Wait, what’s in that box?

Ecardmoving

We stumbled across this gem and had to share it with all of our soon-to-move PODS friends! Unfortunately, we’ve found ourselves in this predicament before.

Do yourself a favor and weed out your belongings before you pack up your current home. Trust us, you’ll be glad you aren’t unpacking items you haven’t used (or seen) in years.

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Rain outside? Time for DIY projects inside

With a daily forecast that has made most days this week (and last) a wet mess, we’re all about staying dry and finding indoor activities to keep us from going stir crazy. And, with another rainy weekend on tap we’ve decided to offer up some DIY home improvement projects that should pass the time until the sun starts to shine (it has to come back soon right?).

Patch up holes in the walls

Got a few (or 20) nail holes dotting the walls from where you were trying to hang your favorite painting? Have a few doorknob indentations that you’d rather be without? Take time this weekend to rid your home of those blemishes. Not sure how? Check out this article from This Old House.

Add an accent wall

Bring a bit of color into your home with the addition of a painted accent wall. TLC says you should “… Start by taking a look around the room. Is there a place your eyes are naturally drawn to when you walk in? If so, this is your focal point. It may not be a feature you want to show off, so it’s up to you to designate the focal point by choosing to highlight a wall that has architectural details, like a fireplace or a built-in bookshelf.”

Update your kitchen sink

Ever heard the saying “everything but the kitchen sink?” Well, we think the kitchen sink is pretty important and so should you. Consider replacing your kitchen faucet to give your sink a more updated look. The Family Handyman has a great tutorial on what you should do to get the job done (and done right!).

Install a ceiling fan

We’ve got a while to go until the cooler weather creeps back in. Make your own breeze with the addition of ceiling fan. Your family is sure to enjoy it and, though you may not be ready to sell, homebuyers see fans as added value. Check out these step-by-step instructions from DIY Network to see if you’re up to it.

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Time to Sell: How do you know when it’s time?

Time to Sell - ClockWith each passing day it seems that we hear more and more about the recovery of the housing market and real estate sales on the rise. Inventory has dropped significantly and sellers are reaping the rewards of strong offers and even bidding wars on their properties. It certainly seems that now is a great time to sell… if you’re ready, of course.

But, how do you know if you are ready? We did some research around the web and found great information on Realtor.com (read the full article here):

Why do you want to sell?

The big question you need to answer for yourself is why you want to sell. It is a lifestyle question and does not depend upon the time of the year. If you find yourself in a buyer’s market, the seller is at a disadvantage. You want to be absolutely sure in your own mind that the move makes sense. If you decide that you really want to sell your home, then here are some things to keep in mind.
Is there a best time to sell?
Conventional wisdom says the right time to sell your home is in the spring since that is the time when there are largest number of buyers. But that is also the time of the largest home inventory. So what about the winter? Good idea, perhaps, since it is a time of less competition with fewer houses on the market. But can you be sure? In the summer buyers may feel a sense of urgency, with school approaching, and in the fall empty nesters, not concerned about school opening dates, may be more motivated to buy. The bottom line: Sell your home when you truly want to move and don’t tie your moving decision to any season of the year.
Before selling, do your homework to get the best price for your home
Once you decide to sell your home, do your homework. Find out what comparable houses in your neighborhood are selling for. Calculate what they are selling for per square foot. That is a useful number to know as you evaluate the current market value of your home and other homes you are considering buying. Stage your home. You don’t need a professional to do this. You can do it yourself.
Another article we found on HGTV offers up tips (we pulled out our favorites) for how to score top dollar for your home when you do decide to sell.

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

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Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first

You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

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You Know You Need a PODS Container When…

You may have heard that it’s important to de-clutter and stage your home before you sell. It’s true and should apply to all rooms in your house including the garage and attic (especially if your attic looks like this one!).

boxes-attic

So, if you’ve stashed away mounds of boxes and un-used items just under your roof, give us a call. We’ll deliver a PODS container to your door to give you another space to store your stuff until buyers make an offer.

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Get Your Home Hurricane Ready

Tropical Storm Andrea

We’re only 17 days into the start of this year’s Atlantic Hurricane season and we’ve already had one named storm. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has called this a “very dangerous hurricane season” offering predictions that we’ll see up to 20 named storms with seven or more turning into hurricanes.

We hope the NOAA’s predictions will fall flat, but should these storms head our way, we all need to be prepared. Don’t just think water jugs and canned foods; think about getting your home ready for high winds and rains. Here are tips we’ve found around the web that will get you started.

FEMA suggests you do the following:

  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

Other ideas offered up from The Weather Channel include:

  • Replace gravel/rock landscaping material with shredded bark.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house.
  • Make certain your doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt security lock with a bolt at least one inch long.

If you have any other hurricane home preparation tips to share, leave a comment. We want to make sure our PODS folks are as safe as possible from now until the end of hurricane seasons in November.

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Not all renovations are created equal

detour

We often hear about all of the renovations that will help us sell our homes–kitchen and bath upgrades, wood flooring, updated lighting–but what about the renovations that may detour homebuyers from making an offer?

Yes, it’s true. There are a number of projects you may want to reconsider, especially if you plan to live in your home for less than 10 years.

AOL Real Estate offers up a list of the “5 Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home’s Resale” and after reading the list, we’d have to agree. Check out the top three.

1. Going Overboard On Landscaping or Gardens

A homeowner/seller may have a green thumb and be really proud of the time spent on the garden, the hedges or landscaping. But the next buyer might see it as too much maintenance, especially if you went overboard with your green thumb. Potential buyers may not be willing to pay for it (as part of the home’s overall price), hire a gardener or do the work themselves. …

2. Converting a Garage Into a Family Room

Converting a garage into a family room may make sense if you don’t have a nice car or you simply want a bigger family room. Some people think a driveway is enough. But this is a huge “no-no” in real estate. A garage is expected, especially in the suburbs. If you take it out, you lose a huge chunk of buyers who simply won’t consider a home without a garage.

3. Taking Out a Bedroom

It’s common today for people to transform a bedroom into a huge master closet or into a home office with a built-in desk and cabinet. If you do, make sure the room can be easily turned back when you put the home on the market. Buyers with kids may need that bedroom. They’ll see the room you converted into a home office or closet as more money they’ll need to spend to turn it back into a bedroom. …

To read the full article, go here. If you have any anti-renovations you’d like to add, leave us a comment.

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Moving Message: Take Time to Pack Wisely

Much of the stress of moving comes from the packing experience. Who knew you had all that stuff?

With a little extra preparation and attention to detail, you can turn what most consider a daunting experience into a successful activity.

Here is a list of tips to help make your packing task triumphant:

Supply surplus

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Start to save newspapers, magazines, old t-shirts and rags for packing purposes. You’ll need to wrap fragile items and fill in extra space in some of your boxes. Also, keep an eye out for boxes, large and small. Hint… if your friends or family members have babies, ask for their diaper boxes.

Ahead of the game

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Do you close on your new home in the next 30 days? Start packing a little each night. Focus on one room at a time and pack away non-essentials. This will help you get a head start on your packing plans and eliminate extra anxiety during the week of your move.

Room by room

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One of the biggest mistakes people make when packing is to combine items from different rooms into one box. Yes, there may be a bit of extra space in a few of your boxes, but it will serve you better to fill that space with crumbled newspaper or old t-shirts and rags.

Learn to label

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It will take you a little extra time on the front end, but adding details about what you’ve packed in each box will help you when it’s time to unpack. Consider printing off packing label templates to tape on your boxes.

Container contents

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When loading your PODS containers, remember to pack the boxes for your bedroom and bathroom last to ensure those boxes are the first you unpack. This will guarantee that you have what you need to head to bed if you aren’t able to unload all of your contents into your new home on moving day.

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You know you need a PODS container when…

Our garages often become extra storage space as our families grow, but homebuyers certainly don’t want to see a ton of clutter. Make sure to stage your home AND garage before your house goes on the market.

Give us a call and we’ll deliver a PODS container straight to your door to give you a temporary and convenient place to store!

a-neatly-packed-garage

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Time to Sell: Progression to a great first impression

Made the big decision to sell your home? Congrats! Now, it’s time to get to work.

Your realtor will tell you that it’s important to capture homebuyers’ attention from the moment they arrive at your home. Yep, that’s right… a nice curb appeal is ideal.

Pull out all the stops to make a great first impression with buyers with these quick updates.

Polish with a Power Wash

Consider power washing your home’s exterior. From siding and windows to sidewalks and driveways, a quick wash will help your home appear fresh and clean.

Penchant for Plants

Homebuyers will certainly love to see a pop of color in the yard. You can create a small flower bed around your mailbox to make a great first impression on the street. Bright green ferns will dress up your doorway in footed planters or hanging along your front porch. Window boxes overflowing with the colors of spring will also make a great presentation.

Knock Them Out

Colorful front doors are a great way to style your home, but adding a unique door knocker will really complete the effort. Seek out a door knocker that matches your decor–an antique flower basket, a black iron design or a whimsical firefly.

Make it Mat-ter

The welcome mat has had a facelift. You can find stylish iron mats, woven and wooden mats and even stencils for painting a mat yourself. No matter what you choose, buyers will enjoy the coziness a front door mat offers.

Haute House Numbers

Every home has an address, but not every home has stylish house numbers. Try stenciling your house numbers on a brightly painted door. Add your numbers to an iron planter overflowing with healthy plants. Find oversized metal numbers and position them in a “not-so” common locale beside the door.

Lovely Lighting

Make sure your exterior entryway is up-to-date with new lighting. There are tons of options for exterior lighting these days. Find lights that look best with your home design. Consider selecting lights larger than those you’re replacing, you may be surprised how much better they match the scale of your home.

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Bubble wrap… the silver lining of packing

Few can resist popping a few [read: all] of the tiny bubbles that perfectly line the greatest packing supply ever created. The sound of those rhythmic pops are strangely satisfying and can turn a tedious packing (or unpacking) experience into a fun exercise.

So, if you’re on the verge of moving, make sure you have bubble wrap on hand. Not only will it guard your fragile wares, but it will help keep a smile on your face through the packing process.

We’re pretty sure it will prove to be the silver-lining of your packing efforts.

1381_bubble_wrap_dance

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