Marianne Avila - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty

Posted by Marianne Avila on 3/18/2018

In recent years, the number of employees who work from home, at least some of the time, has increased to about 25 percent. This trend shows that companies are warming up to the idea of letting their employees work wherever they’re comfortable, and that a growing number of people are working on a freelance or contract basis.

Working from home, despite its many advantages, does pose some obstacles to productivity. Thus, time management and daily task setting are key to being as productive or more productive than you would be at the office.

In today’s article, we’re going to help you learn how to become more productive when you work from home so that you can meet your daily numbers while still enjoying the perks of working remotely.

Time management

One of the most difficult aspects of working from home is sticking to a schedule throughout the day. The home poses several distractions--kids, pets, TV, the refrigerator. Aside from the distraction factor, it’s easy to procrastinate when you don’t have a boss lurking around. There are several measures you can take while working at home to counter these factors.

First, make sure you set some ground rules for yourself and your family while working from home. Make sure everyone knows your work hours, including yourself. Stick to those hours by creating a daily routine. Everyone is different when it comes to keeping a planner.

Some people keep a simple task list in a notebook, while others create intricate planners that are color-coded and rife with stickers and reminders. Regardless of your method, make sure you have a physical reminder in front of you during the day that reminds you what you should be doing.

Routine is key to managing your time. While there will always be things that come up that we don’t plan for, having a foundation for your day is vital. Starting each day the same way is a good way to help yourself stick to your schedule. Some people go for a walk each morning, while others dive right into their work. Whichever you choose, make sure you do it consistently.

Creating a productive environment

Try to work in an office or spare room away from kids or pets and let your family know that you need to focus when you’re there.

If possible, set your phone to silent or “do not disturb” mode. Remove any distractions from the room that will tempt you to procrastinate. Things like the TV and snacks can easily steal your attention.

However, in this day of social media, it’s equally important to make sure you avoid procrastinating online as well. If you find yourself subconsciously navigating to Facebook or Reddit, try setting up an extension on your browser that limits your time on those sites to 10 minutes per day to help you stay on track.

A productive environment doesn’t have to be a barren one. Choose decorations and paint colors that work for you. You’ll want to feel comfortable in your work environment, and one of the perks of working from home is being able to customize any way that you like.

Finally, remember to take breaks. Many people who are able to work from home have a tendency to put work off until the last minute and then work feverishly to get everything done.

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Posted by Marianne Avila on 3/11/2018

If you’d like to increase the value of your home by a slight amount before you even think of putting it on the market, you may be hesitant to make any kind of an investment. There are numerous upgrades that you can make to your home for under one thousand dollars. In the long run, these upgrades could help to save you some serious money. 

Put In A Programmable Thermostat

The majority of energy usage in your home is consumed by your heating and cooling systems. Using a programmable thermostat can help to keep the temperature inside your home stable throughout the day. Your heating and cooling system won’t need to continually start and restart to create a stable temperature in the home. This could be a great assistance in long-term energy and utility bill savings.

Get A New Toilet

If you want to impress buyers, put a new stylish looking toilet in your home. Upgrading your toilet can also bring your energy costs down. It will use less water with each flush and save you on your water bill.

Re-tile The Bathroom

Tiling a room yourself can be fairly inexpensive. It can also help you to breathe new life into the bathroom. Your tub will look brand new. Buyers will leave thinking that you have done an entire remodel of the bathroom. All you really need to do is replace some tile and grout. It’s a DIY project that can truly pay off with big dividends.

Re-tile Your Floors

Just like the bathroom, putting in a new kitchen tile or floor can really bring back some life into the room. Tile helps to rejuvenate the space by getting rid of dirty, tired flooring and backsplashes. 

If you need professional installation for any of these projects, you can splurge on it a bit. It does take some know how to understand the proper installation floor and backsplash tiles. Replacing the floors and tiles gives your home a new, clean look that will be an attractive upgrade to your home. 

Put Up New Window Fixtures

Replacing your blinds can really add something to each room of the house. Blinds can collect a lot of dust and dirt over time. While you may wash and clean them, sometimes, the dirt gets to a point where it’s completely stuck on. If you want to really make your buyers “wow,” try wood blinds. Most home improvement stores have a wide array of options for window blinds that allow you to customize both the size and style of your blinds.

Any upgrades that you can make to your home are an improvement for you while you’re living in it. These changes also allow you to get a bit more of a return on your property once you’re ready to sell.

Posted by Marianne Avila on 3/4/2018

???Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall, poses an interesting question about whether "good fences make good neighbors."

On one hand, there are several advantages to having your property surrounded by a fence, especially if you or your neighbors have dogs or small children running around.

If you happen to have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your backyard, a well-constructed fence can also help keep out ravenous deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other wildlife.

There's no doubt that fences can serve a variety of useful purposes, ranging from privacy and safety to wildlife control and home security. While it can be beneficial to mark off your property boundaries and keep your backyard private, a question to consider is whether a large fence -- especially a new one -- sends the wrong message to your neighbors.  Striking the perfect balance between privacy and friendly neighbor relations can be tricky at times, but there are compelling reasons to stay on good terms.

  1. Security reasons: If you take the time to chat with your neighbors every now and then, they'll have more of a tendency to keep an eye on your property when you're on vacation or just away for the day -- especially if you ask them.  People tend to be more helpful, observant, and protective of others with whom they share a bond or have a sense of community. In contrast to that, if they don't even know your name and haven't exchanged more than a few words with you in years, they'll be less inclined to pay attention to who's on your property and whether they belong there or not.
  2. Sharing resources: Keeping the lines of communication open with your neighbors is beneficial on many levels. When you have a friendly, ongoing relationship, you won't feel reluctant to ask them for help when your car battery's dead and you're running late for work. Trusted neighbors can also provide you with valuable information, such the names of dependable home improvement contractors or how to arrange a free pickup of household clutter that you want to donate to the Salvation Army.
  3. Quality of life: When you're regularly greeted by friendly neighbors, your neighborhood will feel like more of a welcoming and upbeat place to live. It may be necessary for you to set the example or make the first move, but once a friendly atmosphere has been created in a neighborhood, it's relatively easy to keep it going.

So while you may not want your neighbors to get in the habit of stopping by your home to chew the fat, every day, it can be worth your while to greet them by name, offer help whenever possible, and be the kind of good neighbor you'd like them to be. Setting a positive example may be all that's needed to establish a cooperative relationship and possibly even a life-long friendship. And, if all else fails, keep in mind the words of Benjamin Franklin: "Love thy neighbor, but don't pull down your hedge!"

Posted by Marianne Avila on 3/1/2018

6 Maple Ridge Road, Methuen, MA 01844



Full/Half Baths
Stunning! Welcome to Birch Hill Estates! Situated on a beautifully landscaped lot, this 4 BR, 2204 sq ft spectacular Colonial in desirable CGS School district. You will fall in love with the 1st flr open concept space w/laundry & bath. The Living Room offers built-in cabinetry, pillar, wainscoting & French door off of the foyer leading to a lovely kitchen with lots of cabinets, granite Center Island & counters, SS appliances with bump out area complete with an atrium door leading to a magnificent fenced stone patio. Pillars separate the DR from the lovely Family Rm with gas Fireplace. 2nd floor presents a full BA, 4 spacious BRs including a soaring master suite w/vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet & master BA. Newer heating system plumbed for 3 zones, central air, gleaming hardwd floors throughout, 2 car garage, shed, energy saving solar panels, security system, exceptional landscaping, stunning wooded views. A great home for entertaining family and friends.
Open House
March 04 at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Cannot make the Open Houses?
Location: 6 Maple Ridge Road, Methuen, MA 01844    Get Directions

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Categories: Open House  

Posted by Marianne Avila on 2/25/2018

The kids are gone and your home that once always felt full to the brim might begin to feel like too much for just the two of you. Which also means it’s the perfect time to buy just the kind of home you always dreamed of having. And let’s be honest, this isn’t always the home young couples need to raise their growing family.

Open the next chapter of your life by, quite literally, opening a new door.

One of the most important factors to consider when house hunting is whether to stay within your existing community. Many couples are excited to not be tied to one place and have the ability to move to somewhere much warmer or scenic. However, it’s important to consider a few factors that some couples find they wish they had when they first started house hunting for homes across the country.

One of the biggest factors to consider is your family and friends. Moving across country can mean seeing them a lot less. And even though we now have video call technology there’s no replacement for that one on one interaction you get when they’re just a drive around the corner.

Instead of jumping in feet first, consider vacationing in the location(s) you are considering for a week or two at a time. Get to know the surrounding community while you are there. What types of people are in the area and can you see yourself easily becoming one of the group? Visit the restaurants, coffee shops, library and community center to see where people gather and if they are “your” people. If you have a hobby or are looking to take one on look into what sort of activities are in the area. Look for sewing/knitting circles, cooking classes, speaking events, and/or hobby shops in the area.

You might just find that the area is best for visiting time to time and not a place you’d like to grow roots. However, you do find you love the location look into the different travel options and what pricing will look like throughout the year. Especially around the holidays. You don’t want to find out after the fact that you need to drive to a train station two hours away just to get on a train or pay an arm and a leg for a plane ride.

One last thing to consider is planning for your budget both now and in the future. Retirement has a lot of perks but cash flow can get tricky when it comes to big-ticket items. Look for homes that you can pay as much of the total as possible up front. Having small, or no, mortgage payments will ensure you are well within your means. If this is a home you plan to live in for a very long time you’ll want to make sure that all expenses can be covered by one of you if anything should happen to the other’s income source.