Pierre C. Rumpf | Manchester-by-the-Sea Real Estate, Effex Real Estate, Beverly Real Estate

There's a lot to love about a builder grade home, for example, the fact that it is newly built and doesn't come with the host of issues of an older home. However, these homes can lack in the personality department since the focus when being built was on the budget and not magazine worthy style. Keep reading to discover how you can add stylistic flair to your home without draining your bank account. Light fixtures. Changing light fixtures by either replacing them completely or painting them can make a huge difference in a room. Picking up a few cans of rubbed bronze or satin nickel spray paint will give a modern touch without breaking the bank. Doors. Replace or reface generic hollow core doors. You can reface flat doors by adding molding or get creative with a can of paint and a roll of painter’s tape and make the illusion that you have a raised panel door. Beadboard paired with molding is another great combination that adds personality to your doors without the major price tag. Stairs. Strip carpeting to expose treads and risers. Here’s where you can let your imagination go wild. Pick up some cans of paint and add a unique touch to your staircase by painting railings and  risers to add a pop of color. Avoid painting your stairs all one color to avoid a bland look. You can even paint a faux runner to really add a unique touch. Cabinets.  Replacing cabinets is always an option albeit a pricey one. If you’re happy with your cabinet layout you have a few diy options available. Variation can be the spice of life. Try removing some cabinet doors to keep things open or installing some glass paneled doors. Paint is always an option whether professionally sprayed or done by yourself. Another easy way to add some personality to builder grade cabinets is by updating hardware. Look for knobs and handles at antique shops to add a unique touch on a budget. Millwork. Molding, wainscoting, and beadboard. Oh, my. With this trio on your side, the possibilities for customization are endless. Frame a plain bathroom mirror, add chair rails or extend baseboards. With a little creativity, you can even recreate the look of coffered ceiling or paneled doors. If you are unsure of where to start, try looking through some home magazines for inspiration. Wallpaper. Wallpaper gives you endless options for adding flair to the walls of your home. Add a pop of color with bright, bold patterns or texture with paintable varieties. If you don’t want to make a commitment to wallpaper or the idea of scrapping it if you change your mind fills you with dread there are now a plethora of temporary wallpaper options. Tile. Hexagon and subway tiles are both guaranteed to add a modern feel to your home. However, your options today are endless no matter your budget. Explore the selections at your local home improvement store and don’t rule out materials fabricated to recreate a stone or wood finish. After all, there’s no need to empty your wall out just to get the look you want. Just because you’ve fallen in love with a builder grade home doesn’t mean it needs to stay quite so basic. If you want to add a touch of modern style to your home a little creativity and paint can go a long way. Don’t forget to sit back and enjoy all your hard work when you’re finished!

If you plan to buy a house, it helps to take an honest approach to the homebuying journey. In fact, there are many reasons to remain open and honest throughout the homebuying journey, including:

1. You can set realistic expectations for the homebuying cycle.

If you're honest with yourself, you can determine exactly how much that you can spend on a residence. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, an honest approach is ideal to ensure you can maintain realistic expectations as you pursue houses. No house is perfect, but an honest homebuyer will realize this before he or she embarks on a home search. As a result, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to discover a terrific house that matches his or her expectations.

2. You can resist the temptation to spend beyond your means.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you enter the housing market. If you pursue houses with a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your home search, thereby reducing the risk of spending too much on a house.

When it comes to getting a mortgage, you'll need to be honest with prospective lenders. These financial institutions will perform their due diligence to ensure you are qualified to receive a mortgage. And if you are dishonest with lenders, you are unlikely to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal house.

3. You can speed up the homebuying journey.

The homebuying journey may prove to be a long, drawn-out process if you're not careful. Fortunately, with an honest approach to buying a house, you can limit the risk of encountering time-consuming homebuying hurdles.

For example, if you are honest with yourself about where you want to live, you can refine your home search to particular cities or towns. This will enable you to keep track of available houses in certain areas, resulting in a fast, efficient home search.

The aforementioned list highlights some of the key reasons to be honest with yourself and others as you pursue a house. Of course, if you need extra assistance as you search for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent too.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will be direct and forthright with you throughout the homebuying journey. As such, a real estate agent can help you take the guesswork out of purchasing a house.

Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. This housing market professional then can tailor a home search to help you identify your dream residence. And if you have any homebuying questions, a real estate agent can respond to these queries immediately.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will provide honest, unbiased recommendations as you proceed along the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will simplify the homebuying process, ensuring you can acquire a top-notch house that you can enjoy for years to come.

Home is where the heart is and we all want to make sure the heart of our home, our family, is healthy and happy. Creating a home that sets your family up for success towards becoming a healthier, and therefore happier family can lead to happy memories you can cherish forever. Keep reading for tips and habits you can enforce and lead by example in your home to encourage your family to make healthy choices both mentally and physically. Practice gratitude. At the end of each day, perhaps even around the dinner table review your family's favorite moments of the day and what they are grateful for. Creating space for these moments is akin to writing out gratitude lists which have been scientifically proven to help increase happiness. This habit also has the added benefit of bringing your family closer together . Spend time together at home. Whether it’s a weekly game night where your family gathers around the kitchen table to play board games, huddles up in the living room to play some video games or spend the day playing a game of ball in the backyard. Taking time to enjoy each other at home base creates happy memories and helps your family become more tight knit. Create zones in your house. Set up zones for activities such as tech only, homework, play, solo time and even family time to help encourage focus on the activity at hand while maintaining balance. By creating specific zones you help hardwire your family’s brains to focus on the activity at hand and allow a way for other members of the family to respect that person’s time while they are engaging in an activity. Healthy Choices. Set out bowls of fruits, pre-cut veggies to snack on and keep a jug of cold water on hand to guide your family towards healthy choices on their own. This works especially well with younger children so that you can allow them to make their own food choices at snack time and ensure you are making it easier for them to reach for the good stuff. Encourage physical activity. If you child is interested in an afterschool sport, practice being enthusiastic and supportive of their new interest. Spend time practicing with them in the backyard and volunteer to host their friends over for a group practice in the backyard. If your partner is interested in joining the gym or an adult league, leave room in your family’s schedule for them to easily stick to and enjoy their new commitment. Make relaxation easy for your family. Consider what each member of your family’s go-to technique to relax is and set up ways for them to easily do so. If your children love to draw or paint set up an art station they can easily access at their discretion. If your partner enjoys curling up with a good book and some hot tea arrange a bookcase with their favorite titles within reach and keep tea making supplies at the forefront of your cabinet. Get outside. Sometimes it's important to get out of the house too. A few times a month schedule times for family trips to get outside and visit nearby trails. Whether you walk, hike or ride bikes as a family getting outdoors to enjoy fresh air and be active will improve your family’s health and guarantee some quality time together. We all want health and happiness for the ones we love. You can help promote healthy habits that lead to increased happiness for your family with a little preparation and guiding by example. Working with, playing with, and supporting each other along the way will guarantee a healthier, more tight knit family with loads of memories to cherish for years to come.

The Northeast and New England are home to some of the most historic estates in the country. If you drive through almost any small town in New England you'll notice houses that proudly wear signs giving the year the home was built, with many dating back to the 1700s. Many of these homes have fortunately been preserved and opened to the public as museums. The area isn't just full of old colonials, either. Mansions in Rhode Island, estates in Vermont, tenement buildings in New York City, and even a few modern feats of architecture in Connecticut sprawl across the region. Here's a list of 10 must-see homes-turned-museums in the Northeast:

1. Mark Twain House, Connecticut

In 1873, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) and his recently wed wife, Olivia began work on their home in Hartford, Connecticut. Twain would go on to live what he described as the happiest and most productive years of his life. The museum holds many artifacts from Twain and his family, including his last pair of spectacles.

2. The Glass House, Connecticut

The Glass House is a 49-acre experiment in modern architecture that lies in New Canaan, Connecticut. The structures on the estate were built in 1949 with industrial age materials like steel and glass (the main house being comprised of glass).

3. The House of Seven Gables, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts is mainly associated with the Salem Witch Trials and various pop-culture references that tie it to the supernatural. Most of the witch trials of 1692 involved residents of neighboring Danvers (then Salem Village). The House of Seven Gables was built by a Salem sea captain named John Turner in 1668.

4. Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

As its name suggests, Old Sturbridge village is a reconstructed village that depicts an average New England village in the 1830s. It includes a school, country store, bank, a working farm, and several homes.

5. The Breakers, Rhode Island

The Breakers was constructed as the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893. It is a gilded age mansion on the ocean that represents the opulence and grandeur of its time.

6. Hildene, Vermont

The home of the Lincoln family built in Manchester, Vermont in 1905. It was constructed by Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln and was excluseively the home of Lincoln decendents until 1975.

7. Jackson House, New Hampshire

The Jackson House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is the oldest wood-framed house in New Hampshire. It was built ca. 1664 and has post-Medieval English architectural motifs.

8. Castle Tucker, Maine

Castle Tucker was built in 1807 in coastal Wiscasset, Maine. Visitors are offered a glimpse into the lives of the Tuckers, a well-known shipping family. Economic difficulties meant the home was seldom renovated and one of the most well-preserved Victorian era homes in the region.

9. Tenement Museum, New York

While many homes on the list tell the story of well-to-do families, the NYC tenement museum takes visitors through a multi-floor tenement building that housed over 7,000 working class immigrants.

10. Lyndhurst, New York

Lyndhurst, an estate overlooking the Hudson river in Tarrytown, New York, is an American Gothic revival mansion. It housed many prominent figures including a a New York City mayor and a railroad tycoon.