The Peggy Patenaude Team | Andover Real Estate, North Andover Real Estate, Boxford Real Estate


Believe it or not, a home listing may make or break your ability to sell your residence. If your initial home listing fails to stir up interest from property buyers, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to bolster a house listing.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you transform an ordinary home listing into an exceptional one.

1. Include High-Quality Home Images

High-quality images that showcase your home's kitchen, bathrooms and other areas could help you differentiate your residence from other available properties. Perhaps most important, these images may make it easy for property buyers to fall in love with your house – something that could lead to many home showings in the near future.

If you plan to take photographs for a home listing, it is important to clean your residence and remove clutter in advance. That way, you can use images to showcase the true size and beauty of your house.

Also, if you need help with photographing your house, you may want to hire a real estate photographer. This professional can help you capture top-notch images of your home that you can instantly incorporate into your house listing.

2. Provide Accurate Information About Your Home

A home is a major investment, and as such, you should strive to provide buyers with as much information as possible about your residence. By doing so, you can make it simple for a buyer to determine whether your residence is the right choice.

Oftentimes, it helps to include room measurements, information about recent home upgrades and other relevant details about your residence in a property listing. Consider the buyer's perspective, and you may be better equipped than ever before to include home details that could help you differentiate your residence from the competition.

3. Be Honest with Property Buyers

There is no need to stretch the truth in a home listing, and doing so may do more harm than good as you try to sell your house. Instead, be honest, and you can craft an effective house listing that hits the mark with the right groups of buyers.

Lastly, as you search for ways to improve your home listing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional will help you navigate all stages of the property selling journey and ensure you can achieve your desired home selling results.

A real estate agent will learn about you and your home and help you put together an engaging and informative house listing. Then, he or she will host home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and determine the best course of action.

Eliminate the guesswork associated with preparing an effective home listing and other property selling tasks – hire a real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to streamline the home selling journey.


When you own a home, you take over the landlord responsibilities of maintaining the property. That means you change out the lightbulbs and call the plumber when the drain plugs. Twice a year you faithfully check the smoke detectors and replace their batteries. You even take care of the lawn or hire a professional landscaping service to do it for you. But a few areas need regular attention of which you may be unaware. These sneaky tasks, when left undone, can end up costing a wad of cash down the line.

Schedule service for these items into your life:

  • Gutters and downspouts: Because you can't see into them, you tend to forget that a gutter is just a long trough. In the Fall it fills with leaves and debris that need clearing out so that it can do its job—moving water off your roof and away from your foundation. When the gutters become blocked, water piles up endangering your roof and eaves with water damage. If the water freezes, it may cause an ice dam that will further damage your roof. Debris left in the gutter clogs the drains too, so water can't drain away from the roof. If it overflows and falls near the foundation, the extra water and potential ice can wreak havoc with your home's support structure.
  • Roofs after a storm: If you live in an area prone to thunderstorms or tornados, the resultant hail and wind can damage your roof even if you can't see it. Hail hits the composite shingles causing divots not visible from the ground. If the divots are deep, or if an area gets hit more than once, your roof develops holes that cause leaks. The wind lifts the shingles away from the roof deck. If the shingle bends, it becomes weak and eventually breaks off. At least once a year, and particularly after a major storm, have your roof inspected. Any certified roofer can do this for you, but if you see granules from your roofing tile on the ground, call your insurance adjuster to see if you need a new roof.
  • Water heater: In addition to periodically checking water lines and the thermostat, your water heater needs the sediment drained from the bottom of the tank. Simple to do for standard water heaters, connect a hose to the fixture at the bottom of the tank and drain out some of the water—perhaps five gallons. The sediment resting at the bottom will flow out with the water, and your tank will be more efficient for the next year.
  • Air conditioning condensers: If your A/C is outside, weeds and vines may grow into the fins, blocking the airflow and causing the unit to overhead. Keep all plants and debris away from the unit. Protect if from animals too as shedding animal hairs can clog the grate. On the inside, change the filter monthly for best results and to keep your ducts free from dust and lint.

Owning a home is a wonderful responsibility to take seriously so that your forever home lasts you forever. If you are not able to carry out these inspections yourself, seek the assistance of certified contractors to help you.


No matter what time of year, everyone naturally gravitates to comfort food and easy meal plans when life gets busy. If you've decided to adopt a new way of eating, falling into this pattern can derail your goals. Sometimes, all that's needed to keep you on track is knowing the simple substitutes to your basic recipes. That way, you get comfort food but stay on track.

If you’ve chosen to try a low-carb or ketogenic diet, try one or more of these substitutes for your go-to favorites:

Crust-less Quiche

Use your favorite quiche recipe—provided the filling doesn't include bread cubes or some other off-plan ingredient. Add an extra egg (or 2 for a large quiche) and an extra cup of grated cheese (Swiss, Gouda, or Jarlsberg work well) to the ingredient's list. Then, in place of the crust, butter the baking dish well and sprinkle the extra cheese on the bottom. Pour in your egg mixture, meats (bacon or ham are excellent), veggies (think spinach leaves or bell peppers), and additional cheese on top. Bake as usual at about 350°F. You'll find that the cheese on the bottom and sides crisps up nicely to create a self-crust, so no flour crust necessary.

Tortilla-free Tacos

Another family favorite, tacos, is easily adapted. While the kids are eating theirs on tortillas, wrap your filling in lettuce leaves. Merely remove the outermost lettuce leaves before cutting up the rest of the head. Wash and pat them dry and use in place of the tortilla.

Lettuce wraps

The large outer lettuce leaves–or other leaf-lettuces such as Romaine—are useful in place of bread or carb-laden wraps for other meal staples as well:

  • Sandwiches: simply wrap your meats and cheeses in a lettuce leaf to reduce both carbs and calories.
  • Asian wraps: wrap your eggroll fillings in lettuce leaves. Or, you can use cabbage leaves for this one.
  • Burgers: follow the example of large burger chains and lettuce-wrap your burger patty, tomato, and cheese. So-called “protein-style” burgers work best with several layers of crisper lettuce leaves, so don’t skimp on the lettuce.

Snack foods

Finding enjoyable snack foods is one of the more difficult parts of sticking with your meal plan. If you’re looking for something crunchy, try one of these:

  • Mini pizzas: lay pepperoni slices on a baking pan. Top with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375°F them for about 10 minutes. Remove and lay the chips out on a paper towel to absorb the extra grease.
  • Pepperoni chips: Follow the same recipe as above, but without the cheese. After patting the cooked chips with a paper towel, return them to the oven for another two to three minutes. These chips pair well with sour cream dips and guacamole.
  • Devilled eggs: Make your mother’s recipe but without the sweet pickles.
  • Bacon wrapped … well, just about anything. A favorite is shrimp poppers though: Split fresh jalapeño peppers and remove the seeds. Dab a half teaspoon of cream cheese on the pepper and set a de-veined, cooked shrimp on top. Wrap in a half-slice of bacon. Slide a toothpick through to hold it all together and bake in the oven at 400°F for 15 minutes or until bacon crisps. Or, for a backyard version, put several on a skewer and pop them on the grill.

Sticking to a new plan isn’t always easy, so preparing alternatives in advance can keep you headed in the right direction. 

If you find you’re no longer inspired you to eat well in your current home, talk to your real estate professional about available homes in your area that offer upgraded or gourmet kitchens.


When you move to a higher altitude, a lot about your climate changes. This change affects everything from your ability to breathe to how your food cooks. When you visit an area of higher elevation, the oxygen levels are lower, which has an adverse effect on your body. In time and with proper preparation, you will acclimate, but at the beginning, nearly everyone suffers from what's commonly referred to as "altitude sickness."

Your Body

Everyone is affected by altitude sickness to some degree, but its estimated that about twenty percent of the population suffers to a greater degree than the rest. If you’re part of that twenty percent and the effects become more than you can stand and don’t reduce with time, please contact your doctor immediately. Altitude sickness causes varying degrees of:

- Increase in sweating and dehydration
- Nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and headaches
- Loss of visual acuity
- General malaise and a decrease in energy
- Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
- Edginess and other changes in mood and judgment
- Increase in red cell production, heart rate, and breathing rate

For most, these symptoms are minor, and you will acclimate within a few weeks. You can fight the signs by keeping up your water intake and getting plenty of rest. Your body is moving red blood cells and oxygen around to try and account for the fact that you're getting less with each breath. Don't worry; you're still getting plenty of oxygen to survive, your body is just used to more. 

If you experience any of these altitude symptoms to a severe degree, see a doctor immediately, otherwise, your body will soon get used to the new levels soon, and you'll be just fine.

Your Life

Higher altitudes have lower air pressure, so be sure to check all your tires as your altitude increases. It can also change the compression in your fluids, so double check all your fluid levels more often in your vehicle until you're sure of how quickly you use them in this new climate. Water boils differently at higher altitudes, so that means that basically everything cooks differently. From microwaving to sautéing, you're going to have some fun with trial and error to see what works best at your new height.

If you’re worried about the changes when moving to a higher altitude, ask your real estate professional for specific tips about the area where you’re moving. They can help you be the most prepared.


If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector

The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.

Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options – you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.

In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.

You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.




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