How to Find the Perfect Neighborhood
By David Hakimi

Location, location, location. Half of buying a home is finding where you want to live. You may have found your dream house, but it might not be in your dream location.

Here's how you can find the perfect neighborhood: 

 

Check It Out Online
Look up what people are saying about the neighborhood you're interested in. Do people actually enjoy living there? What do they like and dislike about it?

Crime Stats
Google the crime statistics for the area; safety should be top of mind. If you have kids, look up schools in the area. How are they rated? Social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor also offer a great window into the ins and outs of your potential neighborhood.

Scout It Out
Literally. Do drive-bys, and do them at different times of the day to get a feel for the neighborhood. Is there a soccer field or baseball diamond close by? You'll want to know before it's too late whether cars will be lined up on your street every weekend. What's that nearby intersection like during rush hour? Is there a grocery store close by? The more questions you can answer before moving in, the more confident you’ll feel when it’s time to put down an offer.

How Far Is Your Potential Home From Your Job?
A long commute has the potential to become an everyday stressor. If you take the bus, look up the route and times. If you drive, check out the route during your normal commute times on Google Maps.

Do Your Research on Property Taxes
Property taxes greatly differ from one region to the next and could majorly impact your cost of living. Do your due diligence and make sure you can afford the area you want to live in. Check out other costs of living while you're at it—think utilities and food prices.

 

How Marie Kondo Is Fueling Our Thrifting Goals  

Whether or not you’ve bought into Marie Kondo’s wildly popular method of tidying up, there’s no denying that the current decluttering trend has had a significant impact on one industry in particular—thrift stores are bursting with donations.

For the uninitiated, Marie Kondo is a Japanese “tidying consultant” who employs a method of purging items from your home that do not “spark joy.” Between her New York Times Best Seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, her KonMari method is in full effect, and what doesn’t spark joy for others, might spark joy for you. Here are some great items to look out for:

Books
Gently-used, vintage children’s books are common in many thrift stores. These and uniquely-colored books can be great to use in decorating.

For the flippers out there, good-condition, used box sets like the Harry Potter series can sell for around $30 to $50 on eBay. Other popular box sets include The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and Little House on the Prairie.

Wood furniture
Thrift stores are a great place to score solid wood furnishings at bargain prices. Even if you don't end up finding your vintage dream piece, items that look more “grandma” than Mad Men can be transformed with a little paint, varnish, and fresh fixtures.

Dishes and Glassware
Vintage dishes can be particularly valuable, so do a little research when you’re out thrifting. Glassware lovers enjoy vintage Pyrex cookware, as well as glass in different shapes and colors, so keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Mirrors
Mirrors make your space feel bigger, so they are the ultimate accessories for your walls. New mirrors can be expensive, however, so you can save big bucks by finding one at a thrift store.

 

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