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The empty-nest drill used to go something like this: As your kids move up the rungs of the educational system, you and your partner wonder whether to move to a condo in Boca, a bungalow in the Carolinas, or another relaxed-living locale. (Let’s overlook the fact that most of us can’t afford to retire.)

But times are changing. More and more 50-plus Americans are going the urban route. Stats from the National Association of Realtors® indicate that the percentage of 50-something home buyers purchasing property in cities is edging upward. And another study found that boomers are seeing a massive uptick in renting versus owning—which makes sense if they're moving to a big city.

About those renters of over age 50: I’m one of them! When we were in our 30s, my husband and I fled the city and bought a house in the suburbs. The main reason was that our two sons had hit school age in an overcrowded public school system, and were quickly outgrowing the small bedroom they shared. So we headed to a tree-shaded town in a well-regarded school district, where our kids could enjoy separate bedrooms and a yard where they could get their ya-yas out (Stones fans, am I using that correctly?).

And so it went—and went well—until the kids grew up and skedaddled, leaving me and my husband alone in a lovely house with shriveled social connections (the days of blabbing with neighbors about that overly tough AP History teacher were over) and feeling way isolated. We both worked in the city, and without the school system anchoring us, why were we commuting, we wondered? And why were we paying that hefty school tax bill now that our kids had flown the coop?

So we decided to sell our family home (sorry, boys!) and move. For us, it was a great decision. Here’s why:

1. Boosting our bank account

At least for the moment, my husband and I are happy not to have money tied up in real estate. As you may know, the current tax laws don’t incentivize having a mortgage the way they used to. We don’t feel the imperative to own a home in order to get that deduction come April 15, so why not feel a little unencumbered and mobile for a while?

2. Getting off the train schedule grid

Now that we are not running home after work to make dinner and supervise algebra homework (as if I could be of any use on that), my husband and I can reclaim our evenings, which feels a lot more fun in the city. We can take a walk by the river, try a new rooftop bar, or stop by a gallery opening without doing commuter math, which goes something like, “If the train is at 10:30 p.m., that means I need to leave here by 10. … Then, let’s see, I should get to the station at home at 11:30, drive for 15 minutes, and be in bed by midnight.” For a couple trying to reinvent our life after two decades of kid focus, freedom from the commuting schedule is a very good thing.

3. Jettisoning all that home maintenance

Praise the Lord, I no longer need a contact list full of electricians, roofers, masons, tree-stump grinders, landscapers, the highway department (responsible for pickup of garbage over a certain size), pest-control specialists (wasp nests, gah!), HVAC folk, etc. All of the homeownership stuff, so long! And the winter drama of nor’easters, tree limbs flying down, power going out, and frantic efforts to find somewhere—anywhere—to do a load of laundry are over.

4. Enforced downsizing

City life is apartment life, and it’s forcing me to go minimalist. There’s no basement, attic, or other place to hide the accumulated stuff of life, so I need to get rid of it. Or at least I’m trying to. I have a storage unit holding the contents of my former attic, having been unable to Marie Kondo my way to lean-and-mean status pre-move. But our lack of storage is making us think twice about accumulating any more crap.

5. Urban adventuring

In the city, quirk and culture abound. While I miss the sound of the wind whispering through the pine trees and the squirrels and birds darting around my yard, the city has a seductive pulse of discovery. There’s an aura of possibility that makes life feel more exciting, even if I just sit on my butt at home. Knowing that a midnight cheese-tasting event or a mermaid parade are just a quick subway ride away brightens my day in a big way. Yes, I’ve forsaken space, fresh air, peace and quiet. But I feel as if I’m sharing an amazing and varied human experience with fellow urban explorers.

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Janet Siroto

4 Huge Mistakes You Might Make Moving From a City to the Suburbs

by Amy McLeod Group


There comes a time in many people’s lives—usually when the words “baby” or “school district” become a regular part of the vocabulary—when people flee the glamorous city to the charming suburbs. Only where, exactly, should you go? How do you find that perfect place where your neighbors seem simpatico rather than psycho?

Alison Bernstein once struggled with these same questions when contemplating moving her own family outside New York City.

“We made the quintessential buyer’s mistake,” says Bernstein. “We picked the perfect town, or so it seemed, based on our checklist. But the problem is, you very seldom know what you should look for, and you don’t consider vital intangibles. So we, like so many people, made a bad decision."

They picked a suburb that, looking back, "was great, but just not a good personality fit for us," she says. In short, it was too big. "I grew up in a small town, and I wanted to recreate that," she explains. "I wanted people to know my name at the local coffee shop. I wanted the pizza place to know my kids, and what they liked. Things that mattered to us—like having our kids get to know others the same age—weren't so easy, since there were so many schools in the district.”

So Bernstein and her family picked up and moved to a smaller town that feels just right, 45 minutes north of the city. She founded Suburban Jungle, a business that matches city clients with the right suburbs and partners with various local agents in every town who have been vetted, selected, and trained to work with their team. She began the advisory firm in New York City, but has since expanded to include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington DC, placing thousands of happy families in their new communities.

“I realized the things we had been focused on when we moved weren’t the key elements," she explains. "So my company makes certain that people ask the right questions and make the best decisions for their family.”

Everyone starts out with the same wish list—a great school district, a short commute, low taxes—but there’s a better way to approach your next-home hunt.  Here, Bernstein shares some of the key mistakes parents make when moving to the 'burbs.

1. Focusing on the house rather than the whole neighborhood

When picking a new home, most people (understandably!) focus on the property itself—how many bedrooms, bathrooms, how big is the lot? After all, who can resist poring over floor plans and listing photos of sun-flooded kitchens? But no house is an island: It’s part of a community, as you will be, too. To make sure you fit in, get a feel for the community and whether it offers the lifestyle and kinds of neighbors you are looking for.

Bernstein's advice: "Don’t just visit the well-known towns—what we call the brand-name towns that most people aspire to. Just because a lot of people have heard of a town doesn’t mean it’s right for you." She recommends taking as much time as you can to hang out in different ’hoods.

Try on a couple of towns—check out their cafés, their parks. Are the playgrounds full or empty on a Saturday afternoon? Are the kids there with parents or au pairs?

"Have dinner in the town. See what the people are like, what the mood is like," Bernstein suggests. Think about whether this feels comfortable and a good fit. It's only when you settle on a place that does that you are ready to start comparing whether you like a bungalow better than a Colonial.

2. Finding a 'good school district' that's not a good fit for your kids

Let’s be real: Education is one of the top motivators for a move to the ’burbs, Bernstein says, "Everyone talks about wanting a 'good school district,' but the key thing here is, what does that mean for your family? A school that ranks well on standardized tests may be a pressure-cooker that your child won’t thrive in, or it may not have much of an arts program."

Getting hung up on class size is another rookie move. While no one wants their child in a class of 50, also look at the total school enrollment. Would your child do well in a school that typically has a total of 1,000 kids per grade, even if the class size is acceptable? Do you want a district with one elementary school (small-town living) or are you looking for something with several elementary schools and possibly some specialized schools attuned to your child’s interests and talents?

Here’s another tip from Bernstein: As you narrow your choices, "go to a local school at the a.m. drop-off time and take a look. Who is dropping off the kids—nannies? Moms and dads en route to the train station? Yoga-pants-wearing at-home parents? This will also help you see if this community reflects the lifestyle you are seeking."

3. Thinking about commute time rather than quality

Before decamping for the ’burbs, most people lock in on a commute time—say, "I won’t be on the train for more than 40 minutes each way." But that can cause you to overlook a lot of the intangibles, says Bernstein. "Ask yourself, Would you rather be on a packed, standing-room-only local train for 40 minutes a day … or, what if you could be seated on an express train for 45 minutes a day?"

You won’t be able to really evaluate the commute unless you, well, commute. Bernstein suggest you do just that, at rush hour, and see what you are getting yourself into. Sure, it takes time, but can help you avoid locking into a “dream house” that comes with a surprise commute from hell twice daily. (Note: A little research will also yield info on a train line’s “on-time” record—another good bit of data to know.)

While you are doing a dry-run commute, scope out the parking situation, too. Many “hot” towns have packed parking lots with waiting lists and with prized parking permits costing thousands a year. Call the town office and inquire about the details, so you’re prepared.
Bernstein has another great tip for sussing out towns based on commutes.

"Pull out an area map and scan it carefully," she suggests. "There are wonderful small towns—hidden jewels, even—that don’t have their own train station." These villages tend to be overlooked by people moving to the suburbs, but are worth your attention. (Ask your real estate agent for help with this, too.) You might be able to move to one of these places and walk or drive three minutes to a neighboring town’s train station.

4. Assuming you'll easily find child care nearby

Most people moving out of the city do so for the sake of children (current or future), but you can’t assume the child care options are the same in the suburbs as in an urban setting. If you are a two-career couple, see what options exist nearby.

"Few suburbs are truly walkable. If you need day care, how far a drive would that be, and how long would it take during the a.m. rush hour?" asks Bernstein. What time at the end of day do they close, and what happens if you are running late? Is the town one that has a strong au pair network, or are most moms home with their kids? This info doesn’t just let you envision your daily schedule—it will tell you a lot about the community and whether it will be a good fit for your family.

Thinking about making a move? The McLeod Group Network is here to help! 971.208.5093 or [email protected]

By: Realtor.com, Janet Siroto

6 Changes to Make After a Move to Start Off on the Right Foot

by Amy McLeod Group

You're moving! And along with a new address, you get to enjoy a fresh start at life. OK, maybe you can't easily erase everything from your past—nor would you want to—but it is a good opportunity to break old habits that weren't helping, or were costing you money without much payback, or were causing more headaches than they solved.

For instance: If you usually have a landline phone, consider cutting the cord and going cellular. Or since you're changing your mailing address, sign up for paperless delivery of your important bills. Here are six other ways to change up your home life and daily routine for the better.

1. This time, actually unpack all those boxes

When people move, they eventually get tired of unpacking after a few weeks (and who can blame them?). And once you've unpacked the essentials, it's easy to take a break from unpacking—never to go back.

"Whether it's four more boxes or 14 more, you don't want them sitting in that same spot until your next move," says Kelly Tenny, content and social media manager for Zippboxx.com, a moving and on-demand storage company. So after you've moved households, make a realistic goal of when you'd like to have everything unpacked—and stick to it!

2. Purge unused subscriptions and other auto-renewal fees

"When you move, it's a good idea to look at all the deductions from your bank account," says agent Katie Messenger of Keller Williams Louisville East.

Services with auto-renewals you simply forgot to cancel—like that streaming channel that you subscribed to for just one show, or a magazine that goes straight to the recycling bin—can add up to a lot being deducted from your bank account.

"When my wife and I moved, we went through our budget line by line," says Mark Aselstine, founder of Uncorked Ventures. "We found subscriptions and subscription boxes—admittedly mostly for the kids—were starting to pile up unused."

Aselstine canceled the subscriptions his family no longer used and kept track of their savings.

3. Cut the cord—or consolidate streaming services

"When my wife and I looked into cable TV plans in the area we were moving to, we were met with plans that totaled $130 per month," says Aselstine. He realized the pared-down local internet service provider cost only $35 a month; that, combined with Netflix for $10 and other cheap add-ons, could meet most of his TV needs for much less.

Already subscribed to streaming services? Make sure you use them all; if not, it's time to pare down, or go back to good ol' public TV! That's what photographer S.J. Brown did when she moved into a house that had an antenna.

"For the price of one month's cable, I had it reconnected and am now enjoying free television," Brown says.

4. Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs and dimmers

You'll be handling all of your lamps when you move, so why not make the swap to energy-saving LED lightbulbs? These lightbulbs can help the typical home save about $1,000 over 10 years. And while dimmers are best known for their ability to improve a room's ambiance, these devices also reduce energy consumption and cut costs on your power bill, leaving more money in your wallet.

5. Resolve to keep records of all of your home improvements

Even though you just moved, you never know where life is going to take you. A surprise job offer may have you selling your new house sooner than expected.

"Having a record of when you fixed something at a glance is hugely helpful," says Messenger.

If you bought your current digs, those records will also help with capital gains. And from a budgeting perspective, you'll know when the last time major systems such as the furnace, air conditioning, or roof were maintained, so you can budget for future upkeep.

6. Start a new cleaning ritual

"If you've been in a house for years, chances are you learned to live with some deferred maintenance–type things," says Messenger. When she moved, Messenger made it her mission to always keep her house tidy in case someone stopped by for a surprise visit.

"It's challenging with pets, but I feel much more pride in my new home knowing I'm taking care of it," she says.

Another bonus? Messenger found doing a few small things daily meant her free time wasn't spent on massive cleanup days.

Are you searching for your new home? Let's the experts on The McLeod Group Network help you find it! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Margaret Heidenry, Realtor.com

Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What's Stopping You from Listing Now? | MyKCM

Are you an empty-nester? Do you want to retire where you are, or does a vacation destination sound more your style? Are you close to retirement and not ready to move yet, but living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs?

How can you line up your current needs with your goals and dreams for the future? The answer for many might be the equity you have in your house.

According to the latest Equity Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner in the United States gained $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year. On the West Coast, homeowners gained twice that amount, with homeowners in Washington gaining an average of $38,000!

Do you know how much your home has appreciated over the last year?

Many homeowners would be able to easily sell their current house and use the profits from that sale to purchase a condo nearby in order to continue working while eliminating some of the daily maintenance of owning a house (ex. lawn care, snow removal).

With the additional cash gained from the sale of the home, you could put down a sizeable down payment on a vacation/retirement home in the location that you would like to eventually retire to. While you will not yet be able to live there full-time, you can rent out your property during peak vacation times and pay off your mortgage faster.

Purchasing your retirement home now will allow you to take full advantage of today’s seller’s market, allow you to cash in on the equity you have already built, and take comfort in knowing that a plan is in place for a smooth transition into retirement.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons to relocate in retirement, including a change in climate, proximity to family & grandchildren, and so much more. What are the reasons you want to move? Are the reasons to stay more important? Let’s get together to discuss your current equity situation and the options available for you, today! 971.208.5093 or [email protected]

By: KCM Crew

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The McLeod Group Network
Keller Williams Capital City
1900 Hines St SE #220
Salem OR 97302
971-208-5093
Fax: 971-599-5229

**Disclaimer: Amy McLeod, and her team, do not initiate, process, or service mortgages.  And provide this information only as a service.  You should confirm information here with your Licensed Mortgage Lender.