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The best resource for information about real estate, our local area, and current topics that impact you.

Read our blog for household tips, tricks, home improvement, buying/selling tips, DIY, and so much more!

If there is anything you'd like to see us write about, let us know!

Budget-Friendly Ways to Upgrade Your Home Office

Working from home is more common than ever, so a productive home office space is a must! Whether you already have a home office or you've been thinking about creating one in your home, these tips will help transform your work space!

A few affordable ways to turn any space into an office, or, to give your current space an upgrade:

1. Designate your space

Upgrade Your Home Office!

We totally get it! It can be tough to designate a room/space for an office. The dining room table, couch, kitchen counter - these all become our offices from time to time! But it's important to designate a specific area for your work to help stay organized and focused.

If you don't have an entire room to designate for your office, take a look at your house layout and find (or make) space for a desk! If your office is the shared family computer space, make sure you carve out an area for just you and your work, keep it organized, and label if necessary. 

2. Add a Standing Desk Space

If you have enough space, add a standing desk in addition to your sitting desk. Rotating between sitting and standing throughout the day will keep your spine and muscles healthy! It can also prevent drowsiness. If you're not used to standing and working, try incorporating the standing desk slowly - 1 hour per day, then increase as you can.

  

2. Add Inspiration

Add your favorite quotes, sayings, or anything that inspires and motivates you. These positive, productive vibes will help pick you up when you're feeling uninspired. These can be: paintings, pictures, family pictures, notes, framed quotes...anything!

 

3. A New Chair

If you work at your desk most of the day, a comfortable chair is essential for back support. There are many affordable ergonomic chairs that will provide ample support for you throughout the day, and you can find a variety of colors for a pop of fun in your office!

Nice office chairs can be expensive, however, if you search in the right spots, you can find great ergonomic chairs for an affordable price:

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4. Add Plants

Plants are beneficial for a variety of reasons: they're attractive, help clean the air, boost creativity, and help reduce stress! Add a few small succulents or pops of colorful flowers on your desk or shelves. 

Tip: If you're allergic to plants or can't have them for other reasons, there are many faux succulents, flowers, and other plants that you can purchase on Amazon!

(Photo: Faux Succulents)

 

5. Get a Label Maker

If you decide to organize and store away items, it's best to label everything - out of sight, out of mind! 

Tip: You'll use label makers for a variety of other things in your home: kitchen jars, storage bins and boxes, spices, houseplants, gift tags, closet shelves, and so much more!

6. Add Shelves and Storage (with Labels)

Fix a cluttered desk with a few shelves and extra storage. If you have a small space, or bare walls, add floating shelves to fill up empty space and add more storage.

TIP: We all know when we put things in drawers, we may forget about them - remember, out of sight, out of mind! Adding labels can be a quick way to remind your brain of what's inside. 

Or build your own shelves and storage (click on the picture to be redirected to plans):

7. Add More Lamps & Light

Light makes a space feel productive and helps avoid drowsiness. Especially if your office doesn't have any windows, add a few lamps and use warm tones (easy on the eyes).

Spruce up the space by adding new or vintage lamps and lampshades. If a space looks bright, you're more likely to feel awake, focused, and productive! You'd be surprised at how much light can affect your mood. 

8. Oil Diffuser

The best part about working from home is being able to make your office smell the way you want! Essential oils and blends can be used to help focus, keep calm, and alleviate stress.

"Work-enhancing" oils include: Grapefruit (focus), Rosemary (concentration), Lemongrass (energy), Clove (comforting), Lavender (stress), and Peppermint (energy). 

While essential oils can be costly, there are many affordable, all-natural oils and variety boxes on Amazon.

9. Add YOUR Decor 

This may seem like a given, but we don't just mean any decor you have. Hang or place items that mean something to you, things you love, trinkets that catch your eye - things that makes you feel good. Having things in your office that make you happy will help make the space feel like a place you want to be and enjoy!

 

 

How to Build a New House With A Standard Mortgage

 

Most people fall victim to the belief that you can't build a house without the ability to obtain a construction loan, or without having deep pockets. However, there is a way! When you stumble across a builder who "finances" their own builds, this makes it all possible! This means that you can actually build a brand new home when you are using traditional financing such as USDA, FHA, VA, or Conventional loans. 

How is it possible?

Mortgage Loans - Beacon Credit Union

It's quite simple actually - the builder is selling a final finished product, which the lender uses as the collateral to back the mortgage should the buyer default. With construction loans, there's no collateral to back the loan because the house has not been built yet. But when you build a home with a standard mortgage, the builder "finances" the build of the house by financing and/or purchasing the materials needed to build and pay subcontractors directly. It's very similar to buying an already existing home, but now you have the ability to build what you want rather than settling for what you don't want! 

What's the process?

When given the ability to compete against your own budget rather than other buyers for an existing home, you have more flexibility with what's possible. You also have more options for what can be done (within budget). While staying within your budget, you're given the ability to build your home rather than buying an existing home. When working with a builder who gives a buyer such flexibility, the buyer has the ability to pick the land, the style of house, and all other details that go into the building process! Obviously there are a lot of little details (that can also be major) that come into play when building - this is intended to be a general overview. 

The way it works is you find the land you want to build on, the builder buys the land and builds the house! All that is needed on the buyer's end is the pre-qualification/approval letter, and whatever deposit is agreed upon. From there, the lender begins the underwriting process while the builder begins the building process. Once the house is complete, the lender will send an appraiser to appraise the property and ensure it is 100% complete (or to whatever requirements the lender has, as these can vary). Afterwards, if everything looks good, the buyer and builder close on the property!

So the answer is yes, it's possible to build a new home using traditional financing. The key is to find the right builder!

If you're in the market for a home in New Hampshire, and you're interested in learning more about building a NEW construction home using a traditional mortgage - Contact us today!

Construction Loans vs. Mortgage Loans - What's the Difference?

Construction Loan vs Traditional Mortgage

Construction Loans vs. Mortgage Loans

When it comes to building a house, most people assume that you need to have deep pockets to obtain a construction loan. They're not wrong to assume that, as most builders do require cash installments, or a form of construction financing from a lender. Construction loans are available to anyone who meets the qualifying eligibility requirements.

So what is a construction loan, and how are they different from typical mortgage loans?

 A construction loan is used to finance the construction of homes, vacation homes, commercial buildings, offices, etc. Construction loans are different from traditional mortgage loans in a variety of ways:

1. Funds Due

The main difference is that with a Traditional Mortgage, the financed portion of the funds are provided all at once at the time of closing. On the other hand, a Construction Loan pays out a certain amount throughout specific stages of the build.  

2. Down Payment Amounts

Construction Loans typically require a larger down payment than traditional mortgage loans, and the interest rates tend to be higher as well. In addition, during the building process, the borrower is required to make interest only payments.

3. Length of Financing

Constructions loans place time frames on the building process, typically requiring that the project be complete within 12 months. Once the build is complete, the construction loan can be paid off in a variety of ways, depending on the term of the original loan. In some cases, construction loans are paid off with "end loans" which is another term for a mortgage. Or, the construction loan can also be paid off in full by the borrower once the build is complete.

This differs from regular mortgages because traditional loans vary in length (typically between 5-30 years) and are determined by the original loan terms. You also start paying monthly mortgage payments a month or two after closing. 

 

Why are those obtaining traditional mortgages usually unable to build a house?

This is because mortgages requires some sort of asset or collateral to back the loan. To explain further - a mortgage is used to finance the purchase of an existing home. This existing home is used as collateral should the borrower default on their loan. However, when building a home, there is no collateral since there is no existing home to secure the loan. This is why people believe they either need loads of cash, or, the ability to obtain a construction loan, if they want to buy a home.

Does this mean I can't build a home without having deep pockets or getting a construction loan?

NO! It is actually common to stumble across a few builders who do not require a specific type of financing to build from the ground up. That means building a house is possible when you're obtaining a typical mortgage financing such as USDA, FHA, VA, Conventional, etc. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help build your perfect home!

 

5 Home Buying Myths Debunked

There's a lot of information about applying for a mortgage and becoming a first time homebuyer, so it can be hard to tell what's right and what's wrong. Even more, some common myths make homeownership seem scary and out of reach. So we're here to settle these myths once and for all! FYI, Myth #5 is our favorite....

MYTH #1: You need 20% down to buy a home. 

Home Buying Myth Debunked Down Payment
 

FALSE! This myth can make many people think twice about buying a home. 20% down used to be the norm, but there are so many other options these days. If you're able to put 20% down on your new home, great! Putting 20% down is the most financially beneficial option in the long run. But not everyone can afford to do that since 20% on a $300,000 home is $60,000 - a hefty sum of money! 

Nowadays, banks offer all sorts of loans with different interest rates and down payment options. Most of the time, if you don't put 20% down, you'll need to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) which is a small percentage of your loan that you pay each year. Some banks will offer no PMI options, but you might pay a higher interest rate.

Check out a few low down mortgage options with no PMI:

  • TD Right Step Mortgage - offers a down payment as little as 3% with no PMI
  • Navy Federal - offers $0 down for members with NO PMI (you'll pay "points" on the loan instead - a small % tacked onto the entire loan); if you know a family member or friend who is a member at Navy Federal Credit Union, they can refer you to become a member.
  • VA Loans 

 

MYTH #2: You only need money for a down payment. 

 

Home Buying Myth Debunked Closing Costs

False! What many first time buyers don't know is that there are many costs associated with buying a home, and a down payment is just the beginning. When you buy a home, there are several other costs involved:

  • Inspection Costs - The national average for an inspection cost is $336, but your realtor may know a few quality inspectors for a good deal, so be sure to look around and don't settle on the first one you find.
  • Appraisal Fee - The average range is $300-550, but will ultimately depend on the condition and size of the home and property. 
  • Closing Costs - These are typically 2-5% of the loan principal that you'll have to pay on closing day. Luckily, there is a way to lower what you have to pay out of pocket:
    • If you're trying to avoid paying closing costs on closing day, you can negotiate a deal with the sellers to have them help pay your closing costs.  
  • Lender Fees - These fees vary by lender but may include: 
    • Application Fees - Averages between $300-$1000
    • Loan Origination Fees - Averages between 0.5% - 1% of the total loan
    • Underwriting Fees - Averages between $400-900
  • Title Insurance - The average cost of title insurance is $1000 per policy, however, these vary by lender and can be found for much lower!

 

MYTH #3: You can only buy a home with a credit score of 700 or above. 

Home Buying Myth Debunked Credit Score

This myth turns many people off to the home buying process. Many people think they need an excellent credit score to even think about buying a home - but think again. 

Sure, a 700+ credit score will get you a good interest rate and loan. However, if you're below 700 (and we mean even sometimes well below), many banks will still give you a loan with certain stipulations (extra fees, higher interest rate, etc). Although you may still qualify for a loan, it's important to make sure that you can afford those extra stipulations set by the bank. 

If you have a steady income but feel your bad credit will get in the way, don't fret. Start doing your research on low credit loans offered to those who can prove a steady income, but have unfavorable credit due to past conditions or circumstances.

 

MYTH #4: All lenders are the same. 

This is very wrong! Many people think all lenders have the same rules and regulations when in fact, they're all different. While most mortgage processes are similar, each lender will have their own fees, protocol, guidelines, and rules. Huge corporate lenders often have too many applications to put in the time and effort to get to know each applicant, so it can be a less personal (and longer) experience. 

On the other hand, smaller and local lenders will provide a more personal experience, and inevitably a smoother, faster lending process. Do your research, ask your realtor, and make sure you're using a lender that fits all your needs. When you're looking for a lender, you'll want to find a lending agent you like who seems to fulfill all your request and needs as a home buyer. 

 

MYTH #5: You don't need an agent to buy a home. 

Home Buying Myth Debunked Realtors

This one is the WORST myth! We promise you'll regret not using an agent to buy (or sell) a home.

An agent is a professional just like any other. Would you count on a google search to fix a broken leg? Probably not. Professionals exist for a reason - they're the best at what they do and they know the topic inside and out. Using a real estate agent is your way of putting trust in a professional in that field. 

A good agent will guide you through the entire home buying process and answer any questions you may have along the way. They find houses in your price range, with your wants/needs, but they also hold the key to some properties that aren't even on the market yet. Real estate agents can know about a home even before it hits the market, which may mean you can have access to an amazing home and property before anyone else!

Agents will also get you a better deal. Our agents know when they see a good deal and they know when they see a bad one. They know comps in the area and always have their buyers best interest at heart - so if you're looking for a good deal, they'll try to do whatever they can to make it possible! 

Agents also do a large bulk of the work for you, so you'll stress less and have more time to take care of what's important to you during the process. When using an agent, you develop a relationship with them and discuss your wants, needs, and goals for your future home. They're responsible for keeping an eye out on the market and contact you when one pops up. Without a realtor, you'll spend hours upon hours searching homes on the internet that may not even still be for sale. You see, websites like Zillow, etc often have listings up that are already under contract. That means an offer has been accepted on that house and it's not really still available. You may have to shop around for one, bu do yourself a favor and use a good, FULL-TIME realtor! 

Budget-Friendly Home Improvements That Increase Home Value

When selling your home, making it look attractive to buyers is one of the first steps to a quick sell. While a quick sale is great, selling your home for as much money as possible (while still on a budget) is next level!

Big home improvements can be costly and time consuming, but there are many affordable updates you can tackle on your own that will make your home more appealing and desirable on the market. This may mean more money in your pocket when it comes to closing time!

**Note that making any kind of small improvements to your home could increase the value of your home. As you make upgrades, both big and small, the desirability and value may also increase. 

Updates in the Kitchen:

Spruce Up Your Backsplash

If you have a boring backsplash and want a cheap update, there are affordable peel & stick tiles or overlays found on Etsy. Upgrading your backsplash will add instant appeal and can completely change the look of your entire kitchen! Check out these awesome peel and stick tiles on Etsy:

 

RePaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Sure, this is a daunting one, but we all know how important kitchens are for buyers! Your kitchen has been well lived-in (and loved) and there are probably many memories, stains, and scratches that you may not notice, but buyers will.

Replacing the entire kitchen can be extremely expensive, but a DIY fresh coat of paint on your cabinets will make your kitchen feel new - something all potential buyers want! 

Upgrade Your Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

After you have newly painted cabinets, add new hardware. This is one of the best ways to upgrade your kitchen on a budget because it adds instant appeal. You can find affordable cabinet hardware at Home Depot

Change Out Your Kitchen Lighting

New decorative lights in the kitchen will instantly update the space and make your kitchen feel new and inviting. There are many affordable pendant lights at Home Depot for under $50, or, check your local thrift store, as you can sometimes find awesome vintage chandeliers, pendants, or other kitchen lighting!

If you're in New Hampshire, check out Revived Furniture & Home Decor. It's a great family business and they have very unique, vintage lighting for affordable prices! Check them out HERE.

$29.00 at Revived Furniture & Home Decor

 

Laundry Space Upgrades:

Most buyers look for a decent laundry space during their home search. While it may not be a deal-breaker in some cases, it never hurts to give it a little upgrade. Here are a few ways to upgrade your laundry space:

Add storage and/or shelves

If you have a large laundry room, add storage and shelving in blank spaces. If you have a laundry closet, add shelves in any space you have left :-)

Laundry Room Shelving or Cabinet

Add a Decorative Rod For Clothes - This is a cheap way to make your laundry space feel complete. Find a decorative curtain rod, or, install a hanging/shelve system!

 

Bathroom Upgrades:

Replacing an entire bathroom can cost you thousands, but there are many upgrades you can make on a smaller budget:

Change out the vanity

No, it's not as expensive as you think! You can find very affordable vanities at Home Depot for under $200! If you want a pop of color, purchase an unfinished wood vanity and paint it the color of your choice!

Add Storage, Medicine Cabinet, or Mirror

Buyers LOVE storage, so you can never have enough. Adding additional shelving, a medicine cabinet, or storage mirror in the bathroom will add instant appeal when buyers start exploring the home in person. In addition, if you have a small bathroom, a storage mirror will be a big bonus. You can find affordable storage mirrors and medicine cabinets at Home Depot

For powder rooms, add a decorative mirror to make the space feel spacious and inviting. You can find very affordable, decorative mirrors at TJ Maxx, Home Goods, & Marshalls!

Adding storage can be as simple as floating shelves or hanging cabinets (things that will stay with the home when you sell).

Update the Shower Head 

Adding a large, new shower head can make the shower, and entire bathroom, feel updated and new! Even better, this is an easy installation and DIY! You can find affordable shower heads at Home Depot or Lowes. 

Other Upgrades:

Update Your Closets

If your closets are boring and basic, you can upgrade the look of every closet in your home with a few budget-friendly changes! Adding additional storage, and optimizing space in all closets is key - we basically don't want to just be able to hang things.

Remember, buyers love storage! In bedroom closets, add extra clothing and shoe storage with shelving or install a DIY clothing system. These systems (shown below) can be found for under $200 and will instantly attract buyers when they open closet doors to explore! Add similar shelving and storage in coat closets!

Update The Thermostat

If you have central heat and air, this is a great way to make the home feel "new" to buyers. Especially in older or out-dated homes, when you have new technology, it helps make the home feel updated throughout.

A Nest Thermostat is very popular these days, and it can be purchased for under $200! Make sure to do your research and ensure you're purchasing a thermostat that works with your current systems. 

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Last but certainly not least, clean your home! Making your home spotless may not increase the value of your home drastically, but a dirty house will decrease the value - food for thought!

 

 For more seller tips, you can also check out our articles:

 8 Affordable Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

12 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard on a Budget

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12 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard on a Budget

12 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard on a Budget

Everyone loves a good backyard, but redoing your entire backyard may seem like a daunting job. The good news is there are many affordable upgrades you can make on your own! These budget-friendly upgrades will have your backyard looking cozy and inviting in no time, without breaking the bank!

In addition, if you're trying to sell your home, making these changes to your backyard will definitely please potential buyers! When spaces feel cozy and comfortable, that means a quicker sell!

1. DIY Patio

DIY Gravel Patio

If you already have a patio or deck, skip to #2. If you're in need of a patio or deck, keep reading!

Patios can be costly to build, however, a gravel patio is by far the easiest, and cheapest way to build one on a budget. A gravel patio is made by clearing your desired space, building a simple border, laying down landscape fabric, and dropping your gravel! Check out these easy instructions from City Farmhouse.

2. Add A Dining or Bistro Set

Large dining sets can be costly and set you back a few thousand. However, you can find more affordable larger dining sets at Ikea, Target, Wayfair, and Overstock!

If you're on a tighter budget, try searching for outdoor bistro sets. These 3 piece dining sets can seat 2 people, and can add instant appeal to any backyard nook, garden, patio, or deck! Check out some affordable dining & bistro sets below:

Wayfair Bistro Set

 

3. Build A Bar!

You may have to be a little handy to do this DIY, but making your own bar can save you a ton of $! You can buy pallets, or, you can search around for some stores who throw away their extra pallets. Some stores have certain rules that prevent them from giving their pallets away, but if you see a few next to a business, it never hurts to ask!

Check out this DIY pallet bar on Pinterest from 1001 Pallets:

DIY Pallet Bar

4. Add Comfortable Seating

No, we're not talking about fold up chairs! Having comfortable seating will immediately transform your space and make you want to be outdoors. Whether your budget is $30 or $300, you can find very affordable outdoor seating at Wayfair.com and Overstock.com (they give 10-15% off your first purchase online if you sign up for their emails!). You can also try Amazon.com - but make sure you check their reviews to ensure the product and seller is legit!

AMAZON TIP: If you're ever looking at a product on Amazon and start wondering if their reviews are legit, go to fakespot.com and paste the amazon product link into their website. Fake Spot analyzes every Amazon review and will give you a score from A-F on whether they're legit or not (A is the best, F is the worst).  

 

5. Add a Rug

Outdoor rugs are a great way to enhance any space! You can place a decorative mat at your backyard door - these are great for wiping off shoes when coming and going inside. You can find quality, large decorative mats at Home Depot for under $15! 

If you have a deck, check out Amazon, Overstock, & Wayfair for large area rugs. You can find 5'x8' area rugs (and larger) for $65 or less!

6. Build A Fire pit

DIY Firepit

You can purchase metal fire pits for under $50 - these are great for those who want to move the pit location around throughout the yard. However, for those who want a built-in fire pit, but don't want to spend a ton of money, check out this $60 DIY fire pit from Keeping It Simple Crafts

7. Add a Nook!

Everyone loves a good nook! Nooks can be anything from an outdoor mini garden, seating area (bench), pathway, reading area, or hammock space! Adding a nook to your backyard will split up the space, and make it feel more inviting and comfortable!

TIP: Design your nook to fit your hobbies and interests (e.g., reading nooks, garden nooks, nap spaces). 

 

8. Add a Walkway

This can go hand in hand with #7! Purchasing a lot of stones can be costly, however, there are many options to create a walk way on a budget:

  • Purchase fewer stones (at around $3 a piece from Home Depot) for a smaller pathway
  • Mulch pathway
  • Gravel pathway
  • Wood Pathway - planks or rounds

Place your new walkways in areas of need - empty space, entry to a nook, entry to a door, wrap to front of home, etc. Check out these DIY pathway ideas from Bob Vila

9. Hang Lights

Adding string lights will make your space feel comfortable and soo cozy! You don't need to go overboard and buy hundreds of lights. You can find very affordable outdoor string lights at Home Depot, and all you need is a few strands to light up your space in the night for a great outdoor vibe!

10. Add a Bird Feeder & Bird House

A cute bird house will add a nice touch to your backyard, and even better, you can attract all sorts of beautiful birds! Bird feeders are a little more complicated since different types of seeds will attract different types of birds. Either way, attracting more birds to your backyard will make your space feel like a natural oasis!

11. Add an Herb or Vegetable Garden

This tip will definitely make your backyard feel more homey, but it is surely a bigger task to take on than the rest! If you don't have a lot of time for gardening, trying planting something easier, such as an herb garden (Rosemary, Dill, Lemongrass, Thyme, Basil, etc).

If you're ready to take the next step and grow some veggies, make sure you do your local research to see what grows best in your area (and when it grows best). 

For beginners, check out the 10 Best Vegetables to Grow for Beginners by Our Inspired Roots.

12. Buy a Hedge Trimmer & String Trimmer

This one is worth it, and may sound more costly than it actually is. Hedge trimmers and string trimmers are game-changers, and you can purchase both for less than $100 at Home Depot or Lowes.

Hedge trimmers obviously trim hedges, bushes, etc. String trimmers tackles what your lawn mower can't, like that stubborn long grass or weeds around tree trunks and rock walls. Both of these tools are well worth the money and will make your backyard feel clean and landscaped!

 

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Whether you're hosting guests or selling your home, curb appeal matters! A clean and inviting exterior makes guests (and potential buyers) feel warm and welcome.

Professional landscaping can be costly, but there are plenty of affordable ways to boost your home's curb appeal without breaking the bank.

Check out these 10 easy, budget-friendly ways to boost your home's curb appeal:

1. Light Up Your Gardens & Walkways

Dark homes feel uninviting. For a welcoming vibe, add some affordable landscape lighting! Line your walkways and/or gardens with solar powered landscape lights. You can find these at Home Depot for 6$ each (or less), and they're low maintenance and powered by the sun!

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

2. Refresh the Front Door

A new coat of paint on the font door can make all the difference, and shouldn't cost more than $25 to DIY! If you're feeling bold, choose a color to make the whole exterior pop.  Make sure to purchase quality outdoor paint to prevent chipping and protect from harsh weather. 

When choosing a door color, choose a few options and bring the swatches outside in the natural light (day & night) before you make your final decision. To ensure you love your color, grab a few sample colors and paint them on your door. Look at the colors in all sorts of outdoor lighting (daytime, night time, cloudy, sunny, etc). 

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

3. Add a Wreath

Wreaths are not just for Christmas! Adding a wreath to your door can make visitors feel more welcome, and there are many types of wreaths for all seasons. Some wreaths can be very expensive, but you can also make your own for cheap!

There are many affordable wreaths on Amazon.com. While most of these wreathes are bare, you can decorate them yourself with dollar store finds including: faux flowers, burlap ribbon, buttons, paint, seasonal decor, etc. 

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Amazon Wreaths

4. Update Your Outdoor Lighting

Outdated lightening can make your whole exterior feed drab. Updating your lighting will add instant curb appeal, and it can be done for an affordable price! Home Depot has many budget-friendly lights - see below:

Home Depot Lighting

5. Add Seating

If you have a porch, add seating to make the space feel more cozy! You can find affordable outdoor chairs, side tables, and benches on Wayfair.com and Overstock.com. If you sign up for their website updates, they'll give you a 10-15% off coupon for your first purchase!

If you don't have a porch, try adding a bench in a garden nook, or near the front door. Add a few outdoor pillows for more pops of color!

6. Add a Welcome Mat

Add a decorative welcome mat to create an inviting vibe right when guests step up to your door! You can find several affordable, large welcome mats under $15 at Home Depot, Wayfair, Overstock, Walmart, and Target!

7. Add Potted Plants or Hanging Baskets

Adding potted plants will boost your curb appeal immediately! If you have a porch, add a few hanging baskets to fill in empty space, and add vibrant colors to your exterior without spending a ton of money (and time) planting in the ground!

8. Update Your House Numbers and Mailbox

This is one of the cheapest ways to give your exterior an upgrade. Adding a new mailbox will help make the exterior feel fresh and new. You can also find affordable outdoor numbers at Home Depot, or, check out Etsy.com for some home made address signs!

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Etsy Address Signs

9. Add a Mini Mailbox Garden

This upgrade will add an extra boost to your new mailbox! First decide whether you want perennials or annuals. Perennial plants and flowers will come back each year and are low maintenance, but they're often less vibrant and colorful than annuals. Annuals are more maintenance, but you'll have more varieties and colors to choose from!

Perennials to Plant: 

  • Lavender
  • Verbenia
  • Rosemary
  • Hysopp
  • Daylilies

Annuals to Plant:

  • Geraniums
  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Zinnia

10. Decorate for the Holidays

Everyone loves holiday decorations! A few adjustments to your outdoor decor during season changes and holidays will make your home a fan favorite in the neighborhood.

We mentioned changing up wreaths during seasons and holidays, but try adding a few other decorations: pumpkins, holiday signs, and of course, winter and Christmas decor! Need some holiday inspiration? Pinterest is the place to go!

8 Affordable Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers

Affordable Ways to Make your Home More Attractive to Buyers

You might be thinking - how can I sell my home faster? While staged homes usually sell much faster, staging can be costly. Instead of spending a ton of money on expensive updates and professional staging, check out these 8 affordable ways to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. If a home is more attractive to buyers, that means a quicker sell! 

1. Repaint

A fresh coat of paint on the walls, doors, and trim can make your home feel new, clean and well-maintained - things buyer's look for in a home! Even more, a newly painted interior is something your real estate will put in the listing description to help attract more buyers from the start.

And don't forget about the outside - we're not talking about repainting the whole exterior yourself, but a fresh coat of paint on the front door can do wonders!

Repaint

2. Update Cabinet Hardware, Lights, & Fixtures

New hardware can be a game-changer in kitchens & bathrooms, and even better, it's an affordable fix! Also, adding new light fixtures (pendants, chandeliers, wall mounts, etc) can make a home feel updated and inviting. You can find affordable hardware & fixtures on WayFair.com & at Home Depot!

Kitchen Hardware

 

3. Clean & Declutter

This is FREE (if you do it yourself)! Cleaning your own home will save you money, and will help make a good first impression with potential buyers. You also must declutter! When potential buyers see your home, they don't want to see "stuff" everywhere. They want to see open, clean, tidy spaces and rooms they can picture their own things in!

Declutter by taking down and storing away your personal items, including (but not limited to):

  • Family photos
  • Children's artwork and toys
  • Toiletries left on bathroom counters, bedside tables, and dressers
  • Piles of papers left in kitchens, office spaces, (and anywhere else!)
  • Messy wardrobes, clothes, & shoes - a good time to clean out the closet and donate clothes you don't want or need anymore!

While you're decluttering, also start organizing and storing things away - this will help with your own move! If you feel like you don't have enough space to store all your things out of sight, consider renting a storage unit. Small storage units have affordable monthly rates and can help you clear out your home without stuffing everything in closets, garages, and basements!

 

4. Spruce up the outside

Let's face it, curb appeal matters! When buyers pull up to your house, they want to see a clean exterior. Make sure you mow the lawn regularly, and ensure the yard is clean and free of debris, weeds, and unsightly brush! There are some very affordable trimmers at Home Depot for those who want to take the extra step in making the exterior look great!

Adding a few plants and pops of color (flowers) can also go a long way! It's always ideal to get a good first impression from potential buyers.

Porch

 

5. Power Wash!

We all know what a good power wash can do! Make your outdoor areas look new again by power washing decks, porches, siding, sheds, walkways, driveways, etc. This will add to the home's curb appeal and make a good first impression with potential buyers! And let's be honest, power washing can be fun, right?!

Power Washing

 

6. Bring the outside, inside!

Adding plants inside can help make a home feel "staged" and more inviting. It's also extremely trendy to have air-purifying plants inside your home these days, so plants will make potential buyers feel comfortable and homey.

If you don't want to take care of a bunch of plants, choose easy-to-maintain, resilient plants like succulents, spider plants, snake plants, or fig trees. 

Succulents

7. Hang Mirrors

Mirrors make rooms feel bigger! Placing mirrors strategically in your home (especially in smaller rooms) can make the room feel much more spacious.

Hang bigger mirrors on large, empty walls, and add a few smaller accent mirrors for show! You can find very affordable mirrors and accent mirrors at Marshall's, HomeGoods, or TJ MAXX.

   

 

8. Do-It-Yourself Staging!

Professional staging can be costly, but that doesn't mean you can't make your home look great! Check out these affordable DIY staging tips you can do on your own:

  • Rearrange your furniture to show SPACE
  • Open window treatments & blinds to show as much natural light as possible
  • Place succulents and smaller plants in bathrooms and on shelves and bedside tables
  • Place herbs in the kitchen, a fruit basket, & a few other decor items (store away any unsightly coffee machines, microwaves, toaster ovens, etc)
  • Clear your personal things and only keep decor - think about your home as a display!
  • Repaint old bathroom vanities (and you can even paint bathroom tile for an additional wow factor!) - Check out this before and after bathroom update - no professionals needed:

DIY Staging

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Our Favorite Outdoor Activities in New Hampshire!

Our Favorite Activities In and Around Concord, New Hampshire

There are so many great places to explore in and around the Concord, NH area! We put together a list of our favorite outdoor activities in New Hampshire and a few details about why we love them!

Check out our agents' favorite local outdoor activities in Concord, New Hampshire:

(Scroll to the end for a complete list)

 

 Paul Hrycuna Keeler Family Realtors Owner

Paul's Favorites:

"The Flume Gorge is one of my favorite places. It's a beautiful place to take a nice & easy hike. "

"I also love the Franklin Dam, as it's very close to Concord, is a great place to walk, and has a few nice trails!"

"There are also many beautiful, longer hiking trails in Andover, NH. There's too many to mention, but if you google 'trails in Andover, NH', you'll find many amazing trails (like the photo below)!"

Ragged Mountain Trails - Andover, NH

 

 

 

David Lovlien KFR Agent

David's Favorites:

"The State House is a place where I can reflect in the exact same places as people like Daniel Webster and Franklin Pierce. Being in this historic and influential place inspires me and reminds me where I am from and where I will go!" 

"I like visiting Memorial Field on Independence Day because I often meet up with old friends from Merrimack Valley High School and we watch the fireworks together. I think it's really great that the celebration of our countries birth and the beautiful fireworks bring the whole Concord community together!"

 

Terry Murphy Keeler Family Realtor

Terry's Favorites:

"Our favorite outdoor activities are Oak Hill Trails in Concord, the Belknap Mountain Range, and definitely boating on Lake Winnipesaukee!"

 

 

 

KFR Agent Jocelyn Therrien

Jocelyn's Favorites:

"I love to kayak in Turkey Pond in Concord, NH. "

"And I love Oak Hill. It's also in Concord and has nice, easy hiking and walking trails! "

Jeff Tobine Keeler Family Realtor

Jeff's Favorites:

"Any golf course in Concord is great and I love playing around all the courses in New Hampshire in general!"

"Kearsarge Mountain is also a favorite hiking spot!"

"And one of my favorite spots was the Smarts Brook trail in Thornton/Waterville Valley on Route 49."

Complete List of Our Favorite Outdoor Spots & Activities:

Flume Gorge

Franklin Dam

All Trails in Andover, NH

State House in Concord, NH

Memorial Field

Belknap Mountain Range

Lake Winnipesaukee

Turkey Pond - Concord, NH

Oak Hill Trails - Concord, NH

Kearsarge Mountain

Smart Brooks Trail  in Thornton/Waterville Valley

Beaver Meadow Golf Course - Concord, NH

 

Best Restaurants in Concord, New Hampshire!

 

BEST Restaurants in Concord, New Hampshire

Concord New Hampshire

Our agents love Concord and all this beautiful city has to offer! One of the best things about Concord is that there are endless places to eat. For those who just moved to Concord, or if you're just visiting, we put together a list of our favorite local restaurants. Many places have re-opened their doors, while others are still offering take out, so support your community and eat local!

Check out our agents' favorite local restaurants in Concord, New Hampshire:

(Scroll to the end for a complete list)

 

 Paul Hrycuna Keeler Family Realtors Owner

Paul's Favorites:

"My favorite restaurant is Veano's 1 (Pembroke location). This is technically in Pembroke, NH, but they have great food and it's definitely close enough to Concord if you're in the area!"

"My second favorite restaurant is Siam Orchid Thai Bistro. I love their yellow curry!" 

Terry Murphy Keeler Family Realtor

Terry's Favorites:

"Our favorite sit down restaurant is definitely Revival. It's fresh farm to table with great service, drinks, and always a quick turnover with fair pricing. It's great for the family!"

"If I'm looking for a quick lunch with a nice drink, I'll go to Dos Amigos. Always fresh ingredients with awesome service and pricing, and they even have seasonal homemade salsas!"

 

David Lovlien KFR Agent

David's Favorites:

"The Red Blazer is the home of my favorite Reuben sandwich. When my grandfather worked at the state house, he would always have meetings and lunch here. It makes me feel like I'm following in his footsteps!"

"Tandy's is another favorite. It's a super beautiful outdoor eating vibe right in the heart of eagle square in Concord. It has a fun & youthful vibe and the outdoor bar is very cool! It's a great place to have a fun outdoor meeting."

 

Lexi Keeler Family Realtor

Lexi's Favorites:

"Integrity Nutrition is one of my favorites. It's not a sit down restaurant, but it's a great place to get a shake or drink! Their menu is so good and they're super healthy."

"I also LOVE Angelina's Ristorante Italiano. They definitely have the best Italian food in Concord, hands down!"

"Last but not least, Constantly Pizza is the best sub shop in town."

KFR Agent Jocelyn Therrien

Jocelyn's Favorites:

"My favorite restaurant is House of India on Pleasant St. To me, their Indian food is the ultimate comfort food, the flavors are amazing, and they have tons of vegetarian options!"

"I also love Live Juice. It's my pick for a healthy lunch. They have huge portions, customizable salads, and juices and smoothies made with really fresh ingredients!"

Jeff Tobine Keeler Family Realtor

Jeff's Favorites:

"The Red Blazer is one of my favorites. It's great for the family and there's generous portions for everyone!"

"I also love The Common Man. It's a great atmosphere with great food, and there's even a nice gluten free section on the menu."

Complete List of All Our Agents Favorite Restaurants:

 

 

Veano's Italian Kitchen

Angelina's Ristorante

Siam Orchid Thai Bistro

House of India

Dos Amigos

Revival Kitchen

The Common Man

The Red Blazer

Tandy's Pub & Grill

Constantly Pizza

Integrity Nutrition

Live Juice

 

 

 

 

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