Diane Stone - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth

Posted by Diane Stone on 11/5/2017

The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior. The outside needs to fit the needs of you and your family. Good landscape design can have a big impact on a home. A high quality exterior allows for outdoor activities and brings more value to your home. 

The big question is- who will do the landscaping? You and your family? Maybe you’ll hire a professional landscaper to help you complete these jobs. Landscaping isn’t a simple job. It’s more than adding stones and walkways to the yard and planting or mowing grass. When you want to transform the outside of your home, you’ll need a vision and plans to execute that vision. Here’s just some of the advantages to hiring a professional landscaper:

You’ll Get What You Pay For

These landscaping professionals are just that- professional. You’ll know when you hire them that you’ll be getting high quality work in return for your investment. While you may miss trimming a few branches of a bush on your own, a pro landscaper will get every last leaf.    

How Much Will Materials Cost?

It would take time to look for materials that can be used for landscaping. It would also be an out-of-pocket expense for you to include with the time it takes to complete landscaping jobs on your own. Professional landscapers have these supplies readily available to them.  

Landscaping Takes Time

If you hire a landscaper, they know exactly what they’re doing. They’re also completing a job while you are off doing other things. You’ll save quite a bit of time if you hire one.  

Landscapers Know What They’re Doing

When you hire a landscaping professional, they know what kinds of plants that you’ll need to get your desired look. They’ll also know how to care for these plants. You could run into quite a few problems without the proper knowledge and experience. Left on your own, there are many different things that can go wrong while completing a landscaping project. You could place the plants in the wrong order, not have level ground, or end up with a lower quality project than you had originally hoped for. When you hire a professional, you know that a project is being carefully planned from start to finish. If the company doesn't execute it the way you’d like, you can always request that they fix it. If you make a major mistake on your own outdoor project, it’s on you!

There’s many advantages to hiring professional landscaping help. From regular yard maintenance to major outdoor projects, it’s a good idea to have help that knows exactly what they’re doing to save you from headaches at a later time.    

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Posted by Diane Stone on 10/29/2017

Just the thought of having to pay on a mortgage for three decades can leave a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach or restless sleep. Fortunately, there’s away to get relief. You could pay your mortgage principal off early.

Paying your mortgage principal off early is smart because most banks stack your interest onto early or upfront mortgage payments. It’s similar to how credit card companies and college student loan lenders set up your payments so that they recoup much of the interest early.

Start chipping away at mortgage payments

To reduce the amount of total interest that you pay your mortgage lender, consider paying more toward your principal. To achieve this, you could:

  • Get a low interest rate mortgage, preferably a fixed interest rate.
  • Refinance your existing mortgage. If you have a 30-year mortgage, consider getting a 20 year mortgage. A downside to refinancing is that your monthly payments will increase, in part because you’ll pay closing costs again. Use a mortgage calculator to determine what your new monthly payments will be before you take this route. Confirm the payments with your lender before you ink a new contract. Make sure that you can regularly make the payments on time even if your or someone you co-signed the mortgage with gets laid off.
  • Submit your mortgage payment before the due date if you have a simple interest mortgage. With a simple interest mortgage, interest builds over the course of a month. Sending in a mortgage payment before the due date could save you from paying additional interest. As a tip, this step also works with paying down credit card balances that are on a simple interest plan.
  • Avoid late payments. Not having to pay late fees and fines is an all-around advantage. Submit too many late payments and your lender could raise your interest rates. Of course, submitting late payments also impacts your credit score.
  • Put money that you earn freelancing, contracting or working overtime toward your principal.
  • Rent out a portion of your home to generate extra income. Use this money to pay your mortgage off early.

Paying your principal down early is a great way to start living mortgage free. But, the early payoff doesn’t suit everyone. Consider your lifestyle. If your children will be attending college within three years or less, you may want to postpone paying more toward your mortgage principal and simply continue making your minimum mortgage payments. Other reasons that you may want to wait to increase your mortgage payments include caring for aging parents, job uncertainty and exceptionally low interest rates.

It can make better financial sense to invest in an IRA to grow your wealth if your mortgage interest rates are exceptionally low. On the other hand, paying your mortgage off early can position you to walk away with a larger profit should you sell your home. Paying your mortgage off early also gives you more financial freedom to enjoy travel, invest in art and enjoy more life experiences that you appreciate. And it’s a great way to reduce stress and enjoy a good night of sleep.

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Posted by Diane Stone on 10/22/2017

As a minimalist, you only fill your home with furniture and household goods that you need, items that add value to your home, not items that stroke your ego. More living space at home is, admittedly, a large advantage gained from entering the minimalist lifestyle. But, more living space at home isn't the only benefit that you can receive after you embrace a minimalist home lifestyle.

Less may truly be more at home

Less clutter, ease with finding important documents and household items and improved natural light flow are other benefits that come with a minimalist lifestyle. Remove excess items from your home and you can also get rid of outdated food and unused clothing, shoes and yard equipment.

Your inner energy may also shift. For example, after you embrace a minimalist lifestyle at home, you might feel more vibrant, engaged with your life and open to positive changes. Pets that you own can play and rest easier, as they may no longer have to climb over, around or beneath furniture or boxes that you haven't used in months. More benefits of embracing a minimalist lifestyle at home include:

  • Better air flow
  • Improved natural light - Sun rays don't get blocked by tall furniture pieces, boxes and clutter
  • Fewer accidents - More open space presents less chances to trip over cords, furniture legs or decor
  • Fresher food - Because a minimalist home lifestyle means that you'll ride your house of unused and unnecessary items, you won't hold onto outdated food items, including old canned food that's only been taking up space in your kitchen cabinets.
  • More time spent focusing on life goals
  • Better budgeting habits
  • Personal financial growth

Moving toward an advantageous minimalist home lifestyle

Additionally, if you struggled with fear in the past, ideas on actions that you could take to remove the fear, replacing it with confidence, faith and love, might spring to mind. This may happen because a more spacious house could open your mind and make room for innovative thoughts to surface in your conscious mind. Great ideas could spring up seemingly out of nowhere. In a nutshell, there is something to be shared as it regards giving yourself more space.

If you find yourself struggling to let go of the unnecessary, select two to four items a week that you will donate to charity. Take your time letting go of items that are merely taking up space at your house. Also, catch yourself if you start trying to convince yourself that letting go of an item you don't use will cause you to somehow mysteriously need the item after you remove it from your home.

Minimalist home lifestyle can create major positive life shifts

For years, Eastern cultures have known about the benefits of living clutter free. Fortunately, more Western interior designers are starting to realize and embrace the benefits of living with less. When you live a minimalist lifestyle at home, you let go of the notion that filling your house with material goods makes you feel good.

Another habit that you let go of is buying more household items as a way to convince yourself that you are more than someone else. Living a minimalist lifestyle at home could help to free you from the need to compete with others, an erroneous habit that has driven more than a few people into financial debt.

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Posted by Diane Stone on 10/15/2017

Do your mornings go like this? You get out of bed, find your way to the bathroom and watch the sink water slowly rise as you wash your face and brush your teeth. After you turn the water off, it takes a long time for the water to go down the bathroom sink drain that it steals valuable moments from your day.

Pay attention to these plumbing problems

Plumbing problems show up in the bathroom, kitchen and basement. Because plumbing problems start slowly, it's tempting to over look them until they become a major issue. By that time, your bathroom, kitchen or basement sinks and tubs might be:

  • Leaking - Puddles may form each time you run bath or sink water. You may also notice leaks in pipes. If pipes have developed holes, the pipes will have to be replaced.
  • Running water - Despite how much you tighten faucets, water continues to drip in tubs and sinks. Not only could this cause puddles to form and water to potentially drip off counter edges, it raises your water bill.
  • Noises - Let your sump pump start to go and you may hear grinding noises. A dying sump pump can also cause the motor to make a light humming sound. Over time, the pump could stop working altogether.
  • Cold water - Let your water heater break down and you may have to turn the temperature up just to get warm water to come out of the shower or tub. After awhile, only cold or cool water may come out of the faucet.
  • Reemerging water - Reemerging or resurfacing water happens when you flush the toilet and some or all of the waste pushes back up.
  • Over flowing water - More signs that your septic tank may be failing include water over flowing when you flush the toilet or run water in the sink.
  • Moisture - Mildew, mold and cool, moist air are additional signs that there may be plumbing problems at your house. Although you can clean and get a humidifier, contact a plumber if signs of plumbing problems persist.

Stay at least two steps ahead of major plumbing problems

Unlike some other housing issues, plumbing problems can be sneaky. Plumbing problems can start off slowly, then suddenly build to a seemingly unmanageable crescendo. If that happens, it could cost several hundred dollars to fix the problems. That or plumbing problems could resurface every three to four months, again costing you hundreds of dollars a year.

Although it might not be possible to prevent all plumbing problems, it is possible to reduce the numbers of times that your plumbing needs fixing. It starts with honesty. When you notice that water is taking longer to go down the drain in the morning while you wash your face and brush your teeth, take steps to unclog pipes. If the problem reoccurs, reach out to a licensed plumber. It could save you headaches and money down the road.

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Posted by Diane Stone on 10/13/2017

This Single-Family in Natick, MA recently sold for $600,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Diane Stone - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth.

39 Lakeview Ave, Natick, MA 01760


Sale Price

Welcome to this beautiful, 3 bedroom, ranch style home with great water views of Dug Pond. Enjoy swimming, kayaking, ice skating and fishing year round just across the street from your front door. Public beach access less than 1 mile. This newly renovated home includes central air, gleaming hardwood floors, new lighting, polished nickel hardware and fresh paint throughout. Sun-filled kitchen with new granite counters, glass tiled backsplash and new stove, refrigerator and microwave. Slider leads to deck and a large fenced-in yard, perfect for entertaining. Beautiful living room with fireplace, recessed lighting, and a picture window with pond views. 3 bedrooms including Master with ensuite bath and 1 additional full bath on main floor. Generously sized finished basement offers flexible living space including bonus room, full bath and large family room, all with new laminate flooring. Offers due Monday 8/21 at 5:00pm

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Categories: Sold Homes