O’Connell Team's Blog
For generations, people have been saying that "the kitchen is the heart of the home." The meaning of that expression is open to interpretation, but just about everyone would agree that kitchens are generally a relaxing place where family and friends congregate.
Although there are a lot of things to consider when searching for just the right house that meets your needs, the size of your next kitchen and its practicality are important things to keep in mind. If you enjoy hosting dinner parties and family gatherings, a large kitchen with plenty of seating room and counter space is highly desirable.
In addition to the fact that you need space to prepare and serve food, you may also need room to put out snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. If your objective is to serve meals "buffet style" or "family style," then you'll also want to line up the necessary supplies, such as plates, napkins, utensils, cups, and condiments.
While a large, open kitchen is not absolutely essential to the success of a dinner party or holiday gathering, it does provide convenience, food serving options, and more mingling space. If you end up buying a home with a narrow galley kitchen, then you'll have to rely more on adjoining rooms for entertaining guests and serving food.
On a day-to-day basis, spacious eat-in kitchens are usually much more practical for busy families, too. Otherwise, space is at a premium and family members may find themselves bumping into each other as they prepare meals, wash cookware, or put away dishes. As you can imagine (or have experienced first-hand), a claustrophobic kitchen does not lend itself to family harmony! On the other hand, having a place where family members can comfortably sit across from each other at meal time lends itself to open communication and, hopefully, better family relations.
Other characteristics of an "ideal kitchen" might include energy-efficient appliances, a floor that's both attractive and spill resistant, and sufficient lighting in food preparation and eating areas. If homes you're considering don't have dimmer switches, that's a relatively simple and inexpensive feature to install -- preferably with the help of an electrician. Having the ability to soften the intensity of light will enable you to decrease the room's brightness and transition to a "relaxation mode" at the end of the day. Being able to turn the brightness back up will come in handy for paying bills at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper (if you don't access it online), helping your kids with their homework, or playing cards or board games.
Whether your kitchen requirements include stainless steel appliances, a quartz or granite island with a gas stove, or just plenty of room for a large kitchen table and chairs, your real estate agent will work with you to find the home that best matches your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
63 Washington Ave, Wilmington, MA 01887
It’s common to experience seasonal allergies with the passing of the months, but did you know that indoor allergens can aggravate your allergies and asthma symptoms as well? Many people choose to stay inside when the pollen and mold levels are high. However, they could be doing more harm than good if they haven’t taken steps to improve their indoor air quality at home.
1. Replace Furnace Filters
When the cooler weather settles in, you’ll likely be cranking the heat in your home to stay comfortable. Unfortunately, common allergens like pet dander and dust can hide in your air ducts. Using a high-efficiency furnace filter can reduce the overall amount of harmful allergens that circulate throughout your home during the fall and winter months.
2. Change Your Bedding
Dust mites are often found living in pillows, sheets, mattresses, carpeting and other furniture around the home. To prevent dust-mites from getting too comfortable in your home, invest in allergen-proof covers to encase your mattress, box springs and pillows. Additionally, washing your bedding in hot water at least once a week can help to deter dust mites.
3. Keep It Clean
Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can help to reduce indoor allergens like dust mites and pet dander with ease. If you suffer from allergies, it can also be helpful to dust surfaces throughout the home with an electrostatic or microfiber cloth several times each week as well. Homes with wall-to-wall carpeting can also cause allergies to flare up because they trap common irritants easily. Hardwood is preferred for those who suffer from asthma or other chronic allergies.
4. Monitor Humidity
Winter weather conditions often result in dry air that can aggravate your symptoms. Utilizing a humidifier can help to prevent dryness, but if not used properly, they can also encourage mold growth if not monitored properly. The CDC recommends that homeowners keep indoor humidity below 50 percent to reduce mold growth and dust mites.
5. Care for Pets
Pets typically spend more time indoors during the winter, just like their owners. But a variety of allergens can be found in pet saliva and dander, and no breed is totally allergy-free. However, bathing your pets more frequently during the winter can help to reduce many of these allergens and keep everyone in the home feeling better.
A home bar is one thing that most adults should have in their homes. Even if you’re not a drinker yourself, you should have something on hand to offer guests when they come over for an evening of food and conversation. You’ll need the right setup, the right tools, and the right recipes handy to have the perfect home bar. Whether you have a bar already or are looking to build your own, we have all the tips that you’ll need as a rookie bartender.
You’ll need quite a few essentials in your home bar including but not limited to:
- Bar tools
- Recipe books
Find The Right Surface To Transform Into A Bar
You can easily transform any table, sideboard, or cart into a bar. If the vessel that you’re using has a drawer, that’s even better. You can keep all of your bottles, glasses, decanters, and openers in one convenient place. It’s not bad if you can’t fit all of your supplies in one place. Less used items can be stored in the pantry.
You can even use a simple bookshelf to store all of your bar supplies. Transform any bookcase from “boring bookshelf” to home bar in no time. You can arrange the shelving by category, giving each shelf a purpose. You can keep spirits on one shelf, glasses on another shelf, tools on another, and recipe books on another shelf.
Does Your Home Have An Actual Bar Built-In?
Many homes actually have bars built in, but people rarely use them because they feel inexperienced in using the bar tools of the trade. Whether you have a full wet bar or a simpler dry bar, keep all of the essentials there. You’ll need:
- Bar towel
- Trash can
- Bar spoon
- Access to ice
- Simple Syrup
- Old fashioned glass
- Mesh strainer
Location Of The Bar
If you’re setting up a brand new bar, there’s a variety of places that you can put the bar. If you have space in the kitchen, you can add it to a corner right there. Other great places for your bar could be a den or a man cave. Wherever you’ll spend time hanging out with company is a good place to keep your bar. If you have children, you might even consider getting a locking cabinet system for your liquor. You don’t want little hands getting into what they’re not supposed to.
Setting up your own home bar is something to be proud of. It will be quite the conversation piece when guests come over. You’ll be able to discuss your collection of liquors and see if friends have any recommendations as to what you might add to your selection of liquors. A home bar is an entertaining essential.
A vast majority of homebuying transactions rely on the buyer qualifying for a mortgage through a bank. After all, most people don't have enough cash lying around to buy a home outright. Nowadays, you have more options with different types of lenders and alternative financing companies where you can seek pre-approval online. But sometimes even these options don't work out, as pre-approval doesn't mean you're actually going to get the underwriter at the lender to approve you.
This could make you consider other alternative options like seller-financed mortgages.
What is a Seller-Financed Mortgage and How Does It Work?
As the name implies, you are financing your purchase with the person or company selling the home instead of taking out a mortgage with a lender. It's a private transaction where you, the buyer, make an arrangement with the seller to buy the property.
The seller draws up a promissory note that details the terms of the mortgage: interest rate, payment schedule, and the consequences if you default on the mortgage. In most cases, the seller then finances the sale for a short term, usually five years, with a balloon payment at the end of the period. However, the promissory note can be sold at any time to another financing company: sellers don't necessarily need to wait for the buyer to refinance with a more traditional lender.
Why Would I Consider a Seller-Financed Mortgage?
There are situations that make it difficult to work with a traditional lender, such as:
- Self-employment / entrepreneurship
- Foreign employment
- Frequent job changes, or you haven't held the same job long enough
- Poor or no credit
- Tax-related issues
- Debt-income ratio is too high
Sometimes, these situations can be incredibly frustrating when you know you'd be able to afford the mortgage payment or it's even far less than market rent where you want to buy! Alternative lenders may have options but sometimes even they don't want to lend to the self-employed or borrowers with high student loan or credit card debt.
This makes seller financing a more viable option when you can demonstrate your ability to make payments but are having trouble with the traditional channels.
What are the Key Pros and Cons of Seller-Financed Mortgages?
The down payment, interest rate, and other terms are more flexible although they may not necessarily be better than what you would get with a bank. There are also no points, PMI, or origination fees which can save money upfront and over the life of the loan.
Closing is also much faster, easier, and cheaper because there's no loan officer or underwriter involved.
However, the seller may not always confirm they're able to finance the sale. If the seller has a mortgage, most of them have a due on sale clause that forbids them from selling the home without paying off their mortgage balance first. If the seller still does this without paying off the mortgage first, your new home could get foreclosed on.
The homebuying process can be a difficult undertaking, but we're here to help you find the best options so you can buy your dream home as quickly as possible. Reach out today to learn more!