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Real Estate and *stuff*

A real person helping real people with real estate

By Amy Mullen, Realtor CPA | Agent in Marlborough, MA
  • Open Sunday for the first time! Beautiful executive-style living with all the upgrades!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Worcester, Home Selling in Worcester  |  May 3, 2014 4:53 AM  |  354 views  |  No comments

    Granite kitchenAmazing value to be found in this upgraded newer construction colonial in Cherry Valley! A great location for commuters on the West side near the airport but serene and peaceful abutting conversation land this home has so much to offer! 2 car garage, oversized deck and lower patio, gas heat, central a/c and NO CONDO FEES! Upgraded master bath offers audio/visual system! Upgraded transitional kitchen has seemingly endless granite counters with stainless steel appliances, wine chiller and center island. Opening over the granite breakfast bar into the dining and living room with hardwoods and recessed lighting this open floor plan allows for maximum space and togetherness. Workshop / storage space in lower level and generous attic storage! All appliances (washer/dryer too) included. No expense was spared with this home and it is now ready for you! Priced to SELL at the open house this Sunday, 5/4 1pm to 3pm – 1471 Main Street Worcester. Don’t wait! Fast close encouraged!

    Open Floor PlanDeck and privacy

  • 5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Shrewsbury, Curb Appeal in Shrewsbury, Remodel & Renovate in Shrewsbury  |  May 1, 2014 8:30 AM  |  457 views  |  No comments

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300.

    1. Add solar lighting

    If you’d like your wood deck to come alive when the sun goes down, add solar lighting. Solar lights don’t need an on/off switch -- they light up when it gets dark, then fade away 4-6 hours later.

    You won’t have to plug them in or wire anything, either. Their solar-charged batteries are renewed every day, and the lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather.

    Types and cost:

    • Paper lanterns (made from synthetic, weatherproof nylon; $20-$30) are made for hanging and come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors.
    • Carriage lights can be fixed on top of a pillar or railing newel post. $45-$150.
    • Solar illuminated replicas of old-fashioned mason jars can be set on any flat surface, about $35.
    • Rope lights have small LED bulbs inside a flexible cord. A 25-foot-long rope with solar charger and stand is $25.

    What else: Suspend lanterns from overhead trellises, railings, and nearby trees, where they’ll shed a soft, colorful glow. Wind rope lights around rafters and railings.

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs
    3. Put up a privacy screen

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking
    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs

    Dress up the transition from your deck to your yard with a little hardscaping -- a stone landing at the bottom of your deck stairs. Stones are a natural compliment to wood decks, and they’ll help prevent mud from forming where there’s heavy foot traffic.

    Cost: Flagstone is priced by the pound; you’ll spend $60-$100 for enough stone for a 3-by-4-foot landing.

    How-to: Techniques for installing a landing are the same as putting in a patio, although you’ll have to temporarily support your existing stairway while you work around — and under — it.

    What else: You should be able to add a landing in less than a day. It’ll get done faster if you hire a pro, but it’ll cost you another $150-$200 in labor.

    3. Put up a privacy screen

    Whether you’re relaxing alone au naturel or entertaining friends, a little home privacy is always welcome. You can add some vertical supports and fill in a variety of cool screening materials that are as nice for your neighbors to look at as they are for you.

    Types and costs:

    • Bamboo fencing comes in a 6-by-16-foot roll for $20-$25.
    • Lattice panels are either wood or plastic, $15-$30 for a 4-by-8-foot panel.
    • Grow climbing plants on a trellis ($20-$100) to create a living privacy screen. Plant climbing vines in tall containers ($40-$120) to raise them above the deck surface and give them a head start filling in your screen.
    • Outdoor fabric resists moisture and fading; $12-$120 per yard. You’ll pay another $20 to have a seamstress cut and hem a 3-by-5-foot panel.

    How-to: Your privacy screen should integrate with your deck; make the framework using the same basic materials as your deck railing and structure.

    Add some flash by building a frame with 2-by-2- or 2-by-4-inch uprights spaced 1 foot apart, then weaving aluminum flashing between the uprights.

    What else: Make sure to position your privacy screen where you’ll get maximum benefit. Sit on your deck and check your lines of sight.

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking

    Punch up a boring old deck with a faux rug. This is a fairly low-cost project with a big wow factor, and one you can share making with your (well-behaved) kids. It works best on a newly cleaned deck (see below.)

    Cost: Most of your cost will be deck stain or paint in various colors. Because you won’t be using that much stain per color, you can buy quarts. Figure $15-$20 per quart.
    How-to: Figure out a size, sketch out the design on your decking, and then all you have to do is paint or stain between the lines. You can use painter’s tape as a guide, but a little leakage is likely on a wood decking surface.

    What else: Keep a few basic cleaning supplies on hand for any drips or spills. After the stain is dry, coat the entire deck with a clear deck sealer.

    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    The ultimate deck makeover is none other than a good cleaning. Applying a coat of deck sealant afterwards ensures your wood decking looks great and will last for decades.

    Cost: There are many brands of deck cleaning and brightening solutions. Some require the deck to be wet; others need the decking to be dry. Some are harmful to plants and you’ll have to use plastic sheeting to protect your landscaping. Consult the instructions carefully.

    You’ll pay $15-$25 per gallon, enough to clean 300 sq. ft. of decking.

    How-to: Scrubbing with a good cleaning solution and rinsing with a garden hose is more foolproof than scouring your decking with a power washer that may damage the surface of the wood.

    What else: After you deck is cleaned, apply a coat of deck stain or clear finish. The sealer wards off dirt, wear, and UV rays, and helps prevent deck splinters. A gallon covers 250-350 sq. ft., $20-$35/gal.

    By: John Riha

    Published: July 2, 2012

    Looking for some great outdoor space in your new home or getting ready to list your home for your summer buyers?  Let's chat and figure out your next step.  Click HERE to get more information and a free market analysis.

  • NEW website!

    Posted Under: General Area in Massachusetts, Home Buying in Massachusetts, Home Selling in Massachusetts  |  April 1, 2014 6:27 PM  |  353 views  |  No comments
    Oh yes!  It was TIME to change my site and I am very excited!  Easy to read, tablet and mobile ready and packed with information!  Check it out and let me know what you think!


  • 2013-14 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Massachusetts, Home Selling in Massachusetts, Property Q&A in Massachusetts  |  March 26, 2014 4:26 PM  |  384 views  |  No comments

    attic_bedroomThe numbers are in and WOW!

    The data used in the Cost vs. Value Report was collected with the help of REALTOR® Magazine in an online survey between August and October 2013. More than 4,500 NAR members participated from 101 U.S. cities, up from 81 cities included in last year’s survey.

    Visit www.costvsvalue.com to find information from the 101 cities included in the survey and download free PDFs that include specific metro-area market data. (Site registration is required.)

    Top Projects

    If you are considering a home improvement project to boost the quality and appeal of your home, here is the list of top 10 midrange and upscale projects from the 2013-14 Cost vs. Value Report:

    Top 10 Midrange Projects

    1. Entry Door Replacement (steel)
    Job Cost: $1,162
    Resale Value: $1,122
    Cost Recouped: 96.6%

    2. Deck Addition (wood)
    Job Cost: $9,539
    Resale Value: $8,334
    Cost Recouped: 87.4%

    3. Attic Bedroom
    Job Cost: $49,438
    Resale Value: $41,656
    Cost Recouped: 84.3%

    4. Garage Door Replacement
    Job Cost: $1,534
    Resale Value: $1,283
    Cost Recouped: 83.7%

    5. Minor Kitchen Remodel
    Job Cost: $18,856
    Resale Value: $15,585
    Cost Recouped: 82.7%

    6. Window Replacement (wood)
    Job Cost: $10,926
    Resale Value: $8,662
    Cost Recouped: 79.3%

    7. Window Replacement (vinyl)
    Job Cost: $9,978
    Resale Value: $7,857
    Cost Recouped: 78.7%

    8. Siding Replacement (vinyl)
    Job Cost: $11,475
    Resale Value: $8,975
    Cost Recouped: 78.2%

    9. Basement Remodel
    Job Cost: $62,834
    Resale Value: $48,777
    Cost Recouped: 77.6%

    10. Deck Addition (composite)
    Job Cost: $15,437
    Resale Value: $11,476

  • Winter Snowfall and Frigid Temperatures Significantly Impact New England Housing Market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Massachusetts, Home Selling in Massachusetts  |  March 17, 2014 6:05 AM  |  291 views  |  No comments

    Winter Snowfall and Frigid Temperatures Significantly Impact New England Housing Market

    Natick, MA – March 17, 2014

    – The RE/MAX of New England February Monthly Housing Report shows a drop in year-over-year home sales in every state across the region except Vermont. On average, median prices throughout New England were up 1.3% and pending sales rose to 28.3%.

    “This is an expected trend in the height of winter months,” commented Dan Breault, EVP/Regional Director of RE/MAX of New England. “The good news is that month-over-month pending sales are up 26.4% This is an encouraging sign and I anticipate March and April to be even stronger months as we turn the corner from winter to spring.”

    To read the entire report*, click here.

    *Maine data will be released pending information provided by Maine Association of REALTORS®.

  • Lovely bunaglow in Hopkinton! Open Sunday! Check it out!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Hopkinton, Home Selling in Hopkinton  |  June 19, 2013 7:39 PM  |  775 views  |  No comments
  • Custom contemporary NEW to the Market in Sturbridge! Open Sunday!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Sturbridge, Home Selling in Sturbridge  |  June 19, 2013 7:05 PM  |  754 views  |  No comments
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