Patricia Soucy | Rutland Real Estate, Holden Real Estate, Oakham Real Estate


Photo by: Annie Gray via Unsplash

In many homes, the dining table is the ideal get-together spot to share a meal, hold gatherings and talk about important topics. However, it’s not only for eating, clinking glasses or having family discussions. It’s one of the focal points of your house and should be carefully considered. If you're interested in buying a dining table, you'll probably want to buy it to last, to compliment your home’s decor and only have to buy it once. Here is a guide on how to choose the best dining table material for your home.

Choosing Materials

Sturdy Wood

The ideal dining table is one that can last through years of wear and tear. A traditional dining table made from hardwood will take what you dish out. The best hardwood tables to go for are walnut, oak, mahogany or maple. Make sure that the hardwood is solid and from a reputable manufacturer to ensure its strength and durability. If hardwood isn’t your favorite option but you still want a solid table with a nice, wood finish, try composite wood. These tables are engineered from different, sturdy materials and are very economical.

Glass

Though wood remains at the top of the list, glass dining tables are also a popular choice, especially if you’re looking for a sleek or minimalist design. One of the unique advantages glass has is that it can blend seamlessly with many home decor themes. Additionally, it makes the room appear larger, lighter and brighter.

Marble or Granite

If you’re looking to impress your guests, a marble or granite dining table may be worth looking into. Natural stone has an irresistible and timeless appeal. They're also incredibly sturdy. However, they still have their downsides such as weight, cost and upkeep. If you decide to go with a natural stone table, remember marble can stain easily and granite requires annual treatment with sealants.

Choosing the shape

One of the advantages of a round table is its ability to fit into any room, be it a small nook, large dining room, or a part of the living room designated as the eating area. They offer flexible seating for conversation; an attribute many other dining tables lack. Likewise, a long, wooden, trestle table allows for guests to sit across from each other for friendly conversation and may still give you that classic, traditional rectangle. Finally, the ever-popular pub table adds ambiance to your space with a modern yet vintage appeal. 

Finding Your Color

Just because your table may be natural hardwood doesn’t mean it can’t have a splash of color. Chalk paint finishes on wooden, farmhouse tables might be just the look to tie your spaces together. You can also stain your wood in a dark finish to give it a dramatic glow. Glass tables come in colored or frosted glass, giving you the option to stick with a clear surface or add a little color to your dining area. Marble and granite range from pale off-whites to deep red or black hues. Whatever your choice may be, be sure to let the colors accentuate your interior decor.

Getting a dining table might seem like a daunting task, but with these tips, you will be able to choose one that serves the exact purpose you envision. If you don’t have space for the table of your dreams, let me know, so I can make a larger dining area one of our priorities during your home search.


Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels

If your wealth is tied up in your home, how can you free up some cash? A reverse mortgage is available to homeowners with mostly or fully paid-off mortgages. The monthly payments, which come from the lender to you, are not counted as taxable income. But there are mortgage taxes, and interest rates on reverse mortgages are somewhat higher than the current rate for a normal mortgage.

The FHA's Ever-Popular Reverse Mortgage Offering

Are you 62+? Consider the home equity conversion mortgage, available through the FHA. An approved counselor will lay out the process and point you to a qualifying lender. 

Then, here's what you should expect:

  • There are initial and annual fees, as well as recording fees.
  • Expect credit checks.
  • And yes, you do need an appraisal, inspection and a title search. 
  • In contrast to the usual custom with a regular mortgage, as the AARP points out, you'll probably have to pay the home insurance and local property taxes yourself.

The more you borrow, and the longer the term of your loan, the heftier cumulative interest charges you'll pay.

The Other Ways to Get to Your Home Equity 

Of course, you might sell and downsize. Not ready for that move? Think about...

Cash-Out Refinancing

If your credit score is 640 or above and you have a mortgage, consider cash-out refinancing with the FHA. This replaces your present mortgage with a larger one. The larger loan pays off your mortgage, replaces it and gives you the extra funds in a lump sum. You can be younger than 62. 

The Private Reverse Mortgage

Put up your home as collateral and enter a loan agreement with a close friend or relative. It's not altogether "private" — private reverse mortgages have a standard interest rate, governed by the IRS — but the rate is lower than a bank's.  

The HELOC 

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) empowers you to tap into your home equity. It's something like a credit card: there's a set credit limit. You only need to pay interest on what you withdraw. Note that HELOCs do not come with fixed interest rates.   

The Home Equity Loan

An alternative to the reverse mortgage that can work when you need cash upfront is the home equity loan. You'll pay interest on the lump-sum amount.

Best of Luck (and Patience)!

If there's one thing you must have before applying for a reverse mortgage, it's patience. A reverse mortgage, like a conventional mortgage, involves a full approval process, including those pesky calls and queries about proof of your capacity to repay the loan.

But the result can make it all worthwhile. 


A second mortgage is a loan that enables you to take funds against the value of your property's equity above your primary mortgage. An asset like a home has every tendency to gain value over time. Second mortgages are an excellent means of using your property for other projects without selling it outright.

What is a second mortgage?

A second mortgage is a loan type that is similar to the one you might have used to buy your home. It is a loan that uses your home as collateral. The credit is referred to as a second mortgage because your first loan is the one that is covered by a lien on your property. The second mortgage takes advantage of the market value of your home compared with any loan balances. Ideally, equity increases over time and can change in different ways.

A second mortgage can come in diverse forms such as:

Lump sum: A standard second mortgage can be given to you once, and it provides you with a considerable amount to use for whatever you want. The repayment is gradual, spanning over a specific period. You will be required to pay a fixed amount of money monthly. Each payment contains a part of your loan balance as well as a portion of your interest cost just like your primary mortgage. 

Line of credit: You can also borrow using a line of credit or a large amount of money from which you may draw. You don't need to take any money when you go for this type of loan—but the option to do so is available if you want.

Rate choices: Depending on the type of loan you prefer, there may be a fixed rate attached to your loan that will assist you in planning your payments. Variable-rate mortgages are very common for this line of credit.

Advantages of a second mortgage include the following:

Interest rates: One of the benefits of going for a second mortgage is the lower interest rate when compared with other types of debt. Also, your lender's risk is minimal because you are securing the loan with your property's equity.

Tax Benefits: Interest paid on the second mortgage attracts some deductions in most cases. Check with the person preparing your tax return before taking deductions.

Large amount: With a second mortgage, you can borrow a significant amount of money to help you with your financial needs. The main reason for this is that your home secures the loan and its value is usually high.

Before taking a second mortgage or line of credit consider if you plan to sell your home soon. Confer with your financial planner to make sure your new loan is in your best financial interest.


Most fundamental of yard work chores is the mowing of the lawn. Whether you enjoy yard work or just want to get it done quickly, the right tools will make the job go smoothly.

Push lawn mower type

There are three types of push lawn mowers that you can use. Manual reel mower, electrically powered push mower, and gas-powered push mower. Choosing the kind of push lawn mower that you will need can be determined by several factors: your lawn size and level (is it flat or uneven). A lawn size that is less than a ½ acre is ideal for using a push lawn mower. 

A manual reel mower is best for small lawn patch sizes that are flat and under 500 square feet. These mowers are quiet, environmentally friendly, low maintenance, and good for the health of the lawn. They require greater diligence in keeping a regular mowing schedule. It can be difficult to cut an overgrown yard with a manual reel mower. 

The electrically powered push mower is ideal for small to medium flat lawns that are under 1/3 acre. They are environmentally friendly and quiet. Electric mowers can be corded or cordless. The cordless electric mower is limited to the charge on the battery. With a corded electric mower, you are restricted by the length of the power cord. Even though these mowers are powered, it can still be challenging to mow an overgrown lawn. 

Gas-powered push mower can be used for any lawn size and level. Gas mowers have a longer runtime and offer more power. They can be messy, require maintenance, and they are loud. Oil and gas levels will need to be checked and refilled often. With a gas powered mower, an overgrown lawn is more manageable to mow, and a regular mowing schedule is not as important.

Push or self-propelled

Self-propelled lawn mower provides more assistance on uneven lawns but can be heavier and difficult to maneuver. With a self-propelled lawn mower, the job can get done faster with less effort. A non-propelled lawn mower will take more physical effort to operate. 

Cutting type

Push lawn mowers deal with grass clippings in one of three ways side discharge, mulching, and bagging. Side discharge the clippings are distributed back onto the lawn. Mulching cuts the clippings into very fine pieces which helps it to breakdown into nutrients for the soil. Bagging collects the cuttings into a bag that can be emptied into a yard waste bin or compost pile.

Visit the local hardware home improvement store and take a look at the options in the lawn and garden section.


Everyone needs a few minutes to decompress between the office and home. You don’t want to bring any stress from your day into your family time so finding ways to relax before you get home is helpful. Sometimes taking a few minutes to cool down during the commute mentally is enough to help you relax before getting home, but sometimes driving continues to exacerbate your stress level. Finding a place in your neighborhood or near your home where you can park and spend a few minutes decompressing before continuing home can make a big difference to your day. Create a little haven where you spend 15-20 minutes alone. Take the time to let go of any stress or anger built up at the office or to rest for a few minutes so that you have the energy to be a great parent and partner.

Each personality seeks different features in a decompression place. Do you need a quiet place where you can think, or do you prefer a loud place with TVs to distract you from thinking? Does sitting help you relax or does walking around or getting exercise help you clear your mind? Think about what you need and what type of place in your neighborhood could be your new haven.

  • Coffee Shop: A coffee shop can be a great place to spend a few minutes by yourself. You can relax with a soothing cup of tea or re-energize with a cup of joe. Coffeehouses offer you the ability to be alone and have your headphones on or read a book, but they also create a space where you can meet people and have some casual conversation to take your mind off the day.
  • Restaurant/bar: Finding a local spot with a happy hour might be the right choice for you. Especially if you are a sports fan, a local sports bar or café with TVs might be just the thing to help distract you for a few minutes ahead of dinner. 
  • Park: After being cooped up in an office all day getting out and taking in some fresh air might be just the thing. Is there a local park or greenbelt near your home where you can go for a nice stroll on the way home? Sit on a park bench to peruse a book, watch dogs play, or stare off at a stream or water feature.
  • Library: If you're a bookworm try visiting your local library on the way home. Take a little time to discover a new book or read a couple of chapters of your current book in a pleasantly quiet environment.
  • Mall: If you live near a mall try walking around and window shopping by yourself. Get in a little exercise and let your mind wander as you pass the different shop windows.
  • Gym: Exercising is an excellent way to decompress and get some positive endorphins flowing through your body. If you have the time to work out for even 20-30 minutes on your way home, it can make a genuine difference to your physical and emotional health and help bring you mental clarity. 

 If having a local and easily accessible place to decompress is vital to you in a neighborhood, take time to talk with your real estate agent about your needs before beginning your home search.