Deb Tebbs Group

Cascade Sotheby's International Realty

Research Your Future Home and Neighborhood

How to Research Your Future Home and Neighborhood

Moving to a new neighborhood can be an exciting time for the family, but it can be a lot of work too. One important part of the whole process is deciding where you want to live, and in which neighborhoods you want to start searching for your new home. This part of the whole experience can seem a bit daunting, especially if you’re moving to anew city or state, and perhaps have to find a new neighborhood and home without even being able to visit first.

First Step: Decide on your Deal-breakers

Before you start the research process, understand one important thing: thorough research can be extremely time-consuming. It can really help you cut through the process if you make some preliminary decisions first, specifically in terms of things you want and don’t want in a neighborhood. For example, if your family includes children, one of your “must-haves” might be living in a particular school district, so that they’ll have the opportunity to attend. Right away, this allows you to narrow your focus on just a few different neighborhoods. You might want to live in a neighborhood with a good “walkability” score, meaning that most important amenities are within easy walking distance, or you might want to live within a certain distance of the beach, or within a certain driving distance of your place of work.

On the other hand, there may be some things that you consider deal-breakers, that you definitely don’t want in a neighborhood; depending on your circumstances and family, you might decide to exclude neighborhoods near busy roads or commercial or industrial areas, halfway houses or rehabilitation facilities, or areas that have a high amount of nighttime noise. While some people actively search for neighborhoods in certain school districts, others do exactly the opposite—because school districts can have a significant effect on house prices, and houses in desirable districts are usually in high demand and more expensive.

Next: Researching Neighborhoods

The internet makes researching your future home so much easier than it used to be, so much so that it’s one of those things that makes you wonder how people got along without it. There’s a huge number of websites now that provide various details about neighborhoods, suburbs, towns, and cities—enough to help you make informed choices about locations before you even visit them.

– Climate and weather conditions at The Weather Channel

– Find detailed crime and safety statistics in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.

– At Walkscore you can find information about the walkability of neighborhoods and what types of amenities are located within them.

Neighborhood Scout provides a wide range of information, including summaries of schools, crime statistics, home appreciation rates, and neighborhood demographics.

Google Maps can be a good resource for preliminary information about public transit services; MapQuest provides easy functionality for searching for amenities within given neighborhoods.

Street Advisor is full of contributions from residents of thousands of different neighborhoods all over the country, and is a good place to get current information.

One of the most useful resources for finding out about neighborhoods from the people who live in them is the website City Data. The site has a large number of forums where members can ask and answer questions about specific places, as well as a huge range of statistics and information about US cities and towns of all sizes, and several different tools and resources. For example, the site includes a tool that allows users to search for business in different neighborhoods, enter a zip code or address to get average home prices, or plot a starting point and destination on a map, and calculate the amount of fuel used for the trip.

Getting a Closer Look

With all this information at hand, it’s easy to narrow your search to a handful of neighborhoods, or maybe even just one or two. Then, using Google Street View, you can actually tour through the neighborhoods themselves, so even if you’re researching neighborhoods in another city or state, it’s still possible to “walk” the streets and get a good feel for the locations you’re interested in.

– Contributed by reader, Emma Flixton

Sources

Discover. “Stalking your new Home: Researching a Neighborhood Before Buying.” Accessed July 5, 2014. Research methods for potential neighborhoods.

Lifehacker. “How to Learn All About a New City Without Leaving Your House.” Accessed July 5, 2014. Researching neighborhoods at a distance.

Public School Review. “Why you need to Research School Districts when Buying a Home.” Accessed July 5, 2014. How school districts affect house prices.

Wise Bread. “How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy.” Accessed July 5, 2014. Different aspects of neighborhoods.

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Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades to Keep Your Neighborhood Green

hand holding Green city concept, cut the leaves of plants

Sustainability and going green are a couple of buzz words that have become popular over the last decade or so, but what do they mean? Sustainability, to put it simply, is the ability to utilize the resources of our planet without being a drain or causing permanent damage, while going green involves incorporating a lifestyle that is friendly to the environment and supports sustainability for the Earth.

That all sounds great, but what can you do to be a part of the movement and not only help conserve our planet but possibly save some money while you are doing it? Like many things in life, it often starts at home.

   Quick and Easy

Some of the improvements you can make to your home take very little effort and have relatively drastic results. Switching away from incandescent bulbs can save in a couple of ways. Not only do higher efficiency bulbs use almost 75 percent less energy, nearly 90 percent of the energy emitted by older light bulbs is heat. Swapping out these lights can potentially save you upwards of $50 per year or more depending on the size of your home. Energy efficient bulbs also last up to 25 times longer than their incandescent cousins, according to The National Association of Realtors.

Small, green habits like replacing your air filters regularly and making sure to shut off appliances when the room is empty can make a huge impact on your current energy costs. Many chargers for devices such as cell phones and laptops continue to drain electricity whether or not they are plugged in, so make sure and unplug the charger from the wall when your tech is not in use. It’s also advisable to plug all electronics into surge protectors and switch them off when they are not in use—even some televisions and DVD players drain electricity when they are plugged in.

   Bigger and Better

Replacing your major appliances to Energy Star rated appliances can make an impact. Not only are they more efficient and use less electricity, they often increase the overall value of your home. Sealing and insulating the ductwork, using a programmable thermostat and sealing air leaks throughout your home can drastically cut down on your heating and cooling bills.

It is estimated that 30 percent of a home’s energy escapes through the windows, according to Champion Home Exteriors. Conserve the energy and save on your energy bills by upgrading your current windows with replacement windows that are Energy Star rated. This home improvement can dramatically reduce the amount of heat that flows into your home, while adding resale value and curb appeal.

It is important to remember that going green is a long term approach to conserving the Earth and battling rising energy costs—it is somewhat unlikely that you will see a drastic drop in your bill right away. Energy prices will continue to rise, predicts the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By implementing these green solutions, you will buffer yourself against potential rising costs and increase your overall home value.

By the year 2040, electricity costs will nearly double and crude oil prices more than quadruple. By planning ahead and preparing for those price increases now, the money you can potentially save can be drastic. A recent study conducted in California has shown that homes that are GreenPoint Rated or LEED homes can see an increase of up to 10 percent on their overall value when it comes time to sell.

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Ghost Tree Invitational at Pronghorn, An Auberge Resort

Fazio 4 crop

The Ghost Tree Invitational is a favored local fund raising event that we are pleased to be participating in. This years event will be held at Pronghorn on August 15th and 16th. The golf tournament will be played on Friday, August 15th and on the evening of the 16th ticket holders will enjoy dining on the driving range with live music and a silent auction all under the stars in one of the areas most pristine landscapes.

Christine Limburg, GM for Combined Communications who runs the charity says it best. ” The Ghost Tree Invitational is entirely put on by volunteers with a passion for supporting the local community in a direct, meaningful way. The mission is to invest in organizations serving children and families in Central Oregon with a goal to raise funds and then donate those funds to local charities with the infrastructure in place to aid Central Oregonians in need.”

Last year $15,000 was donated to the Assistance League of Bend and $40,000 to the Bend Ronald McDonald House. This year the charity is raising money for these two great community support providers as well as the Bend- La Pine Education Foundation.

The Assistance League of Bend began with seven women in October of 1989 and has been providing philanthropic programs ever since including a number of programs for children in Bend.  To read about the many activities of this local organization, visit The Assistance League of Bend . The Ronald McDonald House is now in more than 54 countries serving children and families in a number of ways. Learn more about the Ronald McDonald House of Bend here. Finally, The Bend La-Pine Education Foundation has been providing financial assistance to schools in need since 2003. Over $1,000,000 since that time has been provided to schools in Bend and La Pine to assist teachers in having the tools they need, to provide access to extra activities for all children in school and to foster scholarships and professional enrichment.

Information on tickets and donations for the Ghost Tree Invitational can be found at www.ghosttreeinvitational.com.

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