ICON Realty Group Real Estate Services South Shore of Massachusetts


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If the thought of getting a mortgage and being in that much debt is stopping you from buying a home, plan to pay it off. Here’s how you can do it in just five to 10 years.

  • Live well below your means. If you can keep your mortgage payment to below twenty percent of your take-home pay, you’re on your way. That means that instead of buying a larger house in an upscale community, buy the nicest one you can in the neighborhood you can afford. When you do this, you’ll not only save on the payment but your energy and maintenance costs will be lower, as well.
  • Take a 15-year mortgage. Instead of the typical 30-year loan, opt for the 15-year choice. Your payments will be slightly higher, but they won’t be double. Use an online mortgage calculator to see the difference in the payment. You’ll be surprised at how much more affordable cutting the loan length in half can be.
  • Use an early mortgage pay-off calculator. Try plugging in different payment amounts to see how quickly you can pay it off. Adding as little as $100 extra each month can massively reduce the years to completion.
  • This next idea is easy if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly. Instead of making your mortgage payment once a month, pay half of it every two weeks. Using this trick allows you to make an entire extra payment each year, cutting months and years off your mortgage. If you do it to match your bi-weekly payments, you won’t even notice the additional payment out of your household budget.

Your Agent Can Help

When you’re looking for just the right house to put your plan into action, your knowledgeable real estate agent can find you the perfect one. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish so that they match you to the right house at the right time.


A home showing can make or break your chances of selling your house. Therefore, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure that each home showing is a success.

Ultimately, there are several best practices for home showings that every home seller needs to know, and these practices include:

1. Clean and Declutter Your House

A tidy home is sure to garner homebuyers' attention. Comparatively, a messy house is unlikely to do you any favors in a competitive real estate market.

Allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your house. Mop the floors, wipe down the walls and perform assorted home interior cleaning. Also, don't forget to mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and ensure your house's exterior looks great.

In addition, eliminate clutter from your home as soon as possible. By doing so, you can show off the true size of your living space to potential buyers.

2. Remove Personal Belongings from Your Home

Although you may have many personal photographs and other treasured mementos scattered throughout your house, you should put these items away before a home showing. That way, you can make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your house.

When it comes to personal belongings, it sometimes can be tough to hide these items. However, if you store your personal belongings properly, you can guarantee these items will maintain their quality and appearance until you sell your house.

Pack up any treasured belongings carefully. Then, you can put these items in a storage unit for safe keeping. Or, if a family member or friend has storage space to spare, you can always ask a loved one to store your personal belongings temporarily.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to host a successful home showing, you're not alone. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals know what it takes to transform an ordinary home showing into an unforgettable experience.

A real estate agent can offer expert recommendations to help you get your house show-ready. In fact, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best home cleaning companies in your area. He or she also is unafraid to be honest and will share any home interior or exterior concerns with you.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will teach you about the real estate market. He or she can educate you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, respond to your home selling concerns and questions and much more. Thus, if you work with a real estate agent, you should have no trouble making informed decisions throughout the home selling journey.

Take the guesswork out of prepping your house for a showing – use the aforementioned best practices, and you can improve the look and feel of your house in no time at all.


If you plan to conduct a house search, there is no reason to settle for inferior results. Instead, you should dedicate the necessary time and resources to conduct a comprehensive search for your dream house.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why it pays to perform an in-depth home search. These include:

1. You can avoid the risk of buying a subpar house.

As a homebuyer, it is paramount to discover a residence that meets or exceeds your expectations. Because if you purchase a house that falls short of your expectations, you may suffer the consequences of your decision for years to come.

For example, if you want to acquire a home quickly, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase the first house you view in-person. You might even choose to ignore house problems that are discovered during an inspection.

In the aforementioned scenario, you may wind up purchasing a home that will require costly, time-intensive repairs in the foreseeable future. Perhaps worst of all, you may struggle to generate equal value for your residence if you decide to re-sell it at a later date.

2. You can boost the likelihood of finding a house that matches your budget.

If you have a limited homebuying budget at your disposal, there is no need to leave any stone unturned in your quest for your ideal residence.

By dedicating time and resources to conduct an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to find a first-rate residence at a budget-friendly price. Plus, you may be able to pounce at the opportunity to buy a home that matches your budget as soon as this residence becomes available.

3. You may be able to capitalize on a buyer's market.

A patient homebuyer may be able to wait out a seller's market, i.e. a real estate market that features an abundance of buyers and a shortage of sellers. And in this situation, a buyer could capitalize on a buyer's market, i.e. a real estate market that boasts an abundance of sellers and a shortage of buyers. As a result, this buyer could choose from a wide selection of top-notch residences in a buyer's market and select a residence that offers a great combination of affordability and quality.

If you plan to pursue a home soon, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of support throughout the property buying journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to conduct a thorough home search. He or she will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and offer expert homebuying recommendations. Also, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal.

Simplify the homebuying process – work with a real estate agent, and you can streamline your house search.


Photo by SuperJHS via Pixabay

In the modern home, nothing combines practicality and style like a cubby bookshelf. Children can keep books or toys organized. They set the perfect backdrop for a display of photos, figurines, delicate dishes or other collectibles.

And if you size them right, just add some baskets to turn some of your shelves into drawers. Here's how to create a cubby bookshelf from scratch.

Plan your Shelves

There's no reason to recreate the wheel. You can find precise diagrams online that help you understand what you're going for. You can then adapt these plans to fit your space. 

For our guide, we'll create nine same size cubes each one x one x one foot. But if your skill is more advanced, you might choose the alternate larger and smaller cubbies both to fit different types of items and because it adds visual appeal.

Gather Supplies

You'll need:

  • A-1 red oak plywood (One 3/4" 4' X 8') - This product is more expensive. But it's high-quality. It comes in many hardwood shades. You may need to go to a lumber yard to find A-1 red oak plywood, but it's worth it. Alternatively, you can use 3/4 pine and treat it.
  • 1/4" plywood for the back
  • Banding veneers (around 25 ft) 
  • Clamps
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Wood plugs that match
  • Wood glue
  • Tung oil
  • Drill
  • Table saw - a manual saw could work. But you'll need a lot of elbows grease to accomplish it. *Pro tip* Check around with friends to see if you can borrow before buying a table saw for this one project.
  • Eye/Ear protection when using power tools

Measure & Cut your A-1 Plywood 

Measure and mark lightly with a pencil. This mark is on the cut line, so it shouldn't be seen on the finished product. You need:

  • A top 1'X3'
  • A bottom 1'X3'
  • Two sides 1'X 2'10.5"
  • Three shelves 1'X 2' 10.5. Note that each shelf and the top need two dadoes (grooves) where you'll slide in the dividers
  • Six dividers 1' X varies. This depends on the depth of your grooves

Coat each piece with two to three coats of tung oil for extra luster. And let it dry completely, eight hours between coats.

Piece the Shelf Together

Take your time. Glue and clamp one side at a time minus the dividers. Get some help if needed. It can be tricky. Let the glue dry before drilling and inserting screws for more permanent stabilization.

Now the dividers should slide right in. Use wood plugs to cover up your hardware.

Add Finishing Touches

Attaching band veneers on cut edges gives the shelf a professional, finished look that many DIY projects lack. Generally, you'll simply iron these on carefully. Add the back and secure your shelf to studs. Cubby bookshelves will look like a jungle gym to some children, so take this precaution if children ever visit.

And that's how to create a cubby bookshelf. For more fun and DIY-friendly home projects, follow our blog.


Photo by Hédi Benyounes on Unsplash

Dressing up your bathroom can not only make your house have more sales appeal but also can make your morning routine a little more cheerful. One way to dress up a pedestal sink and even add a pop of color to your bathroom pallet is by adding a colorful skirt.

1. Take Your Measurements

The first step to creating your pedestal sink skirt is getting the proper measurements for your fabric. You will need to measure the distance from the bottom portion of the sink to the floor. Add one inch to these measurements to allow for the bottom hem. For width, you will need to measure around the three sides of the sink, ignoring the back. Once you have this measurement, you will want to double it, so there is plenty of fabric to gather. 

2. Choose Your Fabric

Once you have your measurements, it is time to choose the right fabric. If you have a neutral bathroom color scheme, adding a bright color is the perfect way to liven up the space. You can also go for a more modern look by adding contrasting fabric to the bottom portion. If mixing two fabrics, be sure to add and extra inch to both in your measurements to account for the extra you need to put them together. 

3. Cut & Sew Your Skirt

Use your measurements to cut the material to the required dimensions. You will then want to finish the raw edges of the material by folding them over and sewing a hem around the entire fabric. Once you're done, use a running stitch to gather the fabric, making sure to monitor the measurement to it will fit around your sink.

4. Affix the Skirt to Your Sink

The last step in the process is attaching the skirt to the edge of your sink. Apply a length of hook Velcro to the three sides of the pedestal sink that you will be covering. Next, apply the same length of loop Velcro to the fabric, making sure you use Velcro that has an adhesive. Not only does this process make it easy to install, but it also makes it easy to remove and wash when needed

By following the few simple steps above, you can transform your pedestal sink into the show-stopping center of your bathroom with simple the cost of a little fabric. Whether you prefer unique patterns or bold colors, you can find the perfect way to accentuate your decor.  




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