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


Are you a minimalist? If you’ve heard this question recently, you may be wondering just what it means and how does it affect you. It is NOT a set of rules.It is NOT about how much you own.

It is NOT about how much money you earn. 
It is NOT about buying specific items or giving up certain things.
It is NOT about being frugal.
It is NOT throwing out all your belongings and sleeping in a yurt (unless that makes you happy).
It is NOT about living in a tiny house (although it can be for you).
It IS about quality over quantity; peace over disorder; satisfaction over extravagance.

Minimalism is a mindset about what we require to be happy and what only clutters up our homes and our lives. It is about getting rid of the unnecessary things that take up space, consume time, and contribute to frustration and exhaustion. You can be a true minimalist in a mansion, a townhome, an apartment, or a houseboat as long as what fills your space contributes to contentment and order rather than stress and chaos.

When it comes to buying a home, minimalists look for spaces that reflect their personality rather than the latest trend. A minimalist is a different type of homebuyer. Becoming minimalist might be right up your alley if you hate the over-stuffed closet or messy junk drawer, find yourself irritated by clutter and uncomfortable with a hodgepodge of decorative items you subconsciously think of as “dust collectors.”

While a form of minimalism is an architectural style commonly seen in Japanese design with an aesthetic toward simplicity and clean lines, most homes do not fit into this category. Does that mean you can’t have a minimalist lifestyle? Of course not. Just adopt minimalist concepts to fit into any living space.

One way to accomplish this is to reduce the amount of furniture you have in each room. Opt for the pieces that everyone uses and give away ones that only fill up space. Reduce window coverings to a minimum rather than the multi-layered blind-sheer-drape-valance style. Organize the items that you keep so that each has a home. Reduce clutter by highlighting one or two items of a collection and rotating special pieces instead of displaying them all at once.

Simplify in other ways by installing native grasses and plants, thereby reducing the need for lawn care and gardening. Add interest to your yard with hardscaping: rock gardens or paver stones in decorative patterns.

When seeking a new home visualize what makes you most happy as you walk through model homes and open houses letting your imagination discard what doesn’t fit. Help your real estate professional know about your aesthetic to have the best chance of finding your minimalist home.


So, you want to buy a property and offset it with rental income, but a multi-family or apartment complex is a bit too rich for your bank account? No problem! Most of the steady increase in new renters comes from young millennials, and you can cash in on this increase as well by buying just a slightly larger property. Renting out rooms to students, or the other half of a duplex is a great way to supplement your income or offset that larger house purchase you don't completely fill yet.

Some layouts are better for segregating (for privacy) and renting out than others. Look for homes with secondary entrances, guest houses, separate parking, and multiple bathrooms or a finished basement with its own bathroom to ask for the highest rents. Your agent can help you find these properties; they are experts in the needs of potential landlords.

Owning and Renting a Duplex

Duplexes have some significant income advantages, especially for new investors. If you're planning to live in one of the units for at least a year, you'll qualify for FHA loans that can cover over 90 percent of the property value. Additionally, you can rent out the other side to offset your payments. That lets you be both a homeowner and a landlord at the same time, whereas if you were to purchase a single-family home with an FHA loan, you would still have to live in it for a year before renting it out, cutting down on your potential income. The downside of living in and renting out your duplex is proximity. You typically share a wall with your tenants, which means very little is hidden from them, and you're always on call if they need something. 

You can also rent out your duplex to your elderly parents or grown children, which allows you to be together while having separation and privacy.

Being a Landlord

No matter what size your rental property, from a single room to an apartment complex, you are responsible for the property. That means all maintenance, landscaping, upgrades, appliances, emergencies, and anything else that crops up is yours to take care of in a timely manner. Be sure to check your state and local laws for the specific landlord requirements and tenants’ rights in your area.

Next time you make that open house list, be sure to ask about properties good for sharing with a tenant. Your realtor can help!


Many laws govern land ownership, and it is vital to know about the processes and rights of landowners so that you can avoid the risk of partaking in an illegal sale or getting involved in a scam. Before you can transfer the rights to a property, it is critical to know some facts about land titles.

What is a ‘Land Title’?

A land title is a formal document that shows what rights a person or group of people have over a piece of property. A land title is generally used to prove ownership of the property. It can also help a potential buyer to know what exactly is going on with their land such as the usage rights, natural resource rights, easements, existing liens and other rights that may not be obvious at a glance. If a property title does not bear the name of the seller, there is a chance that it may belong to another party.

Most local courthouses keep property records of a county and record all forms of land transfers that happen in that region. Whenever there is a dispute over a piece of land, a land title will provide clarity regarding ownership and other usage rights.

When considering land titles, here are some essential facts to know:

A Title is Not the Same as a Deed

A deed is a document that is used to transfer a land title from one person to another. The deed states all the terms of the land transfer and all the people involved. The local country office must have a notarized copy of a deed agreement before the title can reflect the changes in ownership. 

A Title Proves Ownership

During a legal argument, the key document that the court refers to when determining the real ownership of a property is the land title. The absence of a title means that the court will not acknowledge any contract or deed related to the property.

Property Owners Should Secure Their Land Titles

If you lose your original land title, it will cause a lot of complications for you in the future. It is best to store land titles and other property ownership documents in a safe place like a bank safety deposit box or fireproof home safe. Having quick access to your land title will help to make land negotiations easier.

Title Searches Help to Reveal Potential Problems

During a title search, the investigator will peruse many years of documentation to make sure that everything is right with the property. A title search can protect a potential buyer from paying the wrong party for a property, buying a property with unresolved tax payments or liens that can invalidate land ownership transactions.

If you’re looking to purchase land in your area, talk to your real estate agent about the best property for your needs.


Some of the reasons why the young ones are not buying a home are the high student debt, affordability among others. We are going to discuss the primary reasons why young people are not buying a house in this article. Here we go:

Affordability 

One of the main reasons why millennials are not into real estate investment is a substantial financial implication. The home affordability for first-time buyers decreased to about 92.5 in 2018 according to NAR – National Association of Realtors. The index was 109.3 in the year 2015. A value of 100 shows that a family has what it takes to qualify for a median-priced home. 

High level of student debt

Another reason why many young people could not afford a home is the high level of student debt. In the United States, student debt reached $1.5 trillion, and it is one of the factors that are hindering young people from investing in real estate. Apart from high student debt, they also have to deal with meager wages. The NAR report explained that more than half of the homebuyers who are below the age of thirty-eight that student debt is one of the significant factors that delayed their home buying. Apartment list shows that graduate that does not incur student debt will save for 7.6 years at 20% down payment to get home while those with debt will have to save money for more than 11.6 years.

Tighter Lending 

If you are wondering why young people cannot afford a home, one of the reasons is stricter lending conditions. Financial institutions have tightened credit underwriting to minimize risk. The rise of house prices does not favor the young ones who are planning to buy a home. They will have to accumulate enough cash over a long period to enable them to afford a house. The Bank of America noted that those within the age of 25 to 35 years commenced their career at the time of financial crises when the labor market and economy were recovering.

Not Married Yet 

The delay before getting married and having children means that young people are not considering getting a home sooner. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that the mean age of a first-time mother is now 26.6. They discovered these findings in 2016; they added that the average age might increase when we consider the women in urban areas as well as college-educated women. According to the Census Bureau, getting married and having children are life events that trigger buying a home.

As a young person looking to buy a home, you should speak to a financial advisor and a reputable real estate agent to plan towards owning your own home.


Trying to understand what that home description is all about? Whether you're new to the housing market or newly returned, you'll find terms used to describe homes that you might not recognize. Or, you may not understand what they truly mean in context. The word walkable, for instance, shouldn't apply to a home at all, should it? After all, houses can't just get up and walk away.

Defining the real [estate] meaning

In real estate and urban parlance, a walkable neighborhood might refer to a community where services such as grocery and other shops, restaurants, bars, parks, and other recreation areas are reachable on foot within a 10-to-15 minute timeframe.

In another area, walkable might mean that public transportation to urban areas is within walking distance. In this case, the neighborhood itself may not hold the services but does support its being in reach via bus or train access.

Still, other definitions of walkable mean that the community has lighted footpaths, sidewalks, urban (or suburban) trails and other means by which residents may walk for exercise or recreation. Or, that the community provides opportunities and programs for residents to walk.

Breaking down “walkable” themes

With all the various definitions in use, a Harvard study published these themes as most important to walkability.

Environmental dimensions adding to walkability:

  • Traversable: environments with the physical conditions—sidewalks, trails, footpaths—to allow traverse from one place to another without difficulty.
  • Compact: where the distance between places is relatively short.
  • Safe: lower crime rates, lighted pathways, marked and controlled crosswalks, and additional safety features add to the safe walkability of a neighborhood.
  • Physically enticing: settings with full accessibility to pedestrians that include landscaping, signage, benches, shade trees, pathways, street lights, and views.

Outcome dimensions of walkability

  • Social: a location with lively shopping and dining areas, typically mixed-use live/work situations and the friendly people that live, work, or visit there.
  • Transportation: is the perception that both social equality (age, income, disability) and environmental preservation are sustainable via public transit.
  • Exercise-inducing: forced exercise due to proximity to work, transportation, or services, or the lack of suitable parking that goes with living in a more urban area.

Designing for walkability

  • Measurable: the neighborhood design or redevelopment includes walkability as a quantifiable outcome based on specific indicators.
  • Holistic: in this case, walkability references communities of improved urban living with slower pace built in, scaled for human health and happiness, devised to promote interaction.

None of these is definitive, but if you’re looking for a neighborhood that defines “walkable” for you, check the walk score website, which measures over 100 aspects of walkability, and talk to your local real estate professional about what works for you.




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