Christine Metros Natale's Blog
Your backyard is just as much a part of your property as your kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. And yet, you may not spend very much time enjoying the space when all is said and done. If you want to give yourself a reason to get out in the fresh air, you may have to invest in a few luxury items that will make the Great Outdoors worthwhile.
Just Add Water
The trickling of water can bring a sense of peace to residents and visitors alike. Displaying it near a dining table can make a meal, snack, or glass of wine that much more enjoyable, especially at the end of a difficult day. Look for fountains that fit the home's overall style. A more modern home may look better with a fountain of intricate stonework than a traditional two-tiered contraption.
You can also consider adding a rain garden to the yard (an indented area that collects runoff from the roof or driveway). Rain gardens are great for the environment and they're perfect for planting colorful flowers and attractive beautiful butterflies.
The Drama of Fire
Permanent fire pits can be installed in the yard to add more character as well as functionality. These pits can be used year-round, giving warmth to chilly nights and even providing a chance to roast anything from hot dogs to marshmallows. (A fire pit should be placed away from the home, ideally on a patch of concrete or stone pavement.)
You can also purchase a quality grill, one with countertop and fridge space for more gourmet cook-outs. Even amateur home cooks can add a little flair to their burgers, sausages and chicken by giving everything just the right amount of char.
Industrial lighting strung over the backyard can give it an outdoor bistro vibe that's perfect for quiet nights and big gatherings alike. It's equally fitting for winter holidays as it is for summer festivities. Use ambient lighting throughout the main areas and task lighting to illuminate the paths and deck of the yard.
Adding a cluster of lights above an outdoor bar can also be a way to create extra stations on your property. From the fire pit to the cooking station to the bar, you create a flow to the outdoors that will keep everyone having a great time.
No matter how you spruce up your back yard, remember that there's no harm in investing in the area. If you're only using a small fraction of your property, you're missing out on everything you've worked so hard to build.
575 Andover St., Lowell, MA 01852
41-43 Allen St, Arlington, MA 02474
41-43 Allen St, Arlington, MA 02474
You’ve finally found the perfect home. It’s got the number of bedrooms you wanted, a spacious kitchen, updated bathrooms, and even a beautiful vegetable garden out back. Now comes the tricky part—how to pay for it.
Numerous home buyers find financing their mortgages through a credit union to be a good option. According to Magnify Money, approximately nine percent of mortgages are held by credit unions. These non-profit organizations essentially operate like banks, but are more laid back, less aggressive, and easy to work with. Here are some of the top benefits you’ll find when financing your mortgage through a credit union.
Experience a Simplified Lending Process
As a part of their philosophy, credit unions put a higher priority on customer service than they do profits. They don’t have to answer to external stockholders and put priority on profits the way traditional for-profit banks do. As a result, credit unions are equipped to offer easier loan approvals and decent mortgage rates. Even if you have a lower credit score or have saved a smaller down payment than traditionally required, you can usually find a credit union willing to work with you.
Enjoy Lower Fees & Put Money Back into Your Pocket
Credit unions are known to offer fewer origination fees and lower processing costs because they don’t have the same requirements banks do. For instance, credit unions don’t have to pay federal taxes and need to break every year due to their non-profit status. These savings are usually passed onto their members.
Build a Personal Relationship with Lender
Many mortgage seekers find they enjoy working with an entity that strives to treat them as a person, not as a distant account number. Since many credit unions are smaller entities than their for-profit banking counterparts, they typically offer a “small-town” feel, even if they are a large credit union. This is because their memberships are limited to specific affiliations.
Also, a consideration you might find of value is the fact credit unions don’t typically sell out to other entities. Chances are you’ll have one lender to deal with through the lifetime of your mortgage (although not a 100% guarantee). If you borrow from a bank, chances increase for your loan to change hands many times over the years.
There are many benefits to knowing who services your loan. If a problem or other issue arises, you’ll almost always know who you can turn to and where to send your payment.
How to Join a Credit Union
Ideally, you’ll want to be preapproved before starting your home search so you know how much you qualify for and don’t waste time looking at homes out of your price range—this is no matter what lender you ultimately decide to take out a mortgage with. But if you’re looking for low maintenance and high- quality lenders, a credit union might suit your needs.
If you’re not sure you can join one, be sure to consider all of your personal and professional affiliations, be they your college alumni, employer, HOA or church, to name a few. You can find out which ones you are eligible to join by checking your affiliations at CUlookup.com.