Lauren Davis
REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West | 508-254-0449 |

Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/8/2017

There’s many different reasons why you might want to consider choosing a mortgage payment over a monthly rent check. But there’s also a few drawbacks to buying a home. One big obstacle is that of the down payment. When you’re renting a property, there’s a lower amount of money that you’ll need to come up with in order to secure a place to live. With a 20% down payment required to buy a home, saving for that down payment seems a lot more daunting than renting. There’s so many financial advantages to owning a home.  With quite a few factors to consider, buying a home may not be so far out of reach for you. 

Rates Are Low

Even though mortgage rates fluctuate from time to time, they’re still low enough that it makes sense to buy a home and make it a much cheaper monthly cost than renting.  

Rental Rates Are Not Guaranteed

Your rent is not guaranteed to stay the same over time. The price can go up after the lease ends. Another problem with renting is that the landlord can decide that he wants to make improvements to the building at any time, even improvements that you’ll be required to move out for. You could end up in a bind fairly quickly if you’re put in this situation. 

If you buy a home, the only change to your expenses would be if you choose an adjustable rate mortgage or if there’s changes in property taxes and insurance rates. Your expenses are more predictable when you buy a home. 

You’ll Build Equity When You Buy A Home

One of the top reasons to buy a home is to enable you to build equity. Over time, you’ll have a piece of property that will provide cash that you’ll be able to tap into when needed. Home equity doesn’t replace the other ways that you save, but you’ll have another source of financial backing. Your monthly mortgage payment is in essence going into the “bank” of your future. 

There’s Plenty Of Tax Breaks For Homeowners

This is one known financial benefit of owning a home. The initial years of your home ownership mainly go towards paying down the interest on the home. The good news is that this expense is tax deducible. Also, you’ll benefit financially when you sell your home as you won’t have to pay tax on gains you have earned if you live in your home for at least half the time within the 5 years before you sell. Home insurance and mortgage insurance are also tax deductible. 

While the idea of buying a home may seem like a feat, financially, it’s a smart decision. When you’re renting, you don’t see a return on the monthly check that you shell out. If you own a home, you own it and it’s your to do with as you please. You get out of your home what you put into it. 

Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/1/2017

It's no surprise that buying in bulk is cheaper. Manufacturers can offer you the same items with less packaging and fewer processing steps. Then, at the store, less time is required for employees to stock these items onto the shelves. Basically, bulk buying is a win-win for everybody. Knowing which items to buy in bulk, however, is a bit trickier. We would all buy everything in bulk if we had the storage space in our homes or a cart big enough at Walmart. There are certain home goods you can count on for always being smarter to buy in bulk. In this list, we'll cover the top bulk items that are worth the space in your closet and where to find them. 1. Toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins The trinity of paper items. These three purchases are always worth buying in bulk. Running out of them can range from an inconvenience to an emergency, so it's good to have plenty stocked up. The undisputed champion when it comes to buying toilet paper is Costco. However, most warehouse clubs also have good deals. If you'd rather spend a bit more and not have to carry a huge box to your car, Amazon also has some good deals on these three paper goods. 2. Liquid hand soap and body wash Those tiny bottles of liquid hand soap won't get you very far and can be quite pricey. If you have a favorite, odds are you can find a large jug of it on Amazon to refill your smaller bottles as needed. 3. Tupperware One good set of tupperware will outlast 5 cheap plastic sets. That said, you can still get a good deal on a large set of tupperware and it's worth it if you pack lunches in advance or have a large family. Amazon is also the price to beat when it comes to plasticware. 4. Batteries One item that typically isn't cheaper online is batteries. Walmart is the place to buy large packs of batteries. If you really need to have a lot of them on hand, however, it will probably save you much more money in the long run to buy some good rechargeable batteries, especially AAs. 5. Diapers If you're a parent, you've most likely noticed the magical disappearing properties of diapers. A full box of diapers seems to vanish into thin air within a couple days time. Frugal parents have found that off-brand diapers, such as Target's Up & Up diapers, are high quality and much more affordable than name brand options. Alternatively, Amazon Mom will help you save on gas and on diapers, and offers many other baby-related goods as well. 6. Over the counter medications First, go generic--it will save you a ton of money on non-prescription meds. As to where the best place to buy medications, consumer reports show that Costco and Sam's Club are the cheapest, whereas drug stores like CVS, Rite Aid are the most expensive.

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Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/25/2017

A garage door protects your vehicle from the elements of nature. It could keep your vehicle’s paint and body from getting dented during hard storms. If you have an attached garage, you could stay warm longer on cold days and nights, as you’d only have to walk a few feet from the comforts of your house to your vehicle.

To continue enjoying these benefits, you have to know what to look for in your garage door. You have to know how to spot issues like those highlighted below before they become too big for you to handle on your own.

Signs that your garage door needs some TLC

Binding – If your garage door is hard to open or close, you may have a binding problem. Other signs that the door is not binding properly include the door getting jammed, the door not fully closing or the door making loud noises when it is opened or closed. For example, your garage door might start to close then stop closing half an inch from the ground.

Cracks or holes in the garage door – Strong storms, rocks being thrown at your garage door or a vehicle, including a bicycle, ramming into your garage can create cracks and holes. You could have cracks or holes in the door if you see chipped paint or dents.

Uneven or imbalanced garage door – Your door should safely open and close with the automatic opener turned off. Test the door by turning the automatic opener off and raising and lowering the door. If the door raises but does not stay open, it could be off balance.

Pests – The main portion of your house isn’t the only place that pests enter and turn into a cozy dwelling. Pests could enter your house through your garage door. Check your door for nests and small openings.

Sensors – If garage door sensors are missing or become damaged, your automatic door opener may not work properly. This could cause the garage door to lower when someone presses the up lever, the very thing that could lead to a minor or major injury. If sensors are not functioning property or are missing,your garage door could also keep lowering after it has touched an object or the ground.

Dry rolls and tracks – When garage door rolls and tracks become dry,the door will not open and close efficiently. Signs that rolls and tracks are too dry include squeaking, squealing or clanging noises. Repairing this problem should be an easy fix. Simply lubricate the rolls and tracks.

Loose joiners – In addition to lubricating rolls and tracks, make sure that hinges are properly lubricated. Also, make sure that garage door bolts and screws are tight. Loose screws and bolts could cause the door to raise and lower slowly or off balance.

Generally, a few minutes a week is all it takes to check your garage door. More thorough inspections should be conducted annually. You can spot signs that there is a problem with your garage door quickly if you know what to look for. Keep your family safe by repairing the door or replacing parts as needed.

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Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/18/2017

Don't let past housing experiences, including your childhood experiences, keep you from entering home ownership gradually and smartly. Right away, you might think that your housing choices are only influenced by your current family size, housing costs, business arrangements and personal preferences.

Don't let the past hold you back from enjoying row house living

What you might not know is how much your past living experiences are influencing the types of houses that you're open to buying as an adult. If you feel a need to stay connected to your childhood or family traditions, you might have a blind spot to certain types of houses. For example, you might:

  • Refuse to buy a house that doesn't have large, bay windows (even if a house with smaller windows provides an equal amount of natural light to a home)
  • Communicate to your realtor that you do not want to see houses that have less than three stories (you might make this demand even if a one to two story house has the same number of rooms as a three story house)
  • Look at houses that are painted the same color that your childhood home was painted in (Of course, you could repaint house walls. But, if you're deeply connected to the past, you might disallow yourself access to this awareness.)
  • Turn away from houses that don't have long side driveways, an attached garage or a covered parking area

Focus on what really counts when looking at row houses

You also might convince yourself that if you buy row houses, the value of the properties will only decline due to the fact that not as many people want to live in row houses as the number of people who are looking for a traditional, unattached house. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially if the number of people willing to release the past and take advantage of row house living grows.

Another thing that you might miss is the fact that it's a house's interior that wins many people over. Smartly designed rooms, more than enough living space, a beautiful decor and low utility expenses are measurable housing advantages that row houses also offer. Some row houses are designed with long, side driveways, the type of driveways in which you could park up to three or four vehicles. Be willing to step away from the past to realize these and other row house benefits.

Get over row house stereotypes

If you're feeling stuck, it could be because you're holding onto the past. Housing is one area where you might make decisions that are based on your past. If you, your parents and grandparents grew up in an unattached house, you might consider living in an unattached house as being "normal". Should you have grown up in an unattached house, you also might have stereotypes about row houses.

The stereotypes could be erroneous or flat out wrong. Believing that people who live in row houses re financially inept, socially challenges or less educated and positive than people who live in traditional, unattached houses is inaccurate. Move into a row house and you might quickly find that family background, a thirst for ongoing education and personal goals and vision are the core determinants of how well neighbors interact with each other.

Additionally, unless you were gifted a house through a will, this mindset could cost you. Row houses, especially older row houses, may save you thousands of dollars both over the short and long term. Included among savings that row houses could yield are homeowner's association fees, property taxes and interior and exterior housing maintenance costs.

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Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/4/2017

Several weeks of dryness, weeks when it does not rain or snow, can easily create a drought. Water slowing down in lakes and rivers that are upstream from the town you live in also causes a drought. Should a drought happen, cracks in the earth, negative impacts to animals and plants, poor soil quality, farming inefficiencies and migration of animals and humans may occur.

Water conservation tips that work at home

Natural events like lack of precipitation are not the only drought causes. Humans play a significant role in drought development. If you live in an apartment complex during a time of low precipitation, you might see water conservation tips highlighted on your monthly rent bill.

Local governments and weather channels also encourage area residents, whether they live in an apartment complex, townhouse, duplex or single home, to practice healthy water conservation habits. Included among water conservation habits are:

  • Don't leave the water running while you brush your teeth or shave.
  • Start to shower after the water warms. Avoid leaving shower water running for long periods while you pick out clothes to wear, prepare breakfast or load the washing machine.
  • Wash clothes in the washing machine once a week or as needed. If you need to wash a shirt, dress or pair of pants, consider hand washing the garments. If you stick to washing laundry once a week, you'll soon learn how to dress so that you don't need to wash a load of laundry two or more times a week.
  • Turn lawn sprinkler systems on for one to two hours a week during hot seasons, and then, only as needed.
  • Take your car through the local car wash to practice water conservation. You could also wash your car using water and soap in a bucket instead of leaving the water hose running for several minutes.
  • Repair pipe leaks as soon as you notice them. In addition to helping you to practice water conservation at home, this will help lower your water bill.
  • Replace hoses and appliances that are not working properly and that a repair professional tells you should be replaced.
  • Hand wash dishes instead of always cleaning them in the dishwasher. Turn sink water off while you wash the dishes. Rinse dishes in a sink full of clean water.
  • Teach your children about water conservation.
  • Avoid using your toilet as a wastebasket. Fewer toilet flushes save gallons of water a day. Of course, flush the toilet after you relieve yourself. Just don't use the toilet as the place to flush tissue after you below your nose or as a place to flush loose hair strands after you brush your hair.
  • Drink out of water bottles.
  • Fill gallon containers with water that you keepin the kitchen refrigerator to reduce the amount of water you use straight outof the tap.

Water conservation starts at home, largely because home is where you learn how to interact with nature. Home is also where you use a lot of the water that you use, whether you're brushing your teeth, shaving, showering or washing laundry.Start practicing healthy water conservation skills at home and you may adjust to periods of drought more easily. You might also help to prevent a drought from worsening.

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