Cheryl Pendenza | Medford MA Real Estate Real Estate, Somerville MA Real Estate Real Estate


You might think those people who own houses saved up until it got to the right amount. Well, this might be possible, but it is difficult to achieve since the temptation to use the money and unforeseen expenses may arise. So how do most people acquire a house? In America today, the quickest path to homeownership is by a mortgage.

For clarity, a mortgage is a loan from a financial institution or lender that helps the borrower to buy a house. While taking a mortgage may seem like an excellent idea, like every debt, you would want to pay this mortgage off as promptly as possible. So if you are nursing the thought of a mortgage or you are finding it difficult to pay off your mortgage in this post, you will find tips you can use to take control of your money goals and pay off your house early. Here are six practical ways to get there faster:

Switch to Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

By dividing your monthly house payment in half and choosing to pay every two weeks, you can relieve yourself of financial stress in two ways. Firstly, this extends the cash flow demand required to pay your monthly bill and secondly, it will help slip an extra monthly-equivalent payment annually.

Refinance to a 15-year Mortgage

Another easy way to pay off your house in no time is to refinance your mortgage from the traditional 30-year mortgage to a 15-year term Doing this will offer you a lower interest rate as well as save you a significant amount of money in interest throughout your loan.

Pay extra each month

Adding $50 to your budget is not too much, but when you continuously add this amount or more to your mortgage payment, it can make a massive difference. Although it might look simple to do, it requires a lot of discipline and commitment.

Bring your lunch to work

Coming to work daily with a brown bag can do you more good other than filling your stomach. By packing a lunch instead of buying from restaurants, you save up a reasonable sum of money that you might put toward paying off your mortgage early.

Put your windfalls into your mortgage

Most taxpayers receive a tax refund each year. If you can utilize all or some of that money as a form of extra payment on your mortgage, you will make rapid progress in paying your house fast.

If you're looking to purchase a home and don't want a 30-year payment, consider these factors when determining how much house payment you can afford.


Do you live in a house that has hard water? You know, where you get those white rings on the counters and the faucets have this grungy, crusty build up. While you’re at the DIY store, you see this free water testing kit and decide its time to learn what is going on. You get the results, and the company asks to come out and give you a further evaluation as well as introduce you to a solution. The time this takes is well worth the process because it gives you valuable information about your water and how to fix it. Unfortunately, the typical solution is a $6,000 to $8,000 fix. Now maybe that is in your budget, and that is great, but most of the time that solution still involves the use of salt.

There is another way 

Alternatives exist where the installation cost may be way less—although it might be the same depending on how large of a system you get. But more importantly, it is a solution that doesn’t involve the constant purchase of salt. 

A recent addition to the water treatment lineup includes many different brands on salt-free water conditioners or de-scalers. Typically, a non-salt system consists of a large particle filter and a multiple-part canister. The system works by neutralizing minerals such as magnesium and calcium by changing their ionic makeup so that these minerals do not stick to pipes and other surfaces. They do remain in the water, though, so if you allow a pool of water to dry, the minerals will form a powdery residue that easily brushes off.

DIY Installation?

Installation is not complicated, but if you have little to no experience plumbing, you should hire a local plumber or certified installer to do the project. It is essential to put it in-line with the water going the correct direction (into the water heater, for example), so you’ll need to know which way the pipe is flowing where you add the joint.

Does it work?

The results are different from a water softener. You’ll see a reduction of the calcium in the water. Your skin will feel less dried out, and dish soap will create larger amounts of suds. You will not have that slippery feel of salt-softened water though. Most importantly, you can drink the water and water your plants with the water directly from the tap. 

Is it green?

The environment gains because there is no back-washing of the system like with traditional salt-based softeners, so you are not dumping salt water into the drainage system, and you are not using a bunch of extra water. 

What does it cost to maintain?

The cost to operate it once it after installation is very low. There is no salt to purchase every month. You only have to change the large particle filter every 6 to 12 months, depending on your water source. You may even receive extra filters with your installation, so check with the dealer.

The cost to DIY the project includes the purchase of the system and a few fittings to make the connection into your water pipes. Check with your real estate professional to see if adding a water conditioner system will increase the value of your home for resale.


A fire pit can go a long way in affording homeowners the luxury of the comfortable outdoor living they want. It provides an avenue to bond with loved ones, sharing intimate moments and even be one with nature. There is a lot to enjoy when you decide to fit a fire pit in your yard. However, just like everything, installing a fire pit should be approached with considerate caution. This is especially true if you are a fan of do-it-yourself methods.

Here are some ways to ensure that your fire pit is in the best possible condition when being installed in your home:

Use the best materials

Whether you are settling for a fixed or portable fire pit, don't let the thought of acquiring something inferior and cheap cross your mind. Cheap materials put you at risk of starting a disastrous fire which could damage your properties and even harm people. Go for quality; it's worth it!

Keep a safe distance

Ideally, a fire pit should be at least 10 meters away from any structure or neighboring yard. Proper positioning will help in curtailing the spread of fire to combustible parts of your yard like bushes and fences.

No flammable materials around

The fire pit should be placed on a non-flammable surface, preferably patio blocks or concrete. Also, be sure to pick up any materials around the fire pit that can quickly catch fire like dried leaves, paper bags, and the like. 

Fire pits shouldn't be placed on wooden decks or directly on the grass. It's best to keep them in the open. That is, don't consider putting them beneath low hanging tree branches or under a covered porch. Not only will low-hanging tree limbs or deck roofs be a fire hazard, but they also trap smoke around the fire pit making it less enjoyable for you and your guests.

Remove the vegetation

Landscaped yards will, most likely, have grasses and shrubs lying around. Of course, they add to the aesthetics of the yard. However, after selecting the spot for the fire pit, the vegetation around it should be removed. If no combustible materials are accessible, the fire has no chance of spreading.

Get the right depth

Ideally, the pit should be, at least, 6 inches deep and 2 feet wide. Having a fire pit of this dimension allows the structure to contain embers. After fitting the fire pit, pile dirt or rocks around it to stop fire spread.

Have a garden hose and fire extinguisher handy

Fire is a surprising element that can go out of hand at any time. For extra safety, keep a source of water, preferably a garden hose, nearby. With it, you can extinguish any escaping fire before it becomes something big to deal with.

There you go! While you plan to share special moments with people around your fire pit, remain safe. A quality fire pit will serve you and your family for years to come.


Want to expand the square footage of your home without moving to a new house? Consider all of the changes you can make to your garage to add a den or playroom, home gym, workshop, or a combination of any these to enjoy a larger living space.

First, to determine what area(s) of your garage are flexible, consider your vehicle needs. Do you have only one car, but a two-car garage. Do you need to park your vehicle inside year-round? If you can allocate some of your vehicle parking space for other uses, measure the available area and see what expansions fit. If you need to park your cars in the garage, maybe you can arrange vertical storage in such a way that a small workshop set up or home gym fits nicely, leaving your office to be well, your office. If you don’t park vehicles in your garage and currently unpacked boxes, miscellaneous tools, bikes, and other objects take up that space, sort through your belongings, put indoor items away, and see what’s left that needs to stay in the garage. 

If you can transform your garage into an additional living space, you'll want to consider your insulation and electric needs. A garage door threshold seal can make a huge difference in the usability of your garage. If rainwater, dust, animals, and pests can easily enter your garage add the seal protect your space and make it habitable. 

Consider using vertical storage to free up floor space. Most garages have high ceilings, so add high shelving for holiday decorations, suitcases, and long-term storage. Install lift systems for bicycles and other gear and narrow/vertical storage units for your tools. Opening up your floor space allows room to set up exercise equipment, activity tables (pool or ping-pong anyone?), or simply to throw down a rug, set up that extra TV and plug in your Wii. 

 To turn your garage into a living space, for a den, or man cave you'll need to figure out a climate control solution. If your home's system can handle the extra square feet, you can work with your contractor to expand your heating and air conditioning system to the garage. Make sure you check all wall seams, weather stripping, and possible leaks to ensure you don't experience higher energy usage to maintain the space. If your garage is yet unfinished, you’ll need to take the extra steps to insulate, if not completely finish the walls so that you don't see a significant upward creep in your electricity costs.

TIP #1: If you intend to make the extra living space permanent, check your city's regulations to make sure you acquire the appropriate, necessary permits. 

TIP #2: If you think you might resell your home in the future, speak with your real estate agent to determine the best way to create the added living space without losing resale value. That is, you may want to lay down your flooring on top of the cement garage floor. To ensure a future buyer can use the garage for their vehicles, you may need to make specific choices on easily removable flooring. 

Expanding the use of your garage is a great and affordable way to create space in your home. Speak with your real estate professional about any changes you're considering to determine best how to add to or maintain the most value to your home while adding the most significant value to your current lifestyle.


A mortgage loan is crucial to owning a home unless you can afford to pay cash. Mortgages are significant; they're used by individuals and businesses to make large real estate purchases without paying the entire purchase price up front. Over the years, the borrower repays the loan, plus interest, until he or she owns the property free and clear.  

Mortgages are also called “claims on a property” or “liens.” It’s worthy of note that, if the borrower stops paying the mortgage, the lender can foreclose and claim the property.

Buying a home will be, for most people, the most significant financial investment of one's life. Being that 90% of people cannot afford to buy a home outright, they’ll need to take out a home mortgage loan from a bank or other financial institution.

There are many mortgage options out there, and an inexperienced home buyer can quickly feel overwhelmed when looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades-long commitments.

Securing the loan that is needed can be aided quite a bit with some simple steps that can you can take in advance.

What are Your Financial Strengths and Weaknesses?

Personal financial health is one of the most critical factors to consider when securing a mortgage loan. When seeking a home loan, it's crucial to know the fitness of your financial picture. Your credit rating and score directly affect the interest rate charged to you, so knowing the score and how it was determined helps devise an application strategy.

Get your credit reports from all the credit agencies. It’s possible to have the reports reviewed if there is an issue with them. Correcting issues can result in enhancing the score which in turn can improve the terms of the home loan. Scores improve in a variety of ways, but it may take some months to see movement. If you plan to take out a mortgage to purchase your home, start now improving your credit score.

Look for Best Mortgage Deal

The world of the Internet may offer far better terms than your local bank, or, your local bank may offer better terms than online mortgages. Check both online and local lenders. With loan comparison sites, locating the best deals is much more accessible, requiring less time.

But this is never to say that there are no risks involved in borrowing from a lender. Unscrupulous lenders operate both on- and off-line, and it is essential to check out any prospective lending option before agreeing to any home loan deal.

Large Down Payment Provision

A vital element of any mortgage deal is your down-payment amount. As a substantial investment, it not only secures the property but also lowers the size of the required mortgage sum. And when the required amount is less, the chances of getting a home loan with less than perfect credit improve too.

While the home loan sum is an important consideration, lenders are also impressed by people that display the budgetary discipline required to save such a large amount. It tells them how serious the applicant is and will be committed to repaying the debt.

Investigate the right mortgage deal and have a stress free future!




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