Maura Cutting - BHHS Commonwealth - Needham, MA Real Estate, Newton, MA Real Estate


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If you like the outdoors, spending time on the terrace or balcony at your home is a great way to enjoy the fresh air and spend time with family and friends. But sometimes windy weather or lack of privacy can create a challenge. Consider installing a windbreak to make your outdoor space more comfortable. Depending on your style, budget, and space requirements, you’ll find a wide variety of available options. Here are some practical ideas you can employ.

Types of Windbreaks

Glass Railing: Glass railings are a great option if you do not want to block the view from your outdoor space. Replacing traditional railings with glass or acrylic panels will add protection against the elements as well as sleek, modern curb appeal to your property.

Retractable windbreak: A retractable windbreak is a good solution if you do not want to add a permanent wall or railing to your space. A retractable windbreak functions like a horizontal window shade allowing for easy storage when it is not in use. They are available in polyester, textile fibers or plastic. Premium options are waterproof and treated to resist UV rays.

Trellis with climbing plants: Consider creating a windbreak with climbing vines and plants for a more natural aesthetic. First, install a trellis or pergola structure to support the plants. If your working at ground level, plant your climbing vines directly in the ground otherwise line planters along the edge of the balcony.

Bamboo shades: Rolled bamboo shades are a great option if you have a covered balcony with open sides. Bamboo shades are a windbreak you can open and close as needed. They are easy to install and come in a wide variety of styles and dimensions.

Finding the perfect windbreak for your home requires planning and budget considerations. If you need to hire a contractor to help with your project, ask your real estate agent for local recommendations.


As a home seller, you likely want to set a "fair" initial asking price for your residence. Because if you fail to do so, you risk pricing your home outside of your target buyer's price range. Perhaps even worse, you risk pricing your house too low – something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to maximize your home sale earnings.

Ultimately, there are lots of things that you can do to ensure you establish a fair initial asking price for your residence, and these include:

1. Study the Local Housing Market

For home sellers, it is important to perform plenty of research before you list your residence. If you assess the local housing market closely, you can obtain insights that you can use to set a fair initial asking price for your home.

Evaluate the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. This will help you determine the price range for comparable houses in your area.

Also, find out how long some of the recently sold houses in your city or town were available before buyers purchased them. This can help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market so you can price your house appropriately.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal delivers immense value, as it enables you to receive a property valuation. Once you have a property valuation in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine how to price your house.

In addition to a home appraisal, you may want to conduct a house inspection as well. During a house inspection, a property expert will review your home and identify any underlying issues. You then can use a house inspection report to prioritize home repairs and upgrade your residence before you add it to the local real estate market.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

As you search for ways to get the best price for your home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. In fact, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the house selling journey.

A real estate agent will learn about your home and help you determine exactly how to price it. Next, he or she will promote your residence to buyers. And if a buyer submits an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will help you decide whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a home selling expert who is happy to share his or her housing market insights with you. If you ever have concerns or questions as you navigate the house selling journey, a real estate agent can address them.

Setting the right price for your home sometimes can be difficult. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can establish a fair initial asking price for your residence. As a result, you may be able speed up the home selling journey and optimize your house sale earnings.


You know that you want to buy a house, but you also don't want to break your day-to-day budget to acquire a residence. As such, you're in the market for inexpensive housing – something that can be tough to find in any real estate sector, at any time.

Buying a house can be difficult, especially if you're operating on a tight budget. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding an inexpensive house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for an affordable residence.

1. Evaluate How Long a Home Has Been Available

When it comes to finding an affordable house, it pays to check out how long a residence has been available. By doing so, you may be able to discover a bargain, even in a highly competitive real estate market.

If a home that has been available for many weeks or months, a seller may be more motivated than ever before to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial expectations. Thus, if you submit an offer below a seller's initial asking price, the seller may accept your proposal in the hopes of getting rid of his or her residence quickly.

Of course, you should always ensure that a home offer is competitive based on a house's age and condition, along with the current state of the real estate market. Because if you submit a "lowball" proposal, a seller likely will respond with an immediate "No" to your offer.

2. Look at Fixer-Uppers

A fixer-upper is unlikely to have everything that you want in your dream house. On the other hand, a fixer-upper likely is more cost-effective in comparison to a new house.

If you're on the lookout for affordable housing, you should consider fixer-uppers. These houses may require some work, but buyers who are willing to allocate the necessary time and resources to perform myriad home repairs can transform these properties into dream homes.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For homebuyers who want to acquire a house without spending too much, it usually helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, by working with a real estate agent, a homebuyer can streamline the process of acquiring an affordable residence.

A real estate agent first will meet with a homebuyer and learn about his or her homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can tailor a home search to complement a buyer's budget.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do whatever it takes to help you purchase an inexpensive house.

Ready to find a cost-effective house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accelerate the process of discovering an affordable home that you can enjoy for years to come.


Let's face it – the thought of entering the home selling market can be stressful, even if you don't plan to put your house on the market for several weeks or months. However, there are many simple ways to ensure you can enjoy a fun, exciting and successful home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to kick off an unforgettable home selling journey.

1. Examine Your Home's Interior and Exterior

How will a potential homebuyer view your residence when he or she sees it for the first time? This is a question that you'll want to consider closely, as a homebuyer's first impression of your residence may dictate whether he or she moves forward with an offer.

Take a close look at your house's interior and exterior from a homebuyer's perspective. If home improvements are necessary, now may be the ideal time to complete these tasks. That way, you can enhance your house's interior and exterior before you add your residence to the real estate market.

Also, a home appraisal may help you identify problem areas with your residence. This appraisal enables a property inspector to examine your residence from top to bottom and can help you better understand your house's strengths and weaknesses.

2. Declutter Your Residence

Unfortunately, clutter can accumulate in a home over an extended period of time. But if you start decluttering your home today, you may be able to avoid the stress of cleaning out your residence as you get closer to adding your home to the housing market.

To declutter effectively, consider items that you need to keep and store them safely. Then, take the items that you no longer require and consider all of your options to get rid of them quickly and safely.

In many instances, you can sell excess items or donate them to charity. Or, you can always offer these items to family members and friends as well.

3. Meet with a Real Estate Agent

What does it take to get your house ready for the real estate market? Meet with a real estate agent, and you can learn everything you'll need to know about selling a house.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the real estate market. As such, he or she can answer any questions that you may have about the home selling journey and help you plan accordingly.

In addition, after you list your residence, your real estate agent will streamline the home selling cycle. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open houses, promote your residence to large groups of potential buyers and much more. By doing so, your real estate agent will do everything possible to help you maximize the value of your residence.

When it comes to getting ready to sell your home, there is no need to worry. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be able to enjoy a memorable home selling journey.


While some home improvement projects are done purely for aesthetic reasons, window replacement projects offer a wide range of benefits.

If your current windows are decades old, they're probably difficult to clean, provide poor insulation, and get stuck every time you try to raise or lower them.

Old wooden window frames also tend to deteriorate over time, which negatively impacts both their appearance and their ability to seal out drafts and outdoor temperatures.

Modern, energy-efficient windows make older models look like they're straight out of the Stone Age! Many windows manufactured today meet strict U.S. government standards for energy efficiency and durability, which can help you save money on your home energy bills. These new features include multiple panes of glass, which provide improved insulation and impact resistance. Instead of using just plain air, many of these advanced windows are insulated with non-toxic gases, such as argon and krypton. (As long as you're not Superman, you'll do just fine!) If you're willing to pay extra, there's also the option of having mini-blinds inserted between the panes of glass.

Reducing Home Energy Costs

According to the EPA, "Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12 percent nationwide. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house's carbon footprint."

Energy Star-certified windows also have special coatings that reflect both infrared and ultraviolet light. That not only helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but it helps stop the sun's rays from fading furniture colors, flooring, and other materials.

Some of the newer windows are available with three or more layers of glass panes, which can help make your home more comfortable and quieter. If external noise is an issue, installing well-insulated windows with multiple panes can reduce that problem significantly.

Although many of the new window products are constructed of wood, they're often covered with vinyl or aluminum to be more weather resistant and durable. Fiberglass is another low-maintenance, durable material that offers good insulation qualities.

Cost Versus Benefits

While a window replacement project can take a big chunk out of your home improvement budget or bank account, it does provide a return on your investment. In addition to the fact that your home energy costs should decrease, installing new, energy-efficient windows will improve your home's marketability in the future. If and when you decide to put your home on the market, the fact that you've installed energy-efficient, easy-to-use window replacements will be a major selling point in the minds of prospective buyers.

As is the case with all home improvement contractors, it's always a good idea to get several estimates and check references, read online reviews, and take a look at Better Business Bureau ratings before choosing someone to handle the project.




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