Elena Langlois - Compass Massachusetts, LLC



Posted by Elena Langlois on 9/10/2020

Image by Tom from Shutterstock

Energy efficiency isn’t just for the inside of your home. What you plant outside can affect the bottom line inside. Choosing the right trees, grasses, and shrubs can help.

Location, location, location

Well placed trees can help to reduce your heating and cooling bills. Trees can keep your home cooler in the summer and protected and insulated in the winter. Determine where to plant the saplings so that when they mature, they shade your roof and upper rooms. Plant leafy deciduous trees to the East, West, or South sides of your home so that the shadows fall on your house. Eventually, they’ll keep you shaded in the blistering summer months. In the winter, those trees will lose their leaves allowing warmth from the sun to reach your windows through the bare branches.

When planting trees on the north or northwest side of your house, utilize evergreens as a windbreak. They’ll reduce the amount of frigid air that hits your house in the winter. Strategically planted rows can create a windbreak for an entire side of your home. Cypress, fir, or low-branch pines create great windbreaks. Be sure to account for growth when you choose a planting location, 10 to 15 feet between each tree is a good place to start.

Efficiency

If you have central air conditioning, use shrubs and bushes to shade your condensing unit. Experts estimate that a protected A/C can boost efficiency by ten percent or more. Keep your plants and shrubs about three feet away from your condensing unit so that it has proper airflow. Trim trailing vines or branches that grow close to the equipment or ventilation.

Groundcover

Replace grass with stones or a concrete slab that reflects light and heat toward your home. That will keep your home warmer in the winter months. Dark wood chips, mulch, or green groundcover help to absorb daytime heat that is then slowly released throughout the evening and overnight. This process works to keep your home cooler during the day but adds warmth to outdoor entertainment spaces in the evening.

If you’re searching for the perfect new house, let your real estate professional know about your desire for energy efficiency. They can help you find the ideal home to put your ideas into action.




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 6/25/2020

Photo by Christian Mackie on Unsplash

Fixing up your bathroom can add considerable value to your home, which is important to keep in mind if you plan on selling in the near future. If you would rather avoid having to make major changes to your bathroom, there are several minor remodeling projects to consider instead. The following remodeling projects are simple ones that won’t take up a lot of your time or budget.

Replace Handles & Knobs

It might not seem like much, but replacing bathroom hardware can give this part of your home an updated look. If your cabinets and doors have older handles and doorknobs that are dull or worn, consider putting in new ones. Shiny new hardware in your bathroom, such as brass or chrome, can improve your bathroom’s appearance without requiring a lot of hard work.

Get a New Mirror 

An even simpler remodeling project is getting a brand-new mirror for your bathroom. Replacing your current mirror with one that’s more decorative or has a more modern or contemporary style can spruce up your bathroom. You can also explore the latest trends for mirror styles, such as full-length mirrors, art deco mirrors or upscale mirrors for a touch of elegance.

Install a New Light Fixture

Older light fixtures can give your bathroom a dated appearance. Installing new light fixtures can give your bathroom a stylish look and add more illumination in certain areas. Consider adding under-cabinet lighting, ambient lighting or a back-lit mirror. Other options to look into include a layered lighting setup and elegant, decorative light fixtures. 

Refinish Cabinets

Replacing the cabinets in your bathroom can turn into a costly and time-consuming project. As an alternative, consider giving your current bathroom cabinets a new look by refinishing or painting them. Just make sure that the new finish or tone you choose still goes with your surrounding bathroom counters and other decor.

Add Storage 

Another simple yet practical change to make to your bathroom is adding storage. This might involve building a cabinet below an open sink, or adding open shelves to your bathroom. Having extra storage space comes in handy for keeping towels, washcloths and other bathroom items close by.

Install a New Floor

If your bathroom floor is worn or if it’s an outdated style, consider installing a new one. This might be an easy project depending on how big your bathroom is and the type of material you choose for your new floor, such as laminate or vinyl flooring.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 5/14/2020

Image by Cristina Mantovani from Pixabay

If you're getting ready to sell your home, you're likely looking for relatively affordable upgrades that will give your home the most pizzazz. Taking the time to spruce up your property is a smart idea, but it really pays to be strategic. Because while buyers should be able to recognize a home with good bones, it's all too easy to gravitate towards a property that successfully highlight its strengths. We'll give you a few tips to get the best returns on each investment. 

Think Neutral 

While it may be tempting to paint the walls a vibrant purple or install funky door knobs throughout the home, experts caution restraint. Theoretically, these tactics can help your home stand out in the minds of exhausted home buyers, but they can also alienate them.

If you're going to paint, choose a neutral, warm color that will inspire potential homeowners to picture themselves using and enjoying each room. If you're staging the home, choose one decor style and try to incorporate small touches throughout. For example, if you want a modern look, opt for sleek fixtures that catch the light. If you're going for French Country, look for crafts that will add color to a corner. You can express your personality and attract multiple bids on your home at the same time. 

Learn the Ropes 

There are subtle patterns that govern how buyers search for homes in different neighborhoods. Whether your area is full of millennials with young families or retired couples with a pension, sellers should have a good idea of what's important to the prospective homeowner. 

So if you know that laundry rooms are in high demand, you can make an effort to make yours look as welcoming as possible. Or if you have plenty of garage space, now is a good time to show how it can fit everything from boxes to sporting equipment. If you're working on a limited budget, this is the best way to prioritize each upgrade so you get the most out of it. 

Talking to a real estate agent can usually give you a better idea of how you can tweak your home without jeopardizing your profit margins. The only time it's ever recommended for sellers to splurge is if their home has experienced dramatic growth. If property values have risen a lot over the past few years, you can consider larger renovations that will attract affluent buyers who are desperate to make an offer. 




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 4/16/2020

Image by Breadmaker from Shutterstock

A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.

Wood fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations. 

Potential for smoke: If the flue does not open correctly or if there is a blockage within the chimney, you may find smoke coming into your room instead of out the flue.

Chimney maintenance: The wood you burn and the temperature of your fire determines how clean your chimney stays. At least annually, have your chimney professional swept to remove the buildup of creosote that can cause house fires.

Ashes: You will need a plan for disposing of the ashes once the fire is out.

Natural gas

A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line. 

An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.

Gel system

A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.

Electric

Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.

No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/23/2020

If you intend to list your house in the weeks to come, you may want to complete a wide range of home improvements. That way, you can transform your ordinary house into an awe-inspiring residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Although you may have lofty expectations for your home improvement projects, it is important to note that performing myriad home repairs can be costly. And if you're not careful, you risk overspending to upgrade your residence.

Fortunately, it can be easy to establish a home improvement budget – here are three tips to help you develop an effective home improvement budget.

1. Determine Which Areas of Your House That You Want to Improve

When it comes to crafting a home improvement budget, it is important to differentiate between major and minor home repairs. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than ever before to budget for assorted home maintenance projects.

A kitchen overhaul or bathroom renovation may be considered a major home improvement. Conversely, updating the color of your bedroom may be a minor home improvement. If you assess the major and minor home improvements that you want to perform, you can put together an appropriate budget.

Of course, you should take an objective look at you house to decide which areas that you want to improve. With an objective view, you can identify various home issues, determine how much money will be required to fix these problems and budget accordingly.

2. Examine the Home Improvement Funds at Your Disposal

In all likelihood, you only have a finite amount of money at your disposal. Luckily, regardless of how much money you have, you should be able to establish an effective home improvement budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to get multiple quotes from home improvement professionals. If you receive a variety of quotes, you may find that you can save money on home repairs, as well as stick to a tight home improvement budget.

It also may be cost-effective to complete simple home improvement projects on your own. If you possess the skills and know-how to perform quick, easy home repairs, you may be able to enhance your house without putting a dent in your home improvement budget.

3. Set Home Improvement Priorities

Priorities are important, particularly if you need to put together a home improvement budget. It generally is a good idea to set priorities for different home improvement projects. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to complete home improvement tasks in order of priority.

If you plan to list your house soon, home improvements may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Home upgrades can help you differentiate your residence from the competition and enable you to achieve the optimal home selling results.

Lastly, if you need extra help prior to listing your residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top-notch home improvement professionals, offer home improvement tips and insights and much more.




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