10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven

Aside

If you’re considering a move, you may be worried about replacing the comfort and support of family and friends you’ll leave behind. Or maybe you’ve completed a move and would like to meet more of your neighbors. We’ll explore 10 ways you can utilize technology to foster in-person connections with your neighbors, make friends and get engaged in your local community.

  1. Join Your Neighborhood’s Social Network
    A growing number of neighborhoods are utilizing private
    social networks like U.S.-based Nextdoor and Canadianbased
    GoNeighbour. These platforms are a great way to
    share neighborhood news, but don’t just use them to
    connect virtually. Extend an invitation to your neighbors to
    attend a block party or a park playdate for families.
  2. Lend A Hand
    Volunteering your time and talents is a great way to meet
    people who share a similar mission. Search for volunteer
    opportunities you’re passionate about at VolunteerMatch.
  3. Attend A Place Of Worship
    Joining a local place of worship is a good way to meet
    people who share your beliefs and values. There are a
    variety of on-line resources available to help you find a
    match in your area.
  4. Find An Interest Group
    Whatever your favorite hobby or pastime, you’re guaranteed
    to meet people who share your interests when you join an
    interest group! The website Meetup.com has over 32 million
    members in 288,000 groups in 182 countries. You can
    search for a group that appeals to you … from book clubs to
    running groups to professional networking, they have it all.
  5. Take A Class
    Develop a skill while meeting people who share your
    interests and passion for learning. Most community
    colleges offer inexpensive classes on a variety of topics. To
    search for one in your area, visit the American Association
    of Community Colleges website or Schools In Canada.com.
  6. Attend An Event
    Search for a live event in your area at Eventbrite –
    eventbrite.com. Be strategic about the type of event you
    choose to attend. For example, it may be harder to meet
    people at a large festival or concert. A retreat or a
    networking event could offer more opportunities for
    one-on-one interaction.
  7. Share Your Stuff
    “Sharing communities” facilitate the free exchange of goods
    among neighbors to reduce consumption and keep usable
    items out of landfills. Nonprofit groups like The Freecycle
    Network – freecycle.org and Little Free Library –
    littlefreelibrary.org are made up of people who are
    giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and
    neighborhoods.
  8. Support A Community Garden
    Not only do community gardens beautify a neighborhood,
    they also foster community, conserve resources and
    reduce family food budgets. Visit the American Community
    Gardening Association website to search for a community
    garden in your neighborhood.
  9. Carpool With A Coworker
    Carpooling presents an opportunity to form a bond with coworkers
    and/or neighbors during your daily commute. A new
    wave of carpooling websites and apps aim to revolutionize the
    way we commute by making it easier and more convenient
    to carpool. Kangaride Local – local.kangaride.com, Scoop –
    takescoop.com and Waze Carpool – waze.com/carpool are
    just a few examples. Check to see if any of these are available
    in your local area.
  10. Participate In World Neighbors Day
    The organizers behind World Neighbors Day promote it
    as “an invitation to share a moment with your neighbors,
    to get to know each other better and develop a real sense
    of community.” Participants are encouraged to organize
    gatherings with their neighbors to build relationships that
    “form the fabric of our communities.” Whatever you do, be
    sure to make your gathering inclusive and welcoming to all.

Be A Good Neighbor As with anything in life, you will get out what you put in. It can take time to build lasting and meaningful friendships with your neighbors, but the effort you make is likely to pay off tenfold. The tried-and-true way to make friends, grow your support system and get engaged in your community? Be a good neighbor yourself.

Are You Considering A Move? I am a local market experts and can help
you find the ideal neighborhood for your hometown haven. Please contact me for
a free consultation!  Search for Homes for Sale  

The secret to good gardening is . . . lasagna?


If you’re considering putting in a new garden and want to keep it as environmentally-friendly as possible, you might want to consider prepping the ground this year and plant next year.

Creating a great garden space can’t just happen overnight. Getting the soil ready for planting a garden takes some time, work, and organic matter to make some garden lasagna.

What is lasagna gardening?

Building your garden soil through a process similar to composting lies at the heart of lasagna gardening. Made popular two decades ago by a book written by Patricia Lanza called – what else? – “Lasagna Gardening.”

Rather than bringing in yards of soil, Lanza reasoned, you build the soil from the ground up by adding alternating layers of nitrogen-rich (green) and carbon-rich (brown) organic matter. The green layer can include grass clippings, kitchen compost, coffee grounds and herbivorous manure. The brown layer includes fallen leaves, straw, newspaper and even shredded cardboard. Each layer should be at least an inch thick.

Making garden lasagna

This is the perfect time of year to start your soil for a new garden. It will take about a year for your soil to be completely ready. The process is simple.

  1. Mark off your garden plot.
  2. Using a shovel, turn over the soil about a foot deep and break up the sod.
  3. Rake all your leftover leaves from the winter into the spot. Better yet, mulch them to create your first brown layer. Save a week’s worth of newspapers and add a bale of straw and you’ve got a pretty good first layer.
  4. Ask your neighbors to catch their first mow grass clippings to add to your first green layer. You may have to buy a couple of bags of manure to get enough to make a good layer.
  5. Don’t compress the layers. You want to make sure your lasagna is getting enough air and water to aid in the breakdown.
  6. PRO TIP: Don’t add more green than brown; your soil will turn acidic.
  7. You can make as few or as many layers as you want.
  8. When you get to the last layer, cover it in brown matter or soil.
  9. Water it down to start the process.
  10. Walk away – for a year – and let nature take its course.

It’s perfectly fine to plant in the decomposing mulch in the first year. By next year, the soil will be perfect.

Looking to buy or sell your home, visit my remax website…and remember I am only a phone call away. Jody Finucan, REALTOR  440 221-6383

Serving Lake County, Geauga County and Cuyahoga County and relocation services around the world.

How to prevent frozen pipes and what to do if a pipe bursts


When the temperature reaches freezing, this can cause the water inside pipes to freeze. As the water freezes, it expands causing the pressure inside the pipes to increase. Frozen pipes is a minor inconvenience; a pipe that bursts is a homeowner’s nightmare.

Water lines are particularly susceptible to freezing when the temperature outside gets cold very quickly because the warmth from your heating system is unable to keep up with the demand the suddenly cold temperatures bring. Homes in more temperate climates are also susceptible when the temperature dips below freezing. Because they are typically warmer, water pipes may not be insulated as well as they should be.

Preventing frozen pipes

  • Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest.
  • Seal any air leaks near the pipes.
  • If there are water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage doors closed.
  • Always remember to drain, disconnect and store garden hoses.
  • Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs.
  • Open the cabinet doors in kitchen and bathroom – this lets warmer air circulate around the plumbing.
  • Maintain thermostat at 55 degrees or higher when you are out of town.
  • If you get a cold snap, turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls allowing a small trickle of water to run during the night.
  • Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts.

If pipes freeze:

  • Thaw a frozen pipe using a good hair dryer. However, avoid using a hair dryer around standing water.
  • Heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around the pipe.
  • When thawing a pipe, start nearer to the faucet and work your way back.
  • Turn on the faucet so water can drip out as the ice melts.
  • If you have one frozen pipe, chances are that you may have more. Check all other faucets in your home.

If pipes burst:

  • Shut off the water at the main valve.
  • Take precautions to avoid electrical shock from being in or near standing water.
  • If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
  • Call a plumber.
  • Take inventory of any damaged property.
  • Contact your insurance agent to help you locate an emergency water mitigation specialist who can dry out the damaged area quickly.

Looking to buy a home or sell your home, visit my RE/MAX website for a home search or great information.

Unusual things that your homeowner’s insurance may cover

Insurance is one of those things you have to buy and hope you never use. Homeowner’s insurance is no different.

If you’re like most homeowners, you never take the time to read the fine print of the policy. This could be costly. There’s a good chance that your loss may be covered. Even something that you think “There’s no way it will be covered.” It just may.

Here are some of those things…

Accidental damage or injury

Most people know that their homeowner’s policy will cover injury or damage that occurs in the home, but many don’t know that your policy can cover things that occur, even outside the realm of your home.

Student property

When your kids go away to college and live in dorms, they’re going to take most of their stuff with them, naturally. Your homeowner’s policy may protect their expensive gadgets such as phones, tablets and computers when they go.

Collections

If you have a really extensive (and expensive) collection, you may have to get additional coverage. But if you have a collection of pigs that people gave you because you’re from Arkansas and lose those mementos in a fire, they should be covered.

Expensive cooking ingredients

If you’re a foodie, you may have ingredients in your kitchen that are both unusual and pricy. The internet makes it possible to buy things like truffles, saffron, cheese, and imported olive oil. If you’re a foodie, make sure to save your receipts, just in case.

Dog bites

You’re hosting a dinner party and the family dog gets excited with all the people around and jumps on a guest and bites her. So if medical treatment is needed, check your policy to see if you’re covered.

Interior designer fees

It’s happened before. A homeowner does a major renovation to their home and just as soon as the project is complete, disaster strikes. Your policy may cover fees you paid to the decorator, not just for the furniture and décor.

Of course, these are just a few examples of what may be covered. Make sure to read your homeowner’s insurance policy, especially the fine print. It’s a good idea to know what’s covered and what isn’t. If you do happen to incur some damage, it never hurts to contact your agent to ask.

Looking to buy a home or need information on selling a home, visit my website for more information.  RE/MAX Traditions

New Year’s resolutions for homeowners

The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one. Many people signify this fresh start with a New Year’s resolution. If you’re a homeowner, here are a few resolutions you may want to consider for your home.

Save energy

There are some simple ways to save energy (and a few bucks). Turning down your thermostat when you’re at work or sleeping is a great first step. A better option is to replace it with a programmable thermostat that will remember to do it for you.

Keep your home safe

Many people install new batteries in their smoke detectors on the day the time changes in the fall and spring. Did you forget? Make it a point to ensure that you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? They are fairly inexpensive and as easy to install as a smoke alarm. While you’re at it, check to make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order.

Help the environment

Whether your community requires it or not, recycling helps the environment and is everyone’s responsibility. Save water by repairing dripping faucets, installing low-flow showerheads, and replacing old toilets with new water saving or dual-flush models. When buying new appliances or electronic equipment, be sure they carry the federal Energy Star seal for energy efficiency.

Save money

Home maintenance projects can help you prolong the life of your home and make things more efficient, and therefore, save you money in the long run. Changing the air filter on your central air unit every month or two helps you save energy and allows your system to run more efficiently. If you still have a standard water heater, draining the tank once a year removes any sediment buildup, which can make it last longer and work more efficiently.

Replacing the driveway: asphalt vs concrete

Whether you’re building a new home or have made the decision to replace your existing driveway, you’re going to face a decision as a homeowner: asphalt or concrete?

Although they are similar, the key differences will tell you whether you should choose asphalt or concrete. Here are the key points to consider what material your new driveway should be.

Price

Asphalt tends to be cheaper, but because it’s made of oil, when the price of oil is high, the cost of your asphalt driveway will be more. That being said, asphalt is more cost-effective than concrete, which means it could be a better choice if your driveway is very long.

Weathering

Asphalt is more desirable in areas where it gets cold because it’s less susceptible to cracking. Concrete offers advantages in warmer climates because it doesn’t get soft like asphalt does.

Longevity

Concrete driveways can last as long as 50 years when proper maintenance is performed. Asphalt, on the other hand, will typically last about 30 years.

Staining

Concrete and asphalt are both prone to staining; however, any discoloration is much less noticeable on the asphalt because it’s dark. The downside is that the oils in an asphalt driveway can be released and stick to the soles of your shoes, which can damage the carpet in your car or the rugs and furniture inside your home.

Aesthetics

Concrete comes in several decorative options. It can be stamped and can come in different colors. Asphalt comes in black.

Installation

Asphalt has the advantage over concrete. Asphalt driveways take about two days to install and you are able to drive on them the day after installation is complete. Installation of concrete driveways can take up to four days to install and you’ll have to wait 5-7 days after the installation is complete to drive on them.

A new driveway is not only functional, it increases the curb appeal of your home. When you make the decision to replace the driveway, make sure to check with the city codes administrator to determine what permits and licenses are necessary. Do your research before choosing a contractor and get several estimates before hiring one

Reasons to List Your Home During the Holidays

Less Competition – Most people will wait until spring and summer to list their home, which means during the winter you will have far less competition than any other time of the year.  Less competition could be more money.

Fewer Showings – Yes, there may be fewer showings, but those buyers that are looking are usually very serious about making a purchase.

The Market –  Today’s interest rates are still very good.  This gives buyers more spending power.  And you as well.

More Time to Get Top Dollar – By marketing your home now you may be able to secure a higher price due to limited homes on the market.  We are seeing more multiple offers than we have in years.

Tax Benefits – By selling now you can have a closing before or after the new year for tax purposes.

Loan Commitment  – During the winter months you and the buyers may be able to obtain a loan commitment quicker.

More Time – Buyers may be looking at homes more during the holidays because of their vacation time.

Bottom line, it is all about supply and demand.  There isn’t a bad time to sell. Home sales take place every day twelve months of a year.  We don’t have a crystal ball to know what inventory levels will be in 3 months, 6 months etc.  We do know that typically many sellers will wait until spring to list their home and with that will increase competition.

Have a questions? Want to know is going on in your market? I am only a phone call away!

Search for a home in the privacy of your home.

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What Homes Are For Sale In Willowick, Ohio?

It’s the perfect time of year to begin searching for a new home. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to start your life, or for the home of your dreams, there is a home for you in Willowick, Ohio. The first thing that you should do is determine what type of home you are looking for, from multi-family to single-family and everything in between. Once you’ve narrowed it down, your search will become easier and you will find the perfect place for you.

Single-family housing is the most common housing style for families.

  • Most suburbs consist of single-family homes.

  • Single-family homes do not connect to adjacent homes; they are stand alone structures.

  • Heating and plumbing systems are not shared between houses-each house has its own system

  • Owning a single-family home gives you more freedom than owning other types of homes

  • Some developments do have standards that your home must meet, but in general, you get to make most decisions about your property.

  • Some single-family homes lack outdoor space, meaning that you will own a small yard, or no yard at all in some cases, especially if you move into a newer development/neighborhood.

Row houses are categorized as single-family homes, but they are usually smaller inside and out than other single-family homes.

  • Row houses all look very much alike

  • These homes often share one or two walls with neighboring houses,

  • Row houses offer less privacy

  • These houses are also usually cost less than other single-family homes

Duplexes are similar to row houses, but offer more privacy.

  • Duplexes share one wall and a roof with one other property

  • The other three sides of a duplex are free, meaning they are not connected to any other buildings

Townhouses

  • Townhomes share one to two walls with adjacent townhomes

  • Residents of townhomes share common areas like parking lots and walkways

  • Residents must pay a fee for the upkeep of common areas

Condominiums are very similar to apartments.

  • Condominiums are connected to many other units, often sharing two walls with other condos

  • Oftentimes, homeowners rent out individual units

  • Residents share common areas like hallways, stairwells, parking lots, elevators, parks, pools, etc.

  • Residents pay a fee for the upkeep of common areas and for regular maintenance costs

Microhouses are very small areas.

  • These are best for a person who lives alone or travels frequently

  • Microhouses are easy to care for

  • Size of the home ranges from a few hundred to a thousand square feet

  • These homes are usually built vertically

  • Appliances in microhouses are smaller than usual appliances to maximize space.

If you’re unsure of what type of housing you need, talk to your real estate agent!

5 Things To Consider When Making An Offer

A pivotal step of the home buying process is the step in which you make an offer on a home. This comes after the housing search and before closing, and its a very important moment. Its important to remember that if you make an offer on a home, and your offer is accepted, you both are in a legally binding contract for the sale/purchase of the home. With that in mind, make sure you’re completely ready to take on the price, upkeep, and general duties of owning a home. Here are 5 important things to consider when making an offer:

1. Can you afford to own a home? Depending on where you’re living now and the home you’re planning on moving into, your monthly payments may go up. In many cases, monthly mortgage payments (for a single family home) are higher than rental payments. Calculate the monthly payments for the new house and make sure you can afford them. On top of that, take into consideration the fact that your electric, gas, and water bills may be higher in a home, that you may have a homeowners association fee to pay, and that as a homeowner, you have to pay for outdoor maintenance. Get a rough idea of what you can afford to spend on a home every month, and then make an offer that is consistent with that information.

2. Can you get approved for a home loan? Many homebuyers, but especially first time homebuyers, cannot afford to buy a home outright, which means that they will need to be approved for a home loan. In order to be approved for a loan, lenders will look at your credit score and history, your current debts, current payments you’re making (on a car, tuition, etc.), and your income. You can get pre-approved for a home loan before you even start your housing search, but being pre-approved does not guarantee that you will actually be approved. To give yourself the best chance at being approved for a home loan, practice good spending habits, make all payments on time (bills, credit cards), avoid frivolous shopping, and make sure you’re bringing in more than you’re spending.

3. Does the home need repaired or updated? Real estate professionals urge buyers to get a home inspection before making an offer on a home. This is because a home inspector can find and warn you about any major or minor problems a home may have that you (and possibly the seller) weren’t aware of. This can include anything from electrical outlets that don’t work to an unstable foundation. Its important to know what the problems of a home are before you get into contract. If there are serious, health or life threatening problems, most buyers will not make an offer; if there are some minor problems, you can ask the seller to repair some as part of your contract (which the seller may or may not agree to). Either way, you’ll know what the home is going to cost you (repairs and all) before you even write up an offer.

4. What are comparable homes in the area selling for? Usually your real estate agent will find this out for you. The agent will give you a comparative market analysis (CMA) which tells you what similar homes in the area have sold for recently. This will give you a good idea of whether the home you’re looking at is over, under, or reasonably priced, which will definitely affect the offer that you make. According to Realtor.com, There is a general rule not to pick the nicest home on the block, because lesser homes gain value from better homes in the neighborhood, so keep that in mind as well.

5. How long will you be staying in this home? Generally, real estate professionals recommend that you plan to stay in a home for at least 5 years if you’re buying. If you’re not prepared to settle in this place for the next 5 years, you probably shouldn’t put money into buying a home. Conversely, if you do plan to stay in the home for 5+ years, its important to assess whether or not a home can meet your growing and changing needs. For instance, if you will have more or less (going off to college, moving out, etc.) kids in the future, is this home going to change with you, or hinder your need to change things?

Keep these 5 tips in mind before you make an offer on a home.

To read more on this topic from Realtor.com, click here.