JoAnn Asselin | Westfield Real Estate, Agawam Real Estate, West Springfield Real Estate


“Curb appeal” is a term that worries many sellers who are concerned that their house doesn’t have what it takes to woo buyers when they pull up to your driveway. Some aspects of curb appeal aren’t always in your control, such as the neighborhood your house is in, the state of sidewalks and roads, and eyesores like outdated power lines.

However, there are many things you can do to make your house stand out amongst the rest in a positive way. Better yet, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to achieve curb appeal.

In this article, we’re going to give you 6 inexpensive ways to increase the curb appeal of your home to woo potential buyers.

1. Match your landscaping to your home architecture

We all have our own preferences when it comes to bushes, trees, and plants in our yard. However, some landscaping decisions work more fluidly and naturally with the architecture of your home.

A good way to achieve this is by planting things that are native to your area and avoiding expensive trees that are in fashion one year and out of style the next.

2. Paint your trim, shutters, and front door

Sprucing up these accent items will improve the appearance of the entire exterior of your home. Don’t be afraid to choose bright and bold colors, so long as they match the color and style of the rest of your home.

3. Buy a new mailbox and house numbers

For less than $40 you can buy a new mailbox and house numbers that will give your home a sense of newness. Like with the other items on the list, go with options that match the style of your home.

4. Upgrade the lighting

Although the lights might not be on when people come to view your home, they will certainly notice old lighting. Make sure walkway lights are standing straight, equidistant from one another, and clean.

Installing or updating your porch light is also a good way to up the curb appeal when potential buyers get to your doorway.

5. Photograph the home at the best time

Since most home buyers begin their house hunting online, your first opportunity to show off your home’s curb appeal is in your listing photos.

While there is no set rule to the best time of day to photograph your home, you’ll want to avoid harsh glares or extremely overcast days. Try shooting after sunrise, sometime before noon, in the late afternoon, and just before sunset (the golden hour). Then review your photos and find the ones that show off your home the best.

6. Wash or pressure wash your home

Before spending hundreds on landscaping, take some time to wash the exterior of your home. Viewers will look at your house first and foremost, and dirty siding won’t win over any hearts.

You can use soapy water and a long-handled brush, or you can rent a pressure washer for as little as $30.


A home bar is one thing that most adults should have in their homes. Even if you’re not a drinker yourself, you should have something on hand to offer guests when they come over for an evening of food and conversation. You’ll need the right setup, the right tools, and the right recipes handy to have the perfect home bar. Whether you have a bar already or are looking to build your own, we have all the tips that you’ll need as a rookie bartender.  


The Essentials


You’ll need quite a few essentials in your home bar including but not limited to:


  • Glasses
  • Bitters
  • Bar tools
  • Recipe books
  • Spirits
  • Mixers
  • Garnishes

Find The Right Surface To Transform Into A Bar


You can easily transform any table, sideboard, or cart into a bar. If the vessel that you’re using has a drawer, that’s even better. You can keep all of your bottles, glasses, decanters, and openers in one convenient place. It’s not bad if you can’t fit all of your supplies in one place. Less used items can be stored in the pantry. 


You can even use a simple bookshelf to store all of your bar supplies. Transform any bookcase from “boring bookshelf” to home bar in no time. You can arrange the shelving by category, giving each shelf a purpose. You can keep spirits on one shelf, glasses on another shelf, tools on another, and recipe books on another shelf. 


Does Your Home Have An Actual Bar Built-In?


Many homes actually have bars built in, but people rarely use them because they feel inexperienced in using the bar tools of the trade. Whether you have a full wet bar or a simpler dry bar, keep all of the essentials there. You’ll need:


  • Bar towel
  • Trash can
  •  Glasses
  • Decanter
  • Bar spoon
  • Strainer
  • Shaker
  • Access to ice
  • Juice
  • Sodas
  • Juicer
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Jigger
  • Simple Syrup
  • Old fashioned glass
  • Peeler
  • Mesh strainer

Location Of The Bar


If you’re setting up a brand new bar, there’s a variety of places that you can put the bar. If you have space in the kitchen, you can add it to a corner right there. Other great places for your bar could be a den or a man cave. Wherever you’ll spend time hanging out with company is a good place to keep your bar. If you have children, you might even consider getting a locking cabinet system for your liquor. You don’t want little hands getting into what they’re not supposed to.  


Setting up your own home bar is something to be proud of. It will be quite the conversation piece when guests come over. You’ll be able to discuss your collection of liquors and see if friends have any recommendations as to what you might add to your selection of liquors. A home bar is an entertaining essential.


Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Tired of looking at a dated bathroom day after day but dread updating it knowing the average remodeled bathroom will set you back thousands of dollars? Even if you don’t have the budget for a complete makeover, there are several DIY ways you can update your bathroom.

1. Paint Tub & Tile

For many homeowners, the most outdated area of their bathrooms is the tub and shower. The good news is if your tub and tiles are in good shape, you don’t necessarily need to remove them—simply give them a refresh.

  • Thoroughly clean tub and tile.
  • Purchase a prepackaged tub and tile kit—it’ll give you a list of supplies and tools and the right epoxy, along with detailed instructions.
  • Sand down all tub and tile surfaces so you establish a good clean base for adhesion.
  • Use quality paint designed for this type of project.
  • Thoroughly ventilate your working area.
  • Give your tub a good amount of curing time before running a bath.

This project is a little trickier than simply painting walls, but with patience and know-how, you can give your old bathroom a completely brand-new look.

2. Refinish a Dated Vanity

If your bathroom vanity looks like it came straight out of the 1980s, you can easily remedy this by refinishing it.

  • Remove all hardware, drawers and the cabinet door; put them aside to paint separately.
  • Gently sand down the vanity's surface and then clean off any dirt, dust or grime.
  • Using smooth strokes with a brush or roller (you can test to see which looks better), paint the vanity’s surface and let it thoroughly dry.

Once your newly painted drawers and cabinet door are completely dry, reattach your hardware and add on some sparkling new knobs. Voila!

3. Update Your Lighting

Many homeowners find they can easily swap out old fixtures for new ones and see their bathrooms in a whole new light. Or you can get crafty and create your own. Popular styles include:

  • Pendant lights.
  • Mason jar sconces.
  • 3 or 4 bulb bath bar.
  • Lighting can make or break a room. If you're seeking a more modern look, look to change out your fixtures.

    4. Create a Unique Bathmat

    Sometimes it’s the simple touches that add flair to a room. One easy thing you can do is ditch the regular bathmat and create one out of cedar strips. Cedar is great since it’s water-resistant and it gives your bathroom a spa-like vibe. You’ll need a 1x6x10 cedar board, measuring tape, circular saw, table saw, wood glue and teak oil.

  • Cut your board into three pieces with your circular saw for the desired length.
  • Using the remaining wood, cut out three support pieces.
  • Thoroughly sand all pieces and then position them to your liking.
  • Glue pieces in the position you choose and then nail them together.
  • Once you’ve put your cedar bath mat together, allow it time to completely dry before using it.

    Giving your old bathroom a facelift, or even some new bling, can do wonders for its appearance. Identify your pain points, apply an update and see what a difference even the smallest changes can make.


    Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

    Only Two Toilet Per Building

    Many homes have two and a half or more bathrooms. If you want to move to Waldron Island in Washington, you’ll have to give up the idea of having a bathroom for every bedroom or even having that extra half bath. Waldron Island is very small and has a small population. Since the residents want to keep it that way, they have a law that says you can’t have more than two toilets in any building.

    Leave the Sasquatch Alone

    In Washington state, it is illegal to kill a Sasquatch. The real question is, how many people have actually seen a Sasquatch? Maybe those same people have seen the Loch Ness monster.

    Be Careful What You Show Buyers

    If you’re selling real estate in Texas, it’s probably better to empty your house before you put it on the market. It’s either that or have a super long purchase contract to list all the exclusions. In Texas, any accessories or improvements that are shown to buyers go with the house. That includes personal photos and artwork on the walls, above-ground pools and even artificial fireplace logs.

    No Spite Fences

    Many people like fences for privacy, especially in cities. People who live in rural areas often fence in their property to keep wildlife out or to keep animals in. This is all good, as long as those fences are no taller than 6 feet. Anything higher is considered a “spite” fence, at least if you’re in Rhode Island. Yes, that’s ‘spite’ as in, “I’m building a 10-foot-high fence just to spite my neighbor.”

    No Burglar Bars

    Sometimes, you just have to have burglar bars on the windows. But, Ridgeland, Mississippi says you can’t put them on the outside of the windows. You can put them on the inside of the windows, though.There's uncertainty as to why that law was put into place, but putting the burglar bars on the inside is probably not going to keep someone from breaking your windows.

    No More Than Two Female Roommates

    In Missouri, you can’t have three female roommates. Even if you decide to live with your three sisters, you won’t be able to do that. Arkansas has a similar law, but theirs says you can’t live with five women. Many years ago, lawmakers were trying to put an end to brothels. The law is very outdated and probably not enforced, but if you and your sisters plan on getting an apartment together or plan on buying a home, you might want to check.


    Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

    You’ve decided it’s time to build the dream house you’ve always wanted. An exciting time!

    Prior to hiring builders to construct your home, it’s critical to understand the financials involved before you start the planning process. Securing funding for land is different than obtaining a traditional home mortgage. For starters, there are typically fewer loan options. If you’re looking to buy land to build your new home, here is a rundown of several common funding options.

    Cash

    If you have the cash to cover the full purchase price of the land, this might be your best bet because you’ll be debt-free. Many mortgage lenders often waive large down payments to build houses because the borrower establishes equity in their new home by buying the land outright.

    A word of warning—be careful about wiping out your savings because you’ll need money as unexpected circumstances arise during the build process—always have a financial contingency plan.

    Land or Lot Loans

    Land loans are available for raw, undeveloped land, and is a great alternative to avoid cleaning out your bank account. The big drawback is interest rates will be higher. Lot loans are very similar to land loans, with the primary difference being the land has building permits, surveys, and/or utilities already in place. Like a land loan, a lot loan typically comes with higher rates.

    Seller Financing

    Land is often difficult to sell and, to get the ball moving, some sellers are willing to lend buyers the money needed to get their build started. These loans are usually short-term and come with high-interest rates.

    Construction Loans

    These short-term, high-interest loans are designed to help you get your project started. To be approved, you’ll need to have a budget and construction plan in place. Once your project is completed, you can often convert a construction loan to a traditional mortgage.

    Home Equity Loans

    If you already own property, you can explore taking out a home equity loan to cover the cost of your new land. These loans are easier to acquire, along with longer terms, better interest rates and no down payments. The big drawback is if you default on payments, you risk losing your existing home.

    Borrow from Local Financial Institutions

    Local lending agencies are more likely to approve a land loan than other financial institutions that aren’t vested in the community. You might do well by identifying community banks and credit unions who are familiar with the land, along with its worth and potential.

    In general, lenders command higher interest rates and bigger down payments with land-related loans because they deem land purchases to be far riskier than lending money to people to buy an existing home. The reason being they perceive owners as not yet fully invested in the property until a house is on it.

    Choosing the right property and finding a way to fund the purchase is the first step. Once you’ve got these two boxes ticked off your to-do list, you’ll have taken one big step towards the day you’ll be able to move into your dream home.