Moving Made Easy
The average American will pack up all their belongings and move to a new house or apartment 11.4 times during their lifetime. Many of us – especially those of us with young children and a multitude of possessions – have come to dread the moving process. Yet, there are people who have a knack for making it all look…dare we say…easy. On the day that the moving trucks arrive, everything just seems to fall into place. Everyone knows the plan. Things happen quickly.
Truth be told, those are the people who planning and organized for weeks beforehand, which is the key to a smooth move. To become one of those people, here are six suggestions:
- Get Started Six Weeks Beforehand – Organizing for a whole-house move takes time. This is not something that can be rushed. Give yourself at least six weeks to prepare.
- Hire a Pro to Help You Purge – If you’re like most people, you love the idea of streamlining your possessions before a big move, but you find it one of the most challenging of tasks. The solution: Hire a professional organizer. Typically, the organizer will provide coaching, support and recommendations, as well as physical help.
- Develop Plans for the New Spaces – Move-in day will go much smoother if you determine ahead of time exactly where you want your furnishings to be place in the new property. Take measurements. Create a schematic. Put notes on each piece of furniture. You should even designate a space in each room where boxes can be safely stacked out of the way.
- Include the Kids – If you have children, give them plenty of advance notice so they can get used to the idea of a new home. Take time to answer their questions. Visit the new home and neighborhood as a family. And finally, arrange for someone to care for your children off-site on moving day.
- Arrange a Smooth Exit – While you’re surely excited about your new home, you’ll want to focus some of that energy on your current residence too.
- Renters: Plan to meet on-site with your landlord at least two weeks before your move-out date to review all the move-out processes and expectations. Ask if any of the required steps or paperwork can be completed before your final day.
- Sellers: Confer with your real estate agent about what items should/should not be left behind, how much cleaning needs to be done and more.
- Set Aside the Essentials – Moving is an all-day affair – which means you won’t have time to do much unpacking before the next day dawns. Red-tag the items you’ll want to access the first day in your new space (phone charger, essential kitchen items, etc) so they can be packed in a specially marked box.
Taking the time to plan in advance can save you a lot of stress on moving day and help you start enjoying your new home as quickly as possible.
Source: Windermere Home Update March 2017.
How Home Staging Sells
If you’re planning to sell your home anytime soon, give some serious thought to hiring a professional stager for an interior makeover.
After assessing your home, neighborhood and the most likely buyer, a home stager will physically arrange furnishings throughout your house and recommend other changes – which often include inventive ways to tackle clutter, high-impact painting suggestions, quick fixes for long-overdue repair issues, plus much more.
The process and underlying principles involved are akin to interior decorating, but are also very focused on the ever-changing desires of today’s home buyers and how best to appeal to them.
Here are some reasons why home staging can be well worth the investment:
Your Home Will Feel Bigger
Over the years, many homes fill with furnishings that make rooms feel awkward, cramped and crowded. A professional stage knows what to remove and how to rearrange what’s left to make these areas feel more spacious and useful.
Problem Areas Can Ben Downplayed
Some homes have rooms that are too small, too big or oddly shaped; interior payouts that make it difficult to get from room to room; fireplace mantels that overwhelm the living room; closetless bedrooms; misplaced windows; and other problems. Home staging can make those weaknesses seem insignificant, even unnoticeable; at the very least, it will demonstrate for prospective buyers how they can overcome the challenges.
Marketing Photos Look Better
Today, buyers begin their search for a new home online, where photos of the property will largely determine how many people will take the time to tour your home in person. When the walls are hung with neutral artwork, the interior decor is balanced, and the lighting is uplifting, it’s far easier for the photographer to make your house a standout.
Buyers Will Feel At Home
It’s difficult for many prospective buyers to see someone else’s home and envision living there themselves – especially if the current owner has outgrown the space, is using rooms in unusual ways, has out-of-date design ideas, or just hasn’t maintained the property well. The goal of home staging is to make every space in the house appeal to either the largest pool of prospective buyers or a very specific type of targeted buyers.
You’ll Sell Faster
A recent study performed by a team of real estate professors showed that most prospective buyers are not willing to pay significantly more for a house simply because it’s expertly furnished. However, another marquee study has demonstrated that staged homes sell far more quickly – which also has a direct impact on the seller’s bottom-lined profit:
- Homes that sell quickly usually garner the highest asking price
- Sought-after homes often attract multiple bidders
- A fast sale means the homeowner can cut their expenses and move on more quickly
According to the most recent RECA study, professionally staged properties valued between 4300,000 and $499,000 sell in 22 days on average, while comparable unstaged homes were found to typically languish on the market for an average of 125 days.
For more information about staging, as well as referrals to professional stagers, contact me anytime.
Source: Windermere Home Update February 2017.
HOME MAINTENANCE ON A BUDGET
There’s no escaping the need for a home maintenance and repair, so you may as well budget for it. Assume some aspects of your house will need work and put money aside each year to cover the costs. When you’re a homeowner, there’s no landlord. It’s up to you to fix or otherwise address whatever breaks and needs maintaining. It’s one of the responsibilities that many new homeowners tend to under-estimate. Even those who have owned a home for decades are often guilty of putting off necessary maintenance projects until the proverbial “next year”.
The daily- lift disruption these projects can cause is one reason why homeowners tend to delay or ignore the work. However, the money involved is often the major hurdle. The best solution, say experts, is to create a budget – plan ahead by putting money aside each year.
How much should you budget? That depends on your home, its size, age and condition. However, as a general rule, experts recommend you set aside between 1% and 4% of your home’s purchase price. For a house that cost $350,000 to buy, that means the maintenance/repair budget should be between $3500 and $14,000 per year. The lower amount would be appropriate for a new home or condominium; owners of homes 50+ years old should target the high end of the scale.
To develop a custom budget based on the cost of specific projects, see the “cost guides” provided for free on the ImpoveNet.com website. But remember, your budget must also include funds for unexpected repairs (e.g., broken appliance, broken window, leaking toilet), not just the known maintenance projects.
DO IT YOURSELF
Because labor makes up most of the cost of many home repairs and maintenance projects, you can save significant money by doing some of the work yourself. YouTube has become famous for its how-to videos. And the big-box home-improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) offer all of the necessary tools and supplies.
REGULAR CONTRIBUTIONS ARE KEY
The best way to manage your maintenance/repair money is via a separate savings account. Try funding it by making regular contributions: for example, contributing $300 per paycheck until you reach your budget amount for the year. If you don’t make the contributions a common practice, it’s too easy to spend the money elsewhere.
Not only is a well-maintained house less expensive to operate, it will also sell for more money. When it comes time to list it, you’ll be glad you saved, budgeted and quickly tackled maintenance problems. For more suggestions that could increase your home’s value, contact me directly.
Source: Windermere Home Update December 2016.
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