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

Suburbs and Cities: Pros & Cons of the Switch

2020 caused a lot of change in the real estate market, causing people to reevaluate their needs and find a home that better suits their lifestyle. While for many that meant leaving the city and entering a quieter suburban area, others decided to get closer to the bustling city and its home-buying opportunities. If you’re thinking about making either switch, it’s a good idea to examine your needs, wants, don’t wants, and some pros and cons of the trades and upgrades you’ll be making. 

Let’s talk location. More opportunities for larger homes and properties are available in the suburbs, but just adding size to your location isn’t enough. If you’re moving from the city, examine the conveniences you might be trading. If you have a car, distance to and from schools, grocery stores, and doctors may not be an issue. But if you’re relying on public or other modes of transportation, you’ll have to be sure you’re within a reasonable distance of common destinations.

If you’re trading a suburban home for one in the city, location is a large factor. The closer you move to the city center, the more you’ll have to think about noise and views. If you need a little nature in your life, you may consider having a view of the water or park from your windows. If you like having the noise of the city’s activities, you may not mind being closer to the city center, making it more convenient to get around.

After you’ve chosen a location, you’ll want to think about space. What kind of lifestyle do you want to live? Looking to move to the suburbs so your kids will have more space to play or to have a larger kitchen for cooking and entertaining?  Do you need an office space inside the home? If you’re simplifying and heading to the city, are you willing to have less space in a better location? If you can walk or take public transportation to work, or the gym, you can live comfortably in a home that doesn’t include an office, home gym, or garage. Will you need space for a pet that had a yard in the suburbs? Proximity to a park, and a pet-friendly building will be a must.

Whether you’re looking for a suburban home or one in the city, it’s all about the lifestyle you want to live. There are endless opportunities for simple convenience, luxury homes, and room to grow in both locations! I can help you find the perfect place for you and your family, helping you to fill all of your needs, and your wants in a new home. I’m here to help you sort through the pros and cons of locations, the movement of the market, and steer you toward the home you’ve been dreaming of. Let’s get started!


 Open Concept Design Benefits

When searching for a new home, it’s good to keep an open mind. But what about an open concept design? Many current buyers express their desire for a more informal floor plan, where rooms blend together and create larger multi-purpose spaces. This serves contrary to the typical home plan which is comprised of smaller closed-off rooms each serving an individual purpose. So what is an open concept floor plan, and what are the benefits of living in one?

Typically, open concept designs join areas like kitchen, dining, and living room spaces to create a sense of unity in the home instead of individually designed rooms. Open floor designs work in both large homes and small ones where the adjoining rooms can make the layout appear roomier and brighter.

Without walls and doors closing off each room, open concept designs allow for better traffic flow throughout the home. This, in turn, creates more opportunity for the family to spend time together and encourages engagement even when carrying out separate activities. With fewer doors and walls, comes less hallway space, which increases the livable space of your home. Entertaining is easier with an open floor plan.  Oftentimes, the host is moving around the home making sure everyone is taken care of, and can often be found in the kitchen cut off from the festivities. With an open concept kitchen, you’ll be able to see the fun and hang out with your friends while preparing!

These floor plans show their best highlights when the light and air are filtering beautifully throughout your home, unobstructed. Especially at times like this, when we’re spending more time at home, brighter open spaces give you more room to move around and more options for productive spaces. 

Many of us live in a traditional colonial-style home though. If you are eager to have a more open floor plan sometimes you can get this feeling just by opening up the doorway to an adjoining room. For example, what was once a small entrance from the kitchen to the dining room can now become one larger open kitchen dining area where everyone loves to gather.

Using an open concept floor plan doesn’t take away the idea of separated space, it just uses it in a different way. Arranging your furniture and decorations in a way to section off the larger rooms can create cozy spaces without cutting them off from the main living area. It also reduces the need for individual design in small rooms, by giving your home a unified style.

Keeping an open mind while house hunting can help you realize your dream home’s full potential. Whether your style is more traditional or leaning toward modern design, I can help you find the perfect home!

Go Green: Budget-Friendly Ways For Sustainable Living at Home

When you hear the phrase, “sustainable living,” what do you picture? You might picture a picturesque home in the middle of a farm that utilizes all of its natural surroundings. Or you may be picturing a home in the suburbs that was very expensive to outfit with solar panels and green appliances. While both of these scenarios exist, you may be pleased to know that you can live sustainably anywhere with a few simple, smart changes! It all starts with one step, and many of these small changes are affordable and easy! Let’s go green together!

 Sustainable living is attainable!

Let’s start outside since that’s where all the nature is! Think about making a small garden at home! Growing some of your own food is a great way to go green, that doesn’t have to be a massively expensive project. Start small with a few vegetable plants and see the difference. While you’re at it in the garden, think of ways you can increase your recycling and composting efforts. Food scraps can make a great fertilizer for your garden. Look into outdoor compost options, and keep a compost bin inside where it’s easy to access and a good reminder every time you go to the trash. If you’re using hoses or sprinkler systems to water your garden, consider using rainwater. There are a myriad of ways to collect rainwater, some simple and some more intricate that involve installing collectors to your gutters. 

Speaking of water, and moving on inside, an easy way to live sustainably is to fix any leaking faucets in your home. Repairing these leaks can save a lot of water each month, and will contribute to lower monthly bills as well.

When it’s not raining, and the sun is shining, it’s a great reminder of our energy usage! Using natural light to warm and light your home cuts down on

energy costs and adds some much needed sunshine to our daily grind. Using that sunlight to its fullest also means sealing up your windows and doors tightly to either keep cool air or warm heat inside. You’ll be surprised at the result when you get your next cooling and heating bill!

What are the benefits of sustainable living? Whatever your lifestyle, the benefits far outweigh the cost and effort. Maybe you’re doing your best to keep our planet clean and safe and leave less of a footprint. Maybe you’re just trying to reduce your everyday costs and monthly bills. No matter what your end goal is, sustainable living is attainable! See for yourself!


2021 Design Trends: 

How this Year Changed Our Definition of Home

2020 changed what we needed in a home. What once were just houses, became an office, a classroom, a gym, and a spa. We brought the outside world in and transformed our houses into homes. Our homes became our safe haven where we knew we could stay safe and healthy. This past year has changed the way we look at real estate, and our potential dream homes. The list of wants and needs of the past, took on a new shape as we entered into the new year. So let’s take a look at some of the design and renovation trends we plan on seeing in 2021, that will reflect the changes we made this year.

As we enter into 2021, fashion meets function takes on a whole new meaning. When looking for a new home, or starting a new build, a home office wasn’t always on the top of the priority list. Many sought out a small extra bedroom to house a desk and small functioning workspace. This year, the home office is going to see some major changes. People are looking for spaces that double as regular living space and workspace. Gone are the days of a small dark office corner. Home design and renovation are taking function and self-care, and turning them into home offices that are big, bright, and built for productivity. Working from home isn’t just a luxury anymore, it’s a lifestyle. So the home office is going to bring some permanency to its place in the home.

2020 was all about self-care. We plan on seeing some major prioritization of bathroom design that will bring a whole new level of relaxation to the

home. This year, our families spent most of their time at home, which means a lot less quiet time for yourself. Plan on seeing a lot of focus on the at-home spa experience, including bigger bathrooms to accommodate luxuries like soaking tubs, and the maximizing of small bathroom space to create a spa-getaway right in your own home. 

Especially in regions that experience the four seasons, or extreme temperatures like New England, we tried to soak up every available minute of outdoor time we could. 2021 is sure to bring some interesting outdoor living space designs, to maximize the space you have and extend your livable space. Outdoor dining, transportable office furniture, and temperature control are going to be big features of our outdoor spaces. Home design is all about easy access and a design flow that makes sense. Large windows bring the outdoors in while you have to be inside, and cozy furniture outside makes it easy to view your outdoor space as an extension of your relaxing living space.

This year brought us a new perspective on what home and family mean to us. The new year makes us want to seek out a home that brings us peace and happiness and maximizes our functional living space. I am here to help you find your dream home, whatever that means for you. We are all excited to see what the new year brings in terms of home design and real estate, so let’s work together and give you and your family a fresh new start!

Buying a Home During a Pandemic: Communication is Key


The pandemic has changed a lot of things about our daily lives, but it hasn’t changed our basic needs or stopped us from making big decisions. Buying a home amidst normal conditions can be quite the undertaking, even more so when the process is unfamiliar and under trying conditions. Don’t lose hope! Houses are selling faster than ever, and people are moving away from the big cities, so many homes have become available but are moving fast. We can still find you your dream home, we just need to make a few adjustments.

Communication has now become the most important part of the home search and buying process. The first step you need to take is finding a real estate agent that you mesh well with. My priority is to find you what YOU want, according to YOUR budget, and YOUR list of wants, and must-haves. Communication starts right at the beginning when we talk about what kind of home you are looking for. Much of the process is now online or over the phone, so communicating clearly has become much more important. Working with an agent that understands you, and that you feel like you can talk to is vital to the process. During something like a pandemic, making a big decision can be daunting and you may often change your mind about the details. Your agent has to understand you, and more importantly the ins and outs of the home buying process so they can reassure you and make the journey a success!

Communication becomes even more vital as you start to look at prospective properties. Due to certain restrictions, you may not be able to frequently meet face-to-face with your agent, or view homes together. Communicating after viewing a home can help you narrow down your choices and clearly define what you want in a future home.

When it comes to making an offer on a property, there may be back and forth between you and the seller and your agent. Communicating your budget, and how flexible it is will help you feel comfortable if any counter offers or outside bidders should pop up. It’s important to let your agent know how far you’re willing to stretch your budget so they know how to proceed and won’t push you outside your comfort zone.

Another vital step is the inspection. Many inspectors have new restrictions during these times, so you want to do your research. Finding an inspector who will let you or your agent be there for the inspection in person may be something you need to feel comfortable. Talk with your agent and they can guide you to reliable sources. 

You’re already one step closer to finding your dream home! Buying a home doesn’t have to be scary, and can be a bright new change amidst unsteady conditions. Stay positive, and communicate with your agent. Your dream home is out there waiting for you!