The Durkin Group - William Raveis Trumbull | Trumbull, CT Real Estate, Monroe, CT Real Estate

Whether you've recently purchased a new home or are in the process of doing so, one of the most satisfying aspects of becoming a homeowner is customizing your living space.

Half the fun of moving into a new home is "making it your own," which can include everything from painting the walls to remodeling the kitchen.

Although it may feel a little odd at first to move into what was recently "someone else's house," it won't take long before you and your family feel a sense of belonging and pride. In many cases, that feeling is instantaneous. While there are dozens of things you can do to create a feeling of coziness, comfort, and security, here are a few tips worth keeping in mind.

Empty those moving boxes. Once the moving crew leaves, the first thing many people do is take a deep sigh of relief and order a pizza -- and why not! If you have all your immediate essentials packed in separate, clearly labeled boxes, then there's no urgent need to set up your household right away. Relax, take in your new surroundings, and enjoy the accomplishment of purchasing and moving into a new home! Once you've taken that initial breather and acclimated yourself to your new living space, however, getting organized and unpacked is one of the next orders of business. If you leave stuff in boxes for more than a week or two, it may delay your feeling of being "settled in."

Add your own decorating touches. If your walls seem sterile, stark, or empty looking, two solutions immediately come to mind: Consider changing your paint color to a warmer shade and hang up some framed paintings or pictures that reflect your personality. In addition to wall art you already own, there are several websites and well-known retail outlets that can help you update and personalize your home décor. Over time, you can also check out local art exhibits, antique shows, and craft fairs.

Landscaping: Depending on the season and the climate in which you live, planting colorful flowers, bushes or ornamental trees can help beautify your property and make it feel like your own. Hedges and fencing can also enhance your sense of privacy and create a backyard retreat that's ideal for relaxing and entertaining.

Security matters: Regardless of how safe and secure your new neighborhood seems, it's always better to be safe than sorry! Since you don't know how many people may have been given keys to your house, such as housekeepers, contractors, neighbors, or friends of the previous owner, it makes sense to change the locks on your doors, as soon as possible. You may also want to do a security audit, which might include testing your window locks and trimming shrubbery that covers windows. Installing a couple motion detector lights in strategic places is another home security measure that can increase your peace of mind and make your new house feel more like a home.

There’s numerous reasons why the name on a title to a home may not be the same as the name that’s on the mortgage loan. These reasons include:

  • Only one buyer had stable credit
  • Only one person was on the loan application
  • One person was released from the mortgage

No matter why this is the case, having your name on the mortgage but not on the title to a home can affect you and people residing in the home in different ways. 

Why Would Only One Name Be On The Mortgage?

If people are looking to get a home or refinance a home, but only one person has good credit a decision must be made. For the best possible mortgage rates, you’ll want to person with the best credit to be the primary loan holder. This may mean that you need additional legal documents in the process.  

The person with lower credit may still be able to have their name placed on the title to the home. Anyone who plans to contribute financially to a home, even if not on the mortgage, should place their name on the title. This would be one instance when a name would be on the title to a home and not on the mortgage loan. In this case, a person has property rights, but no legal-financial responsibility to the home. It’s important to agree on the home arrangement that you’re considering. This would be done through a will or a legal contract. This way, all parties are protected in regards to the ownership of the home should something happen to the individual whose name is on the mortgage.

Legal Things To Consider

Those who are listed on the mortgage are the people who are responsible for house payments. If a person’s name isn’t on the mortgage, it doesn’t release them from complete responsibility from the home. If your name is on the title to the home but not on the mortgage, the bank generally has first dibs on the home if there’s a lapse in payments. If you want to keep living in the house, you’ll have to keep making payments on the home. If you can’t make the mortgage payments, you’ll risk going into foreclosure. 


An issue that can come up if your name is not on the mortgage is that you cannot use the home you’re living in as a tax deduction. Even if you make payments on the home, in order for you to get tax benefits, your name must be on the mortgage stating that you’re legally responsible for the home. If you are paying for the mortgage because your name appears on the title to the home, you aren’t legally entitled to pay, giving away your rights to tax benefits. If you’re married, filing jointly, and only one name appears on the mortgage, however, you can use this as a tax deduction. This becomes an issue if two unmarried people buy a home together.  

Ask For Legal Assistance

Whenever you have an issue with the title of your home or with names on the mortgage, it’s good to consult legal counsel. The attorney can assist you in determining who is legally responsible for the home and if the people listed on the title of the home are correct. This can help save you from trouble at a future date.

Since credit scores and loans can get messy at times during the home buying process, it’s good to understand all the implications of home mortgages and titles.

Whether you’re bringing home a new puppy or adopting an adult dog, your new 4-legged friend is sure to be a part of the family. Just as you would when bringing home a new baby, you’ll want to make preparations to your space for both you and your dog’s safety.  You don’t want to overlook anything and then have you or your pet get hurt. As a rule of thumb: Anything that you would protect a baby from you should protect a dog from. These dangers include:

  • Chemicals
  • Prescription medications
  • Small parts that can be ingested
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Hazardous houseplants
  • Chocolate/candy
  • Steep stairways

Keep your furry friend healthy and save yourself from costly vet bills by taking precautions. Simple measures can make a big difference. Safety items that you can use to help protect both you and your pet are:

  • Gates
  • Power strip covers
  • Locks for cabinets
  • Keep pills, candy, and chemicals on high shelves that can’t be reached
  • Cord wranglers

These little devices can prevent your dog from chewing or getting into hazardous things. It’s also a good idea to protect dogs from steep falls on stairways and decks by blocking certain areas off. Since many dogs don’t know what to keep out of their snouts, you want to think like a dog and know that if they can chew it, they will!  

Keep Your Dog Out Of The Trash

Dogs tend to like to see what they can find in the trash. If you get a trashcan that can’t be accessed by dogs, you won’t need to worry. A hidden trashcan in a cabinet or island can help to alleviate this problem. You can also get a can with a lid that can’t be easily popped off.

Keep The Dog’s Access To A Minimum

If your dog is home alone all day while you’re at work you may want to close doors or put up gates in order to restrict the dog to a certain area of the house. This way, the dog will know his place and won’t be able to cause any kind of damage.     


Keep Clutter To A Minimum

Clutter is dangerous to both humans and dogs alike. If you know a dog is bound to chew things, put it away! Keeping floors and pathways clean also protects both you and your pet from tripping. Staying organized is also a positive for everyone in the house.  

If you always think with safety in mind when you have a dog, you’ll keep both you and your pet safe in your home the whole year through.   


If you’re thinking of renovating your home, you’re probably under the impression that it’s all positive. Be careful in your choices for renovations. Below, you’ll find some renovations that you should avoid for various reasons. 

Decrease The Number Of Bedrooms

If you’re thinking of getting rid of a bedroom in order to expand other rooms in your home, it might not be the best decision. The more bedrooms a home has, the more it’s worth. If you’re planning on selling anytime in the future, you should think twice about this type of renovation.

The reason for this is that listing prices are set by looking at comparable homes in the area. If you eliminate bedrooms, you end up changing the comparable value of your home, effectively reducing it. Home buyers are typically attracted to the overall accommodating size of the home and can often ignore the actual size of the rooms.    

Large Master Bedrooms

The trend for a large master bedroom is fading. People tend to see that they need extra furniture to fill the space, making it feel overwhelming. The only exception to this problem with master bedrooms is families who have a member that needs a private, separate space in the home. 

Taking Out Closets

If you take out a closet to make more space in the rooms of your home, you’ll end up regretting it. Homes lacking closet space will be much harder to sell. People need closets to store their things in. If buyers walk through the home and don’t see a lot of storage space, they could think twice about putting an offer in.

Making Your Garage Anything But A Garage

If you get rid of a garage to store a car and trade it in for a new area of living space, you could end up regretting your decision. The garage is a valuable storage space for homeowners that can take away some appeal from your home. A good majority of buyers state that having a traditional garage is very important for them in their home search.  

Wall Colors And Decor That Aren’t For Every Taste

Whether your walls have been wallpapered or painted, you don’t want to do a renovation that will completely turn people off from your home. You can really overdo it when it comes to wall colors, textures, and patterns. Whether you have guests over or are planning on selling your home in the near future, you don’t want to turn people off from your home. As a homeowner, you’ll also get sick of overpowering colors and textures as well.

Many people consider building some type of outdoor space to add to their home. There’s nothing better than being able to enjoy nature right from the comfort of your own home. The outdoors become an extension of your home when you build these spaces. A deck is one of the simplest ways that you can add something to the house and be able to make use of outdoor spaces at the same time. The important thing to know is that a deck is an investment. Before you decide to add a deck to your home, you’ll need a budget in place as you don’t want any home improvement project to become financially overwhelming. With that budget, keep the returns you could make along the way in mind

Curb Appeal

Really, adding a deck to a home is about buyer appeal. It probably goes without saying that a deck is something that can add a lot to a home and add to the overall value of your home in the case that you are looking to sell it in the near future. The best improvements that you can make to a home are in fact those that add value. It’s estimated that the return you’ll get on building a deck is about 65-90%. The bottom line is that the investment of building a deck does add to both the monetary value and the pleasure of a owning home.    

Consider The Area You Live In

Obviously the region or state that you live in has a big impact on just how much value a deck can add to a home. Especially in nicer climates, a deck will be great for just about any neighborhood. In regards to area, you should also think of the construction costs. Some areas will be more expensive than others to build in, but the overall investment could be worth it for the region.

How Will You Build It

The amount of return that you get from a deck depends upon how you build it. If you’re a DIY homeowner, you’ll get the most return by far. If you hire a contractor, the return will be less, but you may avoid hiccups in the building of the deck itself. The more complicated you make the deck, the more it will cost. These extras don’t necessarily mean that you’ll get as much of a return as you’d expect. 

Focus On Your Needs

No matter what you decide, building a deck has to match your own personal preferences. You want to make the most use out of your new space with you and your family. Build a deck that works for you. Even if your goal is to add value to your home, you don’t want to undertake a project that you don’t love in the end. Keep all of this in mind when you build your deck, or any other outdoor space in your home and you’ll be able to enjoy your home in bliss.