Catherine Albiani - Sales Associate - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth | Winchester, MA


Photo by Layton Diament on Unsplash

Large homes use a considerable amount of energy throughout the year, especially from heating and cooling. Making some upgrades to your home can significantly reduce your energy usage while also boosting the value of your home. If you’ve been thinking about making your home more energy-efficient, consider one or more of the following eco-friendly upgrades.

Solar Panels

Solar panels provide you with a way to generate energy for your home without having to rely on fossil fuels or other sources of nonrenewable energy. These panels convert sunlight into usable energy to power appliances, lighting, HVAC systems and other items in your home. Having solar panels means you’ll be using a renewable source of energy to produce electricity, which decreases your dependence on fossil fuels. 

When you install solar panels, you can also expect the value of your home to rise. According to Money Magazine, solar panels raised home values in the U.S. by roughly 4 percent. This increase in value could add thousands of dollars to the sale price of your home when you put it on the market.  

Indoor Greenery

Making your large home more eco-friendly can involve literally making it more green. Bringing greenery into your home helps improve your indoor air quality by removing pollutants and allergens. Having plants around has also been linked to better physical and emotional well-being through improved mood and reduced stress, according to a study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 

Rather than placing a few houseplants around your home, consider going bigger with a living wall. These are walls or columns made out of various plants and flowers. Living walls can provide you with the health benefits of indoor greenery while also making your home more decorative. The types of plants that would work best for a living wall in your home will depend on different factors, such as the amount of sunlight that part of your home gets.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

From floor lamps to chandeliers and landscape lights, the amount of energy your home uses for lighting adds up quickly. Changing to energy-efficient lighting provides a simple way to reduce this type of energy usage. Switching to LED bulbs can help you use roughly 75 percent less energy compared to traditional light bulbs. Having skylights installed is another way to use less energy for lighting your home. Skylights allow you to enjoy stunning views of your surroundings and increase the amount of natural light your home gets on a regular basis. Adding skylights in one or more rooms or areas can also boost the value of your home.


The real estate market offers no guarantees for house sellers. Thus, even if your home boasts lots of great features and is available at an appealing price, there is no guarantee that your residence will sell quickly.

Ultimately, a home seller must act aggressively to promote his or her residence to the right groups of buyers. With an aggressive approach to the home selling journey, an individual can boost the likelihood of enjoying a quick, profitable house selling experience.

There are many things that you can do to stay aggressive as you strive to sell your home, and these include:

1. Study the Local Housing Market

The local housing market may fluctuate. Fortunately, a home seller who analyzes the local real estate sector closely can gain the insights that he or she needs to speed up the house selling cycle.

Take a look at houses as they are added to the real estate market in your city or town. By doing so, you can see how comparable houses stack up against your residence. And if you find that your home pales in comparison to similar residences, you can perform myriad house upgrades.

Furthermore, if you find that the price of your home is much higher than the prices of comparable houses in your area, you may want to lower your residence's price. This may help you stir up lots of interest in your home from buyers, as well as accelerate the home selling journey.

2. Maintain Your Home's Appearance

You may have already dedicated substantial time and resources to upgrade your house's interior and exterior. However, if you fail to keep your house looking great, it may be tough to achieve your desired home selling results.

Perform regular house cleaning both inside and outside your residence. This will ensure that your house boasts amazing curb appeal. Also, once buyers enter your residence, they may fall in love with your residence's interior.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent usually has a simple goal: to help a seller seamlessly navigate the house selling journey. Therefore, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can work with a diligent housing market professional who will do everything possible to help you succeed.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with a home seller and craft a personalized house selling strategy. He or she then will put this plan into action and promote a seller's residence to prospective buyers. Plus, if a seller receives an offer to purchase his or her house, a real estate agent will help this individual review the homebuying proposal. And if a seller decides to accept the offer to purchase, a real estate agent will make it easy for this individual to finalize his or her home sale.

Ready to add your residence to the housing market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can take an aggressive approach to streamline the home selling journey.


The home selling journey varies from person to person. If an individual prepares for this journey, he or she may be better equipped than others to avoid problems along the way. On the other hand, an individual who is unprepared for the property selling journey may struggle to achieve the best-possible results.

There are many things that an individual can do to enjoy a memorable home selling experience. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for the house selling journey.

1. Upgrade Your House's Curb Appeal

How your house looks to prospective buyers can have far-flung effects on your home selling experience. If you allocate time and resources to enhance your residence's curb appeal, you could make your house an attractive choice to dozens of potential buyers.

Upgrading your house's curb appeal can be simple. For example, mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges generally won't take long to complete and can help your residence impress potential buyers. You can always repair or replace any damaged home siding as well.

If you require additional help with home exterior upgrades, contractors are available in cities and towns nationwide. In fact, these professionals can help you quickly improve your residence's curb appeal.

2. Set a Competitive Initial Asking Price

It is important to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence, regardless of whether you are operating in a buyer's or seller's market. Otherwise, you risk alienating potential buyers – something that may result in a time-intensive home selling journey.

To set a competitive initial asking price for your home, it may be beneficial to analyze local housing market data. Compare and contrast your home versus similar residences that are available in your city or town, and you can use these insights to price your residence accordingly.

In addition, you can hire a home appraiser before you list your house. A home appraiser will provide a property valuation that you can use to establish an aggressive price for your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker during the home selling journey, and for good reason. This housing market professional understands what it takes to sell a home and will do whatever it takes to help you enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will develop a personalized home selling strategy for you. Thus, if you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will help you do just that. Or, if you want to optimize the earnings from your house sale, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you can get the best price for your house.

As you prepare to add your house to the real estate market, there is no need to worry. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a seamless property selling experience.


Image by Nancy Buron from Pixabay

If you're like many homeowners who prefer a natural landscape plan, your outdoor living space undoubtedly features lush vegetation and bright, blooming flowers. However, you might also have the sense that something is missing but can't quite put your finger on what it might be. If this describes you, the missing element is probably hardscaping. Hardscaping refers to elements of landscaping that aren't plants, such as water features, statuary, gazebos and garden paths.

At its best, hardscaping brings functionality to the table as well as enhances aesthetics. Few things do this better than a rustic stone walkway meandering over the property. Here's how to make it happen yourself over the course of an average weekend. 

Select Your Stones

Stones used for walkways should be flat, wide and thick enough to withstand foot traffic. Choosing stone that is found naturally in your area cuts down on retail and delivery costs. Avoid using polished stones because these present potential slip-and-fall issues due to their slick surfaces. Stones that are between two and three inches thick offer better stability than their thinner counterparts and often come with a more attractive price tag as well. 

Lay Out Your Walkway

The first step is to determine your walkway. Avoid straight lines -- stone walkaways are meant to meander. Garden hoses are ideal for marking garden paths that curve. Use a sod cutter and a flat spade to cut and remove the grass, and dig out the soil where you want to place the stones to about a depth of five inches and make sure it's firmly tamped down before placing landscape fabric and adding a two-inch layer of sand over it. 

After smoothing down the sand so it provides a flat surface, it's time to lay down the stones. This part is a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, so take your time to figure out the placement. Be sure to use a carpenter's level to make certain that the stones are at the same height, and add or remove sand as needed. However, if you live in an area that receives significant amounts of precipitation, slightly sloping the larger stones toward the outside of your walkaway helps prevent standing water issues.

Landscape the Walkway

Some people prefer the clean, austere aesthetic of pebble or oyster shell mulch in the gaps between the stones, while others like the rustic, tousled look provided by low-growing herbaceous plants. Corsican mint is an excellent choice because it has a bright green color all year round and releases a divine, minty aroma. Other choices include creeping thyme, rock cress, artemisia and sedum. You can also mix it up with a variety of ground covers for a classic, cottage garden look. 


Purchasing a house on a budget can be difficult for even the most diligent property buyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you create an effective homebuying budget and reduce the temptation to spend beyond your means to acquire your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a property buying budget.

1. Examine Your Finances Closely

Your income, everyday expenses and other financial factors may impact your ability to buy a house. Therefore, you should analyze your finances closely to determine how much you can spend on a residence.

Once you evaluate your finances, you can establish a price range for your home search. Next, you can kick off a house search and move one step closer to acquiring your dream house.

2. Get Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number based on your outstanding debt, length of credit history and other factors. It may have a major impact on your ability to secure home financing and establish a successful homebuying budget. As such, you should review your credit score and work to improve it before you enter the housing market.

To obtain your credit score, you can request a copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau. Thus, you should take advantage of this complimentary perk and obtain your credit report as soon as you can.

If you identify outstanding debt on your credit report, you should work to pay this off. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, you should contact the bureau that provided the report to fix these mistakes.

3. Meet with Lenders

Banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you to discuss various home financing options. If you consult with these lenders, you may be better equipped than ever before to create a successful homebuying budget before you launch a house search.

Ultimately, lenders can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you get a mortgage prior to searching for a house, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can speed up your home search and discover your dream house faster than ever before.

As you get ready to begin your quest for your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top lenders in your area and help you secure home financing. Furthermore, a real estate agent can tailor a home search to your property buying budget. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you negotiate with a seller's agent to ensure you can get the best price on any home, at any time.

Create an effective homebuying budget – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a property buying budget and use it to streamline your home search.




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