New Neighborhood? 15 Things To Do Your First Week, Month, And Year

So you have settled in and ready to start exploring your new neighborhood?  Check this out!

Ready or not, it’s time to jump into your brand-new lifestyle. These tips will help you find your place within your community and make it feel even more like home.

After the hard work of finding and moving into the perfect home, you’re finally ready for the best part: exploring your new neighborhood and city! Here’s what you should do in your first week, month, and year in a new place to help make it your home sweet home.

The first week: Organize and settle in

  1. Get your bills in order.

    You probably had the essentials switched over to your name so you wouldn’t be without them on move-in day. But you’ll need to make appointments for other services, like cable or home security, right after you move in. Other essentials may also have slipped off your radar, like neighborhood trash pickup dates, suggests Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Wilmington, DE.

  2. Find your local resources.

    No matter how organized you are, there will be items, like extension cords and towel rods, that you will need to pick up quickly to make sure that you feel settled, says Joan Kagan, sales manager at TripleMint Real Estate in New York, NY. Your first week is the best time to seek out these essentials and more. You’ll no doubt become well-acquainted with the nearby hardware store, but you’ll also want to stock that new fridge at the local grocery store, make friends with the barista at the neighborhood coffee shop, and hit the closest post office to have your mail forwarded.

  3. Meet the neighbors.

    This will give you some comfort in knowing who is around you, says Pat Eberle of RASO Realty in Cape Coral, FL. Neighbors are a great resource for [discovering] where all the local hot spots are, where to go for necessary services, and more. If you have children, this will also help them meet the neighborhood kids their age and start making friends.

  4. Find your community online.

    Nextdoor and neighborhood or community groups on Facebook are an easy way to start following what’s happening in your new neighborhood. A subscription to the local city magazine can’t hurt either. This way, you can stay on top of community events, safety issues, and meet more neighbors! says Lisa Sinn, a real estate agent with Keller Williams in San Antonio, TX. Want to untether from the laptop? Head to your local library or coffee shop and scope out the bulletin boards for upcoming events or local businesses to try.

  5. Study the rules.

    Before you jump into those home improvement projects, make sure they’re not against the rules of your homeowners association (HOA) or local zoning laws. If you live in a historic district, you may even have to get your paint colors approved! And be careful not to overlook those easy-to-forget loose ends. During your home-buying process, there are lots of deadlines and time frames to be aware of, explains Eberle. After closing, you will also need to check on items like your property taxes, can you request a homestead exemption, etc.

The first month: Explore and grow

  1. Dine like a local.

    Try different restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops, and bars in the neighborhood, says Kagan. One of the great things about living in a city like New York is the great variety of resources within walking distance. You can choose your favorites and start to build a community.

  2. Extend invites.

    The sooner you make friends in a new city, the sooner it will start to feel like home. When people find out that you are moving to New York, they will tell you about their college roommate’s niece, their brother-in-law’s cousin, their former baby sitter, all of whom have moved to New York, says Kagan. Whether you live in the city or in a more suburban area, don’t roll your eyes at these connections. Make the effort to get together with all of them they will invite you to meet others and share their tips.

  3. Follow your interests.

    Local charities are always looking for volunteers and church groups are always looking for new members. City recreation facilities often offer classes for kids and adults. This can also be a great way to meet other locals that have similar interests.

  4. Pitch in.

    Offering to assist a neighbor with a project can also be a great way to break into the neighborhood. If you are in a cold area with snow, help with snow removal. If you are where the weather is nice, help with lawn mowing, trimming, raking leaves, or other projects. The favor will likely be returned in the future!

  5. Meet your HOA president.

    This person can be a great ally when it comes to neighbors breaking the rules (ahem, not mowing their lawns, partying too loudly, etc.). Get to know them well, advises Sinn, so you can get your voice heard.

The first year: Practice good citizenship

  1. Take advantage of your city.

    You chose your neighborhood for its character, proximity to work, or its other perks. Now’s the time to explore other neighborhoods nearby for hidden gems. Go to the theater! Visit museums and concerts. Take advantage of your town’s amazing parks! says Kagan. Explore a different neighborhood every month. Knowing your city better will help you feel more connected and give you even more favorite places to come back to again and again.

  2. Start a group.

    Make an effort to stay connected with your neighbors, even if you don’t click right away. In the first year in a neighborhood, you will find that some of your neighbors and you will click and they will become friends. They’re a built-in source of information and support nearby. To stay in touch, launch a book club, dinner club, or other type of regular get-together on a schedule that works for everyone. It’s a low-pressure way to forge a deeper connection with those around you.

  3. Host for a holiday.

    Pick a holiday and plan an event in your home. Invite the neighbors or friends from unconnected groups. Think of it as your own mixer. Who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire some more friends to move to your neighborhood  and make next year’s parties even better.

  4. Attend HOA meetings.

    Attend as many as possible so you’re aware of exactly what’s happening in your community regularly, says Sinn. If you have time, you might consider joining in a more official capacity, which lets you contribute to future plans and provides insights into neighborhood changes.

  5. Make goals for next year.

    Reflect on your first year in your new neighborhood and make goals for the next one. Would you like to get more involved, perhaps in a leadership role with your HOA? Have you noticed congestion or traffic issues that you could work with your neighbors to resolve? Maybe you’d like to support a local nonprofit or school by organizing a 5K race through your neighborhood. Or perhaps there’s a beautification effort you could launch. Whatever you choose, you’ll be on a path to deepen your involvement in your community.

Source: Trulia Blog

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: family, HOA, Homeowners, neighborhood, neighbors, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Know How to Prep Your Home For Summer?

 

Summertime….and the living is easy! If you know how to prep for it!

Our friends at HomeAdvisor 5 important steps for prepping your home for summer.

While summertime is perfect for outdoor gatherings with friends and family, it can also be a dangerous, and inefficient, time for your home. That’s why it’s important to have a preparation strategy in place before the hotter months arrive. These quick tips will help you prep your home for summer, and ensure it stays safe and inviting all summer long.

Schedule an Air Conditioning (AC) Inspection

Suffering through the hottest summer months with no AC isn’t fun, especially if you’re playing host to friends or family. Having an AC professional look at your unit before summer officially arrives will address any potential problems before they become major headaches. You can also DIY some preliminary maintenance. Clearing saplings, grass and other underbrush away from your unit will improve airflow and help prevent clogs. Replacing the air filters in your home’s HVAC will also help your AC function at its peak efficiency.

Look for Insulation Leaks and Inefficiencies

Poor insulation will allow cooled air to escape, resulting in a hot home and enormous energy bills. Fortunately, spotting faulty insulation isn’t difficult. Begin by looking for deterioration around your doors and windows. Caulk, door sweeps and weather stripping should address the majority of your door- and window-related leaks. It’s also a good idea to have a professional perform an energy audit. Pros will be able to identify hard-to-spot inefficiencies in other parts of your home and HVAC system.

Prep for Pests

It wouldn’t be summer without pests. And in addition to being an annoyance, some pests can actually damage your home  and even present health problems. Spraying insect barriers around the exterior of your home is a good beginning, but it’s also important to prep the interior of your home. Sealing all food sources and potential entry points like window frames and doors is an important part of finalizing your pest proofing.

P.S. Be sure to read any warnings or instructions that come with pesticides. Improper applications can threaten the safety of your home, especially if you have pets or small children.

Inspect Your Roof

Summer is mostly known for its beautiful weather, but it can also be a time of severe thunderstorms or worse. This makes having a sturdy roof very important, especially during inclement summertime weather. Begin your inspection by looking for loose shingles, faulty flashing or other clear signs of damage. Your attic can also be home to leaks, rot and other problems not obvious from the outside of your home. Examining your attic insulation, walls and rafters for signs of moisture will help you prevent water damage and structural deterioration. If you notice signs of damage, it’s best to call a pro. Roof repair can be extensive and are rarely DIY-appropriate.

Reinvigorate Your Outdoor Spaces

Wintertime can take a toll on the appearance of your yard, patio and other outdoor living areas. Removing downed tree limbs, replanting dead flowers and power washing your patio and decking are simple ways to jumpstart your home’s summertime exterior. Your grill can also accumulate gunk during the colder months. Be sure to clean its interior and exterior before your first BBQ. Updating your tired outdoor furniture will also improve the looks and comfort of your entertainment areas. Wrap-around sofas, comfy loveseats and luxurious hammocks are ideal additions to any outdoor space. You can perfect your entertainment areas with colorful throw pillows, planters, hanging candles and outdoor lighting.

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, Family Fun, Homeowners, maintenance, Pools, real estate, summer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

First-Time Homeowners: Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Insurance

Oh my…this is a MUST READ for First Time Home buyers!  Don’t leave home without it!

What exactly is home insurance and do I really need it?

Ready to buy your first home? Before you dot the I’s and cross the T’s on your mortgage, it is important to understand the ins and outs of homeowners insurance.

Without homeowners insurance, a property buyer is unlikely to secure a house. Homeowners insurance protects a residence and the items stored in a residence against disasters. Therefore, if your home is suddenly destroyed in a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster, homeowners insurance guarantees you are fully protected.

Homeowners insurance should be simple, but there are many factors to consider as you evaluate all of the coverage options at your disposal.

Now, let’s take a look at five common questions about homeowners insurance.

  1. Why Do I Need It?

There are two reasons why homebuyers must purchase homeowners insurance:

  • It enables you to protect your assets. Homeowners insurance safeguards the structure of your home and your personal property. It also protects you against liability for injuries to others or their property while they are on your property.
  • Your mortgage lender probably requires you to have it. Most lenders will require you to maintain homeowners insurance for the duration of your mortgage. A lender usually will require you to list the company as a mortgagee on your homeowners policy. Moreover, if you let your homeowners coverage lapse, your mortgage lender likely will have your home insured at a much higher premium and with less coverage that what you had in the past.

Homeowners insurance is a must-have for homeowners, without exception. If you allocate the time and resources to find the right homeowners coverage, you should have no trouble protecting your house and personal belongings for years to come.

  1. How Does It Work?

Generally, homeowners insurance is considered a package policy because it includes a combination of coverages. The package policy focuses on the following areas:

  • Dwelling: Covers the costs associated with damage to your home and structures attached to it, including any damage to electrical wiring, heating systems or plumbing.
  • Other Structures: Ensures you’re protected against damage to fences, garages and other structures that are on your property but not attached to your house.
  • Personal Property: Guarantees you’re covered for the value of possessions like appliances, clothing and electronics if they are lost or damaged. This coverage applies even when your personal property is stored off-site, like in a storage unit or college dorm room.
  • Loss of Use: Provides financial assistance to help you cover some of your living expenses if you need to temporarily vacate your house while it is being repaired.
  • Personal Liability: Offers protection against financial loss if you are sued and found legally responsible for injuries or damages to someone else.
  • Medical Payments: Covers the medical expenses for people who were hurt on your property or by your pets.

Clearly, there’s a lot to consider as you evaluate a homeowners policy. Review your coverage options closely, and you may be better equipped than other homeowners to secure your house and personal belongings effectively.

  1. Are There Homeowners Coverage Limits?

You should get homeowners insurance that covers the full replacement cost of your home, not just the market value of your residence.

The replacement cost and market value of a residence may seem identical at first. But upon closer examination, it becomes easy to understand why you’ll want to purchase a homeowners policy that offers protection for the full replacement cost of your house.

For homeowners, the replacement cost refers to the total amount it would cost to rebuild or replace your home if it was completely destroyed. This cost may vary based on your home insurance provider and usually accounts for the plans and permits, fees and taxes and labor and materials that you would need to replace your house. However, the replacement cost does not account for the value of the land associated with your home.

On the other hand, the market value reflects what your home is worth today. It fluctuates based on the current condition of your house, the real estate market and various economic factors.

The market value of your home commonly proves to be great indicator of what your house may be worth if you intend to sell it in the near future. Conversely, when it comes to homeowners insurance, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you calculate the full replacement cost of your home, you can insure your residence appropriately.

  1. Are There Optional Homeowners Insurance Coverages?

Believe it or not, a standard homeowners policy won’t cover everything. As such, you may want to consider adding some of the following optional coverages to supplement your homeowners policy:

  • Flood Insurance: Floods rank among the top natural disasters in the United States, and even an inch of water can cause severe property damage in a short period of time. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood insurance coverage that will protect your home for up to $250,000 and your personal property for up to $100,000. Keep in mind that there often is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy goes into effect. This means if you want to buy flood insurance in the days leading up to a hurricane, you may be out of luck.
  • Earthquake Insurance: Many Western states are prone to earthquakes. In California, Oregon and Washington, earthquake coverage is available from multiple insurance providers. Or, if you live outside these states and still want to purchase earthquake coverage, your state’s Department of Insurance can help you find licensed earthquake insurers.
  • Daycare Coverage: If you take care of a friend’s children and are unpaid, your homeowners insurance offers limited liability coverage. Comparatively, if you provide daycare in your house, you will need to purchase insurance to cover the related liability.
  • Additional Liability: You can purchase additional liability coverage any time you choose. These add-ons may require a nominal premium but sometimes makes a world of difference for homeowners.

Of course, if you’re unsure about which coverages you need, it always helps to consult with an insurance agent. This insurance professional will be able to respond to your homeowners insurance concerns and queries and help you get the coverages you need, any time you need them.

 How Much Will It Cost?

 There are several factors that will affect your homeowners insurance premium, including:

  • Attractive Nuisances: If you have an attractive nuisance like a swimming pool or trampoline, you may have to pay more for homeowners insurance than other property owners.
  • Coverage Options: Adding flood insurance, earthquake insurance and other coverages may cause your homeowners insurance premium to rise.
  • Home Protection System: If you have a home burglar alarm, security devices for windows or deadbolts on doors, you may be able to lower your insurance premium.
  • Pets: Some insurance providers won’t offer homeowners coverage if you own certain types of pets.
  • The Home Itself: Your house’s age, condition, construction and distance from a fire department and water source may impact your homeowners insurance premium.

Homeowners insurance premiums will vary from person to person. But those who take an informed, diligent approach to homeowners insurance can boost their chances of getting the best homeowners policy at the lowest rate.

Homeowners Insurance Tips

Let’s face it, homeowners insurance can be confusing, particularly for those who are searching for coverage for the first time. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you discover the right homeowners policy.

Here are five tips to help you secure homeowners insurance that meets or exceeds your expectations:

  • Shop around. Meet with various homeowners insurance providers and learn about different types of coverages so you can make an informed homeowners insurance decision.
  • Bundle your homeowners and car insurance policies. In some instances, you may be able to save between 5 and 15 percent if you purchase your homeowners and car insurance from the same insurance company.
  • Minimize risk across your house. Homeowners insurance offers immense protection, but you also can install storm shutters, enhance your heating system and perform assorted home upgrades to reduce risk across your home.
  • Look at your credit score. With a good credit score, you may be able to lower your homeowners insurance premium. If you don’t know your credit score, you can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Keep in mind that only some carriers use credit scoring.
  • Stay with an insurer. If you find an insurance company that you like, stay with this company for several years, and you may be able to reduce your homeowners insurance premium over time.

There is no need to settle for inferior homeowners coverage. If you use the aforementioned tips, you can purchase homeowners insurance that guarantees your home and personal belongings are fully protected both now and in the future.

Source:  CB Blue Matter

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 7:49 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, Dogs, first time buyers, Homeowners, insurance, Pools, real estate, security, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Does It Really Matter What Your Neighbor’s Home Sold For?

Interesting food for thought. Depending on the dynamics of the other homes in the neighborhood, fair market values can vary.

Whether you’re buying or selling, remember that your neighbor’s sale price is just one piece of the puzzle. Whether you’re buying or selling, make sure you look beyond the data to get the big picture on home values.

After researching the sale prices of his neighbors recent home sales, Steve Rennie thought he knew exactly what his Kansas City, MO, house was worth. But when the Rennies decided to sell and started interviewing real estate professionals, they discovered they needed more and more relevant information. While the sale price of homes on your street can provide important insight into the price of a home you’re selling or buying, here are some of the other factors you should consider to make your best deal.

Unique or unusual home? Comparable sales may not exist

The Rennies quickly realized that recent sales near them wouldn’t be the perfect way to gauge their home’s value. We had interviewed several agents, and most came back with prices for homes that were not truly comparable to ours, because we had a unique older home in an area of newer ones, recalls Rennie. Eventually, the couple called real estate agent Dan Vick, vice president of RE/MAX Results in Kansas City, who offered a different perspective.

Since I didn’t have comps in their exact neighborhood, I went a half-mile away to find homes of similar age and style, says Vick. They’d said they wouldn’t list their home for one penny under $180,000, but based on my comps, I asked: Would you mind if I listed it for more? The house sold the first day it was on the market for $189,500. The Rennies were thrilled.

While comps give sellers a point of reference and an understanding of how strong the real estate market is, Vick suggests calling a professional familiar with your neighborhood to interpret comps properly and gauge what your home is worth. In newer subdivisions, especially if one or two builders have built the majority of the homes there, you can look at similar floor plans. But in older areas, that rule doesn’t apply, because you don’t have the same house four doors down the street.

Stick to the facts and expert advice when pricing a home

Even when you’ve studied comps and have noted relevant details about recent nearby home sales, it’s often easy for sellers to overlook important information when setting a price, says Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Centerville, DE. I continuously encounter sellers who value their home above fair market price, he says. Cosmetically upgrading a kitchen or bathroom won’t usually generate a 100% ROI, so I’m tactful when explaining the reality of property valuations or asset depreciation.

Pricing your property appropriately, regardless of what your neighbor sold for, is key in today’s market, adds Matt Laricy, managing partner with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago, IL. A couple of years back, people would price a home high, get lowball offers, and be willing to negotiate, he says. Nowadays, with low inventory, many sellers are too aggressive: Their neighbor’s house sold in one day, so they think, I’ll overprice my place because I know I’m the only one on the block. But buyers are smart; they may not even look at it until the price comes down.

Bottom line? Don’t be greedy, Laricy says. If you price your home realistically, you’ll likely get more than one offer and net more money in the long run.

Understanding how agents set prices can help buyers score the perfect home

Buyers can benefit tremendously from checking what homes in their chosen neighborhood have sold for, says Laricy. In Chicago, we don’t do price per square foot, so knowing what a neighbors house sells for is huge, he says. If it sold really low, that’s good news for you as a buyer.

However, buyers sometimes overlook other crucial details in their quest to zero in on the best price, he adds. That can lead to a harder sale or lower profit in the future. In big markets like New York, Chicago, Miami, and LA, where people are coming and going all the time, you’re buying an investment, he explains. Buyers usually don’t think about value: why certain buildings trade at different rates now, which ones will trade higher than others in the future, and which neighborhoods are worth more. These are things you need an expert eye for.

He notes that younger buyers tend to neglect that all-important real estate factor: location. They chase kitchens and bathrooms, he says. They’ll buy in a less desirable location to get a nicer kitchen. You can always change a kitchen, but you can’t pick up a property and move it.

Yet even as buyers and their agents leverage comps to make a good buy, sometimes the heart wants what it wants, says Vick. I think you can get too caught up in the comparable data. If your buyers have looked at 15 homes, and this is the one they’ve fallen in love with, it really doesn’t matter what the comps are; you’d better go after it with a strong offer, he suggests. A note of caution to buyers: be careful not to overestimate a home’s appraisal value, since an offer that’s much higher than appraisal value could put your purchase at risk.

Buyers should bring their best offers from the start!

Especially in red-hot real estate markets, Laricy advises buyers to bid smart the first time or risk losing out to another buyer. Usually, buyers who lowball are the ones who end up missing out on two or three properties before actually getting something, says Laricy. Be realistic by putting in a strong offer upfront.

First-time homebuyer Corinne Hangacsi followed that advice before purchasing her two-bedroom townhouse in Wilmington, DE, this spring. We did our research through Trulia. Our real estate agent definitely clued us in to what was happening in the area, but we also looked at other comparable properties ourselves, she says. That in-person research helped Hangacsi feel comfortable making a strong initial offer. My biggest piece of advice for first-time homebuyers is to be patient and do your homework. Go with your gut; when you find the right place, you’ll know.

Source:  Trulia Blog

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, buying, first time buyers, Homeowners, market trends, neighborhood, neighbors, Offers, real estate, research, Uncategorized, value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Forgetting This Crucial Aspect Of Your House Hunt?

Lucky for you, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway property search function has a drive time filter! A very important consideration you should be aware of if you are a commuter.

If you had to choose, would you pick the dream house or the dream commute?

Anyone stuck in traffic can tell you just how important commute time is.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 11 million of us drive an hour or more to work each way. In addition, Trulia’s Best and Worst Cities for Commuting, an analysis of American Community Survey data, and a 2015 online survey of more than 2,000 American homeowners, shows that commute times in the 50 biggest U.S. cities have steadily increased since 2009.

This could encourage some homebuyers to consider swapping larger houses and longer commutes for more modest properties closer to work. Others refuse to give up on square footage, a big backyard, and other suburban amenities. But no matter what you’re looking for, your future drive time to work is an important part of the house-hunting puzzle.

How to evaluate your commute before you buy a new house

  1. 1. Map out the route from home to work

    How your commute will affect your day-to-day life is important to know before buying a home. Start by clicking on the commute tab in Trulia Maps to calculate the distance between home and work. Then do a dry run, says Danielle Schlesier, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Brookline, MA. Get in the car, hop a bus, or take the train and do the commute both in the morning and the evening, she suggests. Picture yourself commuting every day, and if the answer is Yes, I can manage this, then go for it. If the answer is no, keep looking for a home closer to your office. Use Trulia’s analysis of commuting methods to figure out how your city gets to work.

  2. 2. Evaluate your work-life balance

    Adding a commute can be a big lifestyle change, so consider all the pros and cons involved in that decision, says Jen Birmingham, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Petaluma, CA. Think about how you feel when you’re on the road. Would a longer commute put you in a gloomy mood that could outweigh the perk of having a spare bedroom or space for a pool? Ask yourself: How will the added drive time impact your personal life and family time? How do these concessions balance out with the benefits of the move?

    And consider alternatives, Birmingham advises. Does your employer offer flexibility in the commute hours? A commute schedule outside of usual high-traffic times can make a huge difference in the hours spent on the road, she says.

  3. 3. Consider your life stage

    Are you single, newly married, raising a growing family, or downsizing? Commuting may not be a deal breaker if you have other priorities. Buyers with families often opt for a larger home in a desirable neighborhood that comes with a longer commute, notes Luisa Mauro, broker/owner at Marathon Real Estate in Austin, TX. Clients with children may live further from their office to be in a specific school district. Typically, the further a house is from the central business district, prices are less for additional square footage, which is desirable for growing families.

    Buyers may also want to evaluate how long they plan to stay in their current job versus how long they intend to live in their new home, adds Schlesier. You may change jobs, so you better really love where you live, she says.

  4. 4. Add up all the costs, not just the financial ones

    Buyers may underestimate the true cost of a lengthy commute, notes Jon Jachimowicz, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia Business School who studies the daily effects of commuting on workers. Longer commutes make people more emotionally exhausted, explains Jachimowicz. If you have to drive into work 300 times per year, versus the 15 barbecues you’re going to have in your yard each year, people overweigh how much joy they’re going to get from those 15 barbecues versus the negative experiences from 300 days of commuting.

    While you should definitely figure in commuting costs such as gas, tolls, parking, train tickets (and even things like extra hours of childcare), think about the psychological costs of commuting as well, adds Schlesier. No matter how much you love a house, it may not matter if you don’t have enough free time to enjoy it.

  5. 5. Seek out alternative routes and travel times

    Experiment with different routes and schedules when weighing a new commute, suggests Mauro. Our clients will work out or shop during traffic hours to maximize the time they have between work and driving home, she says. They’re able to get home more quickly by starting their drive home later.

    Easy highway access also makes commuting more manageable, adds Birmingham. In a community like Petaluma, living 1 or 2 miles from the freeway can make a 20- to 30-minute difference in a driver’s day, so living near an entrance and exit of a major commuter thoroughfare makes life feel a lot easier, she says.

  6. 6. Embrace the upside of a longer commute

    Commuting can be a positive experience, says Jachimowicz, especially if you use that time effectively. His research shows that even small tweaks in your routine can make you more productive. For example, plan out your workday or practice for a performance review or a challenging conversation with your boss. One interesting thing about commuting is, you’re moving both physically and psychologically from one role to the next, says Jachimowicz. People who transition into their work roles as they’re commuting experience fewer negative consequences.

    If you take public transit, adds Schlesier, catch up on work or clear out your overflowing inbox or voicemail. Commuting can also be beneficial if you reclaim it as me time, notes Mauro. Decompress from the workday and separate your professional and personal lives, she says. Listen to podcasts, books on tape, or learn another language.

While these strategies won’t magically cut your travel time in half, they will help you focus on the big picture. Having the opportunity to escape a bustling city and enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle can add a huge quality-of-life boost when somebody becomes a commuter, says Birmingham.

Source: Trulia Blog

 

 

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, Carpool, commute, Drive Time, family, first time buyers, Homeowners, moving, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Types of Additions and How They Add Value

Want to add value as well as space to your home? For the skinny on remodeling…Here’s how!

A person’s home is their castle, but sometimes that castle isn’t big enough to accommodate all its occupants. Maybe you’ve got a baby on the way or an older parent is moving in with you. Maybe you need a workshop to keep up with your hobbies. Whatever the reason, it’s normal to outgrow your space. When it happens, you’ve got two choices—move to a larger home or build an addition to your current home.

What types of additions are there and how do they add value to your home?

Bump It Out
If you’re not up to adding a whole new room or floor to your home, a bump-out could be a good option to add extra square footage where you need it most. If you’ve got a tiny kitchen, a bump-out can add 40 or 50 more square feet of space to make it easier to cook your meals, store your food or add a cozy little breakfast nook.

The cost for these add-ons vary dramatically depending on the location of the bump out and its size. They can run anywhere from $5,000 for a small addition to $30,000 or more for a large, ground level bump-out that requires its own poured foundation.

In terms of cost per square foot, these additions are more expensive than larger builds, but, in the grand scheme of things, they end up costing less because you don’t usually need a ton of extra contractors or permits to add a bump out to your home.

Full Additions
Full additions are the most common. These rooms add space and square footage to a home. You can add anything from a new bedroom to a new den, dining room or living room—the possibilities are only restricted by your budget and the size of your lot.

Full additions are often the most expensive and complicated to add, requiring lots of time and money to complete. A full addition can cost more than $50,000, and the price only goes up as the build gets more complicated.

These additions can be very time consuming, as they require you to hire various contractors to handle HVAC, electricity and plumbing, depending on the type of room being added. You will likely have to apply for permits through your city or county before construction can begin.

These additions take quite a while. If you’ll be staying elsewhere during the build, consider utilizing the overnight hours for construction—the work is more efficient and is often safer than daytime construction. It’s cooler, which can be essential if your home is located in a hot state.

You can save time if you’re under a deadline or are looking for a way to increase productivity and decrease project length, but don’t consider nighttime construction if you have neighbors close by—no matter what time of day you’re building, it’s still noisy!

In addition to adding more space to your home, these new builds add to the resale value of your home. While you may not recoup the entire cost of the project, adding a new garage can add around $40,000 to the resale value of your home depending on your region.

Remodels
Remodeling parts of your home gives your castle a fresh shine without knocking down too many walls. The trick to a good remodel is to have a solid idea of the finished project in mind before you start shopping for contractors. Pick one room and focus on that single room before you jump to another project—nothing looks worse than a house full of half-finished remodeling projects.

The type of remodel you’re planning will determine the price and time needed to complete it. Installing new lighting in the bathroom might cost you a few hundred dollars while remodeling your floor could cost upwards of $15,000.

Most interior remodels don’t require permitting unless you’re knocking down walls, though you should check with your local permit office before you start any remodels. You may need to employ the services of a professional electrician or plumber if you need to run wires or pipes into new areas.

You can save a lot of money on interior remodels by doing some of the work yourself—just make sure you know what you’re doing and don’t tackle any projects you’re not comfortable completing on your own.

Sunrooms
Sunrooms are often unheated rooms primarily made up of windows and designed to let you enjoy the weather without having to be out in it. It can be a great place to keep your outdoor plants safe during extreme weather conditions. They are simple to install because they do not require any additional heating or cooling routing, though you might need an electrician to run wires to power any lights or ceiling fans you choose to install. An unheated sunroom can cost around $15,000, though the price goes up depending on the materials you use. Wood framed sunrooms are less expensive than aluminum ones—those can run upwards of $22,000.

A four-season room is similar to a sunroom but is hooked into the home’s heating and cooling systems. This requires an additional contractor to set up the room’s HVAC. Collectively, these rooms tend to run around $20,000, making them slightly cheaper than a high-end sunroom.

Room Conversions
Do you have an extra garage or attic that’s just being used for storage or taking up valuable square footage? Consider converting the room into something more useful like a bedroom, workshop or craft room. Room conversions can make that extra square footage work for you, as long as you know what you’re doing or employ the skills of a contractor.

Depending on the type of conversion you’re planning, expect to pay anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000. Poorly done conversions can end up costing you more money, and lowering the value of your home, so make sure everything is done properly!

Additions and modifications to your home add space, functionality and resale value in one fell swoop. Employ professional contractors to make sure all the new work is up to code. Otherwise, it might end up costing you more money than you put into it.
Source: RisMedia

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 3:14 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: construction, Homeowners, maintenance, projects, real estate, remodeling, Uncategorized, value | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Bird’s The Word: Our Favorite Of-the-Moment Flamingo, Peacock & Swan Decor

A Flock of Seagulls??? Nope!  Just flamingos, peacocks and swans my friends!  Check out this latest decor trend.

From water-fowl finds to flirty-flamingo fancies, bird-inspired decor is flying off the shelves and perching in the most style-savvy homes for summer. I’ve taken up a bit of a bird-watching (shopping) hobby for spring, and we’ve spotted all of the most on-trend, feather-friend items to incorporate into your home right now.

Sophisticated Swans

Elegance in bird form, right? These sleek, white wonders add a chic touch to a space, whatever it may be. Swans are sweeping bedrooms, bathrooms and baby rooms galore.

tabletop stauary

Birds of a Feather Notebook Set

Notebooks

Swanee Pillow

Pillows!

Gilded Swan Trinket Dish

Trinket Dishes

Wall art

Switch Plates

Flirty Flamingos

Flamingos have held the title of “it” bird for quite some time now, and this fabulous, fuchsia flock doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. Pick up some pretty pink plates, a gilded bottle opener or even a painted acrylic tray to celebrate this ultra-fun, glam side of summer.

Dish Towel Sets

Coverlets

Notepads

Bottle Openers

Plates

Rugs

Headboards

Upolstered Chairs

Trendy + Tropical

Not all of us can afford to fly to the tropics this summer, so we might as well have the tropics fly to us. Get on island time and incorporate the colors of paradise through pretty parrot pillows, exotic candles or a vibrant wallpaper.

More wall art!

And more pillows!

Wallpaper

Snack Trays

Candles

Wall Art

Pretty Peacocks

Popular for their top-notch turquoise tail feathers, peacocks are having their design moment this season. There are peacock prints for gallery walls, trendy turquoise passport cases and coffee mugs — these regal birds inspire their fair share of feathered finds. Not to mention, does the peacock chair ring a bell? Let’s be real — not just any old bird has a chair named after them.

Temporary tattoos

Tables

Mugs

Peacock Chairs

Smart Phone Cases

Art Prints

Passport covers

Source:  HGTV Blog

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, Homeowners, interior decorating, staging, trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

4 Big Reasons to Become a Homeowner This Year

And the results are in!  This is the year you’ve been waiting for…read on grasshopper!

Still on the fence about becoming a homeowner? While owning a home comes with many responsibilities, its financial and personal benefits can prove it to be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

1.Tax Breaks

One of the greatest perks of becoming a home owner is being able to save a little bit on taxes. In the U.S. most homeowners are allowed to deduct money off the interest they pay on their mortgage every month.  Not only is your home interest partially deductible, you can oftentimes get money back on extra cash you’ve spent on refinancing, a home equity loan or line of credit.  Each homeowner’s financial situation is different, but be sure to inquire about the great financial perks available to you when you invest in a home.

2.Plant Your Roots

Before becoming a homeowner, you probably jumped from rental to rental every few years (or maybe even more). How do you know if you’re ready to take the leap from renting to buying? While it can be nice to have a change of scenery every once in a while, the money you spend on moving, security deposits and other fees can really take a toll on your savings.  One of the great benefits of owning a home is having the opportunity to plant yourself in one, secure place and really make a life for yourself there.  Being that you’ll live in the same residence for a long period of time, you’ll likely build lasting relationships with neighbors and play an active role in your community.  And if you choose to raise a family in this home, your surroundings become a part of your family history, allowing you to make lasting memories.

3. Be Your Own Boss

While renting may come with fewer responsibilities than owning a home, you’re often confined to the rules of the property’s owners.  When you own a home, you’re free to paint the walls any color, plant whatever you’d like in your garden and even adopt furry friends you never were allowed to before.  Your home should be a place you can express yourself freely and live comfortably in.

4.Build Equity

Along with getting a sizable tax break, having the opportunity to build equity is another great financial benefit to owning a home. As you pay off your loan over time, you build more and more equity. Equity equates to whatever amount you have paid off on your home and no longer owe.  If you decide to sell your home down the line, having equity plus any increase in the current market value of your property can put you in a really great position financially.  When you rent a home, you aren’t building any equity at all and have nothing you can walk away with.

Source: Dreamcasa.org

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 3:55 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, first time buyers, Homeowners, mortgage, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Moving with a Baby: The Complete Guide for Parents

Moving is challenging enough on its own. Factor in babies and you better have another set of eyes!  Read on for great advice regarding moving with your special little package.

We have organized the guide into three sections: Before the Move, Moving In and Baby Proofing.

On the move with a little mover in tow? Every parent knows having a baby at home is an adventure. Take that everyday baby voyage and mix in moving your home, now your adventure is more like a hike up Mt. Everest! Here’s the good news, if you plan ahead and take simple steps that trek will become a walk in the park (well maybe not, but a manageable stroll up hill.) Before you pack up and gear up for the baby + move exploration, check out this complete guide for parents moving with a baby to ease the stress and enjoy the transition.

We have organized the guide into three sections: Before the Move, Moving In and Baby Proofing. You can think of it like pregnancy, nesting and then labor!

Before the Move

Stick to Routine: Baby’s love and need their routine. Don’t let the moving to-do list and packing get in the way of your regular daily routine. Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time. Use naptime and baby’s early bedtime to get packing done in bits. Baby & parents need their sleep!

Create a Moving Calendar: To keep your head from spinning, it is best to plan your move 8 weeks out. Here is a Moving Day Count Down Calendar to copy, print and hang it up where you can easily refer to it while feeding the little one. This way you can take it day-by-day and get the satisfaction of checking off moving to-dos!

Use Childcare: During the actual moving day, when boxes and furniture are being moved, little ones should be somewhere else. Ask a trusted babysitter, friend or family member to take your bundle of joy for the day. It is also ideal to use childcare for days leading up to your move so that you can get more done on your moving calendar. There are great nanny and babysitting services that help you find qualified childcare.

Talk To Your Current Pediatrician: Your pediatrician is a great resource. If you are traveling long distance, ask them for tips for keeping your baby happy on a plane or long car ride. If you need to find a new pediatrician, make sure you get a copy of all of your child’s medical records to give to your new pediatrician. Get copies of all your child’s prescriptions and have them called into a pharmacy near your new home. Ask your current pediatrician for recommendations on how to find a new pediatrician close to your new home. When finding a new doc, it is recommended to set up a meet and greet appointment as soon as you move.

Pack a Baby Bag: You know the daily drill; pack half the nursery to carry with you wherever you go. Well, this time the baby bag (box or small suitcase) should include all of your needs for three days (if you’re moving a long distance, you may want at least one month of supplies with you rather than on the moving truck). Once you move into your new place, you may not have easy access to diapers, baby food, pacifiers and the important squeaky toy. So be sure to pack everything you need for three days (or more) in one place that you keep by your side for easy access on moving day and the first few days after.

Moving In

Unpack the Nursery First: When moving in you should set up the nursery first. This will allow you to change your baby and easily put them to sleep on the first night in your new home. Arrange the nursery as closely as possible to your previous nursery. The familiarity will help you and your baby in the transition.

Setting Up The Crib: All new cribs on the market today meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). When setting up a new crib or reassembling your crib look for the following suffocation and strangulation hazards:

  • Sharp or jagged edges
  • Missing, broken or loose parts
  • Loose hardware
  • Cut out designs in the headboard or footboard
  • Crib slats more than 2 3/8 inches apart (width of a soda can)
  • Corner post extension over 1/16 of an inch high
  • Gaps larger than 2 fingers width between the sides of the crib and the mattress
  • Drop side latches that could be easily released by your baby

Use Safe Bedding: Soft bedding can suffocate a baby, blocking the baby’s airway during sleep. Babies can suffocate when their faces become wedged against or buried in a mattress, pillow or other soft object. Use a safe crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress covered with a crib sheet and nothing else in it. To keep your baby warm, use a sleep sack (wearable blanket).

Baby Proofing the New Home

I turned to the uber knowledgeable folks at Safe Kids Worldwide for a Baby Safety Checklist:

Crawl Through Your Home: The first step to a safe home, say the experts at Safe Kids, is to look at the world through your baby’s eyes. See what looks interesting and what can be reached. And I mean it literally – get down on your hands and knees in your new home and check for small things your baby can choke on. You will be amazed at what you discover! If you question if an item is a choking hazard, take an empty toilet paper roll and put the small object in it. If it fits completely into the roll, don’t let children under 3 play with it.

Test Alarms: Have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors inside all bedrooms, outside all sleeping areas and on every level of your new home. Test alarms monthly and change batteries once a year.

Install Gates: Install stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Stair gates at the top must be attached to the wall with hardware.

Secure Furniture: Secure furniture to the wall to avoid tip overs.

Check Windows: When decorating your new place, be sure to use cordless window coverings.

Mindful Unpacking: When unpacking, be sure to lock up medicines, vitamins, cleaning products, pet food, alcohol, poisonous plants, and chemicals (like paint, gasoline, etc.) and store them high out of your baby’s reach.

Your baby’s arrival was certainly the most blissful and incredible life change. Now you get to start the next chapter together in your new home. A home that is safe for your little one to play, grow and explore!

Source:  CB Blue Matter / Lindsay Lantanski

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 3:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: babies, family, Homeowners, maintenance, moving, parent, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

7 Things Worth Saving Space for in a Small House

Sometimes that bigger house is just not in your budget this time around. Here are some nifty tips for maximizing space in smaller homes!  Include these elements to make your compact space comfortable, functional and stylish.

Advice for decorating a small home is often about eliminating and deciding what to compromise on. But there are some things every home should have. Here are seven essentials that are always worth making room for.

Photo by RICCO STYLE Interior Design 

1. A landing pad. You may not have a grand foyer, but you deserve somewhere to decompress for a moment when you arrive home.

Take a little bit of space by the front door to include somewhere to drop your coat and keys, as well as a seat for quick moments such as when tying a shoe. A mirror and a glass table will open up the look of the space, and a bouquet of flowers will provide a welcoming touch.

Photo by Anouska Tamony Designs 

2. Color and pattern. Sure, using lots of white and neutrals will make a small space look as big and breezy as possible. That doesn’t mean that all color and pattern should be strictly forbidden. Embracing some drama will make the look personal and inviting.

To get the best of both worlds, fit color into high and low places and keep the walls neutral so the main sightlines are still clear.

Try using a fun paint color on your ceiling, or go for a low-slung sofa or other piece of furniture, so it pops without overtaking the natural field of vision.

Ceiling paint (similar): Your Majesty, Benjamin Moore

Photo by Black and Milk | Interior Design | London

3. A real dining surface. In a small home, you rarely find a dedicated dining room. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate somewhere for a proper sit-down meal that isn’t at your desk or in your lap. Try pushing a small dining table up against a wall or window to seat just two diners.

If you don’t have room even for a small fixed table, try using a fold-down table with stackable seats that can be pulled out when needed, or a convertible coffee table that can be raised to dining height so you can eat at the sofa in proper comfort.

Photo by DD Hus AB 

4. A truly comfortable place to sit. While it’s often tempting to try to stuff many compact pieces of furniture into a small home, you shouldn’t skimp on a full-sized place to sit.

Including a truly comfortable sofa or lounge chair, rather than many tight modern seats, will make the whole home much more satisfying. To fit in occasional extra guests, have compact side chairs on hand that are only meant for sitting in for a few hours while someone visits, or you can even use a plush ottoman.

Photo by Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard

5. Great lighting. In a small space, the lighting is often inadequate, as it tends to be assumed that a single fixture can properly light each area. In reality, good lighting can never come from just one source, so it’s always important to include a diverse palette of fixtures.

Photo by Wander Designs 

To save room while adding a lot of light, choose a plug-in sconce with multiple bulbs, like the one here. It will brighten the walls in a rich way without taking up any square footage from your floor plan or table surfaces.

6. A living plant. Speaking of your floor plan, now that you’ve saved a little space with a great sconce, why not use that square footage for a healthy living plant?

Photo by Norden & Klingstedt 

Including an element of living greenery will make the space feel more human and welcoming, bringing a sense of the outdoors in.

Photo by Luisa Volpato Interiors 

7. Space to breathe. Lastly, when decorating your small home, don’t forget to leave room for one very important thing: empty space.

Filling every square inch of your walls and flooring with decorative baubles and unneeded furniture leaves the space feeling cluttered and cramped. Let some walls remain empty, and keep lots of circulation space open so you can move about freely and really enjoy the great pieces you have.

 

Source: CB Blue Matter / houzz

 

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, first time buyers, Homeowners, interior decorating, living small, maximizing space, small home, small space | Tagged , , , , , , , ,