Tricia Cyr | Guilford Real Estate, Branford Real Estate, Madison Real Estate


It’s easy to fall in love with a house if it has all the features you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to ignore the qualities of the neighborhood the house is in as well.

The state of the surrounding neighborhood is important for many homeowners. You’ll use the local amenities, walk on the sidewalks, drive on the roads, and eventually even set the price of your home based partially on the price of those surrounding it.

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the reasons you should pay attention to the neighborhood when shopping for homes, and what qualities to look for to find a place that has both high quality of life and resale value.  

Neighborhood Inspection 101

There are a number of things you’ll want to learn about a neighborhood before you move in. Some of them you can observe with your own eye, some you can find online via public records, and others will require talking to the locals to see what their experience has been.

Things to observe

When you go to visit a home, set aside some time beforehand to drive around the neighborhood. Check out the roads, sidewalks, and the general state of the neighborhood. Boarded up houses and closed businesses aren’t always a sign of doom and gloom, but it can give you insight into the pricing of some homes and give you some negotiating power.

If you love the house and feel okay about the neighborhood swing by during rush hour, if possible. This will give you a sense of traffic and how long it will take you to get to work from your new home.

If you’re moving into a city, it’s also a good idea to check out the after-hours scene. If a peaceful evening at home is what you seek, it will be a good idea to know ahead of time if your street comes alive at night.

Things to research

It’s a good idea to get a feel for the local culture before buying a home to see if it fits with your lifestyle. Are businesses closed on Sundays? Are there community events and clubs that you ur your family would be interested in? You can find most information online through Facebook groups, library websites, and local newspapers.

If you’re concerned with crime, you can find local data online. Similarly, records are available for local schools, such as where the town’s test scores land compared to state and national averages.

Talk to the neighbors

The most practical way to learn about a neighborhood is to ask the people who live there. They’ll be able to tell you how it has changed over the years, which will give you a sense of where the neighborhood is headed. They can tell you whether it’s a neighborhood filled with young families or aging retirees, and will likely be able to let you know if there are any problems in the neighborhood.

Aside from the local culture, you should ask your potential new neighbors about the infrastructure. Do they have frequent power issues? Is there often noisy construction, or have there been potholes that haven’t been filled for years? You can learn a lot from the people who have lived in a neighborhood for multiple years.


The bathroom is so frequently brushed aside when it comes to decorating a new home. So often left to become the most outdated room in the house, it becomes a frustration to modernize. However, the bathroom is often a room used for relaxation whether to relax in a hot tub or to gain a moment’s silence from the children. If you’re ready to ditch the shell shaped sink, infamous bathroom blue tub, and god help you, matching blue toilet here are some ways to create a clean modern room you’ll love.

If you’re willing to put in time and effort you can remove tub surround yourself by removing the hardware than scoring along where the surround meets the wall. You’ll then want to pull the surround from the wall very carefully as to not damage the wall behind it, cutting the adhesive away as you go. Once torn down you’ll want to prep the walls with plastic sheeting and HardieBacker for tiling. 

While a lot of work, this opens up more options for you to modernize your bathroom with elements like imitation marble or subway tiling and even install a sleek new tub. With so many options on the market now, you can have anything from a freestanding tub such as an acrylic clawfoot tub or drop in that leaves lots of deckspace for bath product and mood-setting candles.  

Tiling the wall behind or surrounding your tub is a great way to create a chic statement wall without breaking the bank imitating floor to ceiling tiling. Use the same tiling for both floors and wall or add some depth by matching smaller floor tiles with a matching larger size for the wall. Painting the remaining walls a light color brightens up the room while maintaining an overall clean feel.

A large mirror over the sink reflects light and makes the room feel more expansive. If your bathroom already has a builder grade mirror you can give it a quick upgrade by framing it with molding or even some simple boards for a sleek look. If you have a medicine cabinet you don’t want to replace a coat of fresh paint and chic knob pull like a T-bar will bring the piece a whole new feel.

Updating the sink with new hardware is always a surefire way to update a room though be sure to match the finish it to the existing hardware for a cohesive look. A pedestal sink adds more visual space to a small bathroom while replacing the cabinet brings an entirely new look to the room. Undermount sinks add a crisp modern look while maintaining the extra storage availability that comes with a vanity.

Don’t let an outdated bathroom continue to plague your otherwise well-designed home. The effort it takes to rip out old amenities is well worth the enjoyment you’ll get out of their modern replacements. Get the most out of your renovation efforts by opting for styles that are least likely to fall out of fashion and instead remain a classic staple.


If you've been putting off organizing your closets for months -- if not years -- you're not alone! Since closets are not usually a "high visibility" area of the house, cleaning them often ends up being relegated to the bottom of people's priority lists.

It's easy to postpone tackling the project because you can simply close the door and forget about what a disaster area it's become!

There are, however, several sound reasons for bumping it up on your "to do" list.

  • First of all, you'll probably find valuable things you thought were lost forever. Depending on how long it's been since you last cleaned out your closets, there's a good chance you'll find miscellaneous valuable items ranging from missing gloves and address books to lost photo albums and unopened gifts. There's no end to the possible treasures you could stumble upon in a closet that you haven't organized for a while. You may even find lost items you were considering replacing. In that case, you can save your money or spend it on something else!
  • It's an opportunity to help others. All communities have charitable organizations that distribute warm clothing, shoes, essential kitchen supplies, school backpacks, and other useful items to underprivileged families in your area. By giving away things you no longer need and use, you can accomplish two objectives: clearing out the clutter in your home and helping needy families or organizations in the community.
  • You'll enjoy a sense of accomplishment. On one hand, when you keep putting off a project that you know needs to get done, it creates an underlying feeling of frustration. However, once you get the task underway and completed, you'll feel like you're making progress with your goals and moving forward. (Not only that, but your closets will no longer be an eyesore that cause you to cringe every time you go to grab a jacket or hang up your clothes!)
  • Completing one project helps create momentum for getting started on something else. As Sir Isaac Newton, the famous physicist, stated more than 300 years ago, "A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.” (Source: Live Science) That principle applies as much to human behavior as it does to inanimate objects. Once you force yourself to get started on a project -- whether it involves organization, cleaning, repair, or home improvement -- you'll discover new-found energy and motivation for other tasks.

While it may seem as if cleaning your closets is a monumental task that makes you feel physically and mentally drained just thinking about it, the hardest part is getting started -- taking those first few steps. By picking one closet to organize and setting aside just an hour or two to do it (and creating a semblance of order), you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in just one session!


When you feel that your living room could use a bit of updating, but you don’t want to break the bank, there’s steps you can take to make your living room look like new without completely renovating the room. Here, we’ll give you some ideas of how you can make big changes to the living room for a small price. Change Up Your Coffee Table Sometimes, simply getting a brand new coffee table is the way to make your room feel new again. Since the coffee table sits in the center of the room, a brand new table will help you to look at your living room with new eyes. Rearrange Artwork and Add New Pieces Keeping all of your artwork on the same spots on the wall actually may make you notice the pieces less. Your eyes become used to seeing the same color patterns day after day. This is when you fail to appreciate the artwork that you have. Simply moving the artwork around in your home can actually give the feeling that you have added a new piece. You can also consider adding one or two new pieces of artwork to help bring your living room back to life. Replace The Rug If the rug in your living room is time-tested and worn, you may want to consider replacing it. Adding a new color to the room by way of a rug can help it to appear brand new. Think about finding a rug that is a completely different style and color than the one that currently graces your living room floor. Throw Some New Pillows Around Throw pillows are seriously one of the easiest and perhaps one of the most impactful changes that you can make in your living room. From sofas to large comfy chairs, adding a couple of throw pillows can help brighten and bring character to your living room. Brighten Up Your Lighting Adding some new lighting or even just switching some lamps around can freshen up your living room. If you have too much or too little lighting, fix the problem by adding or subtracting lamps as needed. Maybe installing some overhead lights in a part of the room would be helpful for a reading corner or other activity area. Mix Up Your Furniture Simply Rearranging your furniture can give a room a whole different look. Move the sofa from one corner of the room to another. Shift tables around. Move chairs from one area of the room to another. All of these small adjustments can add flair to your living room without costing you a thing. Change Up Window Treatments If your living room is lacking window treatments, adding them can have a dramatic effect on the room. Change the color or style of your window treatments as an added bonus to give your living room a new look. As you can see, there’s many cost effective ways to renovate your living room without ever touching a paintbrush or knocking down a wall. These easy solutions will have you on your way to interior design expert status.

When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.

1. Electrical work

So you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in an electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.

2. Hazardous materials

Many people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.

3. Roofing and siding

There's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.



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