In a whirlwind of a month, we traveled to Yellowstone, Paris, Belgium, and closed on our second multifamily property in Boston all within a span of thirty days! Due to some delays with the closing we actually took ownership of our new house while we were overseas, so we’ve been busy catching up on paperwork, and meeting our new tenants.
If you’re interested in investing in the Boston area we would love to share our experience and help you navigate the ins and outs the Real Estate market. Check out our contact page for info on how to reach us!
Having grown up in Maine we’re used to having a lot of greenery around us. When we first moved to the city it was one of the things we missed most, especially in the spring. Now we’ve come to appreciate urban gardening and the life it can bring to a property. We’re lucky enough to have a small yard where we planted a raised bed garden and flower beds. We also have a growing collection of succulents (check out our Instagram @plant_parenthood12) and other indoor plants that help make our little apartment feel more like home.
Whether you have a lawn or not, urban gardening can add a lot of curb appeal to your property which will help if you’re listing it for sale or as a rental. You’ll have to invest some time to get started, but if you opt for low maintenance plant varieties it can be very easy to manage.
If you have space to add flower beds around the foundation of your property, try building up the ground so it slopes away from your house and planting hosta. The raised terrain will help with drainage when it rains and protect your foundation, and hosta is a lovely perennial that is easy to care for. It comes in several varieties and it will grow just about anywhere. The only maintenance they require is a trim in the fall after the first frost. They do take a little while to get going in the spring so when we trim ours in the fall we also plant some bulbs for hyacinth and daffodils which bloom earlier and add some color.
No space for a flower bed? If you have railings on porches or stairs these planters are a great option. We use a larger version on our back porch as an herb garden! Depending on how much sun your property gets Coleus and Creeping Ivy varieties are good for adding some greenery and require almost no maintenance work. Impatiens and Begonias are both classic planter flowers because they spread to fill their container. Zinnias are another excellent choice due to their long blooming period and nice pop of color.
We’d love to hear how you’re using urban gardening to spruce up your own property! Check out our About page to connect with us today.
When we were searching for our first home we were looking at it mostly as an investment so we tried not to get too hung up on the details that don’t matter. We weren’t searching for our dream home, we were looking for something within our price range that cash flowed where we would be comfortable living for a few years.
That being said, we definitely had to prioritize what we were looking for. For us this was an informal conversation in the car after looking at a few properties, but we think there is value to be gained from taking the time to sit down and make a list, especially if you are house hunting with someone else. It will save you a lot of time and frustration if you can come to some agreements up front about what you’re looking for. Here’s the process we suggest:
Step One: Brainstorm!
Make a list of everything you want in your property. If you’re searching for your dream home, dream big! Pool with a waterslide? Bowling alley in the basement? Anything goes in a brain storm session and it’s a great icebreaker if you’re collaborating with someone else. If you’re looking for an investment property your list might be a little more practical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some wishes of your own. Laundry in all units? A property delivered vacant? Why not? You should also include some logistical information such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’re looking for, parking, budget, etc.
Step Two: Identify your “must haves”
Take a hard look at your list and talk about what’s really important to you, and what you’re willing to compromise on or live without. Separate your list into three columns by priority and add ranges where they’re appropriate. For example you might have bedrooms in column #1 as a “Must Have”, but with a range of 2-3 if you’re flexible on the number. This list might change over time as you look at properties and get a better idea of what’s out there, but it’s a good idea to have some ground rules to start with.
Step 3: Use your list to compare properties you look at
A lot of times you’ll end up going to several properties within the same weekend, and they can start to blur together. NextHome Titletown offers our clients a Buyers Guide book where you can take notes as you tour properties to remember what you liked and what you didn’t. At the end of the day we recommend redoing those notes in the context of your list to see how the properties you looked at fit your needs. A table like the one below is a great tool for comparison:
Step Four: Make an Offer
Once you’ve had a chance to compare some properties you’ll be able to use these tools to make decisions about offers quickly which is key in a competitive market!
A list like this is also a great way to communicate to your agent what you’re looking for, and make sure we’re showing you properties that are going to be a good fit. We’re also happy to help you brainstorm if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. Check our our About page to contact us and get started!
Last summer was a whirlwind of a season for Team Achorn. We spent most of the Spring looking at houses at a casual pace, then picked up speed when a seller’s agent called saying that a place we had made an offer on months ago was available again. We quickly resubmitted our offer and just over a month later we were closing on a three family property in Dorchester. That very afternoon we started renovations on the uninhabitable third floor unit that we needed to move into within a month.
Our routine for the next month was: Wake up and pack our work clothes, lunches, and dinners before driving an hour to our 8-5 jobs. When 5PM hit we would run downstairs and microwave our dinners (meal prepping is amazing), change into our grubby clothes, and eat on the way to the new house. Once we got there we dove into whatever dirty work needed to get done that day. We scraped popcorn ceilings, ripped and replaced flooring, trim, and paint in every room, replaced appliances, and tore apart the bathroom until it got too dark to work and we had to head home to shower, sleep, and do it all again. Eventually we replaced all the light fixtures so we could work even later! On weekends Steve’s dad would come stay and help us with the projects that were a little beyond us: electrical work, replacing the kitchen sink and bathroom fan, etc.
Two days prior to our required move out date, and one week prior to our wedding, which was also very DIY, we finally had a reasonably livable space. We continued to live with a chop saw in our living room for another month as Steve finished the flooring and we switched into full wedding mode. Looking back I’m amazed at what we accomplished in that short time with little planning and even less prior experience with any of the work we completed.
We knew what we were getting ourselves into with our renovation for the most part, although the water heater that burst within two weeks of us taking ownership was a little bit of a shock! In retrospect, though, there are some things we would recommend to first time home buyers to make their process a lot easier than ours. We’d like to use this website as a platform to offer our words of advice, and lessons learned as home buyers, landlords, and investors. If you have any questions or want to chat about anything you see here don’t hesitate to reach out!
Check out this page for our latest posts offering words of advice, and lessons learned as home buyers, landlords, and investors. If you have questions make sure to comment below or reach out! We’re always happy to make a connection.