John Pasciuti's Blog
18 Valley Road, Southborough, MA 01772
A fire pit adds a cozy and fun element to any backyard. Think of the roasting of marshmallows or just enjoying a toasty fire on a chilly fall night. Building a fire pit is a relatively straightforward DIY project. To get started, you’ll need the right materials, tools, location and confirmation you will build it both the legal and correct way.
- Materials: Cast concrete wall stones, cap stones, gravel and sand.
- Tools: Shovel, tape measure, level, steel rake and tamper.
- Location: Choose a place away from your house (or other structure), and be sure your fire pit is not positioned underneath low-hanging trees or placed too close to any hedges or bushes.
- Legal requirements: Check your municipality’s building codes and your HOA’s rules (if applicable) so you can ensure you follow all required specs and regulations.
- Safety first: Call 811 to check for any potential utilities that may be underground where you plan to dig.
Once you’ve got everything together and in order, you’re ready to get started. Here are the next steps you’ll need to take.
Step 1: Lay out your stones in the shape and size of your fire pit, approximately 36 to 44 inches in diameter – make sure the stones are touching and connected.
Step 2: Mark your circle for the pit and then temporarily move the rocks.
Step 3: Dig a foot-deep hole within the perimeter you marked to serve as your pit.
Step 4: Pour gravel/sand into the hole, wet it down and then tamp it.
Step 5: Stack your stones around the hole’s perimeter one row at a time until they are one foot above the ground, be sure to stagger the joints with each layer. Apply landscape/masonry adhesive between layers of stone to lock them into place.
Step 6: Repeat Step 5 two to three additional times until you get the right height for your wall (total layers should be three to four).
Step 7: Pour additional gravel and sand into the hole, making it about four inches deep.
Tip: If you’re a little concerned about choosing the right materials on your own, you can also purchase a fire pit kit from any big box or another type of hardware store.
Building a fire pit is a DIY project that can easily be done over a weekend. Once you’ve put it together, you can sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labors.
You know that you want to buy a house, but you also don't want to break your day-to-day budget to acquire a residence. As such, you're in the market for inexpensive housing – something that can be tough to find in any real estate sector, at any time.
Buying a house can be difficult, especially if you're operating on a tight budget. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding an inexpensive house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for an affordable residence.
1. Evaluate How Long a Home Has Been Available
When it comes to finding an affordable house, it pays to check out how long a residence has been available. By doing so, you may be able to discover a bargain, even in a highly competitive real estate market.
If a home that has been available for many weeks or months, a seller may be more motivated than ever before to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial expectations. Thus, if you submit an offer below a seller's initial asking price, the seller may accept your proposal in the hopes of getting rid of his or her residence quickly.
Of course, you should always ensure that a home offer is competitive based on a house's age and condition, along with the current state of the real estate market. Because if you submit a "lowball" proposal, a seller likely will respond with an immediate "No" to your offer.
2. Look at Fixer-Uppers
A fixer-upper is unlikely to have everything that you want in your dream house. On the other hand, a fixer-upper likely is more cost-effective in comparison to a new house.
If you're on the lookout for affordable housing, you should consider fixer-uppers. These houses may require some work, but buyers who are willing to allocate the necessary time and resources to perform myriad home repairs can transform these properties into dream homes.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
For homebuyers who want to acquire a house without spending too much, it usually helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, by working with a real estate agent, a homebuyer can streamline the process of acquiring an affordable residence.
A real estate agent first will meet with a homebuyer and learn about his or her homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can tailor a home search to complement a buyer's budget.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do whatever it takes to help you purchase an inexpensive house.
Ready to find a cost-effective house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accelerate the process of discovering an affordable home that you can enjoy for years to come.
18 Valley Road, Southborough, MA 01772
The windows in your home not only supply security while allowing fresh air and natural light to filter in, but they are also essential to keeping energy costs down and they contribute to the overall value of your home. During a windstorm, here are some ways you can protect your entire home as a real estate investment. These tips can reduce the chance of broken windows that can lead to interior flooding and other structural damage.
Install Impact Resistant Window Film
If you own real estate property in areas that are prone to high winds such as the East Coast (North of Georgia), West Coast, and North Central Regions (Michigan, Illinois, Ohio), window film will make your windows more resistant to shattering. Window film can also serve double-duty, making it more difficult for a burglar to break your windows and gain access to your home.
Clear Your Yard of Debris
It is typically not the wind that shatters windows, but debris from the yard that is thrown at the home. Remove branches and tree limbs, outdoor furniture and any objects that can be picked by the wind. Any medium-sized or heavier objects can become projectiles including garden tools, grills, sports equipment, and bicycles.
Close Your Windows
High winds from hurricanes are often part of low pressure systems. In the past, it was suggested to open a few windows to allow the home's interior to equalize in pressure. Current practices suggest that your home's interior pressure will equalize on it's own, because no home is completely airtight. It is best to close the windows to limit interior damage due to extremely high winds.
Thick Plywood in a Pinch
If your home does not have shutters and the weather forecast calls for sustained and powerful wind gusts, nailing plywood over your windows is the next best option if your home does not have storm shutters. You only need to consider boarding up your home if the winds are forecast to be straight-line winds and you only need to protect the windows that are directly facing the direction of expected high winds.
These tips can help keep you and your family safe indoors during a windstorm. Review your home insurance policy on a regular basis. As climatic activity increases, you may decide to add insurance that will cover damage due to heavy wind or rain.