Tina McManus | Beverly Real Estate, Salem Real Estate, Hamilton Real Estate, Danvers Real Estate


Owning a house is a mark of reaching adulthood for some people. It's a sign of financial independence. Having a house to call your own also alerts people to the fact that you trust yourself. After all, you don't know what's going to happen in the future.

Just because you want a house badly doesn't mean you'll get one

And a lot could happen. Job changes, relationship additions and subtractions and personal goal changes are just a few shifts that could occur after you buy a house. You really do need to trust yourself to take on the type of expense that can easily take 30 years to pay off.

It takes courage to own and care for a house, to keep a house in good functioning condition. Another thing that it takes courage to do is to walk away from the chance to own a house. If your finances aren't in good condition, it may very well be hard for you to own a house.

Find a lender who will approve your mortgage and you might struggle to make your loan payments each month. Worse, you might pay your mortgage for five to seven years only to lose the house, tossing away the money that you invested in closing costs, mortgage insurance and homeowner's association fees.

Why paying mortgages could be hard

Risks of losing your house or struggling every month to make mortgage payments is one of the leading reasons why poor finances is the top thing that could make it hard to own a house. Emotion is another major thing that could make it hard to own a house. Besides emotion, there are other key factors that could cause you to struggle with a mortgage. These factors are:

  • Divorce - A contentious divorce could easily leave you in a financial bind. You might be responsible for paying your ex-spouse's housing expenses, making it hard to own a house of your own.
  • Lifestyle - Frequent travel, a love for loud music and a strong social appetite could make it hard to own a house. Your lifestyle could make it hard to comply with homeowner's association rules. It could also create problems with people you live near.
  • Neighbors - Although money is the leading thing that could make it hard to own a house, neighbors might be the second thing that could keep you from home ownership. Disruptive neighbors, hateful neighbors and contentious neighbors could drag you in and out of court so much that you spend years paying legal fees. Because you're dealing with the legal issues, you might not pass a lender's mortgage qualification guidelines.

Money isn't the only thing that makes owning a house hard

Money, emotion, social habits and relationships could make it hard to own a house. They could cause you to hold onto bad habits. These four things could also cause you to develop destructive relationships with neighbors.

Develop destructive relationships with neighbors and you could be forced out of your house even if you make your mortgage payments on time. Upset neighbors won't hesitate to pick up the telephone and call law enforcement. They also can make living next to them so uncomfortable that you choose to move just so you can have peace.


Stress is the elephant in the car during the house hunting process. It stays with you even after you get home from hours of walking through three to five houses in a single day. House hunting stress keeps you up at night, worrying that you will never find the  perfect house.

How house hunting stress could ruin your most beloved relationships

Let house hunting stress run a muck and it could damage your closest relationships.  Arguments between you and your partner or children could erupt, even migrating into other areas like social behaviors, work life balance issues and parental support.

Damage that house hunting stress causes is far reaching. Even so, you might not always know when you are experiencing the stress. Therefore, the first step in dealing with the stress is to recognize that you are developing or have already developed it. Among the house hunting stress signs are:

  • Less sleep at night, including difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Headaches, particularly recurring headaches or worsening headaches if you have a habit of developing headaches
  • Irritable bowels whether that manifest through constipation or diarrhea
  • Unexplainable weight loss or weight gain
  • Joint stiffness (stress could contribute to inflammation which can cause joint pain)
  • Short patience
  • Emotional eruptions
  • Sadness that lingers, especially when you start telling yourself that you're sure to miss out on a great home deal
  • Fears that you won't be able to afford mortgage payments on the house that you really want, the house that's located in the area that you most want to reside in

Reduce or eliminate house hunting fears as soon as you spot them. Achieving this takes an honest self-review. You could reduce or eliminate house hunting fears by:

  • Admitting that you are afraid
  • Writing down what it is about buying a house that scares you (i.e. mortgage payments, job uncertainty, leaving your current home)
  • Letting go of the idea that you have to find the perfect house
  • Opening to the practicality of buying a house that you can afford to make monthly payments on and upgrade over one to three years
  • Scheduling open house visits across several days  and weeks, so you're not cramming house visits into a tight time window
  • Speaking with your realtor about your concerns
  • Performing data analysis on houses that you want to buy
  • Researching communities that you're interested in buying houses in
  • Getting advice from family, friends and colleagues who have bought houses

Wiping out house hunting stress

Stress, in any form, is generally not good. Yet, stress is so common that it almost seems organic. By not telling yourself that you have to find the perfect house, you could actually shorten the time that it takes you to find a house that meets your family's needs.

Openness to compromise on certain items like kitchen cabinet color, shag or traditional carpeting and a finished or unfinished basement could reduce stress around the need to completely agree on every house amenity. This type of compromise can also reduce or soften disagreements between couples or parents and children.

In the event that you are unable to work through house hunting stress, the next step might be to postpone house shopping for a few days or weeks. Being open to the idea of expanding or upgrading your current home is another alternative. Whichever path you take, remember that houses will always be on the market. Stress and worry won't find you the right house. Neither will sleeplessness or arguing with loved ones, the very people who you may be living at the new house with.


If you recently purchased a home in a new city or town, you may need to act quickly to ensure cable services are installed immediately following your move. Lucky for you, we're here to help you assess cable services providers so that you can find one that exceeds your expectations.

Now, let's take a look at three best practices as you evaluate cable services providers.

1. Think About the Services That You Will Need

Many cable services providers are available, and no two services providers are exactly alike. As such, you'll want to examine which cable services that you need, along with which services that you can live without.

For example, a hardcore football fan likely will need a cable services package that makes it easy to watch plenty of pigskin action. On the other hand, a political news follower may want a cable services package that delivers up-to-the-minute Capitol Hill news coverage.

Ask each cable services provider about the packages that it provides, along with which channels are included in each package. That way, you'll be better equipped than ever before to make an informed cable services purchase decision.

2. Consider Your Budget

Cable services packages may vary from basic packages that include a handful of channels to complete bundles that feature thousands of channels. Meanwhile, cable services providers offer packages at different price points, and you'll want to find a package that guarantees you won't have to break your monthly budget to afford cable services.

In some instances, cable services providers offer discounts to customers who sign multi-year agreements. Keep in mind, however, that if you sign a multi-year agreement, you're committed to the terms of this pact for a few years. And if you need to break the agreement, you may be hit with a cancellation fee.

Furthermore, many cable services providers offer internet and phone services. If you decide to combine your cable services with internet and phone offerings, you may be able to receive a discounted bundle rate.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Separating one cable services provider from another can be difficult, particularly for those with limited time and resources at their disposal. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can gain expert insights into different cable services companies and boost your chances of making the best possible selection.

A real estate agent is happy to connect you with top cable services providers in various cities and towns. By doing so, this housing market professional can ensure you can seamlessly set up cable services at any address, at any time.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can schedule home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and much more.

There is no need to worry about getting the best cable services at your new home. Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can should have no trouble finding a top-notch cable services provider prior to moving day.


Dogs are a man’s best friends, but the mess they bring into your home? Not so much. Learn how you can have a clean house and a lovable pup at the end of each day. Here are ten tips below to get the best of both worlds. 

1. Groom regularly. Keep less fur off your floors and furniture by brushing your dog on a regular schedule. Ideally, this would be a few times a week. Eliminate even more clean up by brushing out your pup outside when possible.

2. Sweep floors in high traffic areas with a microfiber cloth broom each day. The microfiber cloth will grab onto fur and dirt alike and can be reused. It’s also a quick and simple habit to develop and one you can easily delegate as a chore for the kids.

3. Dust often. Stay on top of fur build up by dusting a few areas of the home each night with a microfiber cloth. By just doing a room or two at a time it becomes a less overwhelming task and easier to do regularly. You can even keep a cloth stored away in each room to make the chore even simpler.

4. Vacuum furniture and drapes as well as carpeting. When you have a furry friend your vacuum is going to be working a lot harder around the house. You’ll want to vacuum drapes, furniture, and carpets frequently to stay on top of hair build up. Just as with dusting, you can do a few rooms at a time throughout the week to break up the tediousness of doing the whole house at once.

5. Lint brushes are your new best friend. You might as well fill a handbasket full of them the next time you’re at the store because you’ll never have too many. Store them where they can easily be on hand in closets, bathrooms, the mudroom and your family's’ vehicles. Where there is fur, there’s a way so be prepared to keep clothes fur free when leaving the house.

6. Take care of stains ASAP. Make cleaning up pet stains a no-brainer by putting together an easy to grab bucket filled with cleaning supplies that are made for the job. Be sure to include a pair of rubber gloves, a roll of paper towels, a microfiber cloth and your preferred cleaning solution.

And a bonus for the extra meticulous: wipe paws down with a microfiber cloth after walks. Microfiber clothes are wonderful multitaskers for household cleaners and now you can add “paw wipes” to the list. Before you let your dog run loose around the house after a walk gently wipe their paws with a dry microfiber cloth to catch any loose debris they could track inside.

We love our dogs. They are cute, funny and oh so loving. The messes that come with them, however, aren’t always so welcome. You can easily keep your home spick and span with a little preparation and a regular cleaning schedule. At the end of the day, you can admire your handiwork while curled up on the couch with your pooch.


A patio is an outdoor living space that you can get the most out of year round.  It’s no surprise that a patio is a hallmark of a condo or a rental space. Love entertaining? You’ll appreciate the extra seating and dining space that you gain with a patio.

The following tips on how you can use your patio year round could help you to find space large enough to equal another room at your home. Get ready to let go of the blank patio design and welcome yourself to a world of outdoor living space wonder.

Great patio design ideas

  • Add a padded wicker sofa, two padded wicker chairs and a small round table to your patio. Place the chairs along the sides of the table. Enjoy reading your favorite magazines and watching streamed videos while you sit on the patio. You could also just sit outside and chat with a friend.
  • Install a screen around your patio and add a space heater, so you can spend time outdoors during colder months. You might have fun sitting outside watching snow fall out of the sky.
  • Place plants or flowers on tables located at the edges of your patio. Hanging baskets filled with plants or flowers also work.
  • Hang a decorative wind chime at one far end of your patio.
  • Put your barbecue grill several feet away from your patio, but close enough for you to easily enjoy grilling and entertaining guests.
  • Build a wood divider at one end of your patio and grow a rose vine throughout the divider.

Fun Things To Do On Your Patio

After you add furniture and décor to your patio, welcome company over to enjoy the space with you. One of the more relaxing things that you can do is to hang out with friends, chatting about recent events in your lives. Your kids might have loads of fun playing with their toys or friends on the patio. Other fun activities that you can engage in on your patio include:

  • Book club meetings – Depending on the size of your patio, you might be able to host 8 to 10 book club members without having to use indoor space.
  • Family get togethers – Have an overflow of guests during major holidays? Invite guests to hang out on the patio and not just inside your home.
  • Cookouts – Place a record player or iPod on your patio and play everyone’s favorite music while you laugh, talk and enjoy grilled food.
  • Work from home – All it takes is a laptop, a chair and a table to knock out several hours of work right at home.
  • Reading – If you love to read, you’ll love spending time on your front or back patio getting absorbed in the pages of a great book.
  • Meditating – Talk about getting grounded. Not only will you be stilling your thoughts, you’ll be tuning into your higher self while outside in nature.
  • Exercising – A first floor patio makes for a great exercise area.
  • Hanging out with children and grand kids – Use your patio as another reason to play and spend time with your children and grand kids.
  • Romantic meals – Remember those two wicker chairs and table? Top the table off with a scented candle and treasure a private meal with your partner or spouse. The memories could prove lasting.
  • Spend time with pets – After you take your pets for a walk, relax with them on your patio.

Clearly, beautiful patio designs aren’t your only options. How you use your patio is also important. Host one family get together on your patio and you might decide that you don’t need to pay a contractor to add another room to your home. You can,instead, step onto your screened in or open design patio and entertain,meditate, enjoy a morning tea or unwind at the end of the day.




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