Moving to Your Family’s New Home

Moving to a new home can be a challenging time, but when your household includes children, that challenge can be magnified. From leaving behind friends to experiencing a new neighborhood, children typically have a lot of concerns when it comes to a move.

Here are a few things you can do in the weeks leading up to a move as well as moving day itself, to ensure a smoother transition for every member of the household:

Create a moving binder

Use a brightly colored binder with sleeve protectors to keep copies of all your important papers, such as birth certificates and rental or mortgage agreements. The bright color will help keep the binder within easy sight and you will feel much more organized during moving day and the days surrounding it.

Purge and pack

In the months and weeks leading up to a move, clean closets and get rid of clutter. Donate unused items or make a bit of change by selling them on eBay. Younger household members can be guided into giving up toys that no longer fit their age or hold their interest.

Bag it up

Both quart- and gallon-sized plastic bags with zip closure can be extremely useful in keeping smaller items sorted. Every family member can use a supply of plastic bags in both sizes. Encourage children to begin organizing their things in the weeks leading up to the move. The see-through characteristic of the baggie make unpacking and organizing all these small items a snap at your new home.

Take a picture of your TV wiring

Unless you don’t have a DVD player, speakers or gaming console, you will probably want to get a quick picture of the wires running in and out of your television and other electronics. Those pictures will be invaluable when you are ready to set up your entertainment area in your new home to keep kids occupied while you unpack.

Set up lessons, camp and daycare

Select new activity and childcare providers well ahead of your moving day and then have the proper applications completed and returned. This enables children to get into their new routine without further interruption.

Find new physicians and transfer records

Look for a new pediatrician, dentist and other healthcare providers in your new area if you are moving too far to continue with the current clinics. Be sure to have all healthcare records transferred. While it is unlikely someone will get injured or seriously ill on moving day, you do not want to be scrambling to find a doctor in the middle of a minor emergency.

Throw a goodbye party

Remember that moving time is a stressful one for younger members of the household as well. Ease the anxiety of leaving old friends behind and venturing into unknown territory by throwing a going away party for the family. Children can invite their closest friends, while adults have one more opportunity to socialize before heading down the road.

 

10 Pros and Cons of Living in a Gated Community

Gated communities have pros and cons that should be carefully considered before you buy.

Real estate gated communities are widely considered to be the crowning point of luxury living. Gated communities offer privacy and security, as well as other benefits.

But what are the cons to living in a gated community? Is it for you?

Manned vs. Unmanned Gated Communities

The entrance/exit gates at gated communities come either manned or unmanned. This refers to whether a person is stationed at the gate to check visitor IDs or whether visitors and residents enter a code into an electronic device to open the gate.

One pro of living in a manned gated community included advance notification that a guest is on their way to your home.

In a manned gated community, there are two entrance lanes — one for visitors and guests, and one for residents.

  • Guests need to present identification, and the guard would then call the resident to confirm that the guest should be allowed in.
  • Residents would have either a decal on their vehicle that opens the gate automatically as they enter, or they would enter a private gate code.

The added security of identification verification and the authorization process increases the feeling of safety for anyone who may feel vulnerable, such as elderly people, celebrities or wealthy families with valuables in the home, or even families with young children.

Knowing that regular traffic and strangers can’t drive through the neighborhood is a huge bonus.

The cons of manned gated community in general include having to put your frequent visitors through the authorization ordeal every time they come to visit.

Even service personnel have to stop and show ID.

Unmanned communities with gate codes are less secure, but they do offer an easier alternative to navigate the security system.

  • The upside is that the code can be given to your frequent visitors, such as your best friend, parents and siblings.
  • The downside is that the code could potentially fall into the wrong hands, since your neighbors can give out their code to outsiders, as well.

Behavior Control in a Gated Community

Most gated communities would never call their rules and restrictions behavior control, but in essence, that’s often why the rules are there. Those who invest extra real estate dollars into living in a gated community want to know that their neighbors will help keep the value of the neighborhood up and thereby protect their investment.

As such, gated communities often come with a set of additional by-laws that control and help to regulate undesired behavior in the neighborhood.

Gated community rules commonly include things like:

  • Owner vans and trucks with logos have to be parked inside the garage, not outside.
  • Lawns and driveways have to be meticulously maintained or owners can be fined.
  • No garage workshops can be used with the garage door open to the street.
  • All mailboxes must be uniform. No individual mailbox styles allowed.
  • Trash cannot be put out until a certain time. Trash barrels must be stored inside garage.
  • Vehicles cannot be parked on the lawn at any time.

Community guidelines such as these work to keep up the appearance of the neighborhood.

Real estate gated communities frequently offer extra amenities, too, such as tennis and pool facilities. However, gated communities aren’t for everyone. Before you buy into one, evaluate your ideal lifestyle to make sure a gated community is right for you.

Moisture Matters: How-to detect Humid Areas at Home

Find out how to check your home for water damage, and locate every home’s problem areas.

Households get wet, and a moisture-free lifestyle isn’t possible in any home. Boiling water, heaters, baths, rain and daily activities can introduce moisture to your home, and it’s important to check your house’s walls for wetness regularly.

Of course, your home’s foundation and built-in materials reduce moisture, but long-term damages can occur behind closed doors. Mold, residue, weakened structures and soaked walls are possibilities in un-checked areas. As you scope your home for potential damages, you’ll need to ensure its protection from mold, rot and wet-related damages.

Check out the following moisture detection strategies, you won’t regret it:

Strategy One: Check the Walls

Sometimes, visual indication is enough. Look at your walls, and check them for the following “moisture indicators”:

  • Yellowing wallpaper
  • Rounded surfaces
  • Mildew growth
  • Peeling paint

Often, wet wall interiors will reveal themselves at the surface.

Pay close attention to your interior’s wall structure, and be sure to contact a professional at first sight of a misaligned surface. While peeling paper may, indeed, be peeling paper, trapped moisture should be dealt with quickly.

Strategy Two: Check for New Paint

If you’re in a new home, newly painted walls can be a dead moisture giveaway. A lot of leaving homeowners cover up problem areas, so as to reduce expenses and speed up the move-out process.

Unfortunately, their negligence can be your problem.

Check for newly painted walls. Chances are, off-color areas are hiding water damage. Sometimes, the damage is minimal. Other times, however, it can hide deeper problems only to be revealed by home inspectors.

Strategy Three: Locate Buckling Floors

Buckling walls and floors are clear signs of moisture damage. If you can feel a raised surface as you walk over it, it’s likely containing long-term water damage. Floor-based water damage normally occurs in bathrooms, where shower and sink leaks accumulate over time.

Other house areas can experience floor-based water damage, too.

Check your corners after a storm during home inspection, and examine window and door thresholds every springtime. Sometimes, water damage comes and goes, rearing its head following harsh weather conditions.

Strategy Four: Sweep the Basement

‘Sweep,’ here, refers to intensive checking. If your home has a moisture problem, it’ll surface in the basement first. Your basement is your home’s lowest point and moisture will collect in-wall leaks and residue first.

While your home foundation’s surrounding ground will soak up most of its excess moisture, structural-based leaks will almost always land in your basement. Check your basement for sewer, pipe and wall leaks. Even a small leak can reveal pipe problems from above.

Strategy Five: Examine the Ceiling

Particularly, check any ceiling sharing a floor with your bathroom. Bubbling ceilings, when located beneath pipes, tile and water basins, reveal water damage. If your ceiling is flaking and bubbling, don’t wait. Likely, your bathroom’s tub area has sprung a leak. These areas, heavily tiled, rarely reveal water damage on the surface. If you’ve sprung a leak, the floor below will reveal it first.

Remember to check your home for water damage regularly. Sometimes, water damage occurs quickly during storms. Other times, your foundation and walls “soak up” moisture until fully saturated, reveal sources like The Department of Energy.

You might have a moisture problem far before you see it—so keep a constant lookout, and always discuss potential problems with your home inspector.

 

Real Estate Technology: Keeping Up?

Competitive real estate agents understand that they need to follow the latest technology trends to keep up with their clients

Every savvy real estate agent understands that one critical cornerstone of success in the modern real estate market lies in the adoption of the most current technology. The sharpest agents know that modern technology is as much a moving target as their clients are.

Once, and not so long ago, a real estate broker’s website was the key to reaching prospective property buyers and sellers, but — while still useful — that is not nearly as important now.

The combination of new technology and prospective clients’ demand for new and increasingly functional technology drive the way realtors do business.

And while real estate agents generally place themselves at their clients’ service, it now seems more critical than ever to stay in lockstep with each digital innovation available for their tech-savvy property buyers and sellers.

The right software can help speed up real estate transactions and keep everyone involved happy… Here are a few modern takes on the age-old business of real estate:

  • Digital Signature Solutions

    Given the fact that buying and selling properties often involves a move to or from a new location — and sometimes before each client finds a buyer or the right home — providing an effective and reliable software package to facilitate digital signature solutions will make clients take notice.

  • Online Real Estate Industry Forms

    Forms such as real estate agreements that are available via a mobile app or the real estate agent’s website that clients can work on digitally will offer more convenience and better legibility, so everyone involved benefits from this advancement. Appraisal forms and closing documents are additional forms that could expedite the property buying and selling process.

  • Smartphone-Based Home Listing Services

    Many realtors now rely on their smartphones for the bulk of their business since they are often away from their desks. One exciting solution to this end builds mobile lead generation and automated property solutions to serve real estate brokerages and their sales teams to reach new clients and keep them continually informed about critical properties and buyers.

  • Online Marketplaces That Connect Buyers and Realtors

    Once all the players have connected for this key part of the home buying process, hopeful home buyers can find out whether they qualify for a loan in an instant while also finding solutions to ease the financial burden that comes with buying a home.

  • Virtual Reality Home Tours

    Distance-based home buyers can get a more in-depth view of a prospective home with a 3D home tour. Auction.com notes that prospective buyers will gain a true sense of the property with this type of tour.

While there are some aspects of realty that remain static and relatively predictable for realtors, such as the basic premise of selling a property to an interested buyer, many other features change at a rapid pace.

Smart, successful real estate agents will have no trouble staying up-to-date as long as they listen to their clients’ demands and are able to communicate in a way clients understand…

5 Red Flags Any Home Inspector Will Find

Before buying a home, make sure you have an inspection. Watch for these five red flags in your report from your home inspector.

Before buying a home, you will need to pay for a home inspection from a qualified inspector.

Home inspectors know what to look for to ensure that the home is in good shape, without any hidden problems that might make it a costly purchase for you down the road.

They will look beyond the cosmetic side, which you can clearly see, to inspect the structure and overall condition of the home. Often, the inspection report will come back with a laundry list of “problems,” and not all of these are a cause for concern.

However, if you see any of these five red flags, you may want to consider either walking away from the home, or asking for a deep discount on the purchase price.

1. Pests Living in the Attic

Pests are a real headache to get rid of, and some pests, like termites, can cause serious structural damage. If your home inspector finds evidence of pests, do not purchase the home until you have talked to a pest control expert to see if there is an easy solution.

For termites and other wood-eating pests, you also must ensure that the structure of the home has not been compromised.

2. Mold and Mildew

Mold is a serious health risk, causing respiratory and immune system problems for people who are exposed to mold spores on a regular basis. Home sellers are required to disclose known mold, but sometimes they will not know that mold is growing in attics, in crawl spaces and behind walls.

Home inspectors know how to look for not only signs of mold, but also areas where mold growth is likely. If your home inspector suspects a mold problem, you may want to think twice about buying the home.

3. Toxic Materials in the Home

Lead paint, Chinese drywall and asbestos, sometimes found in older homes, contain toxic materials that can lead to illness and overall immune system problems, even an increased cancer risk. If your inspector finds signs that one of these is present in the home, talk to an expert to see what risk it poses to your family before buying the home.

You may ask the seller to remove the offending item before you buy the home.

4. Outdated Wiring and Appliances

Home inspectors know how to inspect wiring for problems, and outdated wiring is a risk you probably don’t want to take on. Outdated wiring or wiring that is not properly installed represents a fire risk.

Overloaded circuits, improperly grounded wires and poorly installed electrical items can lead to a fire, and you do not want to buy a home with a known fire risk.

5. Roof Problems = Expensive

Roof problems don’t put your safety at risk necessarily, but if you have a serious roof problem it will be expensive to repair. Make sure your home inspector checks the roof thoroughly, and not just from the ground.

You need to know if the roof will need repair in the near future so that you can make a wise purchase decision as you prepare to buy your home.

As you can see, home inspectors are invaluable in the home buying process. Choose a good one, so you get a thorough picture of what the home is really like underneath the surface.