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8 Things You Should Do During the First Week in a New House

You’ve just purchased a new home and your head is spinning with ideas. Interior design, remodeling dreams and entertaining plans are all running through your mind. But before you get ahead of yourself, you have to handle the basics. Here’s what you need to do to settle in during the first week in your new home.

1. Set Up Utilities

Before moving in, contact power, water and gas companies to establish service at your new address. The last thing you want is to unpack in a dark home. Although less urgent, you’ll also want to arrange Internet, cable and phone service within the first couple of days.

2. Update Your Address

It’s easy to change your mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service using their online form. You’ll also want to update your address with your job, your bank and insurance companies and any other businesses you correspond with. Don’t forget to send a note to family and friends informing them of your new address.

3. Change the Locks

You never know who has keys to the existing locks on your home. Take the cautious approach and change or rekey the locks upon moving in. You should also reset the garage door code and ensure all windows locks are in working order.

4. Check Smoke and CO Detectors

Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors around your new home, changing batteries as needed. If the fire extinguisher that came with the house is expired, it’s best to buy a new one for around $50. If you’re unsure of its age and can’t find a date, Keystone Fire Protection says that fire extinguishers have a shelf life of six to twelve years, depending on the type it is.

5. Unpack the Essentials

Rather than tearing into boxes at random, unpack according to priority. Start with bedrooms so everyone has a familiar place to sleep on the first night, followed by basic kitchen supplies. Linens are another item to unbox quickly. After a long day of moving, you’ll want a hot shower before heading to bed.

6. Declutter — Again

Hopefully, you downsized your stuff before relocating so you didn’t pay to move things you don’t actually want or need. Unpacking is another opportunity to think seriously about what’s worth bringing into your new house and what you’re better off letting go of. However, getting rid of stuff is hard. If you have a lot of belongings on the chopping block but you’re struggling to make a final decision, put it in a storage unit rather than storing it in your new home. You’ll reduce clutter in your new house and it will be easier to part with things once you’ve established you can definitely live without them.

7. Perform an Allergen Sweep

More than 50 million Americans have allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. That means there’s a good chance you have an allergy sufferer in your family. If you do, assess your new house for potential allergy triggers. In addition to changing the air filter and inspecting for signs of mold, consider replacing carpets with a more allergy-friendly flooring option. New flooring doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially when you buy from Floors Etc. Outlet, and it makes a big difference in quality of life for allergy sufferers.

8. Add a Little Flair

When it comes to making your new home’s interior design your own, begin with the walls. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in making sure your favorite color scheme is achieved. Wallpaper is a great option for adding some of your own flair throughout the house, too. Countless choices of color, fabric, texture, design and patterns are available when picking out wallpaper for each room, or even for dressing up an accent wall. Using pre-pasted and peel-and-stick removable wallpaper makes installation easy, efficient and quick.

Finally, take time to relax! Moving is a big endeavor and you’re probably feeling tired after packing, traveling, and setting up the new house. Rather than worrying about getting everything perfect during the first week, set up the basics then enjoy some downtime. After a couple days of taking it easy, you’ll feel re-energized and ready to execute your vision for your new home.

Buying, selling and moving is stressful! Make it easier on yourself by connecting with Schwab Realty. Their professional expertise will guide you smoothly through the process! Call 360-683-4015 to learn more about how they can help you find the home of your dreams.

Landscaping Trends To Increase The Value Of Your Home

By Eugene Bryson

Image Source

Landscaping is to a house as a nice wardrobe is to a person. When done well, it creates a pleasing first impression and sends the message that you maintain the property inside and out. The trendiest landscaping will increase the value of your home.

A few DIY flower beds will add some charm for less than $100. According to LawnStarter, a landscape upgrade in Sequim could cost you as much as $3,000. New hardscaping can cost as much as $22,000. But the return on that investment could be as much as $38,000 when it comes time to sell.

While a dead or dying lawn isn’t a deal-breaker, it will affect the selling price of your home. Putting in new sod, or just overseeding your current lawn, is well worth the cost.

Here is how incorporating (and investing in) the latest landscaping trends could pay off weeks, months, or years from now when your home is sold.

Outdoor Living Space

If we’ve learned nothing else from COVID-19, we now understand how valuable it is to have outdoor places for socializing.

The wide-open ventilation system that is the outdoors wraps our conversations in fresh air, and gives us more room to spread out. Having a comfortable place to sit and visit and enjoy some food and drinks provides a safer option during seasons when contagious airborne illnesses are circulating.

A pleasant, comfortable outdoor space also can give us a nice place to work from home, or to have a little staycation.

A porch or patio with shade provides the foundation for an inviting outdoor setting. Start by deciding whether you want a raised deck built of wood or a more weatherproof material.

Concrete, brick, or stone hardscapes create a clean looking and level platform for outdoor furniture. If you want a more natural look, try different colored pea gravels with landscape curbing.

Fire, Water, and Light Features

Some of the most popular outdoor features today include fireplaces or fire pits, water fountains, small ponds, and lighting that gives trees and patios a resort-style appeal.

Fireplaces and fire pits provide heat in colder months. There are also options for cooking if you’d like to roast marshmallows and hot dogs, or bake pizzas outdoors.

Water can be as simple as a birdbath or as elaborate as a koi pond with a rock waterfall.

Keep in mind the maintenance factor: The more sophisticated the water feature, the more work it will require to keep it clean and working. High-maintenance features can lower the value of your home.

Lighting can involve a few strategically staked solar lights along a walkway. Stringed lights above the patio will allow you to enjoy the space late into the evening. Professionally positioned spotlights on timers will add drama to more mature trees.

Walkways

If you’ve ever had to make your way across a poorly plotted flagstone path, or tried to wade through an overgrown lawn with your arms full, you know the benefit of level, clear cut walkways.

Not only do they make it safer and easier to get from Point A to Point B, but they add to the design of your landscape. Walkways with style and texture are a popular landscaping trend now.

Curved walkways bring a more interesting sense of design than straight lines. As with patios, there is a variety of material you can use, including brick, stone, concrete, pavers, and gravel.

Sprinkler System

Hand-watering flower beds or individual potted plants can be a meditative ritual that helps you keep up with pests and weeds, but having to hand-water an entire lawn takes too much time.

Landscaping trends today often are aimed at making it easier to get a golf course-like lawn and relaxing setting. That’s where sprinkler systems come in.

Today’s sprinkler systems can be programmed to efficiently water the different zones of your property. You also can add rain sensors so the sprinklers shut off when scheduled watering isn’t necessary. You’ll spend another $3,000 or so on automatic irrigation, but a good sprinkler system will save you time and money on the water bill.

Go Native

When considering ornamental plants, follow the lead of landscaping trendsetters and choose native plants such as bunchberry or kinnikinnick. These plants are adapted to the climate in Sequim and need very little maintenance.

This also goes for native trees like the red flowering currant and vine maple. They’ll add color to your landscape and attract local wildlife, including pollinating birds and bees.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Don’t feel you have to do everything all at once. Landscaping can be a work-in-progress that evolves. You want to invest in trendy upgrades that improve the value of your home, and more importantly in a pandemic, help you better enjoy spending time outside your home.

Eugene Bryson is a freelance writer and home inspector. As a Washington native, he roots for the Mariners to one day make it to the World Series.

Things to Consider When Moving for Your Home-Based Business

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Starting up a new business is an exciting yet intimidating endeavor. There are many moving parts to oversee, lots of items to check off your to-do list, and a ton of decisions to make. It may seem that moving into a bigger home is too overwhelming to think about right now, but there are several things you should consider to ease the process.

Your first critical step is to partner with a trustworthy and knowledgeable real estate agent through Schwab Realty. Oftentimes agents are aware of properties that you might not otherwise be aware of, and they can help you find a home with the features you need to prosper.

Here are some other points to bear in mind while your business is still in its infancy.

Productivity

Per Business News Daily, studies show that people who work from home are more productive than their onsite counterparts, and when you’re working from a home office that is spacious, organized, and private, it’s likely your productivity will increase even more. One of the greatest advantages of working from home is that you can create the ideal environment, schedule, and system that works best for you.

Room To Grow

Planning for your business’s long-term success includes planning for its growth. If you can envision offering additional services down the road like consulting, you should take into account what that might look like.

In your search for a new home, look for a layout that will offer you privacy for your office space, away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. This will be especially important during school vacations or when someone else in the family is entertaining guests. If you need to meet with clients in person or routinely make phone or video calls, a quiet, private space is necessary to maintain professionalism and focus.

Keep an Open Mind

There are certain aspects of homes that can boost privacy without adding square footage. For instance, a walkout basement or detached garage might be just the ticket for your situation. Depending on the work you do and what is involved, an expanded driveway might be on your wish-list. It’s important to weigh all the features that could help your business blossom, both now and in the future.

Similarly, it may make sense to consider earning a degree on the side at your own pace. For example, if you’re plunging into computer science-based entrepreneurship, you might benefit from an advanced IT degree. Some institutions allow you to flex your schedule to meet your needs, which is ideal under the circumstances. What’s more, if you attend a school like WGU, you can earn industry certifications at no additional cost.

Even if you’ve only just begun, it isn’t too early to think about the future. Keeping all this in mind while you’re looking for a new home will help you in the decision-making process.

Your Dream Team

Your Schwab Realty real estate agent is your partner in selling your current home and finding the right property for your personal and professional needs. There are some additional professionals who can help you with the other details of making this dream a reality.

One expert to consider adding to your team is a professional stager. If you have a house to sell, this person can help you tweak the appearance of your home in a manner that optimizes its appeal to house hunters. As The Close suggests, keep your budget in mind and interview prospects thoughtfully.

Another pro to think about hiring is a professional organizer. Professional organizers do just that — they organize. And they can organize everything from top to bottom: your workspace, your flow, making it work while moving, the overall move, and your workspace in your new home. They can even take on tasks like arranging your utilities transfer and hiring movers.

Professional movers are also worth considering. If you forgo hiring an organizer, a full-service moving company can take care of boxing up, loading and unloading, and even assembling and arranging your furniture for you.

Buying a bigger home in the midst of launching a new business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. An experienced agent with Schwab Realty will help make the process smooth and hassle-free from start to finish. Weigh your business and personal needs with an eye toward your future, and connect today to get the process started.

Guest post by Suzie Wilson, happierhome.net,

A Housewarming Wish List That Works for Everyone

Courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Help With Your Dream Home: A Housewarming Wish List That Works for Everyone

You survived the financing, negotiating and inspections, and now the house of your dreams is really yours. Now, it’s time to start moving in and filling all that space. This is where your housewarming gift list comes in handy … for everyone. It’s a good deal: you make it easy on friends and family by specifying what you want, and you get what you need. Everybody’s happy.

Your loved ones want to give you something that’s both useful and serves as a lasting reminder of their care for you. No one wants to give some impersonal object that doesn’t require any thought or creativity. So give it some consideration. There are plenty of things you can ask for that are both practical and meaningful. The more personal the idea, the better because it’ll make your friends and  relatives feel like they’ve given you something that really matters to you.

Anything goes

You’re starting from scratch, so the sky’s the limit — anything from a Roku TV streaming device to a decorative vase for your entryway. If you’re of a practical mindset, ask for a new set of bedsheets (they always come in handy), a new serving tray or a unique and attractive set of coasters.

It’s amazing how much an object that seems innocuous, like a footstool or hat rack, can help dress up your home’s interior. An upholstered ottoman makes a cheerful and interesting addition to your living room. 

Spruce it up

Even if you’re still figuring out how to decorate your home, there are lots of things you can do that will add aesthetic appeal. Fresh plants and flowers say “welcome” like few things can, though remember that plants will last longer but require constant care.

Don’t forget about your front door. A colorful wreath, either handmade or purchased, can complement your home’s exterior and make a positive first impression on guests. A customized welcome mat is a fun way to greet visitors with a little kitsch and good humor.

Nothing wrong with knick-knacks

Small, well-placed accents throughout your house lend a sense of grace that’ll impress, even if you can’t afford to fill every room with pricey antiques and high-end furniture. Book-ends are a great way to dress things up a bit with affordable but elegant objects that can be made of just about any substance, natural or synthetic.

Most new homeowners have plenty of wall space to fill, but it’s easy to end up with something you just don’t like (what’s more uncomfortable than having to explain to your uncle why the print of dogs playing poker he gave isn’t proudly displayed?). Instead, ask for a gift card to an online vendor like Framebridge so you can find something that actually suits your tastes.

Tech savvy

Use your wish list to add some smart, budget-friendly devices to your new home. At $29, the Google Nest Mini can be the personal assistant you’ve always wanted, capable of playing music and responding to various commands.

Still need to subscribe to an internet provider? There’s no harm in wishing for someone to pitch in with the initial costs, or asking for assistance with the setup. Having a consistently reliable connection with fast speeds can make settling into your new home much easier.

A helping hand

The most personal gift of all is the one your nearest and dearest provide with their own hands. Why not ask for help arranging furniture in your new house or greeting the guy who’s delivering your new couch or fridge? If that won’t work, how about asking for service from a contractor for various home improvement projects, such as a garage makeover?

As you think through your wish list, remember that it’s an opportunity to get a jump start on the designing, arranging and refining that’ll make your home definitively your own. You can accomplish a lot with a well-conceived wish list.

Schwab Realty is pleased to provide full real estate services to home buyers and sellers, and strives to facilitate a fast and efficient transaction for both parties.

Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.

Our Favorite Things to do in Port Townsend

Though our real estate office is located in the town of Sequim, we proudly serve all communities on the Olympic Peninsula, including Port Angeles and Port Townsend.  Our neighbor to the east, Port Townsend, is a historically charming Victoria Seaport worth visiting.  In fact, there is an incredible range of things to do in Port Townsend, no matter the season in which you visit.

While the towns of the Olympic Peninsula, including Port Townsend, Sequim, and Port Angeles, each make wonderful places to visit, they are also extraordinary places to live and work. Whether you’re young, retired, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of things to do in Port Townsend and a broad range of amenities for people of all backgrounds.  It’s one of the many great things about living here!

If you’re curious about what moving to Port Townsend or anywhere else in the area could look like, we encourage you to reach out to anyone of our real estate agents for more information. 

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8 Home Issues That Aren’t Deal-Breakers (And 4 That Are)

Buying your first home can be a confusing whirlwind. Even with a trustworthy team like Schwab Realty, it’s easy to feel in over your head. Often, you’ll find a property that seems perfect – almost. When there’s just one little thing holding you back, how do you determine whether or not it’s truly little? Here’s a look at common issues you might find in your home search, and how to separate minor problems from major issues.

Aesthetic Concerns

These issues might not look pretty, but they’re easy to fix:

Health and Quality of Life Issues

Although you’ll want to address these concerns, they’re manageable:

Major Problems

Here are a few issues that might be worth walking away from:

We hope these resources help make your house hunt easier. When you can distinguish oddities from serious problems, you’re empowered to make the best choice. If you’re in love with a house, don’t let minor details hold you back!

Ray Flynn’s is the cofounder of DIYGuys.net. His very first DIY project came at age 10 when he built a treehouse, complete with an (ill-advised) homemade zipline exit, in the woods behind his best friend’s house. When he’s not working as a civil engineer, Ray Flynn spends his time dreaming up new DIY projects that promote green living.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

10 Things to do in Port Angeles

Our real estate office is based in the charming town of Sequim, located on the Olympic Peninsula. We serve all of the communities of the Olympic Peninsula, including our neighbors to the west in Port Angeles.  There is an incredible range of things to do in Port Angeles, especially during these beautiful summer months.  It also makes for the perfect home base for exploring the vast corners of the Olympic Peninsula.

Though we can easily argue that Port Angeles is a great place to visit during these warm summer months – and really at any time of year – it also happens to be a wonderful place to live. Whether you’re a young family or looking for someplace new a little later in life, Port Angeles offers a broad range of amenities for people of all ages and backgrounds. If you have any questions about living in the area, reach out to one of our wonderful Olympic Peninsula Real Estate Agents. Continue Reading

3 Basic Tips for Becoming a First-Time Homeowner 

Dreaming of becoming a first-time homeowner? Well, then you may also be worried about whether buying your first home will be a nightmare. Thankfully, this process doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem, especially when you keep these home buying tips in mind.

Consider Building Your New Home 

If you have specific ideas for what you want your new home to look like, then you may want to consider building a custom home. Depending on the features and location, the costs to build a custom home can run anywhere from $350,000 to $1.5 million, although more basic homes will be between $165,961 and $474,252. Your price will also depend on whether your home will include a single level or multiple levels, will be large or small, or will adhere to traditional shapes or take on a custom flow. Try to keep in mind that these costs are only related to the actual construction of your home, as you will still need to purchase land before you start building. While this may seem like a less complicated task than buying a new home, finding the right plot of land for your custom-built home is critical. You don’t want to build a massive home in a neighborhood of modestly sized houses, and you also do not want to construct your home in an area that lacks access to utilities. So, your best bet is to work with a pro who has experience.

Think About Your Financial Options 

Whether you plan on buying or building a new home, completing certain financial steps needs to be a top priority. You may have already checked most of these tasks off your list, but reviewing your credit report, remedying any mistakes, and researching home loan options are smart moves toward getting the best deal on your new home loan. Depending on your timeline, you may also want to think about saving a down payment, so that you will have more buying power and access to a wider variety of lenders. Most down payments range from 3 to 20 percent of the total home value, and if you can make the financial sacrifices needed to put this money aside you will also have a better shot at keeping up with your housing payments. This is especially important for first-time homebuyers who may not be accustomed to paying for a mortgage other costs of homeownership. Speaking of the costs of homeownership, it’s also essential for first-time buyers to consider all potential expenses involved with owning a home.

Research Your Local Real Estate Market 

Before you begin applying for home loans, you also need to have a good idea of what current home prices and real estate trends are in your area. Researching real estate is so simple these days thanks to the internet, but you also need to take a look at the local community. Some key things to look for when researching local markets include the development of new infrastructure, the rate of housing price growth, and average property taxes for neighboring cities. Taking these factors into consideration can help ensure that you get the most house for your money and that you will be able to sell your home in the future, if needed. Of course, other factors you may want to consider when searching for your new home include local crime rates, school ratings, and nearby amenities. Good schools typically top the list for homebuyers, so even if you do not have kids, you may want to research schools in your desired location. Finally, if you want to avoid doing all of this homework on your own, work with a reliable local buyer’s agent.

Buying a new home can feel like an overwhelmingly complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. When you take the time to decide whether to buy or build, carefully review your finances, and research the local real estate market, you can rest assured that you will make the best decisions when it comes to buying a home.