Homeowners and Interested Buyers Can Benefit from These Free Online Courses

Online courses are gaining popularity as a way to learn new skills and subjects without enrolling in expensive certificate or degree programs. They’re also great for working adults and parents who don’t have time to leave the house every night to go to a class after work. Better yet, many online courses are free (or come with a free trial), so you don’t have to worry about losing money if you don’t like the course.

You might be wondering, “What can I really learn from an online course that will benefit me as a homeowner?” There are a number of courses relevant to homeowners when it comes to things like the home buying process, budgeting, interior design, and more.

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of those courses in case you have some free hours in the evenings and want to learn something new. Read on for our list of the best free online courses for homeowners (or soon-to be homeowners).

Buying a home

Unfortunately, many of us go into the home-buying process knowing little about what to expect. This can be cause for stress and anxiety as you navigate the complicated steps of building credit, getting preapproved, and making an offer.

Udemy offers a one-hour course on home buying that can help you with this process. First, A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you prepare for a down payment, understand the housing market, and teach you about things like home inspections and appraisals.

Personal finance

I often wish that kids were taught more practical finance and budgeting skills in high school so they have an idea of what to expect once they graduate and enter the workforce or apply to college.

Making financial decisions is stressful at any time of your life, whether it’s taking out student loans, buying your first home, or deciding when is the right time to retire. Fortunately, edX has you covered with this free personal finance course from Purdue University.

You’ll learn about retirement savings, the different types of investments, how insurance works, and the role credit plays in your ability to make healthy financial decisions.

Interior design

Decorating and designing the layout of your furniture is often something that we just guess at. Maybe you saw layouts and colors that you liked on Pinterest and tried to emulate them, or perhaps you just buy decorations and furniture just because you like them and not because they fit the style of your home.

If you want to gain a better understanding of basic interior design and decorating, this series of video lectures from Howcast is a great place to start. With 53 short videos you can watch whenever and wherever you want, you can browse and learn at your leisure, then try some of these methods in your own home.

Factors for Homebuyers to Consider Before They Make an Offer

The real estate market is filled with many high-quality residences, and after a comprehensive search, you’ve found a residence that fits your personal needs and budget perfectly. However, you may need to think twice before you submit an offer on this residence.

There are many factors that homebuyers should consider before they make an offer on a house, including:

1. Neighborhood

Ideally, you’ll want to find a home in a community filled with friendly neighbors. But in many cases, homebuyers may focus exclusively on a residence and ignore the neighborhood entirely.

Taking a walk around a neighborhood often allows you to get a better feel about what it is like to live in a neighborhood and may give you a chance to meet some of the neighbors as well. Also, a simple walk around the block will provide you with a better idea about whether a house’s value may rise or fall in the foreseeable future.

For instance, a neighborhood filled with houses with well-maintained front lawns, nearby parks and schools and other local amenities may prosper for years to come, and home values may rise in this neighborhood over the next few years.

2. Crime

No one wants to live in an unsafe area, and you can learn about crime near a prospective home before you submit an offer on a residence.

Contacting a local police station usually is a great idea for homebuyers who want to find out about crime statistics in a particular area.

Furthermore, your real estate agent can provide insights into crime in a specific area and help you determine whether a particular house is the best option.

3. Traffic

Although your dream home features all of the amenities you want, it might fail to provide you with quick, easy access to your office day after day.

For example, traffic can be a problem if your house is located in or near a major city. And if you need to travel to work every day, it is important to understand how traffic could affect your daily commute.

To better understand traffic patterns in a particular area, try driving to a residence at different times during the day. By doing so, you can learn about traffic patterns near a house and be better equipped to make a more informed decision about whether to submit an offer on a residence.

4. Taxes

You’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and have established a monthly budget for a new home, but taxes may vary depending on where you move. Thus, you’ll want to learn as much as possible about potential taxes that you could face at a new residence before you submit an offer.

Taxes may add up quickly, but homebuyers who budget accordingly can minimize the risk that they’ll fall behind on tax bills. And with support from your real estate agent, you can learn about taxes that you may encounter if you purchase a particular residence.

If you’re fully satisfied with a residence after you consider the aforementioned factors, you’ll be ready to submit an offer and move one step closer to moving into your dream house.

How To Sell Your Home Fast

If you want to sell your home quickly and provide the appeal that buyers are looking for, there are a few things that you should know about in relationship to what buyers are looking for. Buyers look for clean, inviting properties that they can see themselves in. Below, you’ll find the tips to help you create that appeal.   

What Does The Home Look Like From The Curb?

The first impression that buyers will get from your home is what it looks like from the curb. Your yard should appear neat and inviting when potential buyers pull up to the home. This means that before an open house, you should rake up the yard, add some colorful plants or flowers if you don’t have any, and be sure that the lawn has been mowed. 

Stage Your Home


As much as you think that lighting candles and organizing the inside of your home just so is slightly over the top, do it. Everything in your home should be neat. Don’t leave unsightly papers laying around or furniture in disarray. Prepare your home for an open house as you would for a magazine shoot.

Photographs Matter

The first place most people start their home search is online. If the photos of your home on the listing aren’t high quality and fail to give a good visual of the home, buyers will scroll right past it. You can even integrate video tours with the listing as well. To get people to attend an open house, you need to get them virtually interested first. 

Make Updates If You Know That You’re Selling 


There are certain changes that just look great on a home. These include updated appliances, new cabinets, bathroom updates, and new flooring. Updating these things also can facilitate a big return on your investments. Buyers love homes that don’t need a whole lot of work- especially in the kitchen and the bathroom. They are willing to pay for these luxuries. 

Know The Market

Hiring an agent who knows the market is one step in the right direction to selling your home fast and easily. Your agent will help you to price your home appropriately based on many factors including the neighborhood, the size of your home, and the demand that is present in the market. Price a home too high and you’ll leave the home sitting on the market for an extended period of time. If the home is priced too low, you could end up in the middle of a bidding war. Worse, buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the home that it is priced so low.

Video Tour – Condo Home – Shrewsbury, MA 01545 Real Estate – For Sale

Let the Great beginnings start here …..a wonderful opportunity to own rather then rent this one level easy living with updates. Located in one of the desirable locations within the complex. MOVE In READY, is this well maintained condo located on the third floor has it’s own private balcony overlooking the gardens and steps away to all the amenities. An open and spacious floor plan has a kitchen with a separate dining area that opens into a large family room with sliders. Large Bedroom (can accommodate a King-Size bed) with two double closets. Freshly painted rooms with updates in bathroom. A great commuting location with access to RT 9 , RT 20, Rt 290 etc..Enjoy easy access to White City Shopping Plaza , UMASS Worcester, Lake Quinsigamond access, Shrewsbury Street with plenty of nightlife and the new Whole foods plaza. You can not beat this location first building when you drive in! Truly a place you want to call home~

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts

Condo – 62 Shrewsbury Green Dr Unit J Shrewsbury, MA 01545 is now new to the market!

Let the Great beginnings start here …..a wonderful opportunity to own rather then rent this one level easy living with updates. Located in one of the desirable locations within the complex. MOVE In READY, is this well maintained condo located on the third floor has it’s own private balcony overlooking the gardens and steps away to all the amenities. An open and spacious floor plan has a kitchen with a separate dining area that opens into a large family room with sliders. Large Bedroom (can accommodate a King-Size bed) with two double closets. Freshly painted rooms with updates in bathroom. A great commuting location with access to RT 9 , RT 20, Rt 290 etc..Enjoy easy access to White City Shopping Plaza , UMASS Worcester, Lake Quinsigamond access, Shrewsbury Street with plenty of nightlife and the new Whole foods plaza. You can not beat this location first building when you drive in! Truly a place you want to call home~

This is a Garden style home and features 4 total rooms, 1 full bath, 1 bedroom, and is currently available for $129,900.

For complete details click here.

What Color Should You Paint Your Home’s Exterior?

Your home’s exterior will be the first thing any prospective homebuyer sees when he or she visits your house. As such, you’ll want to do everything possible to help your home’s exterior stand out for all the right reasons.

Cracking or fading paint throughout your home’s exterior can be problematic, especially for those who want to sell their residences as quickly as possible. Fortunately, painting your home’s exterior remains a viable option — all you’ll need to do is find the right color to help your residence impress prospective homebuyers consistently.

For those who want to revamp their home’s exterior, there are many factors to consider when choosing a new color, including:

1. Your neighbors’ homes

If you decide to paint your home a bright or dark color, how will this make your home look in relation to the rest of the houses in your neighborhood?

Take a walk around the neighborhood to see if you can find a common color palette before you paint your home’s exterior. This enables you to consider how your house will look relative to others in your neighborhood prior to painting.

If you notice your neighbors’ homes include a mix of light or dark colors, you may want to stay within the same palette. However, try to avoid using the same color as your neighbors’ homes – because no homebuyers want to live in a neighborhood filled with cookie-cutter houses that look identical.

2. Your home’s style

Do some research to find out what type of home you currently own and how similar residences have been painted in the past. This will allow you to discover a color scheme that matches the style of your home, and ultimately, may help your residence generate interest from homebuyers.

For example, a Victorian-style home may feature distinct features that you should try to showcase using a bright color. On the other hand, a stuccoed Spanish colonial-style residence may appear distinguished if you utilize a neutral color.

Devote the time and resources to learn about the style of your home, and you should have no trouble finding the right color for your residence’s exterior.

3. Your home’s current color

What did you think of your home’s exterior when you initially bought your home? The exterior color may have been one of the standout features that drew you to your house, and restoring your residence’s original color may help you transform your home into a must-buy.

When it comes to painting your home’s exterior, your best choice may be to leverage the same color. This may help you speed up the process of improving your home’s appearance, as you won’t need to evaluate numerous color options for your house’s exterior.

Painting your residence’s exterior is a must for those who want to enhance their home’s appearance and value. A new paint job enables you to boost your house’s curb appeal as well – something that is exceedingly important for home sellers in a highly competitive real estate market.

Work toward revamping your house’s exterior today, and you’ll be able to improve your chances of selling your residence.

3 Tips to Become a Smart Home Seller

Getting the best price for your residence can be easy, particularly if you allocate the necessary time and resources to become a smart home seller.

What does it take to become a smart home seller? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Analyze the Housing Market Closely

The housing market can be tricky to navigate, especially for a first-time home seller. Fortunately, those who spend some time reviewing the real estate sector closely can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, a home seller should check out the prices of comparable houses in his or her area. This will enable a property seller to understand how his or her home stacks up against the competition.

A home seller also should review the prices of recently sold homes. This will allow a home seller to differentiate between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market.

2. Take a Look at Your Home – Both Inside and Out

When a homebuyer views your house for the first time, will your residence make a positive first impression? If you’re unsure, you may want to conduct a home appraisal as soon as possible.

A home appraisal allows a property inspector to examine your residence both inside and out. That way, you can identify any potential problems with your residence and make home improvements as needed.

There are many quick, simple ways to enhance your property’s appearance without breaking your budget too.

For example, mowing the front lawn and trimming the hedges can help you transform an ordinary home exterior into an exceptional one.

Or, if you want to upgrade your house’s interior, eliminating clutter usually is a great idea. Removing unwanted items from your house will help you free up space so you can show off the true beauty of your residence’s interior.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to navigate the home selling journey alone. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you seamlessly add your home to the housing market and optimize your residence’s value.

A real estate agent will meet with you to understand your home selling goals. Then, he or she will help you map out a home selling journey, one that guarantees you can generate plenty of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.

Usually, a real estate agent will help you get your home ready to add to the real estate market. He or she will offer honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations so you can upgrade your residence in no time at all.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up home showings, promote your residence to homebuyers and negotiate with property buyers on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent will be happy to respond to them instantly.

Take the guesswork out of selling your home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home seller.

Best Practices for Creating a Homebuying Budget

If you want to purchase a home, it pays to establish a homebuying budget. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and narrow your search for your dream house.

Now, let’s take a look at three best practices to help you create a homebuying budget.

1. Look at Your Finances

Your finances will play a major role in your ability to purchase a home. Thus, you should evaluate your current financial situation closely so you can map out an effective homebuying journey.

Request a copy of your credit report – you’ll be glad you did. You are eligible for a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) annually. Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can gain deep insights into your outstanding debt.

If you have outstanding debt, try to pay this down as much as possible. That way, you can boost your credit score, which ultimately will help you improve your chances to acquire your ideal residence.

2. Meet with Banks and Credit Unions

When it comes to buying a home, meeting with banks and credit unions usually is a great idea. That way, you can learn about your home loan options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Apply for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. Then, you can receive various mortgage quotes and select one that suits you perfectly.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions during a lender consultation. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals – all of whom are happy to help you make an informed mortgage decision. Therefore, if you’re unsure about whether to proceed with a 15- or 30-year mortgage or can’t decide between an adjustable- or fixed-rate mortgage, you can ask these mortgage professionals for expert advice.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A homebuying budget is tricky to establish on your own, especially if you are entering the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead for all stages of the homebuying cycle.

During a real estate agent consultation, a housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this professional will help you establish realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Of course, let’s not forget about the world-class support that a real estate agent provides after you kick off a home search, either.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about open houses and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller’s agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on a house.

Ready to begin your search for your dream home? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can craft a homebuying budget and start your homebuying journey.

Ways to Get Involved in the Community in Your New Neighborhood

It’s easy to feel alienated when you move to a new city or town in today’s world. Traditionally, being friendly with neighbors was much more valued in decades past than it is now. And, with the help of things like Facebook and Skype, it’s easier to stay in touch with your old friends from your previous town than it is to make new ones in your new town. 

There is, however, much to be said about becoming involved in your local community. You’ll meet new people, discover new places to explore, and can make new friends in the process.

So, how can you go about involving yourself in your new town? Read on for our advice.

Say “hi” to the neighbors

Meeting the neighbors can be beneficial in a number of ways. They’ll be able to give you the lowdown on your neighborhood, including any issues you might want to be made aware of.

They’ll also be able to tell you if they notice anything strange or concerning around your house when you’re at work. And, if you go away on vacation, a good neighbor might volunteer to take in your mail for you or water your plants.

Find local events

There are a number of ways to find out what’s happening in your new town and get involved with them. Some places we recommend that you check frequently are:

  • Local newspapers and magazines

  • Library and town hall bulletin boards

  • Facebook groups for your town

  • Craigslist community boards

  • Meetup.com groups

You could also check out some local businesses, including cafes and restaurants, to introduce yourself to some of the people who likely live and work in your town.

Learn a new skill

One of the best ways to become involved in your new community is to find out what classes are offered nearby and to join one that you’re interested in. If fitness and wellness are one of your priorities you could consider joining a yoga or fitness class.

If you’re more into crafting, see what classes are available at the local library. And, while you’re there, ask the librarians for recommendations for local places to visit, whether it be museums or specialty stores.

Volunteer your time or skills

If you’d like to give back to your community a great way to do so is to volunteer for a local cause. Many cities and towns have neighborhood or park cleanups. Others have food pantries and assistance for the elderly.

If you have a skill that you think could be useful, such as carpentry or graphic design, find out if any local groups could use your skill.

Go to town meetings

If you want to quickly learn some of the ongoing issues and conversations in your town the weekly or monthly town meetings are a great way to familiarize yourself. Most towns and cities post their meeting schedule online and even offer recordings of past meetings if you want to get a feel for what the meetings are like before attending.

Other places that meetings are held that could be of interest are the local library, churches or spiritual centers, and parks or the town common.

How To Decorate With A Stress-Free Intention

Window with curtains

Your home should be a sanctuary. The home is the place to get away from the stresses of everyday life. It’s our base, that’s why we call it home! There’s ways you can decorate your home that will give every room of the house a feeling of peace and calm. Here, We will break down some of the things that you can do to decorate your house with the intention of it being a stress-free zone.

1. Use the power of green
Plants are the perfect accompaniment to every room of the house. Plants bring more oxygen into your house therefore you end up being less stressed because your overall well-being is better. When the air around you is cleaner, It brings a sense of calm.

2. Engage your senses with sights and sounds
There’s plenty of ways that you can engage your senses inside of your home. From beautiful artwork to top-of-the-line sound systems to listen to music with you can be constantly amazed right from inside your home. Even inviting birds near your windows with feeders in places can connect you with nature in a new and exciting way.

Make coming home a pleasant event
When you come home from work in the evenings, you don’t want the first thing you see to be stressful. Place things near the entryway of your home that bring you joy. You could keep a stack of pleasant books, magazines, puzzles, or music right near the place you enter your house each night. This will remind you to make your house feel more like home, and less like a place that will require more work!

Lower the lights
When you hit your bedroom at night, you want it to feel like a sleep haven. Be sure that the things you use to adjust the lights are close at hand, so when you need to lower lights, it’s an easy task. In other rooms of your home, be sure it’s easy to adjust the lighting accordingly there as well. Think comfort and safety.

5. Keep boundaries between work and home
If you have a home office, be sure that you have a set cut off time for work. Whether you’re working from home all day or just part of the day, you want to set boundaries for yourself. This will help keep your home life pleasant and less stressful. It’s important to separate your home life and your work life.

Make it easy to develop a routine
The placement of your coffeemaker may seem insignificant, but early in the morning when you want a fresh cup of joe, knowing exactly where to hit the button to get the coffee started can make a big difference in your mood for the day. Items in your home should be placed strategically as to how, when and where you use them. It’s also a good idea to have places for shoes, coats and hats to reduce clutter and stay organized.