Christine Natale | Real Estate, Lowell Real Estate, Melrose Real Estate, Essex County

If you are in the market for a new home, you probably have a lot on your mind. You might be dreaming about how many bedrooms you will need and how you could decorate those spaces. You might be spending your days imagining what your new backyard will look like and thinking about how you could enhance your outdoor living space.

In addition, you might be thinking about how you can purchase a home that will allow you to naturally glide into an eco-friendly lifestyle after the move. If you are on the hunt for a sustainable home, these are the features that you need to prioritize during your search:

Find a Home With Energy-Star Appliances

Anyone who is looking for a home is often searching for the best house within their price point that includes valuable features, such as new appliances. If you are interested in buying an eco-friendly home, one of the best features to look at first is the type of appliances that are installed in the home. Prioritize buying a home that has energy-star appliances that will be included as part of the purchase agreement, as this allows you to get efficient appliances along with the rest of the property.

Research the Building Materials Used in Construction

It's not often that you are going to look at a listing and see what types of materials were used to construct the home. If sustainable building materials are important to you, then you may have to ask your real estate agent to do a bit of digging to find out which materials are used throughout the home. Some sustainable materials to keep an eye out for include reclaimed barn wood, recycled steel or bamboo.

Choose a Home with Good Insulation

Insulation is the type of feature that is easy to overlook during the home buying process because it is not seen from the exterior or interior of the property. Nestled inside the walls and along the attic, insulation plays an important role in the overall efficiency of your home. Work with a home inspector in order to find out what kind of insulation was used throughout the home and when it was installed. Good insulation will keep your home comfortable and help keep your energy costs down.

Look for Landscaping Native to Your Region

Of course, you are likely going to be looking for a home with a well-kept yard that is easy to maintain, but take it a step further and find a home with a sustainable landscaping plan. Plants, shrubs and trees that are native to the area - and that are not considered invasive species - will grow and thrive in the local climate. You will not have to water them as frequently, and you can rest easy knowing that your outdoor space is good for you and the environment as a whole.

There's a common misconception that the only way to get an eco-friendly home is to build one yourself. While you certainly can work with a sustainable home builder to create the green home of your dreams from the ground up, you also can search the real estate market for existing properties that have environmentally-friendly features. Any prospective home buyer at any price point can find a home that will help them adopt a green lifestyle.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Staging your home to sell is a process that can involve many details. You want to make sure your home looks the best it might be so that it sells quickly and for a high price. Professional home stagers are there to help you with strategy and expert advice, but there are plenty of things you can do on your own. If you choose to take on staging your house yourself, there are some important do’s and don’ts.

Do: De-Clutter

The first step in any home staging project is to clean up your home. This means things like sweeping and dusting, but it also means removing, organizing or putting away any items that could look messy or unkempt. The most common sources of home clutter are books, children’s toys and dishes, so make sure you look out for them. Books that won’t fit on shelves can be stored or donated, and toys should be tucked away accordingly. In the kitchen, make sure your countertops are completely clear of foodstuffs, dishes and utensils. If you have lots of accessories or small decorations on surfaces like tables or shelves, consider paring down the number to create the illusion of more space.

Don’t: Forget the Yard

Your outdoor spaces might need some help with clutter as well. Don’t neglect your gardening tools or sports equipment that might be lying around. You will want to store or remove anything that could distract from the great selling points of your outdoor spaces. Removing weeds and trimming lawn edges also go a long way toward making your yard look tidy, as well as raking leaves or cleaning debris from walkways and patios.

Do: Neutralize Decor

If you have brightly colored walls or decor it’s time to tone things down. This can include everything from walls to window treatments, furniture and bathroom tile. Soft, neutral colors like gray, white and taupe create a blank canvas for potential buyers to imagine their own lives and personalization in a room. Keeping your color palette light will also make better use of the home’s natural light and make spaces feel larger. Invest in some paint and swap out your boldly colored furnishings for neutrals, and you’ll make sure buyers can see the home’s assets in the best possible light.

Don’t: Cause Confusion

Simplifying and neutralizing color and decor is essential to home staging, but don’t take it too far. You don’t want to remove so much furniture and life from a room that its function becomes unclear. Allowing buyers to imagine their own use of space is good, but you don’t want every single room to run together in their memory. Try defining multi-purpose rooms by a single theme to keep it simple and memorable. For example, keep the home office and home gym separate spaces. Empty and unfinished spaces like basements or attics should have enough furnishing to show their potential to buyers without locking them in to a concept or causing confusion.

There are just a few of the important things to think about when staging your home. No matter what changes you make or don’t make, as long as you remember to highlight the home itself rather than the decoration, you’ll be on the right track to a quick and easy sale.

64 W Albert St, Lowell, MA 01852



Wonderful immaculate Cape located in the Upper Highlands. Spacious rooms with lots of natural light, front to back master bedroom with large closets. First floor bedroom and den or 4th bedroom. Two full baths, garage, corner lot with private back yard, screen porch, minutes to the highways. This home has be lovingly cared for and boasts many features for any buyer. Easy to show. Vacant on lockbox. Please accompany your buyers. Offers if any due Tuesday noon. Allow at least 24 hours for response to your offer.
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You might want to believe that the home selling journey will be fast and simple, but high-pressure situations may arise that cause you to panic. However, there is no need to let high-pressure home selling situations get the best of you. Because if you know how to handle these situations, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a quick, profitable house selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you handle high-pressure home selling situations.

1. Use Data

A high-pressure situation may lead you to make a decision that causes you to miss out on an opportunity to achieve your desired home selling results. Fortunately, if you take a step back from a high-pressure situation, you can assess data to make the best-possible decision.

Typically, a data-driven approach to selling a house is ideal. If you analyze home prices in your city or town and other housing market data, you can determine if a buyer's offer to purchase is "fair" based on the current state of the real estate sector.

2. Analyze the Buyer's Perspective

There are two sides to every situation, and if you review the buyer's perspective, you may be able to successfully negotiate with this individual. And as a result, you and a buyer may be able to come to terms on a home sale agreement that meets the needs of both sides.

Although you may be tempted to walk away from a home sale if a buyer makes exorbitant demands, you should try to negotiate with this individual. If you assess the buyer's perspective, you may be able to gain unique insights into the property selling journey. Then, you can use these insights to negotiate with a buyer and boost the likelihood of finding common ground with this individual.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – selling a home can be stressful and exhausting, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced property seller. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you stay calm, cool and collected in high-pressure situations.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will work with you to craft a custom house selling strategy. He or she next will put this plan into action and collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey. By doing so, you can receive expert support as you navigate the home selling journey and achieve the optimal results as quickly as possible.

Let's not forget about the negotiation assistance that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf. Thus, he or she can help you get the best price for your house.

As you get set to navigate the home selling journey, it helps to understand what to expect after you list your residence. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can remain patient in high-pressure home selling situations and work diligently to maximize your house sale earnings.

Real estate professionals point to curb appeal as a critical factor in attracting offers and increasing resale value. While a well-manicured lawn and flowering gardens are wonderful assets, homeowners may also want to consider investing in backyard improvements.

Too often, homeowners spend weekends laboring in their front yards and hire contractors to remodel the interior of the home. New kitchens and bathrooms usually deliver sound returns on investment, but skipping backyard builds fails to maximize the peaceful enjoyment of the property and limits the potential resale value. These are some reasons why hiring a contractor to build out a portion of your backyard may be a smart decision.

Hire a Contractor to Build an Outdoor Kitchen

Picking up a charcoal or propane grill at a big box retail outlet certainly allows everyday people to enjoy cooking outdoors. These relatively inexpensive products usually last a few years and are easy to replace. Although they modestly add to the backyard experience, grills increase resale value by zero.

By contrast, working with a contractor to create an outdoor kitchen delivers a significant return on investment and enhances your quality of life experience. The backyard build typically involves laying down a stone, brick or concrete floor. High-quality buildouts often employ masonry professionals to create an infrastructure topped with slate, marble or weather-rated countertop materials.

A natural gas line can be integrated to fuel a stainless steel grill, side burners and even a small refrigerator. Installing outdoor-rated electricity means homeowners can plug in coffee pots and their favorite gadgets. Including extra storage space means you can securely pack everything up when necessary. An outdoor kitchen ranks among the proven backyard builds that delivers a significant return on investment.

Work With a Contractor to Build a Shed Getaway

Sometimes you want a private space all your own. Unfortunately, the idea of retreating to a bedroom, den or home office does not necessarily always work. Knocks on the door and noise interruptions can upend the tranquility people sometimes require.

Custom sheds and outbuildings remain hot-trending retreats. They remain relatively inexpensive stick-built structures that can integrate solar panels, electricity and even running water. Some property owners consider including composting toilets to sidestep the cost of tying into the sewer or on-site septic system.

That being said, an experienced contractor can customize an outbuilding to meet the square footage, height and specific needs for a peaceful getaway shed. Depending on the size and intricacy, many can be completed in a few days to a week. A customized outbuilding enhancing your quality of life and possesses a definable resale value.

Hire a Professional to Build Hardscape Elements

Sometimes a backyard requires multiple elements to turn it into a defined landscape. Stone walkways, for example, create opportunities to integrate lush gardens on either side, trellises for sweet-smelling flowering vines to flourish and provide secure footing.

Fencing is an element that defines property lines and innovative fence designs can enhance a landscape with color and style. Professionally installed fences deliver increased privacy and that adds value. Standalone patios and sitting areas also create spaces that homeowners can relax and enjoy the peaceful use of their backyards.

Although backyards sometimes fall down the improvement priority list, upgrades often improve homeowners' leisure experience and property values. There's no reason to skip your backyard when hiring a contractor to build it out results in improved quality of life and increased property value.