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


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When you begin to revamp your yard or garden, there comes a time to decide what exactly you’ll be growing. You’ll want plants that are hearty, beautiful and fragrant to grace your yard.

Choose Hearty

First, you can begin by planting ground-cover roses. These bountiful, low-growing rose varieties can provide plenty of flowers throughout the year. They tend to be very low maintenance and are drought-tolerant as well. They are great for any garden bed or container garden.

Another hearty favorite is red yucca. This plant can survive in high heat and is incredibly strong-willed. It has a bluish-gray, succulent base with long stalks that shoot up near six fee that bear red-ish, tube-shaped flowers. They are virtually guaranteed to catch the eye of any passerby.

Choose Vines

Next, you may want to throw in some vining plants. The classic trumpet vine is as tough as nails and fast-growing. Plant this vine near a trellis, fence or any vertical surface, and let it do its thing. Make sure to prune and maintain regularly; otherwise this beauty can be a bit invasive.

Choose Fragrance & Color

For a fragrant eye-catcher, you may want to turn to a classic English lavender. This plant is good for anything from a walkway border to a rock garden. It flowers throughout the end of spring and into summer and has an enchanting fragrance. There are smaller varieties that are good for container planting, as well as larger varieties that can be a beautiful hedge. When you want to add some great evergreen flavor to your garden, you’ll find purple pixie to be an appropriate addition. Purple pixie is great as a dominant ground cover or as an accent in a tall planter. It has spectacular color year-round.

Choose Blankets

Blanket flowers are a great choice for perennial color, and they attract butterflies to your garden. They also happen to be an incredibly hearty grower and resist rabbits and deer. They also come in a number of different colors, from bright yellow, gold and red hues. A classic friend to any garden.

With this list of hearty, brilliant and fragrant plants, your garden will be the talk of the town. You’ll have beautiful flowers, enchanting smells and spectacular evergreens all around.


Getting your house ready to be sold can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Like any large project, though, if you take it one step at a time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

The ideal scenario involves having everyone in the family pitch in to keep your house looking its best for each showing. When you divide the labor and work as a team, things get done a lot faster and more efficiently.

Keeping your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and house clean on a consistent basis are among the many challenges of always being ready for the next showing. Another common necessity involves applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and other surfaces. That relatively inexpensive step can help make your home look dramatically brighter, vibrant, and more appealing to prospective buyers.

One thing to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market is that you (the owner) are probably "too close to the trees to see the forest." In other words, you may be overly accustomed to the appearance, the imperfections, and the décor of your home to be able to identify what needs to be upgraded, fixed, or changed. An experienced real estate agent can help you develop a cost-effective plan for staging your home, enhancing curb appeal, and making necessary improvements to maximize your home's appeal and marketability.

There are dozens of inexpensive things you can do that often have a major impact on the impression you make on potential buyers. Having your carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies professionally steam-cleaned, for example, can make a world of difference! So can adding a few colorful flower arrangements, inside and out. Lots of light -- both natural and artificial -- also helps make your home look more cheerful and inviting. Keeping your windows crystal clear is another way to make a positive impression, as well as cleaning out your closets to avoid a cluttered, unkempt look.

A few other critical things homeowners sometimes forget to do is clean up dog droppings in the yard, fix squeaky hinges, and remove visible mouse traps from the basement and garage -- especially if there are mice in them! The cleanliness of your cat's litter box is another major priority that can easily be overlooked.

Even the most meticulous, conscientious home sellers can forget to clean, prepare, or organize important things before potential house buyers come to visit, so it's useful to create checklists and routines to get ready for scheduled house showings.

While some homes pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to getting ready for real estate showings, the goal is to make the most of what you have, and do so within your available budget and timeframe.


The exterior of your home makes its first impression. It gives outsiders an idea of what is inside. If you are looking to sell your house or you just want your home to look more attractive, then there are many ways that you can make your home look more beautiful without spending too much money.

Flowers and greens

You can make your home more beautiful by adding some fresh flowers and greenery to your home front. Going all out for a garden isn’t totally necessary. A few planters and window boxes can do the trick. Combine standing planters with hanging ones to get a good façade of plants on your home. 

Maintain your lawn

The front lawn is a huge factor that affects a home’s look. Mow the lawn once the grasses are long, rake off the leaves and weeds to maintain a nice, even look. Install a sprinkler to keep it well watered and avoid brown spots from developing. Once if you tend to forget to water your lawn, buy an automated lawn sprinkler, set once and done.

Front door pizzazz

Instead of your front door blending in with the rest of the outdoor look, you can make it pop with a DIY paint job. Use bold, bright colors that enhance your home's exterior color. Don't be shy about your color choice. You can also accentuate your door with a hanging plant, a custom knocker, and fancy door numbers. Sprucing up your front door makes your home stand out on a lane. Check with your homeowners' association to be sure there's no rule against your plan too.

Mailbox Makeover

With less than $150, you can have a lovely mailbox in front of your home. Not only is this easy to do, but the difference is also always clear and attractive. Depending on the kind of mailbox you prefer, either standing or attached to a wall, there are many options to choose from online that will make your home more attractive. You can even get a themed mailbox of your favorite book or movie.

Clean gutters

Take some time to clean your roof gutters regularly. Clearing the gutters involves removing piles of debris that get accumulated over time. Scrub them till they all look shiny again. The effect that clean gutters give your home has to be seen to be appreciated.

Power Wash

Power washing is the equivalent of giving your home a bath! Call a professional power washing company to wash years of dust and grime off your wall sidings, porch, driveway, and garage door. 

Improving your home’s curb appeal can be achieved in a single day if you plan it well. The best part is that the overall effect is worth more than the time and money you will spend. For more ways to improve your home’s look, speak to a home decorator in your area for more ideas.


Believe it or not, upgrading your residence's curb appeal won't necessarily force you to break your budget. Now, let's take a look at three cost-effective ways to improve your house's curb appeal.

1. Mow the Lawn

Tall grass and weeds are unlikely to do you any favors, particularly if you want to reap the benefits of a fast, profitable home sale. Fortunately, if you spend some time mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges, you may be able to boost your house's curb appeal.

It generally won't take long to perform lawn maintenance tasks. Then, once you complete these tasks for the first time, you can set up a schedule to complete them every week or every other week until your residence sells. That way, your lawn will continue to look great in the eyes of potential buyers.

2. Clear the Walkways

Dirt, dust and debris may make your home's exterior walkways look messy. Perhaps worst of all, these problems may drive prospective buyers away from your house.

On the other hand, neat, tidy walkways could help your residence stand out to potential buyers. If you devote time and resources to sweep and clean your house's exterior walkways, you can increase the likelihood that your residence will make a positive first impression on buyers.

3. Remove Decorations

Although plastic flamingoes, lawn gnomes and other home exterior decorations have helped you distinguish your house from others in your neighborhood, now may be a good time to put these decorations into storage. Because if you keep decorations on your lawn, it may be difficult for a buyer to envision what life may be like as the owner of your house.

Remember, your goal as a home seller is to make your residence as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. By removing home exterior decorations, you can show off your residence's full potential. As such, you can make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it for the first time.

As you search for ways to upgrade your house's curb appeal without breaking your budget, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. This housing market professional is happy to provide home selling recommendations and can help you transform your home's exterior from drab to fab.

Typically, a real estate agent will provide expert guidance at each stage of the house selling journey. He or she first will help you craft a home selling strategy and promote your residence to dozens of prospective buyers. Plus, once you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent can help you analyze this proposal. And if you accept an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you quickly finalize your home sale.

Ready to list your residence? Upgrade your house's curb appeal today, and you can move one step closer to achieving the best-possible results during the property selling journey.


Making a good first impression on prospective home buyers is the key to getting your house sold within a relatively short period of time. Once your house is on the market, you'll want to make sure any major flaws, aesthetic issues, and potential buyer turnoffs have been fully addressed before the first prospects walk through your front door.

Although serious house hunters often return for a second -- and sometimes third -- walkthrough of your home, first impressions determine whether they'll be back for another look.

Since time is of the essence and you may be on a limited home improvement budget, it's necessary to prioritize the projects that will have the most impact on the image you project. When it comes to making cost-effective decisions on preparing your house for showings, your real estate agent can provide helpful insights and objective advice. Seasoned agents can size up a property within minutes and identify ways to improve the look and feel of your home. Although every homeowner is going to have a different set of priorities and issues to deal with, there are a few focal points that would apply to just about everyone.

Curb appeal: To attract the maximum number of prospects to your home (and to put them in a receptive state of mind when viewing your house), it's essential that your property looks well maintained. In addition to having a manicured lawn and bushes that are neatly trimmed, your curb appeal also depends on the condition of your driveway, walkway, and house foundation. The appearance of weeds, cracked surfaces, and peeling or faded paint are sure to be seen as "red flags" to many people and will detract from the impression your home conveys.

Clutter control: Getting a handle on clutter in and around your house is a vital aspect of enhancing its appearance and marketability. Whether you're dealing with storage areas that are jam-packed to the hilt, too much furniture in your living room, or a front yard that's littered with bicycles, lawn equipment, toys and junk vehicles, clutter is a visual cue to people that "something is wrong here!" Clutter inside your house can cause rooms to look smaller and living space to appear as chaotic and uninviting. Even clutter in garages, basements, closets, and attics can send the wrong message to potential house hunters. On the other hand, uncluttered space is like "a breath of fresh air," and can go a long way toward winning over one or more interested prospects.

General recommendations: While everyone's situation is different and unique, cleanliness, proper room lighting, and basic home staging techniques can help maximize your chances for a successful showing. Applying a fresh coat of paint, where needed, also increases the eye-appeal of everything from your front steps and hallways to bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen areas. Thoroughly steam-cleaning carpets and refinishing faded hardwood floors can also be cost-effective ways to bring out the full potential of your home




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