Bob Barcelos | Methuen Real Estate, Lawrence Real Estate, Andover Real Estate, Salem Real Estate


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When it comes to home improvement, renovations, upgrades and expansions, seek the assistance of a professional. Why do you need a pro? Unless you built your home yourself, you might not understand all the factors that combine to engineer a house such as the electrical needs to support the load and the cubic footage the HVAC must handle. Get one of these wrong, and your home becomes less efficient. In the end, that can end up costing you more than hiring the pro in the first place.

Here are some areas a professional touch improves the project exponentially.

Adding a Room

When creating an addition to your home, there’s more to it than building out the footprint and then connecting it. To pass code inspections, your addition needs to tie into all the systems in your home, including plumbing, electrical and HVAC. You want a contractor to oversee the addition, even if you complete some of the work. If the inspector doesn’t approve it, it’s on the contractor to fix it. On top of that, you want the addition to tie into the existing architecture. How often have you passed over a home for sale because of an ugly or obtrusive addition? For most people, the eye seeks symmetry and balance. Just because you have the space to add it doesn’t mean the addition adds value. Employ a designer or architect to draw out your proposed addition and suggest adjustments to help it blend in with the existing home. This includes remaining true to the existing roof slopes even if it costs more to build. When you go to sell, a properly incorporated extension adds value and improves salability over an expedient but less artistic change.

Installing a Pool

While adding a pool doesn’t always increase a home’s resale value, a poorly installed pool detracts from it. If the buyer believes they’ll have to tear out the pool to replace it, or fill it up to hide it, the prospect might scare them out of making an offer. When you install a pool, hot tub, pergola, outdoor kitchen or other exterior entertainment feature, visual appeal is everything. Even a buyer that didn’t think they wanted a pool might fall in love with a professionally installed pool nestled among the landscaping that offers the perfect outdoor entertainment venue.

Attaching a Garage

Many older homes have no garage or a detached garage that makes them less attractive to some buyers. That makes adding an attached garage an ideal improvement. But just like adding a room, when you attach any structure to the exterior, it needs to keep the same aesthetic as the original building. Throwing up a garage, covered patio or carport needs to follow the same design rules as adding a bedroom or family room. Hire a professional to design the add-on and engineer the roofline to match.

When you put your home up for sale, hire a professional as well. Your real estate professional knows the local market and will professionally market your home. For a consultation, reach out today.


Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You’ll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. It’s also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future. 


One of the biggest questions that you’ll have when you buy a home is “How much can I spend?” To answer this question, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. 


Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?


The standard amount of money that you’ll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you don’t have the money for a full down payment, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. You’ll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if you’re a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.


What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?


There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. You’ll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.    


Know Your Credit Score


Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate you’ll get and how much they’re willing to lend you in order to buy a home.


Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when you’re looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.


In this day and age, there’s no reason to have to worry about forgetting to pay your bills on time. There’s also no reason to have to write a check or even log into a website each month to pay your bills.

Using a combination of digital tools, it’s possible to fully automate your bill-paying process so that you can spend less of your free time trying to remember your passwords and entering debit card numbers and more time doing the things that make you happy.

Benefits of auto-pay

There are plenty of reasons to automate your household bills. More free time and less time stressing about money are two of them. But, did you know that automation can also be a great way to help you boost your credit score?

Late payments on mortgages, student loans, utilities, internet, and cable bills can all negatively affect your credit score. By setting up auto-pay, you can make sure you make your payments on-time, helping to build your credit.

Another huge benefit of bill automation is that you can actually earn money and other rewards by making on-time payments.

For example, setting up your bills and utilities to charge to a credit card with cash back rewards can help you earn money by paying your bills. The one caveat is that you need to make sure you pay off your credit card balance in full each month. How do you do that? With auto-pay!

Where to automate

As I mentioned before, many monthly bills can be charged to a credit card which you can use to earn rewards. However, you won’t be able to use a credit card for all of your bills. Mortgage payments, student loans, auto loans, and oftentimes utility companies will require a checking or savings account with a routing number.

In these cases, it’s still possible to set up auto-pay through either the company’s website, or through your bank’s bill-pay feature.

Need help with a list of things you could be automating? Consider setting up auto-pay or bill-pay for these services:

  • Cable

  • Internet

  • Cell phone

  • Electricity

  • Entertainment (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Spotify, etc.)

  • Rent

  • Mortgage

  • Student Loans

  • Insurance

Automation of the future

So, we’ve covered some of the most common ways to automate your home expenses. However, recent technologies are making it even easier to run your home and keep up with the bills.

One new innovation is Amazon’s Dash button. This service enables you to just tap a button on your smartphone or tablet whenever you need to order new pantry items for the home. Alternatively, you can subscribe for common household goods like cleaning productions, paper towels, and dish soap so that you never run out. And, with Amazon Prime, you don’t have to worry about shipping costs.


Between home automation and auto-pay, you should be able to make your home significantly easier to manage and reduce the amount of stress related to paying the bills.


Spacious ranch on corner lot close to shopping and highways. This home has new heating system and hot water tank, hardwood floors in fireplaced living room and bedrooms, and a partially finished lower level with wood stove. Large eat in kitchen with stainless steel appliances and tiled floor.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts


418 Andover, Lawrence, MA 01843

Single-Family

$259,900
Price

5
Rooms
2
Beds
1
Baths
Spacious ranch on corner lot close to shopping and highways. This home has new heating system and hot water tank, hardwood floors in fireplaced living room and bedrooms, and a partially finished lower level with wood stove. Large eat in kitchen with stainless steel appliances and tiled floor.
Open House
Saturday
March 14 at 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
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Location: 418 Andover, Lawrence, MA 01843    Get Directions

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