10 Ways to Make Your New House Feel Like Home

Whether you’ve moved in right before the holidays or any time, there are simple but effective ways to make a new-to-you house feel like home even faster.

Dancing in the Living Room

  • Start a new tradition. Whether that’s Friday Movie Night, an evening walk in your new neighborhood or a fresh regular topic around the dinner table, traditions bring families closer and will help you make new memories in your home.
  • Bake something. Anything, really. The act of making something with your own hands (out of a box definitely counts!) is a homey one, and will fill your new home with delicious smells as well. Not much of a cook? Put 10 drops of vanilla extract into a small oven safe dish and bake at 375 degrees for 10 or 15 minutes. You won’t have anything to nosh on, but your kitchen will fill with a toasty vanilla smell. (This is also a great open house trick!)
  • Hang a favorite family picture in a prominent place. This might be your own family, the grandparents, a favorite family snapshot with cousins. Smiling loved ones framed on the wall will say “home” every time you look at them.
  • Invite new neighbors over for cider & cookies. Or lemonade and strawberry shortcake. Or cocktails. Whatever your speed (or the season), getting to know your nearby neighbors will help you feel more at home, and having ties in your immediate community means you’ll have someone to call on in a bind.
  • Purchase brand new door mats. A fresh seasonal door mat says “welcome” to visitors to your home, and even to you.
  • Invest in high quality sheets. If you’re ever going to splurge on great bed linens, now is the time! Moving is exhausting, and you’ll love tucking yourself in with a bit of luxury.
  • Complete one room – any room. In my own moving experiences, and based on client feedback, one of the biggest frustrations people experience after moving is the undone feeling throughout their new home. The kitchen is in chaos, you can’t find the towels, your favorite jeans are MIA… Once the moving truck is unloaded and you’ve gotten a decent night or two of sleep, focus on finishing a single room. Paint, window treatments, furniture arrangement, closet organization – do it all. Even if it takes you months (or longer) to put the rest of the house in order, it will offer you a bit of comfort, and a sense of accomplishment, to enjoy a room that is done.
  • Break something/spill something/burn something! Disaster makes for some pretty great memories (you really will laugh about this… someday!), and if you burn the frozen pizza to a crisp and set off all the smoke alarms (a family tradition you are famous for), you’ll know you’re home.
  • Host a game night. So what if your version of game night is Solitaire on a t.v. tray? Find an excuse to play, and you’ll be feeling at home before you know it. If you haven’t played a board game in awhile, pick up a new one. For $25 bucks you can build memories and get the whole family in on the action.
  • Play your favorite music and dance in the living room. A new house is something to celebrate. So cut loose, cut up, and make yourself at home!

Are you ready to write your own Our New Home story? I’d love to be your guide on the journey. Call me to find out what’s happening in your favorite neighborhoods across Metro Denver.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

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I’ve Closed on my House… Now What?

Most Buyers, when they stand up and walk away from the closing table, feel a tremendous sense of relief: the deal is done, the house is yours, the keys are in your hand – they can’t change their minds now!! What a wonderful feeling. 

Depending on the relative level of ease you encountered over the course of your purchase, you may have a residual sense of angst about the transaction. If getting to the closing table was a struggle and there were setbacks along the way, it can be hard to turn off the anxiety that arose with each new challenge. You may be asking yourself, “Now what? We’ve come this far – what should we do next?”

Couple Looking at New Home

I’m here to help! Let’s talk about some logical next steps to take after you close on your home purchase.

  • Put your closing documents in a safe deposit box. It’s not unheard of to lose items of this nature during a move – and if you tuck them away in a very safe place to begin with, you won’t misplace them. If you have an attorney, you may also want to make copies of your closing documents to keep on file with their office.
  • Change the locks. If you intend to change the locks, do it right off the bat. For a minor investment at your local hardware or big box store, you can update the locks on all your doors to ensure the former owner, or anyone who had access to the property while it was listed, has a key. While you’re at it, double check that all doors and windows are locked and that you have keys for any ancillary doors, such as a garage door.
  • Check the temp on your water heater. If your home has been vacant, is new construction, or even if the former owner had different preferences than you, you may want to adjust the setting on your water heater to accommodate your own needs. The Department of Energy recommends a setting of 120 degrees for most people, but you may prefer a few notches above that if you take long hot showers, or run the dishwasher or washing machine often.
  • Cover your windows. Whether you pick up temporary paper shades until you can choose the perfect stylish window treatments or you plan to order custom blinds right off the bat, have a plan in place for window treatments. There’s nothing quite like headed for bed in your new house and realizing there isn’t a thing on the windows! If nothing else, have a roll of duct tape and some extra sheets handy and keep them in the car with you when you move for moments like this. You don’t want to be known as “those neighbors who put on a free show.”
  • Speaking of neighbors, introduce yourself to your immediate neighbors within 48 hours of moving in.  Take along a notebook to make a chart of the homes (or townhomes or condo units) around you so you remember all the details later. Share your contact information, and if you think they’d be comfortable, ask for an email address or phone number. Ask them what they like best about the neighborhood, or how long they’ve lived there. You can learn a lot about your new ‘hood by asking open ended questions, and most neighbors are happy to tell you a little about themselves and the area.
  • Put important new numbers in your phone ASAP. Your homeowner’s insurance provider. Your mortgage servicer. A locksmith. Your home warranty company (if you have one.) It’ll make life easier if/when you need to call any of these places to have the number handy in your phone.
  • Double check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Before you move everything in and get cozy and neglect to replace the battery in one or more of these life-saving devices, take the time to ensure your family’s safety and make sure that every alarm in the home has a functioning battery and is operating properly. Even if the home inspector tested them just a couple of months before – check them again. If an issue arises, you’ll be glad you took a few minutes to do this.
  • Transfer utilities. In some cases, the title company will take care of transferring utilities into your name at the time of the closing. If there are any utilities not automatically transferred, take care of this right away. Make sure trash, gas, electrical, cable, telephone, satellite, water and any other services are transferred into your name and that anything in need of a physical transfer, like cable service, is scheduled for the soonest date possible.
  • Stock the house with tp and paper towels. Whether you are moving today, in a few weeks or even in a couple of months, stock every bathroom in the house with toilet paper and paper towels as soon as possible after closing. That way on moving day, or any time you pop by the house for repairs or a friendly visit before you move in, you’ll have the minimum basics you need to use the facilities. Maybe drop off a garbage can and a few extra liners while you’re at it.
  • Change your address with the post office. You may have already taken care of this detail, but many Buyers wait until the deal is really, truly done to change their address. Save time and do it online.

Now – sit back and relax! The house is all yours, and it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Are you ready to start the search for your new home, next home or latest investment property? Call the Meyers Group. I am a Colorado native with over 21 years of experience and a proven track record of helping Buyers & Sellers achieve their goals.

 

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

Buyer Pre-Approval – Why Does it Matter?

Home Financing

This time of year, many of us can be found window shopping – strolling through shops online, at the mall or downtown. Window shopping is fun, it’s entertaining, and it can be a great way to narrow down your Christmas list. When you first begin thinking about purchasing a home, this is a fine way to dream about your next home. Once you are ready to begin your home search in real life, however, it is time to move beyond mere window shopping and to seek approval from a lender. Being pre-approved for a mortgage before you being your home search is vital, and here’s why:

  1. In a Seller’s market, you must behave like a serious buyer in order to be taken seriously. It’s not difficult to set up a showing, but going to the effort of gaining approval from a qualified lender before you begin the home search process proves you are in it to win it – not just a looky-loo. You definitely don’t want to be the only offer without an approval letter in a multiple offer situation; an offer without an approval letter attached feels like a shot in the dark to the Seller – and minimizes your chance of clinching the deal.
  2. Some Sellers require a pre-approval letter before accepting an offer. In a slower market, you may stand a better chance of proceeding with an offer without approved financing; in a busy marketplace, however, some Sellers will not even consider an offer without financing approval attached. If you able to secure financing, or it takes a significant amount of time for you to do so, the Seller is taking on a lot of risk on your behalf. In a Seller’s market, this is likely a level of risk they don’t have to accept in order to sell their home – so why should they?
  3. Negotiating power is on the side of the pre-approved Buyer. Experienced agents know, if there is a Financing Contingency attached to the Contract to Buy and Sell, there is more risk on the part of the Seller and the Buyer loses much of their power to negotiate price or consolations such as Closing Cost credits or extra inclusions like patio furniture or the deep freeze in the garage.
  4. Time is our most valuable and limited currency – and home shopping without approval might be a waste of your time and mine. It is tempting to use free online calculators to guesstimate a payment you think you can afford and launch right into your home search on a whim and a prayer. The best way to know how much home you qualify for, though, is to work with a lending professional to obtain a concrete answer to this question. You’ll avoid frustration and disappointment when you shop for a home in your price range.
  5. You can conduct your home search in earnest – and with peace of mind – knowing your financing is in place. Many factors will play into your next home purchase, and knowing how much home you can afford before you shop will help you focus on the location, amenities and property features of the homes you visit without worrying whether you can qualify for the mortgage you’ll need to buy in a particular neighborhood or style of home.

I am a Denver native with over 21 years in the Real Estate business and I’d be happy to put my experience to work for you whether you are buying your first home, investing in your next hot property, selling your current home or relocating to or from the great state of Colorado.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

SWOT Analysis: Your Home

SWOT analysis is a business technique taken from strategic military planning and action; you may have heard of a “SWOT team” in a movie and wondered what this term means.

Weighing the Options

SWOT stands for:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats,

and this approach to achieving military or business objectives can work for you as a homeowner, too.

When making a decision or considering action in terms of your property, here are ways you can use SWOT analysis to guide your thinking:

Strengths. If you are considering selling your home or your home is on the market now, sit down with a pen/paper to make a list of what makes your home great; sharing what you love about your home will help your Realtor promote your home with an eye toward the high points. If your family loves the walkout basement, your master bath features heated floors, or your home has tons of natural light or a mountain view, you’ll want to include this information in the listing. Highlighting the positives about your property can help me sell it more quickly, and for top dollar.

Weaknesses. Identifying your homes weaknesses may help you decide whether to move on to greener pastures, or whether it is worth making updates that will keep you happy in your current property. It is also worthwhile to mentally walk through the list of weak points in your home if you are trying to sell so you can minimize them. Tight closet space? Remove at least 1/3 of the clothing in your closets to make them appear more spacious before listing. If your kitchen offers little storage, box up anything you can live without and avoid storing items on top of the refrigerator or on the counter top – both of which point out to buyers that your space lacks storage. If you love almost everything about your home but you desperately need an additional bathroom, it might be worth investing in a remodel or expansion of the house. Upgrades (or additions) involving bathrooms will yield a high return on investment when you sell your home.

Opportunities. Have you maximized the livability of your home? Would a small investment in curb appeal make you that much happier when you pull into the driveway at the end of the workday? What about the garage? Do you love to tinker, but maybe you haven’t invested in a workbench or organizational system that will make your garage the perfect spot for building and fixing? If your basement is unfinished, just imagine how much fun your family would have with a media or game room downstairs. Another opportunity to consider: if you are on the fence about listing your home now or waiting until spring, give me a call to find out what is happening in your neighborhood. If you have a floor plan or location that is in high demand and there isn’t enough inventory of your type of home, now might be an incredible time to sell.

Threats. One big threat to the well being of your home is deferred maintenance.  If you’ve been ignoring the moisture problem in your basement for 6 months, what was a minor issue could turn out to be a major leak, causing permanent damage to your property or even your health if mold becomes an issue. A few bugs unchecked could become an infestation. The questionable setup of your electrical panel could lead to a fire. These kinds of threats deserve your attention; if you are not qualified to make electrical repairs or to determine the severity of a potential plumbing issue, it is time to call a pro. Your home is a major investment, and much like you make it a point to change the oil in your car when it’s time, or replace a flat tire or faulty headlight – your home requires regular maintenance and repairs. Hoping a problem with your home will go away if you turn a blind eye can lead to compounded issues and higher costs over time.

Are you ready to take a serious look at the potential of your home, or maybe complete a SWOT analysis on a potential home or investment purchase? With over 20 years in Colorado Real Estate, I have the experience to help you analyze every aspect of your home sale or purchase decisions.

Call me to discuss all of your Real Estate needs.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

Hey Kid – Go Buy a House!

So – you’ve got a car payment, your Netflix subscription and rent to come up with every month… take stock and consider this: the money you are tossing into a bucket called “Living a Small Life” could be building equity for you every month as a house payment.

Baby Keys

You could totally trade these in for a real set!

Buying a house while you are still young is a coup worth pulling off, and there are many reasons why, including:

  1. Creative freedom. Paint the kitchen cabinets lime green if you feel like it. Put in that kitschy black and white tile floor you’ve always wanted. Pull down the tacky vertical blinds and replace them with chic fabric window treatments. When you own the place, you’re the boss!
  2. Buying a home is an awesome investment! Instead of paying somebody else’s mortgage, you should be paying your own.
  3. Appreciation – it’s not just for teachers! Over time, the investment in your home will grow in value. That’s what real estate does!
  4. ROI – as your home appreciates you’ll reap a Return On Investment.
  5. Rental income. You can buy a home with space to rent, a duplex with a whole half to rent – or buy a property specifically to bring in rental income. The rental market is strong in Denver and prospects look good for the future, too. The right property can earn you enough rent to cover the mortgage and then some.

Whether you are young, just over the hill or at the bottom of the other side, I’m here to help you navigate the opportunities the Denver real estate market has to offer you. Give me a call to find out what’s happening in the market now.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate