Color Reinvigorates a Centuries-Old Townhouse

Houzz Tour: Color Reinvigorates a Centuries-Old Townhouse via @Houzz#Color #TownhouseRenovation, May 30th, 2016

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Before and After: A Historic Sitting Room Makeover

Before and After: A Historic Sitting Room Makeover via @bostonmagazine#SittingRoomMakeover #JuniorLeagueofBoston

bostonmagazine, May 30th, 2016

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All Gave Some, Some Gall All

KCM Crew, May 30th, 2016

All Gave Some. Some Gave All. | Keeping Current Matters
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Chilled Wine Box Makes A Fun Feature Wall

Room of the Day: Chilled Wine Box Makes a Fun Feature Wall via @Houzz#ChilledWineBox #FunfeatureWall, May 30th, 2016

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Daily Architecture Cruises Kick Off Memorial Day Weekend

Daily Architecture Cruises Kick off Memorial Day Weekend via @bostonmagazine#ArchitectureCruise #MemorialDayWeekend

bostonmagazine, May 28th. 2016

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How to Prepare your Home to Save on Summer Utility Bills

The REal Estate Book, May 26th, 2016

By Ameeta Jain, HomeSelfe Co-Founder
Summer is right around the corner! When the temperatures heat up, you may notice that your utility bills slowly begin to increase as well. But don’t worry, there’s still time to prepare your home to save on utility bills this summer.

Start with these simple tips:

Install a programmable thermostat.

Newer thermostat models allow you to set different temperatures for various times throughout the day. For example, you could set your thermostat to turn off while you’re at work and then cool down right around the time you’re on your way home. These programmable thermostats allow you to cut back the energy used by your air conditioner and therefore save on utility bills.

Apply window film.

You may have heard that installing drapes or blinds on your windows will help you cut down on the heat that flows into your home, which is true. However, some homeowners are hesitant about blocking their beautiful views with thick drapes or opaque blinds. A great option for homeowners to use that will allow them to see out their windows while also blocking heat from entering the home is window film. The best part? Many window films are designed for an easy install. Just measure the size of your window, cut the film, and stick it on to start your journey to save on utility bills.

Clean your air filters.

What’s one thing that could be standing between you and your ability to save on utility bills? Dirty air filters. Regardless of what kind of heating and cooling unit you have, cleaning the air filters on a regular basis is important, especially before the hot summer months. When filters get dirty, the heating and cooling system has to work harder and consume more energy to do its job. With clean filters, the system can cool your home more efficiently and help you save on utility bills.

Collect rainwater.

Are you living in an area that experiences heavy rainfall during summer? If so, consider using rain barrels this summer to collect rainwater and use it to water your garden. Rain barrels, typically made of plastic or wood, sit at the end of your gutter downspout and collect the rainwater as it flows out. When the storm is over, you’ll have a good amount of water that you can recycle on your garden during drier times. Using a rain barrel will help you cut down on your water use and therefore save on utility bills.

Add mulch to your garden.

Do you feel like you have to water your garden over and over to keep plants alive? Try laying down mulch throughout your garden. Mulch helps prevent evaporation so water will stay on the ground longer, giving your plants more time to absorb it. Now that your plants will be more hydrated, you won’t have to water them as frequently and will be able to save on utility bills.

Learn new recipes.

Many popular recipes require the use of an oven or stove, however these appliances can seriously heat up your home and cause you to crank down the thermostat to cool off. Before summer rolls around, think of meals you can make without these hot appliances, such as salads, sandwiches, or even recipes in a slow cooker, since these appliances don’t emit as much heat.

Remember, although these tips are for summer, they can be used year-round. It’s always a good time to reduce your energy consumption and save on utility bills!

Source: HomeSelfe

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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In a Seller’s Market: Is It Time to Downsize?

KCM Crew, May 26th, 2016

In a Seller's Market: Is it Time to Downsize? | Keeping Current MattersA study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market. In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1-1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10-20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process. also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire. This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Reportrevealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can help guide you through the process.

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