Five Things to Do Before You Move

Get ready to move

Get ready to move

When you decide to move, it can be hard to keep track of all the details. You’re concerned with so many different things, but you want to be sure you don’t forget these essential tasks of moving.

  1. File a Change of Address

You must contact the post office and file a change of address form to have your mail forwarded to your new address. It usually takes about 7-10 days for the change to go through. Be sure to also let your bank or any other institutions sending you mail know you have a new address.

  1. Cancel Utilities

Contact your utility providers to let them know when you’re leaving your current address. You don’t want to be charged for utilities if you’re not living in the home. If you’re planning a local move, you may be able to just transfer the account to a new address.

  1. Complete Repairs

It’s especially important if you’re leaving a rental to do a final walk through of your living space. You want to try and get the entirety of your security deposit returned. Check the walls and cabinets for any scuffs or marks that require paint.

  1. Determine How You Plan on Moving

Make sure you plan ahead of time on how you’re planning on moving. Do you need to rent a moving truck, or will you be able to fit everything into your vehicle? If you’re moving to a different state or city, you may want to hire professional movers to load and unload your belongings for you.

  1. Packing Essential Items

Don’t be scrambling through everything you packed looking for an item you desperately need. On the day of the move keep essential items in easily accessible locations. You want to be sure to have plenty of toiletries, water and food readily available when you arrive at your new home.

Find more tips to help you prepare if you are selling your home and moving.

Posted in Buying, Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Forget about Property Taxes!

Property Tax Time

Property Tax Time

Many first time buyers don’t take into account the cost of property tax on their new home and are surprised by their first tax bill. Make an informed decision when buying a home by understanding these property tax basics.

What are Property Taxes?

Property taxes vary from home to home, and are used to pay for various government programs like schools, libraries and emergency services. Property taxes are based on the market value of the home, not the price you paid for it.

How are the Taxes Assessed?

A home value assessment is usually conducted at the time of sale by a government tax assessor. You should ask the seller when the last assessment was done and what value the home was given. Be prepared for tax assessors to stop by throughout the year, especially if you’ve made improvements to your home.

Am I Eligible for Any Deductions?

There are several deductions applicable to property tax. There are deductions for military personnel, senior citizens and energy efficient homes. Deductions vary by location so the best thing to do is talk to a real estate agent to determine your options.

You can find the annual tax due for homes you are considering purchasing on the Mel Foster website. Just look under general features in the description of the home listing.

Posted in Financing, First Time Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Create the Perfect Sunroom

Sunroom Elements

Creating a sunroom

The hours of daylight are starting to get shorter with the approach of fall. Soak up all the sun you can by creating a sunroom in your home with these elements.

  1. Comfortable Furniture

Your sunroom should be a second living room. Having a nice area rug or cushioned furniture is a great way to make the space more comfortable. Try to pick natural colors to go with the natural light in the room.

  1. Environmental Controls

Add a space heater or ceiling fan to your sunroom to create a comfortable temperate. And don’t forget you should run your ceiling fan in the winter to push the warm air down. Just reverse the fan’s direction for winter use. If you’re considering a larger investment, adding a fireplace will create a room you can use even when there’s snow on the ground.

  1. Privacy Shades

It’s nice to be able to see out and enjoy the view, but it’s even nicer to have an option for privacy if you want it. Shades or window treatments also keep the room cooler or warmer depending on the season and sunshine.

  1. Greenery

No sunroom is complete without plant life. Even low maintenance plants will make you feel like you’re out in nature. If you have more of a green thumb, you can put multiple types of plants with vibrant colors in your sunroom. As a transitional space between your home and the outdoors, the sunroom needs to have thriving plants.

Want more ideas for your sunroom? Check out this weekend’s open houses.

Posted in How To For Owners, Staging & Decorating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mel Foster Co. is Local and Global

We're Local. We're Global.

We’re Local. We’re Global.

Mel Foster Co. is proud to be a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (Leading RE), an organization that pairs buyers with the top real estate agencies around the globe. If you’re moving to a new city, state, or even country, Mel Foster Co. can help you find your perfect home through the LeadingRE network of agents.

The biggest benefit to buyers is starting the process with Mel Foster Co., a local, familiar company to help you take the next step to find a home in a potentially unfamiliar place. Whether you’re planning on moving for a new job or just needing a fresh start some place new, Mel Foster Co.’s relocation specialists can help you expedite the home search process. Mel Foster Co. can help you with questions about currency exchange, required documentation and any other information you need to relocate internationally.

Mel Foster Co. relocation experts will connect you with an agent who is familiar with the area you’re moving to and put you in direct contact with them. By communicating with a LeadingRE member, you’ll be starting your home search on the right track. Through LeadingRE, you can view thousands of properties around to globe, and also see what life is like in different countries. LeadingRE partners offer firsthand knowledge of multiple cities around the world and can tell you what to expect when living there. If you’re thinking of moving out of the area, contact Mel Foster Co.’s relocation department for help getting connected to your new community.

Posted in Relocation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Housing Shortage Benefits Sellers

Housing Shortage Benefits Sellers

Now is the time to sell

It’s currently a seller’s market, with housing supply down significantly in the local area. The shortage of inventory is the main reason why sellers are doing so well in the current market and getting higher offers for their property. Plenty of homebuyers are demanding homes, but don’t have as many options to choose from as they did in the past. Low demand simply means higher sales prices.

In the U.S. roughly 900,000 new homes are available for sale per year, but the demand is for approximately 1.5 million homes. This shortage in the supply of homes gives sellers the advantage when putting their home on the market. Combined with low interest rates, this shortage of housing supply is causing many homes to be sold quickly and competitively, often at a higher than market value price.

Housing experts speculate the shortage will continue for at least four more years even if home construction numbers increase. The supply can’t keep up with demand now that millennials are the largest home buying group in America. The large unmet demand for housing is continuing to grow with no signs of slowing down.

Curious what your home might be worth? Click here to connect with an agent and receive a competitive market analysis.

Posted in Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Energy Saving Tips

Cool Energy Savings Tips

Cool Energy Savings Tips

With the weather heating up, it’s tempting to crank up the air conditioning. Unfortunately, this will also crank up your energy bill, so follow these tips to stay cool and save money.

  1. Clean or Replace Air Conditioner Filters

Be sure your cooling system is running at peak efficiency. If your filters are dirty and blocked, you’ll be using more energy and getting less cool air. Cleaning the filters won’t only result in cleaner air, but also a more efficient system. You’ll be breathing cooler and cleaner air for less money.

  1. Keep Windows and Blinds Opened and Closed at the Right Time

Keeping the blinds and windows closed when the sun is beating down is an extremely easy way to keep your home cooler. But if you like having fresh air, try to only open windows at night or in the early morning before the heat and humidity rise. Having the windows open rather than running the A/C a no cost way to keep your home a little cooler while still enjoying the summer weather.

  1. Only Use Air Conditioning if you are Home

It might be refreshing to always come home to nice cool house, but running air conditioning 24/7 can be very expensive. Turning off the air while you’re at work will end up saving you money each month. Many thermostats have scheduling features or smart phone connectivity so you can activate air conditioning at a specific time.

  1. Use Fans to Circulate Air

Using fans to keep air moving is one of the best ways to keep cool. You’ll save energy, and be able to control the speed of the air flow. This will help cool air disperse more evenly throughout your home, and keep energy costs down. Remember to switch your fan’s direction to counterclockwise in the summer to create cool downward airflow

Posted in How To For Owners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protecting Your Home While On Vacation

Protecting your home.

Protecting your home.

Vacation should be a time for relaxing, not worrying about your home. Mel Foster Co. has a few tips to help protect your home while you’re vacationing.

  1. Avoid Social Media

It may be tempting to share how excited you are about your trip, but it’s an obvious giveaway you are leaving your house soon. Try to avoid posting pictures while you’re on vacation, instead wait until after the vacation to share photos online.

  1. Stop the Mail

Having an overflowing mailbox is a clear indication someone hasn’t been home recently. Stopping mail from the USPS is easy and free for up to 30 days. You don’t even need to go to the post office after your vacation to retrieve your mail; a large bundle will be delivered once you’re home. And you can sign up online to have your mail held.

  1. Lock Everything

It seems like common sense, but it never hurts to double check to ensure everything is locked. Windows and back doors are all possible points of entry. Before you leave for vacation, be sure to double-check everything is locked, and if you have a spare key, leave it inside the house while you’re away. Many burglars look for hidden keys outside the home.

  1. Have Electronics on a Timer

A dark house is a sign no one is home. Set timers on devices in various rooms for different times. Some timers even allow you to control the lights through your smartphone allowing you to switch the timers on a daily basis.

  1. Have Someone Checking on Your Home

The most reliable way to keep your home safe is to have a family member or friend check on your house a few times while you’re away. If someone is coming and going from your house while you’re away, it’s much less likely that burglars will choose your house.

Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clean It Up To Sell It Fast

Sell Your Home Quicker.

Sell Your Home Quicker.

The change of seasons presents the perfect time to deep clean up your home, and make it more appealing to buyers. Here are four ways a little elbow grease can add value to your home and help it appeal to more buyers.

  1. Focus on the Floors

Deep cleaning your floors is a great way to freshen up your home. Steam cleaning carpets, applying a new finish to hardwood floors or adding new rugs all make your home look more attractive to buyers. Consider hiring professional help to get out any stains you’ve been unable to remove.

  1. Apply Fresh Paint, Inside and Out

A new coat of paint dramatically improves the appearance of your home. Stick with neutral colors to appeal to a broader audience. Having a fresh coat of paint on the exterior will increase your curb appeal and raise interest in your home.

  1. Replace Popcorn Ceilings

Nothing screams dated more than popcorn ceilings. It was an extremely popular practice during the 80s and 90s, but most homebuyers today don’t like it. Removing or covering popcorn ceilings is a time intensive project, but increases the value of your home.

  1. Deep Clean the Kitchen and Bath

The kitchen and bathrooms often don’t receive deep cleanings as often as they should. Cleaning grout, replacing caulk, and scrubbing down cabinets and sinks takes time, but buyers notice. You need to show buyers your home is well cared for, and keeping heavily used areas clean is a great sign your home is properly maintained.

Posted in Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warm Weather Home Maintenance

Warm Weather Home Maintenance

Warm Weather Home Maintenance

The warmer weather is here so it’s time to make sure your house is in good shape. Here are a few things you can do to help you maintain your home.

  1. Interior Cleaning

Now is the time to clean and maintain your HVAC system. Change the filters, check for leaks and make sure the drain pans are draining freely. Vacuum any dust in the vents, especially if you suffer from allergies.

Clean the attic and basement and give both areas a solid once over. These lesser used areas of a home are prone to insects and dampness especially if you have any leaks. Check for any mold or wet spots. If the attic or basement feels more humid than the rest of the house, it may be due to water somewhere in the walls.

  1. Exterior Cleaning

Check your roof to make sure there aren’t any shingles out of place. You probably don’t need to get up on the roof, but do a quick check to make sure everything looks good. Winter can be tough on roofs so see how you fared over the winter.

Siding and windows are other areas to check annually. Cracks or water stains are indications you need to do some repairs. Water stains usually come from your gutters not draining properly. Cracks may require professional help, but you’ll save money in the long run as repairing cracks will keep cold air inside.

  1. Outdoors

Check that your central air is in good working condition. Flush the leaves and other debris out of your unit outdoors. If you feel the inside of your home isn’t cooling down fast enough, it may be time to call a professional in for a look.

Decks and patios should be cleaned every year to extend their lifetimes. Adding a finish or sealant will keep your deck looking nice and protect it from the elements. It’s also a great time to clean any outdoor furniture to get it ready for summer. Rent, borrow or buy a pressure washer to make quick work out of the cleaning.

If you have a grill, be sure it’s in good condition. Check burner jets for clogs and obstructions. Be sure gas hoses and connections are tight and secure. You’ll want to be sure your grill is ready before your big barbecue party. It’s a good idea to have a spare tank on hand so you don’t run out of gas midway through cooking.

Posted in How To For Owners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Safety Tips for Peace of Mind

Home Safety Tips

Home Safety Tips

Keeping your home safe is a worry for every homeowner. These tips will help protect your home against potential problems.

  1. Prepare for Severe Weather

Severe weather preparation is crucial to avoiding damage in the event of storms. Make sure your shingles on the roof are secure, gutters are clean and your sump pump is functioning properly. If you’re concerned about large trees near your house falling, take measures to make sure the tree falls away from your home, or just remove it entirely. Most tree trimming companies are capable of weighting the tree in a specific direction to control the fall position.

  1. Discourage Break-ins

Preventing break-ins takes a few easy steps. When you leave your home, be sure to leave a few lights on. If a burglar suspects someone may be home, they’ll move on. Do your best to hide more expensive items. Keep valuable items away from windows. Finally, be sure to lock all windows and doors. It seems obvious, but over 40 percent of burglaries occur without the use of force.

  1. Get Covered

Sometimes all the prevention you do won’t be enough. That’s where having a home insurance policy is extremely important. Policies can cover a wide variety of damages, and often replace damaged or stolen items. To get a free home insurance quote, click here.

Posted in Insurance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment