Jenny Mendez Isenburg | Boston Real Estate, Brookline Real Estate, Natick Real Estate


Moving can be fun, stressful, or both. If you and your family are moving soon, your mind might be racing with all of the preparations you need to make before the big day.

The best course of action is to start organizing and planning now so that you can rest easy the night before your move knowing that everything is accounted for.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that. We’ll talk about how to get the whole family involved in moving day, what to do with pets, and how to ensure the smoothest move possible so your family can look back on their first day in their new home with fond memories.

Getting organized

There are two key resources that you’ll need to make and refer back to as you prepare for moving day. You’ll need a calendar and a well-organised to-do list.

If you’re prone to depending on your smartphone, then it could be a good idea to add these items to your existing calendars and to-do list apps and sync them with your spouse and children. Most apps have this capability, making it easy to all stay on the same page.

Alternatively, you can use a physical calendar that it hung up in a highly visible area, such as on the refrigerator. Keep your to-do list next to it so you can cross off tasks as they’re accomplished.

On the calendar will be dates like calling your moving company for an appointment, closing on your new home, inspections, and confirming appointments with the movers and real estate agents. You’ll also want to pick a day close to your move to call and set up an appointment for utilities to be installed at your new home.

Getting the family involved

Every team needs a leader. If you’re leading your family through the moving process, it’s your responsibility to keep them in the loop. There may seem like an overwhelming number of tasks to achieve, but your family is there to help. Pick days to have your kids help you make boxes and pack the non-necessities.

You can make moving fun by “camping” inside your home for the last few nights. Since most of your belongings will be in boxes, it’s a fun excuse to set up a tent in the living room and take out the flashlights.

During the last day in your old house, make sure everyone has a survival kit filled with the items they’ll need when arriving at the new house. This includes toothbrushes, medication, phones and chargers, and other essentials.

Moving with pets

Moving can be even scarier for our pets than it is for us. There’s no way to explain to them what’s going on, and they’ll be looking to you for cues that everything is okay.

If you have a friend or relative who can take your pet to their home during the move it will make the moving process much easier--keeping track of a pet while you’re trying to carry boxes is no easy feat.

To ease your pet into their new home, take them to visit before the move if possible. Put some of their favorite toys or their bed and blanket in the new home so they’ll have some comforts for their first impression.


If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to a fun, and mostly stress-free move into your new home with your family.


Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash

Whether you need to hang bath towels in the bathroom or hand towels in the kitchen, a towel rack is an awesome thing to have around. And it is even better if made custom to suit your tastes and elevate the look of your home. For even more brownie points, you can make the towel rack yourself — and all it takes is some old picture frames and a little bit of elbow grease. Ready to start this fun project? Follow these seven easy steps.

1. Gather Your Tools & Materials

To create your custom towel rack, you will need:

  • 7 Old picture frames in various sizes
  • 1/2-inch screws
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood filler
  • Plastic wall anchors
  • Paint and brushes
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Old newspaper
  • Hanger
  • 2. Mock Up Your Design

    Working on the ground, mock up the design for your picture frame towel rack. Start with the largest frame in the center, as that will be used to secure the completed towel rack to the wall. You should have the frames overlap enough that you can secure each one together using two screws.

    3. Screw the Frames Together

    After finalizing your custom design, use your drill to create pilot holes for your screws. Then, screw the frames together, one by one, being careful to avoid cracking the wood. Cover the tops of the screws with wood filler, creating a seamless surface.

    4. Sand & Paint the Frames

    With the frames assembled, sand down the exterior surfaces to scuff up the finish. This will help the paint stick to the surface. Then, put down newspaper and place your frames on top. Use your paintbrushes to apply a new coat of paint in your desired color. Allow the initial coat to dry for four hours, then repeat. Allow the second coat to fully dry overnight, though 24 hours is better.

    5. Add a Hanger to the Back

    Unless your central picture frame already has a hanger, you will need to add one to the back to create a solid mounting point. If your towel rack is a bit on the large side, consider using two mounting points to give it enough strength when the extra weight of the towels are added.  

    6. Mount the Rack on the Wall

    Put the towel rack against the wall to find your preferred installation point. Remember to account for the length of the towels when they are folded over the bottom edges of the frames. Then, drill a hole, or two if you have dual hangers, in the wall, big enough for the plastic anchor.

    Use the handle of your screwdriver to tap the plastic anchor into the holes you just made. Then, add a screw to each plastic anchor and secure them almost all the way down with your screwdriver. With those in place, you can then hang the towel rack from the screws in the wall.

    7. Add Towels & Enjoy

    After securing your towel rack to the wall, you just hang your towels to complete this project. You can then go about your business, secure in the knowledge that you always have a towel close at hand when you need one.


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    Image by Jens Neumann from Pixabay

    If you’re considering making an investment in real estate, you already know some risks you may encounter. While most people talk about how to invest and where you may want to invest, have you thought about what makes a good investment? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cash-on-Cash Returns
  • Investing in real estate is not cheap. You’re essentially taking money you have (liquid assets) and putting them into an asset that you can’t liquidate within a day or two. If those liquid assets were earning interest, your goal should be to earn a fair cash-on-cash rate of return on the investment. Look for properties that are cash flow positive to get a modest return.

  • Low on Risk
  • Any time you get into real estate investing it’s high risk, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk such as being diligent in analyzing, testing, and reviewing information on the property to ensure it has low risk. Another alternative would be having fee simple title ownership, which makes things very easy.

  • Low on Management
  • The perfect scenario would be having a real estate investment property that doesn’t take up too much time in managing it. College rentals, vacation rentals and other properties in this scope that allow you to rent as long as you can to one tenant with decent credit is ideal. When you have a property like this, have a good rapport with your tenants and quickly address issues, you’re in a great space.

    These are just three examples of great real estate investments that can give you a return on your investment and pose the least risk. To be successful at finding great real estate investments, you must have knowledge of the industry, the ability to recognize an under-valued property, patience, a working knowledge of how to estimate rehab costs, a vision of how you want the property to look, the ability to build relationships with others, money and opportunity.

    It’s easy to think you can get things accomplished fairly quickly, but it’s very important to have a good grasp of what to expect, anticipate problems, and be able to pivot when you need to. A good realtor will be able to advise you on upcoming properties and provide insight where you have questions. The bright side? The more rehabs you do, the more knowledge you will gain and you’ll become familiar with other investors who know the ropes. Real estate investing is nothing new - it’s all about being able to spot the jewel in the sand. With a little time and effort, you'll be well on your way to investing like a pro!


    While some home improvement projects are done purely for aesthetic reasons, window replacement projects offer a wide range of benefits.

    If your current windows are decades old, they're probably difficult to clean, provide poor insulation, and get stuck every time you try to raise or lower them.

    Old wooden window frames also tend to deteriorate over time, which negatively impacts both their appearance and their ability to seal out drafts and outdoor temperatures.

    Modern, energy-efficient windows make older models look like they're straight out of the Stone Age! Many windows manufactured today meet strict U.S. government standards for energy efficiency and durability, which can help you save money on your home energy bills. These new features include multiple panes of glass, which provide improved insulation and impact resistance. Instead of using just plain air, many of these advanced windows are insulated with non-toxic gases, such as argon and krypton. (As long as you're not Superman, you'll do just fine!) If you're willing to pay extra, there's also the option of having mini-blinds inserted between the panes of glass.

    Reducing Home Energy Costs

    According to the EPA, "Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12 percent nationwide. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house's carbon footprint."

    Energy Star-certified windows also have special coatings that reflect both infrared and ultraviolet light. That not only helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but it helps stop the sun's rays from fading furniture colors, flooring, and other materials.

    Some of the newer windows are available with three or more layers of glass panes, which can help make your home more comfortable and quieter. If external noise is an issue, installing well-insulated windows with multiple panes can reduce that problem significantly.

    Although many of the new window products are constructed of wood, they're often covered with vinyl or aluminum to be more weather resistant and durable. Fiberglass is another low-maintenance, durable material that offers good insulation qualities.

    Cost Versus Benefits

    While a window replacement project can take a big chunk out of your home improvement budget or bank account, it does provide a return on your investment. In addition to the fact that your home energy costs should decrease, installing new, energy-efficient windows will improve your home's marketability in the future. If and when you decide to put your home on the market, the fact that you've installed energy-efficient, easy-to-use window replacements will be a major selling point in the minds of prospective buyers.

    As is the case with all home improvement contractors, it's always a good idea to get several estimates and check references, read online reviews, and take a look at Better Business Bureau ratings before choosing someone to handle the project.


    Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

    There is a lot of discussion today about whether or not a real estate agent is necessary for the most successful sale of your home. You may have all the required skills and experience to handle it yourself, but that’s hard to figure out if you don’t know what a real estate agent actually does for you in the process. They’re marketing savvy, have access to the local MLS (multiple listing service), professional history and ongoing training with the market, which are the main features they bring to the table, but what does that really mean for you?

    Marketing Savvy

    You probably found your real estate agent the same way you plan to sell your home and even found this article – with an Internet search. Sure, you can post your listing in several places on the internet, but the best advertising covers a variety of media outlets. Your real estate agent will have their own website, will syndicate the property to listing sites and even send out print media advertising like postcards, signage and home magazines. You can do the majority of these things, but the costs to retail clients are often much higher than they are for B2B clients like your agent. In addition to actual advertising venues, your agent will work with you on home staging, curb appeal and professional photography to make your home look its best in all that high-end advertising.

    The Multiple Listing Service (MLS

    Except for a few locations, all licensed agents are also members of at least one local MLS board. Some are members of two or more depending on their market area and the structure of the MLS relationships. It's possible for a do-it-yourselfer to pay a moderate fee and become part of an MLS board, but some require full agent licensing to join, and that can be an expensive and time-consuming process. This benefits you in multiple ways. First, your property goes into the MLS and syndicates out to anywhere that pulls that information. That means not only major sites but also each and every other agent in the same MLS’s website. That means more buyers looking at your property from more places.

    Network and Know-How

    A real estate transaction is a complex process with a lot of paperwork. It also generates legal agreements, which have more terms than just the price. Your real estate agent will be familiar with the entire process and therefore is in the best position to make sure you come out on top. They benefit when you benefit, so it's like having an extra person on your team in a race. Not all deals go through, and an experienced agent knows where to find those pitfalls and avoid them, or get you out of a deal that’s gone wrong with the fewest repercussions. In addition, your agent knows people. Not just other agents, interior decorators, photographers, and advertisers but other sellers and buyers. Most agents have multiple clients both buying and selling. Through these networks, your agent can find a buyer that loves your home that you otherwise wouldn’t have known it existed.

    When it’s time to sell your home, going to the pros is the best decision you can make. Not only will you generally get a higher price for your home, it’s less work and often much quicker than trying to do it yourself. Talk to a variety of professionals in your area to find the one that is best for you.