some common lawn care mistakes and how to prevent them. 

 

1. Cutting Grass Too Short

 

Experts advise cutting off no more than 30 percent of the grass blade in a single pass. Cutting your grass too short or trimming it down to half of its previous size might be appealing—after all, if your grass is shorter, it will take longer to grow back—but this is not good for the long-term health of your lawn.
In addition to damaging the blade, cutting your grass too short can indirectly damage the root system. This damage will limit the grass's ability to collect light and absorb water, leading to wilting or even plant death. Keeping your grass longer will help it to grow fuller and become more lush. 

 

2. Using Only One Type of Seed

 

Using a mixture of seeds will result in a mixture of plant types. Different types of grass will survive better in different conditions. The different species will balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses, resulting in a more resilient lawn overall. This will make your turf more likely to survive extreme weather conditions such as prolonged heat or drought. 

 

3. Ignoring the pH of the Soil

 

The optimal pH for grass is between 6.0 and 6.5. For reference, a neutral pH, such as that of water, is 7.0. This means that your lawn's soil should be slightly acidic in order to bolster plant growth. Sending away a soil sample for testing can be an easy way to get a gage on your lawn's pH. If the pH is out of whack, it can easily be adjusted using sulfur or lime treatments. 

 

4. Forgetting to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower's Blade

 

A sharp blade will cut your grass more cleanly, while a dull blade can cause bruising and other damage to each blade of grass. Damaged blades of grass are more susceptible to death or disease, so using a sharp lawn mower blade can contribute to the overall health of your lawn. 
Most people should sharpen their lawn mower blades approximately twice a year. A good sign that your blade is too dull is that your lawn mower is tearing or crushing your grass instead of cutting it cleanly. 

 

5. Collecting Grass Clippings

 

Many lawn mowers come with an attached bag that will gather up the grass as it is cut. This is a visually appealing strategy, but it is not good for your lawn's long-term health. Instead, you should leave the grass clippings spread around your lawn. This self-mulching strategy will help fertilize your remaining grass. In particular, this is useful in maintaining your soil's nitrogen levels—a key factor in lawn health. 

 

If you can avoid making these 5 common lawn care mistakes, you will enjoy a lush, green lawn throughout the year.

 

May 29, 2019

Planting an Edible Garden

While flower gardens are beautiful and peaceful, homeowners today are increasingly interested in planting small-scale edible gardens. The resulting produce may be better tasting than anything you can get in a supermarket. While you aren't likely to create a sustainable farm, you can have access to fresh produce straight from the garden whenever it's ready to harvest. From leafy greens to herbs and from fruits to vegetables, what you put into an edible garden is exactly what you get it out of it. Here are some tips on planting an edible garden.

 

The Style of Your Edible Garden
If you plan to sell your home in the future, it's especially important to pay attention to the style of your garden. For example, some people create an edible garden around already existing flower beds in their yard. Or they may use raised beds or pots if they're concerned about the impact of planting on their lawn. 

 

Some cities allow homeowners to have a vegetable garden in their front yard. If that is a part of the culture of your city, it could be seen as a benefit for future resale. Before you plant anything, decide how you want it to look now and in the future. 

 

What to Plant in Your Edible Garden
As long as you can eat it and it can grow in your climate, anything is possible in an edible garden. Popular home garden plants include:

 

  • Tomatoes.
  • Herbs.
  • Peppers.
  • Potatoes.
  • Carrots.

 

If you have the yard for it, consider planting a fruit or nut tree. These take a longer time before your first harvest, but there's nothing like apples fresh off the tree in the fall. 

 

Soil and Sun Considerations
You'll need to take into account the amount and timing of the sunlight in your yard to determine how to plant your edible garden. Different plants require different levels and hours of sunlight, so start tracking how the sun hits your property throughout the day during the summer. 

 

You may also want to evaluate your soil and supplement it with additional nutrients if it isn't conducive to growing things. An issue with your soil is also a great reason to consider using raised beds or pots, because they allow you to choose whatever type of soil you need. 

 

Involve the Whole Family 
The idea of planting an edible garden is to enhance your life. It's a great activity for all ages, and you can get the entire family involved. Everyone can have a job, no matter how young or old. Gardening together can be a great bonding experience for the whole family. 

 

You also get the satisfaction of your harvest. You can share your bounty with friends and neighbors, especially if you plant more than you can use before it spoils. Edible gardens pay for themselves very quickly. 

 

Do you want more tips on growing an edible garden for you home? Contact us today.

 

May 17, 2019

A Look at Different Options for Roofing

What's Over Your Head?

 

No roof lasts forever, and if it's time to replace yours, give a lot of thought to how best to do it. Notice the wear and tear on your neighbors' roofs over time to help figure out which materials are durable and look good on houses like yours. Observation is a great tool — and it's free!

 

 

That said, there are basic qualities of every material that you should consider when making your pick.

 

Asphalt shingles

 

  • Most popular roofing material.
  • Lightweight and easy to install, which reduces labor costs.
  • Inexpensive; cost from $70 to $120 per 100 square feet.
  • Lifespan is shorter than that of other materials, about 20 to 30 years, depending on maintenance and brand quality.
  • Work with many styles of homes, especially suburban ones.

 

Slate

 

  • Classic beauty and elegance.
  • A heavy material that requires extra framing and must be installed by a professional.
  • Expensive; costs about $600 per 100 square feet.
  • Lasts for more than 50 years.
  • Durable, fire-resistant and recyclable.
  • Fake slate looks just like real slate but is made of polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt instead, so it's more lightweight and less costly (although it will not last as long).

 

Metal

 

  • Often made of aluminum, stainless steel, zinc or copper (which fades to green).
  • Installation is easy because metal is half the weight of asphalt; comes in panels or shingles.
  • Expensive; costs anywhere from $100 to $800 per 100 square feet.
  • Lasts for 40 to 70 years, and is resistant to extreme weather.
  • Can be noisy when rain falls on it.
  • Dents easily but unnoticeably, as the texture of the roof hides any dings.
  • Reflects sunshine, which keeps your home cooler during summer.
  • Recyclable, and can be used to collect rainwater.

 

Synthetic

 

  • Made out of rubber, plastic and polymer to imitate natural materials at a lower price.
  • Lightweight and strong, making installation easy.
  • Costs $300 per 100 square feet.
  • Somewhat durable and fire-resistant, but some may absorb water.
  • Quality can differ greatly from supplier to supplier.

 

Of course, the style and geographic location of your house may affect your choice. Also, the quality of the contractor you employ may matter more than the type of material you choose. Getting the best person for the job ensures your roof will be installed correctly and that it will serve you for a long time. Venture out of your yard, do some research, and ask friends and neighbors about their roofs to get started today!