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Just Moved? 7 Tips for Making Your New Community Feel Like Home

 | Nov 15, 2017

 

Moving into a new house involves more than arranging furniture and getting your kids acclimated to a different school. To feel truly comfortable and settled in another city or state, you'll want to make connections with neighbors and community members.

Sure, it can feel awkward extending a hand to introduce yourself. But if you dive right in, you'll soon get beyond the "new guy" label and feel welcome.

 

 
 

Here are seven ways to settle in after a move and make your new community feel like you've been there for years.

1. Network before you move

It's much easier to go from one friend to two than it is to start from zero, points out Ali Wenzke, a blogger at the Art of Happy Moving.

"Reach out to your network of friends to see if anyone knows someone in your new city ... and then reach out via email and maybe meet up for coffee" once you're there, she suggests.

If you hit it off, great. But if you don't, at least you've met someone who can possibly steer you toward fun things to do in the area—where you can meet your new BFF.

2. Host an open house after you move in

Throwing a party for a bunch of strangers may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it's a great way to meet a ton of new people in one shot. Plus, your neighbors are probably dying to see the inside of the place you just bought.

Make your open house casual and easy by scheduling it for a few hours on a quiet Sunday afternoon and offering simple fare (think beer, chips, apple cider, and brownies). Your new neighbors will have a chance to meet you, and you'll get to hear some news about the community.

3. Venture outside

Still dealing with a ton of cardboard and packing peanuts? Rather than work in the garage, take your box cutter out to the lawn or driveway and break down your boxes outside. Bagging recyclables and tying up cardboard bundles are more fun when you can take a break to chat with passers-by.

Or do a little gardening such as potting hardy mums, raking leaves, or planting bulbs. Time these tasks for when people are picking up kids at the bus stop, and you'll create an easy meet-and-greet opportunity.

4. Hit the local shops

Sure, you'll shop at Target and the other big-box stores for new throw pillows, but make an effort to patronize the smaller shops in town, too. And do the same at restaurants—because who wants to cook after days of unpacking?

Frequent a couple of cafes or diners and get to know the servers and owner by name, suggests David Meek, a broker at Keller Williams Arizona Realty. "Restaurateurs are well-networked members of their community," he points out.

5. Grab the dog's leash

Your pup might be able to run out the back door to exercise, but you can also use it to your advantage when it comes to meeting new people.

"Dogs allow you to make quick and smooth introductions to other pet owners," Meek says. "Plus you'll meet more community members if you hang out at the local dog run."

6. Join a group

Love to fish? Or is pottery your jam? Indulging in a hobby might not be top of mind right after a big move, but now's the time to make yourself have a little fun. Try a site such as Meetup.com to find folks with similar interests.

In Phoenix, "hiking is really popular here and there are hundreds of Meetups on the trails for singles, seniors, and beginners," Meek says.

Michael Kelczewski, a Delaware- and Pennnsylvania-based Realtor® with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby's International, is a fan of the social network Nextdoor.com. "And many homeowners associations have websites and Facebook groups you can join," he adds.

Or sign up for your local CSA, or community-supported agriculture, suggests Jill Ginsberg, a licensed salesperson with Bohemia Realty in New York City. "You'll get to meet new people and support local farmers at the same time," she adds.

7. Stuff some mailboxes

Theresa Jones, a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway in San Diego who's moved a half-dozen times in the past decade, suggests putting together a fun letter or postcard.

"Write a little bit about your family in the note and then leave it in your new neighbors' mailboxes," she says. You'll spread the news of your arrival and inform people of your contact info.

Or bake a batch of your house specialty and share it, suggests Lorrie Cozzens, communications manager at Help-U-Sell Real Estate. "Pick up inexpensive containers and make little gifts to drop off as you introduce yourself," she says.

 

big sky subtlety from Homes by Design Magazine

by Homes by Design Magazine

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Home By Design

big sky subtlety

A Montana Ranch Makes a Big Impact with Subtle Details

WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER PHOTOGRAPHY

For Lisa Kanning, it’s all about the details. And when it came to her clients’ sprawling Montana alpine ranch situated on 160 acres, creating interest beyond the breathtaking setting was of the utmost importance. “I love to design a home so that when someone walks into a room, it takes them a few minutes to really take it all in,” says the Brooklyn-based designer. “I want them to notice little details every single time they enter that space; things that they didn’t recognize before. It’s all about creating this new experience every time you’re in that room.”

Which was exactly the approach Kanning took when creating the interiors for the 10,000-square-foot modern mountain home located in the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club, a 13,600-acre private residential community. Anchored by a statement piece, each room seamlessly works in tandem with another but still maintains its own personality. “I love to add one prominent item in each space and then build around it with smaller, textural details,” explains Kanning, who was inspired by the sleek, modern interiors of New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel for this particular project.

The foyer sets the tone for Kanning’s subtle aesthetic with a rug inset into the Montana moss stone flooring. “It immediately defines that space when you walk in,” she says. An adjacent mudroom boasts floor-to-ceiling cowhide panels on the wall complemented by rustic, hammered metal hooks that serve as extra character but also functional design. Though the home is modern in context, with its clean lines in the furnishings and accessories, Kanning didn’t want to detract from the organic elements that are the foundation for the home’s design. To highlight the earthy details, Kanning showcased them in a more modern way. In the media room, logs were cut in one-inch-thick circles and then hung on the wall in lieu of a traditional wall covering. Though it’s not subtle in its appearance, the wall feels natural amongst the more modern elements in the room and creates that textural detail that Kanning strives for in her projects.

 

While Kanning loves to adhere details to the walls of a home—especially in this home where organic textures such as cowhide, leather, and white birch adorn the blank spaces— she never forgets to address the ceilings. “The ceiling is one of the most under-utilized design elements in a home,” she says. Which is exactly why nearly every ceiling in this home boasts an oftentimes subtle design detail. Locally sourced, reclaimed wood beams run throughout several of the rooms; however, it’s in the empty spaces that Kanning put her magic to work by adding wall coverings and textured paneling to create interest. In the game room, a modern woven leather vinyl complements the rustic wood beams while in the lounge area, which functions as the casual entertaining and dining area of the home, Kanning added an ultra-suede wall covering to the ceiling. This choice immediately softens the space and creates a warmer, more comfortable place to relax with friends.

In addition to the details, it was important to Kanning that the home age well with her clients. With children grown and out of the house, the clients wanted it to be a home that was not trendy but suitable for their lifestyle as they age. By mixing those organic textures and finishes with more modern surfaces such as slate-gray concrete counters and minimally detailed cabinetry in the kitchen with more contemporary light fixtures throughout, the resulting product is an interior that transcends time. “It’s truly one of those aesthetics that can grow with a homeowner over the years,” says Kanning.

While the main house is now complete, the homeowners continue to expand on their land—a helipad, horse barn, and fishing shack to name a few of the additions. “These clients are so savvy and knew exactly what they wanted,” says Kanning. Lucky for them, their designer knew how to implement the look they wanted without it feeling over-the-top trendy. “We really just had the same vision from the very beginning,” says Kanning, “which made this process so enjoyable.”

Big Sky Subtlety

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Happy Valentines Day!

by JoAnn Gadkowski Team

Happy Valentines Day from the JoAnn Gadkowski Team.

Image result for hearts and houses

We LOVE where we live!

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5 Reasons It'll Pay to Sell Your Home Early in 2018

 | Jan 10, 2018

 

It's been nearly a decade since the Great Recession delivered the worst housing crash in modern memory. But these days, the fallout feels squarely in the rearview mirror. Markets have bounced back with fervor, and confidence is skyrocketing: From Charlotte, NC, to Stockton, CA—and everywhere in between—homes are flying off the market at record prices, and buyers are still clamoring to get in the game.

One thing is clear: It's a great time to be a seller.

"We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation, as well as an inventory shortage that resulted in a record low number of homes for sale across the country," says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®.

In other words: Today's buyers are exhausted. And in many cases that means they're willing to sacrifice to get a toehold in the market.

 

Sounds like the stuff of seller's dreams, right? But know this: If you plan to sell in 2018—and you want to unload your home quickly and for maximum money—your window of opportunity may be rapidly narrowing. Here's why you should get moving ASAP.

1. Rates are still historically low, drawing buyers into the market

We may not be enjoying the rock-bottom interest rates of yore, but by historical standards, today's 30-year mortgage rates—hovering just above 4%—are still low. And experts agree mortgage credit will remain relatively cheap for most of the year.

That means the getting's still good for buyers—and, subsequently, for sellers looking to unload their homes.

But rates are on the rise, and it's been widely predicted that they'll reach 5% before year's end. Buyers know that the longer they wait to buy, the more expensive it will be.

Roughly translated, that means you'd be wise to list your home earlier in the year, before more rate hikes kick in. Not only will you capture the market of buyers scurrying to close a deal, but if you're buying after you sell, you'll also benefit from those lower rates.

2. Inventory remains tight—and demand high

Simply put, there are more buyers than available homes—particularly in red-hot markets where land is scarce and it isn't cheap to build.

And the housing shortage will likely get worse before it gets better: Realtor.com data predict inventory will remain tight in the first part of this year, reaching a 4% year-over-year decline by March.

Sellers, that means this is your opportunity to be wooed. Buyers, their choices limited, are going to great lengths (and making some major concessions) to win the house, says Katie Griswold, a Realtor® with Pacific Sotheby's in Southern California.

"We're in a very favorable seller's market," she says. "We're seeing bidding wars—which push up prices—and buyers are submitting offers with very pro-seller terms, like forgoing the repair request or waiving the appraisal contingency."

And cash investors are in the mix, too, accounting for 22% of all home sales transactions in November 2017 (up from 20% in October), according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Those cash buyers are snapping up homes in an already tight market and keeping some first-time buyers at bay (sorry, buyers!). But if you're selling, you stand a better shot at an all-cash offer—one you just might be crazy to refuse.

Of course, there's a catch: Inventory levels are predicted to begin rising in the fourth quarter, marking the first inventory gain since 2015 and setting the stage for more dramatic housing gains to come. So if you're thinking of selling, start preparing now in order to walk away with a sweet paycheck.

3. Home prices are still increasing

From coast to coast, home prices continue to rise—which translates to more money in your pocket when you sell.

But the gains are predicted to be more moderate than in years past. Realtor.com data suggest a 3.2% increase year over year, after finishing 2017 with a 5.5% year-over-year increase.

Bottom line: You still stand to make a pretty profit if you sell this year, but the earlier you can list, the better off you'll be.

4. People have more money in their pocket

Record levels of consumer confidence, low unemployment, and stock market surges are setting the stage for high home buyer turnout in 2018. For the first time since the 1960s, the Fed has projected that the unemployment rate will drop below 4%, and the domestic stock market is enjoying a nearly unprecedented rally.

The housing market is already reflecting this boom: Existing-home sales soared 5.6% in November 2017 (the most recent month for which data are available) and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the NAR.

"Incomes are growing and people are finding better and more stable jobs," Vivas says. Buyers "are feeling pretty good about (their) finances."

And thanks to the GOP tax legislation, which nearly doubles the standard deduction, we'll see fewer people itemizing, says National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

"The income effect of that is that most people are getting a tax cut—which should help (buyer) demand," Dietz says.

All of these factors combined mean more buyers could be on the hunt, with more money in their pockets to shell out on a home for sale—possibly yours!

5. Millennials are ready to commit

Millennials, often crippled by student debt, have been especially hampered by rising interest rates and high home prices.

But the aforementioned conditions are ripe in 2018 for these first-time buyers to take the plunge, and experts predict that millennials will make up a vital part of the buyer pool over the coming year: Millennials could account for 43% of home buyers taking out a mortgage in 2018 (a 3% year-over-year increase), according to realtor.com data.

"As people move into their 30s, they're looking to move from renting to homeownership," Dietz says. "And we predict that trend will continue even more this year."

More home buyers flooding the market can only mean good things for sellers—at all price points.

 
Based in San Diego, Holly Amaya is a writer, lawyer, and communications strategist. She writes about real estate, legal, lifestyle, motherhood, and career issues.
 

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JoAnn Gadkowski Team
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rocky Mountain Realtors
660 Southpointe #200
Colorado Springs CO 80906
719-339-8909

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