Mary Crane's Blog
156 Derry Rd, Chester, NH 03036
Today's home buyers are looking for ways to maximize their space and their enjoyment of that space. While having friends and family over to enjoy a meal out on the patio or a backyard BBQ has long been a favorite way of spending time with loved ones, it's frequently left the hosts separated from the guests. Adding an outdoor kitchen offers numerous advantages. It could boost interest in your home and set it apart from similar ones in the area.
1. Makes Entertaining Easy
One of the most exciting things about having your own home is the ability to entertain more. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home means that the home buyer is instantly set up for a home-warming party or any other type of gathering.
2. The Hosts Can Participate
As mentioned above, one of the best reasons for installing an outdoor kitchen is that it eliminates the separation of the cook -- which is nearly always the host -- from the rest of the party outdoors.
3. It Becomes a Team Effort
With an outdoor kitchen, there are more opportunities to make cooking a group effort. By keeping food prep as part of the overall party, it's easier for other people to jump in and help out. It's also great for when the homeowner wants to plan for shared cooking experiences.
4. It's Cozy
While the gathering place inside a house used to be the living room, the past few years have seen the kitchen take over that spot. If you think about it, this transition just makes sense. People like to gather where there's food. It encourages chatting and camaraderie. An outdoor kitchen that includes tables and chairs or other outdoor furniture encourage the same kind of coziness.
5. Increases Living Space
Adding an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be complicated. One idea is to use the covered porch or patio you already have as the foundation for the outdoor kitchen space. Next, add the appropriate appliances. The result is that you've instantly increased the living space of your current home without having to add on another room.
If you're in an area of the country that is going through a housing boom, you might wonder if you should spring for an outdoor kitchen. Adding this highly-desirable feature to your home could also increase its value and make it easier to get your asking price during its sale.
There’s no denying that purchasing a home requires a huge investment from buyers. Not only will you need to have a down payment in place, but you’ll need to consider closing costs, home maintenance, property taxes and more over the years. While these are all expenses that most buyers are aware of, there are other “hidden” costs that come along with owning a home as well. In fact, many people say that the true cost of buying a home can be up to 4 times the sale price. So, what hidden cost should you be aware of and why do we think they’re all 100 percent worth it in the long run?
3 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home
1. Mortgage Interest
When you look at the amount of money you’ve borrowed to purchase your home, you may be tempted to plan to repay that sum over the next few decades. But you should also be accounting for the interest payments attached to your mortgage loan. Additionally, mortgage interest works slightly differently than the interest on a traditional loan. For example, if your interest rate is 4 percent, you won’t likely be paying that much annually. Towards the beginning of your mortgage, about half of your payment will be going toward interest alone.
2. HOA Dues
If you’ve purchased a home that’s part of a “community” of properties or a homeowner’s association (HOA), you’ll be required to pay association dues. While these additional fees are usually disclosed during the sales process and come with a variety of benefits, they can be subject to occasional one-time assessments or special projects that will increase your dues. On average, HOA dues cost American homeowners anywhere from $200 to $400 each month.
3. Updated Security
When you purchase a home, it’s in your best interest to change all the locks on the external doors. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to know how many copies of the original keys may be out there, so this is the best way to protect yourself. Additionally, if your new home has a security system in place, you’ll need to figure out how to program it to only be accessed by your computer and smartphone. Previous owners or tenants shouldn’t be able to access the property via their phone!
Are These Costs Worth It?
Yes! While these hidden homeownership costs can be a pain at first, when it comes down to it owning a home is the right choice for many people across the country. As long as you are prepared for the unexpected, homeownership can be a positive experience and a sound investment.
28 Cross St, Dover, MA 02030
Are you overpaying for water?
You could be, if your home is not running as efficiently as it could, or if you have undiagnosed leaks or damage. Cutting your water consumption can help you save money every month, and in many cases, you won't have to change your habits at all. Try one or more of the following ideas for an immediate reduction in your water bill every month:
Seek out Leaks
A running toilet, a slow drip from a faucet or even a leaky fridge can cost you money every month, but provides no benefit at all. in some cases, that leak will get even more expensive over time, as standing water can damage your floors and allow mold and mildew to develop. Take a walk through your home and check these areas for leaks -- any problem you find and repair will reduce the water your home wastes each month and will prevent mold growth or damage, too:
- Listen for leaks: Turn off anything that makes noise and visit the kitchen, bathroom and any room with a faucet. What do you hear? Ideally, you won't hear anything -- if you hear drips or running water, your home is wasting water. A single running toilet can boost your water bill by hundreds of dollars each year, so pay special attention to bathrooms.
- Look for water damage: Appliances that have water or stains underneath could be leaking. The most common culprit is a fridge that has an icemaker and water dispenser. If you see or feel water, double check the lines to ensure there are no leaks. Check under sinks for moisture and note any problems.
- Head outside: Your outside faucets should be tightly closed and the ground below them should be totally dry. if there are drips or moisture, you are paying for a steady stream of water you are not using. You should also walk by your sprinkler heads and make sure the ground is not soggy; this could mean you have a costly leak in your sprinkler system,
Go Low Flow
Using less water when you flush, shower or wash dishes can help you save money every day. Simply switching your shower heads takes just moments, and can cut your water consumption without making a difference in your shower. Converting your toilets to low flow models or even adding some weight to the tanks can help reduce the amount of water used by each flush, according to Nerd Wallet.
Change your Habits
Your laundry and dish washing schedules will have a huge impact on your water bill. Reducing the amount of laundry you do (by decluttering and only keeping essentials you love) can help lower your energy costs and your water consumption. Hand washing small loads of dishes or rinsing and waiting for the dishwasher to be full before running allows you to use this power and water consuming appliance fewer times each week.
Monitoring your home for leaks and running water, converting some areas to more conservative models and changing your own habits can have a significant impact on your water bill. Do all three and you'll save hundreds of dollars each year -- and run a more eco-friendly home, too.