Julie Sagan GRI - Sagan REALTORS ®, Swampscott, MA Real Estate, Marblehead, MA Real Estate


Things are Looking Up: Tips for Successful Downsizing

Your nest is finally empty, and you’re ready to downsize… that can seem like an overwhelming task. Where do you start? I’m here to tell you that downsizing doesn’t have to be so hard! With these tips, entering into this new chapter of your life can become full of memories and the best decision you made!

When you were building your nest, you were looking for space, and lots of it. You needed room for the kids to play, grow, and sleep. You needed room for storing toys, supplies, clothes, and memories! But now that the kids have moved out and begun assembling their own nests, you don’t need all that extra space anymore. Start with a plan.

If you’ve decided to downsize, you’ve most likely started looking at new homes. Once you’ve chosen one, with the help of your real estate agent, keep that new space at the forefront of your downsizing choices. Figure out how much room you’ll actually have before deciding what you’ll be taking with you. Consider packing room by room. It will seem less overwhelming this way, and only one room will be out of sorts at a time. If those rooms belonged to your kids, let them know you’ll be packing things up and giving things away, if they’d like to come to take anything they want to keep at their new place. If the furniture and objects in that room are for ages of children you no longer have, or your children don’t have, start a donation pile! There are plenty of families in need who would be happy to re-use! Give your family members a deadline, and give yourself one so it is easier to make decisions.

Downsizing can be an emotional process. Instead of feeling sad over the sentimental things you need to get rid of, take a stroll down memory

Relive the memories with your spouse or your family! Before getting rid of those items, relive the memory they gave you and those sentimental moments will become new memories.

Make sure you measure everything. If you’re downsizing, you may not have room for all the furniture you once had, even if you wanted to keep it. Picture what your new lifestyle will be! Are you and your mate planning on traveling and just need a place to come back to in-between adventures? Are you looking to retire and settle down and enjoy your home? Are you planning on reconnecting with friends and entertaining? If you dream up your new life before downsizing, you’ll know exactly what you want to bring with you! If you’re traveling and just need a place to rest your head, maybe you don’t need extra bedrooms and dining sets. If you’re settling down, maybe you want something more comfortable and cozy than functional.

There is a lot to consider when downsizing, but it can truly be the start of something new! This is an opportunity for you and your family to relish in the memories you spent together at home, and bask in the new lives that sprouted from the one you created. Downsizing might be a move in the right direction for you, and I’m here to guide you through it!

Back to Basics: How to Start A Veggie Garden

Now more than ever, homeowners are looking for practical, affordable, easy ways to grow food at home. On almost every apartment balcony, back porch, and in every yard vegetable gardens are sprouting up! Gardeners are finding their green thumbs and taking to the dirt. Maybe you’ve been wanting to try your hand at growing veggies but find yourself staring at your thumbs scouring for any shade of green. I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think, and if you follow these steps you’ll be picking peppers and plucking tomatoes in no time!

There’s nothing like the fresh taste of a homegrown vegetable that happen to be the fruits of your own labor. 

There are a lot of reasons to start your own veggie garden, not only because we’re trying to reduce the amount of time we spend in public and at stores, but for the taste! There’s nothing like the fresh taste of a homegrown vegetable that happens to be the fruits of your own labor. You may find yourself biting into a fresh tomato like an apple after seeing how fresh and tasty it looks on the vine!

First up, location location location! Your veggies need a sunny, moist, stable environment for the best results. Most vegetable plants require direct sunlight for a good portion of the day. They’ll want to hang out in well-drained soil, so consider building a raised bed if your yard isn’t conducive to water drainage. Be sure to plant your garden away from high traffic areas, and account for animals that may live in your yard that will want to taste the veggies before you do.

There is so much to know about each and every vegetable, but with a little research about what’s best for your local area, you’ll be planting in no time! Different veggies grow during different parts of the season, so you’ll want to group them together. Some veggies grow completely underground, while others will have to grow tall onto a lattice or support. So be sure to take note of how the sun shines on your garden so that plants won’t be blocking one another from the nourishing rays!

Think about your water sources. Are you close enough to a hose or sprinkler system? Otherwise, you could find yourself forming a fire brigade to water your veggies. It’s best to plan out your garden, measure a manageable size, and plan what you’ll grow so you can buy accordingly. Grow what you’ll eat! It may seem tempting to grow everything under the sun (no pun intended..) but there’s no use in growing veggies you won’t use.

A fantastic smelling idea to consider is planting low growing herbs or flowers around the perimeter of your garden to add to its beauty and add some spices and flavor to your dishes!

Speaking of which… when your vegetable garden is ready for harvesting, what will you make with your bounty? How about this Ratatouille recipe from tasty.co? It’s a delightful array of sautéed and baked vegetables in a beautiful pattern, a perfect way to show off your skills! (https://tasty.co/recipe/ratatouille)

For more information on starting a garden, visit HomeDepot.com for a fool-proof, detailed project guide: https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-start-a-vegetable-garden/9ba683603be9fa5395fab90d6de2854


Don’t Touch Those Tools! 

3 Reasons To Wait Before You Renovate

You’ve just moved into your new home! It had just about everything you wanted, but you’ve already got some changes in mind to make it absolutely perfect! You may be tempted to grab the tools and get started, but there may be good reasons to wait before you renovate. Here are 4 reasons why you may want to hold off, and live in your home before you start changing it.

1. You just moved, and that was stressful. Whether you realize it or not, moving into a new home is a huge adjustment. It put a stress on your schedule, your body, and your wallet. Jumping immediately into a new renovation without cooling off a while, could be detrimental to the overall outcome. You’ve likely spent a large amount of money buying your home, moving, and acquiring the basics to get started. Take a deep breath and relax a little. Start with small fixes to make your house feel like home, but don’t feel pressured to make everything picture perfect in the first few months. This could add to your stress and result in overspending, over exerting yourself, and possibly making decisions you aren’t happy with in the future.

2. You haven’t gotten to know your home yet, and how you function in it. Your daily life a year from now, and your daily life right after moving in are going to be very different. It’s going to be hard to know exactly how you’ll function in your home before you actually live in it. It may surprise you what features of your home you’ll start to use, or not need anymore. 

As you adjust to your new life, keep a list of what works for you and what doesn’t before making any big adjustments.

3. Everything takes time. Major renovations take a lot of planning and budgeting. And that takes a lot of time. Starting a major project right off the bat could rob you of precious time getting used to your new home. Taking your time to figure out what you really want, can save you time, energy, and money. Getting the opinion of experts in each field of renovation could help you realize which areas you want to tackle first, and how much you’d like to spend. 

Our priorities in life change all the time. What’s most important is to find a home that keeps you and your family happy, safe, and healthy. 


A Pandemic Pause: Should I Really Be Moving or Selling Right Now?

The current world conditions have us reassessing our decisions and plans for the future. You may have had selling or moving plans before things changed, and it could be difficult to know what to do. Of course, above all, we need to do what’s right and safe for our families’ health and wellbeing. Following the state and CDC regulations for your area is essential no matter what your plans are. With that being said, there are still ways to live normally with some adjustments and perhaps follow through with your plans.

You may be asking yourself, “Is it even possible to sell my home in a time like this?” In short, the answer is yes. Technology is moving as fast as we are, even faster. People are getting creative, using safe ways to continue life while practicing safety measures. 

Things are changing rapidly, including the housing market. 

It’s difficult to keep track of the housing market, while trying to juggle the other endless aspects of life, and keep up with news and changing safety regulations. That’s where your real estate agent comes in. It’s our job to keep up to date on the changing market and adjust strategies accordingly. We have a pulse on what’s best for you, whether you’re buying, selling, or moving. Be sure to check in with your agent frequently. We are happy to guide you and know that we have your safety and health in first priority.

When selling, a great concern is a need for in-person contact. Many sellers and buyers are taking advantage of video conferencing. Instead of

physically touring every home you may be interested in, virtual tours can help you determine which homes you’re serious about. Closing transactions are also possible remotely and electronically. Sellers will do all they can to make a sale, including providing floor plans, and detailed tours or photos of spaces you may be concerned about. Sellers are well aware of the hesitation a buyer may feel without being able to be physically present. 

Perhaps you’ve put most of your plans on hold, but moving is essential. A job relocation, addition to the family, and other circumstances may prevent you from pausing your life. Consider the risks of moving at a time like this. If moving is possible to do using reasonable safety precautions there are are many steps to think about taking.

As always, keeping a distance of six feet and wearing protective clothing is always advantageous. If others are involved with the move, taking these steps, as well as providing sanitation supplies for those helping may make the move easier and safer. Be sure to deep clean your home before moving, to ensure the safety of your family and those helping. Moving supplies are often touched by many hands, and come into contact with many surfaces Frequently cleaning these supplies, big and small, including scissors and boxes, reduce the risk of spreading germs. Once moved, clean and wipe down anything moved into your new home.

As stated at the beginning of this article, always first follow the advice of the CDC and local governments for your area. Assess the risk factors before making any decisions. As your real estate agent, your safety and a smooth transition are my number one priority!


Supplies & Demand: Surplus Storage Hacks

We have all been working together to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy during this trying time. No doubt you’ve gotten the supplies you need to be able to stay at home and do your part in these worldwide efforts to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. But this means you have more than the usual to stock in the pantry and closets, so here are some tips on how to stay organized!

You probably already have small storage areas around your home from everyday life: garages, pantries, closets…etc. Have you taken a look in those recently? While you have some extra time at home, take advantage of the spring cleaning opportunities! Going through items in those areas can help you determine what you can keep or toss, and create extra room for any supplies you acquire.

Keep or Toss to Organize

Although the situation can cause us anxiety, and make us want to grab everything we can, there is a smart and efficient way to go about stocking

surplus items. Buying mass amounts of food or products that will expire soon, may be a waste of money and space. Think carefully about how long you can keep certain items, and if you will actually be able to use all of them before the expiration date.

Keeping that in mind, there are ways to store typically perishable items. Freezing meat, and fresh veggies wisely uses your freezer space as a storage unit, and is an easy way to store items that may not be available in previously frozen packages.

Another great way to reduce wasted space, is to remove the packaging from your items. Large, and oddly shaped boxes and packages reduce the amount of usable space available. By removing the packaging, you also create a way to clearly see how much of each product you have, eliminating buying in excess.

This is certainly a stressful time, but not every part of our home life needs to add to it. Simple decluttering methods, and organization can alleviate extra stress and visual clutter around the home to give us a peaceful place to spend our time. I wish you and your family health, happiness, and organization!