STEPHANIE RIO MACFARLAND | Reading Real Estate, North Reading Real Estate, Wakefield Real Estate


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Having a well-organized bathroom is a homeowner’s dream. To get your bathroom organized you just need a little time and effort, and the will to rid yourself of a few unnecessary items. 

Purge — Everyone has a tendency to over-purchase and overstock on bathroom products every once in a while. In order to really organize your bathroom items in a useable way you’ll need to pair-down to what you actually use. If you can’t make yourself give away the items you don’t really use, gather them in a storage container and put them in the back of the cabinet until you’re ready to purge them. Once you have all the items you use set aside you can further divide them to begin organizing. 

Organizers and Containers — When you know how much space and the type of items you need to store, you can determine what organizers to buy. Decide what items need to live on the counter or vanity and what items are best placed in drawers and cabinets.

With a couple simple steps, you can keep your products clean, organized, easy to use and put away again. Enjoy getting ready for work or to go out while saving on time and stress.


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Property buyers today may think of a credit union as an alternative form of lending and ultimately meant for people who don't fit the stereotypical borrower. But this assumption may a little unfair once you learn the facts. Credit unions present several unique opportunities that you simply won't find anywhere else. We'll give you both the good and bad, so you can make a better decision. 

A Non-Profit Oasis

As a non-profit institution, credit unions tend to have better rates than traditional banks. Plus, they're a little more personal than a regular bank in that they're investing in a single community as opposed to the whole country. So while you may not get the level of sophistication you would from a well-known bank, you will get the kind of personalized service that's hard to find today. 

Signing Up

Before you finance a property, you first need to qualify for your credit union. This essentially means proving you're connected to the credit union somehow. Often, it's based on where you live, but you may be able to join based on anything from your employer to your church to your family members. Before you dismiss your eligibility, talk to a credit union officer to see if there's a connection.  

Once you qualify for the institution, you'll need to become an official member. To do this, credit unions typically have its customers purchase shares in the organization. (These fees are generally affordable and they're the key to securing your membership. 

The Specifics

The practical advantages of a credit union mortgage are the flexible terms and requirements as well as the reasonable fees and rates. Plus, the credit union staff tend to take into account the relationship you've built with them. So while a national bank will encourage you to apply for a mortgage through the company, the fees may not change significantly from those of a stranger — regardless of your track record with the bank.

Why Skip the Credit Union

There are a few reasons not to finance with a credit union. For one, a credit union isn't going to have as many products as a bank would, which could inevitably cause you to miss out on a worthwhile opportunity. It's also likely to be a more traditional style of banking, meaning you may not have options for online banking. And as with a regular bank, a credit union may change leadership, which can, in turn, change the terms of your mortgage for the worse.

Regardless of where you finance, it's probably worth discussing your options with a credit union. As you shop around, you'll get a better sense of which products and terms are right for you. 


There are a lot of advantages to living in a low-crime neighborhood, such as family safety, peace of mind, and a minimal risk of getting your personal property stolen.

Perhaps the only downside of living in a relatively secure, desirable part of town is that you might let your guard down completely. When that happens, especially on a regular basis, you're creating a vulnerability that could eventually be taken advantage of. That's why is pays to be consistent when it comes to locking doors, teaching your kids good security practices, and always making your home appear as if someone's home.

Your home IS your castle and -- short of building a moat -- there are a variety of practical measures you can take to keep it safe and secure.

  1. Install a burglar alarm or home security system. There are a lot of options for making your home more burglar-proof, such as installing video surveillance cameras, window and door alarms, or a whole-house alarm system that alerts the local police department or alarm monitoring service of a break-in or other security breach. Virtually any security steps you take will help "tip the scales" in your favor, but a professional advisor from a reputable home security company can assist you in identifying potential vulnerabilities and choosing the options best suited for your budget, your degree of risk, and your comfort level.
  2. Plan ahead when going on vacation. Allowing your mail or newspaper deliveries to pile up on your front steps or driveway is like extending an open invitation to burglars who might be scoping out the area. Temporarily suspending your deliveries while you're away is a good starting point for keeping your house looking occupied in your absence, but you might also ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for unexpected deliveries. If you really trust them, you could even give them a key to your house, in case they're inclined to water your plants and take care of your pets! (That would eliminate the need and expense of sending your dogs and cats to a pet-boarding facility.) One tactic that a lot of homeowners forget about when they're going away for a few days (or even just overnight) is to hook up an automatic timer to a few of their lights. That simple step will help ensure that their house isn't pitch black at night. There's also the more expensive strategy of having a home security system that can be activated and monitored from your mobile device. Do-it-yourself installation kits are available, but some homeowners prefer the technical support features that come with a professional home security service.
  3. Outside lights can be a deterrent. A few motion-activated outdoor floodlights placed in strategic locations around your home can significantly reduce the risk of night-time prowlers staying on your property for very long. Since one of their primary objectives is to remain undetected and low profile, bright spotlights that turn on when they approach the house will often be enough to send them on their way.
Other home security strategies may include changing all the door locks when you first move into a home, adopting a good watch dog to help scare away potential intruders, and keeping bushes and trees pruned so they don't provide convenient hiding places for would-be burglars.

If you intend to buy a house, it generally is a good idea to establish realistic property buying expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey and avoid potential problems that otherwise may prevent you from achieving your desired results.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you pursue your dream residence.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

With homebuying criteria, you can determine exactly what you want from your dream residence. Then, you can narrow your house search and speed up your quest to discover your ideal home.

Think about where you want to live. For instance, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city over life in a small town, you may want to hone your house search to properties in the city of your choice. Or, if you have always dreamed about owning a home near the beach, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality.

Don't forget to consider the features you want from your dream home too. Make a list of home must-haves and wants, and you can streamline your home search.

2. Set Homebuying Goals

Establishing homebuying goals can help you build a roadmap for your home search. This roadmap then will enable you to identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues before they escalate.

Homebuying goals can guide you along the homebuying journey. You can create as many or as few goals as you'd like, and by doing so, simplify your search for your ideal residence.

In addition, it is important to be flexible with your homebuying goals. And remember, if you fail to accomplish a homebuying goal by a specific date, you can always adjust your homebuying roadmap as needed.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to expect during the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you establish realistic property buying expectations from day one.

A real estate agent first learns about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will put together a personalized homebuying strategy for you and ensure you can complete a successful property buying journey.

As you search for your dream home, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that meet your homebuying criteria. He or she also will help you submit an offer to purchase on any house you want to acquire. And once an offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the property buying journey.

Ready to begin your search for your dream residence? If you understand how to manage your homebuying expectations, you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results at each stage of the homebuying journey.


If you want to acquire the best house at the lowest price, it pays to conduct an in-depth home search. In fact, there are many reasons why you should perform a comprehensive house search, and these include:

1. You can define your dream house.

For those who enter the housing market without a clear-cut definition of a "dream home," there is no need to worry. If you perform an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate home must-haves from wants.

Ultimately, the definition of a dream home varies from buyer to buyer. As you map out your homebuying journey, it helps to put together a list of house must-haves and wants so you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Once you determine what you want to find in your dream house, you can assess the housing market and search for your ideal home. Then, when you locate your ideal residence, you should have no trouble submitting a competitive offer and moving one step closer to buying your dream house.

2. You can avoid the dangers associated with paying too much for a home.

Oftentimes, it is easy to attend a home showing and submit an offer on a home. But if you do so without performing housing market research, you risk overspending to purchase your ideal residence.

When it comes to determining the best price for a house, it helps to look closely at real estate market data. This information can help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market, analyze the prices of houses in your city and town and much more. Perhaps most important, reviewing housing market data may enable you to avoid the temptation to spend too much to acquire your dream home.

3. You can reduce the risk of purchasing a home that fails to meet your expectations.

An in-depth home search reduces the risk that you'll be forced to "settle" for a home that fails to meet your expectations. Instead, you can allocate plenty of time and resources to search far and wide for your ideal residence. And if you find your dream home, you can rest assured that you'll be able to purchase this residence and enjoy it for years to come.

Clearly, there is a lot to think about if you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Next, this housing market professional will keep you informed about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. A real estate agent will even help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can get the best price on any residence, at any time.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to make your homeownership dream come true.




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