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



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/29/2018

New England is infamous for its old homes and with old homes comes gorgeous, original hardwood floors. Maybe homebuyers have original flooring at the top of their wishlist when home shopping. While you may know how much you adore your hardwood floors, you may not know how to properly care for them. Keep reading for tips on how to keep your new to you hardwood floors in boast-worthy shape. Preemptively prevent scratches and tough to clean buildup by adding mats to any doors leading outside. Not only do they add a nice visual touch, but more importantly they help prevent dirt and outdoor grime from being tracked over your hardwood floors. You will make daily clean up easier on yourself while saving your floors from potential scratches. Institute a no-shoes in the house policy to further prevent any debris from finding their way throughout your home. You will especially want to avoid wearing high heels and cleats in any rooms with hardwood flooring. These types of shoes can put dents and scratches in to the floor that will require a professional to help resuscitate your floors back to their former glory. Create a mudroom area in your home with a bench and shoe rack. This will make it easy for your family members to follow the no shoe rule. Investing in a mat that catches water and slush run off from shoes on bad weather days is also a great way to prevent water damage to your floors. Sweep your floors daily to catch any dirt they may have found it’s way into your home and onto your hardwood floors. Vacuum once a week for a more thorough clean. Once a month you will want to clean your floors with a microfiber cloth and light mist of water. Ensure that you do not soak your floors as water can cause them to swell and become damaged with time. Avoid cleaners for tile or vinyl surfaces and never steam clean your hardwood floors. Install felt pads to the bottoms of any furniture you have in rooms with hardwood flooring. This will help prevent scratches from everyday furniture use. You will want to regularly replace these pads however since dirt can build up on the bottoms and create a sandpaper-like surface that can lead to damage. When rearranging furniture lift the piece off the floor to carry it over to where you would like it placed and then carefully set it down instead of pushing it across your hardwood floors. While this may entail extra help from a family member to do, it will prevent unsightly gashes along your floors from dragging your furniture across the room. Original flooring in an old New England home is a major selling point for many homebuyers. Restoring old hardwood floors to their original condition can be pricey, however, by taking preliminary measures to prevent damage you can avoid bringing an expert in to fix your mistakes. And when all it takes to maintain your floors is a few minutes each day it’s a win-win situation!





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/22/2018

Once you have moved into a new home the first thing you might want to do is paint the walls. After the paint dries, however, you’re left with bare walls. You’ll need to find some great pieces to fill up that wall space. You don’t want to choose just anything to hang on your walls. Here’s some tips to help you find the perfect artwork for your home. 



Find What You Love


You shouldn’t base your art purchases solely on value. If you like something and it inspires you, you should buy it! Anything that you will enjoy looking at in your home each day should be a part of it.  


There’s More Than One Kind Of Art


You don’t need to fill wall space with all pictures or paintings. You can choose from a variety of types of artwork. From sculptures to photographs to canvas art, by using a variety of pieces, you’ll add layers of depth to every room of your home.


Shop Around


There’s so many places to buy art. From local shops and vendors to wider selections in common retail stores, there’s plenty of art to choose from. Find pieces to help you express yourself and keep good vibes flowing throughout your home. 


Find The Right Size


You’ll need to measure the dimensions of your walls and bring a photo of the room you’re trying to decorate with you to the art stores. This will make it easier to help you envision what the art will look like in your home.  


Keyword: Focal Point


The most important thing to determine in decorating any room is to find the focal point. You will either need to find a central piece for the room, or find some pieces to complement what’s already there. The design elements of the room need to be spaced accordingly in order to help you avoid a cluttered room.  


What’s Your Color Scheme? 


You may want to choose your art based on its “wow” factor. Everything has a color within a room, and this will be one element in choosing your artwork as well. You’ll need to think of everything from the wall color to the throw pillows. Art that is within the same shades of the room can work well, but sometimes you need something that gives the room a bit more “pop.” 


What’s In The Picture?


You don’t want to buy a picture of a palm tree if the room has a country theme! Consider the theme and mood of a piece of art in order to have it complement your room.


Most of all, shopping for art should be fun! Find pieces you love. You can even use what you already have. As long as it inspires you and won’t add clutter, you should keep the art in your home.  





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/15/2018

Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.

With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.

1. Refinance your mortgage

If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.

If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.

This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.

But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.

2. Make extra payments

An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.

Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.

3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year

Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.

The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.

This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.

On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.

Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/8/2018

Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.

Average remodeling costs

As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms you’re remodeling, and the type of repairs you’ll be making all factor into the equation.

Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if you’re buying an old home, you’ll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.

According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.

If you’re hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.

Lesser known costs of a home renovation

Remodeling a home isn’t as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once it’s finished, and that’s probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.

First, you’ll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, you’ll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.

If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs you’ll need to consider. First, understand that you likely won’t be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, we’re only human--you’ll be paying for it out of pocket.

Knowing your long term goals

An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.

However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.

Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, you’ll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.




Tags: renovations   budget   Remodel  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/1/2018

A garage sale represents a great opportunity for a home seller. This event enables you to eliminate clutter from your home as well as earn extra cash that you may be able to put toward your future residence. As such, a garage sale should not be taken lightly, and you should do everything you can to prep for this event. So what does it take to host a successful garage sale? Here are three tips that you need to know: 1. Make Your Garage Sale a Family-Friendly Event. It's tough to put together a garage sale on your own. However, you may be able to enlist family members and friends to help you transform an ordinary garage sale into an instant success. Family members and friends can help you organize the items you'd like to sell, offer assistance to shoppers who may be interested in various items and ensure you're able to clean up after your garage sale is complete. Of course, you should offer incentives to encourage family members and friends to help you with your garage sale, too. Whether it's hosting a barbecue in conjunction with your event or offering each helper a share of your garage sale profits, it's important to show your family members and friends that you appreciate their hard work and dedication as they work toward making your garage sale a success. 2. Avoid the Dangers of Overpricing. As a home seller, the goal of your garage sale should be to get rid of any excess items in your house. Thus, you need to avoid the dangers associated with overpricing, because asking too much for numerous items will do little to generate interest among shoppers. Try to be flexible about pricing during your garage sale. Typically, shoppers may ask to negotiate a price on an item, and you should be willing to reconsider your initial price if necessary. A successful negotiation will result in a win-win situation in which both you and the shopper are happy with the results. And with a flexible approach to pricing, you should have no trouble getting rid of a wide range of items at your garage sale and earning substantial profits along the way, too. 3. Don't Forget About the Importance of Customer Service. A customer-oriented approach is paramount throughout your garage sale, and it may enable you to maximize your sales during the event as well. If a shopper has a question, try to respond immediately. Or, if a shopper is ready to check out, provide service with a smile. A friendly, positive attitude can make a world of difference during a garage sale. Therefore, you should remain courteous and approachable during your event and be ready to assist shoppers in any way you can. Hosting a garage sale may seem like a major challenge, particularly for home sellers who lack extensive time and resources. But with the aforementioned tips, you can get organized and make the most of your garage sale.