Ann Marie Martin


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/21/2020

Photo by Pixaline via Pixabay

The right home security system can make a profound difference for your peace of mind and make your home an unappealing target -- but do you have to go with a conventional (and expensive) alarm service? In the past, homeowners had few choices, but now, if you own a home and like to DIY you have more options than ever before when it comes to home security. Is a DIY home security system right for you -- or are you better off with the traditional model? Consider these factors as you determine the best way to protect your home. 

DIY vs. Conventional Alarm Services

While the installation and monitoring may differ, both DIY and conventional systems share some factors; both offer wireless connections and monitoring points, both improve the overall security of your home and both can be installed in a day or less. The differences lie in the overall cost, commitment and approach to monitoring. 

A DIY Alarm Service is Right for You If: 

You are handy: If you can do basic home repairs and set up your DVD player or smart-home technology, you have the skills needed to install a DIY alarm system. Alarms used to be very complex and require electrical knowledge. Today's systems are fast and easy to install with the tools you probably have on hand. 

You're wary of contracts: One of the primary consumer complaints about alarm companies in general involves not service, but contracts. Being locked in for a long period of time takes away some of your flexibility. If you move and you have a monitoring contract, you either have to pay to have your system relocated or continue paying for a service you no longer use. Since DIY systems don't require equipment rental or contracts, they are more flexible and forgiving. 

You're on a budget: When you work with a DIY brand, you can buy just what you need, and you'll spend less on equipment and installation. A national brand will charge you for equipment, installation and even ongoing protection fees, making them a more expensive option. 

Since the actual monthly service is very similar, most families benefit from opting for DIY systems. There are a few exceptions. If you have a very large home with many entry points, are unable to do the work needed to install the system or you need more monitoring features, then a traditional system might work. Seniors with limited mobility may have more needs than a growing family or a single individual, and may prefer the all-in-one service offered by a conventional brand. Anyone else can benefit from the low costs and convenience of DIY security systems. 

Reviewing your options allows you to choose the best possible alarm service for your home and family -- and the one that has the perfect balance of cost, commitment and coverage to protect your home. 




Tags: diy   security   security systems  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/14/2020

Photo by Pushok via Pixabay

Do you buy plants for your home Ė just to find them shriveled up and browning just a few short days later? You may be purchasing plants that require too much care Ė or that are known for being tricky to keep alive.

Whether youíve been cursed with a black thumb, have a busy schedule (that barely allows time to care for yourself, let alone plants) or are simply new to house plants, the following varieties may serve you best.

5 Plants that are Tough to Kill

Jade Plant: This emerald beauty looks stunning in just about any planter and is ideal for a desktop or tabletop. It is also nearly impossible to kill with neglect. The jade plant grows so well that simply poking a cutting of it into the soil will result in a new plant.

Air Plants: They donít need dirt to survive Ė and need only occasional mists of water. If your plants die because you are too busy to care for them (or you simply forget about them) consider trying some air plants instead. These small beauties are particularly fun to work with, too. Tiny, artisanal pods, planters and baskets designed specifically for air plants can be found from a variety of vendors and make unique home accents.

Barrel Cactus: Most succulents are tough to kill, but this variety is particularly hardy. Round with large spikes, a barrel cactus stores water so it does not need to be cared for often at all. It also has natural defenses against pets and other plant predators, those spikes make it difficult and uncomfortable to pick up, but donít cause lasting damage. Shallow roots make this one easy to transplant as it grows and ensure it can thrive even if left unpotted for days.

Aloe: This fast-growing, low care beauty has some medicinal properties, too. Just snap off a stem to treat sunburn or other mild burns. While aloe is incredibly easy to grow and care for, it is toxic to pets, so try this one as an office plant if you have pets at home. Short of setting it on fire, you canít kill this one.

Spider Plant: This is a houseplant staple, and it is easy to see why. Spider plants are powerful air purifiers, very difficult to kill and even produce their own offspring. You can forget to water this one for days at a time (weeks in cooler weather) and it will not only survive, but grow and thrive. Spider plants are inexpensive and available pretty much anywhere plants are sold, so this is a solid choice if you are new to houseplants or have a few victims to show for your plant growing efforts.

Choosing one of these varieties can make it easier for you to enjoy the benefits of having houseplants, without the guilt that comes from throwing away another shriveled, dried up victim.




Categories: Indoor Garden  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/10/2020

This Single-Family in Wilbraham, MA recently sold for $224,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Ann Marie Martin - Landmark, Realtors.


8 Opal St, Wilbraham, MA 01095

Single-Family

$215,000
Price
$224,000
Sale Price

5
Rooms
2
Beds
1
Baths
Charming Brick home in a great location of town. This home features a new updated kitchen, new cabinets, all new appliances, bathroom, new windows, and new furnace within the past 4 years. Good size Living Room with lots of light. One bedroom is used now as a laundry room with washer and dryer, there is also washer hook up in the basement. The home office has nice hardwood floors and can be used as a 3rd bedroom, (no closet). There is so much potential and opportunity with this home, basement is finished for extra room if needed. Nice very large yard with front yard sprinkler system. New central A/C, for these long hot summer days. Walk up attic with plenty of storage. Large 2 car attached garage with openers. This is the one. Bring your ideas a make it your new home.

Similar Properties





Categories: Sold Homes  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/7/2020

Photo by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock

Buying your first home is exciting! And scary! But you donít have to fear the process if you take the time to become fully prepared for homeownership. Below are the seven primary keys to preparing yourself and smoothing the process.

How to Know Youíre Ready

  • Determine how much you can afford. The first step to homeownership is figuring out what fits your current budget. Note that although your income may go up over time, buying a home, speculating that youíll make more money and can afford a bigger payment is a recipe for disaster. In general, you donít want your housing costs (mortgage payment, insurance, property taxes, HOA) to be more than 25% of your take-home pay.
  • Research which mortgages can save you the most money. A conventional loan, with at least 20% for a down payment, lets you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). Thatís an extra reduction in monthly outgo, so strive to hit that mark. If you canít afford twenty percent, put at least ten percent down. Less than that means your monthly outflow is higher in both the mortgage payment and the PMI. Youíll also pay more interest over time. Youíll save the most by putting more down and reducing the life of the loan to 15 years or fewer even though your monthly payment is higher. Remember that closing costs and moving take a chunk out of your saved-up cash, too.
  • Get pre-approved. Any lender can ďpre-qualifyĒ you for a loan, but those arenít guaranteed. Theyíre just an estimate based on your self-reported income and assets. Pre-approval takes more effort, but the numbers accurately reflect the size of the mortgage you qualify for and what you can pay for a house. Find a great real estate agent. Once youíve set your maximum budget and have a pre-qualification letter, your real estate agent can work with those numbers to find you the perfect home. Make sure you choose a qualified buyerís agent that represents you, not the seller. You also want someone experienced in helping first-time buyers. Typically, the seller covers all the agentís commissions, so youíre getting their expertise for free!
  • Discover the right neighborhood for you. Buying the right house in the wrong neighborhood leads to buyerís remorse and dissatisfaction. You need to decide what you want in the neighborhood, not just the house. Do you need playgrounds? A school your child can walk to? Other families nearby? Culs-de-sac instead of through-streets? All of these are important to consider before making a decision.
  • Lock down the house. When you know where you want to live and find a house there, donít fudge when making an offer. With the guidance of your agent, submit a solid offer that the seller respects and will consider, but leave room to negotiate. When you receive a counteroffer, consider it carefully and request concessions such as asking the seller to leave the appliances or furnishings. Your offer is legally binding, so you want to take care with what you include.
  • Know what to expect once you get the keys. In addition to your monthly payments of principal and interest, property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues, owning a home brings other costs. These include ongoing maintenance, repairs, lawn care and landscaping. If your new home is considerably larger than where you currently live, youíll also have increased utility costs to factor into the mix.

If youíve worked your way through the first items on the list and youíre ready to find the right real estate agent, reach out today.




Categories: Homebuyer  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 8/31/2020

Sharing living expenses with your partner or roommates can be a difficult and confusing issue for many.

 Life would be made much easier if there was just one bill to pay on your home that includes everything.

 Recently there have been attempts to bring such a suction into fruition. Many homeowners and renters have turned to apps that help them split expenses, or have signed up for mortgage agreements that cover stray expenses like property tax and private mortgage insurance.

 In this article, we're going to give you a few tips on splitting the bills in your home to make things easier for you, your spouse, and your roommates.

Who pays what?

Many young couples are often left wondering who should pay which bill, especially when you share so many services.>

However, there's a big difference between sharing a Netflix account and sharing a car. One solution is to use the bills that report to credit agencies for whoever needs help building their credit score.

Putting credit cards under the person with the lowest scoreís name can help them build credit even if they're simply listed as an ďauthorized userĒ which means you can take advantage of good interest rates and build credit at the same time.

Paying the mortgage

It can quickly become tiresome having to write two different checks each month for your mortgage or rent. To solve this problem, you can either alternate payments (you pay a full monthís rent or mortgage one month and your spouse pays the following month), or you can choose to pay bi-weekly, which will help you pay off your mortgage sooner.

The best apps to use

If you live with your spouse, you likely arenít overly concerned with splitting all of your expenses 50/50. Chances are whoever has the higher income will foot the bill for the larger expenses.

However, if you have roommates thereís a bigger chance youíll want things to be split evenly between you and the other members of the household. Thatís where apps come in handy.

First, sit down with your roommates and go over all expenses. Write down each bill that you share: rent, heat, electricity, cable, internet, gas, insurance, and so on.

Then, decide who is responsible for making the payment on those bills. Even if you decide to split them all evenly, one person will have to be responsible for sending out the check each month.

Once youíve determined which bills you have and who is going to pay them, itís time to find out how youíre all going to contribute.

One way is to open up a shared account. Doing so can be messy, however, if youíre using that account for multiple bills. Some banks and services also charge a portion of the transfer, so youíll each be losing money each month, and the amount depends on how many bills you have.

Some apps and services you can use to split bills and transfer money include Splitwise, Mint, PayPal, and Chaseís QuickPay. The benefit of apps that donít transfer money is that they are often free and donít collect transfer fees. So, if youíre comfortable with handling money by hand, you could save in the long run.




Categories: expenses   splitting costs