Tips for Moving Long Distance

Moving across country

Moving long distance can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. There is so much preparation that needs to be done. Read some of the tips below from MyMovingReviews to help make your move a little more stress free.

 

  1. Take full control of your preparation time

CREATE a personal moving checklist to guide you throughout the preparation stage.

POPULATE that moving calendar with personalized tasks – to-do things that relate to your specific relocation circumstances.

SORT OUT those move-related tasks in order of importance – that is, write first the jobs you must finish no matter what.

GET good ideas about what your moving timeline should contain by accessing the greatest moving checklist ever created, offered for free.

 

  1. Get in-home long distance moving estimates

REQUEST multiple in-home moving estimates from top-rated long distance movers in your town or city.

SAY NO! to moving companies that try to give you quotes over the phone.

SHOW the moving experts the items you have for moving and have them calculate the moving price precisely. Ask the moving experts for accurate binding estimates in writing.

 

  1. Hire the best long distance movers

COMPARE the received cost estimates in terms of pricing, additional moving services, and general conditions.

READ moving companies reviews to check how reputable those movers are in the eyes of their former customers.

CHECK their active membership and standing with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and their proper accreditation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

PICK the long distance mover that best fits your budget and fulfills your expectations.

 

  1. Inventory your home and sort your items

INVENTORY your entire home by going from room to room and writing down all the household items found in each one.

USE modern technology to your aid. Save precious inventorying time with MoveAdvisor – a powerful moving app that features a state-of-the-art home inventory checklist tool.

SORT OUT your possessions into four categories: MOVE, SELL, DONATE, RECYCLE.

 

  1. Decide what to with your furniture

ASSESS the furniture pieces you have in your home. Do you REALLY have to move them all the way to another part of the country?

BEAR in mind that most pieces of furniture are heavy, and the long distance moving cost is calculated based on the total shipment weight.

DO the math – unless you own antique furniture or priceless sets, it’ll be cheaper to leave the majority of your furniture behind and buy new after the move.

 

  1. Get rid of all unwanted items

CUT your moving costs drastically by taking only the things you will need in the future. More stuff to move means more money out of your own pocket.

DECIDE whether to take or leave something by following the 1-year rule: if you haven’t used an item for more than 12 months, then you don’t really need it.

SELL the things that still have any commercial value, either online or at a garage sale before the move.

GIFT to friends or DONATE to charity the lightly-used items you’re not taking with you.

 

  1. Get hold of packing supplies, including free moving boxes

BE mindful that you can’t pack up your things safely without the proper packing supplies: cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, stretch wrap, packing paper, and tape.

GET hold of the packing materials in advance to prevent time-wasting interruptions when packing for a move.

SAVE money by getting your hands on free moving boxes – cardboard boxes of various sizes obtained for free from friends, local businesses, recycling centers, or online.

 

  1. Use a good packing timeline

ORGANIZE the packing job perfectly by following a detailed packing timeline – the only way to use your packing time effectively.

BREAK the home packing process into more manageable and meaningful mini-tasks so that you can keep your packing motivation fairly high.

ASSIGN deadlines to each packing job so that you can monitor your packing process more accurately.

GET good ideas for your own packing calendar from our super-detailed PACKING TIMELINE.

 

  1. Start packing without delay

START packing your things as soon your move to another part of the country becomes just a matter of time.

FOLLOW your packing timeline closely because each completed mini-task will reduce the buildup of additional stress as Moving day approaches.

INITIATE the packing job from the rooms and areas that are the hardest ones to sort and pack. In most cases, those will be the storage areas in your home – garage, basement, attic, closet.

 

  1. Get professional or non-professional packing help

REACH OUT to your friends and ask them to help you pack, especially if you know you’ve fallen behind your packing schedule.

CALL OUT for friendly packing backup as early as possible to minimize the disruption of your pals’ previous plans.

HIRE professional packers if time is running dangerously short and you’re unable to gather up your loyal friends to help you out.

 

  1. Prepare essentials boxes

PACK a few boxes with absolute essentials – useful things to have with you while you’re separated from the rest of your belongings.

HAVE each family member pack their own Survival Kit with their set of essential items inside.

KEEP all essentials boxes with you – make sure they don’t get loaded into the movers’ truck by mistake.

 

  1. Do not pack items forbidden for transport

DO NOT pack any household items that are hazardous in nature – flammable (combustible), corrosive, or explosive. Also, interstate moving companies are not allowed to transport perishable foods, plants, pets, and irreplaceable items.

REQUEST the list of non-allowed items from your chosen long distance mover before you start packing up.

CONSULT with the complete list of things movers won’t move so that you know what not to pack when moving across the country.

 

  1. Observe safety when packing

CHECK carefully your cardboard boxes for any signs of damage. All your moving boxes should be strong, clean, dry and infestation-free.

TAPE the bottom and sides of each cardboard box before filling it up, even if the box looks sturdy enough.

STAY below the maximum weight capacity for each cardboard box. As a rule of thumb, you should not make your boxes heavier than 50 pounds.

 

  1. Label all your moving boxes

DO NOT underestimate the importance of labeling your boxes. If you do, you will lose precious time locating and identifying all unmarked boxes after the move.

LABEL each box on at least two of its sides as soon as you’re done packing it. Write down its contents, destination room, and special handling instructions, if any.

DESIGNATE a different color for each destination room, either through the use of color markers or multicolor labels.

 

  1. Save money on your long distance move

FIND affordable cross-country movers by requesting free long distance moving quotes and comparing their moving rates and services.

REDUCE the number of items you’re moving to a minimum – no need to pay for the transportation of things you’ll never use again.

PACK UP your things on your own to save from not having to pay professional packers. Ask friends to help you pack if you’re running short on time.

 

  1. Prepare your pets for a long distance move

TAKE your pet to the veterinary office for a thorough checkup. You need to know that your pet is ready for the long journey ahead.

MOVE your cat, dog, bird or another pet animal you may have in your own car – that’s the best transportation method for your animal friend. If that’s not a viable option, then take your pet on a flight with you or hire specialized pet movers for the job.

 

  1. Change your home utilities

THINK about whether you’ll need all of the utilities you’re enjoying at the moment – electricity, water and sewage, gas, Internet, cable TV, telephone, waste removal, etc.

CONTACT your utility companies to arrange for the disconnection of your current utilities. Do it roughly 3 weeks prior to your move-out date.

GET IN TOUCH with the new utility providers in the destination town or city and schedule the timely activation of your new-home utilities.

 

  1. Change your postal address

CHANGE your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) so that you can continue to receive your mail.

START the Change of Address (COA) procedure approximately 2 weeks prior to Moving day. You can also change your address after the move.

CHOOSE the change of address method that’s most convenient for you: online, in person, by phone, or by mail.

 

  1. Obtain medical and school records

VISIT your family doctor and request all the necessary medical records (incl. vaccination records) and documents that you will need to register yourself and the other members of your family with a new primary care physician in the new town or city.

CONTACT the school that your school-age child attends and ask for the school records of your son or daughter. Alternatively, you can arrange for the direct transfer of those records between the two schools.

 

  1. Keep your valuables with you

PACK your high-value items such as jewelry pieces, important documents, portable electronic devices, collector’s items, etc. separately from the rest of your belongings.

KEEP such valuables by your side throughout the move and never let them out of your sight.

PURCHASE additional insurance for the valuable items you can’t move on your own due to their large size and weight – your brand-new 50-inch flat screen TV, for example.

 

  1. Guarantee moving day safety

LET professional movers do all the heavy lifting – that’s why you’re paying them, right? If you do need to lift and carry a heavy object, then use the proper lifting techniques to avoid injuries.

KEEP children and pets away from the whirlwind of dangerous activities on Moving day.

KEEP all exit paths clear of obstacles and free from excessive dust, mud, water, snow or ice.

WEAR comfortable clothes that are appropriate for the occasion and closed shoes with good ankle support and anti-slip soles.

 

  1. Hire a long distance car shipping company

REQUEST car shipping estimates from several reputable auto shippers with years of experience in the vehicle transportation business.

PICK one of the best long distance car shipping companies in your area. Base your decision on the cost estimates and the moving reviews of those long distance car shipping companies.

USE this car shipping checklist to prepare your car for shipping across the country.

 

  1. Be ready for your long distance movers

BE present in your home at the prearranged time and date to welcome your interstate movers.

SHOW the moving experts around your home and give them any specific instructions you may have. Otherwise, just let them do their job.

PROVIDE your hired workers with refreshments (non-alcoholic beverages), snacks and access to a bathroom.

PREPARE tips for your movers in case you’re satisfied with their work. How much to tip movers for a long distance move?

 

  1. Say goodbye to your friends

INFORM your friends of your long distance move as soon as possible to give them enough time to process the news. Do this in person, whenever possible.

ORGANIZE a goodbye party for your closest friends – don’t miss the chance to spend some quality time with the people you care about one last time before you move out.

PROMISE to keep in touch with your best friends after the move, and then make sure that you keep that promise.

 

  1. Prepare mentally for your long distance move

FOCUS on the positive aspects of your cross-country move rather than its negatives. Think about all the great things awaiting you at your destination.

GET familiar with the top 10 emotions when moving house so that you can be ready for those emotional stages when they come around.

STAY optimistic throughout the tough transitional period and never lose hope, even when things get really tough.

Remember that A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Fun Ideas To Add Color to Your Space (Without Painting Your Walls)

Copy of Untitled

No Paint, No Problem!

It’s amazing how painting a room a certain color can spruce up a room or create a distinct feeling you want to feel while you are in there. But it is a pretty big commitment. After you paint, you have a couple of choices… either live with it or, go through the time and expense of repainting it. But what if you could do the same thing without painting? There are lots of ways to add color without the paint (or commitment)! 

 A recent article from realtor.com outlines some ideas to add color to a room or space without the commitment of painting. Here are a few of the ideas:

 

Lighting

Change your lighting

Something as simple as changing to a different light bulb can change things. Bulbs 2,000K to 3,000K light bulbs will cast a warmer glow making your color scheme feel cozier and inviting. Bulbs from 6,000K to 100,000K will cast a cool glow and can make a space read a little more on the blue side.

 

rug

Put down a colorful rug

Adding color and patterns to a space using an area rug is a great way to incorporate new colors into an existing palette. This can have a huge impact on your room.

 

textiles

Textiles

This is a simple yet great and cost-effective way to switch up the feel and color of your room. New or different throw pillows or blankets with bold colors can reinvigorate the space. Or try using soft florals or colors to make it feel more serene and relaxing.

 

sofa

Grab a bold piece of furniture

Don’t be afraid to go bold with a chair or sofa. Even if you have a vintage-looking piece with a more modern bold fabric, the mix can be eye-catching and beautiful.

NextHome-TriState-Realty-Logo-Vertical-OrangeOnWhite-Web-RGB
If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome TriState Realty agents. 712-224-NEXT (712-224-6398)

How to Improve Your Credit for a Home Loan

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Improving Your Credit Score

To get the best mortgage interest rate, you will need to have good credit. If your credit is not so good, cleaning up your credit report and increasing your credit score will greatly improve your chances of getting a good rate for a home loan. If your credit score is already good, you will need to maintain it.

 

Check Your Credit Report

There are three things a mortgage lender will look for when you apply for a home loan.

  1. You (and your spouse) have steady income.
  2. How much are you able to put down.
  3. Do you have a good solid credit history

You can check your credit report by requesting a report from one the three credit reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Federal law allows you to request one free credit report each year from each agency. You can do this by visiting annualcreditreport.com

 

Check Your FICO Score

Your FICO score can affect the interest rate on your loan. The lower the score, the higher your rate which can possibly cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

In addition to your credit report, you can order your FICO scores from myFICO.com to get an idea of where your credit stands. You can also be able to see your scores from other sources such as credit card companies.

 

Dispute Inaccurate Information

Once you have your credit report, search it for any errors. Any errors or incorrect information can hurt your credit score and may cause your home loan to be denied. If any errors or incorrect information is found you can dispute it with the credit bureau. Providing documentation to support your claim of the error or incorrect information will help ensure it is removed from your report.

 

Pay Off Delinquent Accounts

Delinquent accounts are any late accounts, bills in collection, charge-offs, or judgments. If any of these accounts show up on your credit report, this will severely harm your chances of getting a mortgage. These accounts affect the payment history section of your credit score, which is the largest component of your score. You will need to start paying off and repairing these accounts.

 

Timely Payments Help Bury Delinquencies

Did you know that late payments can stay on your credit history for a whopping seven years? The damage to your credit is the worst when they first occur. If you have made a late payment, or just paid off your delinquencies, wait at least six months before applying for a mortgage. Six months of on-time payments can help your credit score start to build back up again.

 

Reducing Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

Your bank will look at your debt relative to your income. This is known as your debt-to-income ratio. This will compare the amount of money you have going out for debt to the money you have coming in (your income). Your bank and lender will want to see this ratio as low as possible. You will need to speak to your bank and lender to see what ratios they require to qualify for a mortgage.

There are a couple different ways to reduce your debt-to-income ratio. You can either increase your income, or the easier way is to pay down any outstanding debt you currently have. 

 

Don’t Incur Any New Debt

Don’t take on any new debt even if your debt-to-income ratio stays low. This includes applying for anything that can affect your credit score like credit cards, auto loans, or personal loans. You will also need to make sure you are not making any large purchases that can increase your debt. If you have any questions, always contact your mortgage lender first.

 

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome TriState Realty agents. 712-224-6398

Popular Landscaping Trends for 2021

Backyard vegetable garden

Landscaping Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic kept so many people home for most of 2020. And while things are finally starting to look up, many people are still spending more time at home in 2021. This time at home has many of us looking around and doing some home renovations, including landscaping.

So, what are the new trends that homeowners are using for their landscaping? 

A recent video from realtor.com has outlined some of the most popular landscaping trends so far in 2021, including:

Vegetable gardens: The pandemic saw many people start their own vegetable gardens, as a way to stay busy, to stay sane, and a way to avoid as many unnecessary trips to the supermarket as possible. With spring planting pretty much already here, vegetable gardening is, once again, proving to be one of the year’s biggest landscaping trends.

Views from the inside: Obviously, you would like your landscaping to look great while you’re outside. But as many people have been forced to spend more time at home, it’s becoming increasingly important for your landscaping to also look great from the inside. As the pandemic continues on into 2021, this trend of landscaping with interior views in mind is expected to stretch right along with it.

Backyard playgrounds: Most playgrounds across America were completely shut down and taped off. Kids had nowhere else to play but in their own home and yard. Even though many of the public parks have opened up, lots of parents are uncomfortable taking their children there to play. As a result, creating an inviting play space in the backyard has been a huge landscaping trend since the pandemic hit—and with summer coming up, that trend will just continue to gain popularity.

Front yard social area: With people craving interaction, they are starting to take advantage of the space in the front of the home and are creating inviting areas to get together with neighbors and friends. Whether it is your front porch, entryway stairs, or your driveway, people are taking advantage of the space to catch up with others in the fresh air.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome TriState Realty agents. 712-224-6398

Sellers Are Capitalizing On High Prices For Homes

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All Time High Home Prices

Are you a seller looking to get the absolute highest price for your home? Now may be the best time ever for you to capitalize on the high home priced market conditions.

According to recent data from realtor.com, the median home listing price in the United States has now hit $370,000 this March. That is a 15.6% increase from March 2020 and the highest median home listing price on record since realtor.com started tracking prices in 2012.

So, what is one of the major causes of increasing home prices? It is the lack of inventory! According to realtor.com’s data, the number of homes on the market is down 52% than this time last year, and each month, 117,000 fewer homes are hitting the market than in the previous years. Is your mind blown yet? And not only is the lack of inventory driving up the prices, but it is also causing the homes to sell faster. In today’s market, the typical home is selling in 54 days. This is a full week faster than it was last year.

So, what does this mean for you? Low inventory is driving up home prices throughout the country. So if you are thinking about selling your home and want to sell it quickly, now is a really good time to sell while the inventory is low, with little competition and strong buyer demand.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome TriState Realty agents. 712-224-6398

Spring is here! Ready to Sell Your Home?

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Spring is here! Ready to Sell Your Home?

Spring is in the air and if you thought there were lots of homebuyers looking for homes before, just wait, they are coming out of hibernation. Once the weather starts to warm up, that is when it is considered a hot time in the housing market. So, if you have been thinking about selling your home, here is why you should start moving forward with those plans.

Warm Weather = More Active Buyers

With the holidays and cold weather (some) sellers tend to put a pause on listing their homes. But when spring comes, people are anxious to get rid of the cabin fever and they start touring homes. With the longer days and vacations set for summer, spring is the perfect time for buyers to start house hunting. Also, many buyers start their search in the spring in the hopes to close before summer. This way they have some time to get used to their new area and if you have children, things can settle down before the school year starts.

This Is A Sellers Market

Even though the interest rates have slightly risen, they are still in the lower 3% range for a 30 year fixed rate (as of 3/22/2021). This has many buyers out there trying to take advantage of these low rates and searching for their “NextHome”. With so many buyers looking and with the low single-family housing inventory this creates an environment where lots of buyers are fighting to compete for what is available on the market, thus creating multiple offer scenarios. Good for sellers… not so good for buyers.

Get A Head Start

So if you are even thinking about selling you home, you need to get started getting your house ready to be shown. Now is the time to call one of our knowledgeable agents and have them come and look through your home and make suggestions on how to put your home’s best face forward. They will also walk you through the process so you can be prepared and know what to expect.

Give Us A Call

Whether you are just starting to think about selling your home or you have already made the decision to list, or, if you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling, give us a call. We love to help all of our clients during the process and beyond! 712-224-6398

Keep moving forward with your dreams

What You Can Do to Keep Your Dream of Homeownership Moving Forward [INFOGRAPHIC]

What You Can Do to Keep Your Dream of Homeownership Moving Forward [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Don’t put your homeownership plans on hold just because you’re stuck inside.
  • There are several things you can do right now to keep your home search moving forward.
  • Connect with an agent, learn about resource programs for things like down payments, and get pre-approved today.

#thinkingofbuyingahome #thinkingofsellingahome

10 Steps to Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

10 Steps to Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home and you’re not sure where to start, you’re not alone.
  • Here’s a guide with 10 simple steps to follow in the homebuying process.
  • Be sure to work with a trusted real estate professional to find out the specifics of what to do in your local area.

Is aging in place right for you?

Does “Aging in Place” Make the Most Sense?

Does “Aging in Place” Make the Most Sense? | MyKCM

A desire among many seniors is to “age in place.” According to the Senior Resource Guide, the term means,

“…that you will be remaining in your own home for the later years of your life; not moving into a smaller home, assisted living, or a retirement community etcetera.”

There is no doubt about it – there’s a comfort in staying in a home you’ve lived in for many years instead of moving to a totally new or unfamiliar environment. There is, however, new information that suggests this might not be the best option for everyone. The familiarity of your current home is the pro of aging in place, but the potential financial drawbacks to remodeling or renovating might actually be more costly than the long-term benefits.

A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) titled Housing America’s Older Adults explained,

“Given their high homeownership rates, most older adults live in single-family homes. Of the 24 million homeowners age 65 and over, fully 80 percent lived in detached single-family units…The majority of these homes are now at least 40 years old and therefore may present maintenance challenges for their owners.”

If you’re in this spot, 40 years ago you may have had a growing family. For that reason, you probably purchased a 4-bedroom Colonial on a large piece of property in a child-friendly neighborhood. It was a great choice for your family, and you still love that home.

Today, your kids are likely grown and moved out, so you don’t need all of those bedrooms. Yard upkeep is probably very time consuming, too. You might be thinking about taking some equity out of your house and converting one of your bedrooms into a massive master bathroom, and maybe another room into an open-space reading nook. You might also be thinking about cutting back on lawn maintenance by installing a pool surrounded by beautiful paving stones.

It all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? For the short term, you may really enjoy the new upgrades, but you’ll still have to climb those stairs, pay to heat and cool a home that’s larger than what you need, and continue fixing all the things that start to go wrong with a 40-year-old home.

Last month, in their Retirement ReportKiplinger addressed the point,

“Renovations are just a part of what you need to make aging in place work for you. While it’s typically less expensive to remain in your home than to pay for assisted living, that doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk to stay put. You’ll still have a long to-do list. Just one example: You need to plan ahead for how you will manage maintenance and care—for your home, and for yourself.”

So, at some point, the time may come when you decide to sell this house anyway. That can pose a big challenge if you’ve already taken cash value out of your home and used it to do the type of remodeling we mentioned above. Realistically, you may have inadvertently lowered the value of your home by doing things like reducing the number of bedrooms. The family moving into your neighborhood is probably similar to what your family was 40 years ago. They probably have young children, need the extra bedrooms, and may be nervous about the pool.

Bottom Line

Before you spend the money to remodel or renovate your current house so you can age in place, let’s get together to determine if it is truly your best option. Making a move to a smaller home in the neighborhood might make the most sense.

Why do I need to get pre-approved before I start looking for a home?

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey | MyKCM

When the number of buyers in the housing market outnumbers the number of homes for sale, it’s called a “seller’s market.” The advantage tips toward the seller as low inventory heats up the competition among those searching for a place to call their own. This can create multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars, making it tough for buyers to land their dream homes – unless they stand out from the crowd. Here are three reasons why pre-approval should be your first step in the homebuying process.

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Low inventory, like we have today, means homebuyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong impression and close the deal. One of the best ways to get one step ahead of other buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. For one, it shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

2. Accelerate the Homebuying Process

Pre-approval can also speed up the homebuying process, so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. In a competitive arena like we have today, being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

3. Know What You Can Borrow and Afford

Here’s the other thing: if you’re pre-approved, you also have a better sense of your budget, what you can afford, and ultimately how much you’re eligible to borrow for your mortgage. This way, you’re less apt to fall in love with a home that may be out of your reach.

Freddie Mac sets out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

Local real estate professionals also have relationships with lenders who can help you through this process, so partnering with a trusted advisor will be key for that introduction. Once you select a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac also describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

While there are still many additional steps you’ll need to take in the homebuying process, it’s clear why pre-approval is always the best place to begin. It’s your chance to gain the competitive edge you may need if you’re serious about owning a home.

Bottom Line

Getting started with pre-approval is a great way to begin the homebuying journey. Let’s get together today to make sure you’re on the fastest path to homeownership.