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  

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.

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.

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 Are The Advantages To Buying A Home With Cash?

Making a cash offer on a home eliminates the need for bidding wars and gives peace of mind to the buyer and the seller. Here’s why:

If you’re in the market to buy a new home, you may have heard about some of the advantages of buying a home outright with cash. According to research by the National Association of Realtors®, almost a third of all residential sales are cash transactions and more than 70% of properties bought by investors and international buyers are cash transactions as well. So, you may be wondering, what exactly are the advantages to buying a home with cash and how can I make a cash offer?

Preparing yourself to be able to make a cash offer on a home requires patience and self-control. Follow these tips to increase your chances of being able to purchase a home with cash:

  • Set aside any unexpected money that comes in (inheritances, bonuses from work, etc.).

  • Lock your money in a long-term CD to earn interest.

  • Look for homes that you can afford with the money you have (the goal is to not have to borrow).

  • Homes outside of the city limits are likely to be cheaper-look there.

  • Manage your spending habits; don’t make impulse purchases.

  • Ask your family and friends for support and help to keep you spending smart.

Here are just some of the advantages to purchasing a property with cash:

  1. Most sellers favor buyers who can offer cash payment. Sellers don’t have to worry about a cash buyer being approved for loans, so it’s a very reliable choice for the seller. Plus, a cash transaction means a quicker and smoother sale. So, cash buyers have greater negotiating power on price, closing time, repairs, and more.

  2. Some sellers will discount the cost of the property if the buyer pays in full, upfront, with cash.

  3. When using cash, and not a loan, the home-buying process is quickened and becomes much easier for both parties. Without loans, there are no stacks of paperwork to fill out and you don’t run the risk of being delayed for approval.

  4. Cash buyers can save money on closing costs, bank appraisals, mortgage applications and fees, title insurance, and more.

  5. There is no risk of loan denial with cash purchases.

  6. Mortgage interest on a typical 30-year loan can double or even triple the original purchase price of a home. Cash buyers don’t have to pay interest on any loans, so they end up paying much less for their homes in the long run.

  7. Cash buyers are able to save valuable time by eliminating the need to search for the optimal lender (which can be hard to find) and gather the necessary documents for the lender.

  8. Cash buyers have a better sense of security about their home. Paying in full and upfront eliminates the chance of losing your home if you can’t afford to repay mortgage loans. Losing a job, becoming injured, or facing other hardships doesn’t affect the cash buyer’s sense of security-no matter what the circumstances, there is never the risk of losing the home to foreclosure.

  9. Cash buyers gain full, immediate, excellent equity in their home. In the case of any type of financial emergency, homeowners can draw on that equity for quick cash.

  10. Cash buyers are able to avoid mortgage applications, which can often prevent a buyer from being able to afford the home. This can happen when a low appraisal of the home causes the lender to reduce the loan amount offer to the buyer, making it impossible for the buyer to afford the home.

When a buyer purchases a home up front with cash, both they and the seller benefit. Financially and emotionally, cash transactions are beneficial to everyone involved in the transaction. Cash transactions save time and money and allow homeowners to be more secure in their purchase. Cash transactions can, in many cases, take away a lot of the uncertainty associated with buying and selling a home.

For more information on the advantages of buying a home with cash, read the original article from Realtor.com here.

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How To Buy A Home This Summer

The process of buying a home can be daunting and confusing, regardless of whether you’re a first time homebuyer or an experienced homebuyer. Here are the steps you need to take to buy a home in 2013…

1. Find a Lender

First you need to see if you qualify for a home loan and, if you do, how much money you qualify for. You should look at your finances and determine how much you think you can afford, and then meet with a loan officer who will tell you what loan amount you qualify for.

2. Find a Real Estate Agent

Next you should find a real estate agent who is familiar with the housing market in Worthington, and who is experienced in buying the types of homes you’re looking at. Additionally, a real estate agent can help you with writing up an offer once you find a home, negotiating with the seller, and with any questions you have about the homebuying process.

3. Make 3 Lists

To help narrow down your search and to give your real estate agent direction on what houses to send you, make 3 lists.

List 1: Things you HAVE to have and can not live without

List 2: Things you would like to have but are not a deal breaker

List 3: Things you DO NOT want and will not buy a home if it has this

Keep in mind your lists might change, just remember to communicate that with your agent so they can continue to pull the right homes for you to see.

4. Search For Homes Online

Now you can begin the search for your home. You can do some research on your own by checking popular real estate listing sites, such as Zillow or Trulia, and you can also drive around neighborhoods in Worthington and look for “for sale” signs. If you want or need some help in searching for a home, you can ask your agent to suggest homes for you.

TIP: Most real estate websites have a lot of homes for you to search through. You need to know that not all of the information is accurate. Make sure that you talk to your real estate agent if you see a home online.

5. Do some research

The best thing you can do is to educate yourself. Yes, the professionals you hire will help you along the way but to be fully prepared do your research. Start by answering these questions…

– How much can I afford?

– How much am I willing to pay?

– How much does it cost to buy a home? (down payment, inspections, closing costs, etc)

– How long does it take to close on a home?

– What is a “request to remedy”?

– Is it a buyers market or sellers market?

– Are there still “steals” out there?

– Am I willing to do a lot of repairs? If so is a 203k loan right for me?

The list goes on. Just make sure you are financially and mentally prepared for the process!