Shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” have popularized the idea of buying and renovating the worst house on the best block. Homes that need major remodeling, however, aren’t for everyone. Sometimes a move-in ready house is a better option. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each. Read more……..
Author Archives: Susan Tillman, REALTOR®
Moving Art Pieces
I like art. I have a lot of it – more art than I have walls at the moment. I still have art pieces sitting around waiting for me to hang them. I noticed that my tastes have changed over the years and so I have a lot of art that I may never hang up again. The last time I moved, I used professional movers and they carefully wrapped each art piece and transported it to my new home where I carefully unwrapped each piece and leaned it against the wall in my “library” which is just an extra room full of books and art leaning against the wall.
I have hung a few pieces around the house, but I’ve only hung one or two pieces of art per room instead of a montage of pictures on each wall. I always imagined a wild collection of art up and down the staircases, running along hallways and hanging high above one’s head in a grand entryway. I have none of that. Instead, I have a lot of art pieces leaning against the walls in my extra bedroom. Hmmm.
One of these days I plan to move again. When I do, I plan to take all of my art with me and perhaps the new home will host the wild collections of art I have accumulated. I certainly hope so. I don’t expect to have an extra bedroom just for art and book storage. My next extra bedroom will be for guests. I like them too.
Art comes in many forms. I mostly have paintings – oils on canvass, prints, paintings on glass, and a myriad of others. I also have statuettes and statues, a whole bunch of ceramic Indians my Mom made, and a collection of Chickens. Oh! And don’t forget the Bosson Heads, Painted Plates, and Butterfly collections.
Most of the above can be packed just like you would your fine china. Lots of paper and the right sized boxes – meaning they are not so big items on the bottom will get crushed by items on the top. The paintings though, especially those which were painted on the glass instead of a canvass, must be packaged up much more carefully.
If they are framed with glass, you want to make sure that glass does not break and if they are simple canvas pieces, you want to make sure the painting is not torn or pierced.
Start by collecting boxes that will fit them comfortably and securely and use bubble wrap, newspapers and other packing materials to ensure they are protected during the move. I have found mirror boxes work well for art pieces. If your painting/picture is covered with glass, put a X on the glass with masking tape. For some reason this gives the glass strength and should it crack in transit, it will hold it in place and hopefully protect the painting from cuts. Then cover the glass with a piece of thick cardboard. This could be part of a box that you are not using. The cardboard should be large enough to cover the glass, but not bigger than the entire painting. You can use carpet padding and even towels if you do not have any cardboard. The purpose is to reduce the amount of static cling that can develop between the bubble wrap and the painting.
If they have exposed canvass, don’t place wadded paper directly on the painting as it may put “dents” in it. Put cardboard cut to fit inside the frame against the painting before wrapping the whole thing in bubble wrap.
You should consider protecting corners by cutting cardboard and fitting it over each corner and then securing it with tape. If you use enough bubble wrap, this step may not be needed, but definitely consider it for art pieces in which the paint has been applied directly to the glass. A crack in this glass and the painting is ruined. Obviously, it cannot just be fixed with a new piece of glass.
Use LOTS of BUBBLE WRAP. It is a wonderful invention. And keep the kids from busting the bubbles until after the move – bubble wrap works better to protect your art when it is full of air! Place your art pieces in boxes designed for that purpose. Most packaging stores sell boxes of all types and sizes. Use extra peanuts and/or paper to keep your art pieces from “rocking” inside the box. They should fit securely. Seal up the box an mark it as FRAGILE so anyone moving it knows it can’t be tossed around.
Picture or mirror boxes containing artwork should be placed in the upright position and never be laid flat during shipping.
At the other end, carefully remove all packaging. Box cutters are not a good idea, but if you have to cuts the packaging loose, make sure you keep in mind what it protects. It would be shame to carefully pack, move and unpack Uncle Art’s portrait only to cut a gash across his canvass!
One more tip! Consider hiring experts if you have high value pieces or a lot of paintings in your art collection. Professional movers who specialize in art have wooden crates and other special materials to protect your paintings. And make sure it is a company that will let you insure your artwork for its full value.
Well, there you go. The art has been securely packed, moved and unpacked. Now, hopefully, you will take the time to find a place and hang it where others can enjoy it as well. That’s my plan…….eventually.
Filed under The Move
School is almost out – time to move?
Wow! Time flies when you are having fun, doesn’t it? Can you believe school is almost out? And it seems you just started talking about moving when school let out. No, wait. That was last December. Where did this year go already! Now you have less than three months to find a new home near the new school you want your kids to go to, put your home up for sale or notify your landlord you don’t intend to renew the lease for another year, get a loan approved, buy a home and get moved. Overwhelming? It certainly can be.
I am a list person. I make lists so I remember things and they help me get organized. Well, I suggest you sit down right now and make a list of things you need to do right away!
First, find an Realtor who works in the area you want to move. Need help? Give me a call and I can help you find one. Unless you are moving to MY area of course, in which giving me a call will find you talking to your Realtor. Next, start the loan process. Your Realtor can help with this. We all work with various lenders depending on what type of loan you want or need. We try to match you up with loan officers we know and have established a good track record of taking care of our clients. You may not know this, but Realtors, when they are representing you as their clients, really try to get you the most house for the least amount of money in the shortest period of time. At least I do…
Next on your list? Start cleaning house. You can find all kinds of helpful articles on the Internet. To make it easier for you, just follow me on Pinterest. I have tagged a lot of good articles covering everything from tips to moving, to moving with pets and kids (does an “and” really go in that sentence? My pet is my kid!) But I digress. What you don’t want to do is pack and move stuff you don’t want to keep. I used to do that. Back when the Army was paying for my moves. I was always under my weight limit, so I had the luxury of being lazy – foolishly. I always wished I had held a yard sale or given half the stuff away when I found myself unpacking things at the other end. “Why did I keep this?” I would ask myself as I was putting that large ricemaker away. A year or so later when I was unpacking after the next move – there it was again. I don’t favor steamed rice and had never used it in 2-3 years! Guess what? When I had to move it at my own expense, it finally found a new home. So what am I trying to tell you? Don’t be as foolish as I was – get organized and get rid of stuff you don’t need in your new home.
This blog is short. Just really wanted to touch based and give you the link to my Pinterest boards where I have already done some research for you and found great tips for getting ready for the move and moving. Why not take a look at them?
And since you are going to need a Realtor, give me a call at 404-903-7653. If you are coming to my area in Henry or Clayton County, GA I’ll help you myself. If not, call me anyway and I will find you a good agent wherever you are moving……
Filed under "From a Childs Eye", Organize it!, The Move
So You Are Moving into Something Smaller – Good Grief! Where will you put everything?
There is nothing that can done about it. Demographics in America are such that the bulk of the Baby Boomer Generation is nearing retirement. The kids have grown and have families of their own. That big house with all those stairs is no longer your dream home. You find you live in only a quarter of the house. Your bedroom/bathroom, living room, kitchen and breakfast area. Oh! And you use the laundry room and garage….But the rest? Not necessary anymore and pain to keep clean. What’s more, the house seems to have grown more stairs that are steeper than they seemed a few years ago when you were running up and down keeping up with the little ones. So it is finally time to downsize. I found a great 12-Step Guide that I want to share with you. No reason for me to draft something new when someone else has covered the topic so well.
But what they don’t cover is the emotional dynamics of downsizing. I just want you to be prepared.
Mom, Dad, as you know, starting about the time they become teenagers, your children start finding their friends more interesting to spend time with than you. You start to see them less and less. Then they grow up, get married and have children of their own. You have kept all their old memoirs in safekeeping for the day they have their own home and can come get everything. But they don’t. Their first home is either too small, or their jobs have forced them to move away or move often. The day comes that you want to sell and move into something smaller.
One of two things will happen with regards to those memoirs. They will either come get them or they will tell you that they really don’t want all that junk from their childhood. They have moved past that….. It saddens you and as you go through things you must make tough decisions of what to keep and what to get rid of. My advice? Sell it all and set the funds aside for your grandchildren – or spend it on your next vacation.
The next emotional dynamic? Half the kids want you to sell and move into a ranch style home in a nice 55+ Community where you will be able to enjoy friends your own age. The other half doesn’t want you to sell the home they grew up in and hoped to raise their own children in someday. (Well, not really, but for some reason they feel impelled to say so.) Don’t let them make you feel guilty. Take lots of pictures and give them to them. Don’t forget to include pictures of all their old memoirs they didn’t bother to come get and you subsequently sold at the yard sale.
Don’t let the past hold you up. Even though you may now be considered a Senior Citizen, you are vibrant, have a whole lot of living to do and not quite as much time ahead of you as behind you to do everything, so you better get crackin’! Sell the old place, move into the newer, smaller, less cluttered and easier to keep clean homestead and invite the kids over for dinner. And order pizza so you don’t have to cook!
Oh! And those of you who are downsizing and don’t have children to deal with? Here’s that link again for the 12-Steps to downsizing.
That’s it for this blog. Hope you found entertaining as well as helpful.
Moving? Here are some things to think about
Moving day is looming in your near future. The stress is mounting. Well, if you plan well, your stress level will go down and the better you plan the smoother things will run. What are some things you should concern yourself with?
Should you pack yourself or use a professional?
While this may seem simple at first, there are pros and cons to take into consideration.
For many families hoping to save money on moving expenses, do-it-yourself home packing is the logical option.
Successful DIY house packing requires extensive preparation to take inventory of all your belongings and carefully pack and load the moving truck yourself. You will also be responsible for purchasing your own packaging materials for the move.
Self packing and moving will allow you to save a significant amount on your total moving budget. One disadvantage to this method of moving is that you will probably need to ask friends and family members to help move your boxes and load your furniture into the moving vehicle. You also need to find and rent an appropriate sized vehicle. Although you can pack at a leisurely pace, normally there is a last minute rush to get everything on the truck and get moving. And don’t forget to have help lined up to off-load the truck at the other end.
Using professional packers costs more than doing yourself. But if you’re looking to relieve stress on your moving day, hiring professional movers is the way to go.
You will be able to turn over all of your boxes, furniture, and belongings to a moving service, who will pack, transport, and unload it for you.
And here is something to think about. You can save money by booking movers on weekdays instead of weekends and by moving in the middle of the month instead of at the end when most leases are up.
There is a middle of the road options out there that you can consider. You can rent a PODS Container and take your time packing and loading your belongings into it. The POD is delivered to your home, you pack it up, they come get it. And they will either store it for you or move it to your new home.
How soon should you start your move?
At a minimum, you should organize your belongings 6-8 weeks in advance. This gives you time to sort through your storage spaces and throw out or donate any items that you no longer need. The rest of your belongings should be packed into boxes and clearly labelled.
Start purchasing and gathering packing supplies at least 6 weeks in advance. There’s nothing worse than running out of boxes on the day of a move. You can purchase all of your packing materials from a moving supply company, or you can save money by gathering boxes from supermarkets, liquor stores, and retail shops.
If you’re moving across country, you may need to book temporary accommodation, flight and possibly even car rental as early as possible. Again, try to book your travel arrangements 6 weeks in advance. But even if you are moving from one neighbourhood to another, take the time to book your moving service far in advance to secure a lower rate. If at all possible, keep your travel arrangements flexible to account for any delays or cancellations.
In the month leading up to your big move, it is the perfect time to inform your change of address to organizations such as credit card companies, utility companies, insurance companies, banks and especially to friends and family. You should also notify the US Postal Service of your pending move and provide them with the date you want them to start redirecting your mail.
That will get your started. I’ll be giving your some tips on How best to pack boxes for moving, how to downsize if you are moving from a large to a smaller home or an apartment, how to reduce your moving costs, and provide a couple handy checklists. So watch for my nest posts.
And if you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section and I will do my very best to answer them!
Have a great week!
So You Are Moving… Make sure you keep these important documents with you!
One of the worse things that can happen to you is to watch the moving truck pull away from your house and realize they packed all your important documents you meant to pull together before they arrived, and forgot!
Here is a short list of items you should set aside before the movers arrive. And don’t let them pack them!!
Passports and Visas (even if you aren’t moving out of the country)
Professional licenses, skill qualifications, and work permits
Birth certificates (originals or copies)
Marriage or Divorce Certificates
If moving with a pet, take their vaccination records as well. (It wouldn’t hurt to get a copy of the pet’s veterinary records to provide to their new doctor)
Veteran Records (DD214, Health, Retirement, etc.)
Social Security Numbers/Cards
Car Title(s) (If you are moving your vehicle to another state, you will need it for registration or ownership transfer)
Insurance Policies (health, auto and home)
An up-to-date Address Book (it is important to notify all relevant service providers, persons and institutions that you are changing address – post office, cable and internet provider, insurance company, bank, school, local authorities, magazines, newspapers, club memberships, electric/water/gas/phone company and other utility companies.)
School Records (if you are enrolling children in a new school – or college transcripts if you or a child are transferring to a new one)
Financial records, to include bank statements, receipts, account information, credit cards, saving statements, tax documents, and loan documents
Manuals, contracts and warranties for any household appliances you may be moving with you. If some of the items are dismantled, manuals may be needed when you try to reassemble them. Also, without a warranty you cannot obtain any kind of service in case any of household items get broken.
A list of all your current service providers, persons and institutions that you will need to send a change of address to. Also, having those account numbers handy may save you money when setting up service at your new address.
Take your moving-related documents with you, such as the moving estimate and quote (binding or non-binding estimate), bill of lading – a contract between the moving company, your customer receipts (that might be used for tax deductions when the move is completed), moving insurance, and inventory list.
Remember as moving day draws near, there are going to be dozens of things you will need to do and a lot of unplanned for activities (friends and colleagues wanting to take you out for coffees, lunches, dinners and such), so plan as far ahead as possible and get your special box together with all the documents listed above. Shred any documents with personal information on them that you are not keeping. Clear out your home office as much as possible.
Filed under The Move
Buyers and Agents -What you should consider
Just a short blog today. This isn’t about how to select an agent, but if you are interested in that, please check my earlier blog. This is about what happens when you view a listing on a search site such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and others – and next to the home you like you see three suggested Agents. You click on one and send the email that says, “I am interested in learning more about the property at 123 Main Street.”
Listing Agents Represent Sellers, not Buyers!
That agent may or may not be the one who actually listed the home for sale. The thing is, as a buyer, you don’t really want to talk to the the agent who listed the home. Why? Because they are representing the seller. As such, their relationship with you is the same as the clerk in Sears who shows you their athletic line of clothing. You are a customer to them.
Advertised Agents are usually Buyers’ Agents – Just what you need.
It is more likely that the agent you select is one who wants to work with you as a Buyer/Client. They want to represent you as you move forward to buy a new home. If you don’t already have an agent, this is an excellent way to find one.
Be Sure of Your Buyer/Client Relationship
So, if you are already working with an Agent, and you have signed a contract with them basically hiring them to represent you, should you be clicking on another Agent’s name simply because it showed up next to a house you are interested in seeing? No. Make note of the address and get to your Agent. When you signed that contract, you basically hired them to help you find a home. Put them to work.
Why not work with more than one Agent?
Think about this. Working with Real Estate Agents isn’t like working with that Sears sales clerk. They aren’t paid a regular wage from a company. They make money working exclusively with clients. When you click on an agent next to a property, they get notified (sometimes with an email, text and phone call) that you are looking for information about a particular home. Most Agents will ask you if you are already working with an agent during their initial conversation with you. If you are, say so, but as I stated earlier, if you are working with an agent, don’t click on any of those advertised agents. Just call your agent and ask them about the home. Why do they ask? Because reputable Agents don’t try to steal clients away from other agents. Agents only get paid when the deal is done – the closing ceremony has happened and the keys have been exchanged. Sellers typically pay the commissions for both the listing agent and the agent who brings the buyer to the table. Buyers shouldn’t assume that Agents just run around showing people homes. Agents have very real fiduciary (legal) responsibilities to their Buyer/Clients. They have a costs associated with working with Buyers that Buyers aren’t expected to pay. So they spend money on you whether or not you actually buy a home. The goal of course is to help you find the best home for the best price in the shortest amount of time. And then get paid – by someone else than you. If you have more than one agent running around thinking you are their client, you are taking unfair advantage of them.
Do your online search. When you find a home you are particularly interested in, select and agent to the right. When they get back to you, interview them even as they will be interviewing you. If you feel like they might be a good person to work with, meet with them and if that goes well, sign a contract with them to represent you. Then you will go through the process of finding you new home – but the buying process is the topic of another blog.
Filed under Buyers and 1st Time Buyers, The Move
Why You Shouldn’t Try to Sell Your Home Yourself
FOR SALE BY OWNER?
Everyone knows the market is slowly recovering. The Fed has even hiked interest rates (well, hiked may be a bit of an exaggeration) as an indicator that the US housing market, among other economic factors, is on the mend. As a result, some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, a phenomena known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are a lot of on-line marketing schemes which have been set up to help FSBO participants. All you need is to put a sign out front and an ad on a FSBO website and you are good to go, right? How hard can it be?
Well, Tom Ferry, a well known Real Estate guru recently tweeted, “Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for less than when it’s sold by an agent http://bit.ly/1QLUFbK
It’s a great article I would encourage anyone thinking of selling by themselves to read it. I want to emphasize a couple key items. This is not like selling your car. You cannot pull out the registration, flip it over and sign it over to the new owner. It doesn’t work that way. Especially when there is a mortgage in place which must be paid off and the buyer is getting a new mortgage.
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home is quite extensive. I counted the number of times one of my buyers had to sign his name during a closing ceremony and he signed it 68 times. Now granted, some of those forms were copies, but the majority of them were unique documents. I closed on a cash purchase home and although there were not 68 signatures required, there were still more than 31.
The Real Estate contracts and forms are designed to protect both the seller and the buyer, so you want to use good ones. Most Real Estate Agents have access to good contracts. I recommend you find one that is member of the Georgia Association of REALTORS®, as the GAR has some of the best copyrighted contracts available. A non-member can also pay a fee to have access to the forms.
And really! Why do most people want to sell their homes themselves? They don’t want to pay a commission to an agent. Think of your agent as a temp hire – you are the boss. You are hiring them to represent you and assist in completing a complex task. If they do a good job, you are likely to make more money from the sale of your home than you would if you didn’t use them, so where is the risk?