Ned Mahoney's Blog
89 Bird Street, Needham, MA 02492
As a homeowner, sometimes you want to change things up about the appearance of your home, and a terrific way to do that is with a slight change to your landscape. Here are a few ways to make a positive, aesthetic impact on your landscape and keep your home fresh and new.
Mix in Mulch
One colorful way to make a significant visual impact, and help provide sustainably healthy soil, is to introduce some new mulch into your garden beds. There are distinct types of mulch that you can use depending on the design, color scheme and types of foliage in your landscape. There is natural bark mulch, chipped cedar or other softwoods, which look great under a more rural-looking scape.
If you have a more modern look to your landscape, you can always go with painted mulch (several brands make varied colors including red, brown and black painted wood chips) that add a great color pop. And of course, you can always go all natural with your mulch, by saving your grass trimmings, fallen leaves and other yard scraps and spread it in garden beds for a nutrient-rich natural mulch.
Try a Rock Garden
Another sustainable way to change up the visual impact of your landscape is to convert a garden bed (or garden beds) into rock gardens. A rock garden is a beautiful, minimal maintenance, easily sustainable option that is also very drought-friendly. You can make a rock garden with several large boulders or stones surrounded by smaller rock, different types of gravel or crushed rock. You may even opt to add a couple of succulents or hearty, drought-tolerant plants (like rosemary or boxwoods), and you’ll have a beautiful landscape that is very water-efficient and low maintenance.
Plant a Tree
A new tree in the yard makes a big addition to your landscape that will last for many years to come. A beautiful, leafy maple or malleable, cypress tree can add variety, color and shade to your yard. With your innovative ideas on sprucing up your landscape, all you need to do is get your gardening gear and get to it! Your family, friends and neighbors will all be sure to notice your new rock garden, mulched beds or new tree next time you have company. And you’ll get that incredible satisfaction that comes along with a visually stimulating addition to your landscape.
89 Bird Street, Needham, MA 02492
It's time to find the perfect place of your own but becoming a property investor has one significant roadblock: a down payment. It’s something that can stop potential home buyers in their tracks.
While winning the lottery or inheriting a windfall would be fabulous, you don’t need those luxuries before you can buy a home. What you do need is a budget that gives you a strategy for saving while still attending to daily expenses. The challenge is that once you create the budget, you must protect it from the temptation to stray from it while you work toward homeownership.
Here are some proven savings tips AND the budget-busters to avoid along the way:
Strategies for Saving
Detached account. While it seems obvious, many people lack even one savings account. If you already have an account, open a separate one specifically for your down payment. Make sure that it is detached from your other accounts. Having a savings account designated specifically for your down payment may get you to think before dipping into it whenever other expenses arise.
Different bank. You can open an account at the same institution where you have a checking account but doing so makes it easy to move money back into your spending account. Open an account at a credit union or savings bank to which you'd have to make a special trip to remove funds.
Direct deposit. Have the down payment part of your paycheck deposited directly to your savings account. You'll avoid having immediate access to it. If you don't see it in your checking account, you are less likely to spend it.
Establish a Budget
Now that you have established a place to save funds, you need to create a budget to handle your remaining income. Many online programs will help you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. They are often free or low fee to use, and some give you access to a financial planner at a small cost. Here are some to get you started:
Many people resist living by a budget because it feels too restrictive. The notion that your budget monitors your spending keeps many from reaching even first-level financial goals. Money is a tool to help you get what you truly desire. If you wish to own a home, eliminate these budget-busters that will keep you from getting there:
Overpriced drinks. If your caffeine habit racks up more than $10 every day, consider cutting that expense in half. If you saved five dollars each day, you could add $1825 to your down payment account by year’s end.
Eating out. Just like a daily coffee break, restaurants and fast food meals can easily break a budget. Studies show the average American spends over $250 each month eating out. If that sounds like you, eat out half as often and bank another $125 each month. Over 12 months, that’s $1500 more towards your down payment.
Clothes. Many offices allow casual dress so spending on clothes for work might not be necessary. If you work in an environment that requires professional attire, purchase a few high-quality pieces that you can style in different ways with lower-cost items.
Expensive vacations. The travel bug bites in every season. Even a cheap flight with a hotel and rental car can result in a fairly large expense. Instead, you may opt for a getaway that is within driving distance while you’re working through your savings plan.
These budget-busters could add up to $6000 or more annually. That could be enough to qualify for a down payment when using an FHA loan. Add to that a portion of any extra money you receive throughout the months for bonuses, birthdays, holidays, rebates, and tax refunds, and your down payment account can grow significantly in just one year.
If you want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey, you should be open to negotiating with a homebuyer. Because if you communicate with a property buyer, you may increase your chances of enjoying a quick, successful home selling experience.
There is no need to stress about a home negotiation. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you handle a negotiation with a homebuyer.
1. Consider the Buyer's Perspective
Both a home seller and homebuyer share a common goal: to reach an agreement on a house sale. If you analyze both sides of a home negotiation, you may be better equipped than ever before to come to terms with a buyer.
Ultimately, it may be beneficial to make small sacrifices to ensure you and a buyer can find common ground during a negotiation. If you are willing to work with a buyer, you may find that a buyer will work with you too. And as a result, you and a buyer could reach an agreement that satisfies the needs of both parties.
2. Evaluate Your Options
A home negotiation can be stressful, but there is no need to let stress get the best of you. Instead, you should try to stay calm and consider your options as you navigate a negotiation. That way, you can make informed home selling decisions.
Oftentimes, it is helpful to review housing market data as you negotiate with a homebuyer. Information about the prices of recently sold houses in your area that are similar to your own, for example, may help you explain why you want a certain price for your residence.
You also should be unafraid to walk away from a home negotiation. If you feel you cannot find common ground with a buyer, you can continue to promote your residence to prospective buyers until you receive an offer to purchase that matches your expectations.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
There is no need to enter a home negotiation on your own. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can negotiate with a buyer on your behalf.
During a home negotiation, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you achieve the optimal results. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home negotiation. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations about whether to accept, reject or counter a buyer's offer to purchase your house.
Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent provides after you accept an offer to purchase, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you prepare for a home closing. He or she will respond to any of your home closing concerns or questions as well.
Be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare for a home negotiation and boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your residence.