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August 18, 2014

How to Estimate Utility Costs for a New Home

Utility meter and calculator

If you are like most, you probably keep your finances in order by staying on a budget. But if you are moving to a new home, it can be hard to set up your budget if you don't know how much the utilities will cost each month. So how do you estimate utility costs for your new home?  Here are a few ways you can get estimated utility costs to work with before you move.

  1. Look at your current bills: Take note of your current usages. If you can see how much energy, gas or water you are using now, this can be a good indicator of how much you will use in your new home if it is similar in size or as a baseline if you are moving into a larger or smaller home.
  2. Ask about previous bills: Call your new power, gas and water providers to find out what the previous owner’s average and low/high bills looked like. At the very least, you should be able to get average utility costs for the neighborhood.
  3. Use online estimators: Getting an online estimate will not be exact, but it can give you a good idea of how much you may end up paying for your utilities. Home Energy Saver offers a free online tool to help you do just that.
  4. Get a home audit: If you are really concerned about the utilities in your new home, consider having someone come out and do a home audit. This will not only help you determine what your energy costs will look like, but you will also learn new tips for decreasing your usage and how to improve your home's energy efficiency.

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August 14, 2014

Five Tips for Moving to a New School

Kids in a moving box 

Moving to a new home can be especially challenging for a child transitioning into a new school district. When your child starts at a new school it is important to tackle problems early. Here are some tips to best prepare your student for starting at a new school.   

 

  1. Create a schedule: Get your child into a set schedule early. During the end of the summer, promote a regular sleep schedule and start turning off the TV. Encourage reading, puzzles and looking at flash cards to get your child into the routine of learning.
  2. Include your child in the process: Make your child feel included throughout the entire process. Visit their new school before the first day and bring them along to orientation. Allowing them to see and tour classrooms in advance can put some of their fears to ease.
  3. Look for opportunities to get involved: Network with other parents in the area and volunteer in the classroom or at the school during the first year. Knowing that you're close can help your child to relax and get more out of learning. 
  4. Encourage after-school activities: Encourage your child to participate in at least one or two extracurricular activities. This will help them meet new friends and stay busy. Research possible opportunities and discuss with your child what best fits his or her interests before the school year begins. 
  5. Prepare for emergencies: Make sure to have an emergency contact in your new location, and make sure the school has copies of all important documents such as health and allergy information.

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August 4, 2014

Four Tips for Choosing a Realtor

Real estate agent stepping forward

 

If you have to sell and/or buy a home when moving to a new city, you will most likely work with a real estate agent. But with the abundance of professionals in the real estate business, how do you choose a real estate agent to help you buy or sell one of the biggest investments you have ever made? There are a lot of factors to consider, but we have chosen some of our favorite tips to find a realtor for you.  

  1. Find an agent first: Many times, people will find the house they like and stick with the realtor that is listed, even if they know nothing about them. It's a good idea to find someone you trust before you start looking at homes.
  2. Referrals:  It can be overwhelming when choosing from a sea of real estate agents that all seem perfectly suited to do the job, but choosing blindly from the phone book could lead to problems. Instead, speak to family and friends that have had good experiences with their realtor. Be sure to do an online search for reviews.
  3. Choose a real estate agent with the right experience: Some realtors specialize in certain types of properties. Be sure the one you choose has experience with the type of home or commercial space you are selling. If you are buying a home in a new city, choose an agent with deep knowledge of different areas of town you are interested in.
  4. Choose a realtor that can work on your time: Not all real estate agents have the same schedule. If you only have time to show your home or view potential homes on certain days, confirm that their schedule coincides with yours.

 

 

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