The Holden Team | Hopkinton Real Estate, Southborough Real Estate, Ashland Real Estate


Anyone who’s ever been in an outdated house or hotel room can tell you that the way we decorate can have an effect on our mood. Certain colors, lack of lighting, and cluttered rooms are all things that, whether we realize it or not, can have a negative effect on our mood and productivity.

These concepts aren’t recent realizations. In ancient China and India, concepts of architecture and decorating have been teaching proper design techniques for thousands of years. Today, these schools of thought are often lumped into the field of environmental psychology.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about a few design techniques that will help you and your houseguests feel more welcome in your home and create a tone that matches your desires, whether that’s relaxed or energized.

The effects of color

With a quick Google search, you’ll find hundreds of articles discussing the psychological effects of colors. What many fail to mention is the way these effects are based on things like the culture and time period we grow up in.

However, you may find that guests to your home will feel more comfortable in light, neutral- colored rooms than they will in a room that’s painted bold colors.

On a room-by-room basis, there tend to be certain colors that Americans associate with the “right” colors for the occasion.

However, this is often influenced by the architectural style of the house more than an internalized idea about specific colors.

How much is too much?

It’s easy to accumulate home decor and find your walls and surface becoming a little too cluttered. However, bare walls and sparsely decorated rooms can feel a bit too sterile and unlivable. Is there a balance between the two?

Oftentimes the best solution is to follow one simple decorating principle:

Rather than using several small items to decorate a room, choose just a few larger items. This will prevent the room from appearing cluttered but still give it a sense of character.

Taking advantage of the full area of a room

So far, we’ve been talking about how colors and decor can make a room feel more spacious and welcoming. But, even if you have a small room, you can still often achieve this effect.

One solution is to add brighter lighting to the room. Increasing the light makes to room feel more open. And, if possible, natural lighting is the best option, as it can reduce any feelings of claustrophobia.

If better lighting or windows aren’t an option, many homeowners turn to mirrors to make a room feel larger. Larger, wall-hanging mirrors are an excellent way to give the illusion of spaciousness in a small room.


Using the psychology behind these three decorating principles, you’ll be able to make you and your houseguests feel more at ease within your home.


Trying to understand what that home description is all about? Whether you're new to the housing market or newly returned, you'll find terms used to describe homes that you might not recognize. Or, you may not understand what they truly mean in context. The word walkable, for instance, shouldn't apply to a home at all, should it? After all, houses can't just get up and walk away.

Defining the real [estate] meaning

In real estate and urban parlance, a walkable neighborhood might refer to a community where services such as grocery and other shops, restaurants, bars, parks, and other recreation areas are reachable on foot within a 10-to-15 minute timeframe.

In another area, walkable might mean that public transportation to urban areas is within walking distance. In this case, the neighborhood itself may not hold the services but does support its being in reach via bus or train access.

Still, other definitions of walkable mean that the community has lighted footpaths, sidewalks, urban (or suburban) trails and other means by which residents may walk for exercise or recreation. Or, that the community provides opportunities and programs for residents to walk.

Breaking down “walkable” themes

With all the various definitions in use, a Harvard study published these themes as most important to walkability.

Environmental dimensions adding to walkability:

  • Traversable: environments with the physical conditions—sidewalks, trails, footpaths—to allow traverse from one place to another without difficulty.
  • Compact: where the distance between places is relatively short.
  • Safe: lower crime rates, lighted pathways, marked and controlled crosswalks, and additional safety features add to the safe walkability of a neighborhood.
  • Physically enticing: settings with full accessibility to pedestrians that include landscaping, signage, benches, shade trees, pathways, street lights, and views.

Outcome dimensions of walkability

  • Social: a location with lively shopping and dining areas, typically mixed-use live/work situations and the friendly people that live, work, or visit there.
  • Transportation: is the perception that both social equality (age, income, disability) and environmental preservation are sustainable via public transit.
  • Exercise-inducing: forced exercise due to proximity to work, transportation, or services, or the lack of suitable parking that goes with living in a more urban area.

Designing for walkability

  • Measurable: the neighborhood design or redevelopment includes walkability as a quantifiable outcome based on specific indicators.
  • Holistic: in this case, walkability references communities of improved urban living with slower pace built in, scaled for human health and happiness, devised to promote interaction.

None of these is definitive, but if you’re looking for a neighborhood that defines “walkable” for you, check the walk score website, which measures over 100 aspects of walkability, and talk to your local real estate professional about what works for you.


Ready to negotiate the purchase of a new home? Ultimately, employing a real estate agent may help you avoid the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with a homebuying negotiation.

There are many reasons to hire a real estate agent to handle a homebuying negotiation, including:

1. A real estate agent understands the art of negotiation.

A negotiation is a high-pressure situation, one that may be difficult to navigate on your own. Fortunately, a real estate agent understands what it takes to help a homebuyer get the best price for a house – without exception.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive support from an experienced negotiator.

A real estate agent possesses extensive skills and know-how, particularly when it comes to homebuying negotiations. This housing market expert will be able to negotiate with a home seller and ensure all parties are satisfied with the end results.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will dedicate the necessary time and resources to complete a successful homebuying negotiation. He or she will go the extra mile to negotiate with a home seller to help you acquire a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. A real estate agent will keep you up to date at all times.

If you employ a real estate agent, it is important to know that this housing market professional will keep you informed throughout a homebuying negotiation. Lucky for you, a real estate agent will provide updates as you try to acquire your dream residence at a price that matches your budget.

A real estate agent acts as a liaison between you and a home seller. He or she will keep you up to date at each stage of a homebuying negotiation and will require your approval on any homebuying decisions.

Also, a real estate agent will provide suggestions during a homebuying negotiation. As a homebuyer, you always have the option to accept or reject this housing market professional's suggestions.

3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you.

Although a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you streamline a homebuying negotiation, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations as well.

For example, if you want a home seller to drastically lower the price of a home after a property inspection, a real estate agent will handle your request. And if a home seller rejects your proposal, this housing market professional will provide you with feedback and help you map out your next step accordingly.

A real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you have during a homebuying negotiation too. As such, he or she can provide a valuable resource and offer homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Don't let the complexities of a homebuying negotiation overwhelm you. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can speed up the process of purchasing your ideal residence.


If you’re in the market to buy a home, one of your worst fears may be that of getting into a bidding war. What if you knew it was possible to actually score a home without spending a penny more than your budget? Below, you’ll find some tips that you should heed before you even put an offer in on a home. 


Know Your Budget


The first step is to know your budget. If you can spend a bit more than the asking price on a home in a seller’s market, you may want to do just that. Buying a home is an emotional roller coaster and it’s easy to get sucked in. You need to think of all things practical before you even put a number on paper for an offer on a home. Work with your lender so that you know what you can spend. You can even consult your lender before you put an offer in if you know the circumstances of the home that you’re working with. The earlier you submit your offer the better.  


Make The Offer Personal


An offer should have some personality and drive attached to it. First, your agent needs to speak with the listing agent. It’s surprising just how many offers are placed where the agents never even speak. As a bonus, you can write a letter to the seller. Let them know how much you love the property, the neighborhood, or their wonderful herb garden that you plan on maintaining. Add some personal flair to your offer to give yourself a leg up as a buyer. 


Try To Close Sooner


There’s nothing more attractive to a motivated seller than a shorter time frame for closing. If the seller knows that you can close a deal in a shorter period of time, you may be able to win the deal with your sweet incentive. You can close on a deal faster by doing the inspection quickly. If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage that also helps speed the process along. You could even go a step further and get a conditional approval from the lender. 


Give The Sellers What They Want


If the sellers happen to need more time in their home, give them space (unless of course you’re in a hurry to move.) By cooperating with the sellers and not being a high maintenance buyer you can certainly give yourself an advantage in the home buying process. If you really want to impress a seller, submit an “as is” offer. A seller won’t turn down something that’s easier for them.    


After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her house, it likely will be only a few weeks before you can wrap up your home purchase. And if you understand exactly what to expect during the homebuying process, you should have no trouble eliminating potential hurdles along the way.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount for a buyer. Because if you encounter home problems during an inspection, you still have an opportunity to back out of a house purchase.

Hire an expert home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This inspector will assess a house both inside and out and offer comprehensive insights into a residence's condition.

Of course, you should always review a home inspection report closely too. This will enable you to analyze a house and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase or reconsider your options.

2. Perform an In-Depth Home Appraisal

Oftentimes, a lender will require an appraisal before you can close on a house. Lucky for you, there are many home appraisers available in cities and towns nationwide, and these property experts can perform an appraisal at your convenience.

Spend some time looking for the top appraisers in your area. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an accurate appraisal.

3. Prepare for Closing Day

As closing day approaches, your stress levels may rise accordingly. However, a homebuyer who plans for closing day can stay calm, cool and collected as the homebuying journey reaches its conclusion.

Generally, it is a good idea to prepare any documentation that you'll need for a home closing. If you have all of the necessary documents ready in advance, you can avoid the risk of potential delays when you close on a house.

If you need additional assistance in the weeks or days leading up to a house closing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can offer extensive support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

Initially, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search and ensure you can find your ideal residence. He or she then will help you prepare a competitive offer for this home. And once your offer is accepted by a seller, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance as you get ready to finalize a house purchase.

A real estate agent also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the homebuying journey. That way, you can make informed decisions as you pursue your ideal residence.

Get the help you need to wrap up a home purchase – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the homebuying journey.




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