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The Ultimate Guide to Relocating – Before, During, and After the Move

So, you’ve decided to take an exciting new step in your life and relocate. You may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the scheduling, packing, and expenses that go into moving – after all, relocating is considered one of the top stressors a person will experience in their life. Whether you’re relocating for a job, moving closer to family, or just wanting to start over, important steps in the relocation process can often be overlooked. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to relocating, including steps to take before, during, and after the move.

relocating graphic

Before Relocating


Learn about your new city/town

Become better acquainted with your new community by researching the local culture, weather trends, cost of living, public transportation, while also finding out how much house you can afford in different neighborhoods. If you have any relatives or friends who live in the city, reach out to them for any suggestions or advice. Familiarizing yourself with the new area will help you begin thinking like a local in no time.

Find the best neighborhood for you

The best way to truly get a feel for every neighborhood is by simply visiting and spending time in each one. While you’re exploring, keep in mind what qualities are important to you and don’t hesitate to jot down the pros and cons of the area. Perhaps you value restaurants and shops within walking distance, parks and schools nearby for convenience, or just the quirkiness of a quaint neighborhood. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll be able to compare information like median home prices, walkability, crime rates, and school reviews and rankings.

Lean on your realtor 

It’s the real estate agent’s job to support you through the homebuying process, so take advantage of their neighborhood expertise and industry knowledge. Your agent will be aware of housing market trends, potential red flags, or anything else you may have concerns about. When it’s time to make an offer, they will help you make a good offer price and assist with the negotiating process. Buying a home is a big decision and can be an emotional process, but working with an agent you trust will give you the support you need.

Budget for moving costs

People have a tendency to underestimate just how much relocating will cost. Expenses can add up quickly, and you could end up way over your budget before realizing it. Prepare financially by taking the time to create a list of all expenses throughout your moving process, and any purchases you’ll likely make immediately after. To avoid any surprises, you may also consider including potential costs you may incur during the move. This can include anything from cleaning and repairs, moving and storage fees, child or pet care, utility set-up, and additional furniture.

Research storage options

If you are choosing to move some of your belongings in stages or looking to store items for an extended period of time, you’ll need to consider all of your options and factor in storage costs. Research storage companies and compare rates while keeping in mind the length of time you’ll be storing items, the size of the storage space, and any additional services offered, such as central air/heat and surveillance. Or maybe you’re interested in the portable storage option, a popular alternative among those storing belongings for a short duration. The company will drop the container off and once you’re done packing your belongings, you have the option of storing the container at the facility or shipping it to your specified location.

Research moving companies

Hiring a reliable moving company to do the heavy lifting can relieve some of your stress, and generally results in a safer moving process. Moving companies typically offer different levels of services – full service, basic service, and specialty services – so it’s important to weigh the prices and options when deciding who to work with. Full service will handle everything from packing, moving, and unpacking. If you opt for basic service, you’ll be responsible for packing and unpacking, while the movers will handle transporting your items. It’s true you’ll save money upfront by handling everything yourself, but you may find that it takes significant time and effort.

Ask for a quote in writing, and don’t forget to double-check customer reviews, licenses, and credentials – knowing you’re working with a reputable company will provide peace of mind. Even if you’re relocating from Sacramento to New York City, their job is to transport your belongings from point A to point B safely.

Decorate with purpose

With the help of an interior designer, you’ll get expert guidance and can make your new space feel like home even prior to moving in. Examine the floor plan or blueprint to find what works best with the layout of your new home, and begin creating your masterpiece. Not only will you get amazing results and save time, but your interior designer can help your vision come to life while staying under budget. Moving into a space that already has a touch of your style can even support an easier transition.

beautifully decorated kitchen

Update your mailing address and retrieve important documents

Before relocating, remember to forward your mail and notify banks and credit cards of your new address. If you have kids, inform the school district of your upcoming move, and request transcripts in advance for a smooth transfer. Don’t forget to retrieve medical records, and cancel any subscriptions or memberships – anything from gym memberships and magazine subscriptions to utilities, electricity, cable, and internet. Consider creating a moving checklist to revisit while you’re packing and on moving day.

Organize and Declutter

Set aside a binder for move-related paperwork so you’re able to access any documents quickly. Before packing, remain organized by creating a detailed inventory of your belongings noting the condition, location, and size of the items. This will help you get a better idea of how much you’ll actually be moving and if any belongings require specialty packing services because of their size or fragility. Also, if your belongings are damaged during the move and you need to submit an insurance claim, an inventory list will come in handy. You can also begin to sort through your belongings and decide what items you’ll keep, discard, or donate. If you’re downsizing, don’t be shy when giving items away – consider organizing a garage sale or donating to a charity. 

Hire a cleaning service

Before getting settled into your new home, save time and start fresh by hiring a cleaning company to clean your new home before all your belongings are moved in. Sometimes the previous owners of your new home hasn’t done a thorough clean and are not required to, so paying for a cleaning service will allow you to focus on packing and moving safely while the cleaners take care of tidying up your new home. They’ll be sure to leave your home spotless, cleaning everything in and out of sight, and especially those hard-to-reach corners.

Sell your home

Before listing your home on the market, be proactive by hiring a home inspector, then make any repairs or minor updates necessary. The time you would save sure beats having to do repairs during the negotiation phase when the homebuyers hire out their own home inspector. Also, research the U.S. housing market and homes that have recently sold in your area to get an idea of what your home is worth and how competitively you should price your home. This will just be an estimate, so don’t forget to hire a professional to get your home appraised. Make your home stand out by hiring a cleaning service and working with a staging company to prepare your home for professional photos and open houses. Staging your home to sell with professional listing photos will, on average, sell for more. 

During the Move


Pack strategically and stay organized

It’s common to begin packing and realize that you’ve accumulated far more than you’ve ever imagined. In this situation, staying organized and creating a plan of attack is essential. While tossing everything into uncategorized boxes may be the quickest option, unpacking identical boxes will create unnecessary work. Instead, label your boxes strategically using stickers, a numbering system, or even color-coding.

About three weeks before relocating, pack non-essential items that you won’t be needing during the move, such as decorations and books. One week before moving day, begin packing the essentials, with the exception of enough plates and silverware for everyone in your household. Be sure to label “open first ” on a few of your boxes containing bedding, toiletries, towels, and tools, and a “valuables” box including birth certificates, fragile belongings, and passports.

orange tabby cat in moving box

Drop kids and pets off at day-care

Heavy furniture, tools, and sharp objects are safety hazards for kids. So if family and friends don’t live nearby, arrange for child-care and/or pet-care on the day you’re packing for your move. This will help reduce the number of distractions and stress, and you’ll be able to focus your attention on ensuring a smooth transition.

Collect receipts of all transactions

If you’re starting a new job or relocating with your current employer, the company may offer relocation assistance helping to cover any expenses you’ve incurred during the move. Depending on the agreed-upon contract, the relocation assistance could cover things like gas, storage unit rentals, and moving services, so it’s important to save all of your receipts from the moving process to confirm the transactions.

Check-in with yourself

It’s common for people to experience moving anxiety and relocation depression, especially when relocating. We tend to underestimate the toll moving can have on our bodies, physically and mentally. Activities like napping, journaling, exercising, and refueling with food and drink can change your mood and give your body the break it needs. Your health comes first so be sure to listen to your body and recharge when you need to. On moving day, don’t hesitate to ask for additional help from family and friends.

Settling into Your New Home


Unpack

If you’ve labeled your boxes and can identify the contents of each, unpacking should be a breeze. Be sure to check all boxes and furniture for any damages associated with relocating, especially valuables and appliances such as the stove, dishwasher, washer or dryer. Refer back to your inventory list to make sure nothing was lost in the transition. To avoid becoming overwhelmed when you’re unpacking, focus on one room at a time, and if possible, even one box at a time. 

Perform a general safety check

Even if you hired a home inspector during the homebuying process, it’s important to perform a safety check throughout your new home. Change locks on the doors, be sure all windows lock, and perhaps look into installing a new security system. Other precautions include checking the electrical system and water pipes, the fire and smoke alarms, and the air filters and HVAC systems.

Register to vote and update your driver’s license

Visit the DMV with a couple of forms of identification – like your current driver’s license, social security number, and proof of residency – to obtain a new state driver’s license. Pay attention to time restrictions as some states require you to update your driver’s license within a certain time-frame. You may be able to kill two birds with one stone by registering to vote while at the DMV. Otherwise, register online or visit the local town hall to update your voter registration.

Find new services and professionals

Find new healthcare providers, including a new dentist, doctor, veterinarian, day-care, and optometrist. Research different options to find one that is best for you and your family’s needs. When you’ve chosen, keep the contact information handy, and make sure all family members know where these numbers are located.  

Contact insurance companies

Insurance provides financial security and peace-of-mind in case an emergency happens, so confirm that you’re still covered under your current policies. If not, work with an insurance agent for new house, auto, and health insurance policies. More than likely you’ll be required to get new homeowner’s insurance, or at least update your current information on the existing policy. 

Explore the neighborhood and meet new friends

Get a better sense of your surroundings by walking, biking, or driving around the area. This is a good way to find the nearest grocery stores, parks, libraries, and pharmacies. And once you’re all settled, introduce yourself to your neighbors. Ring their doorbell and simply say hello, partake in neighborhood gatherings, or even host a housewarming party.

park in the fall

Check-in with your kids

Moving can be tough on kids and could possibly affect their mental health. They may have concerns of their own that you’ll need to talk through with them – like their first day at the new school, leaving their friends, or missing their previous home. Explain that the feeling of uncertainty is only temporary, and illustrate the move as a positive shift. Make sure your kids are comfortable in the new spot, maybe even unpack and decorate their room first. Stay consistent with any daily routines they’ve developed and don’t forget to stay positive so your children will too.

No matter your reasoning to move, relocating is no doubt a stressful task, but staying organized, planning ahead, and using your resources can help. Follow this guide so you can focus on what is important, enjoying your new adventure.

Source: Redfin Blog

Posted on

The Ultimate Guide to Relocating – Before, During, and After the Move

So, you’ve decided to take an exciting new step in your life and relocate. You may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the scheduling, packing, and expenses that go into moving – after all, relocating is considered one of the top stressors a person will experience in their life. Whether you’re relocating for a job, moving closer to family, or just wanting to start over, important steps in the relocation process can often be overlooked. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to relocating, including steps to take before, during, and after the move.

relocating graphic

Before Relocating


Learn about your new city/town

Become better acquainted with your new community by researching the local culture, weather trends, cost of living, public transportation, while also finding out how much house you can afford in different neighborhoods. If you have any relatives or friends who live in the city, reach out to them for any suggestions or advice. Familiarizing yourself with the new area will help you begin thinking like a local in no time.

Find the best neighborhood for you

The best way to truly get a feel for every neighborhood is by simply visiting and spending time in each one. While you’re exploring, keep in mind what qualities are important to you and don’t hesitate to jot down the pros and cons of the area. Perhaps you value restaurants and shops within walking distance, parks and schools nearby for convenience, or just the quirkiness of a quaint neighborhood. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll be able to compare information like median home prices, walkability, crime rates, and school reviews and rankings.

Lean on your realtor 

It’s the real estate agent’s job to support you through the homebuying process, so take advantage of their neighborhood expertise and industry knowledge. Your agent will be aware of housing market trends, potential red flags, or anything else you may have concerns about. When it’s time to make an offer, they will help you make a good offer price and assist with the negotiating process. Buying a home is a big decision and can be an emotional process, but working with an agent you trust will give you the support you need.

Budget for moving costs

People have a tendency to underestimate just how much relocating will cost. Expenses can add up quickly, and you could end up way over your budget before realizing it. Prepare financially by taking the time to create a list of all expenses throughout your moving process, and any purchases you’ll likely make immediately after. To avoid any surprises, you may also consider including potential costs you may incur during the move. This can include anything from cleaning and repairs, moving and storage fees, child or pet care, utility set-up, and additional furniture.

Research storage options

If you are choosing to move some of your belongings in stages or looking to store items for an extended period of time, you’ll need to consider all of your options and factor in storage costs. Research storage companies and compare rates while keeping in mind the length of time you’ll be storing items, the size of the storage space, and any additional services offered, such as central air/heat and surveillance. Or maybe you’re interested in the portable storage option, a popular alternative among those storing belongings for a short duration. The company will drop the container off and once you’re done packing your belongings, you have the option of storing the container at the facility or shipping it to your specified location.

Research moving companies

Hiring a reliable moving company to do the heavy lifting can relieve some of your stress, and generally results in a safer moving process. Moving companies typically offer different levels of services – full service, basic service, and specialty services – so it’s important to weigh the prices and options when deciding who to work with. Full service will handle everything from packing, moving, and unpacking. If you opt for basic service, you’ll be responsible for packing and unpacking, while the movers will handle transporting your items. It’s true you’ll save money upfront by handling everything yourself, but you may find that it takes significant time and effort.

Ask for a quote in writing, and don’t forget to double-check customer reviews, licenses, and credentials – knowing you’re working with a reputable company will provide peace of mind. Even if you’re relocating from Sacramento to New York City, their job is to transport your belongings from point A to point B safely.

Decorate with purpose

With the help of an interior designer, you’ll get expert guidance and can make your new space feel like home even prior to moving in. Examine the floor plan or blueprint to find what works best with the layout of your new home, and begin creating your masterpiece. Not only will you get amazing results and save time, but your interior designer can help your vision come to life while staying under budget. Moving into a space that already has a touch of your style can even support an easier transition.

beautifully decorated kitchen

Update your mailing address and retrieve important documents

Before relocating, remember to forward your mail and notify banks and credit cards of your new address. If you have kids, inform the school district of your upcoming move, and request transcripts in advance for a smooth transfer. Don’t forget to retrieve medical records, and cancel any subscriptions or memberships – anything from gym memberships and magazine subscriptions to utilities, electricity, cable, and internet. Consider creating a moving checklist to revisit while you’re packing and on moving day.

Organize and Declutter

Set aside a binder for move-related paperwork so you’re able to access any documents quickly. Before packing, remain organized by creating a detailed inventory of your belongings noting the condition, location, and size of the items. This will help you get a better idea of how much you’ll actually be moving and if any belongings require specialty packing services because of their size or fragility. Also, if your belongings are damaged during the move and you need to submit an insurance claim, an inventory list will come in handy. You can also begin to sort through your belongings and decide what items you’ll keep, discard, or donate. If you’re downsizing, don’t be shy when giving items away – consider organizing a garage sale or donating to a charity. 

Hire a cleaning service

Before getting settled into your new home, save time and start fresh by hiring a cleaning company to clean your new home before all your belongings are moved in. Sometimes the previous owners of your new home hasn’t done a thorough clean and are not required to, so paying for a cleaning service will allow you to focus on packing and moving safely while the cleaners take care of tidying up your new home. They’ll be sure to leave your home spotless, cleaning everything in and out of sight, and especially those hard-to-reach corners.

Sell your home

Before listing your home on the market, be proactive by hiring a home inspector, then make any repairs or minor updates necessary. The time you would save sure beats having to do repairs during the negotiation phase when the homebuyers hire out their own home inspector. Also, research the U.S. housing market and homes that have recently sold in your area to get an idea of what your home is worth and how competitively you should price your home. This will just be an estimate, so don’t forget to hire a professional to get your home appraised. Make your home stand out by hiring a cleaning service and working with a staging company to prepare your home for professional photos and open houses. Staging your home to sell with professional listing photos will, on average, sell for more. 

During the Move


Pack strategically and stay organized

It’s common to begin packing and realize that you’ve accumulated far more than you’ve ever imagined. In this situation, staying organized and creating a plan of attack is essential. While tossing everything into uncategorized boxes may be the quickest option, unpacking identical boxes will create unnecessary work. Instead, label your boxes strategically using stickers, a numbering system, or even color-coding.

About three weeks before relocating, pack non-essential items that you won’t be needing during the move, such as decorations and books. One week before moving day, begin packing the essentials, with the exception of enough plates and silverware for everyone in your household. Be sure to label “open first ” on a few of your boxes containing bedding, toiletries, towels, and tools, and a “valuables” box including birth certificates, fragile belongings, and passports.

orange tabby cat in moving box

Drop kids and pets off at day-care

Heavy furniture, tools, and sharp objects are safety hazards for kids. So if family and friends don’t live nearby, arrange for child-care and/or pet-care on the day you’re packing for your move. This will help reduce the number of distractions and stress, and you’ll be able to focus your attention on ensuring a smooth transition.

Collect receipts of all transactions

If you’re starting a new job or relocating with your current employer, the company may offer relocation assistance helping to cover any expenses you’ve incurred during the move. Depending on the agreed-upon contract, the relocation assistance could cover things like gas, storage unit rentals, and moving services, so it’s important to save all of your receipts from the moving process to confirm the transactions.

Check-in with yourself

It’s common for people to experience moving anxiety and relocation depression, especially when relocating. We tend to underestimate the toll moving can have on our bodies, physically and mentally. Activities like napping, journaling, exercising, and refueling with food and drink can change your mood and give your body the break it needs. Your health comes first so be sure to listen to your body and recharge when you need to. On moving day, don’t hesitate to ask for additional help from family and friends.

Settling into Your New Home


Unpack

If you’ve labeled your boxes and can identify the contents of each, unpacking should be a breeze. Be sure to check all boxes and furniture for any damages associated with relocating, especially valuables and appliances such as the stove, dishwasher, washer or dryer. Refer back to your inventory list to make sure nothing was lost in the transition. To avoid becoming overwhelmed when you’re unpacking, focus on one room at a time, and if possible, even one box at a time. 

Perform a general safety check

Even if you hired a home inspector during the homebuying process, it’s important to perform a safety check throughout your new home. Change locks on the doors, be sure all windows lock, and perhaps look into installing a new security system. Other precautions include checking the electrical system and water pipes, the fire and smoke alarms, and the air filters and HVAC systems.

Register to vote and update your driver’s license

Visit the DMV with a couple of forms of identification – like your current driver’s license, social security number, and proof of residency – to obtain a new state driver’s license. Pay attention to time restrictions as some states require you to update your driver’s license within a certain time-frame. You may be able to kill two birds with one stone by registering to vote while at the DMV. Otherwise, register online or visit the local town hall to update your voter registration.

Find new services and professionals

Find new healthcare providers, including a new dentist, doctor, veterinarian, day-care, and optometrist. Research different options to find one that is best for you and your family’s needs. When you’ve chosen, keep the contact information handy, and make sure all family members know where these numbers are located.  

Contact insurance companies

Insurance provides financial security and peace-of-mind in case an emergency happens, so confirm that you’re still covered under your current policies. If not, work with an insurance agent for new house, auto, and health insurance policies. More than likely you’ll be required to get new homeowner’s insurance, or at least update your current information on the existing policy. 

Explore the neighborhood and meet new friends

Get a better sense of your surroundings by walking, biking, or driving around the area. This is a good way to find the nearest grocery stores, parks, libraries, and pharmacies. And once you’re all settled, introduce yourself to your neighbors. Ring their doorbell and simply say hello, partake in neighborhood gatherings, or even host a housewarming party.

park in the fall

Check-in with your kids

Moving can be tough on kids and could possibly affect their mental health. They may have concerns of their own that you’ll need to talk through with them – like their first day at the new school, leaving their friends, or missing their previous home. Explain that the feeling of uncertainty is only temporary, and illustrate the move as a positive shift. Make sure your kids are comfortable in the new spot, maybe even unpack and decorate their room first. Stay consistent with any daily routines they’ve developed and don’t forget to stay positive so your children will too.

No matter your reasoning to move, relocating is no doubt a stressful task, but staying organized, planning ahead, and using your resources can help. Follow this guide so you can focus on what is important, enjoying your new adventure.

Source: Redfin Blog

Posted on

11 Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Downsizing Your Home

Whether you’ve decided to eliminate debt from your life, or finally convert that school bus to be free to live that nomadic lifestyle on the road, you’re now ready to downsize your home. But before you start downsizing the family home, it’s important to understand that there are many potential missteps along the way. This guide will help you navigate common mistakes so that you can make the most of your new, downsized lifestyle. 

Downsizing your home into a smaller space can save money

1) Not setting goals before downsizing your home

While the financial benefits of moving into a smaller space can be plentiful, it’s important to set goals before you begin downsizing the family home. Here are the most popular reasons for downsizing your home:

  • Combat debt – The number one financial reason to downsize is because of the power it gives you to attack your debt head-on. Selling your current home and moving into a smaller one allows you to put the proceeds from your home sale towards your new home, reducing your mortgage payments or eliminating them altogether. How much easier it would be to pay off other high-interest debts if you didn’t have to worry about a mortgage?
  • Turbo-charge your retirement fund – Even if you don’t have debts to pay off, you’ll still need to consider saving for retirement sooner rather than later. But if the bulk of your income is going toward your current mortgage and bills, that’s easier said than done. By downsizing your home, you can afford a larger monthly contribution to your retirement savings.
  • Pay off your mortgage instantly – Depending on the amount that you still owe on your current mortgage, you could use the proceeds from selling your home to buy a smaller one in cash. Just think about how much money you’d be saving if you eliminated your mortgage payments.
  • Saving money after retirement – Once you’ve retired you’ll most likely be living on a fixed income dependent on your savings, investments, and social security benefits. Downsizing will allow you to not only shrink your mortgage payments but also reduces many of the costs with homeownership since smaller homes cost less to maintain than larger ones. This will also stretch your retirement savings out further than if you were to stay in a home that is too expensive for your retirement budget.   
  • Reducing home upkeep and maintenance – Downsizing can provide physical benefits as well as financial. The older you get, the harder it’ll become to regularly complete chores around your home and yard. By downsizing, you’ll also reduce the amount of maintenance and upkeep your home requires. 

2) Ignoring hidden costs

Although you’ll be saving money on your mortgage and utilities by downsizing, that doesn’t mean you can throw financial caution to the wind. When you’re house shopping, make sure that the home you’re considering either doesn’t require extensive repairs or maintenance or at least make sure that you can comfortably afford them. Also, ensure that your new home doesn’t come bundled with expensive property taxes and/or HOA fees that might eat into your savings. And if your downsize is taking you to more expensive markets, like homes for sale in New York, be sure to factor in the potential increase in the cost of living as well.

3) Forgetting to budget for your move

As you begin to realize how much money you’ll save by downsizing, don’t forget about the costs associated with moving to a new location. While you may be thinking about cutting your costs by doing all the moving yourself, take a moment to consider hiring a moving company. Not only would you have someone to pack, move, and unpack your belongings, but most movers provide insurance, meaning that you’ll be reimbursed should anything break. Since you’re already selling your current home and buying a smaller one, you should also think about downsizing all your belongings as well.

4) Not determining your lifestyle needs

After setting your goals, take some time to figure out what features you’d like to have in your new home. This is especially important when you’re downsizing as you’ll have less living space. If you’re downsizing because your kids have gone to college, then make sure that your new home will permit the lifestyle you want and that whatever belongings you’re taking with you will fit.hat king-sized bed might not fit in your new condo.

5) Paying for rooms you won’t use

When you stop to think about which rooms you use the most in your home, it’s probably pretty simple: the living room, kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. If you’re not using your dining room, den, and third or fourth bedroom, why even have them at all? By thinking about what rooms you currently do and do not use, you can simplify your search for a downsized home. 

The same tactic can be applied to your yard. If you find yourself spending little of your free time enjoying your yard—rather just maintaining it—then consider looking for a new home either with a smaller yard or without one. 

6) Being unorganized

Good organization is key to any move but it will prove especially useful when you’re downsizing your home. So take some time to look through your garage, closets, and spare rooms for anything that’s collecting dust. That sword you bought at the renaissance fair eight years ago might be awesome but do you really want to keep holding on to it?. Start by rounding up these sorts of belongings and then work your way through old clothes, toys, old appliances, etc., and separate them into three piles: keep, maybe, and donate.

Get organized before downsizing your home

If you find that you still need help with organizing for your move, reach out to a professional home organizer for assistance. They are experts in helping you decide what you should keep and what you should get rid of. They can also help you get organized in your new home as well, something that will prove vital to making the most of your downsizing efforts. 

7) Taking Too Much Physical Media With You

There’s a good chance that when you downsize, you won’t have room for all those old photo albums anymore. While you may want to hold onto some of the physical copies for sentimental reasons, the majority of those photos can be digitized. By uploading your photos to a hard drive or cloud service, you’ll save space and also protect them from any future wear and tear as well.

You can also digitize old CDs, DVDs, cassettes, VHS, photo slides, film strips, and documents as well. While you should hold onto the physical copies of things like birth certificates and social security cards, most other documents can and should be scanned and uploaded to a hard drive or cloud service instead to save space.

8) Trying to take all of your furniture with you

While your two-story home is more than capable of housing all of your furniture, your new home won’t prove quite so spacious. So before you start loading king size beds or sectional sofas onto a moving truck, keep the limitations of your new home in mind. Also, furniture that is too large for a room will only make a room look smaller, so you may want to consider getting a new couch that will truly work in your new space.

If you’re feeling intimidated by the process of selecting and placing new furniture, consider hiring an interior designer. By doing so, you’ll be getting someone who is an expert at squeezing the most potential out of a room and budget while also making sure it fits your taste and lifestyle. 

9) Skimping on storage

In addition to saving important documents that you don’t require frequent access to, a storage unit is a great option for saving sentimental items like an old onesie that your child has long since outgrown or seasonal items like winter coats. Whether you’re downsizing temporarily or for the long haul, renting a storage unit is a great option for those items that you don’t have space for but just can’t bring yourself to get rid of. 

10) Not creating a downsizing schedule

Moving is a ton of work, even before you add downsizing to the mix. Avoid getting too stressed out by the process by remembering to take it one step at a time. Set a timeline for yourself and create a schedule accordingly, rather than attempting to tackle everything all at once. By creating a downsizing schedule, you’ll stay better organized throughout this process while also reducing stress.

11) Choosing the wrong type of home

When you’ve made up your mind to begin downsizing your home, you’ll then need to consider what type of home you want to move into. The type of home you decide on will depend on factors like your finances, health requirements, and the type of lifestyle you’re seeking. With that in mind, check out our rundown of the types of homes you may consider downsizing to and why they might be for you.

Single-Story

Moving into a smaller, single-story home will prove to be the most familiar option for those downsizing out of their larger, two-story home. This option proves best for anyone looking to maintain a similar lifestyle to what they currently have. 

Downsizing to a single story home can save money while maintaining your lifestyle

A single-story home will also provide you with more square footage than a condo, tiny home, houseboat, or van but will still require the most maintenance and upkeep compared to other downsizing options. 

Condos

What you give up in terms of square footage when you move into a condo, more than makes up for in location. Buying a condo allows you to live downtown in a major city where purchasing a house may not be financially viable. Living in a condo also means you’ll be able to take advantage of amenities like a swimming pool, gym, tennis court, shuffleboard, etc. You also won’t have a yard to take care of either and major structural repairs are usually covered by HOA fees.

A condo is a great downsizing option for those looking to live a more urban lifestyle, close to restaurants, bars, and shopping. The limited maintenance also means that condos are a great option for anyone who is retired or soon to be retired.

Tiny House

Buying a tiny house is trending these days because they’re affordable and eco-friendly. In fact, while the median sale price of homes in the U.S. housing market is $312,500, the average tiny home costs between $30,000 to $40,000. And if you’re anything like most tiny homeowners, you won’t have a home loan, meaning you’ll save on mortgage payments as well. You’ll also be paying significantly less in heating, cooling, and electricity costs, so you’ll be saving money and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. 

With the combination of savings and environmental-friendliness, tiny homes are a great option for anyone looking to help their wallet and the environment.

Houseboat

Do you like the idea of combining a tiny home with a maritime lifestyle? If so, then a houseboat may be for you. Clocking in at an average of 600 square feet, houseboats typically provide the space of a large tiny home or smaller condo, but with the added benefit of waves lulling you to sleep. Houseboat living provides many of the financial benefits of tiny homes like low upfront cost, little to no mortgage, more affordable utilities, as well as some of the benefits of condos such as amenities like a pool, laundry facility, and easy access to grocery stores.

Living on a boat does, however, require you to spend additional fees on maintenance as your home’s hull will need to be cleaned once or twice a year and repairs do not come cheap as they require specialized labor. If you feel the pros of a nautical lifestyle outweigh the maintenance fees, then a floating home may be for you. 

Van Life

The beautiful thing about living in a van is that it allows you to go on road trips whenever you want, and if you don’t like your neighbors it’s easy to move. Van life also allows you to spend more time outdoors, something that should appeal to anyone interested in reconnecting with mother nature. Monthly expenses are also extremely low, you just need to be willing to commit yourself to a minimalist and nomadic lifestyle.

Source: Redfin Blog

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The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a House

Buying a house for the first-time or even second time can be extremely exciting, but it can also be one of the most complex purchases of your life. Not knowing what to do when and how to start can make it even more daunting. To simplify things, we’ve broken down the timeline and created a step-by-step guide to help you navigate all the twists and turns along the way.

Timeline for buying a house

6 Months Out

Assess your situation and get your financials in order. Before jumping into your home search, you must determine how much you can afford. You may have saved enough for your down payment, but don’t forget to account for closing costs, taxes, insurance, and any other unforeseen expenses that may arise when buying a house. This is also the time to make sure you’ve paid down your credit cards and that your credit score is in good condition, ensure you’ve filed your taxes, and that you have a paper trail for all recent major financial transactions.

Get pre-approved and find a mortgage lender. It’s important to apply for a mortgage pre-approval before you begin house hunting in earnest. Not only will this help keep you realistic about your options, but it also shows sellers that you’re a qualified and serious buyer. Don’t be tempted to just go with your current bank. It’s best to shop around to find the best rate and determine which mortgage and lender are right for you. Pre-approval letters do have an expiration date, so be aware of when yours is. It’s okay if you have to apply again later on.  

3 Months Out

Find a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is a licensed real estate agent who will represent you throughout your buying journey. A good buyer’s agent will be an expert on the home buying process, know your area inside and out, be familiar with local listing agents, and be a skilled negotiator.

Begin searching for homes. Ask the questions that will help set parameters for your home search. Are you looking to move to a new city such as Sacramento or Portland? Are you set on buying a house in a particular school district or neighborhood? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want a single-family home or are you open to a townhouse, or maybe even a condo?

Attend open houses and go on tours. When you’re touring multiple homes, it’s easy to confuse different features or concerns so take notes as you’re touring. Don’t forget to pick your agent’s brain and ask for their input.

2 Months Out

Submit, or resubmit your pre-approval application. If you didn’t get a pre-approval letter, now is the time. Most letters last for 60 to 90 days. If your search extends beyond that, reapply. 

Make an offer. You’ve found the home you want to call yours. Submit your offer as soon after touring the house as possible. Speed is of the essence in a competitive housing market with limited inventory. Talk with your agent about the terms of your deal and the competition you face to determine an offer price. You and your agent will work together to write and submit the offer letter to the seller’s agent.

Negotiate Home Price. Counter-offers are common and should even be expected when buying a house. Common counter-offers can include proposed changes to the price, closing date, or purchase contract contingencies. You may go back and forth with the seller a few times before you come to terms you both agree on. 

Enter the closing process. Once you and the seller agree on the terms, you’ll enter the closing process, which usually takes 30 to 45 days. You’ll likely be in very close communication with your agent, lender, and escrow agency during this time. 

1 Month Out 

Deposit earnest money. Once the seller has accepted the offer, the earnest money will be deposited into an escrow account or held by the listing agent. Once the sale of the home has been completed, the earnest money you paid will be applied toward your closing costs.

Order your title. You’ll receive a preliminary title report from an escrow agent or attorney within a week after you reach mutual acceptance on an offer. Once the transaction closes, you will receive a final title policy.

Line up a home inspection. This step is critical as it allows you as the homebuyer to discover any material defects or necessary repairs before buying the house. Pay special attention to the results of the inspection because many states hold a buyer responsible for understanding and investigating issues raised during inspections. Also, if there is an inspection contingency, you can negotiate with sellers to cover the costs of certain repairs, ask for concessions, or back out of the sale.

Finalize the home sale. Now that you’ve completed all negotiations, it’s time to finalize and sign the purchase agreement with the seller.

Complete the mortgage application and book an appraisal. While you have been pre-approved, you still need to meet with your lender and finalize your mortgage application. The lender will also request an appraisal at this time.

1-2 Weeks Out 

Receive Loan Approval. A licensed appraiser will determine the home’s market value based on comparable recent sales of homes in the neighborhood. After the appraisal has been completed, it will typically take around two weeks for the lender to get all the paperwork and approval completed. 

Final walk-through. This is when you can verify that the condition of the house hasn’t changed and that all updates and repairs have been made. The final walk-through usually takes place 24 hours before the scheduled closing day. 

Closing Day

Pay closing costs and sign all paperwork. Come to closing day prepared with your government-issued ID and any requested documents. Bring a cashier’s check for your down payment and be prepared to pay any closing costs. Now all that’s left to do is close escrow and sign the required paperwork. 

Get your keys. Congratulations on your new home! Depending on if your house is turnkey ready or not, there might be some maintenance and remodeling you want to complete before moving in. You’ll also want to think about hiring movers, buying new furniture and appliances, setting up your utilities, etc. You’ll pay for these after the house is yours but may want to factor them into your budget or create a separate post-move budget.

Source: Redfin Blog