Cheryl Phelan - Plymouth MA Real Estate, Kingston MA Real Estate, Duxbury MA Real Estate


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Adding square footage of living space to your home is always a sound investment. Not only does it give you and your family more space to play, but it adds resale value, too -- even if the square footage you add is outdoors. A well-designed and constructed pergola does both. It provides shade and shelter for guests; at the same time, it adds beauty and function to your backyard while boosting its value to potential buyers.

Benefits of Adding a Pergola

We've put together a checklist of reasons why you might want to consider upping your entertainment game with the addition of a backyard pergola:

Pergolas Ground Your Outdoor Space

A beautiful pergola is the perfect structure to section off a portion of your backyard for entertaining. Sit beneath it for hours, reading your favorite books. Or, host a friendly get-together for a dozen friends. A pergola delineates your entertainment space. 

Pergolas Provide Shade and Shelter

Entertaining with a pergola means guests stay cooler and somewhat protected from the elements. Add a shade canopy made of canvas, lattice or natural, vining plants, and your pergola can help keep the area beneath it up to 15 degrees cooler on the hottest, summer day.

Pergolas Add Privacy

There are so many ways to perk up your pergola, including adding curtains, lattice, plants and more. All add beauty to your construction, but they all add privacy, too. Sit outside without the world staring back at you when you settle in under your pergola. 

Constructing Your Pergola

Now that you've decided a pergola is the perfect home improvement, how do you go about building one?  You have several options:

DIY Pergola

You can build your pergola from scratch if you have the know-how and tenacity. This is the most economic option, but make sure it's permitted and built to code if you're trying to up your resale value. You'll want to choose materials that are hardy against the elements, such as pressure-treated wood, cedar, vinyl or aluminum. You'll also need specific tools and supplies, such as a post-hole digger and quick-set concrete. 

Pergola Kit

Pergola kits are readily available online and at your local home improvement store. They include everything you need to construct your pergola, including the wood, vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass posts, brackets and hardware. Upon delivery, your pergola is ready to assemble. This option is a little pricier than doing it yourself, but it's cheaper than calling in a pro. 

Professional Installation

The average cost of professional pergola construction is between $3,500 and $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor. This cost can change according to where you live, the materials used and the size of your pergola. But this option is also the one that will raise your resale value the most. 

When it comes to living space, every square foot counts. This is especially true when it's time to list your home for potential buyers. Consider the addition of a pergola to enhance both the function and beauty of your backyard. Your family and the next one will love you for it. 


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Selling? Ready to wow potential buyers with some high-impact touch-ups? Here are some top ideas to mesmerize home buyers—without spending a fortune on renovations. 

Dazzle Them at the Doorstep

Many of today's home sales, and certainly most fast transactions, begin with online browsing. First, snap a photo of your home. Take it from the perspective of someone walking up to the front door. Is the walkway weeded? Is the welcome mat spiffy? Is the patio tidy? Think about the irresistible qualities of your home, as you first saw them. Are those charming elements as visible today? Lay fresh mulch on the front garden to touch up the landscaping. A coat of paint for the door, window frames, and decorative shutters is well worth the time invested. Just one sunny day's work...et voilà!

Now, to clean the windows. Are they perfectly clear and inviting? Peek in. Is the interior clutter-free, sparkling clean, and charming? Well done! You're ready to start your virtual home tour on your social media accounts!

Uplift the Interior Mood

Look for spots where you can lighten up the interior look. White paint over dark panels, doors, or cabinets can make a world of mood-lifting difference.

If possible, remove the furniture, except for your staging pieces, before having the photography done. Make the essence of your home bright and joyful. Consider, for instance, that essential oils can be exceptional mood enhancers. Research has confirmed lavender's "anti-agitation and antidepressant" effects.

Make this knowledge work for you. Drop a little lavender oil on your AC filter, or on the cardboard roll inside toilet tissue, for diffusion that keeps spreading a calm feeling throughout your home. (You can share the tip with the new homeowner at closing!)

Try Speed Renovating 

Here again, start by taking pictures inside. Find your best touch-up targets. 

For example:

  • Pick out some simple brass outlet covers to replace your old ones.
  • For a mini-makeover in the kitchen, install a sleek, new faucet. It's a relatively small project. But it can be transformative.
  • Grab some attractive peel-and-stick tiles. Make a backsplash to frame your stove or sink.

Now, throw those curtains open! Open those blinds and windows. Bright, sunny interiors sell homes. 

Ready to Sell Your Home?

Great!

You've cleared out everything. The baseboards are painted. Your kitchen is ready with its glistening—and empty—countertops.Be sure the lock and key work nicely. (You might be surprised, but homes get passed over because the agent can't get the key to work.) Now, you're ready to open your home, and I'm ready to help you. Just give me a call, and let's get that SOLD sign ready!


Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.

Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.

Chandlery

In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.

Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.

Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.

The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.

Gather your supplies

Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.

When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.

In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.

Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.

Making your candle

Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.

Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.

Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.

Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.

Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.


Yes, prepping your home for sale seems like a lot of work, but its definitely worth it! Selling your home "as-is" can increase the time on the market and decrease the sale price. Depending on how much you can to invest, its possible to go all-out with the exterior design process but you can make great strides with just a few dollars in your pocket and a weekend to work on it.

Your real estate professional can give you specific suggestions after viewing your property, but here are a few that help just about everyone:

Start with the Garden

First things first, clean up your yard and garden. Getting rid of those fall leaves you've neglected to pick up, and dead branches hanging on your trees and bushes makes a big difference. If you have a lawn, make certain it’s mown down to a practical level so that it always looks clean and cared for. If you have a xeriscape, make sure your ground coverings are spread evenly. Mulch, gravel, and rubber are all easy to rake back into place with standard gardening tools. A cared for landscape will draw in buyers, helping them fall in love with the vibe of your home.

Add Some Color

Adding some window boxes or planters with seasonal flowers can brighten up your home and make it more appealing to potential buyers. Be careful not to over-water them and clean up any old blooms to keep them looking fresh. Worried about the upkeep? You can simplify your gardening efforts by adding a drip-irrigation system. Not only are they automatic, but the EPA also says they save water and are more efficient than sprinkler systems.

Be Visible

A lot of buyers drive around their favorite neighborhoods looking for just the right home. Want to make sure they can find your property? Check to see just how visible your house number is. The easier it is for a home seeker to find you, the faster your property is likely to sell. If you have existing door numbers, try a metal polish to clean up brass or steel numbers or a new coat of paint for wooden or even plastic ones. If your home is missing digits, or they are hard to see from the street, check out your local home improvement and craft stores for larger or more decorative options.

Do Some Painting (but just a little)

It can be expensive to repaint your entire home, and that's not in every budget. It's okay! Start by just cleaning off your existing paint. Use a proper hose attachment or rent a power sprayer from your local home improvement store and see just how much brighter and more inviting your home is when the paint is clean. To add that extra something, consider repainting your door and window shutters with a matching or contrasting color. Just that little bit of fresh paint at the focal points can make your home much more inviting. Make sure you do a clean job though, paint on door handles and windows won't help your cause.

Make it Bright

If you have existing outdoor lighting, now's the time for some elbow grease. Make sure all your lights are clean of dust and grime, so they show at their best. Get some bright new bulbs for them to ensure none are burnt out. Need some extra appeal? Try adding lights along your driveway, walkway or to accent a specific part of your landscape like a tree, statue or fountain. Landscaping lights can be easy to set up, just look for solar-powered LED lights. Available in a variety of colors, with no batteries or cords required, just stick them where you want for a dramatic evening look.

Your property may benefit from a couple weekends spent in the yard. Ask your real estate professional for specific advice about how to best show off your home.