Ari Koufos
REALTY EXECUTIVES | 617-799-8948 |

Posted by Ari Koufos on 2/4/2020

Photo by Halfpoint via Shutterstock

When it comes to conserving energy, homeowners wanting to go green often spare no expense. Here are a few ways to upgrade your home without lightening your wallet.

Smart Thermostat

A powerful method to control your power use while saving money on your air conditioning bills in the summer and heating bills each winter is by installing a smart thermostat. Utilizing a system that monitors the indoor and outdoor humidity and temperatures to adjust your system keeps your home on an even keel and your bills steady. Choose one with multiple sensors so that you donít end up with hot spots or cold rooms around your home. You can adjust your thermostat manually, but the best way to make it smart is to connect it to a smartphone or voice-controlled device.

Motion Sensing Dimmers

You try your best, but thereís always one room where it seems the lights get left on more often than youíd like. The challenge is, itís the same room thatís often empty most of the day, so no one even notices the lights burning. To combat this issue, replace the standard light switch with a sensing dimmer switch. That way, if someoneís in the room, the light turns on, but when thereís no one moving around, off it goes. And, when daylight comes in the windows, the sensor knows to keep the light off.

If youíre retrofitting an older home, replace pull-chain lights in basements and utility rooms with a motion-sensing light so that you never have to stumble around waving your arms in front of you trying to grab the string to the pull-chain.

Adjustable LEDs

On the subject of lights, Take it up (or down) a notch with a 3-way LED. The equivalent of a 60-watt bulb can adjust from soft, warm light to bright, daylight with built-in wireless technology at the sound of your voice when connected to your smartphone or smart home.

If youíre looking for ways to make your home appeal to a more energy-conscious set of buyers, try utilizing these inexpensive, smart home technologies.

Categories: Home improvement   homeowner  

Posted by Ari Koufos on 12/17/2019

Photo by Breadmaker via Shutterstock

You may be thinking that your best investments are inside the home: a snazzy new kitchen, a spa-like bathroom or new wood floors, but you can actually get a high return on investment (ROI) if you focus on your home's curb appeal.

The first impression potential buyers have of your home is the outside. If you had to guess, what's the best purchase? If you guessed a garage door, you'd be right! Studies show that the recouped cost of a new garage door is usually around 97%, which means you basically get the whole amount back in home value.

Fixing Up the Outside

Before you go investing $4,000 in a new garage door, though, start by fixing up the existing features of your home. That means repairing or replacing vinyl siding, powering washing the outside and giving it a new paint job if necessary. Make sure windows and shutters are clean and without cracks or dings. Most importantly, if your roof is nearing the end of its warranty, or if you have known problems like leaks, now is the time to fix it. While the ROI on a new roof is only about 60%, roof problems can be a huge turn off for buyers, causing your home to sit on the market for longer and costing you more in the long run.


Start on your landscaping plan by cleaning up your yard. Get rid of the trash and yard debris so the yard stays presentable. If you have a green lawn, now is the time to review it. If your grass is growing well and covering the dirt, great! Keep it mowed and you are good to go. If your lawn is having problems, you may want to consider mixing it with other ground covering like gravel, recycled rubber or wood pellets. They are all much easier to maintain, especially in dryer climates not as well suited for grass. If you have empty or dying flower beds, now is the time to fill them up with seasonal flowers and bushes. These give you great color and make your home seem more welcoming to buyers. 

Before you start shelling out big money for upgrades, have your real estate agent review your home. They can suggest the best options for your market and price range, as well as provide accurate feedback about your homeís curb appeal. They may even have ideas for professional help to get your home in perfect selling shape.

Categories: Home improvement  

Posted by Ari Koufos on 4/3/2018

When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, itís very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or wonít bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

Letís take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.  

1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel neweróan instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.

2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.

3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a homeís curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your homeís exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint wonít do the trick.

4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes donít have to break the bank to catch a buyerís eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.

5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.

6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.

The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but itís quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.

Posted by Ari Koufos on 10/17/2017

It's true that it will take time and a great deal of money to give your house a full upgrade. Knock out walls, tear out cabinets and pull up carpeting and you could be looking at a home upgrade bill that exceeds several thousand dollars.

A house uplift might be the cheapest uplift around

That's if you make full upgrades. But, it doesn't require full upgrades to give your house a lift. With a few minor changes, you could give your house a more modern look and feel. Find a few home decor pieces at an antique shop, flea market or roadside stand and you might even add a rare quality to your home.

To get house upgrades for less than $100, stay open to finding decor, flooring and other household accessories at off market locations. It's at these less common spots that you can avoid paying for displays and shelving fees that major retailers have been known to tack onto the cost of home goods.

Grab household goods from shops that only ask you to cover the cost of the products and you could upgrade your flooring, wall designs and bathrooms for less than $100. Specific ways to pull off house upgrades include:

  • Place hand weaved throw rugs with rarely seen designs on your living room and kitchen floors. In addition to unique designs, go for throw rugs that are hand sewn in colors that use delicate blends.
  • Sketch or paint your own pencil, oil or chalk drawings. Frame the drawings and hang them on the walls of your house. You don't have to be a world renowned artist to add a powerful signature style to your house.
  • Decorate sofas, chairs and beds with uniquely shaped and designed throw pillows.
  • Repaint the crown molding or the edges of your walls or ceilings.
  • Replace lamp shades with shades that come indifferent shapes or colors.
  • Top living and dining room end tables with green plants or plants that blossom.
  • Reupholster chairs. Instead of buying new chairs, reupholster chairs yourself.
  • Top your beds with new bedspreads, quilts or comforters.

Appreciate and use your personal creativity when looking for house upgrades

House upgrades do more than give your home a new look. Upgrades make you feel differently. Something as simple as a throw rug can change the appearance of a room. Window decor is another great room changer.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, adding a figurine or fresh flowers to your front or back porch can give your living space a lift. Another way to give your outdoor property a lift involves adding color to your front or back yard.

Options that are open to you are as wide as your imagination, which brings up another point. When looking for house upgrades for less than $100, get creative. After all, you could create crafts, artwork and fabric based interior designs to give your house upgrades that you'll love.