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

7 Easy Ways to Dress up an Entryway

The entryway or foyer of your home conveys an important first impression to your guests. For homeowners bent on making it a great first impression, designers at ElleDecor.com suggest seven easy ways to make an entryway look larger, brighter, and more welcoming.

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Use the power of mirrors – A well placed mirror can instantly open up a space and add a luxurious feel. Splurge on a good one.

Keep fresh flowers on hand – Nothing freshens up a room quite like a vase full of fresh flowers. They are aesthetically pleasing and will keep your entryway smelling wonderful. Using long-lasting silk flowers will hold down monthly costs, but think about replacing them with fresh flowers before a dinner party or other events.

Play with patterns and colors – Your entryway should reflect your personal style. Add a jolt of color, especially in a light, bright foyer, or bring in an unexpected wallpaper pattern to turn the space into something special.

Rethink the lighting fixtures – Swap out the lighting fixtures that came with the house for something you really love. The right overhead chandelier or well-detailed wall scones can add drama and grace to any entry.

Add a statement piece – It may be a patterned rug, tufted bench, a console table or a pair of smaller tables. There should be some element in your entryway that serves as a centerpiece and set the tone for the rest of your home.

Do use some artwork – Art bring a level of elegance to a room. A well placed piece of art, or a gallery wall of small pieces, can be the perfect finishing touch for an entryway that reflects your taste and style.

Don’t overcrowd the space – If you have an entryway big enough for several pieces of furniture, by all means go for it. But if the area is on the small side, skip the console table because the area will look better with just a few small pieces. A plant stand and a mirror may be all that is needed to dress up a small entry.

 

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 Easy Ways to Dress up an Entryway

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

5 Tips to Take the Heat Out of the Summer Selling Season

It’s no secret that the amount of houses on the market rises substantially during the summer months, making it more important than ever that your home is ready for the increased competition.

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If you’re looking to avoid some of the common issues that can negatively affect a summer showing, take the following tips into consideration.

1. Keep the Air On: Even if you like a warm house, the last thing you want is for prospective buyer to be uncomfortable. When a potential buyer walks through your home on a hot day, you want them to be greeted with cool air, which will go a long way toward starting the showing on a positive note. Not only will a warm home during the hot months cause a level of discomfort, it can also drive someone out of the house before they have even had a chance to form a real opinion.

2. Offer Refreshments: While you never want to be at the actual showing, you can still create a positive first impression by leaving a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade on the kitchen table with a little note inviting house hunters to cool off with a refreshing drink. Many prospective buyers spend all day in the heat driving from house to house, so this is a great way to create memorable first impressions.

3. Keep the Lawn Manicured: You don’t need to hire a professional landscaper, but at the very least, be sure to keep the lawn mowed and clear of any sticks. It’s important to make sure there is nothing in the way that will keep the prospective buyers from being able to take a walk around the yard. A yard full of weeds – or one that looks like it hasn’t been taken care of – can quickly turn off a buyer.

4. Let There be Light: Take advantage of the bright sun that summer has to offer and keep your curtains open and your shades up, allowing plenty of natural light to shine through the space. A room with plenty of natural light will get prospective buyers thinking about different color schemes they can incorporate into the space once it is theirs.

5. Consider Outside Entertainment: Those shopping for a home during the summer months often have visions of outdoor barbeques and fun gatherings with friends and family on their minds. Make sure your patio or deck is organized, giving off a festive atmosphere. Decorate with fun outdoor fixtures and be sure to clean the grill. For those with pools, have the filter on and keep the water sparkling blue to really entice buyers.

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

5 Tips to Take the Heat Out of the Summer Selling Season

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

4 Ways to Erase the Most Common Household Messes

No matter how neat you keep your home, odors and stains are inevitable. These can be especially challenging to remove in areas prone to spills and smells. Check out these tips on how you can freshen even the most stubborn spots in your household.

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1. Wall Stains – Have your kids made artwork on your walls, or has a leaky roof caused a water damaged mess? Tough wall stains like these can be hard to get rid of, but are easily sealed by applying a high-quality stain-blocking primer.

Before covering the problem area with primer, clean the wall thoroughly with a grease-cutting solution and lightly sand the area to be painted.

2. Refrigerator Odors – Refrigerators are subject to a variety of spills and odors. To clean your fridge, begin by emptying its contents and throwing out, recycling or composting any food that is expired or beginning to smell.

Next, pull out any removable drawers or shelving and place them in the sink. Using a damp soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge, wipe down these pieces, the interior of your fridge and the door with a multi-purpose cleaner. Or, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of hot water for a natural soap alternative. Don’t forget the seams of the shelves and rubber door seal.

If your fridge requires an extra-deep cleaning, unplug it while you work to avoid wasting energy. Before putting all of your food back in the fridge, wipe down the exterior of each jar or container with a damp cloth.

3. Grout Lines – Tile surfaces are prone to dirt and debris, especially in bathrooms or high traffic-areas. To keep tile looking fresh and new, grab an old toothbrush or electric toothbrush for a deeper scrub. Before you start, wash the surface with water then mix two parts baking soda with one part water. Scrub the resulting paste into the cracks and crevices, then douse with water again. If the grout lines are stained, spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water onto the area and brush. After a final rinse, the grime will be gone.

4. Washing Machine Mold – If you own a front-loading washing machine, you’ve probably noticed the unpleasant smell that can linger after completing a load of laundry. Despite being more energy-efficient, these machines have a tendency to hold odors and harbor mold. To clean and prevent grimy buildup, try this: instead of detergent, cycle two cups of vinegar and a quarter-cup of baking soda on a hot setting. When it’s done, use a clean sponge to scrub down the inside. Finally, rinse with a plain-water cycle, and you’ll see (and smell) the results!

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

4 Ways to Erase the Most Common Household Messes