Bypass the Stress of Selling and Turn Your Home into a Long-Term Rental

By Guest Blogger: Ted James

If you are in the process of moving, hustling to sell your home may add stress to the relocation process. Those who are in limbo between one residence and the next may find that turning their home into a rental is less of a headache than trying to find a buyer and may even make more financial sense in the long run. The National Lumber Family of Companies present some tips on how to turn your home into a long-term rental.

Is renting right for you?

Before you decide to transition your old home into a rental, check to be sure there are no restrictions preventing you from doing so. For example, town or city ordinances, or homeowner’s association rules. Next, do a financial analysis to determine whether your prospective rental will generate cash flow. Estimate what you’ll pay in insurance, taxes, repairs, and other property expenses, then how much you can reasonably charge in rent. Keep in mind that there may be periods during which the house is vacant, such as while you are looking for a renter.

Pandemic and public health considerations

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the housing market in diverse ways. It may be harder to sell right now since lenders are less likely to approve mortgages during uncertain times. Depending on your location, your home might be in demand as a rental. Of course, any home showings that you do should be conducted with public health regulations in mind.

You need to take into consideration that the rise in remote work means tenants are swapping expensive residences in city centers for more affordable options in more tranquil areas, or with better access to amenities.

Be aware, however, that tenants who get laid off or have their hours cut may find themselves unable to afford rent, possibly for months at a time. For various reasons you may have a period of vacancy, and you need to be prepared to pay for expenses on a rental that is generating no income.

Take care of the paperwork

Before renting your property, you will need to switch from a homeowner’s policy to a landlord policy. Comprehensive coverage won’t be sufficient; you will also need liability protection. Remember that if you don’t change your insurance, and something goes wrong, your provider could deny you any coverage at all, on the basis of fraud.

Another way to protect yourself and your assets is to form your business as a limited liability company (LLC) for your rental. As an up-and-coming covidpreneur, this might be especially handy if you anticipate expanding and purchasing more buildings to rent out. Even if you are only renting your former home, however, an LLC is a great way to protect yourself in case of a lawsuit or accident. Don’t be daunted by the prospect of forming your own company: Low-cost formation services can help you through the process, bypassing any prohibitive lawyer’s fees. Or you may even decide to take the leap and form your LLC yourself.

Your new tenants will appreciate neutral wall colors that go with most furnishings.
Your new tenants will appreciate neutral wall colors that go with most furnishings

Refresh, repair, or replace

It’s possible that you may be able to rent your home as-is, with minimal changes. If you have any concerns about safety, consult a home inspector to make sure everything is up to code. Research comparable rental properties in your area and see whether yours can be competitive in the market as it is, or whether you will need to give it a refresh or remodel. Something as simple as a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore paint in neutral trending colors will help potential tenants picture themselves getting a fresh start in a new home. Whether you can paint by yourself or choose to hire a professional painter, a fresh coat of paint makes a good impression. Updated windows can make a significant difference—but try to factor these in early, so you aren’t hit with the unpleasant surprise of added repair costs later. National Lumber sells vinyl replacement windows, doors, and whatever other building supplies you need. If a single door or window needs to be replaced, ask about Bargain Bin choices. If the kitchen or bathroom cabinetry has seen better days, consult with an expert at Kitchen Views for advice on economical choices. If you decide on renting the property long term, you’ll want the cabinets to hold up to normal wear and tear. Beware of low cost outlet bargains. Pay attention to the cabinet box construction because low cost options may actually cost you more in the long run with repairs or replacement.

Depending on local ordinances, you will be expected to have at least some basic appliances in the home, such as a stove and refrigerator. If you have laundry facilities, that can increase the amount you can charge for rent.  Up to date appliances in the home can attract tenants, but gently used appliances are fine as long as they are in good functioning order. Have the heating system serviced and don’t forget about the water heater. If it is past the warranty period, you may want to replace it before it becomes a problem. Such breakdowns never happen at a good time, and a leaking water heater can cause addition damage.

You will need to come up with a plan for managing the property, but long-term rentals are more hands-off than short-term rentals such as an Airbnb or vacation rental.

By opting to rent instead of sell, you can defer the anxiety of trying to find a buyer and focus entirely on negotiating a purchase and settling into your new home. After you’ve rented the property for a year or two, you can decide if you like the benefits of being a landlord or if you’re ready to sell. Perhaps your tenant will be interested in buying it.

When it comes to finding superior products for all of your home improvements, visit, and to find a location near you. Check out our websites today to learn more.

House Image via Pexels

Navigating the Pandemic: A Home-Seller’s Guide

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

By Guest Blogger: Natalie Jones

Selling a home might feel a little bit intimidating in the current climate. As the pandemic has caused restrictions in our lives, sellers are worried they won’t be able to move their homes anytime soon. However, there are many options at your disposal. We are more connected than ever before, and there’s never been a better time to sell a home from a distance. Babel’s Paint and Decorating offers some insight into how you can make the most of the process.

Perfecting the Listing

Your property’s online listing has always been important, but in a world where buyers may not be able to see the property in person, it’s even more vital to nail it.

Connecting Virtually

A great video of your home or a live video chat can move buyers toward the next steps.

  • Use some advice from the pros to shoot your video home tour.
  • You can use Zoom to host a virtual open house; however, it’s very important to follow good security practices to make sure it’s safe and secure.

Setting Up Safe Viewings

At the end of the day, you may not be able to find viewers willing to buy based on virtual options alone. However, you can take steps to make in-person viewings as safe as possible.

With some creative thought, savvy use of technology, and smart safety measures, you can sell a house during the pandemic without much trouble. Focus on finding ways to bring buyers in virtually, and accept that the process might be a little bit longer than usual. Still, you should be able to find the perfect match in time.

Whether you need paint or decorating advice, Babel’s has experts to serve you. Their interior designers meet clients by appointment using teleconferencing or meeting in person with masks and social distancing. Parent company National Lumber can also supply all your building material needs if you have repairs to make before putting your home on the market. Call ahead or stop by a location today!

Color Trends for Spring 2021

Benjamin Moore color Cotton Balls on the living room wall

As an interior designer, I can tell you most designers that deal with paint selections for clients know that as much as we WANT neutrals in the gray palette to be a part of the past they are NOT! Clients want their homes to be stylish, but no one wants to be tired of their walls in a year and chasing the latest trend. Therefore, clients think they’re playing it safe to use gray and white. However, the gray color palette is also a trend that will become outdated itself.

I am finding more and more clients taking my advice by keeping their walls simple and clean — striving for a minimalist look and feel. Right now, my residential clients are taking down strong colors and busy wall coverings on the path to simplifying. Many are hoping that neutralizing the color palette of their home will make it easier to resell their house down the road.

However, as we’ve all learned from the disruptions to normal life in 2020, one cannot predict all of what lies ahead in the next year, let alone the next five years. So, you want to be comfortable and happy in your home now and for an unknown amount of time to come. This is where we get to be creative!

Colors in your space are the key element to creating ambiance, so they should never be downplayed. My clients’ color preferences act as a guiding force for me. There are beautiful ways to introduce color through fabric, accent walls, art, and accessories. The objective is not to be so “obligated” to a saturation or hue of color on the walls that you will never be able to buy a new rug or change your furniture.

Photo of a laptop computer on a textile rug in a room with a “greige” color palette.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Grays will continue to have a place in homes. With that being said, I will seldom choose “cool” cement-like gray unless I am dealing with new construction projects with unknown residents, and not dealing with an individual client directly.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a “greige” color palette. This refers to a NEUTRAL COLOR between grey and beige (light brown) that are warmer than gray and considered the safest and most elegant way to go. In my opinion, why not get the best of both worlds in one color.

Greiges are transitional and offer many functions such as coordinating floors, tile selections, rugs and much more. They look grey or taupe depending on lighting, including natural light at various times of day. If you are experienced, then you also know the undertones that are mixed into the paint formulas are the secret to picking a winner.

Selecting an ACTIVE COLOR is certainly necessary, too. I generally will keep it light and fresh, and again as neutral as I can with just a small bit of color so clients can have some fun mixing in their personal styles and vibrancy in other ways. The goal is to achieve the ambience of a color without being excessive. Benjamin Moore choices with a “hint” of color ~ including Marilyn’s Dress (hint of blue), Healing Aloe (hint of green), First Light (hint of pink), and Cotton Balls (hint of yellow).

Benjamin Moore color Healing Aloe on the kitchen wall
Benjamin Moore color Healing Aloe on the kitchen wall

If you’re eager to begin your design journey, it’s helpful to begin with a teleconferencing appointment. This gives us a chance to get to know each other and discuss your project. I also travel to client’s homes when appropriate, following COVID-19 safety procedures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Babel’s Paint & Decorating is a member of the National Lumber Family of Companies, so while I work out of the Norwood location by appointment, I also travel to meet clients. We have décor areas inside the National Lumber locations in Berlin and Mansfield, MA where we can meet.

Kerri Anastas  |  617-877-3272  |  Online Portfolio

Designing a Gender-Neutral Nursery

Traditional by Decorating Den Interiors- Corporate Headquarters
Decorating Den Interiors

Neutral Sophistication

You know the old rules: pink is for girls and blue is for boys. According to today’s decorating standards, this rule is completely outdated and limited. As these traditions change, neutral sophistication is becoming more popular in nursery design. With many conventional decorating options still leaning towards traditional, gender-based decor, neutral nurseries can seem difficult to design. However, your options stretch far beyond yellow and gray, Don’t become discouraged, become inspired!

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Fresh and Uplifting Colors for Your Home

Room painted with Ballet Slipper Pink from Benjamin Moore

A cool-toned gray, like Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan (its 2019 Color of the Year) is a safe bet for the color-averse. The paint company leaned into calming colors last year, and while they aren’t going away anytime soon, they’re predicting the rise of a shade that’s a little more upbeat: “First Light,” a soft, ballet slipper pink that’s designed to cast the room in a rosy glow.

“It’s easy to live with, and easy to love,” says Hannah Yeo, the brand’s color marketing and development manager, explaining that it’s subtle enough that it won’t compete with your existing décor, but it still feels fresh and uplifting. Try this color anywhere you could use a pick-me-up, like the bathroom you trudge into each morning to start your day.

While the colors themselves run the gamut, it seems we’re all searching for the same thing. Maybe you can find it in a paint color. Maybe you can achieve it with a massage and a great glass of rosé (especially if the thought of staring at swatches stresses you out).

Personal Color Viewer Tool – Want to see what your favorite Benjamin Moore paint color looks like in a room designed entirely by you? Upload your own photo to the Benjamin Moore Design Your Own Room tool!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing Paint Colors

Couple select paint color and look matching samples at household

Most of us have been here before, standing in front of a wall of thousands of colors trying to select just a few for your painting project. Once you do narrow it down to a couple of options, the same selection process takes place in your home. This can be an overwhelming experience, eventually your eyes become tired and the colors all begin to look the same. To help you prevent this, we made a list of tried and true tricks to make your next color selection process a breeze.

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How to Make The Most of Your Outdoor Living Spaces

Triangle Brick Company

Only a few years ago, “outdoor living” typically consisted of a few plastic chairs and grill. Today, more people are transforming their outdoor areas into an extension of their indoor living spaces. Whether you are using your outdoor space for fiestas or siestas, embrace the al fresco lifestyle and make your outdoor space just as stylish as the rest of your home. Keep reading for some easy ideas to make your yard into the new favorite area of your home.

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Three No Fail Exterior Color Palettes

RW Anderson Homes

While we are nearing the end of the exterior painting season, there is still some time left to refresh your home with a new color palette! Choosing exterior paint colors can often be a lot more difficult than choosing interior colors. The color you choose is used on a much larger scale and is seen by friends and strangers a like. At an average of $50/gallon, choosing the wrong color can be a costly mistake. To help you get things right the first time, here are three no-fail exterior color combinations.

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Making Your Home Back-to-School Ready

Shaw Design Group

The transition from summer vacation to a regimented school schedule does not have to be chaotic. From Kindergarten to High School, these simple changes around the home will make early morning school runs and afternoon homework sessions more enjoyable. Making these changes now, at the beginning of the year, will make the transition as smooth as possible for both yourself and your children. Follow these simple tips to start your school year off right.

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Introducing: Century by Benjamin Moore


Experience a new dimension in paint with Century by Benjamin Moore. The master craftsmen at Benjamin Moore worked together bringing years of experience to create an intricately balanced formulation. A curated collection of 75 colors are sold pre-mixed and produced in small batches in the same Benjamin Moore workshop to ensure exact pigmentation in every can.

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