Finding A Neighborhood With Great Schools

If you have children, or even if you don’t yet but plan to in the future, schools are something you will need to take into consideration when you search for a new home.  In most areas, certain boundaries define which schools your children will go to, and switching to a different school can be complicated and expensive in many cases.

Fortunately, finding a great neighborhood with good quality schools is not difficult, thanks to the internet.  Online ratings and reviews of schools can help you to make the right call when it comes to finding a home that will offer your children a quality education.

Start With The District

The first thing you should look into is which school district you are considering moving into.  Find out if the schools in that district tend to be highly rated, and what kind of test scores are generally seen among students in the district schools.  All of this information is readily available online.

The school district Web site will be able to tell you which school your children would go to if you were to buy a particular house.  There is usually a boundary map you can check, or you can enter your address and search to find out which school is the right one.

Check The Reviews

The internet allows people to review everything from appliances to doctors—and schools are no exception.  Search for your school of choice online and you will find plenty of reviews from parents whose children have attended the school.  Getting an unbiased opinion of the school will help you to get an idea of what you can expect.

When You Love The Neighborhood, But Not The School

If you really want a particular house in a particular neighborhood, but aren’t too happy with the schools, you can look into your other options.  Most school districts have a system by which you can choose to send your child to a different school.  This usually involves either particular needs that can’t be met by the in-area school, or a fee or lottery system to allow your child to attend the school of your choice.  Find out what the rules are in your school district.

Your other option is to look into private schools.  This is, of course, the more expensive choice, but should you select a private school you will have the freedom to live wherever you like, without worrying about what school your child will be slotted to attend.

 

Five Things You Should Put In Storage While Selling Your Home

When your home is on the market but you are still living there, you can’t very well make it a model show home.  Still, there are a few things you should think about putting in storage while your home is for sale in order to make it as appealing as possible to buyers.  Here are the top five things you should consider putting out of sight.

Excess Family Photos

Buyers want to picture themselves in the house, and a slew of family photos hung all over the place can make that difficult.  If all they can see is you and your family, they won’t be able to easily envision their own family there.

Your Liquor Cabinet

A nice wine rack or a few bottles displayed near the wet bar are fine, but if you keep a lot of liquor in the house put it somewhere out of sight.  While it may seem illogical, buyers who share different lifestyle views might be put off by it.

Your Pet’s Toys

Chewed up tennis balls, smelly stuffed animals, and half-digested bones are part of life with a dog, but people coming to see your house will find it unattractive.  It will also tell them your pet has the run of the house, and they will wonder what damage might have been done.

Signs Of Repairs

Put away the plunger and similar items when you are selling.  It will prevent buyers from wondering if something is wrong with the plumbing, even if you only keep it around as a precaution.

Anything That Clutters A Room

So the extra bedroom is used as an office/exercise room/guest bedroom?  Versatility is great, but all that stuff in there will just look like there isn’t enough space in the house for everything you—or a buyer—needs.  Get rid of the exercise equipment and the desk, and leave the guest bed.  Extra bedrooms are more of a selling point than an office or exercise room.

It might be annoying to have to put some of your personal items away while you sell your home, but it can mean a faster sale and a larger profit.  Buyers need to see a home as a place where they can live, not the place where you live.

 

Ways To Reduce Your Heating Bill

When the temperature outside begins to fall, our heating bills quickly start to rise.  For many homeowners, keeping their house warm in the winter means paying a hefty heating bill.  Luckily, there are some ways to help reduce those costs and keep a little extra cash in your pocket for a rainy (and warmer) day.

Don’t Be Shade-y

Even though it may be cold outside, the sun still tries to peak through on occasion.  When it does, make sure to open your curtains and/or blinds in order to welcome the sun’s heat into your home.  This will help to add a touch of warmth to help keep your heating costs down.  After all, the time for seeking shade from the sunlight is in the summer.

Cool It

Did you know that the settings on your water heater could be affecting your heating bill?  It’s true.  Check your owner’s manual or ask a local expert about the ideal settings for your water heater which, if turned down, may still be able to heat your water adequately while reducing your heating bill.

Insulation Information

Insulation is used to maintain your home’s temperature.  Some houses, especially older ones, may require additional insulation to keep the cold air out during the winter and the warm air in.  The latter is especially important if your goal is to lower your heating bills.  Check with a local insulation professional about upgrading or replacing your outdated insulation.

Temperature Control

Turning the thermostat down when the house is empty or at night (when you can snuggle up under the covers) will help to reduce your heating costs.

Window Woes

If you feel a cold draft near your windows, chances are good that it isn’t the only direction that the air is flowing.  Specifically, air leaks or gaps in your window can cause the warm air to leave your home, which can result in a rising heat bill.  If you notice a draft, use caulk to seal the area or hire a professional to repair any cracks or imperfections that may be causing an airflow problem.

Now that you know how to keep your heating costs down, it’s important to note a certain amount of fresh air must be able to enter the home in order to prevent a buildup of moisture, which could lead to mold during the winter.  In other words, don’t prevent a natural airflow by making your home excessively airtight.

 

What Season Is Best To Sell?

So you are ready to sell your house, but you look out the window and see several feet of snow on the ground.  Should you bother putting your house on the market in the winter, or should you wait until spring?  Is there a better season in which to sell your home?  The answers to these questions depend on a few basic factors.

Where You Live

In a place where the climate is very cold in the winter, it can be wise to wait until spring to sell, because fewer buyers will be venturing out to look at homes.  In an area where the sun shines year round, weather is not a concern, and people will have no trouble coming out to see your house.  This doesn’t mean, however, that season doesn’t matter in a warm climate!  It can still affect how many potential buyers will come out and the odds of selling.

Watch Out For The Holiday Slump

People are usually too busy from Thanksgiving through Christmas to spend much time house hunting, and in January they are often recovering financially from holiday over-spending.  Most experts will recommend that you avoid listing your home until after the worst of the holiday slump in the market is over and people are looking to buy again.  This is true no matter what the climate!

Particulars Of Your Home

If your home is near a high school, you might want to consider selling in the summer when things nearby are a bit quieter.  The noise and traffic of the school year might put some buyers off.  If your home is near a lot of fun winter activities, this might actually be a selling point that will be highlighted better in the winter months.  Looking for these details of your area and capitalizing on them will help you to get your home sold.

The season does matter when it comes to home buying, and spring is usually a good time to list.  Your REALTOR® can help you to determine what season makes the most sense for listing in your particular case, providing you with market information in your area and helping you pinpoint the particulars of your home that make it appealing in a specific season.