Mike O'Keefe | Newbury Real Estate, Newburyport Real Estate, Salisbury Real Estate


Anyone who’s ever been in an outdated house or hotel room can tell you that the way we decorate can have an effect on our mood. Certain colors, lack of lighting, and cluttered rooms are all things that, whether we realize it or not, can have a negative effect on our mood and productivity.

These concepts aren’t recent realizations. In ancient China and India, concepts of architecture and decorating have been teaching proper design techniques for thousands of years. Today, these schools of thought are often lumped into the field of environmental psychology.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about a few design techniques that will help you and your houseguests feel more welcome in your home and create a tone that matches your desires, whether that’s relaxed or energized.

The effects of color

With a quick Google search, you’ll find hundreds of articles discussing the psychological effects of colors. What many fail to mention is the way these effects are based on things like the culture and time period we grow up in.

However, you may find that guests to your home will feel more comfortable in light, neutral- colored rooms than they will in a room that’s painted bold colors.

On a room-by-room basis, there tend to be certain colors that Americans associate with the “right” colors for the occasion.

However, this is often influenced by the architectural style of the house more than an internalized idea about specific colors.

How much is too much?

It’s easy to accumulate home decor and find your walls and surface becoming a little too cluttered. However, bare walls and sparsely decorated rooms can feel a bit too sterile and unlivable. Is there a balance between the two?

Oftentimes the best solution is to follow one simple decorating principle:

Rather than using several small items to decorate a room, choose just a few larger items. This will prevent the room from appearing cluttered but still give it a sense of character.

Taking advantage of the full area of a room

So far, we’ve been talking about how colors and decor can make a room feel more spacious and welcoming. But, even if you have a small room, you can still often achieve this effect.

One solution is to add brighter lighting to the room. Increasing the light makes to room feel more open. And, if possible, natural lighting is the best option, as it can reduce any feelings of claustrophobia.

If better lighting or windows aren’t an option, many homeowners turn to mirrors to make a room feel larger. Larger, wall-hanging mirrors are an excellent way to give the illusion of spaciousness in a small room.


Using the psychology behind these three decorating principles, you’ll be able to make you and your houseguests feel more at ease within your home.


Photo by KML from Pexels

When you have a garden, it is important to have a good watering system. If you are looking to have the best garden maintenance that you can, then drip irrigation systems are a nice choice to consider.

How It Works

Drip irrigation works by slowly applying water directly to the plant. It consists of placing tubes in a row near the stems of the plants with a tiny drip valve between the stems. The water flows, drop by drop, through the tubing continuously or for a limited time, depending on the programming. There are two ways to place the tubes, buried slightly or placed on top of the soil.

Thanks to this irrigation mechanism, you can reduce the water waste compared to the more conventional methods. Here are a few of the benefits that come with using a drip irrigation system:

1. Effective Irrigation

Manual irrigation may miss the most vital part of the plant, the roots, and can end up wasting water. By installing a drip irrigation system, plants get an optimum supply of water directly to the roots.

2. Low Energy Consumption in the Water Pumping System

Drip irrigation systems are cost-effective since they don’t use much energy.

3. Complete Automation of the System

These systems are programmed so that plants receive water at the needed time, even if you’re not around.

4. Precision

A drip irrigation system is precise and accurate. Water only flows where the tubing is set. The drip irrigation system can also distribute the water directly at the root of the plant so that it absorbs quickly, reducing water loss from evaporation.

5. Resource Management

A professionally installed drip irrigation system helps manage resources like fertilizers and nutrients.

6. Weed Control

By installing a drip irrigation system, say goodbye to weeds. By directing the water directly on the plant, you avoid watering the weeds, thus preventing them from growing.

Visit your local hardware store or garden/landscaping store for more information on the best irrigation system for your garden. For the full service and setup, hire a landscape specialist to install the right system for your home.


Homeowners put a lot of time, money, and effort into maintaining, updating, and decorating their homes. So, when it’s time to sell it can be frustrating to receive a lowball offer on your home.

Many sellers aren’t sure how to react to a low offer. However, with so much at stake it’s important to go into selling your home with a plan.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how to handle a low offer on your home so that you can capitalize on even the less-than-ideal prospects when selling your house.

Every offer deserves a polite response

So, you’ve gotten an offer on your home that you consider to be way too low. The first thing you need to do is to detach your emotions from the situation so that you can formulate a polite, but appropriate response.

It is the custom of many people around the world to negotiate. And one common practice in negotiation is to start with a low offer. Therefore, don’t be offended if you receive an offer that is low as it likely isn’t meant as an insult to you or your home.

We understand that selling can be frustrating, so if you need to vent, talk it over with your family or agent. Together you’ll be able to get past the initial frustration and come up with a quick, practical response to the offer.

Counter the offer anyway

Even if you think there’s a small chance that the prospective buyer will raise their offer to fit your requirements, it’s still worth providing a counter offer. This will make it clear to the buyer that you have received their offer and considered it.

Failing to provide a counter offer could mean you miss out on a serious offer in some cases, so it’s worth the small amount of time it takes to provide.

Don’t waste too much time negotiating

So, you’ve sent a counter offer and have received a response that still isn’t getting anywhere close to what you’re looking for. Now what?

In this situation, it’s best to send a concise and cordial message to the buyer that you won’t be able to adjust your offering price any further and then thank them for their time. After this point, it likely isn’t worth your time to continue negotiating.

Low offers can be helpful

If you’re getting a lot of low offers and none in the range you hope for, it could be time to reconsider a few things. You might want to try a new approach, such as staging the home or highlighting certain details that you may have missed. If your listing photos aren’t up to par you can upload new ones that are higher quality with better lighting.

Next, see if the comparable listings in your area have gone down in price. A substantial change in the local market since the time you listed your property is, in some cases, enough to influence the offers you receive.


When you put your home up for sale, it can be an emotional time. You need to say goodbye to a place where you have lived for at least a small portion of your life. You created memories in that home, and now, it’s the job of a new family to make new memories. 


Once the home is well on its way to being sold, there will be an appraisal of the property. It’s scary as a seller to think that the appraisal has the ability to actually halt the entire sale of the home. It can be a confusing process, to say the least, to have your home appraised. You have determined your listing price and received an offer on the home already. It seems like backtracking to value the home after this part of the sale process is complete. 


The Appraisal Removes The Tension


The appraisal is one of the factors that bridges the worlds of the buyer and the seller. As a seller, the things that you think add value to your home may not be all you have hoped them to be. As a buyer, you want to be sure that you’re paying a fair price for the home. Below, you’ll find some common myths about home appraisals and the truth about them. 


The Appraisal Is Not The Same As An Inspection


The home inspection is used as a tool to protect the buyer. Although the appraisal is used as a protection for the buyer, the two are separate entities. The inspector looks at everything in the home that can be a problem including leaks, cracks, and faulty electrical systems. The home appraiser is simply meant to find the objective market and the estimated value of the home in that market.


The Appraisal Isn’t How Much The Buyer Will Pay


While the appraisal gives a good estimate of the value of a home, it doesn’t take every single factor into account. It’s one version of how much the home should be priced at. What the appraisal does affect is the contract on the home. 


If the appraisal doesn’t match the contract price, let’s say that the home is appraised lower than what you’re paying for it, the lender will not make up the difference. It can become a discussion between the buyer and the seller to see who will pay for the additional uncovered cost of the home. The buyer can pay the difference themselves. The seller may decide to cover the difference themselves. Either way, this is where the home buying process can get kind of messy.


Bigger Homes Don’t Necessarily Appraise For More Money


Just because a home is bigger, doesn’t mean that it’s worth more than the smaller home next door. A larger home could have issues with age such as an older roof, or less complex fixtures. If a smaller home is more updated, it very well could appraise for more. Don’t count on the square footage to dictate the appraisal price of a home.


Image by Jojje from Shutterstock

Many people own homes through a mortgage agreement. Traditional mortgages are primarily fully amortized or gradually paid off with regular payments over the lifetime of the loan. Each payment contributes to both the principal and the interest.

A balloon mortgage is a short-term home loan with fixed-rate monthly payments that only take care of accrued interest on the loan for a set period. It also has a large “balloon” payment to cover the rest of the principal.

The payment plan is based mainly on a fifteen- or thirty-year mortgage, with small monthly payments until the due date for the balloon payment. These low regular payments partly cover the loan but require paying the remainder of the unpaid principal as a lump sum. Selling the house or refinancing the balloon loan before the payment is due is how most buyers approach this situation.

Key Issues with Balloon Mortgages

Lenders present a deadline by which the balloon payment is due (three- to seven-year period). The enormous amount is often more than borrowers can easily handle at once.

Paying only interest on a loan does not allow equity to build. Many homeowners use equity as a means to complete home improvements or other projects. Building equity also helps homeowners when it comes time to sell their home because a traditional mortgage reduces over time. 

Why People Opt for Balloon Loans

It is possible to refinance a balloon mortgage or sell the property before the balloon payment is due but it can be difficult to do so. A dry housing market, job loss, or low credit score are potential obstacles. Lay-offs and depressed home values can trap buyers in their balloon loans. Without the option to sell, refinance, or fulfill their balloon payments, borrowers may end up in foreclosure.

The One True Strategy

Traditional loans are generally safer than balloon mortgages. To keep housing costs at a minimum, use a balloon mortgage if you are sure you can exit before the balloon payment comes due. Otherwise, it is best to remain in the realm of traditional loans.

Review the pros and cons of taking a balloon loan before committing to it. Speak to your financial planner or realtor for professional guidance.




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