Getting Settled In Your New Home

Relocating to a new community involves a lot of planning and attention to detail. Much attention goes into getting moved out, but getting moved in is just as important. Here are some of the things you’ll want to do once you arrive at your new home:

# 1: Unpack the essentials

With a little planning you can create an “open first” box or two that will have your essentials for the first few days. If you’re not moving everything yourself, plan for the possibility of arriving before your stuff does. Toiletries, medicine, a few changes of clothes, and basic kitchen items (such as a can opener, wooden spoon, cutting knife, one pot and one pan) are good examples of must-have items.

# 2: Help your pets acclimate

A move can leave pets excited and scared. If possible do not leave them unattended in the yard. Staying in their presence will be calming and lessens the chance of runaways.

# 3: Get the kids settled

If your things have arrived, help each child set up their bed and unpack one box of toys. Otherwise, get them excited about “camping” in their new home. Make sure you have a bag with their few favorite toys, or for teens and pre-teens some CD’s and books or magazines.

# 4: Go to the grocery store

Consider eating out the first night, and buy essential groceries on the way home. Focus on easy-to-make foods and quick snack items. Buy any cleaning supplies that you need (most chemicals should not be transported anyway). If you have a pet, buy any food and supplies not already in your “essentials” box.

# 5: Cover the windows

If your home doesn’t yet have the proper window coverings, hang sheets up to add privacy and security.

# 6: Set a finish line

Make a list specifying the order in which you will unpack and complete other moving-in tasks. Creating a time frame in advance will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

# 7: Get the lay of the land

Walk through your new home to check the heating, air conditioning, and electricity, as well as all appliances. Take your family on a walk through the neighborhood to learn your surroundings, and if possible meet your neighbors.

This is by no means everything you need to know about getting settled, but it’s a good place to start. I have more resources on relocation located on my website. If you have any questions about settling in to your new community, please give me a call.

 

Making Moving Day a Success

When relocating or buying a new home, there is one thing that most people dread: moving day. While it can indeed be a hectic day, planning your move weeks in advance can make things much smoother. It’s also important to know what to expect on moving day itself. Here are some things to keep in mind:

# 1: Make final preparations

Strip bedding and put into a “load last” box. Unplug all appliances, leaving cords clearly visible. If you haven’t done so already, defrost your refrigerator and freezer, leaving the doors open.

# 2: Clear a path

Keep packed boxes in a room close to the door but out of the way. Survey for any obstacles that could block carried furniture such as railings or fence gates. Place non-slip rugs in any high traffic areas that could be potentially dangerous.

# 3: Call the sitter

Your family pet should be confined, or better yet, left with a friend. Even the nicest of animals will find a way to be dangerously underfoot. You may also want to leave small children with a friend or sitter during the bustle of the move itself.

# 4: Keep everyone refreshed

Whether you’re using professional movers or just your friends, make sure that everyone is comfortable and hydrated. If it is a hot day, provide lots of cold beverages and snacks. On cold days offer hot chocolate and coffee. Ordering pizza for lunch is a nice way to show everyone you appreciate all the hard work.

# 5: Keep neighbors (old and new) happy

Keep the moving truck from blocking other driveways, and make sure not to walk through your neighbor’s lawn or flowerbeds. Move during the day to avoid disturbing the neighborhood.

# 6: Last walkthrough

Be sure to leave your old house as clean as you’d hope to find your new one. Check one last time for any forgotten items, leave one or two lights on (to make the home seem warm) and lock all doors and windows.

# 7: Coordinate your move

If using professional movers, ask any remaining questions, finalize all contact information, and sign both the bill of lading and inventory sheet after careful review. Go over the destination address and projected route, as well as expected travel time.

I hope these tips help you as you near your own moving day. You’ll also find more resources for relocation on my website.

If you need any help or have questions about moving companies, I’d love to be of assistance. Together we can ensure that your move becomes a smooth and successful one.

Are you moving to a new community?

Moving to a new area can be a very exciting process. You’ll soon be learning a new community, moving into a new home, and building new relationships. Naturally, a change of this magnitude is also potentially stressful. Concerns over selling your current home, buying a home in your new city, and coordinating your move can become overwhelming.

How to make your relocation smooth

If you’re in the early stages of relocating to a new community you probably have many questions. It can be hard to know where to begin. That’s why I’ve compiled a short list of tips that can help you remember key steps to a successful relocation.

  • Tip#1: Start Early
    While time constraints are often beyond your control, it’s critical to get the ball rolling as soon as you become aware of the future move. If you currently own a home, you should begin the selling process. If renting, you need to check with your landlord regarding the status of your lease and potential penalties you may incur by moving. And of course you will need to look for a home in your new city. If pressed for time it might be more appropriate to search for a rental before committing to the purchase of a home. A trained real estate professional can be of great assistance in all of these areas.

  • Tip#2: Clear Clutter
    Arrange a garage sale, give unwanted items to friends, or donate them to charity. Start organizing for your move and purchase boxes and other moving supplies.
  • Tip#3: Details, Details, Details
    File change of address forms and make the necessary arrangements for your children at school. Call all your utility companies and schedule the cancellation of service for at least 1-2 days after your planned move date. Remember, many utility companies will charge you an extra billing cycle if not given enough notice.

  • Tip#4: Pick the Right Moving Company
    Decide how much involvement you need from your moving company (packing, unpacking, etc.) and investigate moving companies. Your real estate agent can provide suggestions. Get a full estimate and ask the moving company representative any questions you may have. Consider the benefits of moving insurance and check with your insurance provider to see what protection they recommend.

  • Tip#5: Don’t Forget the Kids
    Moving can be very hard on your children, but there are steps you can take to help alleviate your children’s fears. Communicate with them as to exactly what’s going on, and get them involved in the moving process and the search for a new home. If they have a favorite toy, pack it last.
  • Tip#6: Moving Your Pet
    Maintain your pet’s daily routine until the day of the move. Take your pet for a routine veterinary appointment and obtain all necessary records. Moving by car is the least upsetting for the animal, but if flying is the only option be sure to plan early. Space for pets on commercial airliners is often limited. You may wish to consider a pet transportation service, which can greatly help your pet with the transition.

  • Tip#7: What About Your Car(s)?
    Your moving company may be able to accommodate your car, but it can be costly given the fact that most general moving companies charge based on gross weight. There are companies that specialize in car shipping. Other services can have your car driven to its destination. Check with your auto insurance company about coverage during transport.
  • Tip#8: Get Settled
    Make a move-in shopping list, check all smoke and security alarms, set up utilities, and start unpacking!

I’ve assisted many individuals and families with the process of relocating to a new part of the country, and I’ll draw on that experience to provide you with the very best of service. Whether you’re going to be joining our community for the first time or heading off to a new horizon, I’d be delighted to help you. I can guide you through the home selling and buying process, provide access to the best moving companies, and give you all the information you need.

 

Easy ways to reorganize your kitchen

The kitchen, for most of us, is a home’s gathering place. It can bring to mind the smell of coffee brewing on a cold winter morning, the sensation of spice laden-steam rising from a boiling pot, or the sounds of the daily family hustle and bustle. For many homeowners, the kitchen can also be characterized by the horrors of clutter, crowded cabinets, and general disarray. If you’ve been trying to find ways to reorganize your kitchen without a costly remodel, here are a few quick ideas:


Tip #1: Repack dry goods

Most packaged food products can be more space efficient when removed from their original packaging and placed in stackable plastic containers.


Tip #2: Free the spices

Don’t waste cabinet or drawer space on your spice collection! Spices should be handy near the stove, so install a wall rack in a convenient location. Be careful to avoid spots that will get too much heat, as this can affect the flavor of some spices.
Tip #3: Hang ‘em up

Hanging pot racks can both free up your cabinet space and add a chef’s touch to your kitchen! If you decide against a full pot rack, consider ways to hang utensils out in the open. Preassembled racks can be attached to the cabinet undersides to accommodate your stemware as well.


Tip #4: Tailor your cabinet shelves

Measure your stacked dishes to find the exact height needs of your shelving, and use adjustable shelves to avoid wasting space.
Tip #5: Add simple storage

Most kitchens have room for small shelves between the counter space and cupboards that can store dry goods or cookbooks. Pull-out hanging rods for dishtowels can be installed in spaces between appliances and cabinetry, and wire racks can be fitted around sink pipes to hold cleaning supplies.
I hope you find these ideas useful for your own kitchen. More homeowner tips like these can be found on my website. If you have any questions about your home, or any real estate needs whatsoever, please give me a call. I’d be glad to help in any way possible.
er tips like these can be found on my website. If you have any questions about your home, or any real estate needs whatsoever, please give me a call. I’d be glad to help in any way possible.

 
 

Choosing the type of paint that’s best for your home

The exterior paint of your home functions in many ways like the clothes you wear: to create an important first impression. If you’re considering a do-it-yourself project of repainting your house, you first need to carefully review and select the kind of paint you’ll use. There are several factors to weigh when choosing a paint type, such as drying time vs. durability. The type of paint used in previous layers is also important, as is cost. Here are the basic kinds of paint you’ll see:


Stains

Solvent or water-thinned stains can provide semitransparent, transparent, or solid finishes for wood, and some may include preservatives.
Primers

New wood or metal should be sealed with a suggested primer. In general one coat of primer and one coat of finish will be more durable than two coats of finish.


Oil

Oil paints have a long drying time (12 to 48 hours), which can make sudden rains a danger, but are extremely durable. Strong odors and difficult cleanup also make this more of a choice for professionals than amateurs.
Alkyd

A solvent-thinned, synthetic-resin paint, alkyds have many of the properties of oil-based paints but dry more quickly. Works well over older oil or alkyd layers.
Acrylic

Technically a type of latex paint, acrylics dry very quickly and will work on almost any building material.


Latex

A popular choice for amateurs, latex paints offer easy cleanup, solid durability, and fast drying times. Latex paints may be incompatible with an existing oil or alkyd layer.
Be sure to thoroughly review the options before beginning your painting project. Hardware and home stores are often willing to help you make the right choice. More information and tips for homeowners can also be found on my website. If you have any questions about your home, don’t hesitate to call me.

 

Fire Safety: A Priority For Everyone

Each year, fires kill more Americans than any other natural disaster. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 80% of fire deaths occur in residences. While no home can ever be completely fireproof, there are many steps you can take to greatly reduce the risk of fire for your family and your home:
Smoke detectors are the most important part of your home fire safety! Make sure your home has smoke detectors at least in every bedroom, and test them frequently.
Use appliances wisely. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that an appliance needs to be shut off and either repaired or replaced. Unplug appliances when not in use.
Never overload circuits or extension cords. Don’t place cords or wires under rugs, over nails, or in high traffic areas.
Portable heaters need at least three feet of space from any combustible materials.


Fireplaces should be used with fire screens, and chimneys should have annual cleanings.
Have at least two fire extinguishers in your home, with one in a designated place in the kitchen. Cooking fires are the leading cause of both home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S.

Extinguish candles before going to bed or when leaving a room.
If smoking indoors, always use an ashtray and exercise caution. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S.
Properly inspect and maintain your home’s heating system. Poorly maintained heating systems cause many fires.


Consider the installation of a home sprinkler system. Such systems are now much more affordable and greatly diminish the risk of fire injuries.
These are just a few ways that you can make your home a safer place from fire.

More information can be found on the U.S. Fire Administration’s website, www.usfa.fema.gov, or by contacting your local fire department. If you want more tips for homeowners, visit my website. I’d also be happy to answer any home owning or real estate questions your may have. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Easy Tips For Energy Efficiency

You might assume that making your home energy efficient requires a lot of time and money, but generally that’s not the case. Often small fixes can have a big impact on your heating, cooling, and other utility bills. Here are some easy things you can do to make your home more efficient right now:


Tip #1: Don’t turn that dial

Keep your thermostat set at one temperature and leave it! In the winter around 68 degrees should be right, and 75 degrees in summer (in homes with a cooling system, of course). Avoiding constant adjustments will keep your energy bills stable.
Tip #2: Stop the drip-drips

Leaky showerheads and faucets are hard-to-miss energy wasters. Toilets that run can also cost you on your water bill. The majority of required repairs are covered in the most basic do-it-yourself handbook.


Tip #3: Go fluorescent

While compact fluorescent light bulbs cost more than the standard incandescent bulbs that you’re used to, they last up to five times longer and use only a quarter of the electricity. Many of these bulbs last over five years, and each energy-saving fluorescent bulb will save you $40 to $60 on your electric bill over the course of its lifetime.
Tip #4: Watch that fireplace

Energy can really leak out of that fireplace. Check the dampers and screens to make sure that energy isn’t leaking when the fireplace is not in use. If the fireplace is just for decoration, cover the chimney. A well maintained fireplace should be an economical way to heat your house and add a warm atmosphere as well.
Tip #5: Keep those appliances humming

Clean air conditioning and furnace filters frequently, and have your appliances inspected once a year. Efficient appliances lower energy bills and future repair costs.


Tip #6: Windows that waste

Windows are the most common energy waster. Make sure that all the weather-stripping is in good condition, and consider double-paned windows and storm shutters to reduce the energy drain.
Hopefully these ideas help you create a more energy efficient home. Energy efficiency is not only an important part of conservation; it’s also a great way to save money. More homeowners tips are available on my website. If you have any questions about your home, I’m only a phone call away.

 

Home Ownership Tips

Many homeowners don’t have a relationship with a real estate professional unless they have made the decision to sell their home. People often do not realize that a real estate agent can be a great resource for homeowners. As an experienced real estate agent, I’d be happy to help you with any home needs you may have.


I have valuable information on home maintenance, remodeling, refinancing, and other related topics. Much of this information can be found on my website. I think you’ll find that a relationship with a real estate agent whom you trust is a great asset. If I can be of assistance now or in the future, please give me a call.
Easy do-it-yourself repairs for homeowners
The best way to cut down on the potentially high cost of home maintenance is to tackle the simple jobs on your own. Here are some basic repairs that you should be able to handle without too much difficulty:
Plugged Sinks– Pull out and clean the sink stopper. If the problem persists, turn off the water supply under the sink before removing and clearing the trap (the curved section of drainpipe under the sink). Avoid using chemicals if you suspect a serious blockage.


Plugged Toilet– The first resort is the tried and true toilet plunger. If that doesn’t work, use a plumber’s snake to clear the pipe.
Electrical Failure- Check the circuit breaker to see if the circuit has been tripped to the off position. You may need to replace a blown fuse (replacement fuses usually cost less than $5).
Leaky faucet- Shut off the water under the sink and replace the washer on the faucet. If the dripping persists, you may need a new faucet unit.
Damp basement- Make sure that gutters extend away from the house and that the earth is graded away from the walls. A dehumidifier can help dry the air, but you may need to call a professional if you find cracks in the foundation.
Damaged caulking- Crumbling caulk around tiles, windows and doors needs to be replaced periodically. Caulking guns and caulk run about $20 total and are easy to use.


Gouges or holes in walls or woodwork– Holes in plaster walls and drywall are easily fixed with plaster patching compound or spackling compound, respectively. Holes in woodwork should be filled with wood putty and sanded lightly. Refinishing may be necessary.
I hope these tips help you with the upkeep of your home! I’d be happy to give you recommendations for home repair experts should your house need additional attention. Let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.

 

Avoid regrets – Get a home inspection before you sign!

The home buying process is a lengthy one, and many buyers rush through or even forgo the home inspection. It’s important that you don’t make the same mistake! Professional home inspections can save you time and money, or even prevent you from making a disastrous deal. In case you’re not convinced, I’ve compiled a quick list of some serious home defects that can be found during a home inspection:

  • Defect #1: Bad FoundationUnless you can negotiate a price reduction to cover cost, walk away.
  • Defect #2: Worn RoofMost likely it will need to be replaced. If the seller will not do so, negotiate a lower price.
  • Defect #3: Termite InfestationThe house is probably in need of expensive structural repairs. Unless the seller is willing to help pay, it’s probably not a good investment.

  • Defect #4: Outdated WiringThis can be expensive to correct, and is a dangerous problem. Negotiate with the seller after getting an estimate from an electrician.
  • Defect #5: Damaged Shower PanGet an estimate from a contractor if you find water under the shower, and negotiate with the seller to cover costs.

Protecting your investment, especially one as special as a new home, is crucial. An expert home inspection is often the most important step in securing that protection. More tips on home buying are available on my website. If you’d like to talk more about home inspections or any of your real estate questions, please call. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Does your home have Curb Appeal?

The sale of your home can depend a great deal on whether or not it has Curb Appeal. What is Curb Appeal? Simply put, it is anything visible to a prospective buyer from the street that makes them want to see more of the house. Curb Appeal can be a powerful force in attracting potential buyers to your home. But how do you ensure that your house has as much Curb Appeal as possible?

Here are some easy places to start:

  • Make sure the lawn is mowed, and all trees and bushes are well trimmed.
  • Place planters of flowers or hanging baskets on the porch.
  • See that all flowerbeds are weeded and freshly mulched.
  • Check that the front door is attractive and freshly painted.
  • Consider re-painting the exterior of your house.
  • Give the outside of your home a good scrub: clean the windows, patio furniture, driveway and sidewalks.
  • Finally, make sure your house numbers are visible, your mailbox is in excellent condition, and that all porch and outside lights are working properly. You want interested buyers to find your home easily!

These are just a few ideas to get you started in preparation for selling your home. Once the home is ready to be put up for sale, it can be listed on my website, where it can get the attention of thousands of prospective buyers.

Using the Internet to sell your home

In today’s real estate market, a good selling plan can truly excel when properly combined with current Internet technology. Modern homebuyers expect on-demand home shopping, and meeting that expectation is a crucial element of marketing a home. My website allows homebuyers to search and sort through thousands of listings to find the home that is right for them. As your seller’s agent, I can ensure that your home is listed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Every day countless homebuyers use the resources of the Internet to help narrow their home search. Listing your home with me allows interested buyers to find your property based on the features that are most important to them. My website serves as a great filter, showing buyers the homes that best fit their needs and bringing you those buyers that are most interested in what your home has to offer.

If you still need convincing, take a look at my website to see the kinds of resources I’ve made available. Try a property search of your own to see what potential homebuyers experience. I think you’ll be impressed with the efficiency and detail I’ve committed to my site. I’d love the chance to speak with you in person or on the phone about how I can use the web to sell your home. I’m here to help with any of your real estate needs.