Lynne Eliopoulos
ERA Key Realty Services | 508-832-1032 | [email protected]


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 1/24/2021

Ready to buy or sell a house? With the right real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble acquiring a new home or selling your current residence.

Ultimately, it is important to assess a variety of real estate agents. This will enable you to find the right housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying or home selling journey and ensure you can get the best results possible.

Comparing and contrasting several real estate agents may seem difficult at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of hiring the ideal real estate agent.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you evaluate real estate agents.

1. Industry Experience

An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. As such, he or she can offer comprehensive housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Take a look at a real estate agent's background and education. By doing so, you can learn more about this housing market professional's experience and determine whether this individual is the right person to guide you along the homebuying or home selling journey.

2. Communication Skills

Is a real estate agent an effective negotiator? Meet with a real estate agent, and you can learn about his or her communication skills.

A real estate agent should possess the communication skills to succeed in any housing market, at any time. He or she should be able to help you make sense of the housing market and respond to your concerns or questions as the homebuying or home selling journey progresses.

Furthermore, a real estate agent should be unafraid to be honest with you Ė without exception. This housing market professional will provide you with the support you need throughout the homebuying or home selling process. That way, you can reap the benefits of a fast, seamless homebuying or home selling journey.

3. Client Referrals

What are past clients saying about a real estate agent? Ask a real estate agent for client referrals, and you can gain first-hand knowledge about how a particular housing market professional supports his or her clients.

Typically, a real estate agent should be able to provide you with multiple client referrals. As a homebuyer or home seller, it is your responsibility to reach out to these past clients and use their insights to make an informed decision about a real estate agent.

Client referrals are exceedingly valuable because they can help you better understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent. They also can give you a glimpse into whether a particular real estate agent can provide you with the assistance you need to accomplish your homebuying or home selling goals.

Allocate the necessary time and resources to compare and contrast several real estate agents Ė you'll be glad you did. If you find the right real estate agent today, you can move one step closer to enjoying an unforgettable homebuying or home selling experience.





Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 1/17/2021

Image by Mark Dixon from Pixabay

Maybe it's time to get your garden ready, or maybe you already have a few scraggly plants that need some support; but pre-made trellises can be both pricey and flimsey.  Instead of spending a lot to get a product that will fall apart after one, wet spring, why not make this sturdy trellis that can be used for years to come?  If you follow these plans, your final trellis will be 4' 8" tall and 3' 7" wide, fitting well into a four-foot, raised bed and will cost less than $15 to make.  

Read on to learn how to make this inexpensive and environmentally-friendly trellis for your garden!

Materials:

  • Five, 1" x 2" x 8' boards
  • Small screws and nails
  • Four braces
  • Stakes made of rot-resistant wood, found at garden supply stores.  Redwood, cedar, cypress, hemlock or juniper stakes are good choices.
  • 100% cotton thread/yarn, 8 ply or similar

Directions:

  1. Cut four, 1" x 2" x 8' boards, dividing them into 3' 4" and 4' 8" pieces.  Cut the remaining 1" x 2" x 8' board into four equal pieces, each 2' in length.
  2. Set up on blocks or 2x4s and screw the 3' 4" and 4' 8" pieces together to make a rectangular frame, pre-drilling holes to prevent splitting.
  3. Attach braces at all four corners.  To make a brace, you will need to cut a small piece of wood that will fit into all four corners.  To learn how to cut off square, check out this short instructional video here, or you can purchase four, pre-made braces.
  4. Drill pilot holes to attach the redwood stakes to the bottom of the trellis and screw together with significant overlap but enough to allow the stake to stick out approximately 6" below the trellis.  
  5. Drive small nails into the trellis frame at 6" intervals such that approximately 1/3" still sticks out of the wood.  Omit nails at the four corners.
  6. Tie the thread to the lowest nail on your frame and extend to its companion nail on the other side.  Pull the thread upwards to the next nail on the same side of the frame, then extend across the frame again.  Continue with this pattern until you have thread extended horizontally all the way up your trellis.
  7. When you reach the top, extend your thread from the last nail along the sides to the first nail at the top of the trellis, such that your thread lines up to the brace.  Repeat the process again, pulling the thread vertically this time.  At the end of the process, you should have a 6" x 6" grid throughout your trellis.
  8. Repeat steps 1-8 to create a second, identical trellis.
  9. Take your first trellis and place it in its intended location.  Then, gently hammer at the top so that the stakes are driven into the dirt.  Take your next trellis and measure two feet away from your first.  Hammer it in as previous.
  10. Drill pilot holes and attach the trellis frames together with one of your 2' pieces of wood near the top of the trellis.  Repeat on the opposite side.  If desired, attach the trellis frames together a second time, 2' lower on your frame, using your remaining two, 2' pieces of wood.
  11. Weave any existing plants into the structure of your trellis.
  12. When growing season is over, simply cut the string away from the frame and compost the 100% cotton string and plants together!  You can unscrew the 2' pieces to lay your trellis flat for winter storage or keep it in place in your garden for next year.




Categories: DIY  


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 1/10/2021

When youíre buying a home, thereís a lot of excitement that surrounds the search and purchase of the property. In the process of buying a home, however, there are many things that buyers forget to take into account during their search and budgeting. Below, youíll find some information to help you be prepared as a buyer to consider your home purchase from all angles without missing a beat.  


The Expense Of Closing Costs


Remember that closing costs will be somewhere in the 3-5 percent range of the purchase price of a home. Amidst all of your savings, youíll need to consider this a part of your expenses. Closing costs need to be paid upfront in most cases. You can roll your closing costs into the financing, but it depends on the circumstances. There are no guarantees that the lender will agree to it. Your realtor can also sometimes negotiate for the sellers to pay the closing costs, but in a sellerís market this is quite rare. Be prepared with your closing costs and understand how much youíll need to spend so that you have an appropriate amount for the downpayment and the other expenses that youíll incur during the process of buying a home.  


The Cost Of Maintaining A House


Many buyers forget about all of the costs that they will need to pay for after they finish buying the house. In addition to a monthly mortgage payment, youíll need to pay for things like utilities, routine home maintenance, furnishings, and more. If you completely deplete your savings for the purchase of the home, thereís not a whole lot of wiggle room for you to pay for additional needs in the house. 


The Cost Of Furnishing And Decorating A Home


You may move into a home with a few pieces that you have previously owned. You could also need a lot of things from a bed to a sofa. All of these items can add up. You may even have to worry about little things like window shades, curtains, lamps, light bulbs, and more. 


Home Repairs Can Cost A Pretty Penny


If something needs to be done in your home, the repairs can cost you quite a bit. If youíre not paying attention during the home inspection, youíll be in for some surprises. Thatís why you need a good realtor to help you through the process. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars. New appliances are an expense you should plan for. Other major work that needs to be done around the house can also dip into your savings significantly. As a buyer, you need to be prepared for any of these expected or completely unexpected costs.           





Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 1/3/2021

Image by B. Forenius from Shutterstock

There are some overlooked places in your home that need proper lighting. A good example is a closet. Whether a closet is small or large, proper lighting is essential for safety and good illumination. When building a new space or upgrading an existing one, these tips will help you choose the ideal lighting. 

Safety first

Closet lighting fixtures should be installed at least 12 inches away from where your clothes will be stored. Light and heat from bulbs can be harmful to your clothes especially if exposed for extended periods. Avoid heat issues by choosing LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) over incandescent lights. Using LEDs or CFLs in your closet provides the right amount of light, gives off less heat and saves energy. 

Halogen lights generate a significant amount of heat. They are not suitable for enclosed spaces like closets so avoid halogen fixtures in this application. 

Color temperature

Consider the color temperature of the lightbulbs you select. A color temperature within the range of 3000k-3500k provides bright, white light that is perfect for a closet. Selecting the right color temperature allows you to see the color of your clothes more accurately: no more guessing if your pants are black or dark blue.

Illuminate dark areas

Many closets include shelves and cabinets. Natural light or wall-mounted fixtures may not reach the far corners of these spaces. Consider installing under cabinet lighting to brighten the darker corners. Under-cabinet lighting comes in assorted sizes that can be customized for your closet. LED tape lights offer endless possibilities because of their thin profile and flexibility.

Choosing the perfect light for your closet can make big impact on your space. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your updates. If you do not have existing fixtures, consult with an experienced electrician to help with installation and placement.




Categories: Home improvement  


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 12/27/2020

Your thirties are a time of many important financial decisions. Many people are starting families, buying homes, and getting settled into their careers by the time they turn thirty. The following ten years are often marked by salary increases, moving into larger homes, and saving for retirement.

Itís vital to have a solid grasp on personal finance in your thirties, as it is in many ways the foundation of your finances for the decades to come. So, in this article weíre going to give you some advice on buying a home and managing your money in your thirties.

Straighten out your credit

If your twenties were a volatile time of incurring debts from student loans, car loans, and other expenses, then itís paramount to get your credit in order in your early thirties. Having a high credit score can secure you lower interest rates on a home loan or let you refinance your loans at lower rates.

Start by making sure your bills are on auto-pay, and be sure to settle any older debts from your younger years. You can also use a credit card for recurring expenses, such as gas to get to work or groceries, and then pay them off in full each month. This way, youíll build credit and avoid accruing  interest at the same time.

Reevaluate your lifestyle and long term goals

A lot can change from the time you turn 25 to the time you turn 35. Your goals might shift from finding a home near the ocean to finding a home near a good school district for your children. You might also have the shocking realization that your children will be heading to college sooner than it might seem, and that youíre still working on paying off your own student debt.

Consider things like the size house youíll need for your family, where you want to live and whether that involves being close to aging parents, and reallocating money depending on your retirement goals.

Rethink your insurance coverage

Gone are the days when all you needed was a car insurance policy to get by. As you age and your responsibilities grow, youíll need to think about the future for you and your family. That may include a more comprehensive health insurance plan for your family, a life insurance policy for yourself, or increased covered for home and auto insurance.

Automate the headaches away

With all of these growing responsibilities, it can be easy to get frustrated with the time youíre losing to keeping your finance in order. Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal in the internet age that will make all of those responsibilities an afterthought.

First, get a budget planning app, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). Next, set up your bills to auto-pay if you havenít yet. Then, put reminders in your phone to periodically check your credit score and reassess whether you need to pay for certain monthly services (do you still watch Hulu?). Finally, if you havenít yet, make sure you have your paychecks direct deposited into the accounts youíd like them to enter so you donít have to worry about them.