Kathy Murphy - RE/MAX Real Estate Group search for homes in Billerica, free mls listings


When you are looking to arrange your living room, there’s a few tips that you need to adhere to in order for it to be a well-functioning, flowing room. 


Arrange The Room So Face-To-face Conversation Is Possible 


You should place the seating so that when people are filled in the room, everyone is able to participate in the conversation. If seats face each other over a coffee table or an ottoman, it keeps drinks and appetizers within reach when company comes, creating the perfect setting for conversation.    


Plan Ahead


There’s many different apps and websites that you can use to plan your furniture arrangements ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than moving furniture once, only to have to move it again to get it in just the right spot. Changing up your living room will be much easier if you have a plan in place.  


Divide The Room Up Using Furniture 


If you have a home with an open floor plan, divide your spaces into separate parts using your furniture. Face your sofa towards the living room, with its back to the dining room in order to create a separation of the two rooms with a stylish flair. If conversations are going on in both rooms, it will also help to divide them up.   


No Sofa? No Problem


If you don’t have the space for a sofa, or don’t want one, use your comfy chairs in a strategic way. Set four chairs in a way that will suit the room. There’ll be plenty of seating available for everyone, even in a small room. The room may even seem more open than if you had a sofa. 


The TV And The Fireplace Can Coexist


If you have both a TV and a fireplace, there’s a few different arrangement strategies that you can use to make both pieces look good in a room. You may place the television over the fireplace for a dual look. The best strategy to use is perhaps to place each on opposite walls of the room. Then, arrange seating accordingly so that there’s some chairs facing the fireplace and some facing the television. In the offseason for the fireplace, you can move the seating accordingly.


A Rug Makes The Room


You can easily put the room all together by placing a rug in the center of the room. These area rugs help to group a space, denoting that it’s all the same area. Try to choose a rug that’s large enough to contain all of the seating pieces.


You’ve decided to move into an apartment for several months, maybe even a year or longer, giving yourself time to adjust to living on your own before you buy a house. That or you might have moved into an apartment to give yourself time to repair your credit and save a good down payment on a new house. You did your research, visiting at least five apartment complexes near where you live or work. It feels good to know that you finally found the right apartment community. Management is friendly, responsible and knowledgeable. They make you feel like family.

How a new apartment management team could affect your life

Yet, three months into living at the apartment community, you receive a notice that the apartments are moving under new management. The change could be good. It also might not be noticeable to you except when you stop by the management office to pay rent and notice that you’re talking with an entire different set of team members at the leasing office.

General changes that you may notice after a new management team takes over the apartment community where you live include:

Different people manning the leasing office – The new management team may try to keep the current leasing office staff in place. Despite these efforts, don’t be surprised to see people who work in the leasing office exit.

New faces equal new personalities – One of the biggest changes that you’ll experience after your current apartment community moves under different management has to do with personality. Quiet and reserved staff at the leasing office may be replaced by more outgoing, risk tasking personalities. Again, this may not be driven by the new management, but due to the fact that former leasing office staff exited after the new owners bought the property.

Community events – The numbers and types of community events may change. For example, if the former leasing office staff distributed birthday cards to tenants on their actual birthday, the new staff may replace that with a quarterly community-wide birthday event at the clubhouse.

Office hours – Days and hours that the leasing office is open may be extended or shortened. Tenants also may be able to pick large packages up at the leasing office for the first time.

Amenities – Upgraded amenities may be apart of the change over.

Maintenance – Similar to changes in leasing office staff, there may be turnover in the maintenance ranks. This change could impact quality of maintenance service, perceived or real. Concerning perception, if tenants hate change, they may devalue anything that the new staff does, even if it’s actually an improvement.

Rental rates – Should this occur, it won’t happen until current leases expire.

New service providers – Trash carriers, electricians and plumbers who handle large projects may change.

New apartment name – The name of the apartment facility may change to reflect the name of the new owners. On the other hand, the name may remain as it is in an effort to avoid disrupting existing marketing and branding efforts.

You may not notice it. However, over time, you can get accustomed to seeing team members at your apartment leasing office. You could even develop friendships with these residential workers. It can make getting used to a new set of apartment management team members difficult. By knowing what to expect, you could reduce your inner struggle to adjust to and accept the shift. You could also develop an appreciation and a thankfulness for the service and support that the new management team provides to you and other residents at the apartment community where you live.


Home values continue to rise. Many people use their home equity in order to get a bit more financial security. The home equity line of credit can have many different benefits for you. From home improvement projects to a much-needed vacation, you can get the funds that you need for whatever you wish. Turn to your home equity with some careful thought, however. You could end up owing more than your home is worth, which defeats the purpose of tapping into your home equity to begin with. 


Make Your Decision Smart


Your home equity can be a good thing to tap in to if you’re not planning on spending like crazy. Maybe you just want a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. You’ll be prepared for anything unexpected. This could be a smarter decision than just blowing a bunch of money on a vacation, for example. 


Some smart things that you can use your home equity for include:


  • Home renovations
  • Emergency funds
  • College education funds
  • Cash advance


These ideas are investments that can help you to achieve other goals. You should be sure that you’re able to pay the money back. These projects or financial endeavors are much more suited to smart spending than just randomly spending money, buying a car, or other things that will put you in serious debt.


Home Equity Fluctuates


As the market changes, the amount of home equity that you’ll have to tap into does as well. The state of the housing market can actually dictate to you how much money you’ll be able to get. If the market isn’t good, you could end up in the negative financially, so do your research. 


How To Get Your Home Equity


There are a few ways that you can draw from your home’s equity. The first rule that you should understand is that you cannot borrow more than 80% of what your home is worth. Take a full remortgage your home, giving you the full 80% amount that your home is worth in order to take a lump sum. Alternatively, you can take a cash-out refinance where you set the amount of money you’d like to take out of your home’s equity as you refinance the home. You can also take out what’s called a “home equity line of credit,” which allows you to use the amount of your home’s worth as a credit card of sorts. You borrow money as you need it.     


The biggest issue with refinancing is that of planning. It’s important to know why you’re refinancing and what you’re planning on doing with the money. Used wisely, home equity can really be a great financial tool.


Do you dream about owning your own house? Has the idea of living in a property that adds to your personal equity started to appeal to you? If so, you're in good company. Each year, millions of Americans buy a house. Many of these homes are purchased with a home loan.

How you could get the right home loan

To protect themselves against loan defaults, lenders prefer to work with borrowers who have a history of being financially responsible. Doing so helps more than lenders.It can keep an entire economy from contracting, similar to the debacle that happened to cause the Great Recession.

Knowing what lenders look for in borrowers can help you to secure a home loan. To begin,your credit history is going to get reviewed while you're trying to secure a home loan. The amount of debt that you have and your history of making minimum or higher payments on these debts is going to be reviewed.

Your income, including income from second jobs that you work, and your spouse's income will also get looked into. Landing a higher paying job helps when it comes to securing a home loan. But, don't just increase your income.

Take advantage of military home loans if you served the country as a service member.If you work for a bank, you could get lower interest rates. Check with your employer to see how much you could save. If you don't work for a bank, consider securing a home loan through your current bank.

Opt for lower monthly mortgage payments

It could improve your chances of getting approved for a mortgage. It could also help you to save on interest payments. In addition to choosing a mortgage that has a lower interest rate, to secure a home loan:

Go after home loans that require lower monthly mortgage payments. Lower interest rates and military home loans are just two ways to achieve this. Applying for a home loan when the economy is recovering is another path to lower monthly mortgage payments. After feds start raising interest rates and the economy becomes stronger, mortgages generally rise.

Pay off as much debt as possible before you apply for a home loan. For example, you could pay off your auto loans and furniture. You can also pay off personal loans that you took out before you apply for a  mortgage.

Increase your liquidity. You can do this by investing more in stocks, cash savings and bonds. The value of your current home can also improve your liquidity. The value of a business that you own is another way to improve liquidity.

Get financial statements together to present to a lender. Items to get include income tax returns, pay stubs, investment account statements and business income, if you own a business. This includes an at home business. Also, get exiting loans and other debts together to present to lenders. The amount and type of debt may be sufficient, depending on the lender that you work with.


If you're selling your home you'll want to take photos that show off both the inside and the outside of the property. Taking photos outside, however, is drastically different than inside. You'll be dealing with a lot more natural light, which you can use to your advantage. However, you'll also have the disadvantage of having to work with the elements: changes in lighting, shadows, weather and climate, and so on. In this article, we'll show you how to take great photos of your home with a digital camera. We'll cover the settings and angles to get you started, and then it will be up to you to experiment to get those stunning exposures you'd see in a magazine.

Step 1: Setting up the yard

As important as how you take the photo is what you're photographing. Even the best photography will fall short if they lack the right subject to shoot. Before you even reach for your camera, you'll need to do some work in the yard. Freshly mown grass is one of the most important aspects of outdoor real estate photography simply for the reason that it takes up so much of the frame. A full, lush yard will pop in the photo, plus it will tell your potential home buyers that the lawn is well-manicured. Aside from the lawn, it's important that other landscaping features be tidied up. That doesn't mean you have to go out and buy new lawn decorations. Simply make sure that the lawn is edged neatly, that any mulch is fresh and not faded looking, and that trees, bushes, and plants have all been pruned and trimmed. It's also a good idea to clean your doors, windows, shutters, and siding of your home. A pressure washer works wonders, but you can often get them clean enough with a good car wash scrubber.

Step 2: Setting up your shot

There are many techniques to photographing the exterior of a home. Some photographers wait until the sun is setting and turn on all the lights in the home creating the sense that the house is the warm center of the property. Other photographers prefer to shoot in the day time with a sunny sky to show of the home's architectural details. Whichever way you choose, there are two important things to remember when taking your photos: First, make sure you have shots with the entire house in the frame. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing this way, but it also allows potential buyers to see what the house would look like with the naked eye. Second, be sure to take detail photos of any aspects of the home or property that are of particular interest, such as a pool, patio, or excellent view.

Step 3: Camera settings

As a rule, you'll want to take your outdoor shots using a tripod. Camera shake can cause blurry, out of focus photos even indoors. But when you're outside, you also have the wind and uneven ground to deal with. Move around and take shots rom several different angles. You'll likely find that shots taken head-on with the house feel flat, whereas shots taken diagonally create more space, making the home and yard appear larger and more interesting.



Loading