Shawn Burgess | Dorchester Real Estate, Roxbury Real Estate, Mattapan Real Estate


Every homeowner seems to come to a point where they wonder if it’s time to sell their home or renovate the one that they currently have. Whether or not you decide to sell immediately, you can start with some renovations to your home that will offer you a big return on your investments and more comfort. Certain renovation projects are more beneficial than others. We’ll go over some of the best projects that you can take on in your home to add value and comfort to your home.



Curb Appeal Pays 


While you may turn to the inside of your home to make improvements first, it’s actually more beneficial to update the outside of your home before you even begin to tackle the inside. Curb appeal can boost the value of your home significantly. 


Check Your Insulation


You can improve the overall energy efficiency of your home by sealing unattended places in the home. Add insulation and sealing right in your attic. This helps to save on energy costs the whole year through. New insulation brings quite a return on value in your home. 


Make Your Spaces Peaceful And Open


If you have plenty of space available in the house, you’ll get a big return on your investment. Add a bedroom to the home if you are able. Expand on the master bedroom to include large closets along with a master bathroom. Some of these renovations can become a bit of an expense, but you’ll be happy you did them when you get a large return on your investment.     


Add A Deck


Adding an outdoor space to enjoy will not only give you financial returns, it will give you an increased sense of happiness as well. You’ll have a new outdoor space that you’ll be able to enjoy for a good portion of the year.


Think Small


Sometimes even small improvements can add returns and more appeal to your home. Does your kitchen need new tile? Could your dishwasher use an upgrade? Maybe the bathroom counter can be replaced. Anything small around your home that’s upgraded can add up. The kitchen and the bathroom are the two rooms of the home that people most desire to have updated. Doing any and all projects in these rooms can have a really big impact on the value of your property. 


After The Renovations


After you complete the desired renovations in your home, live in it for awhile. If you’re still itching to move on from your property, make an appointment with your realtor. There is nothing wasted in doing renovations to your home whether you decide to stay on the property or move on.


Photo by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock

Federal law allows you to get your credit report free once per year. To do so, go to annualcreditreport.com and request your report. You need to do this at least once a year so that you can correct any errors or missing information.

Differences Between Credit Report & Credit Score

You typically have more than one credit score depending on its use. Two of the most common are the Vantage score and the FICO score. The Vantage score uses a different algorithm from the FICO score. Places such as your employer, auto insurance company or landlord typically use the Vantage score or one similar to it. Housing lenders more often use the FICO score. FICO has as many as 60 different scoring algorithms, as does Vantage scores. 

How Are FICO & Vantage Alike?

Currently, both scores range from about 300 (low) to 850 (best). In general, both Vantage and FICO use your payment history, the age of your accounts, balances versus available credit, type of debt you hold and how frequently you seek credit based on recent applications.

Types of debt can be revolving, such as a credit card; secured, like a home or auto loan; personal debt as when you take a consolidation loan, medical and education loans.

How Often Should You Check Your Scores?

While your credit report is free once a year, your credit scores from the three leading suppliers (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) are not. But frequently, your bank, credit union, credit card providers and other financial institutions offer the opportunity to get them free. You should utilize these promotions as often as you can to keep on top of your score.

Each car payment you make — or when you pay off a credit card — changes your score. It could change by several points overnight too. Since credit “age” affects your score, don’t close old accounts. Periodically make a charge and then pay it off to keep that account active and in the mix.

New laws make it easier to see which score a lender uses too, so if you’re denied credit or offer a higher interest rate than you think you should be getting, you can check it out. When the two scores (Vantage and FICO) differ by a lot, you need to check your credit report to see what might be wrong. While it could just be the closing day of a credit card accounting cycle, it could also be something more serious like identity theft.

The closer you get to purchasing a home, the more you need to be on top of your scores. Don’t wait to review them because a problem can take a while to fix.


Preparing your home is one of the most important things you can do before leaving for an extended period of time.

Whether you have a vacation home that you spend your summer months in, you travel for work, or you simply have a second property that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, it’s vital to take the steps to preparing the home for the elements while you are gone.

In this article, we’ll talk about winterizing, preparing a home for heavy rains, and protecting it from a number of external forces. That way you can rest assured that your property will be safe while you’re away, saving you money in costly repairs.

Winterizing

Many Americans spend the winter months in a warmer climate. Similarly, it has become quite common to purchase vacation homes and cabins in the northern part of the country to visit during the summer months. Regardless, these homes will have to be winterized to avoid damage.

First, and most important, be sure to turn off the water at the main supply sources. Next, open up your faucets and drain all of the lines that carry water throughout your home and yard. Drain, and put away your garden hose, to protect it and your fittings from damage.

Now that you’re protected against water damage, you’ll want to protect against potential fires. Turn off and unplug all appliances. Not only is this a way to avoid fire, but it will also help you avoid needlessly spending on electricity.

It’s a good idea to turn your thermostat down so that your home is kept above freezing, but not at a needlessly high temperature.

Preparing a home for extended leave

Even if your home isn’t facing the winter cold, there are still measures that should be taken during an extended leave.

Cleaning your refrigerator out completely and then washing the interior will help avoid odors from spreading throughout the house.

Other odors can arise from the drains in your home, especially if it’s likely to get hot. To prevent this you can cover up your drains with painter’s tape.

You’ll also want to remove any food from your cabinets that could attract mice, ants, or other pests. While you’re cleaning, wash and put away any linens that you won’t be using for some time.

Be sure arrangements have been made at the post office for any mail you receive at your home. You could set up mail forwarding, have neighbors take in your mail, or purchase a PO box for the time you’re away. Regardless, it’s a good idea to not have mail piling up outside an empty home as it could attract the attention of those seeking to benefit from your house being vacant.

Before leaving, make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. Remove any spare keys from obvious locations around your home, and make arrangements for someone, such as a neighbor, to check on the home and report any problems to you.


When you’re searching for a place to live if you have kids, or even if you’re planning on having kids in the future, the neighborhood you choose is of concern. When you’re single, it’s easy to fill your desire for the city. You live near bars, clubs, conveniences, and more. Once you start thinking with a family in mind, your ideas shift. 


So, if you’re looking for a neighborhood with children in mind, where do you start? Read on to discover the top priorities of a kid-friendly property search. 


The Schools


Most parents put a lot of consideration into where their children will go to school. Many resources allow you to research different school districts. You can also visit schools in person, or talk to other parents and see their opinion of the local schools for specific neighborhoods. 


The Safety Of The Area


Whether you have kids or not, you want to know that the area you’re going to live in is safe. Before you select a neighborhood to live in, you’ll want to research the crime rates in the area. You might assume that individual cities and towns have better crime rates than others, but you may be surprised. Ask your local real estate agent for more information on local crime rates and how to research them. 


Sense Of Community


If you are moving with kids or planning on having a family anytime soon, you’ll want to have a supportive community surrounding you. Having a community means that there are other families around with children. This way, it will be easier for you to build a network of other moms who are in the same stage as you. Some things to consider are:


Are there sidewalks in the neighborhood?

Is there a lot of traffic in the area?

Are there places for kids to play nearby? 

Do you see families out for a walk together?


Answering these questions will give you an idea of how family-friendly your neighborhood will be. Sidewalks make the area accessible for kids to go and hang out with their friends safely. Parks and playground are not only a great place to play for kids but a great place to meet other parents. If a neighborhood has the things that you want for your family, chances are, many other families in the area feel the same way. 


Choosing a neighborhood can be difficult, but with a little research and groundwork, you’ll be able to select an excellent place for your family to live.   



When we decorate and organize our homes, few of us give more than a passing thought to the way our choices will affect our mood and behavior in our home. Most of us simply organize and decorate based on what we like on a whim.

There are, however, entire fields of study devoted to the way our environment affects us (environmental psychology), and ways we can engineer and design our environments to change our moods and behaviors.

If you’ve ever visited a big city like New York you will likely have noticed an example of this firsthand in city parks.

When you sit down on a park bench, you’ll likely find that it isn’t the most comfortable place to sit. There’s more than just a tight budget at play here. Many engineers who plan parks use the idea of “unpleasant design.” They create benches with the intention of dissuading people from lying down  the benches by making them curved or putting arm rests in the middle of them.

In the same way that a city park can be designed to affect your behavior, your home can as well. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how you can better arrange and decorate your home to have a positive impact on both your mood and behavior.

Organize to your advantage

Many of us think of our homes as the opposite of work--it’s a place we relax after a long day. However, there are a number of chores and tasks you’ll complete at home that can be optimally engineered to save you time.

One simple example is to think about the placement of the items you use in the kitchen. Is your trash can far from the countertop, requiring you to constantly walk away to toss out scraps?

A good way to find out the needless extra work you’re doing around the house is to take note of how you go about your daily routine. This will give you insight into areas where you might better use your time.

Declutter for productivity

Whether you work from home frequently or you just need a quiet place to do taxes or pay bills, a home office can be a good way to avoid distraction. That is, until you fill your home office with distractions.

When organizing your office, think about the content of it. For most people, a decluttered minimalist environment is most conducive to work. Leave out the television, keep your cell phone at bay, and don’t cover your desk in papers that you’ll constantly be rearranging.

Similarly, your computer needs to be tailored to productivity as well. We all know how tempting it is to head over to Facebook or Reddit when we should be focusing on work. A good way to help break this habit is to utilize a time tracking app that lets you know when it’s time for a break. Alternatively, you can use an extension or add-on for your browser that blocks sites like Facebook during the time you specify.

Colors matter more than you think

Each room in your home serves a different purpose. The kitchen is a place of activity and conversation, the bedroom is one of relaxation, and the home office one of focus.

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between the colors and brightness of the room we are in and our moods.

So, when you’re decorating a room in your home, think about the type of colors that fit how you would like to feel in that room.