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SETTLING IN: PRE-MOVE POINTERS FOR TAKING STOCK

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SETTLING IN: PRE-MOVE POINTERS FOR TAKING STOCK

“Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child’s world and thus a world event.” – Gaston Bachelard

Despite all of the hassle moving represents, when the anxiety is gone and the dust has cleared, most of us have to admit that it’s a liberating experience. It forces us to rid ourselves of the clutter accumulated in the house we’re leaving. Whether or not you buy new furniture for your new residence, the motions of packing up and heading for different surroundings is a positive experience for most movers. It’s an opportunity to start over.

Before you move, it’s a good idea to take inventory of your belongings and consider what place they’ll have — if any — in your new home. After all, when you moved into your current home, your family’s needs were different. Since then, its occupants have become older, hobbies have been abandoned, tastes have changed, and now, suddenly, items you once thought you’d die without don’t seem that wonderful anymore.

* Taking stock of your furniture is a good place to start; after all, if you decide to get rid of a piece or two, you can save yourself the considerable expense of moving them. In addition to your furniture, take a good look at your lamps, rugs, pillows, and other accessories — particularly the ones you’ve stored away for months — and decide whether they really reflect your tastes anymore. Some of them may serve little purpose other than to clutter your closets and collect dust. Rid yourself of them, while reminding yourself that everything you pack means more boxes, more packaging and labor costs, and more to unpack later.

* An effective strategy is to draw on paper the floor plan of your new home. Sketch in the designated spots for your furniture, making sure you’ve noted where such obstacles as fireplaces, windows, built-in shelves or desks, etc., are located. Remember where your electric outlets, telephone jacks, and television hookups are located, and make sure you’ve considered the direction in which your doors open. If you’re looking for a more exact plan, with square footage taken into account, take a note from Better Homes and Gardens Online, which suggests using graph paper to draw your rooms to scale. Each square translates to one foot of available space.

Here’s where your creativity takes over: After measuring the size and shape of each major piece of your furniture, draw them on graph paper using the same one-square-per-foot scale as you did for the rooms in your new home. Then cut the shapes and arrange your miniature furniture within your various room floor plans. Once you’ve made a decision about what suits you and where, attach the shapes onto the page.

While this process requires a little patience and a little more creativity, planning ahead enables you to avoid either moving heavy furniture yourself, long after the movers have left; or having your movers pause upon entry into a room, shouldering a heavy load as you decide where that 300-pound dresser should be placed. (Of course, you’d be lucky to find such a tolerant mover.) You’ve got a plan of attack that makes your life and your movers’ lives easier. You can point them in a direction and move on to the next item. The bottom line is that you’re paying by the hour, and a little sketching and cutting now will save you labor costs later. Take the trouble to draw only your major pieces of furniture; your smaller items and accessories can be placed anywhere for now, until you have time to consider the perfect spots for them.

This strategy also allows you to experiment with various arrangements that you may have considered in the past, but abandoned because it seemed like too much effort to pursue. And trying out new configurations is a consolation for not being able to purchase new furniture. Even if you’ve resigned yourself to a sofa that doesn’t thrill you anymore, arranging your furniture in a different manner may provide you with a completely new outlook on belongings that once seemed tired. That variety, combined with a new place of residence, is bound to inspire you. And don’t restrict your furnishings to the rooms in which you’ve traditionally placed them. For example, the chest of drawers sitting in your bedroom might look even better in your new living room. This move is your big chance to experiment — and you don’t even have to move the furniture yourself.

And while you’re laying out your plans on graph paper, you might want to determine the focal point of each room first — a fireplace, a large window, anything that grabs you when you first enter the room. Then arrange your furniture around that focal point. And while it’s a given, it’s well worth repeating that you should consider how each room is going to be used before you design its layout. For example, when you’re planning your living room, if you plan to spend a lot of time entertaining there, you’ll want to place chairs and/or sofas close together and provide plenty of walking room, as well.

After you’ve taken inventory of your current home, take stock of your home-to-be, starting with the kitchen and its appliances. With any luck, you’ll have ensured that all of those kitchen appliances are in good, safe, working order long before your move. Make sure the hot water system is both working and the correct size for your family’s needs. If the answer to either of those questions is no, replacing the unit will save you both considerable energy and money. Then investigate your new home’s heating and cooling system, which is going to represent a predominant percentage of your monthly energy expenses. To figure out if it’s running in top condition, determine the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating for your air conditioning and heating unit. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. A rating under 8 is considered relatively inefficient. Also check your ductwork to ensure that its size is appropriate and that it’s clean. Finally, make sure your thermostat and controls are operating correctly.

Home owners often forget that clothes washers and dryers eat up energy, particularly when stackable units are involved. Because users can’t fill them with much clothing, they’re forced to run more loads though the units, resulting in increased energy consumption and subsequent expenses. On the other hand, units that are too large may use excess water or heat. Regardless of the type of unit in your new home, make sure that the washer drains properly and that your dryer is vented out of your home.

And speaking of energy consumption, study all doors, windows, vents, and other passages to the outside for cracks. If you see any gaps or if you feel any air streams, seal them either with caulk or weather stripping. And check your windows to find out if they’re double-paned and fit tightly.

Finally, if you can’t paint your new home’s interior prior to your move-in date, don’t unpack until you do. And be sure to consider the direction of light in your home — where it hits the walls and the shadows it creates. Painting your dining room a deep shade of forest green, for example, could backfire on you if your lot is heavily treed, or if the room generally doesn’t receive much sunlight. The color that seemed vibrant in the can may leave you simply depressed once it’s covering the walls of an already dark room.

Written by Courtney Ronan
May 27, 1998

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MOVING ON UP!

MOVING ON UP!

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” –  Henry Ward Beecher

The kids are warring over bedroom space — even the dog wants more room! So one Saturday you innocently load everyone into the car, in search of a larger home. Emotionally, it makes sense.

But financially, are you prepared to part with some of your hard-earned equity (not to mention a bit more of your paycheck) in order to purchase a larger home? It’s going to cost you money to move up.

Simply explained, equity is the difference between what you owe on your home (all its mortgages, liens, etc.) and what you could obtain on the open market LESS YOUR COSTS OF SALE. (And the last part of that sentence is often overlooked by over-zealous move-up buyers!) But looking before you leap can make the difference between a financially prudent new purchase and a haunting economic disaster! Let’s evaluate the costs.

1) Some increased costs of purchase are obvious: You’ll be paying a larger mortgage payment monthly to own a larger home (depending on your down payment) your taxes will increase, and yes, even your home owner’s insurance will be more. And if your down payment isn’t at least twenty percent of the purchase price, you may even have private mortgage insurance to pay. It all adds up; but

2) Some increased costs of purchase aren’t so obvious: What about upkeep and maintenance? Utilities? Even the extended period of time it takes to clean the home on the weekend, taking time away from your family and other “fun” things—are you prepared for that?

3) One category most of us overlook when taking the “move up” plunge is to evaluate the chunk of equity it will cost us to sell our existing home, pay our buying costs, and move into another. Since 80% of all sellers hire a broker to sell their existing home (often saving money overall in doing so), you’ll no doubt benefit by that cost. You’ll add to it the additional sales costs of title insurance, transfer taxes, deed preparation, tax pro-ration—-basically all the costs paid by the seller when you purchased the home.

So should you move up? The answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re purchasing a home that will appreciate faster than your current one, gives you more space, is in a better neighborhood, and/or will make you psychologically happier, it may make sense to move. It’s true that happiness becomes the over-riding factor to the move-up buyer. Yes, you may want different features than you have in your current home; but you also know that housing is housing— but being happy where you live is paramount!

The bottom line is that homebuyers purchase with their “gut” and justify the purchase with their wallet. Long after you’ve crunched the sales cost numbers and consulted with an expert to evaluate a new neighborhood, you’re still likely to follow your gut instincts and purchase the home that tugs hardest on your heart-strings. After all, it’s what living the American Dream is all about.

DID YOU KNOW?

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DID YOU KNOW?

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.

Moving Information

  • Did you know, that more people are moving into Florida than out?!  In fact, the ratio is approximately 3 to 1.
  • Northern Moving Companies usually charge higher prices because they go back north empty.

Most Florida Moving Companies will move you for less, sometimes 45% percent less.

Most Florida Moving Companies will beat any written quote from your local moving company.

  • Below is a list of some Florida Moving Companies who might offer discounts to those moving into the state from the northern states.  Call and ask for their estimate brochure.
  • Also, here is a Reminder List of who should be notified of your move, such as;  the Post Office, utility companies, banks, magazine companies, newspapers, credit card companies, clubs, schools, your physicians & Dentist, and relatives / friends.

Move Yourself

If you decide to move yourself, the first thing you need is to rent a truck.  Have the rental company help you determine the size of truck that you will require.   You’ll have to pay the rental fee, mileage, and additional fees if you rent pads, dollies, blankets, packing materials and boxes.  And of course, if you break anything, you pay.

Hire a Professional

For long distances, you’ll probably want to hire a professional moving company.  Get at least three estimates for your move.   Contact the movers and ask for a copy of their companies literature and the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) brochure, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”, and a copy of the company’s “Annual Performance Record”.

Professional Costs

Interstate moves are usually based on the weight of the shipment (an average residential move ranges from 5,000 to 8,000 pounds) and the distance of the move.  Additional charges for packing and unpacking, disconnecting and hooking up appliances are added.

You have the option of choosing either a binding or non-binding estimate. If you know exactly what you are shipping at the time of the estimate, you can avoid surprises with a binding estimate.  Although the fee may be higher that a non-binding estimate, the agreed upon price is final.  There is no guarantee that a non-binding estimate is final, so choose a non-binding estimate if the exact shipment is questionable.  If the cost of the move is greater that the estimate, you will have to pay the original estimate plus 10 percent.  Regardless of the type of estimate you choose, be prepared to pay the driver in cash, money order, traveler’s checks, or bank check before your goods are unloaded. The most important document to have in your possession is the ‘bill of lading’.   This is the legal document between you and the mover.

Upon delivery of your shipment, use the ‘bill of lading’ as the movers off load your household items making notations if there is visible damage.  You have 90 days after delivery to file a loss or damage claim, but it is best to do it immediately.  It takes time to settle into a new home, so unpack the kitchen first, bedrooms and bathrooms.  Try different furniture arrangements.   Go out and explore your new neighborhood.  Meet new neighbors and may be join a social club.

For more information, the American Movers Conference offers these brochures:  “Guide to a Satisfying Move” and “Moving with Pets and Plants”.  Each Brochure will require a separate self addressed stamped envelope sent to:

American Movers Conference
1611 Dukes Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

TEN LOW-COST IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE SALEABLE

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TEN LOW-COST IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE SALEABLE

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.” – Lao Tzu

It’s the little things as well as the big things that count when you are selling your home. You never know what will capture a buyer’s fancy and what will turn them off. Most buyers predictably respond to the same things – clean, clutter-free homes in good repair. Your agent may have already suggested that you paint the house, or that you do some major repairs. Those are big-ticket items, but what can you do on a small-scale to get your home ready to compete on the market?
There are a few time-honored tricks you can use to make sure your buyer sees what you want them to see, and overlook what you want them to overlook. Keeping your home in tip-top shape for showings will insure that your buyer will offer a higher amount than for a home that isn’t showtime-ready.
Always look at a home from the buyer’s perspective. Be objective and honest with yourself. If something bothers you about your home, chances are good it will bother the buyer, too. Do what you can to get rid of the problem. You want to keep objections about your home to a minimum. Preparing a home for market means you’ll be putting some elbow grease into it, so get ready.
1. Have a garage sale before the home is listed. Get rid of clutter so that the buyer can really see your home. Clean out what you think you won’t need in your next home. Pack away all that you can. Home buyers will expect you to be preparing to move, so a few packing boxes here and there can be used to your advantage. They could be a good visual stimulant to someone who is “on the fence;” they show that you are moving and are serious about finding a buyer. Be sure, though, to find the fine line between clutter and emptiness.
2. Welcome the buyer at the entry. Put out a new doormat, but avoid mats with cutesy sayings. Clean and polish the brass door knocker. Put potted flowers on the porch. Make sure the front entry floor is always sparkling clean and the porch and steps are always swept. First impressions count.
3. Stimulate the buyer’s imagination by setting the stage. Set the dinner table with your best china. Use the coziness and romance of the fireplace to advantage. Put a pair of wine glasses and a vase of flowers on the coffee table in front of the fire.
4. Be ruthless about odors. If there is a smell, your house won’t sell. Use cleansers of all kinds to make the home smell fresh, from carpet freshener to potpourri. Deodorize cat litter and scoop litter daily. Put cedar chips inside the closets. Be careful with room sprays, they could stimulate allergies. Use the sense of smell to your advantage by having fresh-baked cookies on the kitchen table.
5. Create a spacious feeling. Make sure that all doors, cabinets and drawers open all the way without bumping into anything or sticking. Clean out the entry closet and put only a few hangers so that the buyer can visualize winter coats. Move oversized furniture to a storage facility. Make sure entrances to all rooms have an open flow.
6. Make the most of views. Disguise unsightly views. Put a screen or a basket of flowers in front of a fireplace if not in use. Let the breezes move your sheer curtains at the window. Make sure the interior is visible from the street. All windows must be crystal clean and clear.
7. Create counter space. Store away extra appliances. Put away dish racks, soap dishes and other clutter. Decrease kitchen clutter further by removing magnets from refrigerator.
8. Avoid eccentric decor. De-personalize your teenager’s room, the gameroom or other areas by removing wild posters or any decorative item that could be construed as offensive. Remove hanging beads in doorways, your children’s jars with spiders or bugs, and anything which won’t appeal to the masses.
9. Increase the wattage in light bulbs in the laundry room, kitchen and bathrooms. For showings, turn on lights in every room.
10. Put photos of the family enjoying your home in at least three different places.
Now step back. Stand outside the front door, as much as 30 feet away and evaluate the feeling you get. Is the house warm and inviting? Does it feel like home?
Then perhaps it will to your buyer, too.

CUT CLUTTER & MAKE MONEY!

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CUT CLUTTER & MAKE MONEY!

You can do it, if you believe you can!

This is a follow-up article to the article posted on Wednesday titled: “Out With The Old” .

Today’s article is titled: “Cut Clutter & Make Money”  and it will tell you the secrets to parting with stuff you can live without.  You’ll find a garage sale check list; when the best time to have a garage/yard sale is; how to e-bay items; what can go to goodwill; and the best way to run a garage/yard sale.  If you’re a novice or a pro at yard sales, there is sure to be information that will help you in this article.

Once again, if you still find you need some help de-cluttering, visit www.flylady.net it’s free!

As usual, just click on the links to read the article or visit the website!

Happy de-cluttering!

HELP, I CAN’T FIND THE BED!

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HELP, I CAN’T FIND THE BED!

If you have something you don’t need, give it to someone who needs it.  It will come back to you in one way or another.  –  Napoleon Hill

Have you ever been late for an appointment because you couldn’t find your keys? Found the potato peeler in a drawer you already looked in three times before? Discovered clothes in your attic that went out of style twenty years ago? Are you hanging on to those clothes because you think they will come back in style or you’ll lose that weight?  Don’t despair – you can de-clutter your life and stay organized.  Once you do, you’ll enjoy a new peace of mind and marvel at your own efficiency.

Following is an article titled: Out With The Old to help you cut the clutter and never look back! This article will assist you in solving one of the most common problems for Americans – how to sort through your stuff, decide what can go, and then organize what remains.  You’ll find a list for organizations that will treasure your trash, and the four B’s will help you avoid accumulating too much again.

Cutting clutter involves two main steps – weeding out what you don’t need anymore, and then making sense of what’s left.  You’ll also find questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what goes and then to determine the best place for all that remains.  When you’re done, your biggest problem will be what to do with all your free time!

If you still find you need some help de-cluttering, then I have a website for you that will hold your hand while you take those necessary baby steps to a new clutter free you! The website is www.flylady.net and best of all, it’s free!

As  usual, just click on the links to read the article or visit the website!

Happy de-cluttering!

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