Category Archives: After You Move Tips
Moving is difficult no matter when you choose to relocate, but it’s made even harder during the winter months for an assortment of reasons. The slick and stormy weather makes carrying heavy boxes more dangerous, and the cold tends to keep people indoors – meaning you might not meet your neighbors until the Springtime thaw.
However, if you want to celebrate the holiday season by making friends with the residents in your area, you can employ a few of these great tricks to break the ice.
Don’t be shy. Say hi!
The great thing about trying to befriend your neighbors is that you’re very likely to run into them. The yuletide season is a busy one, and the odds are good that you’ll bump into a neighbor or two while walking the dog or returning from shopping. When this happens, make sure you say hello. Introduce yourself and tell them you’re new to the area. Ask them for some local recommendations, like what cafe serves the best coffee or where the best brunch place is. Your neighbors will be thrilled to share their area expertise, and you’ll come away one acquaintance richer.
Bribe them with food
Of course, waiting to encounter your neighbors leaves a lot up to chance. You can skip the waiting part and just go knock on their doors and introduce yourself – but it helps if you have something to give them when you stop by. Bake some festive cookies or a delicious casserole and bring it to give away when you make your introductions. Your neighbors will enjoy the goodies, and you’ll get the opportunity to socialize with them. Bonus points if you give them a dish that needs to be returned to you!
Host a small holiday get-together
Now’s the time to seal this friendship deal. Once you’ve chatted up your neighbors a few times, you should be ready to up the ante and invite them over to your place for coffee, tea, or other beverages. This is a great chance to be hospitable, get to know them better, and demonstrate your eagerness to be a part of the community.
Moving takes its toll on your life, from the general chaos it causes in your home, to filling up your space with boxes, to forcing you to eat pizza for a week because your kitchen utensils are packed away. Moving during the fall season can also detract time from creative endeavors, like making fun Halloween costumes for you and your kids.
Don’t despair if you haven’t had the time to put together those All Hallow’s Eve get-ups yet. You can use your leftover moving boxes to create some fun, fantastic, and super-simple homemade costumes that will be ready for trick-or-treating in no time!
1. Candy Boxes
The only thing less crucial than finding a great Halloween costume is the sweet, sweet candy swag you receive for the effort of dressing up. Use those leftover moving boxes and a bit of clever painting to let your kids advertise the kind of candy they want most. Then head off to collect as much of those sugary treats as possible.
2. Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, and Ghostly Crew
With some imaginative cutting and spray painting, you can dress the whole family as Pac Man and friends. The colorful video game ghosts are certainly more fun that the traditional white sheet ghosts, and there’s the added bonus of being able to chase each other around in homage to the vintage video game. Just don’t forget to add eye-holes to these clever costumes, or you’ll be running blind!
3. Fish Tank
If you’re looking for a box costume that requires less artistic dedication, look no further than this fish tank ensemble. Just cut a hole in the top and front of the box, purchase a plain blue sweatshirt for the costume-wearer, and tape a few cute sea critters and bubbles to the sweatshirt. Voila! A costume that’s both simple and cozy for colder temperatures.
4. X-Ray Vision
Were you craving some spookier moving box attire? This excellent X-Ray costume should do the trick. Paint a box black and add arm and head holes. For those who aren’t so artistically-inclined, you can simply print out a picture of the torso bones and glue or tape it directly to the box. No drawing required!
5. Crayola Crayon Box
Of course, if you love to draw, then perhaps this Crayola Crayon Box is the right disguise for you. With some clever box-coloring and the use of bright paper cones, the only costume question you’ll be left to ponder is: should you also include that built-in crayon sharpener?
What’s your favorite DIY Halloween costume? Share in the comments!
Big cities have a lot to offer — great food, entertainment and history. According to MovingCompanyReviews.com data, the top five cities with the most mover searches* are Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas and Pittsburgh. If you’re moving to one of these thriving metropolitan areas, download the apps below to discover what makes your new city unique.
1.) Field Trip (iOS/Android, Free): Powered by Google, the Field Trip app takes your GPS location and indicates points of interest in your area, including restaurants, museums and historical landmarks. When using headphones, the app will also read you a brief description of the location and its significance. Available in: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
2.) Stray Boots (iOS/Android, Free): Perfect for exploring in groups, the Stray Boots app helps you discover your new city by sending you on a scavenger hunt. Select your location and the Stray Boots app will send “challenges” asking you to find unique places in your immediate area. Available in: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
3.) It Happened Here (iOS/Android, Free): Are you a history buff? The It Happened Here app notifies you of any significant events that happened near your location. The app includes historical events, memorable movie scenes and notorious crimes, so there is something of interest for everyone. Available in: Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.
4.) Around Me (iOS/Android, Free): If you’re looking for something specific in your area, the Around Me app will locate nearby ATMs, coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses. This app works internationally, as well. Available in: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
5.) Transit (iOS/Android, Free): Even the most seasoned city-dwellers can be intimidated by public transit. Use the Transit app to plug in your current location and your final destination and the app will share the easiest routes to get there. Available in: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
After a long day of exploring, come home to a space with your own personal touch. Find out the 5 Ways to Decorate Your New Home for Less.
*The top five cities with the highest quantity of moving company searches, per MovingCompanyReviews.com data
Moving to a new home, town and school can be difficult for children, especially if they are leaving friends behind. Below are six ways your kids can stay in touch with friends after moving into a new neighborhood. Use these tips to make the transition to your new town as seamless as possible.
1.) Pen pal 2.0: Setting up an email account for your child is an easy way to help them stay in touch with friends. If you’re not ready to give them full Internet freedom, use a kids’ email application like Tocomail to monitor their emails and contact list.
2.) Get social: Letting your child use social media is a big step for any parent. Take baby steps by creating a profile for your child on Yoursphere or KidzWorld. These kid-friendly social networks allow you to monitor your child’s online activity and lets them share updates with their BFF back home.
3.) Start new traditions: Creating new traditions post-move is a great way for your kids to maintain long-distance friendships. For example, your child can share photos of their life in your new home by using Postagram (iOS, Android/Free) to send a postcard of any photo to their friend for $0.99 cents.
4.) Digital study sessions: Help your child and former classmates reconnect through their school work. Use Google Hangouts to set up weekly chat sessions where they can discuss their upcoming science fair projects or summer reading lists. Tip: This idea works best for in-state moves where the curriculum is similar from school to school.
5.) Work with their teacher: Moving mid-school year can be stressful on younger children who have bonded with their classmates. Work with your child’s former teacher to set up a Flat Stanley project so they can keep in touch with every classmate in a fun way. After the project is completed, use an app like Polagram (iOS, Android/Free) to print each student’s Flat Stanley photo on a poster for your child to hang in their room as a keepsake.
6.) Plan a trip: If you are close enough, arrange time to visit with old friends. Use the Roadtrippers app (iOS, Android/Free) to find a point of interest between your old town and new town that both families can enjoy.
Are you looking for ways to further settle into your new home? Add a personal touch to your new home without breaking the bank by checking out our 5 Ways to Decorate Your New Home for Less.
After paying moving expenses (think: labor, storage and insurance costs), the last thing you want to do is spend money on expensive home decor. We’ve compiled budget friendly decorating tips to turn your house into a home for less. Use these tips to add a personal touch to your new space without breaking the bank.
1.) Reuse and repurpose: If your old furniture looks worn, repurpose it to add renewed appeal. A fresh coat of paint or stain can turn a dilapidated dresser into a statement piece for your living room. Old dining room chairs will transition seamlessly to your new formal dining area after an easy reupholstering project. Feeling uninspired? Head to Pinterest for thousands of great DIY ideas.
2.) Create multi-functional spaces: One way to save when decorating is to create multipurpose spaces throughout your home. Instead of furnishing a home office, create a computer area in your living room where office materials can be easily stored and accessed. If you rarely entertain, forgo a formal dining room for a casual (and less expensive) eating area.
3.) Save on appliances: Updating appliances can be a huge cost when moving into a new home. Avoid sticker shock by purchasing floor models or by mixing different brands. Another way to save on pricier models is to wait until a major sale. With Black Friday approaching, this could be an easy way to get the appliances you want for a bargain price.
4.) Avoid trends: Stay away from decor trends, to avoid the need to replace in the near future. If it’s a trend that you see everywhere from Pinterest to Target, it is likely it is a passing fad and not worth your money.
5.) Monitor home décor sites: If you’re looking to incorporate investment items into your home without the investment price tag, visit online flash sale sites One Kings Lane and Joss & Main to score designer furniture, appliances and other home goods for drastically reduced prices. Use these sites to purchase items like artwork, unique furniture and high thread-count bedding.
Are you looking forward to a fresh start in your new hometown? Check out our six tips for starting fresh in your new neighborhood here.
According to MovingCompanyReviews.com data, the busiest month of the year to move is August, and the top three days to move in 2014 were August 29, August 30 and September 27. With the hectic experience of moving behind you, it’s time to enjoy your new home and neighborhood. We’ve compiled the top ways to start fresh in your new city as you settle into your new home.
1.) Starting fresh with safety: If you moved to a city with many new neighborhoods to explore, familiarize yourself with the individual neighborhood before you visit. Use a safety app like the CrimeReports app (iOS/Android, Free) to access real-time information on neighborhood level crime and sex offender information. The app gives you access to official crime information for more than 1,200 participating law enforcement agencies across North America and sex offender data for all 50 states. If your new city’s police department participates, you can sign up for free, and receive automated crime updates directly on your device.
2.) Starting fresh with the kids: If you moved with kids, visit kidscore.com to discover kid friendly places and amenities close by, and read reviews from other parents. The site also rates areas ranging from “Kid Heaven” to “Kids Not Welcome.” KidScore™ lets you look up a nearby activities and attractions, including food, shopping, health, hotels, etc., and gives you it’s KidScore™.
3.) Starting fresh with the necessities: Use the Around Me (iOS/Android, Free) app to become a neighborhood veteran in no time. The app provides you with the distance to the nearest restaurants, pharmacies, movie theatres, hospitals, banks, etc.
4.) Starting fresh on foot: The Walk Score (iOS/Android, Free) app is great for city dwellers. Walk Score tells you what parts of the neighborhood are most walkable and the walking directions to your desired location. It uses GPS, so you don’t need to enter in any addresses. Walk Score rates each neighborhood up to 100, so the higher the score, the more walkable the neighborhood. Bonus: After you’ve worked up an appetite from exploring your new neighborhood on foot, review your mover on MovingCompanyReviews.com to receive a free pizza!
5.) Starting fresh with security: Once you’ve settled into your new home, make sure to protect your investment. Buy the iCam app ($4.99, iPhone and Android) to easily monitor multiple home security cameras directly from your smartphone. If the motion sensor is triggered on the camera, you will receive a notification on your phone and you can watch a live video of what’s happening in your home when you step out for a few hours, or for an extended amount of time.
6.) Starting fresh with decorating: Put your personal stamp on your new house and use the Houzz app (iOS/Android, Free) to browse photos of professionally designed rooms; find local pros (design, landscaping, building etc.), access an endless number of suppliers (appliances, bedding, bath, garden, kitchen, etc.); create IdeaBooks; and start a discussion to get professional help on your design dilemmas.
Looking for more post move tips to settle into your new area? Check out the the five tips for navigating your new neighborhood.
On the surface, the housing market appears back to normal. Banks are gradually making loans, interest rates are still low, new home construction is increasing, and the record number of homes falling into foreclosure no longer dominates any conversation about real estate. While the new lending regulations have put an end to the rampant predatory lending practices of the late 1990s and early 2000s, a blog post by Sam Khater of CoreLogic reports that REO properties increased to 430,000 in March of 2014.
Some people still struggling
Additionally, a recent study by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley found that the “housing market recovery” is missing a large percentage of American communities. While there has been a great deal of news about loan modification programs, the Home Affordable Modification Program has only benefited about 25 percent of the four million borrowers it was intended to help.
The study states, “Despite home prices rising in many parts of the country, the total value of owner-occupied housing still remains $3.2 trillion below 2006 levels. Despite rising home prices, there are still some 9.8 million households underwater, representing 19.4 percent of all mortgaged homes -nearly one out of every five such homes.”
Market will never be the same
We can no longer speak of the real estate market in the same broad terms that were once used to summarize activity. It will never go back to “normal.”
You have to consider all available information and make your decision about buying and selling based on your individual situation and future. You are not going to be able to perfectly predict home prices anymore than you are able to predict the winning lottery numbers or stock prices. For some homeowners with negative equity, they have little choice in the matter. If you were waiting for prices to improve and are no longer upside-down on your mortgage, you have a few things to consider.
Why are you selling?
A job transfer adds a level of urgency to selling and buying a home that few other situations have. If you are selling due to transfer, first check with your employer about options available to you in the relocation package. They can often assist you in many ways and may absorb all or part of any financial loss. The FHA will allow new mortgages for borrowers who currently have FHA-insured mortgages if a job transfer requires a commute that is not practical from their current home. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have purchase programs for loans made to transferees with existing home loans.
If you need more space due to a growing family or an elderly parent is coming to live with you, consider the cost of remodeling and adding on to your existing home. According to a recent CNN Money article, many home sellers are having a difficult time upgrading to a larger home, due to higher prices and low available inventory.
For empty nesters and others needing to down-size, consider leasing your current home through a reputable management company. It will alleviate much of the headaches associated with renting and give you a bit of financial breathing room in the sell of your current home.
Do the numbers add up?
Just listing your home for sale is going to cost you money up front. If you decide to sell without a Realtor, you are going to have advertising expense and the time involved in answering calls from prospective buyers, along with scheduling showings and negotiating offers.
First impressions play a crucial role in how much buyers are willing to pay for their next home, so don’t forget to make any needed repairs and deep clean your home before listing it for sale.
You also have to consider how selling your current home and buying another affects your personal and financial long term plans. Do you really want to take on increased property taxes and potentially a higher mortgage? More square footage may solve one problem, but does it restrict your ability to do other things in life that you want to accomplish. For many people who wish to travel or just enjoy hobbies other than home repair, selling an older home to purchase a newer, lower maintenance home makes sense.
Will you have to work more hours to afford your new home? If you are out of work, how many months can you pay the mortgage, HOA fees, and property taxes?
Review each of these questions with your personal financial planner. Buying and selling your home is not like other investments. It is more about the lifestyle you have or want to have and simplifying your life rather than trying to predict when values are at their peak.
Guest post by Frank Stegall, a real estate agent for eight years and a real estate consultant and professional writer since 2009.
An open house can be an effective way to get people into your home so they can see it for themselves, fall in love with it and buy it. While some realtors are forgoing the open house, others continue to embrace it as an effective part of an overall sales strategy. If you are going to have an open house, these tips will help you prepare your home so it shines for the potential buyers who will walk through.
Clean, Clean and Clean Again
For your open house, your home needs to sparkle. Start cleaning a few days ahead of time and focus on problem areas, like your kitchen or bathrooms, which tend to get dirty the quickest. After al that cleaning, be sure that strong-smelling chemical odors aren’t lingering in the air by the time of your open house. Work to make sure the home looks and smells as close to new as possible.
Remove Signs of Pets
You love your dog or cat, but a potential buyer doesn’t want to wonder whether or not your pet has left some unexpected surprises behind. Remove all signs of your pet from the home, such as the litter box, toys or food dishes. Make arrangements for your pet to be housed somewhere else on the day of the open house.
Give the Home a Fresh Coat of Paint
Before the open house, take a look around your home. Are there areas where you need a fresh coat of paint? Touch up these areas. If you have time and rooms need a new coat entirely, go ahead and do it. This will be money and time well spent as your home looks more appealing to potential buyers.
Depersonalize Your Home
That family portrait hanging above the mantle may make you smile every time you look at it, but a potential buyer doesn’t feel the same way. In fact, it might detract from your ability to sell the home. The potential buyer sees it as “your” home when your family’s pictures are on display everywhere. Take down personal mementos and photographs while you have your open house. Leave them down while the home is on the market to improve your chances of a fast sale.
Add Some New Towels
Are the towels in your kitchen and bathrooms a little worn and dated? They may still be functional, but they can detract from your ability to entice buyers to buy your home. Buy some thick, fluffy towels to hang in these areas to give them that polished, ready-to-live-in look that buyers want.
Set the Table
Have you ever toured a model home? Think about the table. Chances are it was set, at least in part. Why is this? A set table makes the buyer envision family dinners and dinner parties at the home. Pull out some decorative plates, placemats and a centerpiece, and set the table before you leave the home during the open house. If the table has seen better days, thrown on a neutral tablecloth for good measure.
Place Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers, provided they aren’t overly fragrant, can bring color and interest to the space. They make your home look like it is well cared for, and provide the attention to detail that will spark the interest of potential buyers.
Remove the Clutter
If your home is a bit too full of “stuff,” take time to remove some of that clutter. De-cluttering your home will make a big difference in how inviting and open it feels. As you de-clutter, consider your furniture. Do you need to make room by removing some of your furnishings? Rent a storage locker and put some of your items there so you can better stage your home and make it look appealing to buyers. In fact, if you can eliminate about half of your belongings, you will be in better shape for the open house.
Showcase Your Storage Space
Your open house is not a time to shove everything into a closet and slam the door, hoping it stays. People are going to be opening your cabinets, drawers and closets. They need to see organization. These spaces need to feel large and adequate to hold the potential buyer’s extra stuff.
Some of the things you will do for your home, such as putting out flowers, are minor, while others, like painting, are a bit more involved. Some are obvious, but others are surprising. If you take the time to give attention to each one, you will see more interest from your open house, and that interest could quickly lead to your home selling at a fair price.
Guest Contribution From:
You moved. And unpacked. Hooray!
Give yourself a pat on the back because the hard part is over. Now what do you do with all those pesky moving boxes cluttering up your garage?
You could break them down and recycle them. Or even give them away. But if you’re crafty, not afraid of a little elbow grease and feeling somewhat adventurous, give these ideas a spin…
1. Turn Them Into Moving Announcements
2. Entertain Your Kids And Encourage Their Imagination
A cardboard castle fit for any ‘lil prince or princess
A rocket ready for takeoff!
3. Create Storage To Keep Your New Place Organized
4. Pin memos and announcements with a DIY bulletin board
5. Showcase your fave moments with cardboard photo frames
Have other box inspiration ideas or photos of your finished products? Share them in the comments!
A Bill of Lading Primer
The Bill of Lading (BOL) is one of the most important documents you’ll receive from your mover. Your mover should give this to you on moving day and it includes crucial information about your move, like your “from” and “to” addresses, inventory of your belongings and costs. You can read more about the BOL here. Think of it as a confirmation of everything you and your mover have agreed to. If anything doesn’t look right, talk to your mover before signing.
We’re not snooping; we’re just thorough
When you review your mover on MCR, we require that you attach your BOL in order for your review to be published. “Eek! But it has my address!” you may think. Don’t worry. We’ll never publish your BOL on the site and we’re not trying to be nosy. The BOL is just the very best way for us to verify that all of our reviews come from real consumers for real moves.
What we look for on the BOL
First, we need to be able to read it. Then, we check for the mover’s name, location and license number (these should all be part of their paperwork). To verify your move, we at minimum check for your from/to locations, your move date and your signature indicating that the move was completed.
What’s so great about ‘verified’?
We’ve all seen the questionable review that’s just too good to be true. How do you know what to trust? By validating each review with a BOL, we can guarantee that the reviews you’re reading are real. It’s also our way of ensuring that a mover can’t keep a bad review from being posted. If we can prove the move happened, we’ll publish the review to help others avoid a bad experience.
So, when we ask you for your BOL with your review, we’re really not trying to be annoying. We’re just trying to be the most trusted source on the web for mover reviews. Love this idea? Hate it? Let us know at email@example.com.