It’s that beautiful time of year again here in Coeur d’Alene… Fall!
With Fall comes all of the beautiful and colorful leaves that we love and enjoy for about the first 2 weeks. After they have fallen off the trees, the fun begins with leaves all over our yards and driveways. We then being the clean up as we ready our yards for winter. The raking of those beautiful leaves into piles and then scooping them into bags to take to the landfill to throw way.
DON’T BOTHER with that this year! Spend more time inside this year enjoying your hot cocoa and cozy PJ’s! Our City of Coeur d’Alene is not only beautiful but they are also awesome! One of the benefits of living is Coeur d’Alene and our Leaf Pick Up program and its absolutely FREE for you!
Leaf Pickup! Starting Friday November 12th
Click the link here for leaf pickup map. Find your zone – leaf pickup will happen in alphabetic order.
Some things to keep in mind:
- You may start putting your leaves out Friday November 2nd.
- Please move cars out of the street if at all possible during leaf pick-up.
- Keep the leaves about one foot off the curb line to facilitate storm water flow.
- Be alert for leaf pick-up equipment traveling through your neighborhood.
- Keep a safe distance away from leaf pick-up heavy equipment.
- Recognize that we have a tough job to do in a very short window between when the leaves fall and when the snow flies.
- Understand that city and private trucks are exempted from covering loads during the leaf pick-up period. Sweepers will follow city trucks to collect remaining/excess leaves.
- Place bagged leaves in street.
- Mix branches, rubble or other refuse in with the leaves.
- Miss the deadline… we only have time for one pass!
Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter. With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms! Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the winter driving preparation tips below to help avoid winter sneaking up on you and those you love.
Preparation Tips for Winter:
Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:
~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers
~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW
Know How to Drive in the Snow and Ice
~ Start you vehicle early and scrape your windows each morning before heading out. It will ensure you will have a clear view of the roadway and keep you warm
~ Be smooth and slow in steering, breaking and accelerating. If you move the tires too quickly, they don’t have time to respond and you will end up sliding.
~ Drive for the conditions – that means drive slower, accelerate slower, don’t stop if you can avoid it since accelerating back up may be difficult and leave additional room between you and the vehicle in front of you (Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle the longer it will take for it to stop)
~ Do not use cruise control because if your car skids or hydroplanes it accelerates to maintain the vehicles speed which will make it very difficult to remain in control of your vehicle.
~ Accelerate from a stop in 2nd gear because there is less torque and you’re less likely to spin the tire.
~ Know how to handle a hill, do not power up the hill or stop on your way up.
~ Drive in the snow pack next to the road to get more traction if the road is too icy
~ Remember that all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster or steer better on ice
~ Slow down when you approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges or anything that looks like it may be icy or where you will need to stop
~ If you end up behind a snow plow, slow down and give the plow extra room
~ Chain-up and removal areas are often where people are out of their vehicles so be sure to slow down and be vigilant in those areas
Practice driving in parking lots to learn how to handle your vehicle in a slide and get to know your breaks, that will help
tremendously in a real world situation
Have Basic Winter Survival Kit & Basic Winter Travel Gear in Your Vehicle:
~ You never know what you will run into when you drive away from your home each winter morning, so it’s best to always be prepared. The checklist below will make sure you have everything you need.
Know What to do in an Emergency:
~ If you start to slide, first thing to do is stay calm! Avoid sudden movements. Do not turn your tires quickly, accelerate or break suddenly, it can cause you to loose traction. Look where you want to go and steer that direction. If you start
heading off the road, steer towards things that will cause the least amount of damage, such as an empty field or yard.
~ Find a roadside assistance company and plan that works for you. Check with your insurance provider and see if it’s comes with your plan or any possible discounts. Don’t forget to renew the policy! Many individuals let it expire and forget about it until it’s needed.
~ There may be a situation where you are stranded, maybe your vehicle broke down or you’ve slide off the road, and you need a tow truck or a ride. It’s good to have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you are at a location where you can’t access the internet. Below is a small list of tow companies and ride options in our area:
- Schaffer’s Towing – (208)667-2330
- Reliable Towing – (208)762-5151
- Cole’s Automotive, Mobile Service, & Towing – (208) 83-3582
- Al’s Towing – (208)265-8697
- Coeur d’Alene Cab – (208) 667-9000
- Collins Taxi – (208) 704-0151
Note: Often with ridesharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, you must sign up and create an account to use their service. If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea for sign up for one so you have another ride option.
Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:
~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank because condensation can form in the empty portion of the gas tank. In cold weather, that condensation will freeze then collect into icy blockages in your lines and make it difficult to start your vehicle.
Plan With Your Family:
~ Create a plan that works well with your family in case an emergency happens, especially if you have younger drivers
~ Go over it each year before the snow falls
~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages. Most local stations in your area will have weather alerts, but if you’re specifically looking for a weather channel, click here to find one in your area.
~ Check the weather frequently so you are prepared for its arrival
Check Your Tires:
~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm
~ Have the correct type of tires for the weather
~ Check tire pressure during cold weather. To do so, first find out what the recommended pressure is. Then after your tires have cooled, press the tire gauge directly into the tire vulvae and hold firmly (You should hear no air coming out). Based on what the gauge says, you could either release some air, add some or leave it. Check it frequently though winter.
Check out this video for additional recommendations and visuals to help with the tips listed above:
Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:
AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!
Idaho hunting is some of the best around! 20.4 million acres of the state is National Forest, which is approximately 40%. There’s more than enough room for every type of hunter. There are different seasons for different types of animals, such as big game (deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, wolf, etc.), sheep, goat, moose, turkey, waterfowl and more! Idaho offers a season for 3 types of weapons – archery, rifle, and muzzle loader. Each season, unit and weapon have different rules, regulations, and dates. But there is so much more to the hunting experience
Getting Ready for the Hunt
Lots of planning has to go into getting ready for hunting, no matter which type of hunter you are. Check out the checklist below to get your planning started now:
- Get into shape – hunting is a lot of work as you trek through the forest. And if you get your target, the work continues as you have to pack it out.
- Get maps and start scouting – visit the places you intend to hunt. Get a lay of the land and find out the most visited areas.
- Sight in your weapon & practice shooting – be sure your weapon is on target then continue practicing to make sure you hit the animal when it’s time.
- Practice calling – if you’re going to call, practice before you get in the field, it can be hard to master.
- Break in new boots – don’t want blisters to form during your hunts.
- Buy your tag – buy it early while you’re thinking about it. Be sure it’s purchased before opening day.
- Check the weather forecast – if you know what the weather will be, you can prepare appropriately.
- Check batteries – check them in all your battery powered equipment and just in case, bring spares.
- Sharpen knives – dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones.
- Get your pack gear together – use the gear list below to help with this.
- Always tell people where you plan to hunt/camp – the more detailed the better. Be sure to let them know how long you’ll be gone, if you’ll ever be in cell range, etc. That way if an emergency comes up, those at home can reach you.
As every hunter know, there is so much gear when it comes to hunting. With all the necessary clothes for any possible temperature, pack gear, weapons, ammo, emergency gear, and then if you plan to camp that adds a whole other lists of gear. Below is just an overview of the type of gear you’ll need to pack and a link to a full list.
- Weapons, ammo and hunting aids
- Food and water
- Unexpected night in the field
- Clothing for all weather
Places to get Gear
Here in North Idaho, there is an abundance of options to purchase all you need for hunting, including clothing, equipment, and weapons.
Where to Hunt
As mentioned, Idaho is 40% national forest, so there are plenty of areas to hunt. A few favorites here in North Idaho are the St. Joe River, Avery and Coeur d’Alene River. But there are so many more options! Click here for Idaho’s Wildlife Management Areas.
Hunting for Visitors
Idaho is a desirable place to hunt and nonresidents are more than welcome to join! Unfortunately, tags and licenses for nonresidents to hunt is more than those of residents, so expect an added cost. Click here for a full list of licenses, tags and permits and how much they cost for nonresident hunters
If you’re not from Idaho or interested in hunting a new area, there are plenty of options for a guided hunt. Below are a list of area outfitters that do just that:
Safety & Survival Information
No matter which season, animal or weapon you decide to hunt, there are general safety guidelines you should always follow. These guidelines are good to follow anytime you’re in the forest, even if you’re not hunting. And if you lose your way, there are also some survival tips you should practice:
- Know the area you’re hunting
- Don’t rely solely on electronics
- Let somebody know where you will be hunting and when you will be returning
- Have a fire starter kit
- Watch the weather
- Know your general firearm safety and how to use your weapon appropriately
- Don’t perform an awkward action while trying to shoot, such as climb a tree or cross a fence
- Store ammunition and firearm separately
Big game is considered deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf. This season offers a variety of options depending on where you plan to hunt, which animal you’re after and which weapon you use. There are controlled hunting options, youth only options, private land permit options and so much more! If you’re new to the area and want to get know more about big game hunting options, check out the Idaho Fish & Game Brochure by clicking here.
Moose, Bighorn Sheep & Mountain Goat
Although these animals may seem like big game, they are separate due to different rules and regulations. All moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats are controlled only hunts in Idaho. That means you must apply for these tags and then a drawing occurs. There are only a certain number of tags per area so you are not guaranteed a tag, that’s why it’s called the lottery. If you are interested in obtaining one of these tags click here to read the Idaho Fish & Game Brochure. Please note, due to the smaller number of these types of animals, there are more rules and reporting requirements than other types of game. Interested in what your drawing odds would be, click here.
Idaho Migratory Game Bird
Birds included in this season include duck, geese, drove, crow and crane. There are different and multiple types of species included in the hunts. Check out the Idaho Fish & Game brochure by clicking here.
Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey
The Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey season includes grouse, quail, Chukar, Gray Partridge, pheasants, rabbits, hares and turkey with a different variety of some species. Certain varieties of the species are closed so you’ll want to know your bird if you choose to hunt. Learn how to identify which is which, as well as your limit and hunting dates by reading the Idaho Fish and Game brochure here.
The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest. Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.
The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.
- Windows & Doors ~Install cool weather storm windows & doors, repair and/or replace loose or damaged window or door frames and insert weather stripping or caulking around windows & doors. This will all keep your house better insulated through winter.
- Heating Systems ~ Replace the filter in your furnace and clean your ducts to help your furnace’s efficiency and help save money
- Plumbing ~ Be sure your pipes are well insulated to help avoid freezing. You’ll also want to know where the water shut off valve is in case your pipes do freeze. Be sure to remove hoses from hose bibs on your home in colder weather so that your bibs and frost fee bibs don’t freeze in the low temperatures, causing leaks in the warmer months.
- Ventilation ~ Check the eave vents to be sure it’s clear of insulation and other debris to prevent mold. Clean out your dryer vents to protect from possible ignition. Close your foundation vents durning the fall and winter to keep pipes in your crawl space from freezing.
- Safety Devices ~ Now is a good time of year to check all your safety devices to be sure you can make it through winter. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (changing the batteries if necessary) and test your home for radon.
- Gutters & Downspouts ~ Clean our your gutters and downspouts of debris to put a stop to any possible rot and to keep your gutters in proper working order
Chimney & Fireplace ~ Have a professional inspect & clean your chimney to help avoid chimney fires. Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when it’s closed to prevent water getting into your chimney.
- Landscaping & Outside Work ~ Trim any limbs that are close to power lines, cover or store your patio furniture, check your walkways, stairs and driveway for easier winter navigation. To help promote yard growth, you could fertilize and reseed your lawn as well as prune your trees and shrubs.
- Air Conditioners ~ If you have a window AC unit, be sure to remove it and store in a dry play before winter. Or cover your AC unit with a piece of plywood held down by bricks. This will help protect the unit from falling debris but also continue to allow airflow. You don’t want to put a waterproof cover over it during winter because it creates a warm environment which attracts unwanted guests.
As fire season continues, it’s good to take a moment and review some fire safety tips for both in the home and while outdoors. Having the basic knowledge may help prevent a home fire or a wildfire.
Below are 3 steps to follow when you have a fire outdoors:
- Picking Your Campfire Spot: Be sure you follow any rules or regulations if planning to build a pit in a campground. Ensure you pick a level spot and you are approximately 10-15 feet away from anything that could catch fire. This includes low hanging branches, trees/shrubs, and your own gear. Take the weather into account as well, for example if there will be high wind and which direction it’s going in. Make sure rocks line the pit so your fire stays within the boarder.
- While You Maintain Your Fire: Once your fire is going, do not add dangerous items such as aerosol cans, pressurized containers or aluminum cans. This items could explode, cause harmful fumes or shatter. Keep your fire at a manageable size. If it gets too large it could easily become out of hand with no way to put it out on your own. Also, always watch it. This is especially true if there are pets or children nearby. As a safety precaution, always have water close by.
- Extinguishing Your Fire: If possible, let you fire burn down to ash. Then, pour water over all the embers, not just the red ones, until the hissing sounds spots. You could also put dirt or sand over the fire, if water isn’t available. Continue adding the water or dirt/sand, stirring around with a shovel, until everything is cool. Never walk away or go to bed when your fire is still warm.
General Safety Tips to Help Prevent a Wildfire:
- Be careful while camping and using & fueling fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure it’s cool before refueling. Do your best not to spill flammable liquids and store appropriately.
- Do not dispose of your cigarettes, matches or any smoking material out of a moving vehicle or anywhere near an area that could catch fire. Always put your cigarette out before disposing of it.
- When burning yard waste, avoid burning in windy conditions. Have a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby and avoid all flammable materials from your yard. Follow all fire rules, such as not letting the fire get out of hand, ALWAYS keep an eye on it and put it out completely before walking away.
- If you notice an unattended or out of control fire, contact your local fire department or 9-1-1.
- If using fireworks, consider wetting down the grass and surrounding areas before lighting them. Always have a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher ready nearby. Avoid lighting fireworks on a windy night.
Below is 6 ways to prevent a fire in your home and help to avoid injury:
- Smoke Alarms: Be sure you have the correct number of smoke alarms installed in your home. Test them once a month to ensure they are still is working order. Have spare batteries in your home so if the batteries die, you can replace them right away. Replace them at least once a year. Learn more about smoke alarms by clicking here, such as how many and where to install in your home.
- Fire Extinguishers: They are a good idea to have to put out a small fire in your home or garage. Go over the 5 different types of fire extinguishers to be sure you have the correct one. Be sure your fire extinguisher is checked and tested regularly by a professional. Also, make sure you know how to use the fire extinguisher by following the P.A.S.S. rule below:
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
- Teach Your Children the Basics: Don’t let them play with matches, candles or fire and teach them that it can be dangerous. Show your child what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when one goes off. If your child is old enough teach them not to touch a door knob if it’s hot, how to stop drop & roll, to crawl on the ground when they see smoke, and not to hide under a bed or in a closet if there is a fire. And if you have the opportunity, go to a fire station and have them meet a firefighter so they can be familiar with what they do and their gear.
- Create A Fire Escape Plan: Draw your home’s floor plan that shows all the windows & doors. Make a plan of escape and go over it with your family, be sure there are at least 2 ways to get out of ever room, if possible. Have a spot you meet your family once outside. And be sure to practice the plan at least twice a year. Click here for a printable sheet to draw out your escape.
- Create A Family Emergency Communication Plan: Be sure every family member knows who to contact in case they can not find one another. This goes for any type of emergency, not just a fire. Also, be sure everybody know how to properly use 9-1-1.
- Stay Safe When Grilling: Do not use your grill unless it’s away from siding, decking or anything that could catch fire. Make sure your children and pets remain at least 3 feet away from the grill when it’s in use. Always stay with your grill when using it and clean it regularly.
Although it’s impossible to guarantee a fire will never get started in your home or your camp fire never gets out of hand, taking the precautions and steps above can help avoid it from happening. Always stay safe!
One thing you can almost be sure of is at some point you will find yourself on a boat during the summer here in North Idaho. With the numerous amount of lakes and rivers, it’s near impossible not to enjoy boat life, even if it’s only for a day. Whether you’re an avid boater, only enjoy it every now and then or are just getting into boating, it’s always a good idea to know the basics of boating safety before leaving the dock.
1. Check the Weather Before You Leave
Be sure to check the weather of your route and destination, including the water conditions, before you depart. You can’t always tell a storm will roll in just by looking outside.
2. Have the Proper Gear Onboard
You never know if or when you’ll have an emergency. Being sure you have all the proper gear onboard will help avoid additional issues and will ensure you’re prepared for every type of situation. Check out a full checklist here!
3. Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide
Always maintain fresh air circulation in your boat and be sure you and others on the boat are aware of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. Click here to learn more about CO & CO poisoning.
4. Take a Boat Safety Course & Know the Rules
There are several different courses you can take online for boat safety that you can receive certification for them. Check out the list here.
Knowing your rules will ensure you and other boaters safety. Check out the navigation rules here.
5. Get your Boat Checked
You can receive a free boat check! The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons both offer that service. These checks make sure you have the proper safety equipment and that they are in the proper condition per state and federal regulations. Find out how to get your check scheduled by clicking here.
6. Use Common Sense
Many of the rules on the water are consistent with the rules on the road. Stay alert, operate at a safe speed, make sure passengers are following safety measures, avoid alcohol use when driving and stay clear of the engine are examples of just a few.
7. Follow Proper Procedures
Knowing and following proper docking & anchoring procedures are an important part of boating. Depending on the type or boat you have and the weather conditions, the procedures you need to follow could be different. Be sure you know what to do.
Here in beautiful North Idaho, one of the most common past times in the summer is camping! Whether you pull an RV or rough it with a tent, it’s a hobby most enjoy. Although the first camping trip of the year can be exciting, it may also seem a little overwhelming. It’s been months since your last trip and you have nothing prepared. We’ve got you covered! Below are checklists, tips, cooking ideas and more!
Before Your First Trip
First thing on your to-do list in spring is to make sure your tent or RV and all gear is ready ready. Camping would not be very fun if you realized during your trip that something wasn’t working or missing and you weren’t fully prepared. These things can ruin any camping trip.
Tents are pretty easy, but still it is very important to make sure your tent is in top shape and ready to go. Here are a few things to remember when prepping you tent and gear:
- Inspect your tent and tarps for any holes. Apply waterproof sealant where necessary.
- Wash and fully dry all of your gear made of fabric, this includes any sleeping bags, pillows and blankets.
- Check all your fasteners and ropes. Replace any broken or frayed ones.
- Make sure all your tent poles and stakes are accounted for
- Make sure you have a hammer for the stakes and a hatchet for wood
- Be sure all your battery powered gear has new and fully charged batteries and works.
- Wash, dry, inspect, and check that all camping equipment is acceptable working order.
Now, RV‘s are much more complex to prepare. Although every RV is going to be a bit different, the items detailed below will fit most RV’s and will be need to be completed. Always best to check the manual for the specifics on your RV.
- Clean and inspect the inside and the outside of the RV.
- If you winterized your RV in the fall, steps will need to be taken to de-winterize the trailer. This is typically flushing the lines with clean water.
- Fill your water tank, run the water pump and check for leaks.
- Be sure your dump hose is in good and working order, with no holes or tears.
- Check all your fresh water, black and grey valves when at a dump station. Be sure they open and close property and these are no leaks.
- Inspect the caulking, tires, towing equipment, awning, appliances, lights, batteries and A/C Unit.
- Make sure all your safety equipment is on board along with a tool box with most often used items for small repairs
Things to Pack
Although everybody camps a little differently, there are several things we all need to bring on every camping trip. We’ll save you the trouble of writing your own list, because we did it for you. Here are just a few very important items to remember:
1. Bedding – includes pillows, blankets and sleeping bags
2. Clothes – Plan for all types of weather from swim suits to coats
3. Toiletries – includes soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, hair-ties, shaving items and deodorant
4. Lighting – lantern, flashlight and don’t forget the batteries or matches
5. Cook wear and utensils – Stove, dutch oven, griddle, coffee pot, knife, spatula and more
6. Don’t forget packing for your pups. Leashes, food bowls, water bowls, dog bed, dog food
7. First Aid Kit, Stuff to Bug Bites, Sunscreen, Ibuprofen etc.
That list is only scratching the surface. Need a more in depth list? Check out our Camping Checklist!
Cooking At Camp
Cooking while camping can seem like an overwhelming, difficult, and dreaded task. But, it can be easy and enjoyable if you follow some basic steps.
Step 1: Plan Ahead.
Seems a little obvious, but it is one of the most important steps. Creating a list of everything you’ll need, even the little things, will insure less forgotten items. Things to consider in this step: the space and weight the food will take up, how you plan to cook things (stove, dutch oven, cast iron skillet), and that you eat food that spoils first.
Step 2: Choose your Equipment.
This step will mostly depend on how you camp and the amount of work you’re willing to do. If you prefer not to have any work while camping, pre made meals and snacks would be your go to. That would mean more prep work before you went camping. If you’re willing to do a little cooking, foil meals would be a great idea, that would be a little less prep work before you left. If you can manage the extra weight and the extra work, dutch oven or a cast iron skillet would be a great way to prepare your food. Dutch ovens seem to be a popular choice in cookware these days. Check out a video about dutch oven cooking for beginners by clicking here!
Step 3: Know how to Store Food.
A little organization will help big time when storing your food. There is a science behind stocking a cooler or fridge to ensure no wasted space and easy access to items you will need most often. A few ideas would be to bring a separate cooler for drinks, remove items from bulky packages, pack ingredients you’ll be using last at the bottom, and fill every nook and cranny with ice. Others things to keep in mind in regards to storing food is to be sure to keep everything clean, never to leave food unattended, and be aware of the wildlife in the area you’re camping and plan accordingly. Example would be bear proofing.
Step 4: Clean Up.
Proper clean up after your meal is also important, no matter how little we want to do it, as it prevents the spread of bacteria and the arrival of unwanted guests. Be prepared with items you’ll need: 2 dish tubs, dish cloth, drying towel and biodegradable soap. Thoroughly clean, dry and store your items. Store your unused food in airtight containers. Make sure all your trash has been picked up around your camp site and dispose of it properly. Either in the designated receptacle or pack it up and bring it out of the woods with you. Remember, pack it in – pack it out. Leave your camp spot or location better than when you arrived.
Have a great camping season! Be sure you’re prepared, have fun, and always be safe!
Lifestyle: First thing you would want to consider, before ever looking at homes, is the lifestyle you lead. Think about the things you would need in an area that you couldn’t live without. Do you want to live in the city with a nightlife? Off the beaten path away from most people? Or somewhere in between? Making that decision first will help narrow down the area you look for homes in.
Crime: Researching the crime rates and statistics can help you narrow down an area to live. If you have already decided where you want to live, crime rates are always a good thing to check on. This is especially true if you have children or plan to have children. Call the local police department to get specifics about the area.
Culture: Some people need cultural stimulation regularly, so living in a larger city where that is accessible would be the best option.
Weather/Climate: The weather and climate have an affect on our mental health, daily activities, recreation, and sometimes our jobs. Picking a place that you like the weather year round is very important.
Job Market: The job market, salary, and opportunities will vary in every area. When thinking of finding a new area to live, look into your line of work to determine if it would be a good move. There may be more selection or higher salary in one area over another.
Housing Market: When buying a home it’s also good to get the most bang for your buck! Researching the housing market in an area will help to determine the property values and whether it’s a good place to invest. Things you would want to look into is how long homes are on the market, resale value, and current home prices, that will give you a good idea of the market.
Cost of Everyday Items: No matter how good your job is, or the value of your home, the prices of everyday items need to also be considered. The prices of groceries, gas, and utilities vary from place to place. It could mean the difference of living comfortably and within your means or living from paycheck to paycheck.
Taxes: There are 5 states out there with no sales tax, and 9 that don’t collect income tax. Not to mention that the property tax rate is different from city to city, even in the same state. Other states offer tax credits or exceptions. Taxes, although very necessary, could mean a big difference on the amount you spend each month on both your goods and your mortgage and is something that needs to be considered before moving.
Age: Is a neighborhoods historic or new developments? That’s something to consider, if that matters to you. Older neighborhoods bring character, but there may also be more to repair. New developments bring more of a modern feel but it typically suggests additional future growth, which could be viewed as positive or negative
Sounds & Smells: Listening to the area is important. Being close to a freeway/highway, train, etc could cause sleepless nights. Or, if there are any bad odors or poor air quality, that’s something that would affect your decision as well. Sounds and smells are not something you can detect on the internet. If you’re getting serious about a neighborhood, pay it a visit. Be sure to listen and smell, before ever making a purchase.
Schools: If you have or are planning to have children, be sure to check on the type of schools in the area. Look into the elementary, middle, and high schools. That can be a huge determining factor on the neighborhood to live.
Home Owners Association: HOA’s bring strict rules as well as typically an additional fee. Although they will keep the neighborhood looking clean, it may not be worth the extra cost.
Family & Friends: If being close to family and friends is important, that should always be considered when picking the place you live. Chose an area with a reasonable drive time or plane ride to them.
Commute: First thing to determine is how you’re going to commute. Will you be driving, are there public transportation options available, or are you close enough to walk? The next thing to consider is the time it takes to commute to and from both work and school. Be sure to look into the commute time during the peak travel times of the day. Will longer commute times affect your quality of life, taking away from time you could be spending with your family or friends.
Amenities & Conveniences: It’s good to identify how close you would be to things like hospitals, airports, parks, grocery stores, and gas stations. If the neighborhood you’re interested in is farther out, will you be willing to travel a greater distance to get your everyday needs or in an emergency? Another thing to consider is how far away you’d be to your hobbies. If you like to ski, being many hours away from the closest mountain wouldn’t be the best option.
Tourist Attractions: Being close to tourist attraction can seem great when you’re thinking about moving to an area. But consider what it would be like after years of living there. The busy season will bring more people in the area which could become difficult to deal with over time.
Everyone has an idea of their dream house. Maybe it has an elaborate built in shelf for your trading cards. Maybe there is a slide to go downstairs. While these are both awesome, they might not be part of the next owners dreams. When you are ready to invest some money into the house, consider this list of renovations that have the best return on investment (ROI).
Minor Bathroom Update
You’ll see a trend throughout the list. There is a breaking point where an investment will start to cost more than you will get back. That’s why there are lots of items that are a “minor” remodel or update. These are that happy medium ground that still makes an updated room scream that its shiny and new, but it will cost you less in the long run.
To replace tubs, tile and caulk in a bathroom might run a little over $1000 and you can expect a return rate of about 102% (at current market values).
I’m 100% certain that when you walk up to someones front door, you take notice of their grass or the plants growing, if their siding is dirty or if their walk is swept. Everyone does. So when buyers are shopping for homes, you want their attention to be focused on your yard. You want it to yell at them and tell them to come check out the rest of your awesome home! DIY landscaping can be cheaper than paying a professional, but it can take longer and you might accidentally find the sprinklers with your shovel like I definitely didn’t do. There is no right answer when you decide if you want to pay a pro or be a weekend warrior. There is, however a good payoff for your investments when you sell your home, like 100%-good.
Major Kitchen Remodel
If your home is like ours, the kitchen is the absolute heart of it. Maybe because we love food, but that is besides the point. Consider updating your dated appliances, cabinets from circa 1990 and the flooring. Tile is amazing, but even quality vinyl will really lift the rooms appeal. Most of our clients head straight for the kitchen to try and picture themselves slaving over the stove. You try it. Are yo able to picture plenty of work space and uncluttered counters? If not, think about pairing down some of the obstacles. The average ROI for kitchen remodeling is about 91%. Not quite as high as the other projects, but definitely one of the BIGGEST selling points.
Just like the landscaping, a fresh coat of paint or updated shutters and fresh siding can really draw people in. And since you are taking the time to improve your home, do the things that will get you the most in the long run. Current market trends predict a ROI for exterior improvements at about 95%. And let’s be honest, that particle compressed siding the color of avocados… has to go.