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Ready to Move in to Your New Home? Not So Fast! Take Care of These 3 Items Before the Big Move

Ready to Move in to Your New Home? Not So Fast! Take Care of These 3 Items Before the Big MoveWith the excitement involved in moving into a new home and all of the things that need to be done, it can be easy to forget a few important things before you load up the moving van. If the day of departure is drawing closer and you’re mulling over the final details, here are some items you may want to check off the list first.

Install A New Lock

One of the most important aspects of home ownership is the feeling of security it automatically provides, so you’ll want to change out the locks on the doors before you embark on the big move. As soon as you’ve received the keys to your new home, contact a locksmith who will be able to do the dirty work for you or, if time permits, you may want to take on this task on your own and save a little bit of money in the process.

Do A Quick Clean

With so many boxes to unpack and items to organize, the concept of cleaning the house you’ve just moved into might not be very appealing; however, this can be a necessary step in making you and your family feel more at home. It doesn’t have to be the kind of cleanup that will take 10 hours, but a quick dusting and wiping of cabinets and appliances, as well as a quick sweep and vacuum of the floor, may change the way you feel about your new home.

If Time Permits, Paint!

If the walls of your new house happen to be in immaculate shape, you can probably avoid paint; however, a prime up of the walls can add a lot to the sparkle of your new home and may make it feel like yours much sooner. Instead of going for boldness or deciding on a decorating scheme right away, choose a neutral color that will instantly brighten your room. If the walls are in particularly bad shape, you may even want to contact a professional who will be happy to sand and spackle away.

Moving into a new home is undoubtedly a time of great excitement, but there are some things you should do before you make yourself comfortable in your new place. If you’re curious about what’s available on the market and would like to know your options, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

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Thinking About Downsizing? Here’s What You Need to Know About Life in a Condo

Thinking About Downsizing? Here's What You Need to Know About Life in a CondoThe shift from home living to condo life may seem like a minor one, but there are plenty of things that will differentiate your lifestyle other than size when it comes to making a condominium purchase. If you’re contemplating this move and wondering about some of the things that this might entail, here are a few factors that are worth considering.

The Fees You’ll Have to Pay

While a smaller condo is unlikely to have the same associated costs as a large home, you will be paying a monthly condominium fee that will be covering maintenance and insurance so that many repairs and upgrades won’t have to be paid out of pocket. While this cost will not cover each and every maintenance issue that can occur in a condo, it should keep you covered for many standard home costs. When purchasing a condominium, it’s important to read about what this monthly fee entails.

The Life of Central Living

Life in the suburbs can often mean that you’re far away from the amenities of the city, but many condominiums are built in areas that are full of restaurants, pharmacies, cultural centers and grocery stores which are only a short distance away. If you don’t mind getting into the car to run your errands, this might not be that important to you, but if you enjoy the exercise and like having amenities close by this type of living situation can be a welcome change.

Less Room for Stuff & Storage

Condo life can certainly eliminate many of the responsibilities of having a home, but if you’re downsizing there’s a possibility that you may have to get rid of a large number of items to successfully fit into your new space. If you’ve thought about the decision a lot and are convinced that condo living is the right choice, it’s still worth considering how much storage space you will have in your new home so that you can plan for this change, and shift your living style to fit the demands of a smaller space.

There are a lot of things to think about if you’re planning to downsize into a condo, but if you’ve considered the space you’ll have to work with and the conveniences that will make your life easier, you’re probably already prepared for the shift. If you’re curious about condo living and are ready to look at what financal options are available for your current situation, you may want to contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

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Goodbye, Junk! 5 Tips for Reducing the Amount of ‘Stuff’ You Need to Move to Your New Home

Goodbye, Junk! 5 Tips for Reducing the Amount of 'Stuff' You Need to Move to Your New HomeAre you in the process of buying a new home? Then now is the perfect time to finally go through all the clutter and make some tough decisions about what needs to move with you and what needs to go away.

There is no point in waiting until after a move to go through the junk lying around, as tempting as it may be, so here are five ways to decide what should find a new home before a move.

Start With A Trip To The Dump

Before starting your move, grab some garbage bags and do a sweep of the house, making sure to toss out anything that needs to go to the dump. This will clear up the home of anything unnecessary and makes it easier to throw out some items when there’s no decision making pressure.

Decide What Furniture Will Be Replaced In Advance

A new home often means new furniture. By deciding in advance which items will be purchased new, homeowners can prepare to either sell or give away their older furniture before they move. Saving space and cutting down one extra step after moving in.

Sell Or Donate What You Don’t Need

Holiday decorations are the perfect example of items that are only taken out once a year and tend to be replaced before they are ever reused. There are probably similar boxes or shelves in every home filled with items that will never be used again but are still held onto.

Now Is A Good Time To Go Through The Closet

Clothes are not looked at as seriously as other objects when clearing space because they can easily fold down or be tucked away. It’s simpler for most people to just throw all their clothes in a box or travel bag before moving, but this is the perfect time to finally go through and donate anything that doesn’t fit or is never worn.

Be Patient With Children

It is hard for kids to part with their toys, even ones they haven’t used in years. These are part of their identity and telling them what they need to throw out can impact them emotionally and make a move that much harder. Sit down with the children and have a long talk about moving and donating items to see if they are ready to go through their things.

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Expecting Children: How to Quickly Move into a Larger Home Before a Baby Arrives

Expecting Children: How to Quickly Move into a Larger Home Before a Baby ArrivesStarter homes are incredibly popular for young couples who plan to have a family in the future but don’t need a large place yet.

Life moves pretty fast sometimes and many couples find themselves expecting children before they have begun to look for the next home. This shouldn’t be a problem, as moving into a larger home before the baby arrives can be a lot easier than it appears.

Always Move Before The Baby Is Born

There is a choice when upgrading a home for children: moving beforehand and settling down in advance of having kids or waiting until after having the child and dealing with a move later on.

It may be tempting to wait until the stress of a pregnancy is over to move into a larger home. After all, selling and buying houses can be a tiring process for anybody, let alone expectant parents. Just remember, no matter how difficult or stressful the move is it will be one hundred times worse after having kids.

Work With A Professional To Help Coordinate The Move

There is nothing wrong with rushing through a purchase or the sale of a home, as long as everything is done correctly. A situation like this is never the right time to assume control and responsibility for every aspect of the move.

A real estate professional, once told of the situation, will know exactly how to handle everything. From preparing a current home for sale to finding a larger house in the right price range, a professional will have experience in coordinating the process.

Prepare For The Move In Stages

The best way to go about facilitating a quick move is to go in steps. Everything in the house that is not necessary to the staging should be boxed up and moved into temporary storage before the home is shown.

This is beneficial because it removes all clutter from the house and helps to make a quick sale and also allows for many personal items to be moved into the new house without having to wait for the current home’s sale to close. Instead of one gigantic move, the process can be broken down into several smaller moves to relieve some stress.

When there is a deadline on a move, you can increase your chances of selling your current home and buying a new one by using the services of a real estate professional. When things are done fast they need to be done right and a professional with experience can facilitate the entire process while making sure nothing slips through the cracks.

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Buying in a New Community: How to Meet and Make Friends with Your New Neighbors

Buying in a New Community: How to Meet and Make Friends with Your New NeighborsOne of the stresses of moving to a new area is giving up the familiarity that you have with your old neighbors and starting from scratch. Whether you’ve just moved to a different locale or you’re planning to relocate in the near future, there are some easy ways that you can make a home of your new neighborhood right from the start.

Stand Up and Smile

While there are neighborhoods where people are definitely friendlier than others, by making your presence positively known you can make an instant impression on those that live around you. When you’re walking around the neighborhood, make sure you use it as an opportunity to engage with your fellow dwellers by throwing a smile in their direction, saying “Good Morning!” or paying attention to their children or their pet. It may not start a conversation right away, but if you see each other a few more times you might soon have a new fast-friend in the neighborhood.

Become a Community Member

If you happen to have a community center specific to your area, it will be even easier to meet the people who live in your neighborhood and make friends with some of them. Look into the offerings of your local center and find some classes or events that appeal to you. Whether it happens to be a craft festival or a fitness class that interests you, this will not only help you meet new people, but will ensure that their interests are aligned with your own so you’ll have some new pals to pursue old hobbies with.

Knock on the Door!

This is definitely the most assertive of options, and seems a throwback to another era, but instead of leaving meeting people up to chance, bake a cake or a batch of cookies and take them over to your new neighbor as a gesture of friendship and kindness. Your neighbors will probably love the baked goods, but this can also be the first step in forming a relationship with them that will come to be one you can both rely on.

When it comes to a new neighborhood, forming new attachments can seem all-but impossible, but there are things you can do to begin a bond right from the start.

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Moving to the City? How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller Condo or Apartment

Moving to the City? How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller Condo or Apartment Many people make the decision to move from the country or the suburbs into the heart of the downtown area for a number of reasons, such as to enjoy proximity to work or to enjoy the urban lifestyle. With the higher cost of real estate in central urban areas and with real estate space at a premium, many who make the decision to relocate will need to downsize from a larger house to a smaller condo or apartment. While this can be challenging, it can be accomplished by following a few steps.

Choose The Right Pieces To Keep

When downsizing from a larger house to a smaller apartment or condo, it is often necessary to get rid of some furnishings. It is important to select furnishings that are best suited for the size of the new space as well as the individual’s needs. Items that will not have a place in the new home can be donated, stored in a storage unit or given to a family member or friend.

Think About Storage

When living space is downgraded, storage of everything from dishes to linens and clothing becomes a concern. Storage features in downtown apartments and condos is often minimal, and this means that those moving into these units may need to invest in special storage features. For example, storage bins that can slide under the bed, pull-out features for kitchen cabinets and various other types of storage features can all be put to use to improve organization and to maximize the limited amount of space available in the property.

Get Back To The Basics

While storage features can be useful, the fact is that most people who are making this transition will need to get rid of some of their items or store them in a storage unit. A smart idea is to consider only the basic items that are truly necessary for living as a first step. If space permits, additional luxury items can be added to the space provided there is room in the apartment or condo.

Downgrading from a larger home to a smaller living space can be frustrating and stressful, but eliminating the unnecessary items and improving storage and organization can go a long way toward streamlining this process. Those who are searching for a new place to live in the city should keep these tips in mind.

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Hunting for the Best Local Schools? Here Are 5 Checklist Items You’ll Want to Look For

Hunting for the Best Local Schools? Here Are 5 Checklist Items You'll Want to Look ForThere are numerous factors that you may review when choosing a new place to live. If you have children, the quality of the schools and the level of education that your kids will receive in the schools is important. However, you may not be certain how to determine if a school is good or not. When you are looking at schools, use this helpful checklist to guide you in making a great decision.

Achievement Data

One of the easiest factors for you to research about different school districts and individual schools is achievement data. This may include the percentage of students graduating high school versus dropping out, the enrollment percentage for college, SAT and ACT scores and other relevant data. This is typically published online, or a call to the district’s office may provide you with the information.

Student to Teacher Ratio

The student to teacher ratio can vary drastically between school districts. This will impact how much personal attention your child receives as well as how crowded the classrooms are. Generally, the lower the number, the better overall experience your child may receive.

A Safe Location

The last thing you may want is for your child to be exposed to safety issues or to feel threatened or intimidated in school or while getting to or from school every day. You can research crime statistics online for the area surrounding the schools, and you can visit the school personally to visibly inspect the area.

Extracurricular Activities

The school age years are a time for kids to experience many new things. Everything from a drama and art club to a wide range of sports can benefit kids. Consider reviewing extracurricular activities available for younger and older students alike so that you can get a better idea for the experiences that a child may have outside of the classroom.

A Positive Environment

A final important factor to consider is the environment in the school. You will need to set up a tour of the school to experience this yourself. The staff members and students should be happy and positive. Remember that this is a place where your child may spend many long hours each day.

Where you choose to live will impact what school your child attends. Therefore, it is important to review the schools carefully before you make a final buying decision for a new home.

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Multi-Generational Living: Our Guide to Buying a Home That Suits Your Whole Family

Multi-generational Living: Our Guide to Buying a Home That Suits Your Whole Family It was very common decades ago for several generations of a family to live together, and this may have included kids, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents in some cases. Today’s modern homes are generally designed to accommodate a more traditional modern family, which includes only parents and kids or for only a married couple without kids. When you are buying a home for other generations as well, it is important for you to pay attention to a few important points.

The Right Living Spaces and Accommodations

Generally, a home with a floor plan that is most suitable for multiple generations is one with different wings of bedrooms and several different living areas. There is something to be said for togetherness, but you may find that having several different living areas as well as having a floor plan that keeps older family members’ bedrooms away from the bedrooms of younger family members is a good idea.

After all, there will be plenty of times when older family members may want to chit chat or read a good book in a living area while others may want to turn on the TV or music. In addition, they may have different sleeping schedules, and noise from either of their rooms can be bothersome.

Special Considerations for Older and Younger Generations

You should also think about the special needs of older and younger generations. Very young family members, for example, may benefit from a large, enclosed backyard, a play room and well-insulated windows or a home location removed from loud busy roadways. Older generations may prefer a bedroom on the first floor, special safety features in the bathroom and a home without many steps or steep elevations outdoors.

It may be challenging to find a home that can accommodate older and younger generations perfectly, so some modifications may need to be made to a home after purchasing it.

Finding the perfect home for a basic nuclear family is rarely easy, and your challenges may be more significant when you are searching for a home for a multi-generational family. While you may have more needs and desires when looking for a home that is ideal for a larger number of people with more variation in their ages, the fact is that most will be able to find a great home that is ideal for most or all of their needs with a little time and effort.

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Ready to Relocate? 3 Tips on How to Set a Moving Budget That Won’t Break the Bank

Ready to Relocate? 3 Tips on How to Set a Moving Budget That Won't Break the Bank Relocating to a new area can be exciting, but it can also be expensive. There are many resources to help, but most cost money. However, if you take your time and plan carefully, you can reduce the expense so you don’t start your new life with new debt. Here are three tips to controlling your moving budget.

1. Find Out What’s Free

Nothing is better than paying nothing, right? Don’t assume you have to fork out money for everything you need to move. If you have accepted a new job, ask your new employer whether the company can cover any of your moving expenses.

When it comes to moving supplies, see what you can get without having to pay for it. Stock up on free moving supplies by asking your workplace, local grocery stores, and friends and family for unneeded, sturdy boxes. Instead of paying professional movers, see if you can barter with friends or family for help in moving boxes to and from the truck.

2. Focus On Essentials

After you’ve pursued every possible angle to cover your needs for free, you will likely need to pay for something. The trick is to only do so for what is absolutely necessary. Many providers will offer you help along the way, but you should only sign up for basic services. This could include moving big items such as a piano, paying for gas and tolls, or buying cartons for oddly-shaped or particularly valuable items. If you are not able to move things yourself, this could include hiring professionals.

3. Do It Yourself

If you have the time and are physically fit, start long before moving day and pack everything yourself. Rent or borrow a truck and move your boxes yourself, perhaps with the help of a friend. Take care of disconnecting old utilities and signing up for new ones. Handle both cleaning your old home and preparing your new one. Anything you can do with a little elbow grease will mean less money out of pocket.

Remember that you are in charge of your move, so don’t automatically sign up for every service available. By using free goods and services when available and doing much of the work yourself, you can set and follow a moving budget you can afford.

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Buying a New Home in the City? The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home on a Busy Street

Buying a New Home in the City? The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home on a Busy Street Finding the perfect property is an exciting feeling, but its relative location can leave a lot of room for worry. Buying a home in the city is a venture that comes with an entire assortment of advantages and disadvantages. While the location might be close in proximity to businesses, services, and other people, it’s easy to worry about the other aspects of city living. What are the great and not-so-great facets of living on a busy street?

Pro: Access to Businesses and Schools

The chances are high that anyone living in a busy area is within walking distance of any store, shop, or service. Likewise, children have a range of options for education in busier areas; there are often multiple schools to choose from in any given busy area.

Pro: Access to Many Internet/TV Providers

In highly populated areas, a large number of internet and TV providers can co-exist. This means residents have a number of options when the time comes to choose providers. Luckily, it’s often difficult for providers monopolize densely populated areas.

Pro: Sense of Community

Many people that live in busy areas will be quick to share that they adore the sense of community. In fact, a large population is often one of the biggest reasons that people choose to move to bigger areas.

Con: Noise Level

As a street sees more activity, there’s no doubt that the noise level will also be a bit higher than usual. Residents that own homes on busy streets not only hear lots of noise from outside traffic, but they also often hear police sirens, animals, conversation, and more.

Con: Higher Price

It’s no secret that busy areas are a bit more expensive to live in. As anyone would expect, the convenience of city living comes with a higher price. Expect to hand over quite a bit more for a property in a highly populated area.

Con: Parking

Depending on the location of the neighborhood, parking can also be a problem. If street parking isn’t allowed, a resident in a big city might have to sacrifice their vehicle or park it a long distance from the property. This can be off-putting for many buyers.