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If you’re planning on selling your home or looking to buy a new one, curb appeal plays a key role in whether you or a potential buyer want to take a look at what the inside has to offer. Here are a few ways where homeowners can improve the outside look of their homes.

-Symmetry!

Everyone likes to see objects in the right place. If it doesn’t look pleasing to the eye, a potential homebuyer might have uncertain feelings going into the home from the start. The front door of your home can be decorated with light fixtures on both sides as well as planters on each side to offer the home a welcoming and beautiful entry. A nice wreath hanging on the door wouldn’t hurt either!

-Mailbox makeovers

If you have a post mounted mailbox, it should match the home. Wooden mailboxes can be painted to match the exterior of the home, or by adding a beautiful flower garden around it. You’ll have to make sure the flowers don’t overgrow around the mailbox but it definitely leaves an appealing area for anyone looking at your home.

-Adding Art

Complimenting your home by adding artwork to the outside is a great way to catch the eye of a homebuyer (remember that these art pieces should be weather-resistant). Examples of these pieces include, water sculptures and bird baths. Make sure not to overdo it with a ton of these pieces all over the yard but one piece near the garden will really bring potential buyers to imagine their future home to look beautiful and elegant with their own artwork.

-Painting your home

Whether it’s painting the siding or just the trimming, any little project will improve the look of your home. Choose colors that will appeal to the eye of the beholder. Grays, blues, and whites are just a few colors that bring out a sort of elegance and highlight the home in a rather pleasing way.

-Walk the walkway

The walkway to your home should be as inviting as possible. If your walkway consists of uneven stones or cracked concrete, a potential homebuyer might lose their interest in taking a look inside. Take the time to make small changes, it won’t break the bank and it will improve the chances of selling your home.

These little improvements really make a big difference in the curb appeal of a home. Whether you’re looking to sell or buy, take a minute to look outside. Would this home catch your eye if you were looking to purchase a new home? If you’re not appealed to it, chances are neither will anyone else.


Nature's Beauty in Connecticut

Sep 28
9:26
AM
Category | General

Fall has officially started and although this marks the beginning of shorter days and colder weather, there is also a lot to look forward to! Connecticut shows off nature’s beauty, especially during the Autumn months. Many state parks and forests allow visitors to enjoy a beautiful view of the fall foliage that Connecticut has every year.

Below is a list of some of the best viewing areas in Connecticut:

Macedonia Brook State Park – Kent

Take a hike on the Blue Trail across Cobble Mountain where you can view the Catskill and Taconic Mountains. The trails are narrow and include rocky terrain which becomes challenging for some but once you make it to the top, you’ll come across breathtaking views.

Pachaug State Forest – Voluntown

Pachaug is known as the largest State Forest in Connecticut with 24,000 acres of land within six towns. There are miles of roads and hiking trails through the forest, where you get to enjoy all the beauty that nature has to offer.

Peoples State Forest – Barkhamsted

Located in the Pleasant Valley section of Barkhamsted, this State Forest has amazing views and includes other attractions, such as the Barkhamsted Lighthouse.

Sleeping Giant State Park – Hamden

This State Park includes two miles of mountaintop of the south central Connecticut skyline that resembles the “sleeping giant”. You can take a 1.5 mile walk up to the stone observation tower of Mt. Carmel and also get a view of Long Island Sound.

Mohawk State Forest – Cornwall

Once you hike to the top, you will get spectacular scenic views of the Catskill and Taconic Mountains as well as The Berkshires.

Talcott Mountain State Park – Simsbury

Take a hike up to the Heublein Tower where you can see the beautiful view of the Farmington River Valley.

Mt. Tom State Park – Litchfield

Here, you can hike up to the stone lookout tower to take a look at the amazing views this State Park has to offer. Mt. Tom is one of the oldest state parks in Connecticut.

Dennis Hill State Park – Norfolk

Checking out fall foliage in this State Park is like walking through an autumn wonderland. Hike up to the top where it’s 1,627 feet above sea level and you can enjoy a nice picnic while looking out at the view.

The best time to check out the fall foliage in Connecticut would be in the middle of October. At this time, the leaves have reached their peak and the amazing views will take your breath away. 


Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required by lenders when a homebuyer makes a down payment on their home of less than 20%. It is a type of insurance policy that protects the lender from losing any money if your home ends up in foreclosure. PMI is also required if you decide to refinance your home with less than 20% equity.

Borrower-paid PMI (BPMI) is when you have monthly PMI payments, you are required to continue paying PMI until your loan balance reaches 78% of the original value of your home. If you would like to cancel your PMI, you must obtain approval from your lender in doing so and your home must reach 20% of the purchase price or appraised value. It is also required to have adequate equity as well as a good payment history.

Single-premium PMI means that the premium is paid upfront in a single lump sum. This does not require any monthly payments and can be paid at full at closing or financed into the loan.

Lender-paid PMI (LPMI) is a permanent part of your loan. The cost of the PMI is included into the mortgage interest rate and allows for lower monthly mortgage payments. However, with this type, you will end up paying more interest in the life of the loan.

Payments for PMI can be avoided entirely if you originally make a down payment of 20% of the purchase price of your home. 


Hosting A Successful Cookout

Jul 5
10:10
AM
Category | General

With Summer finally present, cookouts are a great way to get friends and family together to enjoy the beautiful weather and relax. Here are some tips to a successful cookout that will keep guests wanting to come back for more.

Lawn Games

Lawn games are an essential addition to a successful cookout. They help to break the ice between guests who may not know each other, and can also create some great memories. Cornhole and horseshoes are fun games for all ages that you can play as teams or individually. They are also great to help pass the time while food is on the grill!

Beverages

Requesting that your guests bring their own beverages can ensure everyone has exactly what they want to drink. It can also lower the amount you’re spending and lower the chance of running out of drinks before the party is over. Remember to get plenty of ice to keep all of those beverages nice and cold in a cooler.

Music

Music always helps get the party started. Try making a playlist ahead of time, or finding the right playlist on Spotify or Pandora, to help set the tone for the evening! Pop music, or throwback songs are always a great go-to.

Don’t Light the Grill Too Late

Lighting the grill too late could mean hungry houseguests. Have the grill started just as the guests are arriving, giving them time to settle in and relax. A charcoal grill takes much more time to heat up than a gas grill does, so allow at least a 45-minute window for when you wish to start cooking.

Menu

When most people think of cookouts, they think of hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Don’t be afraid to spice things up! Adding a few chicken legs with barbeque sauce to the menu is a great choice that people are sure to enjoy if they aren’t in the mood for the standard cookout foods. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Hosting a party is stressful enough without having to worry about preparing all of the food. Ask your guests to bring a few different desserts or sides for dinner. This can be helpful in time management, as well as expanding your variety of food.

Cookouts are awesome for when you want kick back, relax, and make great memories with friends and family. If you want it to be as successful as possible, try using some of these tips and see which ones work best for you!

 


What is an in-law apartment and exactly how would it be of use in a home? An in-law apartment is a living space separate from the main living area in a home. It typically is located in a basement, above a garage, attached onto the house, or in some instances detached, but still on the property.  These apartments typically need to include a separate entrance, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living area in order to be up to regulations.

Having in-law apartments are becoming increasingly popular. Contrary to the name, in-law apartments aren’t just for in laws.  They can be a great place for aging family members, but also for caregivers if the owners of the house want to age in place.  If a young family needs a little assistance from their family or an adult kid moved back home after college, this is also a great option. Lastly, in some cities, you may even be able to rent it out to strangers.

There are many regulations you have to follow if you want to build or create an in-law apartment, but there could be many benefits to doing so, if you could afford the costs that may be involved. The costs can be around $40,000 for spaces that you are converting, but can be much more costly ($100,000 or more) for those that aren’t attached to the main home.

Creating an in-law apartment can be beneficial to the homeowners and the surrounding community.  If renting out the in-law apartment, this can help provide a second source of income for the family.  An in-law apartment can be a great investment to add onto your home.


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