10 Shortcuts to Make Your Move Easier

Near or far, there’s no shortage of challenges when it comes to moving. Between organizing an entire household changing addresses and vetting out movers, relocating to a new house can be hectic. And the biggest stress of all? Packing.

To help alleviate some of that stress, here is a list of clever shortcuts that will ease the burden of packing before (and unpacking after) a move.

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1. Find Freebies – Forget buying boxes. Pick up free ones through Freecycle.org or the “free stuff” section on Craigslist, both of which list items by location. If you can, seek our boxes of varying sizes. And skip the supermarket cartons because they may contain food residue.

2. Pack to Unpack – The hardest part about packing is figuring out where to start. When boxing up your belongings, start in the kitchen, which typically houses the most items that are not everyday essentials. When you arrive at your new home, unpack you bedroom first, and leave the kitchen for last.

3. Color Code – Besides being time-consuming, labeling a box with its contents can give thieves the upper hand as you settle in. To save time and stay safe, assign each room a color and use coordinating colored duct tape. Stick a piece of tape on both the top and sides of boxes, so that they can be easily identified when stacked or apart.

4. Bag It – Don’t waste time un-hanging (and re-hanging) closet garments. Group a few hanging clothes together with a zip tie, slide black garbage bag over them, and make a hole in the top of the bag for hanger hooks. To “unpack,” simply remove the bad and tie.

5. Cover Up – Save yourself a step, and money, by forgoing the mattress cover sold by your mover. Instead place the fitted sheet you use regularly on your mattress, then cover both sides of the mattress with two older fitted sheets you no longer use.

6. Wrap It – Instead of emptying out the drawers of small-scale furniture, like end tables or corner desks, wrap heavy-duty plastic wrap around the piece of furniture, from top-to-bottom and side-to-side. This will seal the drawers and prevent spillage on moving day, and save you hours worth of unpacking time.

7. Tape Under – If certain furniture pieces require disassembly before moving, keep all of the parts together to save time when re-assembling. Place all bolts, screws and small pieces in a Ziploc bag, and tape the bag with clear packing tape to the bottom of the piece.

8. Fill Space – Damage on moving day is often caused by items shifting en route. To make certain your household items stay secure, use socks to fill in ‘dead air’ space, especially in and around breakables like glassware. If you want to save even more time, use t-shirts to wrap larger items.

9. Even It Out – If you’re using a moving truck, even out the weight when loading furniture and appliances to help prevent damage. To make your move as smooth as possible, place the refrigerator in the front right section of the truck and the washer and dryer opposite, front left.

10. Be Secure – No matter how many precautions you take, there’s no fighting gravity. When loading your plastic wrapped furniture, place the side with drawers against the wall of the truck to prevent them from opening. If your mover provides them, use tie-downs on the side walls for added security.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

10 Shortcuts to Make Your Move Easier

10 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Back-to-School Shopping

For busy families, back-to-school season is not without its share of stress. Ease the back-to-school burden on your household with these shopping tips designed to simplify the year ahead.

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1. Take stock of your inventory.
School lists often carry over each school year, so make sure you aren’t buying multiples of things you already own. Some supplies are more exciting when refreshed every year, but buying the same ruler year after year is simply a waste of money.

2. Make a list with your children.
Put everything you need on that list, and be clear that once the list is done, it’s done. Having everyone on the same page with a complete list helps ensure nothing vital is forgotten, and the list can serve as a handy tool to keep your budget in check.

3. Begin shopping as early as possible.
Hunt bargains before the traditional back-to-school season to get the best deals. Not only will you save some cash, you will have a wider selection to choose from. Spreading the shopping over several weeks also allows you to distribute the expense across several pay periods, lessening the chance of blowing your monthly budget.

4. Shop online.
Sign up for email alerts from your go-to retailers so you’ll be in the know when the best deals hit. Many stores now offer online-only specials, so watch ads closely to know when you’re better served making purchases in-store or online. Keep an eye out for free or reduced shipping for extra savings. You might also rely on social media to follow back-to-school offers and hashtags.

5. Put quality ahead of price.
While it’s tempting to go for cheap when your list is long, remember that sometimes quality buys actually save more in the long run. You can buy a ton of cheap pens that skip, or simply stop working, for example, when you’ll be better served buying ones of higher quality.

6. Make your children shopping buddies.
Involve your kids in the back-to-school shopping process by giving them a budget. Help them allocate money for all the expenses, including clothing, school supplies, shoes and more. Use the opportunity to talk about how shopping smart for the necessities can leave room for some fun buys, too.

7. Reduce and reuse.
Save plastic and money by encouraging kids to embrace reusable items, such as lunch bags in place of paper sacks and plastic containers instead of sandwich bags. If water bottles are allowed at school, look for a durable, refillable option that can be used again and again.

8. Make the old new again.
Turn barely used items into something new. Keep leftover supplies on hand to revive your child’s enthusiasm with fresh designs at the end of the quarter or semester.

9. Swap with other parents.
Make back-to-school time more fun by hosting a swap event with other parents for clothing, backpacks, shoes, etc.

10. Create a back-up bin at home.
You may find your kids consistently run out of certain items midyear. Devote a special area of your home to keep extras in stock, and take advantage of sales during back-to-school season or buy in bulk to get a better price.

Source: ZebraPen.com

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

 

 

10 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Back-to-School Shopping

7 Common Closing Costs to Consider When Purchasing a Home

Purchasing a home is an expensive proposition, but for many buyers, the realization that a host of closing costs need to be paid before the sale can go through is often a concern when it comes to ensuring there is enough money set aside to go through with the transaction.

In simple terms, closing costs are the fees associated with the acquisition of one’s new home that have nothing to do with the final sale price. These costs are in addition to the actual purchase price and include everything from legal fees to land transfer taxes to moving expenses.

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To ensure no financial surprises pop up when it’s time to buy your home, here are some of the most common closing costs that need to be considered.

Legal Fees
A real estate lawyer will be needed to assist you in drafting the deed, preparing the mortgage and conducting various searches related to the property. While the cost of a lawyer varies, you can expect to pay at least $1,000 for their services.

Title Insurance
Almost all lenders require that a homebuyer purchase title insurance to protect against losses in the event of a property/ownership dispute. Title insurance is basically an insurance policy that protects the homeowners from problems related to the title to their home, such as title fraud, undischarged liens, zoning issues and survey problems. Homebuyers can expect to pay between $150 – $400 for title insurance at closing.

Interest Adjustments
Unless you are purchasing a home on the first of the month, odds are your mortgage payment won’t be due until the following month. However, you’ll still be required to pay interest on your mortgage up to the first theoretical payment date at closing. It’s important to ask your mortgage lender how your IAD (interest adjustment date) is calculated so you’re prepared for this closing cost.

Prepaid Utilities Adjustments
A buyer must also reimburse the previous owner for any utility payments they may have already paid for the upcoming year. While this means you won’t have to pay for these utilities yourself for a while, it’ll add to the closing cost pile and can run hundreds of dollars.

Property Survey
A land or property survey is a legal written and or mapped description of the location and dimensions of the land that you’re acquiring. This is another requirement of a lender and is necessary for any transfer of ownership. A property survey will reflect all dimensions of the house and include anything that was added since the house was originally built, such as a new addition, deck, fence or pool. It can also point out any encroachments, such as a neighbor’s fence. This will generally run somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

Down Payment
The most important closing cost of all, the down payment can be anything you’ve negotiated with the seller and your mortgage lender, but typically falls around 20% of the purchase price. If you’re selling a home as well, and the deal hasn’t been finalized, you may need to acquire bridge financing. This will cover the cost of the down payment for a short period of time, with only interest paid at closing. Otherwise, prepare to buy your new home with whatever money you’ve been saving.

For more information about closing costs, contact your local office today.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

7 Common Closing Costs to Consider When Purchasing a Home

Defining Your Ideal Home

The property you buy will be much more than a house; it will be your home. So before you go out and view houses, understand what you are looking for. Try answering the following questions to help you clarify the things that are most important to you in your ideal home and neighborhood.

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Defining Your Ideal Home

1. For some people, “home” means a hub of social activity; for others it might be a place to retreat from the pressures of daily life. What does “home” mean to you?

2. Who will be living in your household? Will you often have other family member or friends visiting for more than a few days at a time? If so, you may want to consider an extra bedroom, or office room than can be used as an extra place to sleep.

3. If you will be working outside your home, what would you consider a comfortable commute (in time or distance)? Will you be working at home? Is public transportation a necessity?

4. What are the most important activities for the members of your household? For example: hobbies, recreation, school, entertaining, religious or cultural activities.

5. What are one or more features you liked most about the home(s) you have lived in previously? This might include: style floorplan, yard, view, and neighborhood. Will these features need to be included in  your new home, or are you willing the add them later on?

6. What are one or more features you disliked about the home(s) or neighborhood where you have previously lived?

7. What are the most important “must have” features of your ideal home and neighborhood? Why are they important?

 

Once you have answered these questions, you are one step closer to purchasing your next home! Be sure to contact your local Homesale Realty Agent to continue the homefinding process.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

 

Defining Your Ideal Home

Paying Off Your Mortgage

If you are looking to pay off your mortgage earlier than you initially planned, there are multiple ways to get this done. Before you begin, check with your bank to make sure there are no hidden fees or charges for paying early.

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Refinance your Mortgage

A good way to put a dent into paying off a 30-year mortgage is to refinance it into a 20-or-15-year loan. 15-year mortgages are the most popular, as there is considerably less mortgage interest in the long run. Be sure before making the change that you are financially able to do so, as changing to a 15-year loan commits you to higher monthly payments. If you are unsure about your financial ability to change to a 15-year, try staying on your 30-year loan and make payments as though you are on the 15-year one. This decreases the amount of time on your mortgage without adding the risk of a late payment.

 

Add a Little Extra

One of the best ways to pay your mortgage off early is to pay a little bit more where you can afford it. You can either do this by adding a set amount every month, or even just by rounding up every month. Even adding an extra 6 dollars to your monthly payments on a 200,000 dollar 30-year loan will save you 4 payments in the end. Make sure before doing this that you check your contract for any prepayment penalties.

 

Unexpected Money

Adding a little bit extra every month is great, but another option to keep in mind is adding any unexpected or extra cash flow to your payment. This can include anything from tax refunds or work bonuses to inheritances and investment earnings. This way it doesn’t feel like you are paying as much as long as you do not rely on that money.

 

Bi-weekly Payments

In Australia, people make bi-weekly half-payments on their mortgages. Why does this make any difference? Well, there are 12 months in a year, so most people will be paying 12 months worth of their loan. Someone who is paying half of their loan every other week, however, will be paying 13 months of their mortgage since there are 52 weeks in a year. This allows you to pay more of your loan off without feeling like you are paying more than you were before.

 

Other Options

These are great ways to cut down on the amount of time you have a mortgage, but there are many other ways as well. These include doubling up on your monthly payment 4 times a year and a money merge account. Money merge accounts should only be used by people who really understand cash management. If using any of the above options, it’s a good idea to get statements from your bank showing how much is still owed and also to make sure that any extra payments are going towards your principal and not being saved until the following year.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Paying Off Your Mortgage

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?

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As you get ready to travel to you favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter!

Light it Up-
The kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.

Don’t Socially Announce –
Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.

Keep Cool –
Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.

Unplug –
A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.

Don’t Forget to Flush –
Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.

Tidy the Kitchen –
Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.

Trim –
Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.

Stop your Mail –
Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries. Or you could ask a trust worthy neighbor/friend to bring your mail inside while you are away.

Lock All Entryways –
Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.

Set the Alarm –
Notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.

Get help –
Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?

Happy Father’s Day!

Homesale Realty would like to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers!
Have a wonderful day!

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Happy Father’s Day!