Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Century 21 North Shore / Cape Cod



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 6/8/2017

Trappings of fame have caused several celebrities to build a fortress around them. It’s reached the point where it has become a status symbol to live in a massive house and to go nowhere without armed guards.

This phenomenon dates back decades, if not longer. Queens and kings, monarchs and princes sequestered themselves in massive castles. Today’s presidents keep a constant entourage of security around them, some presidents not daring to venture outside, not even on their house porch, absent a guard.

Signs your house has become mentally toxic

From the outside, these happenings can appear as hallmark events that signal you made it, that you’re a big success. Yet, humans need to connect with one another to remain emotionally and mentally healthy. In fact, studies have shown that when people connect in-person and communicate more, play together and share concerns, it can lead to improved health.

But, how do you know that your house has become mentally toxic? Check out these signs:

  • You only go outside to commute to work
  • Your friends have started to tell you that the only time they see you is when they visit you at your house
  • Your dog or cat is starting to nudge you, pushing you toward the front or back door and not just because they have torelieve themselves
  • When new dust forms on your living room tables, you spot exactly where the dust is almost immediately
  • An eerie or uncomfortable feeling comes over you when you do venture outside on non-work days
  • Sleeping in all day sounds like a perfect thing to do to you. In fact, you’re starting to sleep in all day at least two to three times a month
  • In the last year, you’ve packed on 15 to 30pounds, and all because you’ve taken to spending most of your days and nights inside your house
  • Excuses are what you give your family and friends whenever they invite you to go with them to a fun place away from home
  • Most of your spare money goes to add on another room or to buy a new gadget for – you got it, your house

Love your house without turning it into your prison

A house should provide protection from natural elements. It should offer a sense of security from weather storms, intruders and strangers passing in the night. Your sweetest memories could well be created in your house, family and friends circling your kitchen or dining room table as you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or the ringing in of a new year.

But, a house should not become such a fortress that it isolates you and prevents you from meeting new people and enjoying rewarding experiences. As tempting as it might be, you also probably don’t want your house to become so comfortable that you view it as a hideout. Yes. You want a home that meets your dwelling needs. You want a place that’s beautifully designed, a perfect match for your personality.What you don’t want is for your house to entice you into a rut and cause you to become bored with life.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 6/1/2017

Many new homeowners are eager to begin renovations on their home to make it fit the beautiful picture they have in their mind. Unfortunately the aesthetic improvements, while important, are often prioritized over important structural and functional repairs that should be made first. The key to making smart financial decisions for renovating your home is to have a good budget and to stick to it. Home improvements are one of the few expenses that people often forget to budget for, alongside car repairs and emergency medical expenses. If done properly, however, a budget will help you prioritize your repairs so you'll spend your time and money wisely. In this article, we'll explain how to budget for home repairs in a way that works for you and your family.

Understanding your money

To budget for home improvements, you first need to budget for other things in your life. Use an app or website like Mint or You Need a Budget to get a better understanding of how you spend your money. For some, budgeting for home improvements may mean cutting back on other spending areas. Fortunately, these apps break down all of your purchases by categories and help you spend less each month.

Ranking your renovations

If you're dying to update the bathroom but the roof needs to be redone, you should call the roofers first. Some home improvements are a ticking time bomb: deteriorating roofs, poor insulation, HVAC issues, water damage, and safety concerns like fire hazards are all problems that need to be addressed first on your budget. Some will save you money, others could save your life, but all of them are more important than adding closet space in your bathroom.

Estimating costs

Do your research when it comes to the the cost of repairs and home improvements. Once you have a ballpark figure, add it into your budgeting app as a new item on your budget. There is a general rule, when budgeting for home repairs, that you should set aside 1% of the cost of your home for maintenance and repairs each year. However, there are many other factors involved in how much it will cost to upkeep your home like the age of the house, the weather in your area, and how well-maintained the home was before you bought it.

Sticking to your budget

Everyone starts with good intentions, but keeping a budget isn't easy. Thankfully, it has been made much more manageable with the help of apps and websites that link right to your bank accounts. To stick to your home repair budget, make sure you sign up for reminders on your spending and progress. If you're keeping a budget the old fashioned way (pen and paper), put reminders on your calendar each month to check if you're spending too much on home repairs. Another key to successful budgeting it to make sure everyone in the house is on the same page. If your significant other plays a role in home repairs, go over your budget together. This will help you keep one another accountable and set priorities that work for everyone.