It’s that time of year again! The days are shorter, the weather colder, and we are drawn to the warmth of hearth and home as we head into the busy holiday season. Thanksgiving came early this year, but even so, I usually find that the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas fly by and are filled with a bustle of preparation and anticipation.
Holidays mean different things to different people. Perhaps you enjoy moments of quiet reflection and some time off from work, relishing the coziness of your home. Maybe you find yourself involved in a holiday tradition of contributing to charitable causes. If you have small children, you probably experience a whirlwind of activity decorating and shopping for Santa gifts.
However you choose to observe the season, home is likely where you’ll spend a lot of your time. If you do any sort of entertaining or celebrating, you’re probably going to be juggling a variety of tasks from decorating to party invitations to food preparation to shopping. Everyone operates at a different pace. I have friends who start listening to Christmas carols and digging decorations out of the attic as soon as the first signs of Christmas hit the retail shelves before Halloween has even arrived. And I also have friends who absolutely refuse to think about Christmas until they have savored the flavors and fellowship of Thanksgiving.
My advice is to start early and create a checklist so that nothing is left to chance. Shop early for hard-to-find or must-have holidays gifts, especially if they’re being shipped from far away. Unless you thrive on the chaos of the mall on Black Friday, online shopping for key items is a great time saver.
If ordering food for a party of holiday meal, it’s always a good idea get your order in as soon as you know your numbers. We have so many great options for catering the area, from a fresh turkey or perfect rib roast from Lowe’s Market in Northborough to entire holiday menus created by Wegmans in Northborough and Whole Foods in Shrewsbury. Wegmans offers menu ideas for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, including complete turkey, ham, and roast beef dinners. Both Whole Foods and Wegmans also offer vegetarian and vegan dishes for the holidays. My recommendation is that if stores and restaurants are advertising holiday fare, it’s not to early to place an order or make a reservation. The same goes for floral arrangements and holidays centerpieces.
If you’re hosting a large holiday gathering or cocktail party for friends or extended family, the Internet is a great resource for determining how much food to order based on the time of day and formality of your event, whether you’re serving drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres, a casual buffet, or a full sit-down meal. If you’re hosting a cocktail party and planning to do your own cooking, make-ahead finger foods are a must. Appetizers that can be frozen and reheated will save you time the day of the party. You’ll want to make sure to have a mixture of contrasting flavors and textures, as well as a variety of hot and cold items to choose from. Keep in mind your guests’ dietary preferences and allergies; no matter the event, I always make sure to have non-alcoholic beverages as well as at least one hearty vegetarian option on hand when entertaining large groups.
Entertaining tip: Belgian endive provides a perfect vehicle for delivering a tasty bite. An endive leaf provides a versatile canvas for virtually any combination of flavors: tarragon chicken salad, curried shrimp, blue cheese and pecans with honey, or my personal favorite – roasted beets, goat cheese, and pistachios with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. These can easily be prepared a few hours ahead of time and they make for a beautiful plate that is sure to impress despite its easy preparation.
If you’re hosting a holiday party, be sure to invite your guests early, too! The weekends leading up to Christmas are always jam-packed with work parties, neighborhood potlucks, and other holiday celebrations. Apps like Evite and Punchbowl can make invitations a breeze (I recently learned of Evite’s texting feature), but if you are opting for formal, printed invitations, get your address book in order early and make sure to allow time for printing and delivery. Depending on timing, you might be able to fold the order in with your Christmas cards rather than doing two separate orders. And don’t forget your holiday stamps!
Now it’s time to talk about decorating. As I mentioned before, everyone has a personal timeline for decorating for the holidays, but my rule of thumb is that if I’m hosting Thanksgiving, I like to keep the fall theme going through the holiday before switching gears and decorating for Christmas. I like my floral arrangements to reflect the season, and traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas flowers evoke two very different kinds of atmosphere. While some of the scents of the season are similar (cinnamon, baked goods), scents and flavors like apple and pumpkin conjure thoughts of Thanksgiving, while the smells of pine and fir herald Christmas.
Personally, I always feel that understated holiday touches are preferable to kitschy conglomerations of Christmas memorabilia, but to each his own. This year consider thinking beyond red and green. Create a golden glow with soft white lights and gold- and silver accents. Keep things neutral with shades of white and ivory and wintry patterns like stars and snowflakes. A blue and white color scheme also embraces the winter season. These color schemes allow for a sense of warmth for the holidays without necessarily committing to any one tradition or faith. In fact, this year’s trendiest holiday color palette embraces purples, blues and greys.
The more adventurous among us might opt for decorating around a theme:
Go retro with a 1950s theme complete with tinsel, glass bead garlands, and shiny old-fashioned ornaments – you know the look. Pick up a few strings of retro bulb lights – those now available are much safer than the overly hot bulbs of yesteryear. The Vermont Country Store sells replicas of many mid-century household items and decorations. Or choose an even older era: create a Victorian holiday atmosphere with oversized ribbons and bows, an explosion of pine garlands and floral arrangements, lots of ornamentation, and bold colors like deep reds and greens. Don’t hold back – decorating in the Victorian era was anything but muted!
Bring the outdoors inside with live pine boughs and holly, pinecones, and decorations like winter birds, old-fashioned ice skates, and sleds or toboggans. Use lots of natural winter colors like white, dark green, and soft shades of bronze or even smoky pink. Live flowers and plants complete an outdoorsy feel.
Highlight the tree with an over-the-top statement. Pastels? Luxe white? Glitzy gold? Who says a tree has to be a plain green pine? Whether you opt for a live or artificial tree, put your own decorative stamp on it according to your taste, whim, or your home’s existing décor. If you love the ocean, decorate with shells and sea star ornaments. Go bold with enormous ornaments and oversized ribbons and bows. Or feature multiple trees in varying sizes throughout your house and decorate each differently.
Be minimalist and focus your decorating on understated elegance. Use clear lines and materials like metals and glass to create an air of simplicity. Incorporate lights, ornaments, and candlesticks in modest geometric forms and contemporary shapes. Keep your flowers simple – for instance, a stark presentation of branches in a vase can be very beautiful.
Go international with a theme from another country. Decorate your home with orchids – the traditional Christmas flower of Costa Rica. Fill your house with candles and paper lanterns as Colombians do to mark the onset of the Christmas season. Or build a book tree rather than decorating a customary Christmas tree; did you know that in Iceland, people exchange books as Christmas Eve gifts and spend the night in bed reading and eating chocolate?
Don’t forget the outside of your home. Curb appeal is a must, especially if you’re hosting. You want guests to be drawn into your holiday home the moment they set foot on your property. At the very least, make an investment in a beautiful wreath or subdued but welcoming lighting.
Holidays and home go hand in hand. But consider this: if you’re thinking about selling, the holidays are an excellent time to list your house. Typically, there are fewer houses on the market during the holiday season, making for less competition with other properties. Houses show well during the holiday season because they exude an air of welcome that is easiest to achieve when a house seems most homey. And what could be homier than the holiday season?
Putter’s Retreat: A Home with a View
Silver Spruce Drive in Grafton
Soaring interior spaces and sweeping vistas lend this amenity-filled home spaciousness and light. Its prime location on a generous lot in the Highfields Golf Course Community offers the privacy of a cul-de-sac with stunning views of the golf course, a valley and lake, and spectacular sunsets. The surrounding community is a golfer’s dream that includes a walkable neighborhood and even a restaurant.
Step inside the two-story foyer and appreciate the care and craftmanship of custom moldings and hardwood inlays throughout the house. The kitchen is built for entertaining with updates including a kitchen island, plentiful space for food prep, and twin pantries. Wander into the family room with its airy ceilings and views of the golf course as well as a graceful brick fireplace.
Upstairs, four generous bedrooms provide comfortable living space, including a custom master suite with cathedral ceilings, abundant closet space, and a separate shower and soaking tub. French doors open onto a deck with more beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
This home is perfect for anyone with an appreciation of gracious living.
Hidden Acres: A Garden Hideaway
Green Street in Northborough
The private location of this spacious home captures an unexpected intimacy. Four acres of grounds peppered with colorful wildflowers and laced with hidden paths offer the opportunity for limitless moments of quiet contemplation and communion with nature. A circular patio rimmed by a stone wall provides outdoor living space.
Wander up the meandering walkway and step inside a home with endless possibilities. From the kitchen with its classic cabinetry, island, and wine rack and cooler to the dining room with its wainscoting and tray ceiling, this house is built for entertaining large groups or cozy gatherings. The family room features a catwalk and a fireplace flanked by towering windows, while a bright sunroom brims with sunlight and showcases the magnificence of every season.
Upstairs, four bedrooms include a master suite with a large jacuzzi soaking tub, separate shower, and skylight. Don’t miss the bonus space on the third floor waiting to transform into whatever your heart desires: meditation nook, library, music room, or exercise studio.
This home has abundant privacy and limitless possibilities that beckon a discerning buyer.
Poolside Haven: Indoor and Outdoor Living
Prospect Street in Shrewsbury
You must visit this property to drink in all it has to offer. Not far from the heart of Shrewsbury lies an oasis filled with endless possibilities for entertaining and recreation.
Step inside this unexpected gem and you’re sure to be surprised by the abundance of living space. The main floor showcases a sun-filled formal living room and dining room as well as an eat-in kitchen with ample counter space and gorgeous cherry cabinets. Continue to the family room with its custom built-ins and stone fireplace.
Four large bedrooms span the upstairs, with a master suite that includes an enormous walk-in closet. Sprawling indoor living space also includes a finished basement featuring a half bath and a kitchenette for convenient entertaining.
Unique to this home is its outdoor entertaining space. A spacious patio opens onto the private, tree-lined back yard, offering a shady space for outdoor dining or lounging. The adjacent in-ground swimming pool and patio is perfect for sun-drenched days spent poolside.
Don’t miss the opportunity to create your personal haven in a desirable community. This home is ready to welcome you.
by Maribeth Lynch, Owner/Broker Thrive Real Estate Specialists
Most people think of springtime as a season for renewal, but I find that every season brings its share of unique ways to refresh myself and my home. And although my kids are grown, the start to the school year each September feels like a shift … sometimes bringing immediate relief from relentless heat, other times melting into the beautiful days of Indian Summer. As the leaves change to the fiery, vibrant colors of autumn, we change as well, turning our minds toward the coziness of home in the fall and winter.
Last winter I wrote about one of my new favorite concepts: the Danish lifestyle mindset called hygge. While this notion of appreciating and savoring life’s simple pleasures can be practiced at any time of year, I find it particularly suited to a season of holidays and family, food and friends, and the warmth of hearth and home.
I’ve found myself thinking recently about ways to infuse my home with the magic of fall while also recharging and renewing myself after a busy summer, and I’ve identified several ways to pursue an infusion of warmth and energy in my surroundings and outlook:
Activity and Routine
Whether or not we have kids returning to school or college in the fall, we can consider the end of summer as a fresh start to the “work year” – a time for a mid-year review of work/life goals and an opportunity to refresh our focus. It’s a good time to establish new routines at work or in daily life – perhaps a regular break at a favorite coffee shop or a weekly lunch with a friend.
Calming the chaos is especially important for families with school-aged children. The return to school can feel hectic with back-to-school expectations and the inevitable paperwork pileup. Creating a master family calendar with everyone’s weekly schedules can help a family busy feel more in control of all the expectations. Color-coding activities by family member can help everyone stay on top of obligations.
Finally, I like to make sure to add in a little something for my physical and mental health. Physical exercise can be more difficult to do indoors as the weather gets colder, but long walks in the crisp fall air are invigorating. Meditation provides perspective and a much-needed break from the day’s worries. Journaling is also a way to clear the mind and focus priorities.
Simplicity and Balance
Minimalism is liberating. It can feel claustrophobic to be indoors with a lot of pileup. And as entertaining moves from outside to indoors, creating indoor space is imperative when hosting a big holiday bash or even an intimate dinner. Fall is as good a time as spring to de-clutter a home. Sifting through all of the summer accumulation and purging unneeded belongings lifts a burden both physically and emotionally. Rent a Dumpster and fill it with anything broken and cumbersome that can’t be repurposed. And with the holidays on the way, it’s also a great time for charitable giving of gently-used items that we no longer need.
I also think the change of seasons brings a renewed opportunity to look at my home with an eye toward balance. Evaluate each room in terms of lighting, color, and the placement of furniture and accessories. Try to achieve a look that is both practical and pleasing to the eye.
Warmth and Comfort
Fall offers opportunities to connect with roots and family as well as to create a holiday home. As we begin the slow journey to winter, the nights get longer and the days get darker, making home lighting a priority. With less natural light streaming through the windows, it becomes important to choose warm lighting options that brighten rooms while lending a sense of coziness. I also suggest bringing the best of the outdoors inside in the form of fall colors, which are traditionally warm and inviting. Use vibrant reds and oranges or softer earth tones to accentuate your existing palette. Using texture and ambiance like patterned throw pillows and scented candles will lend a home a more gracious feel than filling it with kitschy holiday decorations or seasonal knickknacks. My rule of thumb is to keep it understated.
As we find ourselves spending more time indoors, I urge you to think of how to make your home into a sanctuary. If you’re a cook, perhaps this means planting an indoor herb garden for fresh flavors throughout the winter. In the bedroom, consider using sounds and scents to complement soothing colors; sound machines and scent infusers help create a peaceful atmosphere. What is your passion? Create a reading nook with a cozy blanket or stock up on scented bath products. You know what you like best, so surround yourself with your favorite things, like photos, books, and candles.
Meanwhile, outdoor activities do not need to come to a total halt. While we may need to bundle up a bit when the temperature starts to drop, there are still plenty of opportunities to create curb appeal and indulge in fall landscaping. A passion for gardening need not end; many plants thrive when planted during the fall. And don’t forget to plant spring bulbs like daffodils and snowdrops so they’ll be ready to dispel the gloom of winter when the seasons change again. For those without a green thumb, a tasteful seasonal wreath or a few cheerful pots of mums can spruce up a yard.
All of my suggestions for a hygge-filled home this fall translate well if you happen to be staging your house for sale before the holidays. Prospective buyers will see your house as a home, which will help make that sale. And in the meantime, you can enjoy a lifestyle that lends itself to renewal.
Thrive Real Estate Specialists Owner/Broker Maribeth Lynch
gives Updates on the August 2018 Real Estate Market in Shrewsbury MA
The Shrewsbury real estate market is strong.
Compared to the prior year, we’ve seen housing sales increase by nearly 8%. And, average selling price is up by nearly 5% to $432k.
The number for days on market for those sales was very low – 60 days for the prior year, and a very similar 58 days for the past 12 months.
What about inventory? It seems that after a long period of tight inventory, that we are starting to see a change, and the stats back that up: One year ago, there were 132 listings in the Shrewsbury market and today there are 1444 listing – about a 9% increase.
If we look more closely at inventory, we see that most of the increase in inventory really happened in the last 30 days because just one month ago, there were only 133 listings.
This modest increase in inventory might be a trend to pay close attention to.
Days on Market
One other interesting thing to keep an eye on is days on market. For houses that have sold over the past 30 days, the average days on market was only 36. So, desirable houses are moving. But if we look at inventory today (units not yet sold), the average days on market for those units is 80 days. So, you can see the importance of making your home desirable.
For fun, let’s take a look at the TOP and the BOTTOM of the market:
Bottom: 34 Oakland Avenue was a 2 bedroom / 1 bath home that sold in only 18 days for $175k.
Top: 437 Main Street is a 4 bedroom, 5 bath home that sold in 71 days for $1,850,000.
In summary, Shrewsbury is a strong market.Prices are increasing.
And although we may be seeing inventory start to tick up which is good for buyer selection, desirable homes are still moving fast.
That’s your Thrive Real Estate Market Report for Shrewsbury as of August 2018.
Happy end of summer and start of school year!!
Thrive Real Estate Specialists of Shrewsbury MA will hold a grand opening of their new office located at 26 Maple Avenue on June 24, 2018 from 12-3pm. Thrive Real Estate Specialists recently moved their office from 11 Maple Avenue to 26 Maple Avenue in the center of Shrewsbury.
The Thrive team will be on hand and members of the Shrewsbury community, including representatives from the Board of Selectmen and Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce will also take part in this informal celebration. This Grand Opening, which will be open to the public, coincides with the 3rd Annual Shrewsbury Food and Brew Festival being held at Avidia Bank located at 28 Maple Ave. Don’t forget to pick up some locally made goodies Thrive will have on hand. Jubilee Chocolates and Wicked Twisted Pretzels of Grafton will be there with some sweet and savory treats, as well as Lakeway Commons’ newest gelato cart Froze Zone. Plan to attend both events for double fun.
Thrive Real Estate Specialists is a real estate firm specializing in quality, personalized service with a boutique-style philosophy rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach to real estate. They represent both Buyers and Sellers of homes for sale in Shrewsbury and Central/MetroWest areas of Massachusetts. Thrive was founded by long-time Shrewsbury resident and Realtor, Maribeth McCauley Lynch in 2014. After a successful 15+ year career with a large real estate franchise, Maribeth founded THRIVE Real Estate Specialists with the goal of providing a highly personalized and client centric experience for her clients. Her real estate agency has grown from a “one woman” shop to a team of eight Realtors from Shrewsbury and the surrounding area. She is actively involved in the Shrewsbury community and is proud to represent the Shrewsbury business community.
“Our mission is simple; deliver outstanding, individual and convenient services to all of our Clients. We want you to Thrive in your home, and we are committed to being your partner from the beginning to the end of your real estate transaction. Our business is 100% referral based, we are honored to receive many testimonials from our clients who often become lifelong friends,” states owner/broker Maribeth Lynch.
For more information, please visit thriverealtors.com or contact broker-owner Maribeth Lynch.
Map and Directions
Thrive Real Estate Specialists
26 Maple Avenue
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
Owner/Broker of Thrive Real Estate Specialists is Interviewed on WCRN Radio 830AM
Maribeth Lynch, the owner/broker of Thrive Real Estate Specialists was recently interviewed by Pauline Robertson, host of Shear Transformation on WCRN Radio 830AM.
In her interview, Maribeth answered some common questions for buying and selling real estate in Shrewsbury and the greater Worcester MA area. She also gave some tips for making your home more attractive to buyers with very little effort.
Maribeth discusses the process of choosing the right real estate agent, some questions to ask when interviewing an agent and the importance of using a local expert when buying or selling a home. Maribeth and Pauline discuss how to get the most value when selling your home and maximizing your investment when choosing what time of year to sell. She discusses how different seasons of the year can bring a different level of competition and motivation. They also cover the difference between an appraisal and a CMA. An appraisal is generally performed by a licensed appraiser and is a general scientific value of your home. A realtors opinion of value (CMA) takes in to consideration different factors in the market. They also discussed the 55 and over real estate market.
Listen to Shear Transformation Interview Part I
Listen to Shear Transformation Interview Part II
Exciting Developments at Lakeway Commons
If you’re like me, you’ve watched with interest as the former Spag’s site has undergone a transformation into Shrewsbury’s newest shopping plaza. While anchor store Whole Foods is not yet open for business, construction is largely complete, and the plaza hosted its grand opening last month with a kick-off party that included discounts, giveaways, and prizes. The event also featured the unveiling of a memorial plaque commemorating the Spag’s legacy.
The development includes excellent new Shrewsbury dining options such as Burtons Grill and Tavern in the Square, which are both now open and offer excellent, allergy-friendly dining options with large seating in the bar areas and plenty of dining space – although I would recommend making a reservation when dining at either location with a large group, especially on weekend evenings. The new Starbucks location in the plaza includes a drive-through and a roomy seating area inside.
Other new businesses include Especially for Pets, Orangetheory Fitness, the newest location of Jenny Boston Boutique, a UniBank branch, Scottrade, Tile Works, Massage Envy, Visionworks, Lunchbox Wax, and QDOBA. Many are already open for business, while Whole Foods is scheduled to open in January.
Lakeway Commons, the culmination of a revitalization effort by Grossman Development Group, also includes condos and townhomes. Parts of the site were rezoned to accommodate its new mixed-used classification. The apartment complex includes a pool, clubhouse, and rental garages as well as professional landscaping that incorporates trees and green space. One- and two-bedroom and studio apartments are renting now.
While as Lakeway Commons is opening its doors to Shrewsbury residents, nearby Marlborough is home to the new Apex entertainment complex, which features restaurants, shops, offices, and multiple entertainment venues that are sure to appeal to residents from the surrounding towns. These new developments, coupled with existing shopping and dining options and the bountiful opportunities for outdoor activities in the area add further incentive to live in this beautiful part of Central Massachusetts. While we may be saying goodbye to past icons like Spag’s, there are always new opportunities for our town to grow and attract dynamic businesses.
Brighten Your Winter with a Little Hygge
Recently, I was introduced to a “new” concept that you may or may not have experienced: Hygge. Pronounced “hue-ga,” this Danish lifestyle concept is not actually a new concept at all; it simply hasn’t become a trend in the U.S. until rather recently. When my client Victoria explained Hygge to me, I immediately connected with the idea and began embracing it in my daily life.
Hygge is a lifestyle concept that is practiced in Denmark. It is best described as a mindset that recognizes and appreciates special, cozy moments – whether these moments occur while alone or with family and friends, indoors or outdoors, unusual or ordinary. Hygge is a central part of Danish cultural identity and is rooted in a culture that experiences long, dark Northern winters; hygge evolved as an effort to counteract the cold, darkness, and boredom of those seemingly endless winter months. With winter on the way, I find that the mindfulness of hygge applies particularly well to hearth and home.
Here are a few suggestions to make your home reflect hygge in the coming months:
- Coziness. Hygge is sometimes described as “the art of creating intimacy.” At home, consider the places you most enjoy spending your time. A window seat, hearthside armchair, or other cozy reading nook serves as a refuge from everyday problems. Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine and immerse yourself in a book.
- Community. Involve family and friends in Hygge by creating welcoming spaces where you can spend time with the people you care about. This might be your kitchen (often the hub of the household) or a dining or family room. Use low lighting, candles, and appealing scents to set the stage for special times with your loved ones.
- Simplicity. Find your joy in baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, playing board games, or working on a puzzle. Simple indulgences can bring us great satisfaction. A simple Sunday dinner of roast chicken or a hearty stew can give your mind and body a boost.
- Peacefulness. In order to truly appreciate hygge, it’s important to make an effort to unwind. Take time to unplug this winter. Read, knit, paint, cook, or keep a journal of the things in life for which you are thankful. Take a walk in the quiet moonlight. Slow down and take the time to indulge in the activities that warm your heart and free your mind from the near-constant onslaught of electronic data that we are faced with daily.
- Nature. Danes are famous for incorporating outdoor elements inside. Materials like natural stone and wood are key features in their living spaces that reflect a connection to nature. Something as simple as a rustic log pile next to the fireplace can evoke a feeling of natural beauty in your home.
- Ritual. Stop and buy yourself flowers every week. Or make a habit of brewing your favorite tea each morning and drinking it from your best china cup. Cultivate a windowsill herb garden. Wear fluffy socks every day. Bake your own bread each week. Use your best linens every evening at dinner. Creating new rituals that release us from a feeling of drudgery when we’re at home can bring a sense of comfort to each day.
The ideas I’ve outlined really speak to me as we approach the time of year when home becomes a sanctuary from the elements. Coziness and contentment at home ultimately make us happier in every aspect of our lives. This winter, I encourage everyone to embrace hygge. Enjoy the now, feed your soul, and find an inner freedom that will sustain you!
Thrive Real Estate Specialists is pleased to announce three new realtors have joined their team of agents.
Naat “Nachi” Souza Paiva comes to the THRIVE team with experience in property, casualty, commercial, and personal insurance as well as a successful four-year turn as the proprietor of a Worcester dessert bar. With many of her recent insurance clients approaching her for referrals and advice when buying their first homes, it was a natural step for Nachi to procure her real estate license and join The Thrive Team.
Nachi, who was born in Brazil, moved to the U.S. at the age of ten and grew up in Shrewsbury. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. She studied architecture at Northeastern University – a passion that has informed her involvement in real estate – before returning to Worcester and completing a degree in business management from Assumption College.
Charles Kosheff joins THRIVE with an impressive roster of accomplishments. He majored in Film and Television with a minor in Theater at Northwestern University before embarking on a 25-year career in media production, directing and editing stage events and videos for marketing, fundraising, and entertainment. His exceptional work in the field garnered him an Emmy nomination.
Mr. Kosheff’s attention to detail and dedication to perfection will dovetail with his knack for creating a warm and inviting home, bringing great value to his clients looking to move to Shrewsbury and nearby towns. Mr. Kosheff is also an excellent resource for those contemplating a move to the area, particularly those with young children.
THRIVE’s newest team member is Stephanie Jordan, who has lived on and off in Shrewsbury since 1999. Coming from a family deeply involved in real estate investment and rentals, Stephanie is ready to turn her talents to local home sales. She is passionate about supporting community businesses and networks, and cites Owner/Broker Maribeth Lynch’s drive, motivation, and stellar work ethic as a tremendous inspiration. Stephanie hopes to work in concert with Ms. Lynch to continue THRIVE’s tradition of excellence in helping clients not only buy and sell their homes, but also build their lives.
How to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
These days, there’s a lot of talk about “living green.” As a matter of course, we recycle everything from cardboard to plastic to metal and glass. Our communities regularly hold recycling events for items such as electronics. And more towns are adopting the same type of plastic bag ban that Shrewsbury has recently enacted to encourage reusable bags and less waste.
Green living also addresses the size of the carbon footprint we each create. One way to reduce our environmental impact is to adopt energy-efficient practices in our homes. Many of us already drive energy-efficient cars. Why not implement some energy-saving conventions at home as well? It isn’t as difficult as you might think and it can save you a lot of money in the long term.
I’m not suggesting that you rush out and replace dated appliances that are perfectly functional. If you’re not sure where to start your energy savings, begin by thinking small. Start by swapping burned-out incandescent light bulbs with LEDs and compact fluorescent options. Take some time to evaluate your home heating systems. How out-of-date is your thermostat? Smart thermostats are not terribly difficult to install and their programmable features allow you to control your furnace even when you are asleep or away from home. Some heating and lighting systems can even be controlled remotely by a smartphone or a tablet.
When one of your appliances does give out, shop for an ENERGY STAR certified replacement. ENERGY STAR certifies everything from furnaces to kitchen appliances to washers and dryers to television sets. Visit www.energystar.gov/ for more information. In addition to energy-efficient product listings, the website also provides useful energy-saving tips for homeowners that are easy to incorporate into daily routines.
If you’re willing to tackle a slightly more involved project in pursuit of energy savings, have a contractor or energy auditor conduct a review of the insulation in your attic and basement and the sealants around your windows and doors. Windows that are original to older houses are particularly prone to energy loss. Replacing weather stripping, adding sealants, and installing additional insulation can cut down on drafts and energy leaks. As a rule of thumb, if your home was built before 1980 and hasn’t been updated, it’s likely that your insulation is inadequate.
Massachusetts has many incentives in place to promote the use of renewable energy. Residential use of solar panels is increasing in popularity and their installation can dramatically reduce a household’s energy costs. For more information on available programs, visit www.mass.gov/solar-information-programs.
Energy efficiency isn’t the only way to make your home more environmentally friendly. You can also save money and diminish waste by reducing your water usage. If your water heater needs to be replaced, you should consider a tankless water heater, which eliminates the cost associated with keeping large amounts of hot water in a storage tank. Low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads can also cut down on the amount of water you use each day.
I am always looking for ways to streamline my life and eliminate waste at home. With renewable energy programs becoming increasingly affordable and advanced technologies growing ever more pervasive in our daily lives, reducing our environmental impact at home is easier than you might think. A little research can set you on a path toward shrinking that carbon footprint and leaving behind a cleaner, greener planet for future generations.
For a complete listing of available financing programs and tax credits available to Massachusetts homeowners, check out www.mass.gov/solar-information-programs.