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September
20

Moving Tips

It's no secret that moving can be stressful! When you're packing up your entire life and relocating across the country, it's important to make sure you're prepared. Spending some time planning your move will help ensure everything goes off without a hitch. 

Not sure where to start? You're in luck! Our real estate agents often work with clients from out of state and have created a helpful guide to help with planning cross-country moves. Here are a few of the most important tips. 

Cross-Country Moving Tips

  • Start by Decluttering
    There's no sense paying someone to move stuff you don't really want or need. You'll save yourself money if you declutter before you move. Even better, you may be able to make some extra money by having a yard sale, working with a consignment store, or selling items online. You can also donate gently-used items to local nonprofits.
  • Ask for Help
    There's nothing worse than trying to handle a cross-country move by yourself. Don't hesitate to ask for help with certain tasks. Even school-age kids can pack up boxes of non-essentials if they're shown the proper way to do it. There's also nothing wrong with asking family and friends to come over and lend you a hand. 
  • Book Travel Arrangements Early
    You don't want to scramble to figure out your travel arrangements at the last minute. Having the right airline and hotel reservations can make or break your move, so make sure you spend some time doing your research and start booking your reservations at least a month in advance. 
  • Get Quotes from Multiple Movers
    A cross-country move can be expensive, so it pays to get estimates from at least three or four different moving companies before making your final decision. Make sure each company you're considering is licensed and insured. Be careful not to make your decision solely on price. It's also important to consider their anticipated delivery time, the services included, and whether you feel comfortable with the company's reputation. Many of the best moving companies book up quickly, so it's important to get started on this as soon as possible. 
  • Take Photos or Videos of Your Items
    When packing up valuable items, it's a great idea to take photos or videos to document their condition. This way, if they arrive damaged, you'll be able to easily show proof to the moving company. 
  • Get the Driver's Contact Number
    When you're moving cross-country, you can sometimes wait a week or longer for your items to arrive. Getting a contact number for the driver can help give you some extra peace of mind. 
  • Consider Moving Insurance
    Most moving companies offer a free moving policy, but these typically only cover the bare minimum. When booking your move, consider whether you need Full Value Protection. This will hold the mover accountable for covering the actual cash value of your items. You'll also have to weigh the pros and cons of choosing a policy from your mover versus getting one from a third-party insurance company. 
  • Bring Valuables and Important Paperwork
    Make sure to protect your valuables and important paperwork by keeping them with you instead of sending them with the movers. Some of the items you'll want to keep with you include jewelry, heirlooms, your birth certificate, and your marriage license. 
  • Pack a Bag of Essentials
    As you're packing up your belongings, make sure to keep a separate bag or a suitcase for your essentials. This should include everything you need for moving day and the first few days after you arrive. Make sure you have at least a few changes of clothing, all your necessary toiletries, medications, and items like towels, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, pet food, child necessities. 
  • Examine Your Items Carefully
    When the movers arrive with your items, make sure you inspect them thoroughly. This is particularly important for large items, like furniture and anything valuable. If you notice any damage, take photos and contact the movers right away. 
  • Update Your Information
    Thanks to modern technology, it's now super easy to change your address. You can just visit USPS.com and select the date you want the post office to start forwarding your mail. You'll also need to change your address with your bank and credit card companies and change over your new utilities. 
  • Get a New Driver's License
    If you're living in a new state, you'll need to get a new driver's license. To do this, make an appointment at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and bring all the necessary paperwork so they can issue you a new license. 
  • Explore Your Neighborhood
    Now that all the hard stuff is done, it's time to settle into your new home and get comfortable in your new neighborhood. This means getting outside and saying hello to your new neighbors. This is also a good time to start exploring local parks, restaurants, and retail shops. You may also want to check out your local Nextdoor.com group. 

Are you planning to relocate soon? Our agents would love to help you find your dream home! Contact us today. 

March
15

Gallery Wall Masiello

A good way to create a focal point in your living room is to craft a gallery wall. One that is well done makes a home look inviting and helps tie the room together. This creative collage does require a bit of planning! The following guide will help you to create a stunning gallery wall you'll love to look at in your home.

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August
10

Tricks to Make Your Home More Spacious

If you find yourself spending more at home this year, your living space may be starting to feel a little cramped and claustrophobic. A comfortable living space is important, and studies have suggested small spaces can negatively impact your overall mood and mental health. Not only does more space equal more happiness, but it can also increase your home's overall value.

Luckily, when it comes to interior design there are simple ways to make your home appear more spacious. Our real estate agents have several tips for making your home appear more spacious. Whether you're looking to put your home on the market this year or simply looking to make things more comfortable, consider these design suggestions that can actually trick the eye into seeing more space:

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June
15

Moving to a New State

Our real estate agents love welcoming new residents who are relocating from another state. While every move is exciting, there's something really special about starting the next phase of your life in a completely new location. 

However, moving from one state to another also requires a bit more thought. Here are a few of the most important things to consider before taking the plunge. 

  1. The Job Market
    If you haven't already secured a job in the new state you're considering, you'll want to take a close look at the current local employment opportunities. The last thing you want to do is uproot your entire life only to find that you're not able to make a living in your new home state. 
  2. Click Here to Read More...

February
10

How to Declutter

There are many reasons people opt for a smaller space. If you've decided to downsize to a smaller home, you'll reap many benefits, including a lower mortgage payment (if you still have one), lower utility bills, and a smaller area to maintain and keep clean.

Before you downsize to a smaller home you have to downsize your belongings. It's important to declutter your current home so your new home can be well organized with items that fit your new lifestyle. Our REALTORS® suggest the following tips help for downsizing to a smaller home:

  • Consider Your New Lifestyle
    As you prepare to move, consider what your lifestyle will be like in your new home. Do you see yourself pursuing an old hobby? Or maybe you won't be pursuing a sport you still have your old equipment for, but you'll have plenty of room to ride your bicycle. Imagine living in your new home and determine what items will help support this lifestyle.

  • Evaluate Your Furniture
    Furniture takes up a lot of space in a home and is difficult to move. Consider your smaller home and how many rooms it will have. If, for example, you'll have fewer bedrooms, you won't need as many beds, chests of drawers and other bedroom furniture. Check with your friends and relatives to see if anyone needs your excess furniture.

  • Go Through Everything
    Go through everything in your home, because you may have boxes of items that you no longer use or want. Open all of them and sort through their contents, so you don't blindly move them to your new home. This also lets you eliminate duplicate items, such as extra sets of drinking glasses.

    Click Here to Read More...

December
20

Winter elements present a challenge for curb appeal. Unless it's within the first hours after a fresh blanket of twinkling snow has fallen, cold weather can leave properties barren and debris-ridden. While you won't be able to get blooms growing in your garden, there are some things you can do to boost your curb appeal this season.

Keep pathways clear

From the driveway to the front door, the sidewalk to the garage, and areas surrounding the back yard, all pathways should be clear of snow, ice and debris. Cleared pathways also make a home appear cleaner and more well-kept than properties that haven't seen a shovel. Picking up snow will ensure prospective homebuyers can safely navigate the home and back yard. Always have a shovel on hand and use it before any showing.

Keep the winter equipment hidden

Leaving a shovel on the front porch allows homeowners to easily clear a pathway. No matter how practical it is to keep the winter equipment and tools handy, keep these items hidden when trying to increase curb appeal. This is especially true if the items are taking up space on the front porch or can be seen from the road.

Forbid the snow fort

If you have little ones in the home, it can be hard to keep them from building a snow fort. While most people will smile at the idea of a child's creativity, it could prevent interested parties from seeing the home as a blank canvas for their family. Keep the front lawn clear of snow forts and snowmen. The same rule should also be applied to holiday decorations. While an inflatable Santa Claus may seem like a great way to bring attention to your home, it can be more of a distraction than anything else.

Keep the exterior lights bright

Potential homebuyers often drive past homes for sale to check them out prior to investing their time at a showing. If the exterior lights aren't on, they will drive right by without thinking twice. It is important that the outdoor lighting shines brightly and is in working condition at all times. One flickering bulb or dimmed light can make a home appear unkempt.

 

Make your home appealing this winter with these tips for stellar curb appeal.

December
6

Get in the Zone…Well, Safety Zone comes to mind if you are in the middle of a mess, but we're talking about creating zones in your home that create a feeling and a purpose to every space you live in.

New to staging? No problem! Here are a few quick tips to get your started!

Dive in to a Deep Clean

"Remember staging your space is putting your home's best foot forward so that you can reap the benefits", explains Interior Designer, Erika Gaudreau.

The first step isn't fun, but it's a must! Dig in to a deep, deep clean (if you haven't already read our first three blogs in our "Clean Up Series", check it out for some key clutter busting tips). We're talking power washing the outside, clean all inside surfaces, scrubbing grout, cleaning windows, steaming carpets and all. It's worth hiring a pro, if necessary.

Staging can be as Easy as Moving Furniture!

The three most important rooms to focus on are the living room, master bedroom and kitchen. Taking these spaces to the next level could be just a matter of moving the furniture you already have, getting rid of extra pieces or renting what you need to create a space that will sell buyers – literally!

Create More Space

Place living room furniture away from the walls (this creates the illusion of more space, we promise) and bring it all together with a beautiful area rug. Make the space into an area where you can envision family and friends sitting and hanging out comfortably together.

Focus on a Focal Point

Highlight one area or unique feature in each room. Just one. Work with the furniture you have and strategically place everything to highlight the positive. Place pieces across from new, bright windows to show off the natural light or an out of this world view. Does your living room have a fire place? Face furniture towards the hearth – it will draw wondering eyes to what you want them to see!

Out with the Old…

Say Goodbye to the couches you've owned for 12 years. Worn furniture gives the impression that the home is not well kept. While you're at it, oversized furniture can go too. You want to create more space, don't take up your entire room with a giant couch. This rule goes for any lamps, tables and odds and ends that are not being used. Throw additional items in storage or get rid of them for good (who wants to move unused items anyway).

…In with the New

Rent or buy furniture to enhance what you have!

Extra room or finished basement? Purchase, borrow or rent an inexpensive bed, nightstands and bureau. Voila! You have a guest bedroom! Dress the bed with a big, soft, gender-neutral comforter and add some decorative pillows and a cozy throw.

If you're wanting your living room space to feel casual, opt for a new sectional sofa and a cozy recliner. Going for formal? Two matching sofas or beautiful sofa and two classy arm chairs across from each other with an elegant coffee table placed in the middle will do the trick. 

One Word: Nostalgia

What are your favorite things about where you live? Do you have bike trails? Do you have a bay window that overlooks a gorgeous garden or body of water? You want home owners to feel an emotional connection to your home and all that it offers (beyond the space), after all, they'll want to create their future memories there! 

"I bought a $200 vertical bike rack when we listed our home in Boston just so people could imagine commuting into the city or grabbing the bike for a ride along the Charles. You're creating an environment people can see themselves in" suggests Gaudreau.

Just like adding a bike rack, highlight that bay window by keeping the curtains and shades wide open, add lots of pillows, a book or two and a beautiful blanket. Make memories for the house hunters they haven't even thought of yet.

Ready to get rearranging? Staging can be a lot to take on, but remember, it can also mean less time on the market and more money in your pockets. Cha-ching!

 

November
21

Clear out clutter for GOOD

If you're anything like the typical couple or family getting ready to sell your home, hiding clutter is your idea of cleaning before a home showing. We know – throwing some clutter in a few bins and storage solutions is a go-to quick fix for emergencies (see our first post in this Clean Up series), but cleaning up and getting rid of the stuff you are just shuffling from spot to spot is key – especially if you're getting ready to move!   

  • Marie Kondo your home. Yep, I said it. Does it bring you joy? Nope? Say goodbye. There is no need to keep items that are just taking up space. Having trouble parting with items? Decide where you can donate them. A children's home? Homeless shelter? Local school/community center? Donating items will help you part with them a little easier.

  • And just like our friend Marie Kondo would say…tidying starts with your closets! Empty each closet out and create piles to "Keep", "Donate", "Throw Away".

"My rule on clothes? If you haven't wore it in a year, get rid of it!" says Erika Gaudreau, Real Estate Agent/Interior Designer.

  • Don't forget the coat closet! How many coats do you actually wear? Lots of Coat Drives take place before winter weather sets in. Donate your unused winter coats to someone who needs it.

  • Set aside items that are in re-sellable shape in a bin or portable closet. Price these items as you go through them. Host a yard sale and make some extra cash to use towards something you need in your new house!

  • Do you hoard cleaning rags, drop cloths or towels? As you fold your laundry, have a trash basket nearby, anything in less than great shape – toss! Including most of your cleaning rags. Less to pack up! Plus, you may want new towels to match the new décor in your new home! How many times can we say "new"?

  • Remember to clear out the pantry too!

"That panini grill you got as a wedding gift that's still in the box? Toss it. No one will know" Gaudreau continues, "unused items just take up usable space."

Discard any small appliances collecting dust, outdated food items, opened spices, sauces, flour, etc. that have been sitting on the shelves longer than you can remember!  Plus, home buyers will want to SEE your pantry, so, be sure it is organized and not stuffed to the brim.

So, how do you KEEP it all CLEAN for GOOD?

Part of the stress of selling a home is keeping the home you're living in clean – consistently.

  • Set a timer for 10 minutes and spend that amount of time picking up/cleaning one room. It can be one room a day, or 10 minutes per each room a day.

  • Sort mail and paperwork the second it gets in your pretty little hands. Stand by the recycle bin and toss junk mail and unwanted papers before you even enter your home. Pay and file away bills/invoices and other important paperwork in labeled file folders. Store folders in a file cabinet or drawer for safekeeping that's out of sight.

  • Have designated spaces for everything, and make sure that place makes sense. Coffee mugs should be in a cabinet or shelf by the coffee maker, chargers should have a home at a charging station on your desk. Important paperwork should be kept in labeled folders in a file cabinet. Cooking utensils, pot holders and recipes should be near the oven and easy to grab, quickly. Toys and children's books should be all in the playroom or a designated play space. See where we are going with this?

Cleaning is CONSTANT.

As you may have guessed, decluttering is more than a one-time deal. It's something you have to keep up with in order to keep things in order. When the entire family is home, set aside time to all focus on cleaning up. Give each person a specific job before they enjoy free time…grown-ups included! Albert Einstein once said; "Out of clutter, find simplicity." 
Decluttering will give you the peace of mind you never knew you needed. So, as you prepare to pack and move into a new space, really dig in and dig out of the mess that may be holding you back! Moving won't seem like a huge hurdle when you have fewer things to pack - and unpack!

November
14

ultimate challenge

You've Cleared all the Clutter... now All Hands-on Deck! Parents, get kids in on the clean up before moving out!

Promise, they can help (after they have a meltdown because you asked them to do something other than play Minecraft)! Getting kids involved in your family's home-selling plan gives them some control and makes them feel they are part of the process. It is important to keep rooms, especially bedrooms, picked up before you have an Open House or home showing because we all know; less clutter shows off your space and most buyers are looking for bigger and better! If potential new homeowners see objects scattered around, taking up desks, counters, etc. they will assume the home is too small or it doesn't offer enough storage options. Not to mention, they can't visualize their family's stuff in the home either! So, get your cleaning crew (this is your family, by the way) ready! Here are 5 tips to get your kids to help clean up – quickly!  

  1. Everything's a game! Have them tackle the' playroom (or wherever toys are hanging out). Ask those angels to clean up the red toys first, then blue, etc. Another way to make clean up less overwhelming is to separate toys by type too – blocks, vehicles, balls, the list goes on! Have them pick up one grouping at a time.

  2. Music Maestro! Put on their favorite tunes and tell them the person who picks up the most toys by the end of the song, WINS! Or – just enjoy a dance party while picking up! Music makes every chore fly by.

  3. Everything has a home…Ask them to put scrap paper, markers, dolls all in designated bins and place books back in the bookshelf. Use pictures to show what belongs in each bin or bag so small children can easily help put them away. If you have specific spots for everything, clean-up is easier – and faster!

  4. Are kids hesitant to help? Tell them anything left on the floor after the 10-minute timer blares will be whisked away and donated to a child who will take better care of their toys. Having a big ol' trash bag in your hands really helps get the point across!

  5. Say "Goodbye"! Next time the kids clean up, ask them to set aside toys they feel they have outgrown or they don't play with anymore. Have the kids decide where they would like to donate their toys and have them tag along with you to help bring the bags of goodies to a children's home or shelter. Some fire stations accept gently used stuffed animals to help comfort kids in crisis too! Getting rid of the extra toys and unused games now before you start packing, will make your move a lot easier!

In general, after playing with toys or games, always clean up before moving on to the next activity. Practice this every time they play so the expectation of picking up is always there. This will become a habit and not a chore…and it will be super helpful when it comes to keeping your new home tidy!

Now that the kids are on board, check out the next post in our cleaning series, Clearing out Clutter for GOOD.

November
7

Clean up Clutter - fast!

Owning a home and having people live in it are two completely different things, right? If you're like most people, panic sets in when a friend suddenly decides they'll stop by in an hour…even worse…if your home for sale and you have a last-minute showing (Yay for potential buyers, though!). You are well aware that a day wouldn't be long enough to clean up the clutter scattered throughout the floors let alone a measly hour, so now what? Before you tackle what seems to be an impossible task, here are some tips that will have you on the fast track to a tidy home (even if you have to fake it).

SURPRISE! Your house needs to be picked up…NOW!

No one knows the stress to impress like home-sellers! For a surprise last-minute house showing with potential buyers (or any unexpected visitor) you just can't say "no" to, here are a few tools and tricks that will help you hide away clutter before guests knock on the door! 

  • Invest in hide-away furniture! I am not talking about a hide-away bed, either! Storage ottomans are a man and women's best friend. Throw toys, blankets, etc. in there to hide clutter FAST!

  • Baskets, baskets EVERYWHERE! Keep baskets on your steps and label one for each family member (including your spouse). Collect their clutter and toss the person's items in their respective baskets. Each family member needs to bring their basket up to their rooms and put the items where they belong. Move it, people!

  • Speaking of baskets, baskets and bookshelves offer the perfect combo to put away small items in a hurry. Invest in pretty, coordinating baskets and use them to store (eh hem - hide) small toys, board games, remotes, Legos (ugh, the LEGOS), magazines – the list goes on. Keep things looking neat by adding colorful cubes with chalkboard labels for quick reference! This not only will look great when you are showing your home to sell but baskets with covers (or stackable containers) are easily portable when it comes to moving day!

  • Behind closed doors…Armoires are great in the bedroom, but this statement piece can work as a beautiful piece of storage furniture too! You can just shove items on the shelves and CLOSE the DOORS (thank you, doors)! Keep one in the kitchen to store bowls, glasses, towels, etc. especially if cabinet space is limited. The living room is a great spot for this piece of furniture too! This large, glorified cabinet can store family games, cards, books, even extra sheets and pillows for guests. Clear, stackable bins that fit on the shelves work great for keeping things in their place and finding them quickly too!

  • Hiding spot = CHECK! If you're lucky enough to have a few good closets, keep a large storage bin in each one – if there are items or a few things scattered on the floor that need a hiding spot, fast – toss them in the bin until you have time to find a home for it all. Warning! When selling your home, potential buyers peek in the closets (guilty as charged), so keep them as neat looking as you can! The neater they are, the larger they look which is a turn-on for your next homeowners!

  • Keep small decorative laundry baskets in each bedroom. This will help keep clothes off the floor, hopefully, and help keep laundry separated for the designated launderer. Plus, if you are showing your home, do you really want future homeowners or renters to see your unmentionables scattered about?

  • If a miracle happens and you have extra time, run the vacuum (after all, everything is finally off the floor). A quick once over on the wood floors and carpets brightens up the place!

Take a second and catch your breath. Now that you've rested (that was fast, right?), you must find some energy to really clean and organize your home - for good - at some point. Sorry to burst your bubble! Cleaning up comes with moving out. You don't want to pack up anything that will sit in storage and collect dust. 

May the odds be forever in your favor.

Before you tackle the bigger project at hand, check out the next post in our series, The Ultimate Challenge: Cleaning with Kids!

April
24

You've sold your home, now what?

It's time to pack and move! While stressful, it is the perfect time to organize, declutter and purge all of those unwanted items. Just like the latest organizing trend,
Marie Kondo your moving routine.

Don't know where to start? Here are some of our favorite tips;

Recycle, donate or throw out

If it doesn't spark joy, get rid of it! Contact your local thrift stores, family and friends or post on local facebook marketplaces for a little extra cash. Your junk could be someone else's treasure.

Create a master moving to-do list

This list will include all the tasks and important reminders like grabbing extra boxes and tape, hiring a local moving company or returning your cable box. Utilize you're your smart device to share your google doc list with a spouse or family members to keep everyone in the loop.

Moving tools

Be sure to stock up on moving boxes, tape, permanent markers, and bubble wrap. Create a master labeling system. Label each box with its desired location and then add the box number and contents to your Master to-do list. This will help you tremendously when you are trying to find the dog leash that you thought you left out!

Pack an overnight bag

For quick access, pack a few extra sets of clothes for your family. This will save time and your sanity!

For more tips visit the 41 Easy Moving and Packing Tips that will make your move dead simple blog post.

March
11

Moving Purge Before You Pack
Buying a new home is exciting, and if you have just done so, you're probably very eager to get into that house and get started making it a home. However, before you can get to that part of things, you'll have to get through the moving process. That process will be easier if you spend some time thinning out your stuff before you begin packing it up. Our real estate agents know that, for most of us, this is easier said than done, so if you're not sure just where to start, here are ten ways to purge before you pack:

  1. Sort your clothes – Getting prepared for the easiest possible move means biting the bullet and getting rid of clothes that haven't seen daylight for ages. Sort through your closets and dressers and purge anything that hasn't been worn in the past year.

    Click Here to Read More...

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