Martocchia Realtors®'s 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.
Buying a retirement home is a big decision. And doing so before you retire is a smart decision. However, you’re also in a completely different place than you will be when you’re retired or as you age. You don’t know what the future holds. It’s easy to take our mobility for granted until we lost it. There are a few things you should look for in a home to plan for the future and whatever it may hold.
Many empty-nesters look to downsize when buying their next home. And this very well might be the perfect option for you. But first, consider how often and how many guests you may want to have over at a time. Will you host holiday dinners or want to have room for grandchildren to stay for the night? If you have a large family or one that is growing many couples find they want the room to host dinners or have a pull-out couch.
You’ll also want to plan ahead for the future when choosing the size and layout of your new home. Even if you downsize it’s wise to put wide hallways and a single floor plan on your wishlist as you house hunt. If either of you has mobility limitations in the future you’ll be glad to have such an accessible home.
The lower your monthly payments on your new mortgage, the better. But more ideally you’ll want to consider homes in a price range that allow you to pay in full. Again, keeping retirement in mind keeping bills to a minimum so that either one of you can cover all costs on one sole income could save you from hardship down the line. Retirement is very different from what it used to be, often many people find themselves needing to take on part-time work to get by. Keeping expenses well below your monthly income can help to ensure you can spend your retirement years enjoying life in the way you want to.
In general, when planning retirement it’s best to live below your means. Not only do you want to account for inflation costs but also for any unexpected large expenses that could crop up such as home repairs, emergency care, or car maintenance. Having an idea of what your future budget will be as well as your current one will help you make the best decisions for the years ahead now.
Buying a retirement home can save you money in the long run on bills like heating and electric. However, house hunting for the perfect home entails a lot more decisions that many couples realize. Remember to plan for your life both now and later when putting together your must have features for your new home.
Purchasing home furniture should be a quick, easy and, perhaps most important, inexpensive process. However, finding affordable chairs, couches and other home furniture sometimes can be difficult, particularly for those who recently bought a house and need to furnish their residence on a budget.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you discover top-notch home furniture at budget-friendly prices.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you furnish your residence without breaking your budget.
1. Keep an Eye Out for Sales
Furniture stores are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these shops generally offer sales at different times throughout the year. As such, you should plan a trip to various local furniture stores to find the best prices on furniture for your living room, dining room or other areas of your house.
In many instances, it pays to shop at furniture stores on weekends. These stores commonly provide weekend sales that may enable you to save hundreds or thousands of dollars on assorted home furniture.
Also, you may want to plan ahead for potential holiday sales. Furniture stores frequently offer significant discounts around Independence Day, Christmas and other major holidays. And if you capitalize on these holiday sales, you may be able to pick up deluxe furniture at bargain prices.
2. Look Online
Craigslist and other online classified sites make it easy to browse for furniture from any location, at any time. Meanwhile, these sites may enable you to locate high-quality preowned furniture at a fraction of the cost of brand-new items.
If you see furniture online that you like, don't hesitate to reach out to a seller. Because the longer that you wait to contact a seller, the more likely it becomes that he or she will sell the furniture that you want to a rival buyer.
3. Negotiate When Possible
Oftentimes, you may be able to negotiate the price of a sofa, ottoman or other furniture, regardless of whether you buy from a furniture store or independent seller. If you understand the art of negotiation, you may be better equipped than other buyers to acquire first-rate furniture without spending too much.
Perform research before you kick off your furniture search – you'll be glad you did. With furniture price data at your disposal, you can find out how much your dream bed, shelving unit or other furniture costs and budget accordingly.
Furthermore, if you need extra assistance as you search for home furniture, you may want to work with a real estate agent. In addition to helping you buy a new home, a real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with the top furniture retailers in your area. Or, in some instances, a real estate agent may be able to convince a home seller to include his or her furniture in your home purchase.
Ready to acquire outstanding furniture for your new home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can increase the likelihood of discovering amazing furniture at prices that match your budget.
Finding a new home that will meet your family's current and future needs requires a clear mental picture of what you want and your desired lifestyle.
While you may not be able to get every item on your new-house wish list, knowing your priorities is the first step to realizing your goals.
For many growing families, having a spacious eat-in kitchen is a high-priority. Here are a few reasons a large kitchen can enhance the enjoyment of your new home.
Entertaining guests: If you like to host holiday gatherings, birthday parties, and other celebrations at your home, a spacious kitchen lends itself to everything from food preparation and buffet setup to mingling with your party guests. Kitchens are a focal point of social gatherings, and can play a major role in the success or failure of your parties, dinners, and other events.
Increased efficiency: Without enough counter space and room to comfortably move around, meal preparation can turn into more of a chore than a pleasure. Ideally, there should be unobstructed paths between key work stations, including the stove and kitchen sink (You'll want to have a clear path when you're ready to drain cooked pasta or carry pots of water to the stove.) Generally, the more people you're serving, the more crucial it is to have plenty of space for working, staying organized, and keeping track of cooking times. Since food preparation is both an art and a science, it requires planning, proper execution, and the freedom to express your creativity.
Family harmony: There are at least two ways that ample kitchen space can contribute to harmonious family relationships. First of all, gathering in the kitchen at mealtime, every day, helps foster good communication between members of your family. When you're facing each other and sharing stories, plans, and concerns at the kitchen table, it's easier to know what's going on in the lives of your spouse and children. A roomy kitchen also helps keep the peace in your family. For example, when more than one person is getting a snack, making a meal, or cleaning up, having a little extra space can help keep family members from bumping into each other and feeling cramped. Conflicts sometimes arise, especially among siblings, when there's a shortage of personal space. On busy days when everyone is rushing in opposite directions, often at a hectic pace, having enough counter and floor space in the kitchen can help minimize drama and keep family traffic flowing smoothly.
Whether you're entertaining dinner guests or baking cookies for a school bake sale, the process is sure to go more smoothly when you have sufficient counter space and a work flow area that helps gets things done in the shortest period of time.
Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.
Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.
In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.
Home equity and market value
As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.
Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.
However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.
How to build equity
The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.
One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.
The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.
What can I use home equity for?
The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.
Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.