What To Do First After You Move Into A New Home

Moving into a new home can be overwhelming. Once you have gone through the long process of buying a home, when the keys are your hand, your mind could be swirling with tons of ideas for what you should do in your new space. There are a few important things that you need to complete before you get into painting those walls or buying a new sofa. Read on for tips.

Look At Your Things

In the excitement of moving, you may forget about all of the stuff that you actually moved into the home. If you hired movers, check your boxes. Make sure that nothing is broken or damaged from the move. If there is anything wrong, you can file a complaint with your moving company.

Turn The Utilities On

The utilities need to be turned over to you from the previous owner. In many cases, you’ll need to contact the local utility companies in order to get the bills switched to your name and the services started. This is important for you to have a completely functioning household. Cable and Internet is a choice provider that you’ll also need to set up ahead of time before your move.

Unpack Your Stuff

Rome wasn’t built in a day but you need certain things like clothes and coffee makers as soon as you move into a space. Find the boxes that have the most important things in them like sheets, blankets, clothing, and important appliances. Work your way out. You don’t want your new home to stay a complete disaster zone forever. 

Organize Your Stuff

Moving into a new home gives you a new opportunity to get organized. Get everything in order the first time. This will keep you from needing to clean up constantly at a later date. When you start off with good organization you’ll be a lot happier in your new home. 

Think Security

Make sure that your new home is secure for your family. Think of everything from accidents to crime. Install an alarm system. Change the locks. Inspect the property for any hazards. All of these activities can help to make your new home a more secure place to live. 

Learn About Your New Surroundings

When you move into a new neighborhood, you should take the time to get to know the area. This includes meeting your neighbors and taking a stroll around your neighborhood to see the area more closely. Discover the highlights of the area like restaurants, shops, and other activities. Enjoy the new place that you call home to the fullest!

Is a Real Estate Agent Right for You? 3 Factors to Consider

If you intend to buy or sell a house, it frequently pays to hire a real estate agent, and for good reason.

A real estate agent can offer expert insights into the housing market. Plus, he or she can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have as you proceed along the homebuying or home selling journey.

When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, however, it is important to note that no two real estate agents are exactly alike. In fact, there are several factors that differentiate an ordinary real estate agent from an outstanding one, and these include:

1. Industry Experience

Regardless of whether you plan to buy or sell a house, you should definitely spend some time evaluating a real estate agent’s industry experience. That way, you can find out how long a real estate agent has been working in the industry and choose one who knows how to overcome potential homebuying and home selling hurdles.

Ideally, you should employ a real estate agent who possesses many years of industry experience. This housing market professional likely understands the ins and outs of buying and selling houses and can help you get the best possible results.

2. Communication Skills

The right real estate agent will be a great communicator. As such, this housing market professional will be able to keep you informed at each stage of the homebuying or home selling process.

To learn about a real estate agent’s communication skills, it often is a great idea to meet with a real estate agent and interview this individual. During a face-to-face interview, you can get a better idea about what a real estate agent is all about and ensure you feel comfortable working with him or her.

In addition, a real estate agent should have no trouble communicating with you in good times and bad. He or she will be prepared to provide honest, unbiased feedback, and by doing so, help you make your homebuying or home selling dreams come true.

3. Client Feedback

Reach out to a real estate agent’s past clients before you hire this housing market professional. With client feedback at your disposal, you can learn what it’s like to work with a real estate agent.

A real estate agent usually will be happy to provide you with client referrals. Then, you can contact an agent’s past clients and learn about their homebuying or home selling experiences.

Lastly, if you’re uncertain about whether a real estate agent is right for you, it sometimes is valuable to find out how this housing market professional will approach the homebuying or home selling process. Explaining your goals and learning how a real estate agent will help you accomplish these aspirations can make it easy for you to find the right agent, at the right time, every time.

Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to buying or selling a home.

Helping Your Dog Become Less Afraid of Strangers at Home

Dogs, like humans, are territorial by nature. If a stranger came into your home unannounced you would likely react in either a fearful or aggressive manner. Dogs who are aggressive and protective are no different. Fortunately, there are training techniques that can be employed to help your pet grow more comfortable when you have company at your home. Whether you have an older dog who behaves aggressively toward visitors or you are raising a puppy that you want to train to be comfortable around strangers, here are some tips that can help.

Know your dog

Before you start training you need to understand exactly what makes your dog uncomfortable. With some dogs it may be a certain type of person (like a mail carrier or the oil delivery driver). With other dogs any stranger who comes in or near the home is a trigger. Determine the fine line between your dog’s comfort zone and where your dog becomes scared.

Employing a training partner

Start small by having a friend (someone your dog doesn’t know) walk past your home where the dog can see. The moment they show signs of fear, assure your dog that you have the situation under control. Scolding the dog, grabbing them, or otherwise exhibiting aggressive behavior toward your dog will only exacerbate their fears. You want them to know that you have the situation in control. Saying firmly and calmly, “I got it; I’m OK” will tell your dog that you see the stranger and you’re in control.

Oftentimes, dogs bark at strangers because they want us to be aware of the potential danger. Acknowledging your dog is vital in these situations. If your dog is the type who barks or growls at strangers, reward them with treats when they don’t bark as the “stranger” passes by your home.

From there, you can try other triggers with strangers outside the house such as ringing the doorbell or walking through the yard.

Let the stranger inside

After a few sessions working with the stranger outside your home, it’s time to introduce your dog to strangers inside their territory. If you think your dog will be aggressive toward the stranger, make sure you keep your dog leashed or basket-muzzled during the first visit. It will protect your training buddy and will help let your dog know you are in control.

Start by having a family member let the stranger in the home while you hold your dog leashed at length. If your dog barks at the stranger, attempt to get your dog’s attention and verbally reassure them you are okay; you are in control. Have your training partner avoid eye contact with your dog.

Once your dog calms down enough to stop barking, try having them follow commands for treats (sit, stay, etc.). If this is successful, have the stranger try tossing treats to the dog as well. If your dog is too nervous to eat, reward them with pets and other positive reinforcement (“Good girl!”).

Tips for productive training sessions

  • Try to keep your dog’s focus on you as often as you can. Use treats and positive reinforcement constantly
  • Exercise your dog before training if they are high-energy
  • Train in small increments; if your dog is afraid of strangers don’t start by introducing him/her to a party at your home
  • You need to be calm at all times while training. Your dog takes his/her cues from your behavior. If you get frustrated or anxious take a break and start again when you’re fully calm

 

 

Here’s How You Could Lower Property Taxes

Property taxes are no laughing matter. At their worst, they leave some homeowners responsible for paying a local government more than ten thousand dollars a year. When these types of property taxes rise some adults decide that it’s better to simply pack and move.

Don’t let property taxes force you out of your home

That’s why it’s important to understand how property taxes are calculated in an area you’re thinking about moving to. For example, are property taxes based on the sale price of a house, the actual value of the property or based on another set rate?

Before you buy a house, find out how heavily a local government depends on property tax income to meet its budget. Also, find out how often this same local government raises property taxes. You could learn a lot about local taxes like property and sales tax by attending council and local chamber of commerce meetings.

If people don’t raise the issue, ask questions that lead to the answers you want. Of course, you’ll want to do this investigating before you buy a house.

Steps to lower property taxes

But, even researching and investigating local property taxes may not keep you from receiving a hefty property tax bill in the mail. You might have to take other measures to lower property taxes. Following are some ways that you could lower property taxes:

  • Conduct a survey – After a major weather storm like a hurricane, tornado or earthquake, get your house appraised. If you’re paying property taxes based on the value of your home and the assessment shows that the storm reduced your home’s value, share this information with your tax department and request that your taxes be lowered.
  • Rent your property – You might pay lower property taxes if you rent a portion of your property, especially if the tax department allows you to deduct the costs of property repairs.
  • File for an abatement – If you served in the military or have reached senior citizen status, file for an abatement.Depending on local tax office rules, you might qualify for a property tax reduction.
  • Move to another county – By moving a part of town that has lower property taxes, you could reduce your property tax rates.

Gain a say in local property tax rates

Next to monthly mortgage payments and student loans, little may unnerve Americans like taxes. Included among this annoyance are property taxes. By taking one or more steps that could potentially lower your property taxes, you could end up breathing better.

You could feel more relaxed. You’d definitely have one less financial obligation to concern yourself with. Another gain that you might enjoy is learning about the importance of participating in local government meetings and initiatives.

The more than your voice is heard, the more influence you might come to have on local politics, including property tax rates. It may sound far fetched now. But, you could become an influence on who plays a key role in preventing property taxes from rising so high that home ownership gets out of reach for far too many people in the area where you live.