We’ve laid out our Moving Tips timeline below. The timeline starts at eight weeks from your moving day and goes up until the day you arrive at your destination.
Eight weeks before you leave your present address
- Remove unnecessary items from your attic, basement,storage shed, etc. Use things you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.
- Obtain information about your new community.
- Secure a floor plan of your new residence and decide what household items you want to keep.
- Start a possessions inventory.
- Solicit estimates from at least three moving companies.
- Call your homeowners insurance agent to find out to what degree your move is covered.
- Create a file for documenting all moving papers and receipts.
- Arrange to transfer your children’s school records.
Six weeks before you leave your present address
- Contact the IRS and/or your CPA for tax-deductible information.
- Evaluate your possessions inventory. Can you donate anything? Do you need it all?
- Notify your friends, relatives, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, etc.
- Subscribe to a local paper in your new community and familiarize yourself with local government, community and social news and activities.
- Begin the off-site storage process (if applicable).
- Locate high-quality health-care professionals and hospitals in your new location.
- Complete post-office change of address cards for the following: banks; charge cards; religious organizations; doctors/dentist; relatives and friends; income tax bureau/Social Security Administration/union; insurance broker/lawyer/CPA/ stockbroker; magazines; post office; and schools.
- Clean your closets.
- Hold a moving/garage sale or donate items to charities.
- Choose a mover. Contact your mover to make arrangements and inquire about insurance coverage.
- If relocating due to a job, contact your employer to see what costs, if any, they will cover.
Four weeks before you leave your present address
- Start packing!
- Send furniture, drapes and carpets for repair/cleaning as needed.
- Gather auto licensing and registration documents, medical, dental and school records, birth certificates, wills, deeds, stock and other financial documentation, etc.
- Contact gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable TV and trash collection companies for service disconnect /connect at your old and new addresses. Also ask for final readings.
- Request refunds on unused homeowner’s insurance, security deposit with landlord, and prepaid cable/internet service.
- Notify your gardener, snow removal service and pool service (if applicable).
- Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowner’s, medical and life) to arrange for coverage in your new home.
Three weeks before you leave your present address
- Make your travel plans.
- Arrange to close current bank accounts and open accounts in your new locale (if necessary).
- Notify your state’s motor vehicle bureau of your new address.
- Arrange for childcare on moving day.
Two weeks before you leave your present address
- Arrange special transport for your pets and plants.
- Service your car for the trip.
- Contact your moving company and review arrangements for your move.
One week before you leave your present address
- Prepare detailed directions and an itinerary with emergency numbers for your moving company.
- Settle outstanding bills with local retailers. Pick up dry cleaning, and return library books and rented videotapes.
- Take pets to the veterinarian and get copies of their records.
- Drain gas and oil from power equipment.
- Give away plants not being moved.
- Cancel newspaper delivery.
- Buy two-weeks worth of medication and have your prescriptions forwarded to your new pharmacy.
- Buy traveler’s checks.
- Make arrangements to pay for your move.
Two to three days before you leave your present address
- If you’re not doing it yourself, have your mover pack.
- Defrost refrigerators and freezers.
- Consider gathering all valuables and giving them to family or friends to hold until the move is completed.
- Disconnect all major appliances.
- Contact your moving company for any updates.
- Pack first-night items and a survival kit. Keep them in separate boxes in your car. First night items may include: sheets, towels, toiletries, phone, alarm clock, change of clothes and flashlight.
- Mover’s survival kit may include: scissors, utility knife, coffee cups, instant coffee/tea or a coffee maker, water and soft drinks, snacks, paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, pencils and paper, local phone book, masking and/or duct tape, trash bags, shelf liner and aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Be home to answer any questions your mover may have.
- Record all utility meter readings (gas, electric and water).
- Stay until your movers are finished.
- Complete information on the bill and carefully read the document and the inventory sheet before signing it.
- Keep your copies of the bill and inventory until your possessions are delivered, the charges are paid and any claims are settled.
- Take one final look around to see if you forgot anything.
- Give movers the directions to your new home, and an emergency number where you can be reached during the move.
- Unpack first-night items and mover’s survival kit.
- Be at the destination to welcome the movers and be on hand to answer any questions.
- After the job is completed, pay what is owed. The driver is obligated by law (a federal requirement for interstate moves) to collect payment upon delivery.
- Scrutinize the unloading of your items and account for each one on your inventory sheet. Check promptly and carefully for any damaged or missing items.
- Place moving and other important documents in a safe place.
- Go to the post office and collect held mail.
Buying a new home is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Here’s a list of tips to help make your home buying experience more pleasant.
Choose the right person
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ll want to carefully choose the real estate professional you work with during the process.
You should commit yourself to working with one sales associate who can learn your likes and dislikes in homes to make your home-buying process easier. Choose a professional who specializes in residential real estate and who has specific knowledge of the local real estate and mortgage markets.
The person you choose should listen to you and be interested enough in you to find out about your housing needs and preferences. Service first should be the motto of the professional you choose with services going above and beyond what you expect and need. Doing some preliminary planning before you begin your home search will make the entire process more manageable and less overwhelming. As part of your initial game plan, you should:
Check your credit rating
Even if you’re sure you have excellent credit, it’s wise to double-check at the outset. Straightening out any errors or disputed items now will avoid troublesome holdups down the road when you’re waiting for mortgage approval.
You may see disputed items, in addition to errors caused by a faulty social security number, a name similar to yours, or a court ordered judgment paid off that hasn’t been cleared from the public records. If such items appear, write a letter to the appropriate credit bureau. Credit bureaus are required to help you straighten things out in a reasonable time (usually 30 days).
- TIP: Make sure that any outdated derogatory entries are deleted from your credit file. Adverse credit information is not supposed to be reported or included on your credit report after seven years (except bankruptcy information, which can be reported up to 10 years).
- TIP: Officially cancel inactive credit cards. If you have an inactive credit card with a $5,000 limit, even though you owe nothing on it, some mortgage lenders will consider that a potential future debt. Too many inactive credit cards with significant credit limits could keep you from obtaining a mortgage loan. Don’t just cut up your extra cards; officially cancel them, and do it now so there will be time for the news to reach the credit bureaus.
- TIP: Hold off on making any major credit card or car purchases while you’re waiting to apply for a mortgage. Monthly payments you’re obligated to pay will be counted against you, and reduce the amount of the mortgage loan you’ll be offered. Even if you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, that approval is subject to last-minute evaluation of your financial situation, and a spending spree for appliances, furniture and other goodies intended for your new home may wreck your chances for buying it.
Pre-qualification and pre-approval on a mortgage
A real estate professional can help “pre-qualify” you for a mortgage before you start house-hunting. This process includes analyzing your income, assets and present debt to estimate what you may be able to afford on a house purchase. Mortgage brokers, or a lender’s own mortgage counselors can also calculate the same sort of informal estimate for you.
Obtaining mortgage “pre-approval” is another thing entirely. It means that you have in hand a lender’s written commitment to put together a loan for you (subject only to the particular house you want to buy passing the lender’s appraisal).
Pre-approval makes you a strong buyer, welcomed by sellers. With most other purchasers, sellers must tie the house up on a contract while waiting to see if the would-be buyer can really obtain financing.
The down side is that you may pay application fees to cover the lender’s paperwork in verifying your employment, income, assets, debts and credit rating. If you later decide not to use that particular lender, you’d have to start all over again elsewhere – with no rebate.
Pre-approval will also speed up the entire mortgage procedure once you’ve found the house you want. The only remaining question will be whether the house will “appraise” for enough to warrant the loan.
Become an educated buyer
- The web is one of the best ways to search for homes today. With this website, you can receive daily emails with new and updated listings from the towns and price range of your choice.
- Search the entire MLS for all homes, condos, land, multi family, commercial properties, and past solds at your convenience.
- View full listing sheets showing amenities, taxes, lot sizes, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, garages, room sizes and much more.
- Get property address and see where the properties are located on MapQuest.
- Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns.
- Save preferred listings in your own file to view anytime.
- Calculate approximate mortgage payments for specific properties.
- Click here to sign up now
Once you have made an offer on a home, you will need to schedule a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. It is extremely important to hire a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you can proceed to the Purchase and Sales agreement. If the inspector finds problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs.
Your lender may require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing. You may select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate broker to help you with this task.
Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs.
Settlement or Closing
Finally, you are ready for the closing. Be sure to read everything before you sign! You should have both your real estate broker and an attorney present at the closing to ensure that all is in order.
Finally make sure before you buy
Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out exactly what features you need, want and don’t want in a home. Before starting your search, you should make a “wish list” to decide which features are absolutely essential, which are nice “extras” if you happen to find them, and which are completely undesirable.
The more specific you can be about what you’re looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. Also keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise.
Create your own personalized “wish list” and when you’re finished filling it out, share it with your real estate agent.
Below you will learn some tricks of the trade when it comes to selling your home.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, keep in mind that buyers appreciate a clean look in the homes they view. You can increase the value of your home and decrease the time it takes to sell by making a few simple improvements.
Aroma is the first thing prospective buyers notice when they step inside a home. To eliminate odors, steam clean your carpet and wash walls and floors with household cleaners and disinfectants. Keep your home smelling fresh by burning candles or potpourri, boiling a pot of cinnamon sticks or putting a dab of vanilla on cold light bulbs before turning them on.
Nothing makes a home look newer faster than painting. Painting your walls and removing outdated wallpaper may be the best interior improvements you can make. For broader appeal, paint in neutral colors such as beige, white, off-white, or gray. These colors suggest newness and cleanliness and can brighten a dull or outdated room. If your carpet is badly worn, outdated or stained, consider replacing it. If your carpet is heavily soiled, you may want to have it professionally cleaned. Brighten the interior of your home by cleaning your windows and opening your curtains to let light in. Clean hanging light fixtures and add the highest-wattage bulbs allowed. Below are 20 suggestions to help you sell your home.
Make the Most of that First Impression
A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted – or at least freshly scrubbed – front door. If it’s autumn, rake the leaves. If it’s winter, shovel the walkways. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better.
Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends
Here’s your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. Fresh wallpaper adds charm and value to your property. Prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, “with a little work.”
Check Faucets and Bulbs
Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned out bulbs leave prospects in the dark. Don’t let little problems detract from what’s right with your home.
Don’t Shut Out a Sale
If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.
Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.
Make Room for Space
Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They’re looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items.
Consider Your Closets
The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now’s the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.
Make Your Bathrooms Sparkle
Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. For added allure, display your best towels, mats and shower curtains.
Create Dream Bedrooms
Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.
Open up in the Daytime
Let the sun shine in! Pull back your curtains and drapes so prospects can see how bright and cheery your home is.
Lighten up at Night
Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights – both inside and outside – when showing your home in the evening. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.
Avoid Crowd Scenes
Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they’re likely to hurry through. Keep the company present to a minimum.
Watch Your Pets
Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everybody a favor: Keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. When it’s time to show your home, it’s time to turn down the stereo or TV.
Be friendly, but don’t try to force conversation. Prospects want to view your home with a minimum of distraction.
No matter how humble your abode, never apologize for its shortcomings. If a prospect volunteers a derogatory comment about your home’s appearance, let an experienced Real Estate Agent handle the situation.
Keep a Low Profile
Nobody knows your home as well as you do. But a Real Estate Agent knows buyers – what they need and what they want. Your Real Estate Agent will have an easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay in the background.
Don’t Turn Your Home into a Second-Hand Store
When prospects come to view your home, don’t distract them with offers to sell those furnishings you no longer need. You may lose the biggest sale of all.
Defer to Experience
When prospects want to talk price, terms, or other real estate matters, let them speak to an expert – your Real Estate Agent.
Help Your Agent
Your Real Estate Agent will have an easier time selling your home if showings are scheduled through his or her office. Offer to keep an eye on the brochure box attached to your sign and make sure it is always filled with flyers. Try to accommodate prospective buyers when they want to see your home.
Here we lay out the common mistakes home sellers make, do your best to avoid these and you’ll be on your way to home selling bliss.
Basing the asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value
Many times sellers base their pricing on how much they paid for or invested in their home. This can be an expensive mistake. If your home is not priced competitively, buyers will reject it in favor of other larger homes for the same price. At the same time, the buyers who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads. The result is increased market time, and even when the price is eventually lowered, the buyers are wary because “nobody wants to buy real estate that nobody else wants”. The result is low priced offers and an unwillingness to negotiate. Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible from the sale, but a listing priced too high often eventually sells for less than market value. An accurate market evaluation is the first step in determining a competitive listing price.
Failing to “Showcase” the home
A property that is not clean or well maintained is a red flag for the buyer. It is an indication that there may be hidden defects that will result in increased cost of ownership. Sellers who fail to make necessary repairs, who don’t “spruce up” the house inside and out, and fail to keep it clean and neat, chase away buyers as fast as REALTORS® can bring them. Buyers are poor judges of the cost of repairs, and always build in a large margin for error when offering on such a property. Sellers are always better off doing the work themselves ahead of time.
Over-improving the home prior to selling
Sellers often unwittingly spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior to attempting to sell in the mistaken belief that they will recoup this cost. If you are upgrading your home for your personal enjoyment – fine. But if you are thinking of selling, you should be aware that only certain upgrades to real estate are cost effective. Always consult with your REALTOR® BEFORE committing to upgrading your home.
Choosing the wrong REALTOR® or choosing for the wrong reasons
Many homeowners list with the real estate agent who tells them the highest price. You need to choose an experienced agent with the best marketing plan to sell your home. In the real estate business, an agent with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced. That experience could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with a minimum amount of hassles.
Using the “Hard Sell” during showings
Buying a home is an emotional decision. Buyers like to “try on” a house and see if it is comfortable for them. It is difficult for them to do if you follow them around pointing out every improvement that you made. Good REALTORS® let the buyers discover the home on their own, pointing out only features they are sure are important to them. Overselling loses many sales. If buyers think they are paying for features that are not particularly important to them personally, they will reject the home in favor of a less expensive home without the features.
Failing to take the first offer seriously
Often sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come. There is a tendency to not take it seriously, and to hold out for a higher price. This is especially true if the offer comes in soon after the home is placed on the market. Experienced REALTORS® know that more often than not the first buyer ends up being the best buyer, and many, many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. Real estate is most saleable early in the marketing period, and the amount buyers are willing to pay diminishes with the length of time a property has been on the market. Many sellers would give anything to find that prospective buyer who made the first, and ONLY, offer.
Not knowing your rights and obligations
The contract you sign to sell your property is a complex and legally binding document. An improperly written contract can allow the purchaser to void the sale, or cost you thousands of unnecessary dollars. Have an experienced REALTOR® who knows the “ins and outs” fully explain the contract you are about to sign.
Failure to effectively market the property
Good marketing opens the door that exposes real estate to the marketplace. It means distinguishing your home from hundreds of others on the market. It also means selling the benefits, as well as the features. The right REALTOR® will employ a wide variety of marketing activities, emphasizing the ones believed to work best for your home.