ICON Realty Group Real Estate Services South Shore of Massachusetts


Houseplants may seem like a strange thing to bring into your home. Plants belong outside, don’t they? Plants and people actually have a relationship where they need one another. Plants produce much-needed oxygen for humans. Humans release carbon dioxide, which plants need to perform photosynthesis. Plants should be placed throughout the home, especially in bedrooms, to release fresh air throughout the night when sleeping. Essentially, the right plants in your home can help to improve your overall health and well-being. 


Increases Humidity


Many people complain of having dry air in their homes. Plants actually release about 97 percent of the water that they take in. This moisture is released back into the air and increase the humidity in the air. This means that putting several plants together can really help to increase the moisture levels in a room. Having a more moist room helps to keep respiratory symptoms from flaring up as well as decreases the number of colds, dry skin flare ups, and other ailments associated with dry air.     


Natural Air Purifiers


Plants are natural air purifiers. They remove toxins from the air and even get rid of a large percentage of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds can be found in everything from paint to newspapers and textbooks. VOCs are actually transformed into food for the plant. 


Just How Many Plants Should You Have?


To improve your health and the air quality in your home, you’ll want to place plants about every 129 square feet. For air purification purposes, you’ll want to place about 16-18 plants in an 1800 square foot space. This may sound like a lot, but if you consider spreading plants throughout your home, you'll fill the quota fairly quickly. Larger plants can also be used, placing one or two per room to fill this suggested requirement.  



Best Houseplant Choices:


  • Gerbera daisy
  • Spider plant
  • Boston fern
  • Philodendron
  • Snake plant
  • Peace lily


These plants all have different benefits but most are best known to purify the air, improve happiness, and increase well-being.

If you don’t have a green thumb, you should definitely get one. Most houseplants are not that hard to take care of. It’s easy and fairly inexpensive to equip your home with a good number of houseplants. The greenery will also add to the ambiance and decor of your home’s overall theme. Every room, including the bathroom, can benefit from these plants. Think of houseplants like another member of the family- one that gives you oxygen and clean air to breathe!       


 



Installing a hot tub can be a fun improvement to add and can be a great feature in your home. Just in case you’re not familiar with hot tubs, they are small pools or large tubs full of heated water used for relaxation, pleasure or even some therapy.

While some hot tubs are simple, some come with powerful jets used for massage purposes. At first, many people think hot tubs are just an expensive mini pool for the rich to relax but that's not true, hot tubs are affordable, and they can improve your health if installed in your home and regularly used.

Here are seven ways of soaking in a hot tub can boost your health

1. Give you a better sleep: Hot water provides relaxation which helps in sleeping. When you soak your tensed body in a tub of hot water, the heat aids in raising the body temperature and relaxes the muscles, therefore, making the body to sleep better. Taking a soak in warm water before bedtime will relax your body and make it easier to fall asleep.

2. Reduces stress: Reducing stress have a definite improvement in your health mentally and physically as well as promoting the feeling of general well-being. Lying in a hot tub of warm water will help you stimulate your body's natural endorphin thus reduces your stress level.

3. Improves circulation: soaking yourself in a hot tub will slightly increase your heart rate and body temperature, which in turn improves blood circulation.

4. Eases sore muscles: If you are an athlete or do any rigorous job, sure you will be suffering from sore muscles, muscle pulls now and then. Hot tubs can help erase that pain. The hot water will help re-energize your muscles so they'll be in good shape for the next day.

5. Reduces lower back pain: According to statistics, lower back pain is the second reason Americans visit the doctor. Regular session in your hot tub will help you relive the pain.

6. It helps in cleaning the body: The heat from the hot water open ups your pores and allow water to sink into the skin to clean out dirt and toxin from the skin and make your skin shiny and healthy.

7. It can relieve headaches: if you suffer from constant headaches, try soaking in a hot tub and see how the pressure in your head decreases to help relieve the pain.

Hot tubs come with a lot of health benefits. Installing one in your home will boost your home value when you intend to sell, and will definitely be a great place to relax and unwind.


Everyone defines the term "quality of life" differently, but if you asked 100 people, you'd probably hear a lot of similar answers.

According to a Gallup study entitled "The State of American Well-Being," the  basis for a good quality of life includes having a sense of purpose, feeling good about what you do every day, having supportive relationships, being motivated to achieve your goals, being able to effectively manage your finances, having the energy and health to pursue your interests, and sharing a sense of community pride. Feeling safe and liking where you live were also key ingredients in the formula for a high quality of life .

The Gallup/Sharecare report focuses on several aspects of community life, such as the role local governments play in offering amenities and resources to citizens. The study concluded that "communities that invest in active living, including bike paths, parks, walkability and public transit, have residents with better health and well-being outcomes."

While factors such as the quality of school districts and low crime rates are often foremost in the minds of house hunters, there's also a lot to be said for communities that offer public recreational facilities, educational programs, cultural events, and services that promote health, safety, and a clean environment.

Advantages that can help make one community more desirable and family friendly than another can range from free outdoor concerts and public tennis courts to the availability of farmers' markets and clean, updated playgrounds. Other features which can positively impact the quality of life in a community include well-maintained roads and bridges, the availability of dog parks, community parades, and programs to encourage the proper disposal of drugs, electronics, household chemicals, and recyclable products.

At the neighborhood level, quality of life is often measured by factors like noise, the condition of nearby properties, the overall safety and security of the area, and the amount of street traffic. Clean air, mature trees, and friendly neighbors can also contribute to a wholesome living environment that can be enjoyed for generations.

While there are many advantages to designing your own home or buying new construction, one might need to make short-term sacrifices when it comes to things like noise, neighborhood aesthetics, and other temporary inconveniences. Your real estate agent or home builder can probably fill you in on things like construction timetables and project completion dates.

If you're in the market for a new home, it's always a good idea to clarify in your own mind what you and your family needs to feel comfortable, happy, and secure. Creating a priority list of needs, desires, and preferences not only helps you stay focused in your real estate search, but also increases the probability that you'll be satisfied with your new home on a long-term basis.


Do you live in a house that has hard water? You know, where you get those white rings on the counters and the faucets have this grungy, crusty build up. While you’re at the DIY store, you see this free water testing kit and decide its time to learn what is going on. You get the results, and the company asks to come out and give you a further evaluation as well as introduce you to a solution. The time this takes is well worth the process because it gives you valuable information about your water and how to fix it. Unfortunately, the typical solution is a $6,000 to $8,000 fix. Now maybe that is in your budget, and that is great, but most of the time that solution still involves the use of salt.

There is another way 

Alternatives exist where the installation cost may be way less—although it might be the same depending on how large of a system you get. But more importantly, it is a solution that doesn’t involve the constant purchase of salt. 

A recent addition to the water treatment lineup includes many different brands on salt-free water conditioners or de-scalers. Typically, a non-salt system consists of a large particle filter and a multiple-part canister. The system works by neutralizing minerals such as magnesium and calcium by changing their ionic makeup so that these minerals do not stick to pipes and other surfaces. They do remain in the water, though, so if you allow a pool of water to dry, the minerals will form a powdery residue that easily brushes off.

DIY Installation?

Installation is not complicated, but if you have little to no experience plumbing, you should hire a local plumber or certified installer to do the project. It is essential to put it in-line with the water going the correct direction (into the water heater, for example), so you’ll need to know which way the pipe is flowing where you add the joint.

Does it work?

The results are different from a water softener. You’ll see a reduction of the calcium in the water. Your skin will feel less dried out, and dish soap will create larger amounts of suds. You will not have that slippery feel of salt-softened water though. Most importantly, you can drink the water and water your plants with the water directly from the tap. 

Is it green?

The environment gains because there is no back-washing of the system like with traditional salt-based softeners, so you are not dumping salt water into the drainage system, and you are not using a bunch of extra water. 

What does it cost to maintain?

The cost to operate it once it after installation is very low. There is no salt to purchase every month. You only have to change the large particle filter every 6 to 12 months, depending on your water source. You may even receive extra filters with your installation, so check with the dealer.

The cost to DIY the project includes the purchase of the system and a few fittings to make the connection into your water pipes. Check with your real estate professional to see if adding a water conditioner system will increase the value of your home for resale.


When selling your home you may receive many offers from different buyers, but the smart move isn’t always to pick the highest bidder. Selling a home goes beyond just picking the largest dollar amount; there are other factors to consider while selling your house and how they influence your decision:

Contingencies

Most home-sale offers come with certain contingencies before they can go through. These contingencies are certain conditions that must take place within a specific time-frame for the sale to be successful. You should pick the offer with the least number of contingencies and the shortest periods stipulated. Typical contingencies include a home inspection, approval for a mortgage and the home appraisal. When there is an inspection contingency, the buyer can withdraw his offer depending on how the inspection goes. Financial contingencies also allow the buyer to stop the purchase if they do not get a mortgage approved early enough.

All-cash offers

The best kind of offer is one that is offering cash up front. The offer may not be the highest, but it is guaranteed to go through because you don’t have to worry about a bank financing application that may or may not be approved.

Buyer pre-approval

Few people can afford to pay cash upfront for your home. The next best set of people are those who already have a pre-approval letter from their lender. This letter means that they can get a loan whenever they are ready. A buyer with a pre-approval implies that they already have everything necessary to get a credit and so the process following the offer will not be as difficult as it is for someone without a pre-approval.

Loan type

There are many kinds of mortgages, and if a mortgage from a bank backs your buyer's offer, then it is not going to be complicated. If the buyer is using an FHA loan or another government-backed credit facility, it could become involved with more processes and requirements.

Closing timelines

Everyone wants to close the process as quickly as possible and move along to other things. If the buyer wants to close immediately or under thirty days, then that is the perfect situation. You could also need some time especially if you are buying another house and would like it to be ready before moving in. Work with the offer that offers you the best timelines for your plans.

Price matters, but a lot of other things matter too when considering offers for your home. Discuss these with your real estate agent to help you decide which offer will work best for you.




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