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Kim Jarrouj's Blog

By Kim Jarrouj | Agent in Charleston, WV
  • Ideas For Your Spare Room

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Moving  |  January 8, 2013 8:51 AM  |  1,012 views  |  No comments
    Written by: Alicia

    When looking for a new home, do you cross off houses because it’s hard to imagine what to do with extra space? Perhaps it’s time to lose that viewpoint and realize that a blessing has been bestowed upon you! Don’t leave the spare space empty and definitely don’t fall into the common rut of using it as a catch-all for junk and clutter. There are plenty of ways to turn a spare room into something you can use. To prove it, here are a dozen ideas for making the most of your extra room:

    1. An Office is a popular option. Whether you work from home or just spend a lot of time online, a private office space offers you a quiet area designated for that use. To create an office, add a spacious desk to become the room’s centerpiece. The most efficient desk will include abundant shelving space for a printer, files, books and office supplies. Add a couch or table area to the room for a relaxing break from work or for an open writing space.

    2. A Guest Bedroom is another practical idea. Fill this room with the same type of furniture found in other bedrooms, all in neutral colors and designs to fit any age or personality. To offer the most comfortable stay possible, opt to provide a bowl of mints, a pile of fresh towels or a stack of magazines. Right before guests arrive, clean the room from top to bottom for a fresh appearance each time.

    3. A Library is the perfect option for a quiet escape into a peaceful atmosphere. If reading is one of your favorite activities, why let your beloved manuscripts collect dust in boxes? Add wall-to-wall bookshelves filled with your favorite novels, poetry or short stories. Include the most comfortable chairs or couches for the coziest read you’ll ever experience. If writing is your thing, provide a table with paper, a typewriter or a computer. With your favorite books surrounding you, finding motivation will never be a problem.

    4. A Game Room offers optimal entertaining space. Did you always want an old-fashioned Pac Man machine but could never figure out where to put it? Placing these gaudy items in a spare room will keep them away from everyday view and create the perfect atmosphere for fun time! Hang up pictures of your favorite athletes or the logos of your favorite teams. Add shelves for board games or supplies for pool/ping pong tables. The fun space you always dreamed for is now possible.

    5. A Media Room is ideal for those who continually keep up with the latest technologies that become available. Turn this space into an electronic lover’s dream with an enormous flat-screen TV, a surround sound system, a high-impact stereo or a massive videogame arena. Don’t worry about chords visibly extending through other rooms or loud sounds inconveniencing others. Load it all into one room for the best movie or videogame experience of your life.

    6. A Social Room is an option for those of you who love to hang out with friends and catch up on each other’s lives. For a mature atmosphere, create a wine cellar. Wine cellars no longer need to be hidden away in basements. Design with French décor, add wine shelves along the walls and place chic furniture to relax in. If wine isn’t your thing, build a bar inside the room with electric hookups and bar stools. Add a TV to watch sports games or include a refrigerator for snacks and drink options that everyone will enjoy.

    7. A Fitness Room is a modern approach now that most weight-lifting equipment and workout machines are available to purchase. Why waste time joining a gym when you can create one in your own home? Set up your favorite machines, such as a treadmill or an elliptical, and maintain an open area. Add a stereo system, a TV or a stack of magazines to keep you entertained while you burn calories. Decorate with photos of your favorite athletes or with pictures of summer beaches. These will motivate you to keep at it!

    8. A Pet Room is ideal for someone trying to sell a home or for someone who wants to keep a new home in top-notch shape. A pet room keeps your furry friends away from expensive furniture, but it also offers them room to roam! Allow caged animals to wander freely in an enclosed area or just place your dog or cat in the room when guests with allergies come over. Fill the room with pet toys, pet beds and pet litter. By keeping this clutter refined to one area, you won’t feel guilty for letting your pet take over a room.

    9. A Toy Room creates a separate space for kids who come over. Instead of constantly tripping over toys around the house, enclose these youngster adventures to one room. A child will love to have his or her own space to scatter toys around freely. Decorate in bold colors or with a theme, such as clowns, dolls or ninjas!

    10. If you enjoy scrapbooking on a regular basis, fill a Hobby Room with ribbons, glitter, poster board, cutouts, photos, you name it! Don’t worry about making a mess when you put aside a space just for that. Is keeping up with old acquaintances your favorite pastime? Scatter photos around the room and create a comfortable setting for writing letters or talking on the phone. Do you enjoy constructing ships in a bottle, architectural ideas or interior design projects? Fill the room with the supplies and space you need.

    11. A Meditation Room is a supreme idea for someone who carries an abundance of stress with him or her on a daily basis. Sometimes you just need to let loose and forget about everything, but perhaps you don’t know how. Create a serene, peaceful atmosphere filled with soft aromas, candles, fruit, wine, chocolate or anything that helps you relax. Whether it’s playing a CD with ocean sounds or just lounging on a pile of plush pillows, create the perfect atmosphere to become stress-free.

    12. A You Room is for those who can’t decide which idea suits them most. Perhaps you enjoy socializing, reading and working out. You can create a combo room with a roll-up yoga mat, a stereo for fitness and pleasure, a sitting area and a shelf of books! You can also use this room to display your proudest accomplishments. Decorate shelves with bowling trophies, hang published paintings or display jewelry that you made from scratch. If you just want a “feel good” room to relax in whenever your spirits need a rising, fill the space with photo albums, objects collected from nature or photographs of your favorite city.

    Kim Jarrouj, Realtor
    Great Expectations Realty
    www.kimjarrouj.com
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  • We’ve Been Working With A Realtor But Found A FSBO Property, What Now?

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Buying, Home Selling  |  September 12, 2012 9:56 AM  |  991 views  |  No comments

    These are questions & answers from  a realtor.com blog.  Please treat your agents as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.  We agents have a large time & money investment when helping clients.

     We’ve been working with a Realtor with whom we like very much but we found a for sale by owner property(FSBO) we just love. How can we proceed further and also keep our Realtor?

    –Anonymous, Michigan

    A: Do involve your Realtor. Many private sellers are willing to co-operate with Buyers’ Agents. They know the paperwork will be handled correctly and that the buyers have been properly qualified to make the purchase. If the private seller is unwilling to pay a commission you will need to pay your Buyers’ Agent. But you can do so with the assurance that he/she is working for you and that the deal will be constructed with your best interests as the foundation.
    Deb Dawkins is a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Co LLC in Easton, MD.

    A:Your agent approaches the owner and asks for permission to show the property, represent you and get paid by the owner.

    YOUR agent should all ready know this!!!

    Sincerely, Leah
    Leah Layman is a Realtor® with Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners in Augusta, GA.

    A: Easy. Just have your Realtor make his or her fee part of your offer to the seller. That way it will be paid from the proceeds at closing and not increase your costs.
    Jim Lee is a Realtor® with Re/Max Coast to Coast Properties in Portsmouth, NH.

    A: In Pennsylvania you can. Just ask your realtor to contact the person selling the home to see if they cooperate with Realtors. Your Realtor should have them sign a Fee Agreement. If they are not interested in paying the comission, then it is up to you if you want to pay the Realtor. But remember this is how it works in Pennslyvania. Good Luck!
    Lynn Bentley is a Realtor® with Prudential Fox and Roach in Haverford, PA.

    A: Find out if the seller would be willing to pay a fee to your Realtor to handle the entire process. It will be worth it to have someone handle the transaction. You could have your Realtor call the owner for you to find out.
    Brenda Cunningham is a Realtor® in Mesa, AZ.

    A: Talk to your Realtor. Sellers selling their own property are likely doing so to save the money they would have to pay a brokerage (which includes both listing side and the selling side). However, many realize they may need to pay a buyer’s agent. They are still saving the listing agent fee. Your Realtor can talk to the seller and ask if they are willing to pay his/her commission. If the seller is not willing to, you can pay his/her commission. If neither of those work, ask your Realtor for some suggestions.
    Heather Richman is a Realtor® with CENTURY 21 Prestige Realty in Cedar City, UT.

    A: Talk to your Realtor, she or he will take care of the technicalities with the for sale by owner. If FSBO seller refuses you could compensate your Realtor yourself. I can’t stress enough how much you need a Realtor protecting your best interests! Go call your agent now:)
    Rita Legan is a Realtor® with Keller Williams Realty in Strongsville, OH.

    A: First, allow me to say bravo to you for being loyal to your Realtor. There are many benefits to using a Realtor you trust. First benefit is your Realtor can probably have more success in negotiations than you will dealing directly with the owner. Second, your Realtor is probably more familiar with home inspections than you are and as such can guide you. You can either choose to pay your Realtor for his/her services or you can ask the owner to pay. Most owners will agree to this.
    Maria Picardi-Kenyon is a Realtor® with Re/Max Tri County Realtors in Hamilton, NJ



    Read more: We've Been Working With A Realtor But Found A FSBO Property, What Now? | REALTOR.com® Blogs
  • Avoid Closing-day Glitches

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Moving  |  August 16, 2012 8:23 PM  |  1,013 views  |  No comments

    A checklist for an easy mortgage closing

    By Susan Wellish
    Closing-Escrow
    Your real estate lawyer has called and scheduled your home mortgage closing date. What will happen at the closing and how can you avoid any shocks or surprises? There have been many milestones thus far in the purchase of your new home. You have had many appointments with your real estate agent, invested huge blocks of time reviewing many homes and asked many questions about each home. You have finally picked a home, researched a qualified home inspector and prepared and participated in the home inspection. You read and re-read the home inspection report more times than your favorite book. You applied for a mortgage, supplied numerous documents and finally the culmination of all these activities is finally here. Here are some tips for you to walk away from your home mortgage closing day without any surprises or stress. Instead, just enjoy holding the new keys to your dream home.
    Real estate attorney
    Schedule an appointment with your real estate attorney and have him review the real estate contract, settlement, truth-in-lending statement and review the mortgage. Your attorney should verify that the seller has made all repairs and that he will bring the deed to the real estate closing. Your attorney is your advocate and he should be passing on information to keep you in the loop. To ensure that you will be ready for your closing day, be organized and proactive in questioning your attorney for an easy, positive, no-glitch day. 
    Closing day documents
    Your closing day will require your active participation. What kind of items will you be signing? You will be signing your name and the assurance to repay the loan numerous times. You will be signing mortgage papers with the lending bank, affidavits that you intend to occupy the residence and possession of the new deed.
    The mortgage papers are the most numerous to be signed as they must be initialed in multiple places and have copies of the original signature available for all interested parties to the loan. A mortgage is a document that legally secures the note or promise to pay the mortgage bank or lender by the mortgage borrower. The mortgage gives the lender a legal claim against your home if you do not pay or violate the terms of the mortgage. The mortgage document is very detailed, with information on who is purchasing, lien holders, dates of payment, rates of interest, and special conditions. The mortgage will clearly state the home owners' obligations for home owners' insurance and property taxes. This amount of detail benefits both the mortgage lender and the home owner.
    Closing costs
    Closing costs can amount to a small fortune. All of these costs were outlined to you during the mortgage application process. Loan origination, mortgage loan, mortgage points and credit report fees are all closing costs to be paid at the closing. In addition, you may need to pre-pay interest for a partial month depending on the date you closed and when the first payment is due to lender. Title insurance is one of the more expensive fees and is required by all lenders to insure there are no liens against the deed. Finally, the last charge to pay to the lender is the fee for recording of the deed, which may include a real estate transfer tax.
    Keys to your new home
    Your home is probably the most expensive purchase you will encounter in your life time. You have invested invaluable time, effort and lots of money towards the purchase of your home. Planning on a successful closing mortgage day should hopefully be a reflection of all your organized efforts. Sometimes issues do come up at closings. However, with a plan to have your attorney review most the major documents in the acquisition of your home before the closing day, and the sellers confirmation of completed repairs as required by the real estate contract, you should be in for a smooth mortgage closing. Enjoy the new keys to your home.

    Kim Jarrouj, Realtor
    Your Home is Where My Heart is
    Great Expectations Realty
    304-415-7111
    www.kimjarrouj.com
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  • Preparing Your Home to Sell: Depersonalize

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Moving  |  August 5, 2012 7:57 AM  |  1,023 views  |  No comments

    You may have many questions about putting your house on the market and speaking with a Realtor is a great place to start. You should also realize that this will typically be an emotional-filled decision and may require you to look at selling your home from a business-like perspective. Your real estate sales agent will have the experience to answer your questions and will probably make a point of referring to the property you are selling as a “house” and the property you are seeking to buy as a “home”. Realtors do this for a very good reason.

    When you are selling your home, it helps to remove your emotional connection from the sales process. It is best to think of your house as a marketable item that you own, which just happens to be real estate. You can’t be clinging to your house and still make wise business decisions in its sale.

    Remember your goals: Marketing your house

    Your primary goal is to present your property in a way that will make buyers view it as their own potential home, not yours. This means de-personalizing the rooms so that they literally could be anybody’s rooms. Things like wedding and family pictures on the walls, hobby or trophy shrines and collections of memorabilia need to be packed away.

    Décor also should be neutral in taste. If you have a personal passion for the color red and have painted three of your rooms in tribute, you should consider painting those rooms and toning down the paint color to a neutral earth tone that compliments any décor. Remember, you want warmth and personality, but no connection to you as a person or your specific tastes.

    You goal is to make your home "anonymous". Think of what you might see if you were to look at a furnished “model” home at a new housing development. You would probably find a tastefully furnished home that anyone could live in. You would find neutral colors on the walls and in the flooring. Furniture would define the living space of a room but not overwhelm the space of the room. There would be nothing personal on the walls or in the furnishings.

    Why is this all so important? You want buyers to view the property as their potential home, but when a buyer sees family photos and items that are so clearly “you”, it disrupts their own vision of the home as potentially theirs.

    What should you do to depersonalize your home?

    Put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put those boxes into storage and do not start a large stack that will add to clutter in your basement or garage. You are moving anyway so start the packing process with these items you can do without and will help you sell your house.

    http://www.verani.com/real-estate-information/seller-articles/depersonalize-home-for-sale.htm


    Kim Jarrouj, Realtor
    Your Home is Where My Heart is
    Great Expectations Realty
    304-415-7111
    www.kimjarrouj.com
    kimjarrouj@gmail.com
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  • Renovations That Can Increase the Value of Your Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Moving  |  July 19, 2012 6:35 PM  |  1,026 views  |  No comments

    By Adam Verwymeren  Published March 30, 2011 FoxNews.com

    When it comes to boosting your resale value, not all home renovations are created equal.

    Big-ticket items like hardwood floors, flagstones around the pool, or a water feature might be great for the homeowner, says Kris Anderson, a Re/Max agent in the Phoenix area, but these improvements do little to increase the asking price.

    Instead, homeowners should focus on more humble renovations and steer clear of the flashier upgrades.

    “The key when remodeling is to think in terms of ‘resale’ always,” Anderson said. “I find most homeowners overlook their front door and garage door and the windows. They get sucked in by the showroom at Lowe’s or Home Depot.”

    So which upgrades pay off the most?

    Safety First

    While luxury items like granite countertops and new floors might be nice, security is often the first concern for a home buyer. A steel-reinforced front door can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, but you’ll make back nearly 100 percent of that when it comes time to sell your home, so it’s a great way to add guaranteed value. Likewise, a garage door replacement, which can cost between $700 and $1,400, can fetch an 85 percent return on investment. Not only will these changes add a sense of security to the home, but you’ll also be making a great first impression.

    Think Green

    Any energy efficiency upgrade that promises a buyer long term savings is a surefire way to boost your asking price. Though brand-new windows are one of the biggest-ticket items you can invest in, costing as much as $12,000, you can expect to recoup up to 75 percent of that cost when you sell.

    Curb Appeal

    Not all renovations need to be big, expensive undertakings. Tackling a few modest DIY projects can be a great way to add value on the cheap. Basic landscaping can cost less than a weekend’s worth of sweat and effort, but may dramatically boost your house’s curb appeal, that all-important first impression your home makes on a potential buyer.

    “Curb appeal is a very important thing to remember. When a potential buyer comes to see your home, the first impression is the front yard,” said Candice Cerro of Realtor.com. “Planting flowers and painting the front door can go a long way.”

    Similarly, a new coat of paint indoors and outside can give a house a fresh look. But before you run out to purchase a few gallons, heed a realtor’s advice: Keep it neutral. You may love lime green or pink, but that doesn’t mean your buyer will.

    “This is not about what you like, but what the buyer likes,” said Cheryl Bare, a realtor with Century 21 in the Washington, D.C., area. Sticking to neutral tones will allow a potential buyer to envision the space as their own, while minimizing the risk that they’ll be turned off by your color choices.

    Pick Your Battles

    Dumping a wad of cash on a home office upgrade or a backyard pool will likely do little for your overall value, real estate agents warn. Not everyone will place the same premium on these improvements that you do, so if you are going to tackle a major renovation, stick to the spaces used by everyone in the house: the kitchen and bathrooms, which can net you a 70 to 80 percent return.

    A spacious, modern kitchen will leave a lasting impression on a buyer. And by focusing on smaller things, like a stylish backsplash or a kitchen island to increase workspace, you can really boost your kitchen’s appearance without spending a ton of money.

    Likewise, when it comes to remodeling a bathroom, small changes can really pay off. “You don’t have to put on an addition to make the master bathroom larger; but instead, redo the tiling,” Bare said. “Work with the space you have.”

    Sweat the Small Stuff

    Many homeowners often overlook the nickel-and-dime stuff, like light fixtures, faucets and door knobs. While it won’t pay off to splurge on high-end fixtures and faucets, at the very least you want to ensure that the house has a uniform look and feel. So pick a style and stick with it throughout the home.

    Don’t Overdo It

    While these renovations can help your home move a little faster and fetch a higher price, the simple truth is that no matter what you do, you’re not likely to make back 100 percent of your investment. So whatever renovation you undertake, make sure it improves the quality of your life while you’re still living there.



    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/03/29/renovations-increase-value-home/#ixzz217dwXe6J

    Kim Jarrouj, Realtor
    Your Home is Where My Heart Is
    Great Expectations Realty
    www.kimjarrouj.com
    Follow Me on Facebook
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  • Understanding Foundation Problems

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Buying, Home Selling  |  June 20, 2012 3:24 PM  |  1,052 views  |  No comments

    Foundation problems may mean expensive repairs. Here’s what to look for and what you need to know to keep small concerns from becoming big headaches.



    Most homebuyers are careful to have a home inspector check for foundation problems before they sign purchase papers. But that shouldn’t be the last check. Recognizing early warning signs of trouble can forestall damage that costs tens of thousands of dollars or even jeopardizes the full value of a house. Luckily, some of the warning signs are easy to spot. Here’s what to look for.

    Home foundation: Inside hints

    A floor that’s not level is one tip of a possible foundation problem. Some people can sense this easily; others never notice even when a floor sags a couple of inches.
     
    If you’re in the latter group, there are other ways to hear your house whispering that the foundation is rising or sinking unevenly: A door begins to jam or fails to latch; cracks appear in walls, especially over doorways or windows or where walls meet ceilings; cracks open in vinyl or ceramic tile over a concrete floor. Windows that fail to budge or to close completely also hint at foundation problems, assuming the culprit isn’t just sloppy or sticky paint or rotten wood frames.

    Slab home foundation problems

    If you have a slab foundation, a structural engineer can help determine whether these signs point to normal settling or to structural damage. Expect to pay $500-$700 for a structural engineer to inspect your foundation and provide an evaluation, and as much as $2,000 for a full set of drawings for an engineered solution.

    If it’s a structural problem, your foundation is settling unevenly and has the potential to skew or pull apart the framing unless you take action. Best case: You can get the house level again just by keeping soil near the house evenly moist, either by irrigating during dry weather if you live in a damp climate or by switching to landscaping that doesn’t need irrigating if you live where it’s usually dry.

    Worst case: You need to underpin the foundation with helical screws or concrete piers. Installation costs $1,200-$1,500 per pier, with one every 6 to 8 feet.

    Outside, take the long view

    Moving outside, check to see if your foundation is straight by sighting down the length of your foundation wall from each corner. You should see a straight line. A bulge or divot in either a block foundation or a poured concrete wall could signal that the foundation has shifted.

    Check for leaning walls with a level. If the top of the foundation sticks out beyond the walls in one area, the foundation wall may have tipped. Any signs of shifting or bowing means that the soil may be expanding and contracting, putting pressure on foundation walls, and remedial steps are necessary.

    The poke test

    If your house has a poured perimeter foundation and it appears to be shedding sand, poke it in a few places with a sturdy screwdriver. The concrete should be so dense and hard that you do no damage. If you can excavate a hole, the concrete could be deteriorating because the mix contained dirty or salty sand, or too much water. This problem, common in homes built in the early 1900s in some parts of the country, has no remedy short of a new foundation, perhaps a $35,000 prospect.

    Checking crawl spaces

    In the basement or crawl space, look for foundation problems that may include a system of posts and concrete supports, or piers. Posts should stand straight and be firmly planted underneath the beams they support. Bottoms of posts should rest firmly on concrete piers.

    You shouldn’t find puddles or see framing that’s wet. Check for rot by probing wood posts with a screwdriver or awl.

    Puddles and other signs of moisture in a crawl space may indicate poor drainage around the perimeter foundation. Be sure that gutters aren’t plugged, and that soil slopes away from the foundation at the rate of 6 inches for every 10 horizontal feet.

    Reading cracks

    Concrete and block foundations usually have at least a few cracks. The trick is recognizing which are insignificant and which are serious.

    As concrete cures, it shrinks slightly. Where the concrete can’t shrink evenly, it tends to crack. Cracks where there is an L-shape section, such as where a foundation stairsteps down to follow a hillside, are probably shrinkage cracks, especially if they meander and taper down to a hairline. These aren’t a structural issue, though you might need to plug them to keep the basement or crawl space dry. Hairline cracks in the mortar between concrete blocks are also rarely worth worrying about.

    If you find small cracks (less than 1/16-inch wide), paint over them with a concrete waterproofing paint (about $25 a gallon). Then check periodically to see whether the paint has cracked, which means the gap is opening up under pressure.

    Stairstep cracks in masonry joints are a bigger concern, especially if the wall is bulging or the crack is wider than ¼ inch. A plugged gutter or other moisture problem outside is probably exerting pressure on that part of the wall. You’ll need a structural engineer to help identify a cure, which can include bolting on steel braces ($500-$700 each, often spaced about 6 feet apart along the wall) or using epoxy to glue on straps of carbon-fiber mesh ($350-$450 each, similarly spaced).

    Horizontal cracks are most serious, and indicate that water-saturated soil outside froze and expanded, pushing in and breaking the foundation. Perhaps gutters backed up and heat was off for an extended period during especially cold weather. The consequence: You probably need a whole new foundation.

    Horizontal cracks also occur because of problems with underlying soil. If you have soil that expands when damp and shrinks when dry, you face the same range of solutions as if you had a slab foundation. Hire a structural engineer to help you sort out your options.

  • Published: January 15, 2010
  • By: Jeanne Huber


  • Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/foundations/understanding-foundation-problems/#ixzz1yNHCkG00

Thanks for reading!

Kim Jarrouj, Realtor
Your Home is Where My Heart is
Great Expectations Realty
304-415-7111
www.kimjarrouj.com
Follow Me on Facebook
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  • Surviving the Stress of Moving

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Buying, Home Selling  |  May 3, 2012 9:37 AM  |  155 views  |  No comments

    by Susan Miller

    The last box was unloaded, and the moving van slowly drove away. I felt as though cardboard boxes and moving vans had become a part of our life. All of a sudden, my to-do list became unimportant. I watched our children play with empty boxes in the yard. They seemed so content for the moment, but I knew the reality of change would soon settle in.

    In our 10 moves as a family, I had watched my children go through a roller coaster of emotions — from excitement to apprehension to sadness to acceptance to happiness. Getting them connected to our new community as quickly as possible always made a big difference in their adjustment.

    To smooth this transition, the first thing our family did together was share something we were thankful for about the move, such as "our home" or "our family being together." This helped everyone refocus on what was really important.

    The next thing we did was find a church. This is where connectedness began — with a place to worship, grow in Christ and make friends. A church home gave us roots in the community and a place to belong.

    Another important step was to get involved in the community. Each time we moved, I got our children involved in a favorite activity or sport. When we moved to Arizona, we temporarily lived in a hotel, waiting to move into our new home. I looked up soccer leagues in the phone book and registered our son and daughter from our hotel room. Not only did I learn my way around the city by having to find soccer fields, but friendships with other parents were also formed during our first soccer game, and we still have those friendships today. Our family motto quickly became "join up and join in — that's the way to make a friend!"

    When our children were small, I would walk our new neighborhoods and look for bicycles, swing sets, toys — any sign of where children might live. It was fun to slip an invitation in their door for the moms and kids to come over for a playdate. When our children were older, I let them invite some of the kids in their classes to our house for pizza and popcorn so my kids could get better acquainted with them.

    If you've recently moved, you may be thinking, What about me? How will I begin to put down roots in this unfamiliar place and start all over again? Make an intentional choice to do whatever it takes — whether it is joining an aerobics class, getting involved in a Bible study, volunteering to help with a worthy cause or reaching out to someone who, like yourself, needs a friend. In time, your last box will be unpacked, the world around you will become familiar, your family will settle in, and you will begin to call this new place your home.


    Susan Miller is an author, speaker and founder of Just Moved, an outreach ministry for women and families who are relocating.

    Kim Jarrouj, Realtor
    Your Home is Where My Heart is
    Great Expectations Realty
    Follow Me on Facebook
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