5 Ways to Get Settled in Your New Neighborhood, Faster

While it can feel intimidating and overwhelming, meeting people is the most direct route to make a new community feel like your home.

Moving to a new home is tough, but it gets even harder when the move includes relocating to a new city or neighborhood. Logistical considerations — like figuring out the best way to get to work — are stressful and time-consuming but require only a bit of trial and error.

Finding your sense of place within a community is not as straightforward. While it can feel intimidating and overwhelming, meeting people is the most direct route to make a new community feel like your home.

Here are five tips to make the transition go more smoothly, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.

1. Make the first move

Sure, it can feel daunting to approach a new next-door neighbor and introduce yourself, but they may be equally hesitant to disturb your family, particularly if you seem busy settling in. So take the initiative and look for an opportunity when they don’t look rushed or preoccupied either. A simple wave or hello can open the door without being intrusive.

2. Make yourself approachable

Likewise, create chances for others to welcome you. Sit on the front porch. Take leisurely walks. Or perhaps just focus on being approachable — avoid the usual mad dash to your car every morning and ditch the grumpy expression upon returning from work.

The same rule applies when you’re out and about in the community. Pick a bar seat over a corner table to enjoy a coffee or beer; there’s something about communal seating that encourages conversation. Take the kids to a playground or park — and don’t keep your face submerged in your iPhone. Make eye contact, smile, and say hello.

3. Become a local

Do as the locals do and frequent a local restaurant, farmers market, or shop. Got a dog? Even better. Dog parks practically beg to help you and your pet make new friends. Soon enough, a nearby destination will be one of those places where at least a few people know your name.

4. Get involved

There’s no better way to meet like-minded people than by participating in activities that are meaningful to you. Finding the right fit may just require a little digging. Check with local schools and universities, park districts, recreation commissions, sports organizations, and — perhaps the greatest reference of all — neighbors and fellow parents.

Large cities often house bars that cater to locals who cheer for out-of-town professional teams — say a “Steelers bar” in San Francisco. Just search on Google, try a handy app, or check out message boards on the team’s website.

Parents have additional outlets for making new friends, like volunteering at school activities, getting involved in car pools, or hosting play dates. Donate your time to community organizations to get to know the neighborhood and improve it by cleaning up trash, helping other residents, or clearing park trails.

5. Use your existing network

Take advantage of organized programs that can help you meet others in your new community. If you were active in a church or other place of worship in your previous location, ask for a referral to a similar establishment. Many employers offer programs that connect newly relocated workers with one another as well as longtime residents.

Most colleges and universities also have local alumni chapters. And don’t forget to mine your online networks. Ask Facebook friends if they know anyone in your new town, or search sites like Meetup.com to find others with similar interests. With a little time, you’ll find “community” is wherever you make it.

Trulia’s Blog

5 Ways to Get Settled in Your New Neighborhood, Faster was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

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7 Ideas for Starting an Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale

yard-sale

If your basement is full of items you’re “going to use someday,” it might be time to do some purging. But instead of putting your wares out with the trash, why not try to make a little cash in the process?

Yes, organizing a yard sale can seem overwhelming, but if you follow these steps and get your neighbors in on the gig, you’ll make some bank and bond with them in the process. (Admit it, you’ve always wondered who lives in the house on the corner with the impeccable landscaping.) Here’s how to get started.

1. Do your due diligence

You don’t want to find out on the day of your event that your city or town has strict rules about yard sales, says Chris Heiska of Lusby, MD, and founder of YardsaleQueen.com.

Swing by your town hall to make sure you don’t need a permit or special signage announcing your sale before you move forward — you can probably find this information on your city’s website too. Also, take a look at the town’s calendar of events. You don’t want to host your sale on the same day as a parade or fair.

2. Put the word out

Let your neighbors know that you’re planning a sale. Create a flier to put in their mailboxes or, if you have their email addresses, send out a group note asking who wants to participate. Once you know who’s in, you can figure out the best date and location (maybe the guy with the biggest front yard will offer to have the sale at his house).

3. Then put the word out again

This time, spread the word to the community at large. Find out if there’s a Facebook group for yard sales in your area, says Heiska. If not, start one.

If you have a Twitter account, start tweeting about your sale a few days before. Put an ad on the local section of Craigslist, and if your neighborhood is home to an older population (one that still reads the morning paper), consider placing an ad in print.

4. Say it with signs

Once you know the local rules on signage, feel free to start hanging them around town. Bulletin boards at grocery stores, churches, or the neighborhood bagel place are excellent spots.

The more professional your sign looks and the easier it is to read, the more people it will attract, says Heiska, who also recommends driving by your signs after you’ve posted them to make sure they’re readable. If you’re not artsy, chances are, one of your neighbors is. (No luck? Sassy Signs offers inexpensive preprinted signs.)

The night before, hang signs in both directions at the entrance to your street with arrows pointing customers in the right direction, and if allowed, post one at the closest intersection or cross streets too.

5. Price it right

That old rule of thumb about pricing an item for “a third of what it would cost new” is a good starting point, but also consider how appealing an item will be to your customer. A barely used designer handbag will probably fetch more money than a stack of old textbooks, even if they did cost roughly the same amount.

Come up with some general ground rules, but let everyone price their own items and negotiate with potential buyers. You don’t want any hard feelings because you sold their favorite poster for pennies.

6. Make it easy for buyers to browse

You know that saying “One man’s trash is another’s treasure?” Well, that won’t hold true if the “trash” actually looks that way.

Make your wares look as attractive as possible. Organize CDs, books, DVDs, etc. by artist or author. (Better yet, display them on a bookshelf.)

If you’re selling furniture, set it up on the lawn so people can try it out. Display dishes or tabletop items instead of leaving them in boxes. Walk through your sale as a buyer and think about what appeals to you and what you’d pass by.

7. Have plenty of cash

Make a trip to the bank a few days before the sale and get a couple of rolls of quarters, a stack of dollar bills, and a handful of fives. (And keep your money on you at all times in a pouch or fanny pack. Yes, I just said “fanny pack.”)

You don’t want to lose out on a sale or lower your price because you can’t make correct change.

Have you planned a neighborhood yard sale? Share your best tips in the comments below!

Trulia’s Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

7 Ideas for Starting an Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Neighborhood

first-time-home-buyersWhen you’re ready to buy your first home, you’ll probably remember those three important words we always hear about real estate: location, location, location.

While the geographic location is important, it’s also the amenities around the location that make a house a home. Every buyer is different in what they desire, so you need to find a neighborhood with the location and amenities that fit your desires — and, just as importantly, your budget.

Affordability

Location is one factor that will heavily influence the price of a property. You don’t want to shop in locations you can’t afford — even though it might be fun.

The first task in your home purchase process is getting pre-approved by a bank or mortgage lender so you understand the ballpark within which you will be playing ball. Inform your real estate agent about your price range so they can identify the locations where you can afford to purchase.

Neighborhood type

You also need to figure out what works for you when it comes to the type of location you like: urban, suburban, or rural. Many people live in and love high-density areas where retail, restaurants, gyms, and grocery stores are all within a few blocks’ walk. It’s nice to be able to walk to everything — but with that comes lots of cars, people and sometimes noisy neighbors.

Other home buyers prefer quieter suburban developments that are probably going to require driving for one’s commercial and entertainment needs.

Then there are rural folks who want full quiet and no nearby neighbors. Make sure before you shop that you are shopping in the right type of area for you.

School district

Schools also make a big difference for many buyers, and a buyer will certainly pay for the best school district. School quality is one of the top items on a parent’s mind when looking for property. You can search the Internet for school ratings and check with the city or county for more information.

Of course, if you don’t have children, it’s not as big a deal.

What’s next door — or could be

You should also always consider what is next door to the property you buy. Will you be living among lots of single-family houses, or big apartment buildings?

It’s also important to know if there are currently or once were gas stations or chemical plants nearby. Drive around and look, plus check Natural Hazard Reports to see what is or was in the area.

Additionally, be cautious about empty developable lots or empty retail/warehouse properties nearby, as you never know what might end up being built there.

It’s also smart to understand the zoning on your property, as it might let the single family home next door be torn down and developed into a 4-plex rental property. That might or might not be okay with you, but you should be aware if it’s a possibility.

Holdability

One more important item to consider regarding location is your chances of owning the property a long time. If you are not sure you’ll  be happy staying a while, you’re better off passing on buying for the time being.

Considering all these issues — as opposed to making a quick purchase decision based on what your heart is telling you — should help you buy a home that is a good fit, will serve you well, and will be a good investment for your future.

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Tips & Advice

First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Neighborhood was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home