Tina McManus' Blog
Moving is stressful at the best of times. But when you’re moving across the country rather than across town, it adds to the number of preparations you’ll need to make.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to best prepare for your long-distance move, whether it’s across the state, across the country, or to another country altogether.
Packing and moving
One of the biggest concerns you’ll have during a long distance move is the condition of your belongings.
If you’re using a moving company, you’ll want to make sure you trust them to handle your belongings with care. To ensure that they’re responsible movers, read over their reviews online. It’s also a good idea to review their contracts and to make sure you have enough insurance to cover any costly damages or losses. Speaking of moving companies, be sure to shop around to find out which one offers the best prices and delivery windows.
When it comes to packing your items, air on the side of caution and start boxing items well in advance of your move. Not only is it a good idea to label your boxes by room, but you should put your name and contact information on your boxes if they’re being shipped by a large moving company.
Remember that not everything needs to be in boxes. Soft items like clothing and towels can easily be packed in trash bags, suitcases, and duffel bags. You’ll be able to squeeze in more items and they’ll take up less space in the moving truck.
When filling the moving truck, be sure your fragile items aren’t the top box on a stack of boxes. Similarly, you don’t want fragile belongings underneath too many heavy boxes. Your movers likely have their own way of securing boxes, so be sure to indicate to them which boxes are the most fragile with labels.
Downsize your belongings
The month leading up to your move is a good time to sell or donate items you no longer use. It could save you space on the moving truck, and you could earn a few extra dollars before your big move.
Larger items should be your top priority. Bicycles, lawnmowers, and other big items that you’ve been thinking of replacing can be sold now and you can buy new ones at your future home. However, don’t discount the weight and size of things like DVD and book collections. Many people lug around bookcases from house to house and hardly ever touch the books on them. Furthermore, technology like Kindle and Netflix are making owning physical copies of your media less of a necessity.
Before you start packing the rest of your items into moving boxes, make sure you set aside a “survival kit” filled with your daily use items. Things like cell phone chargers, glasses and contacts, and sanitary items should be in your vehicle or carry on, not in the moving truck.
Moving is expensive, but there are a number of ways you can squeeze some savings out of the experience. First, take advantage of free boxes from local stores and restaurants. Then, ask for friends and family to help you pack rather than hiring professionals, offer them lunch in exchange for their help.
When it comes to getting to your new home, don’t rule out flying as being the most expensive option. Hotels, gas, and eating out add up quickly if you’re making a road trip out of your move.
Finally, see if your move is tax-deductible. If you’re relocating for work, there’s a chance some of your moving expenses will be. If so, be sure to keep all of your receipts along the way.
Our homes are special from the first time we enter. That's why we spend our precious time and money caring for our dwellings when bad weather threatens damage.
For homeowners, windstorms are often unassuming. We all know to watch for snow or rain, but high winds can cause significant home damage.
While we can't control the wind, there are some proactive measures we can take. Refasten any loosely hanging shingles or gutters. Check the yard for unsecured items that could become projectiles in high winds. Finally, remove branches or whole trees that are within falling distance of the house.
During the winter, one of the biggest problems for homes involves the weight of snow. As mentioned above, make sure to trim any branches hanging over the house. The last thing you need is a heavy branch falling on your roof.
Before it gets too cold, you should also change filters and perform necessary maintenance on your home heating devices.
Over the past decade, floods have happened more frequently due to climate change. If you live in a minor floodplain, now is the time for a plan of action.
You may want to consider building trenches and water runoff channels into your yard. Many homeowners also build decorative concrete walls or other barriers around their homes. Lastly, consider investing in a sump pump to remove internal flooding.
Hurricanes are the most destructive of storms; however, preparation mirrors earlier examples. Preparing for hurricanes means preparing for the worst possible winds and floods. Make sure to reinforce any home appendages, barricade doors and windows, and build water barriers.
The decision to buy a home can bring all sorts of emotions. From stress to joy to fear, you need to be prepared for any situation to arise. From saving up enough money for a down payment to securing financing to hoping for a smooth closing, buying a home is a complex event. Just about the worst thing that can happen in the process is finding the home of your dreams and then having your offer rejected. If you do lose out on the house to another bidder, below, you’ll find a few reasons why.
The Home Is Above Your Means
If you go after a home that’s above a price that you can afford, it’s likely that your offer will be declined. Look at all of your numbers and find a reasonable price point with your real estate agent. Be sure that your agent won’t show you homes that are far above your budget. Don’t risk falling in love with a house that you can’t afford. If you start big, you may be disappointed at the type of home you actually can fit in with your budget.
A Better Offer Came In
In high competition markets or for a home that’s receiving a lot of attention, sellers may get multiple offers. All that attention is why it’s always best to keep your offer as close to the asking price as possible. Don’t assume that other buyers will bid low. Remember that sellers want to get the most return on their home, which means they are going to take the highest offer in most cases.
You also don’t want to get too carried away in asking for contingencies. If you ask too much of a seller’s, they won’t bother giving your offer serious consideration when other buyers have asked them to put less time and money into the home. Don’t ask for unnecessary repairs or over the top back costs.
You’re Not Approved For A Mortgage
The seller wants you to have a home loan pre-approved so that the process of selling their home will be that much smoother. Some seller may only consider bids by buyers who have been pre-approved for a loan. You should definitely be pre-approved before you even set out on your home search.
To get your offer accepted on a home you love, you need to do your homework. As a buyer, you want to keep the needs of the seller in mind. Although you want the best deal for yourself, you're more likely to get a property that you want if you compromise a bit.
When a loved one needs a bit more help to get around the house, whether they have simple physical limitations or rely on the use of a wheelchair, you’re going to need to make some major changes both inside and outside the home. You may be overwhelmed with the idea that you need to overhaul your entire home in order to make suitable accommodations. The good news is that you can boost safety around the property and make your home easier for you or loved ones to get around without huge renovation projects that will take months at a time. Below, you’ll find some of the most important projects that will need to be completed in order to make a home handicap accessible as well as safe and healthy.
Check The Doorways
If wheelchair use is part of the accommodation, you’ll need to check the width of the doorways. Some doorways may need to be modified in order for wheelchairs to move freely about the home. Widening doorways can cost anywhere between $500-$1,000 to complete depending on where the throughway is in the home.
Adjust The Showers
The safest way to make a shower handicap accessible to is make it a walk in tub or a wheelchair accessible tub. Depending upon the extent of the accommodations that are needed, you can go a cheaper route and install a bench seat in an existing shower. Hand rails can also be added to the tub for extra safety.
Think Of The Entire Bathroom
The simple addition of grab bars can make a big difference in the safety of a bathroom. Make sure that the bars are installed in easy to reach places. Also any supplies that are needed in the bathroom like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste should be easy to reach. A toilet riser can also be considered to help people who have issues bending down in order to make the toilet easier to use.
Don’t Forget The Kitchen
The kitchen should be a place where accommodations for handicap individuals are definitely present. First, all supplies should be easy to reach. Next, appliances should be adjusted accordingly. Grab bars should also be installed in the kitchen to make safety a priority and accessibility easy.
Whether or not a disabled person uses a wheelchair, installing a ramp can make a huge difference in the home for a disabled individual. Converting stairways to ramps actually isn’t as expensive as you might think it would be, with costs starting at just $100 for a basic ramp. Custom ramps can run a bit more expensive- as much as $1,000. These make it easier for disabled people to get in and out of the home or around the inside of the home with ease. The total cost can vary based on the size of the ramp and the type of materials being used.
Mind The Floors
To make a home handicap accessible, thick carpets should be removed. Any types of flooring that make it hard to maneuver a wheelchair or walker should be modified.
The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.
As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.
1. Underestimating the costs
When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.
You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.
Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.
2. Prequalify first
Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.
3. This probably isn’t your last home
While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.
4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”
So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.
5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason
Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.
The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract.