Erin Fernschild's Blog
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You know your child(ren) more than anyone when it comes to how they learn and the environment that works best for them. So, when it comes to your choosing a new school in a specific district, knowing what will and will not work for your student is essential.
Your student’s needs
Some questions to ask are:;
- What kind of learning style does the classroom cater to?
- Does the school have specialists available to give that extra support to students?
- How do those specialists work? (For example, do they pull students out of the classroom to work individually or in groups?)
- Are they able to come alongside the student during the classroom learning time?
- What is the facility/student ratio?
- How many students are in each classroom?
- What is the graduation rate? How many graduates pursue a post-secondary?
A scheduled school tour can answer all of these and any other questions you have to assess if your student’s learning style and that school environment could work well together.
Priority on curriculum
Another thing to look into is curriculum focus. Many school districts implement various types of educational foci to ensure students attain a specific set of skills. Some examples of focused curricula are STEM, Fine Arts, Music, Honors, and AP courses. STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—has been a buzzword in school districts recently. Some programs now focus on the STEM curriculum from elementary through high school. Because of the advancement of technology, the job market in these areas is an ever-changing horizon.
Additionally, fine arts and music can expand a student’s learning. Including a fine arts program can help students with fine-motor skills and develop creativity, among other things. Music education may develop parts of the brain that can help in other areas of study. The global landscape is becoming more competitive than ever. It is imperative that today's students are well prepared as they enter adulthood. Schools offering Honors and AP (Advanced Placement) classes can place your student in the position to take significant advantage of opportunities post-graduation.
Schools, along with the items as mentioned above can enhance the educational experience by offering a variety of before and after-school activities. These can range from widely known sports such as football, basketball, and soccer to less-common sports like lacrosse, golf, and bowling. Clubs can give a great sense of belonging and develop leadership and team-building skill sets. Plus, service projects that improve the surrounding community provide students with the chance to network. Those networking relationships can parlay into opportunities later in life. Finally, with post-secondary schools becoming more competitive than ever, being able to submit an application with a superior balance of academic accomplishment and extracurricular activities can be an advantage.
For more insight on local schools in a potential new neighborhood, talk to the neighbors at the next open house you attend.
Anyone who has been into real estate long enough knows that the home buying process is entirely different from the home selling process. Most home sellers are first-time sellers who intend to move from their current home due to job search, increasing family, or maybe just to experience a new neighborhood. They tend to run into several roadblocks because they are not familiar with the process. Which is why this guide was compiled to help you navigate your way through the real estate world.
- Make Your Home Market Ready. A recurring mistake first-time home sellers make is to wait until their homes are listed before preparing it for the market. Such a delay can cost you both your time and potential buyers. Like every other commodity in the market, home buyers take the time to inspect a house thoroughly before closing the deal on the sale. Little home improvements will go a long way to increase your chances of attracting more buyers and closing the deal sooner. Therefore, it is advisable to take the time and run a complete makeover on your home before listing it. Of course, it involves putting out some cash. You should see this effort as an investment because it will increase your chances to upsell the house.
- Get a Real Estate Agent. Hiring a real estate agent is a crucial step in selling your home as a first-time home seller. You apparently lack the know-how to strike and close a good deal. A professional agent, on the other hand, has all it takes to sell your home at the fastest possible time and the highest possible price. Be sure to evaluate more than one agent before choosing an agent with whom to list. The agent who helped you with buying your home is not always the smart choice when selling your home. Agents differ. Look for one who has a good record and not one struggling to find its feet in the real estate world. Why? Because your chances of striking and closing a great deal at the fastest possible time depend primarily on your agent. Go for the pro!
- Timing! Timing!! Timing!!! You cannot overemphasize the effect of timing. Yes, location matters but the timing matters just as much. Endeavor to study the market and know the right time to list. The market usually fluctuates throughout the year. Learn about the sellers' market, the buyers market and the balanced market before listing. Listing during the sellers' market drastically increases your chances of selling your house faster and at a great price too. Know your market!
- Set the Right Pricing. Pricing is one of the primary reasons some homes stay forever in the market. Who wants to buy an overpriced property? Nobody! Home buyers want to get the bang out of their buck. Therefore, it is safe to set the pricing after a careful analysis of the current market. This task is better handled by a professional real estate agent who knows the best pricing method to apply at different ‘states' of the market.
If you’re ready to put your home on the market, call a local realtor today.
Making an offer on a home you’re hoping to buy is a stressful endeavor. You want your offer to stand apart from others, and if you don’t feel comfortable increasing the offer, a personalized letter is a good way to explain your situation and possibly sway the seller in your favor.
Sounds good, right? But when most of us sit down to write an effective offer letter we often come up stumped. What makes your situation different than any other hopeful buyer? How do you find the right tone in your letter? How do you sign off at the end?
There are a number of things to consider when writing an offer letter. So, in this article, we’re going to help you craft an offer letter that will give you the best chance of getting accepted by a home seller.
Begin with them
Before you start talking about yourself and why you love the house, start by addressing the seller by name. Thank them for letting you view their home, and compliment them on the work they’ve done to take care of it.
Why you love their home
A good place to start in your offer letter is to describe exactly what sets their home apart from the others you looked at. Are there defining characteristics of the home that make it perfectly suited to your family? Does it have a large yard that your dog will love to run in or the workshop you’ve always wanted to practice your woodworking?
Make your letter personal. This is your chance to show that you aren’t just concerned with the price of the home.
Share information wisely
Some buyers get excited about all of the changes they would make if their offer was accepted on a home. And while it’s okay to plan and be excited for the future, you might not want to share that information with the seller.
Remember that they have many memories and hours of work put into their home, and they might not appreciate you talking about how you’re going to start tearing down walls.
Once you get into the flow of writing your letter, it’s easy to get carried away. However, sellers will be more receptive to reading and understanding your letter if it is short and to the point. Try not to go over a page, single-spaced.
Once you’ve written your letter, review it to see if there’s anything that can be simplified or removed altogether.
Before sending your letter, have a family member, friend, or real estate agent look it over. Not only will they be able to catch small grammatical errors, but they’ll also let you know if something you’ve written is confusing or would be considered over-sharing.
You might be tempted to hit the send button as soon as you’re done with your letter. However, receiving an email can be impersonal--we all get hundreds of emails that we never even open. Rather, print your letter on nice paper, sign it by hand, and consider attaching a family photo if you have one that’s suitable.
If you’re new to home ownership, the idea of taking care of a home might seem daunting. After all, you’ve always called the landlord to fix the plumbing, broken garage door, or pest issue. Now, you are the landlord. That means you’re in charge of maintenance and repairs on your new home. You can find a handyman to keep on speed dial, or, you can take a class to learn the basics.
Check out the big box stores
Wander into Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards or check out their websites and you'll find classes, workshops, tutorials, and videos to get you started on a variety of essential projects. Set aside a Saturday morning to learn how to replace a faucet or lay tile with their in-store workshops or follow along a tutorial on your tablet.
Don't forget the independent hardware store, garden centers, lumberyards, lighting specialists, plumbing fixture outlets, and paint stores. Specialists in customer service, these smaller stores hire experts to give you advice on a range of subjects from which plants work together in the same soil to what paint finish will last longest on your siding and trim. Often, these specialists work with you to form a plan to fix your problem, and they don't mind you picking their brains for advice.
Sign up for a home-owners class
- Online classes from a variety of sources help you hone your do-it-yourself and home maintenance skills. Check out Family Handyman DIY University to learn the basics of repairing and replacing caulk. Or get ambitious and learn how to care for your septic tank and well-water system.
- Hands-on classes from your local housing department or community college, like this one from Bronx Community College, teach basic plumbing repairs to more advanced HVAC and construction classes. CDC Long Island offers a seven-week home maintenance training program where new homeowners can learn the basics of sheetrock repair, plumbing and electrical repair and safety, door hardware installation and how to transition your home to eco-friendly green products.
- Volunteer to get hands-on experience. Offer your time to local building programs such as Habitat for Humanity and work alongside pros to learn basic skills. If you make it a regular habit, you’ll learn indoor and outdoor skills from the ground up that you can put to work in your own home, and you’ll be giving back to your community.
Whichever way you choose to learn, make it a priority to keep your home in tip-top shape so that when the time comes to sell your agent will say "no problem, let's get it listed."