Hopkinton MA Real Estate | Donna Coakley McGowan - Millennium Realty


Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.

Average remodeling costs

As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms you’re remodeling, and the type of repairs you’ll be making all factor into the equation.

Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if you’re buying an old home, you’ll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.

According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.

If you’re hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.

Lesser known costs of a home renovation

Remodeling a home isn’t as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once it’s finished, and that’s probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.

First, you’ll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, you’ll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.

If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs you’ll need to consider. First, understand that you likely won’t be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, we’re only human--you’ll be paying for it out of pocket.

Knowing your long term goals

An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.

However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.

Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, you’ll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.


Photo by Tom Pottiger on Unsplash

As home technology becomes more advanced and affordable, the extreme features of yesterday's luxury homes are becoming more and more standard. Here's an assembled a top-five features in today's luxury homes that will still take your breath away. Some are tech-based, others are designed more with ultimate homeowner comfort in mind. Regardless, you're not going to believe what's lurking behind the gates, doors and windows of many of today's luxury homes. 

Luxury Home Feature #1 -- Private Airstrip

When that morning commute is just too far to drive comfortably, you can always hop in your private plane and take off right from the airstrip that came with your luxury home. These homes in Oregon feature just that opportunity. Some even come complete with the airplane. 

Luxury Home Feature #2 -- Recording Studio

These luxury homes take all the thrill out of your teen's wicked attempts to start a rock band in the family garage. Instead, you can invite the neighborhood kids over to jam in your own private recording studio, complete with pub-style bar for parents who want to stick around and listen. 

Luxury Home Feature #3 -- Mango Tree

If there's no mango tree growing through your living space, how can you truly live in luxury? This home in Rio de Janiero, designed by Allessandro Sartore, features one mature mango tree growing up through the living space and another in the garage.

Luxury Home Feature #4 -- Conference Room

Hold family meetings in style when you purchase a luxury home that features its own conference room. Bonus points if it comes with an accompanying elevator and reception area, like this condo in Chicago

Luxury Home Feature #5 -- Underwater View

These luxury homes, built by US Submarine Strurecortures, LLC, exist underwater. Built at surface pressure, there's no need to dive or decompress to return home in the evening. If you own the land, they'll build the submersed home. Prices start around $4 million for these homes that give new meaning to the term ocean view.

When it comes to luxury home real estate, today's options offer few limitations. All you need are large and stable finances to invest in the home of your dreams to make even the most idealistic vision a reality. Aside from this, odds are good that there's someone out there somewhere capable of building it. 


Ready to buy a condo? With help from an expert real estate agent, you can make your condo ownership dreams come true.

An expert real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can purchase a top-notch condo at an unbeatable price. In addition, this real estate professional will make it easy to discover a superior condo without delay.

Ultimately, an expert real estate agent can make a world of difference during a condo search. But it is important to note that there are many factors to consider as you evaluate a real estate agentl.

Key factors that a condo buyer should consider when he or she assesses a real estate agent include:

1. Industry Experience

How many years has a real estate agent worked with condo buyers? Has a real estate agent been successful in his or her efforts to help condo buyers? And how will this housing market professional handle difficult negotiations with a condo seller? These are some of the questions to consider as you examine a real estate agent's industry experience.

When it comes to assessing a real estate agent, industry experience is key. A real estate professional who understands the ins and outs of buying a condo should have no trouble helping you purchase a superb property that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Communication Skills

How a real estate agent communicates with his or her clients says a lot about this professional.

If a real estate agent strives to stay in touch with clients via text, phone and email, this housing market professional likely will be able to keep a condo buyer informed at each stage of the property buying cycle.

On the other hand, a real estate agent who fails to prioritize effective communication may struggle to help a condo buyer. This housing market professional may be unavailable if a condo buyer has concerns or questions. As a result, a condo buyer is unlikely to get the support that he or she needs to make an informed property buying decision.

Meeting directly with a real estate agent can give you a better idea about his or her communication skills. If you feel comfortable with a real estate agent after a face-to-face discussion, you may want to consider moving forward with this housing market professional.

3. Client Referrals

What are previous condo buyers saying about a real estate agent? Request client referrals from a real estate agent, and you can find out how he or she has supported condo buyers in the past.

Client referrals enable you to understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent and can provide you with insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Moreover, client referrals can help you accelerate the process of choosing the right real estate agent to guide you along the condo buying journey.

For condo buyers, there is no need to worry as you prepare to enter the housing market. Instead, use these tips, and you can find a first-rate real estate agent who will ensure you can purchase your dream condo.


When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to be overzealous in your attempt to find the perfect property. One of the biggest regrets of home buyers is that of paying too high a price for their dream home. There should be a balance between cost and the right property for you. No matter what kind of house you’re looking to buy or where you plan to buy it, a little planning goes a long way to help you get the most for your dollar when buying a home. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you avoid the dreaded mistake of overpaying for a home.


 Look For Amenities That Increase Value


Does the neighborhood you’re looking to buy in have a lot of cool perks? Perhaps the property is close to the heart of downtown or close to one of the most desirable schools in the area. These features add value to the home based on the demand in the neighborhood. 


You should also consider if the neighborhood is known as what’s termed “up and coming.” The potential that a neighborhood is also a factor in the price of a home. Is there a lot of construction going on in the area? Is the home you’re buying in a great area but considered a “fixer upper”? High potential properties in desirable areas can actually give you a bargain. A nice property in an area that is still being established can also be a bargain but beware. You may end up paying a higher price as sellers and developers understand that people are eager to move into the neighborhood. Also, if a neighborhood seems to be built up too much, it’s not a good sign. An overdeveloped area can lead to decreased property values over time.         


Inside the home, look for things that have been updated to increase the value of the property. An updated kitchen and bathroom add the most cost to a home as these are the most expensive rooms to renovate. Other perks in a home that greatly increase the value include new flooring, new roof, being situated on a cul-de-sac or dead end street, and easy access to highways and main routes.  


Know That Some Features Decrease Value


Things like power lines, poor economic growth in the community, high-traffic areas, foreclosures, and unkept homes can all drag down the value of a property. If you happen to be looking in one of these areas, understand that you shouldn’t be paying top dollar for a home there. Look for bargains. Whether you plan to stay or simply flip a property, you need to know at what point the price will be right without overpaying for the home.    



Photo by Alex from Pexels

Have you been fantasizing about giving your green thumb free rein but are dealing with a limited amount of room in your outdoor living space? Perhaps you've got active children in the household who need backyard space to work off all that energy, or maybe your yard is just small. If so, you'll be glad to know that there's hope for those freshly picked vegetables, herbs and flowers you've been dreaming of cultivating. Many homeowners in your position have turned to vertical gardening as an alternative to the traditional horizontal gardening spot, and they're finding they like this approach even better. Here's what you need to know about vertical gardening:

Vertical Gardens Can Be Anything You Want Them to Be

Otherwise known as green walls, vertical gardens are highly customizable -- you can use them to grow a huge variety of herbaceous perennials or annuals. You can choose to fill them up with flowering annuals for a vibrant aesthetic, ferns for a woodland effect, strawberries for treats at the table and culinary herbs to spice up your meals. They can be small affairs designed to hold a few herbs and fit neatly right outside your kitchen door, or they can be cover entire walls from ground to roof-level with cascades of greenery and flowers. You don't need to stop at just one, either -- many homeowners have multiple vertical gardens because they enjoy them so much they can't seem to stop after they get started. 

Getting Started With Your Vertical Garden

If you're the do-it-yourself type, you can construct your own vertical garden frame using lumber, plastic sheeting and landscaping fabric. A variety of easy-to-follow plans are available depending on the which size works best for the space. If you're the creative type, you can craft vertical gardening frames out of discarded pallets. If you're like many busy homeowners, however, your time is limited. Because vertical gardening has caught on throughout the country, you can purchase whatever size of ready-made frame you need from your local home and garden retailer.

Other Benefits of Vertical Gardening

A vertical garden also provides a great way to cover a not-so-attractive wall or pull together an unfinished outdoor aesthetic by adding vertical balance. Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of vertical gardening is that you aren't constantly bending and stooping the way you would be while working in a garden planted on a horizontal plot, and your back will thank you at the end of every gardening session. Vertical gardens also offer good ways to get the kids interested in learning about how plants grow. 

Even if you've got ample garden space in your yard, why not give a vertical garden a whirl as well? 




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