Ready to Relocate? Part 2: Settling In

If you read our first post on the first steps of relocating, this will be a good follow-up for getting the basics on adjusting to your new home and community! Once you’ve found your desired neighborhood and maybe even your dream home, it is overwhelming to think that there is more work to be done. Let us help with a few tips and tricks to make those first few weeks a breeze!

Settling In Stress-Free

Okay, maybe “stress-free” is an unrealistic goal… but there are ways to calm the chaos.

1. Keep it Simple

It’s so easy to get lost in a sea of bags and boxes when you’re packing up, and then the aftermath of unpacking becomes a nightmare. Moving is a GREAT opportunity to ask yourself “Do we really need this?” When it comes to household goods, a good rule of thumb is to leave behind anything that you haven’t used in over a year or two. For decorations and things of sentimental value, follow the old saying and bring with you what will make your new house feel like home. Things that bring feelings of comfort and familiarity will never feel like clutter. But anything that just occupies space probably isn’t essential. For clothing, organization experts say a non-seasonal piece that hasn’t been worn in over 6 months is something that should go! When you know what will stay and what will go, Habitat for Humanity is great place to donate household items that you cannot take with you. For clothing, there are tons of local charities that serve various groups–just take your pick and support a great cause while simultaneously getting a fresh start!

2. One Step at a Time

The physical aspect of packing is just as important as deciding what to take along with you. Packing might seem as simple as putting things into bins and boxes, but there are strategic ways to go about this to make life so much easier. First of all, label EVERYTHING. You really cannot ever have too many labels, lists and categories specifying what each box contains and in which room it should go. This should help with the next step, which is unpacking one room at a time and one box at a time. This method may be mostly psychological, so you don’t lose it seeing stuff scattered all over the place. But it will help you set up your spaces exactly the way you want them, and give you as sense of accomplishment seeing a whole room in its completed state!

3. The Power of Takeout

Chances are you’re going to be too swamped/tired to cook on your first couple nights in your new home. Do a little research on GrubHub.com or another site to see who can deliver food near you. If you prefer to cook, a lot of grocery stores have personal shoppers and delivery systems in place that will save you some time and energy!

Remember: not everything has to get done all at once. Take little breaks here and there and enjoy the fact that you are beginning a new chapter. Check back soon to hear more about the relocation process, and great ways to meet friends and neighbors in your new community! If you have specific questions about the process, contact Jodie, our relocation expert at (888) 424-9424




Ready to Relocate? Part 1: First Steps

This post will be the first of a series on ways to prepare for a relocation. Whether you’re being uprooted for work, family or any other reason, let us be your “go-to” on facilitating the whole process! We’ll begin by breaking up relocation into a timeline week-by-week, with some very general suggestions that will make each step feel less overwhelming. The first topics we’ll address are the Research Process, and Finding Your New Community.

 

Research

Completing this first step properly is integral. Luckily, in this day and age, there is an endless amount of information at your finger tips. Even if your relocation is to a specifically assigned area, these tips will still apply. Here are a few ways to structure your research process:

 

  1. Set parameters

Think of the things on which you absolutely won’t compromise. Think—school districts, taxes, amenities, commute, etc. Sometimes those things come with a different price tag than we expect, so make sure to formulate the most accurate budget possible when taking these factors into consideration. Consulting with an expert on the area to find out what is right for you is a great place to start, and will help narrow down your options to find the perfect new home.

 

  1. Pretend You’re a Local

Learn as much as possible through immersion, especially if you’re not at the “visiting stage” yet. Join local Facebook pages and online forums for information on upcoming news and events. For a more authentic community feel, talk to as many people from the area as you can while they’re just out and about. Let them know you’re thinking of moving there, and they’ll be likely to tell you honestly about their experiences. Government and Chamber of Commerce sites can also be a great resource.

 

  1. Get to Know the Finer Points

Do your due diligence, so-to-speak, when it comes to restaurants, grocery stores, area attractions, etc. You may find a community you thought was perfect is nowhere near a store you can’t live without! Also check the weather. This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s amazing how the climate can change within a few miles, let alone a cross-country move. The Weather Channel online offers great 60-second forecasts and year-round weather data for almost anywhere you can think of!       

Finding Your Neighborhood

So you’ve done your research, talked to an expert, and you’ve found the general area you’ll be moving to. The next step is narrowing down a neighborhood that meets the criteria of what you researched above!

 

  1. Visit, Visit, Visit!

If possible, try to get there in person, but online virtual tours work too! When you’re visiting take a look around for things you’ve liked and disliked about past neighborhoods you’ve been in. Do you admire pristine landscaping? Are you keen on peace and quiet? Does on-street parking really set you off? Keep an eye out for the details important to you, because chances are if they are not up-to-par when you’re visiting on a random afternoon, they rarely will be. If you can’t make the trip in person, Google Maps “Street View” is a great way to pre-explore your destination.

 

  1. The Info Search Continues

Your initial research should have given you a good idea of what the general region is like, but to find a specific house that will meet all of your specifications you’ll want to dig a little deeper. Use sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc. to refine your searches by number of rooms, yard space, etc. Make sure to take into account exact distances from local highways, hospitals, work, school and other important locations. Even the smallest extra mileage can really add up if you take frequent trips, so monitoring traffic patterns can be very helpful. Take the time to do this and you’ll be led to something wonderful!

 

  1. Stay Organized

It can’t hurt to keep all of your new home data in a spreadsheet or some type of journal. Seeing side-by-side comparisons of all your “candidates” will not only help speed up your decision process, but it will ensure that you’re not leaving any options out.

 

Still have questions and concerns about your relocation process? Let us know what you’d like to learn about. Stay tuned for more posts on settling into your new home, becoming active in your community, relocation success stories, and more!




What Does “Green” Really Mean?

A closer look at the energy efficiency and sustainability practices in new construction.

 

One of the great benefits of building new is energy efficiency. Although the laws vary per state, the U.S. Department of Energy has set standards for local entities to monitor energy use in residential construction, and other industries. These regulations are in place improve and preserve environmental conditions, develop the economy of the energy sector, and improve quality of life for citizens. For example, a term you may have heard is “LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified”, which means a building is recognized as one which meets the criteria of a sustainable space that is highly efficient and promoted cost-savings.

Another framework for assessing efficiency is the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index. Often required by law, the HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. This index measures the efficiency of homes compared to a standard new construction, with a score of 70 (average for new construction) being more efficient than a new home, and a score of 130 (average for resale) being less efficient.

These factors and assessments weren’t necessarily taken into consideration during the construction of older homes, as initiatives for “green building” have only really taken off in recent years. But today, all builders should take energy efficiency initiatives into account, because newer, more energy efficient homes are good for our planet, our wallets, and for our people! But what really goes into building a “green” home, and what is it doing for you? Energy efficient building is a helpful solution to a lot of common problems that come with older, less-efficient homes. Keep reading to find out how!

 

Appliances

This is probably the “no-brainer” of the list, but almost all modern household appliances, kitchen, laundry, heating and cooling, etc. are certified by some sort of energy efficiency monitoring entity. New energy efficient appliances use up to 50% less water, electricity and other energy sources. Not only will this reduce the amount you’d spend when compared to powering a 10+ year-old appliance, but you’d also cut your waste of natural resources in half!

 

Windows

There is no sense in letting all the money you spent on controlling the temperature of your home go right “out the window”. Window technology just keeps on improving! Double and even triple-paned windows save hundreds of dollars in energy costs per household per year. To keep it simple, the point of energy efficient windows is to keep the heat inside when it’s cold, and outside when it’s hot. This is achieved by replacing the outdated drafty windows with new and improved sealing techniques and glass treatments that can block up to 90% of UV rays. Imagine the savings in heating and cooling your home if every window let in only the desired amount of heat energy!

Ducts

In an energy efficient home, tightly sealed ductwork is a staple. Properly sealed ducts improve the distribution of airflow throughout the house and prevent hot/cold spots from popping up in different rooms. Ensuring your ducts are sealed will also improve the performance of heating and cooling equipment. The more conditioned air that escapes your ducts, the more your HVAC equipment struggles to keep up that comfortable temperature we all want in our rooms. Without all that air leaking, there will be much less wear-and-tear on your system. This will save you tons of money in the long run on heating/cooling bills!

 

Ventilation

Without proper mechanisms for air to escape, gas-fired appliances can cause a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in a living space. This creates an uninhabitable environment that poses a variety of health risks and can even lead to death. Energy efficient homes ensure that there is fresh air ventilation for all appliances, such as HVAC equipment, washers and dryers, water heaters, stoves and more.

 

Insulation

Keeping some forms of air and energy in a home is just as important as letting all the bad stuff out. Lack of proper insulation allows conditioned air to leak out through the gaps in insulation at an incredible volumes. The leaks lessen the efficiency of HVAC systems just like poor ductwork, but also put homes at risk for a poor exchange of air. This often leads to excess humidity and in turn the buildup of mildew that can cause structural damage. Other issues that come along with improper insulation are roof leaks and frozen pipes that come with the melting and freezing of water in the winter. To avoid all of these problems, energy efficient homes use state-of-the-art insulation that is tightly sealed and responds properly to moisture and temperature conditions.

 

To learn more about Energy Efficiency standards and other related topics, visit the Department of Energy’s page on Residential Construction !