Jaime Kidston -KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY | Cambridge, MA Real Estate, Somerville, MA Real Estate


Many times the house that people initially buy isn’t the property that will be their forever home. The house could be too big, too small, or not in an ideal location. When you sell your first home, you want to get the most out of your investment. There are so many easy ways that you can upgrade your home for a small amount of money. Any of these upgrades will add value to your home. Read on to find some of the most affordable improvements you can make to your home that will add character and value for you.


Do Something With The Kitchen


While “something” is a bold statement, it’s true. Just about any improvement, you make in your kitchen will give you a great return. Some ideas include:


Change the countertops

Replace the cabinets

Replace the stove

Get a new dishwasher

Install a new floor


There are so many different things that you can do to make a kitchen better. The possibilities are almost endless! The key to any renovation that you do is that you don’t want it to be too styled. Try to aim for improvements that will be timeless. Check out the current trends and see what seems to be a staple in modern homes. Keep in mind that you also have to like whatever it is you’re doing to your home.



Give Your Fireplace A Facelift


Upgrading the fireplaces in your home can be a great project and an excellent way to enhance your home. You can do anything from merely repairing your fireplace relieving it from any cracks. If you’re feeling zealous, you can change the type or face of fireplace you have. Look into switching from a wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace. Change the front of your fireplace from brick to tone. Fireplaces are attractive features in homes that make any space cozy. 


Upgrade The Outdoor Space


An outdoor living space adds a lot to a home. The nice thing about adding outdoor is you can go as big as you want to. If you live in a warm region, an outdoor kitchen is an awesome feature to add on. Put a deck on your house. Construct a patio. Put up a gazebo or permanent screen house. There are so many ways to make outdoor living a possibility.   


Clean Up Your Outdoor Space


Giving the outside of your a once over can be an easy way to upgrade your property. You can power wash your siding. Trim your bushes. Add some more plants and foliage to the landscape. These are all simple, yet practical upgrades to your home that add value and appeal.      


If you intend to buy a house, it generally is a good idea to establish realistic property buying expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey and avoid potential problems that otherwise may prevent you from achieving your desired results.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you pursue your dream residence.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

With homebuying criteria, you can determine exactly what you want from your dream residence. Then, you can narrow your house search and speed up your quest to discover your ideal home.

Think about where you want to live. For instance, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city over life in a small town, you may want to hone your house search to properties in the city of your choice. Or, if you have always dreamed about owning a home near the beach, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality.

Don't forget to consider the features you want from your dream home too. Make a list of home must-haves and wants, and you can streamline your home search.

2. Set Homebuying Goals

Establishing homebuying goals can help you build a roadmap for your home search. This roadmap then will enable you to identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues before they escalate.

Homebuying goals can guide you along the homebuying journey. You can create as many or as few goals as you'd like, and by doing so, simplify your search for your ideal residence.

In addition, it is important to be flexible with your homebuying goals. And remember, if you fail to accomplish a homebuying goal by a specific date, you can always adjust your homebuying roadmap as needed.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to expect during the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you establish realistic property buying expectations from day one.

A real estate agent first learns about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will put together a personalized homebuying strategy for you and ensure you can complete a successful property buying journey.

As you search for your dream home, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that meet your homebuying criteria. He or she also will help you submit an offer to purchase on any house you want to acquire. And once an offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the property buying journey.

Ready to begin your search for your dream residence? If you understand how to manage your homebuying expectations, you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results at each stage of the homebuying journey.


The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.

You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.

3. This probably isn’t your last home

While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”

So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.

5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract. 


We’ve all seen the way landscaping and decorating trends can sweep through a neighborhood. Some are practical, like planting drought-resistant vegetation. Others are purely aesthetic choices.

In this article, we’re going to break down some of the latest trends in landscaping. Who knows, you might be inspired to get out and revamp your front or backyard with one of these ideas. Read on for some of the latest and greatest landscaping techniques for your home.

Landscaping you can eat

One trend that is making a comeback is growing herbs and vegetables. We’re not talking about a backyard garden in a chicken wire fence (although those are great, too!)--what we’re referring to is planting herbs and colorful lettuces right in your front yard. Well-placed plants look natural and can save you money at the grocery store at the same time. Just make sure they’re planted in soil appropriate for growing vegetables.

Similarly, many people are rediscovering the native fruit trees, bushes, and vines of their area. Adding these items to your yard will give you something sweet to eat and also a sense of pride in your region. So, find out which fruits and vegetables grow well in your area and find some to compliment your yard.

Drought resistance

We’ve all seen the headlines. Climate change is upon us, and water shortage is one of the chief long term concerns. To save water and keep the front yard looking manicured, many people are turning to vegetation that can resist long periods of time without water.

There are drought tolerant plants in almost every family of flora. From flowers to shrubs and even grass. However, many homeowners in areas warm areas prone to drought are opting out of grass completely in favor of stone pathways lined with hardy, yet beautiful, cacti.

Actually comfortable outdoor seating

The days of uncomfortable plastic and metal chairs are numbered. Waterproof outdoor seating has improved immensely in the last few years and a greater number of people taking advantage of it.

Another indoor comfort that is taking root outdoors is the use of varied lighting techniques and colors to create different moods, be it calm or whimsical.

Let it grow

Many homeowners, fed up with having to mow their lawn every weekend instead of spending it relaxing, are opting to let their grass grow out. Planting shade-giving trees, incorporating natural boulders, and creating stone walkways give a wild, but pleasant feeling reminiscent of an English garden.

Where there is grass, it is often left to grow to “meadow” length to complement the natural feeling of the rest of the yard. Planning out such a yard, however, takes time, or you could end up with a backyard that looks like it just hasn’t been taken care of.


What are your favorite backyard landscaping trends?


Window shutters are a very old form of home improvement. Since there have been windows or openings in the walls of houses, shutters have been around. While they don’t serve much of a practical purpose in the present day, they once were very important to homeowners.  Early shutters were meant to protect the interior of a home from things like intruders, weather, and animals. 


Ornamentation


Present day shutters are often used as the finishing touch for a home. Many homes just wouldn’t look complete without them on the outside of the house. So, how do you find the shutters that are right for your home?


The Size And Placement Of The Shutters


You need room on your house for shutters to work on it. You shouldn’t consider putting shutters on your home if the pieces will come too close to the corner or stick out beyond the trim of your home. Your windows also shouldn’t be too close together. The space between windows and shutters should be about half of the width of one shutter. If you don’t have the appropriate space, you shouldn’t put shutters up. Even though you’re not actually using the shutters for practical purposes, you want them to look authentic, as if they could actually be closed. Keep in mind too that a small window may only need one shutter to make it work.


The Hardware 


Even though you won’t actually be using the shutters for your home, they should always be hung with the proper hardware. This allows the shutters to be attached appropriately and give the authentic look that’s needed to make them look true to form. If the shutters are hung any other way, they run the risk of looking cheap and fake. Even though you’re not actually going to use the shutters, the right hardware makes them function as they would if you really needed them.  


The Materials


As far as materials go, real wood shutters are unmatched in their authentic look. The problem with real wood shutters is that they can become weathered quickly. If you go with wood shutters, they will require frequent painting and replacement, which can become a tedious task as a homeowner.  


Vinyl shutters will last longer but choose them carefully. You still want a high quality shutter even though this material will be able to withstand the weather longer. The better the quality of your shutter, the more genuine they will look on your home. 


Color Choice


Typically, the color scheme on the outside of a home includes 2-3 different colors. Your shutters should be the accent color of the home. This means that they should match some other color that’s present on the outside of the house whether it’s your front door or your window trim, the shutters should always be a different color than the siding of a home.




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