Lauren Davis
REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West | 508-254-0449 | Lauren@LaurensListings.com


Posted by Lauren Davis on 8/16/2017

The stronger your roof is the safer and more healthy your entire home can be. A roof serves as the crown of your home. Certain roofs offer an elegant, historic or modern look to your house. Metal roofs tend to cost more than wood roofs. They can also be noisier, especially during hard rain and hailstorms.

Another factor that the material your roof is made of contributes to is how long your roof will stay healthy. Generally, a roof will stay healthy for up to 20 years. However, harsh climates could shorten the life span of your roof. Inadequate ventilation and moss build up can also reduce the time that your roof endures.

It’s important to spot roofing damage early

Cost to repair or replace your roof depends on several factors, including the extinct of damage to your current roof, the size of your roof and the material that your shingles are made with. Knowing what to look for in your roof could help you to spot issues early, potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Among the signs that your roof needs to be repaired or replaced are:

  • Curled shingles – The ends of your shingles should generally be flat. Curled shingles could be a sign that the nails that secure your shingles to your house are loose. It could also signal that your shingles are rotting.
  • Discolored shingles – Colored spots or streaks are a sign of wear and tear. You could replace a few discolored shingles on your own.
  • Missing shingles and missing granules – Entire shingles can create weak spots in your roof. While inspecting your roof, also look for missing granules.
  • Wet floors – What happens to your roof can affect your entire house, all the way down to your basement. Check your roof if your floors become wet for seemingly no apparent reason, meaning no one spilled liquid on the floor. Also, check your roof for leaks or damage if your floors become wet following a rain or heavy snowfall.
  • Cold attic – An exceptionally cold attic could be a sign that the ventilation in your roof is eroding.
  • Damp rooms – Should the rooms of your house feel damp, it could be a sign that shingles are missing or damaged. It could also be a sign that roofing ventilation needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Stained walls – Among the signs that your roof is leaking are stained walls. If you notice streaks or water stains on your walls, check your roof or call a professional roofer to inspect the roof for you.

There are steps that you can take to extend the life of your roof.Inspecting your roof at least once a year is an important part of those steps. It’s important to replace or repair damaged or missing shingles early.

Taking the above actions could save your several thousand dollars, a sit can cost between $6,500 to more than $9,000 to replace a roof. Some roofing companies will inspect your roof for free. You may have to participate in a special offer to get this free service. You could also work with a roofing company or contractor who provides an additional service like exterior lighting. After you pay for exterior lighting, you could qualify to receive a free, professional roof inspection.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 8/9/2017

Many homeowners or soon-to-be homeowners are anxious about making big purchases online. However, there’s a lot to be said for the perks of online shopping for things like furniture and appliances for your home.

As technology progresses and more and more retailers build their online presence, the selection has never been bigger. That’s why we’re going to show you how to find the nicest furniture and appliances online, get the best deals, and ensure that you’re buying from a trustworthy seller.

Read on for our tips on online appliance and furniture shopping.

The efficiency of online shopping

If done correctly, shopping online is much faster than driving to your local furniture store. The best way to achieve this is to know exactly what you’re looking for before ever opening up your browser. This will help you avoid scrolling endlessly through Ikea’s or Best Buy’s websites wondering what’s worth clicking on.

You’ll need to determine the following:

  • Your budget. This will narrow down the selection immensely and keep you from dreaming about unnecessarily expensive items.

  • Your style. Is there a specific color that you’re hoping to match? Does your furniture need to meet a specific style, such as mid-century modern? Using these search terms will help you find very specific results.

  • Practicality. There’s a difference between buying a washing machine and refrigerator for yourself and buying one for a family of five. Knowing the size and load specifications you need will help you narrow the search.

Take advantage of user reviews

One of the immense benefits of online shopping is the wealth of reviews that can be read. User reviews help the consumer and the company--it tells the company what products people prefer and it tells the consumer if the product met the description and quality standards of other customers.

It’s best to purchase items that have a higher number of positive reviews. A refrigerator that has a single five-star review might be of good quality, but I would trust that the refrigerator with twenty four-star reviews is consistently a top-quality item.

If you’re buying from a smaller online store, check out reviews for the retailer itself. Websites like Yelp and Google+ are both good places to look before hitting the “checkout” button.

Try before you buy

The internet is just one tool used for online furniture and appliance shopping. If possible, make a list of your favorite products and visit a local retailer who has them in stock. This will allow you to compare how the products look and feel in real life, as sometimes photos don’t quite portray the color and texture correctly.

This is also a good time to make sure the items are sized correctly to fit your home. Before leaving for the store, measure the space you have to work within your home. Remember that there often needs to be room behind your appliances for wiring. At the store, check to see if the products you looked at online will meet your space requirements.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 8/2/2017

Looking to purchase your first home? Not sure if you want to purchase a single-family home or a condo? What you purchase will be determinant on your thoughts about the below information. Take a look at the various differences between single-family homes and condos and decide the pros and cons for yourself. Location: Based on your price range, you will typically be able to purchase a condo in a location where you would otherwise not be able to purchase a home. But in return, you are often getting less square footage, closer by neighbors, and smaller outdoor living space. If you sacrifice a downtown city location for a location right outside of the city, you will get more for your money. Do you want to be able to walk to restaurants, shops and maybe work or is a home with free parking a more attractive option to you? It all depends on what is most important to you. Privacy: There will be less privacy when owning a condo versus a home, as neighbors are much closer. Condos typically share a wall with one another, some on just one side and some on both sides. This is an important detail to take into consideration when deciding between a condo and single-family home. Additional Costs: HOA fees or homeowner association fees are monthly fees that condo owners must pay. The fees cover things such as utilities, reserve and contingency funds, amenities, maintenance and repairs, which includes lawn care, snow removal, trash removal, exterior upkeep, etc. These costs vary depending on the condo amenities and policies. However, it’s important to be aware that there is the possibility that these fees increase if there is not enough in the reserve to cover unforeseen costs. When owning a home, there are no HOA fees. This means that a homeowner needs to be cognizant of the additional costs of owning a home. Will you purchase a lawnmower and snow blower or hire a service? Will you have the additional funds to pay for unforeseen expenses? These are important questions to consider. Restrictions: Owning a condo has some limitations as there will be restrictions that would not exist when owning your own home (unless you purchase a historical home). There are often restrictions dealing with the exterior of your home, parking restrictions as well as having certain barbecues on decks. Condos are an attractive choice for those looking for a low maintenance lifestyle. And owning and maintaining a home will take more work on the homeowner’s part. It’s important to figure out exactly what you want out of a home before you decide on one or the other, but knowing the difference between a single-family home and a condo is a first step.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 7/26/2017

When you narrow the numbers of houses that you're serious about buying, weather is probably the last thing that you think about. But, depending on where you buy a house, you could be inviting very hard weather conditions into your life. And you don't have to move to a coastal area to experience harsh weather.

Storms do more than damage your house

You don't have to live in Florida or along the New Jersey shore for serious weather storms like hurricanes and flooding to change the way that you and your family live. If you've ever had to vacate your house due to the threat of a weather storm, you know how quickly a storm can alter your best laid out plans.

Let the frequency of storms be high, occurring once a quarter or more, and you could be forced to store protective plywood, plastic window coverings, salt and shovels in your basement or garage. It might not take long to get into a cycle of covering windows and doors only to remove plastic and wood coverings a few days later.

This cycle alters your plans. It can also cause you to fear high winds and hard rains. For example, you could start to fear that a dark sky signals that a storm is going to rip through your house even if weather forecasters say that the area will experience no more than a heavy rain.

Understand what you get into when you buy a house in a stormy area

Some people have developed weather fears to the point where they order everyone in their house to turn off all electric appliances as soon as the sky grows dark during the daytime. These people may have experienced an electrical shock during a weather storm and convinced themselves that someone will always get electrocuted during a storm if appliances are left on.

Those are just a few fears that you could develop if you buy a house in an area that has a lot of damaging weather storms. As previously mentioned, there are also costs, including storm preparation and storm clean up and repair costs, associated with living in a house that's located in a high storm area.

Avoiding these costs and clean up headaches can be as simple as holding a conversation with your realtor. Make sure that you know which type of homeowner's insurance coverage you should get for the area that you buy a house in.

Homeowners insurance to deal with severe weather storms

Theft, fire and tornado damage might be included in general insurance packages. However, you may have to request coverage for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, mudslides and hail damage. After you get the necessary homeowner's insurance coverage, you need to know how to travel in storms.

For example, you should know that it's not advisable to drive onto flooded streets, as even a slight dip in the road could cause water to rise,  potentially trapping you in your vehicle. The fact that bridges freeze before flat roadways is another important point to remember.

Understand all costs that you could incur if you buy a house in an area that experiences tornadoes, earthquakes and excessive rain and flooding. Also, familiarize yourself with the amount of work that you will have to do to remove weather elements like snow and ice, excessive mud from mud slides and hail.

Allergies are another weather storm related condition that you need to educate yourself about. Buy a house in a heavily wooded area and your allergies could cause you to feel groggy, tired and listless for days. The same goes for houses located in areas where weather invites insects like mosquitoes and fruit flies.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 7/19/2017

Parenting is a full-time job. Unfortunately, most parents have other full-time jobs as well, making it difficult to spend as much time as they would like raising their children. Part of the cultural doctrine around being a good parent is helping your child with their homework. In a fairy-tale world, your child arrives home from school, eats a healthy snack, and sits down at the kitchen table eagerly awaiting you to help them with their homework. You join them and the two of you gleefully accomplish math problems, history trivia, and grammatical conundrums. In real life, we know that this situation plays out a lot differently. Most kids aren't in a rush to do their homework and most parents don't have the time to spend hours helping with it, or--as their kids age--the knowledge to explain the work. Fortunately, there are better ways to help your kids succeed. These ways involve taking a less active role, and being more of a guiding hand for your child as they navigate their way through school.

You're not the teacher...

And you shouldn't pretend to be. You may notice, when your child is as young as seven or eight, that they are learning things differently than you did. This isn't a bad thing. Learning evolves with our society as we discover more practical ways to teach kids. When your child comes home from school and gets ready to do their homework, make sure you're not undoing the work their teachers do all day by trying to teach them a different way of solving the problems. If your child is struggling, seek out extra help from the school or the teacher who will be able to find the best way to help your child succeed.

Setting up the homework environment

The place where your child does homework should be relatively distraction free. Choose a well-lit room with the TV off. Make sure your child has eaten before homework time and make sure they take breaks as needed. If your child is struggling with homework, don't get upset with them. Try to be understanding and to work together to find a way to help them complete the assignments. Just like you have the occasional bad day at work, your child will have the same experiences with their homework.

Don't be a dictator, be a helper...

Setting extremely strict rules about homework has been shown to make a child dread school even more. Find a schedule that your child works best with and follow that schedule. If your child needs to play outside or watch a favorite show after school, give them this time to unwind. If they react better to getting homework out of the way as soon as they get home, choose this route. Either way, you'll need to have a discussion with your kids about setting a homework schedule that you are both happy with. When it comes to being actively involved with teachers, PTAs, field trips, college prep, or choosing high school courses, have a discussion with your child about how much of a role they want you to play. Research shows that different students have different preferences when it comes to how active a role their parents play in their education. And studies have shown that being very active doesn't mean your child will do better in school. Your role should be to help as much as your child would like you to, otherwise the best way you can help is to point them toward resources like their advisors and school guidance counselors.