Central Coast Realty Group

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How to Make Settling Into a New Neighborhood Easier

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Moving is never easy, especially when it involves relocating to a new city or state. Settling in and finding your place within in a new community can be more difficult than many other aspects of a move, but we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Meeting new people and making friends, although intimidating, is the most surefire way to make a new place feel more like a new home.

Here are a few tips to make settling into a new neighborhood a little easier:

Don’t Be Shy

It may be daunting, but one of the best ways to get to know people in your neighborhood is simply to be the first to approach them. When a good moment strikes (when neighbors don’t look rushed or pre-occupied), say a quick hello and introduce yourself. Sometimes that’s all it takes to open up the door to a great conversation.

Do as the Locals Do

Explore your neighborhood and find a place that suits your tastes, whether that’s a local market, restaurant or dog park. The more your frequent that locale, the more people there will get to know you. Think like ‘Cheers’. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a place where everybody (or at least a few people) knows your name?

Actively Participate

Get involved in your new neighborhood! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people. Join groups or clubs that focus around a sport or hobby that interests you or do some charity work at a local organization. If you have school-aged children, consider dedicating some time to volunteer at your child’s school. There are plenty of ways to participate in the neighborhood around you!

Open Yourself Up to Conversation

If you’ve already met your neighbors, great job! But don’t stop there. Make yourself approachable so as to encourage people to strike up a conversation with you. It’s easy. When at home, lounge on your front porch or take a stroll through the neighborhood. When you’re out on the town, take a seat at the bar instead of a corner table (and don’t glue yourself to your cell phone the whole time!) or take your pup or kids to a local park.

Do you have any tips for getting settled into a new neighborhood? Share them with us in the comments!

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Everything You Need to Know About Home Inspections

Everything You Need to Know About Home InspectionsThink you’re ready to settle into a new home? Great, it’s a wonderful step in life, albeit a big one. Whether you’ve found your dream home or are just kicking off your search, one thing is for sure – if you’re purchasing a home, you’re going to need a home inspection before the deed is signed. So, before you put your hard-earned money and time into a new house, make sure you’ve got the answers to all things home inspection!

Why Should I Get a Home Inspection?

Your home may look picture perfect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. It’s the job of a home inspector to find what, if any, issues your home may have before you’re locked into it. Buying a home is a big undertaking and you’ll want to know ahead of time if that undertaking could get any larger due to hidden structural issues or health problems. If that’s not reason enough for a home inspection, we’re not sure what is.

How Do I Find a Reliable Home Inspector to Do the Job?

Conducting a home inspection doesn’t do much good if you’ve hired an unqualified inspector. So, just how do you find a good one? Look for a Certified Home Inspector to do the job. Websites like CREIA.org can help you find an inspector in your local area, but it’s always smart to do your research before hiring any PE you’re considering so hit the web for some fact finding before agreeing to any business.

What Will The Home Inspector Check?

Both the interior and exterior of the home will be visually examined during the inspection, which will generally span the course of about two to three hours.

Interior Aspects:

  • Attic
  • Insulation
  • Heating and A/C system
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system
  • Walls
  • Ceiling
  • Floors
  • Basement
  • Windows
  • Foundation

Exterior Aspects:

  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Fencing
  • Grading of the property

What Will The Results Tell Me?

Once the home inspection has concluded, the inspector will compile a report and provide you with a copy of the results. The report will detail what issues were found, if any, what repairs are needed, the severity of the problems and an estimated cost to have them fixed.

Did the house pass with flying colors, or was there a major hidden hiccup? Armed with the knowledge a home inspection provides, you can now move forward with the next steps in either buying, renegotiating, or continuing your search for the perfect home!


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Create a Budget-Friendly Winter Wonderland

holidays

As the classic tune reminds us, there’s no place like home for the holidays, and isn’t that the truth? But when your holiday home is brand new, cost a pretty penny and is still fresh in your bank account, holiday fun can quickly morph into holiday humbug. The good news is that with these budget-friendly tips, you can still deck the halls to your merriment! Here’s to keeping budgets low and spirits high!

Reimagine the Tree

Does your tree really need to be a 9 foot tall living evergreen? Save some cash this year by opting for something out of the ordinary. Off-color faux trees, such as white, tend to sell for less and with the bold color choice you won’t need to go as large to make a big impact.

White Christmas Tree

Indulge in Your Sweet Tooth

Put that family-size box of candy canes or peppermints to good use! The festive sweets can be used for all sorts of holiday decorating from tree ornaments, to wreaths, to festive centerpieces. To get the tutorial on this beautiful table topper click here.

Candy Cane Vase

Light Up the Night

Add some holiday magic outside your new home with these festive luminarias! Transform ordinary paper bags into beautiful lanterns customized with your favorite holiday designs. Just be sure to use battery-powered candles to keep it safe.

luminarias

String Up Your Holiday Cheer

With a pair of scissors, some string and decorative paper, and just 30 minutes you can have a gorgeous Star of David or snowflake garland! The limits are endless with this holiday project – garland, ornaments, adornments for gifts, you name it!

star garland

So, how will you be turning your home into a winter wonderland this year? Share your budget-friendly tips with other new neighbors in the comments!


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Warm Up Your New Home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dining Table

What better way to make your new house feel more like home than by hosting a warm and welcoming Thanksgiving get-together? Thanksgiving is the perfect chance to create new and lasting memories in your home and, if you’re up to it, a great opportunity to better get to know your new neighbors. Here are some tips to make a Thanksgiving dinner party in your new home as smooth as the sweet potato casserole:

1. Clean House

Getting your house in order should be step number one. Find a home for those last few items still lingering around from the move, get all of your odds and ends where they need to be and do an overall tidy up. You won’t feel comfortable inviting people into your home if you feel its unprepared.

2. Spruce Up the Place

It is a holiday after all! This is your ticket to break out the décor and get festive. Creating a warm and welcoming environment will help put you and your guests at ease. Decorate your front porch or entry way with fall items like gourds and pumpkins. Invest in some candles to place around your home. And, of course, don’t skimp on the centerpiece – your dining room table! Are you feeling the holiday spirit yet?

3. Spread the Word

Now comes the tough part for some – inviting the neighbors. It can be daunting to open your home up to new people, but honestly, the worst thing that can happen when you ask somebody to join you is that they decline. Where is the harm in that? Instead of honing in on your anxieties, focus of the potential good – the chance of forming great new friendships!

If you’ve already made some new friends, invite them, too! (And don’t forget to keep your kids in mind, too. They’ll want other kids to hang out with if it’s adult overload.) Expanding your circles never hurt and the most interesting dinner parties are the ones with many people offering many different views and experiences. Plus, you may end up expanding your network of friends from, say, 3 or 4 to 6 or 7!

4. Do the Prep Work

It’s your get-together, you should enjoy it, and it’s clear that enjoying a party is hard to do when you’re stuck in the kitchen tending to the feast. Keep stress levels low and ensure you get some time to mingle and enjoy the day by doing as much prep work as you can beforehand. Get a final headcount, double check your groceries to be sure you have everything, and cook like a maniac the day before and the morning of Thanksgiving, so all that’s left to do is heat and serve. Voila! Party perfection.

Are you hosting a Thanksgiving party or joining a neighbor for their feast? Tell us about your first Thanksgiving in SLO!


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Tips to Tackle a Fixer-Upper

Worn Down Front DoorsIs a tight budget making your hopes for a dream home look less than dreamy? Or maybe you’re just a want-to-be house flipper. Either way, the fact remains that the house you’re going to be searching for is a bit run down, an old dog, a crack in the concrete – a fixer-upper. Don’t let the name scare you! A good fixer-upper can be a great investment if handled correctly and wisely.

1.) Call a Home Inspector

This cannot be stressed enough – before you buy, schedule an appointment to have a home inspector visit the property. Make it clear to the seller that your offer is contingent upon receiving acceptable results from an inspector. It will cost you somewhere in the ballpark of $200-$300 to do so, but it’s an expense that you should stop looking at as anything but a necessity. Certified home inspectors are well-qualified to spot trouble areas within a house that could cost you thousands, or to alert you that your potential fixer-upper is just not worth fixing up.

2.) Know When to Say “No”

A coat of paint and some new flooring? No problem. A new HVAC system? Sure, that’s a big expense but it’s worth it. A termite infestation or significant rotting? Experts say those are reasons to walk away. If rot is allowed to persist for too long, the likely result will be that the house will start rotting from the inside out, and that is just not worth the time, the money, or the trouble. Get out now.

3.) Look Into a Section 203(k) Program

Do you know where you’ll be getting the money to do your home repairs? If the answer is ‘no,’ you need to get your ducks in a row before making an offer. The FHA offers a Section 203(k) program for homebuyers that are going to purchase or refinance a home in need. It can be all rolled up into one nice neat mortgage, or you can opt for a streamlined 203(k) program, which can be added onto an existing mortgage.

So, now you have the know-how to start your search on the right foot. From here out, all you’ll need is a great Realtor to help you find a fixer-upper with potential and a little imagination.

What are your tips to tackle a fixer-upper? Tell us in the comments!