Brenda Cahoon - Burlington Ma Real Estate, Billerica MA Real Estate, Woburn MA Real Estate


One of the most satisfying aspects of being a new homeowner is the process of "making it your own."

That could include everything from painting walls and hanging pictures to replacing window treatments and assembling shelves. (Then, of course, there's the unpacking, furniture arranging, organizing, and room cleaning!)

For some people, one of the biggest challenges in getting unpacked, set up, and fully decorated is keeping their motivation high. While momentum is usually highest during the first few weeks of living in a new home, a lot of distractions, interruptions, and competing priorities can quickly vie for your attention.

In addition to using good time management skills and setting self-imposed deadlines for getting projects done, here are a few other strategies for staying on track with your decorating and home improvement goals:

Purchase needed supplies ASAP: It's easy for a project to get derailed or put on the "back burner" when you don't have all the tools, supplies, and materials you need to get started. Painting walls and ceilings is the perfect example because you can't get fully underway until you have a variety of brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, painters' tape, and a sufficient supply of paint -- often more than one color. If you have holes or cracks to fill, you may also need additional supplies like joint compound, a putty knife, and sandpaper. When you have immediate access to all the supplies you need for a particular project, it eliminates potential delays, excuses for getting started, and interruptions in your work flow.

Arrange child care: Sometimes the best approach to keeping your children supervised and entertained while you're working on the house is to hire a responsible teenager to babysit. If you have one or more older children in the family who can help take care of the younger ones for a few hours, then that's even better. In either case, you'll be able to stay focused on the task at hand and get a lot more accomplished.

Make it a priority: The problem with continually postponing a home repair, a landscaping task, or a painting project is that weeks can easily turn into months! Before you know it, years have gone by and you still haven't organized your basement, cleaned out those clogged rain gutters, or applied a fresh coat of paint to your outdated bathroom walls. By blocking off a specific period of time for getting a project underway or completed, you'll be accomplishing your home maintenance goals and beautifying your home faster and more efficiently.

Commit it to writing: When you write yourself a reminder note, create a to-do list, mark it on your calendar, or even text your spouse about your plans to tackle the project on Saturday, you've increased the probability that it will get done. Verbally telling people about it, such as when they ask you what you're doing this weekend, will also help fuel your motivation and nudge you to get the job done in a timely way!



 Photo by toddpharistx via Pixabay

Today's home buyers are looking for ways to maximize their space and their enjoyment of that space. While having friends and family over to enjoy a meal out on the patio or a backyard BBQ has long been a favorite way of spending time with loved ones, it's frequently left the hosts separated from the guests. Adding an outdoor kitchen offers numerous advantages. It could boost interest in your home and set it apart from similar ones in the area. 

1. Makes Entertaining Easy

One of the most exciting things about having your own home is the ability to entertain more. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home means that the home buyer is instantly set up for a home-warming party or any other type of gathering. 

2. The Hosts Can Participate

As mentioned above, one of the best reasons for installing an outdoor kitchen is that it eliminates the separation of the cook -- which is nearly always the host -- from the rest of the party outdoors. 

3. It Becomes a Team Effort

With an outdoor kitchen, there are more opportunities to make cooking a group effort. By keeping food prep as part of the overall party, it's easier for other people to jump in and help out. It's also great for when the homeowner wants to plan for shared cooking experiences. 

4. It's Cozy

While the gathering place inside a house used to be the living room, the past few years have seen the kitchen take over that spot. If you think about it, this transition just makes sense. People like to gather where there's food. It encourages chatting and camaraderie. An outdoor kitchen that includes tables and chairs or other outdoor furniture encourage the same kind of coziness. 

5. Increases Living Space

Adding an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be complicated. One idea is to use the covered porch or patio you already have as the foundation for the outdoor kitchen space. Next, add the appropriate appliances. The result is that you've instantly increased the living space of your current home without having to add on another room. 

If you're in an area of the country that is going through a housing boom, you might wonder if you should spring for an outdoor kitchen. Adding this highly-desirable feature to your home could also increase its value and make it easier to get your asking price during its sale. 


With all the fixing, renovating, and flipping showing on television, your standard builder grade home seems sadly lacking. When you bought it, you intended to plant yourself here for a while, to moving to a farm to get the farmhouse look isn’t in the cards. Luckily, builder-grade makes the perfect canvas to boost your basic look without busting the budget. 

Get the [Farmhouse] Look for Less

  • Beadboard: Adding beadboard along breakfast nook and dining room walls bring instant country charm. Instead of expensive solid oak beadboard, choose four-foot by eight-foot faux pressed beadboard panels from your local DIY store. Cut them in half width-wise to get two four-foot by four-foot sheets. Attached them side by side to your walls with a nail gun and glue for best results. Top it off with flat pine board and paint it all a glossy white.
  • Board and batten: This wall-treatment works best for mudrooms or hallways and adds character and charm to a plain stairway wall too. Get the look by nailing flat four to six-inch pine boards evenly spaced vertically along the wall. Leave measured room at the top and bottom for baseboard and chair rail or crown molding. Paint the boards and the wall between in a satin or semi-gloss paint in farmhouse blue, mint green or another color that speaks to you.
  • Faux shiplap: While you sometimes can find real pieces of shiplap in outlets that handle reclaimed wood, you can get a similar look using pine planks. Similar to the board and batten treatment, nail the boards onto the walls, but horizontally, with about a three-quarter inch space between them. For easier installation create a couple of spaces from scrap wood to hold your boards in place. Choose an accent wall or niche for your installation area, then paint the boards with chalk paint to give you that aged country look.
  • Butcher’s block countertops: If your budget lends itself to replacing the countertops, replace that Formica with natural butcher’s block. If solid butcher’s block is out of the question, stores like Ikea carry a bamboo version for less and Wilsonart has laminate versions with coordinated edges that are hard to tell from the real thing.
  • Fixtures and finishes: Even if you can’t afford the farmhouse-style sink, you can change out the fixtures to give you the look. Opt for bronze or coppery finished for cream or white sinks and go for brushed satin nickel to complement your stainless steel. Change out light fixtures, drawer pulls, and knobs from the “that’s-so-90s” brass ones and consider chalk-paint to give your cabinets a stress-free new look.
  • Timely trims: Finally, trim the doorways with—you guessed it—more flat pine boards. Use four-inch boards on the sides but add some drama to the top with six or eight-inch boards and a little bit of half-round to cap it off.

If you love the farmhouse style, try one or several of these steps to get a look that sets your builder-grade home apart from all the rest when it comes time to sell. For an estimate on what your re-imagined farmhouse will fetch on the market, talk to your realtor.


There are many reasons to renovate your house. If you plan on selling, renovating your old house will increase the face value dramatically. Also, it makes you more comfortable while you get the satisfaction of living in a place of which you are proud.

Some cheap renovation ideas that will not hurt your wallet but translate into a more attractive sale are:

Add Energy Efficient Windows

More than any time in history, we have so much awareness about going green. It is a good idea as it not only saves the environment but also saves money. Hence, replacing old windows with new ones that are energy efficient will reward you with tremendous returns. Immediate benefits come as a drastic reduction in your electricity bills.

Make a Deck

One of the things home buyers look for is a deck. Adding a deck is a terrific idea because it provides a fantastic spot for relaxation. While adding a deck to your house is cost incentive, think of the improvement it will have on the face value of your property. Also, if you want to sell your home, it is a sweet selling spot to get better deals. 

Use Energy Efficient Insulation

Your heating and cooling system will be difficult to maintain if you use a door that allows a lot of hot and cold air to enter your house. Your entries, windows, switches, and attics are parts of the house that needs insulation. Replace old water heaters with new tanks that are energy efficient – they save energy and ultimately reduce your bills.

Ensure a Basic Maintenance Routine

A buyer will love to know the house is in good shape before investing in it. When you spend on basic maintenance, your home becomes pretty much appealing to prospective buyers. Basic maintenance routine doesn't have to burn a hole in your pocket. Hence, be sure to take care of leaky roofs, seal cracks, replace rotten woods and fix plumbing leaks. You also need to make certain that your house is clean.

Make Your Exterior Appealing

There are many renovation ideas you can do inside the house. You, however, have to bear in mind that it is the exterior of your home that will attract prospective buyers. With this in mind, you have to try to make your exterior as appealing as possible. Invest in good paint, make sure your roof complements the siding or brick, change your garage door, and anything else that will make your home look amazing at first sight.

House renovation is a great project that will yield tremendous returns with time. Be sure to invest in worthy projects that will make your house more appealing to buyers.


When was the last time you examined the lighting in your hallway? For home sellers, you may want to consider revamping the lighting in your hallway. By doing so, you can brighten up your hallway, and ultimately, help make your home more appealing to prospective homebuyers. So what does it take to improve your hallway lighting? Here are three tips to consider: 1. Add Lighting Controls. Although you may already have a light switch to control your hallway lighting, incorporating a dimmer switch or occupancy sensor into your hallway may prove to be a great option to enhance your hallway's overall appearance. A dimmer switch ensures you can brighten or dim your hallway as much or as little as you choose. The added control provided by a dimmer switch enables you to create a certain ambiance that you can share with homebuyers when they check out your residence. Comparatively, an occupancy sensor detects when a person walks through a hallway automatically. This sensor may serve as a distinct feature in your home, one that may help your residence stand out in the eyes of homebuyers. 2. Incorporate Wall Sconces. For home sellers who want to impress prospective homebuyers the moment they enter a hallway, wall sconces may serve as ideal additions. Wall sconces come in many shapes and sizes, allowing you to select lighting that matches your hallway's décor beautifully. Also, wall sconces are available that enable you to create both up and down lighting that can give your hallway a one-of-a-kind look and feel. Try to find wall sconces that deliver a sense of balance in your hallway. By doing so, you'll be able to utilize wall sconces that provide a superior mix of fashion and function. 3. Install Track Lighting. Looking to brighten up a long hallway? Choose track lighting – you'll be glad you did! Track lighting typically runs parallel to your hallway's walls and offers immense versatility. Therefore, it serves as a wonderful option for those who want to make a hallway dazzle day after day. In many instances, you can change the direction of track lighting with ease, too. This type of lighting gives you superb flexibility, and as such, remains an exceedingly popular option in many homes. When it comes to brightening up a hallway or any other area of your home, be sure to evaluate all of the options at your disposal. Remember, you'll want to do whatever you can to help your residence sparkle, and the right lighting may enable you to transform a dull hallway into an eye-catching one. Lastly, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent before you perform hallway lighting improvements or other home repairs. This real estate professional likely boasts years of industry experience and will be able to guide you as you explore ways to make your home more attractive to homebuyers. Take a close look at your home's hallway lighting, and you're sure to find many great lighting options that you can use to help your residence stand out in any real estate market.



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