household · real estate

10 Steps to Get Ready to Move!

We will be moving in a little over a month, and I’m starting to get overwhelmed on the things we need to get done. It doesn’t help that a week after our closing date, we will be going on vacation! We will be renting out our condo after we move into our house, and I don’t want too long of an overlap in between closing on the house and renting out the condo. We’ll get home from our vacation on May 8th and we hope to move the following Saturday (the 13th). Can we do it? Here’s what I’m doing to prepare:

170410 - Boxes

  • Start collecting boxes – So many boxes get thrown away everyday. I don’t see a point in buying boxes! Companies will give them to you if you ask! I worked in retail in high school, and we’d occasionally have people come in and ask for boxes. We’d give them away! I recently went to a pet shop, and they told me that their delivery day is Thursdays, so if I call on Thursday morning and let them know I’m coming, they’ll save the boxes for me. My father’s company gets a lot of shipments. He’s going to start saving boxes for me. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask local business! There are plenty of free boxes to be had!
  • Start packing the non-essentials – It’s starting to warm up. I don’t need to keep my winter coat and boots out anymore. Heavy sweaters can be packed up. Rarely used kitchen gadgets can go away. Books sitting on the shelf, household decorations, rarely-used files, seasonal items. Anything that we won’t need in the next month can start being packed up and stored in the garage.
  • Get moving quotes – I’ve started getting moving company recommendations from friends and from Yelp. I’ve filled out a few forms and am waiting on estimates so I know how much to budget for the movers. Or, if you plan on moving yourself, start looking into renting a truck and finding people that will help you move.
  • Declutter, declutter, declutter – The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to move! I’m going to take some time this week to go through my wardrobe and get rid of stuff I don’t use anymore. I plan to declutter the kitchen drawers and get rid of utensils and serving dishes that I don’t like. No sense moving them just to have them sit in my new house without ever being used!
  • Use stuff up – I’m using up my pantry items and things in my freezer. I’ve heard that aside from plates, the worst thing to pack is food! I don’t want to schlep a bunch of frozen meat to the new house. I’m hoping to use up everything in my freezers (yes, plural!) before we move. I’m going to use the frozen turkey I’ve had since last year for Easter. I’m meal planning all my meals this month based on things I have. Aside from food, I’ve been using up a bunch of my cosmetics and beauty items. I don’t want to move 5 different containers of moisturizer and 3 bottles of shampoo. I get excited every time I use something up!

170410 - Pantry

  • Research the utility companies – I want to make sure we’ll be all set to move into our new house. This means making sure the gas, water, and electricity are all turned on. We will also have to hire a garbage company to pick up trash. Our current town include that in the price of taxes, but our new town does not.
  • Schedule cleaners before our move – We might want to have the house professionally cleaned, painted, and the rugs steam cleaned before we move in. It’d be perfect to have this done while we are on vacation. I’ve started researching companies that can do this and I’ll schedule them soon.

170410 - Painting

  • Start making a list of people to notify of a new address – I have a Google Doc started of all of the companies I need to notify of our new address once we close.
  • Make a list of improvements to make on the old house – This only applies because we are going to be renting out our condo. There are a few home improvement projects we want to do before we start showing our condo to potential renters. Things like repainting the bathroom ceiling, making sure the air filter is changed in the furnace, cleaning the place from top to bottom. We want to make sure we get as much rent as possible!

These are a few of the things we’ve started thinking about a month before our move. Have I missed anything?

household · real estate

Buying a House

After 2 years of searching, Stephen and I have finally found a house that we love! We were preparing for the season where houses come on the market in droves, and the first one that we went to see met all of our criteria and we fell in love with it. But we decided not to rush into anything. We don’t want to get stuck with a money pit. We don’t want to overpay.

Keys to your own home

Here are some tips on buying a house from an ordinary person (not real estate expert!). I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of mortgages, approvals, or insurance. This is how we went about our home search and things we kept in mind.

  • Make sure you set a budget. Don’t go by what the banks tell you that you can afford. Run your numbers on you own. I made a spreadsheet with our monthly income and fixed monthly expenses (daycare, cell phones, approximate utilities). I got the remainder of our income and plugged in different mortgage payments to see where we would stand. I knew the amount we could afford to spend on a house from the very beginning.
  • Decide where you want to live. We started our search in the town that we thought we wanted to live. It turned out all of the houses that were in our price range were much smaller than we wanted with small yards. We wanted a place that we could have a swing set and plenty for space indoors for a home office and to host holidays. The first town we looked in did not have houses that met our criteria. Once we expanded our search to other towns, we started finding a lot of houses we liked.
  • Find an agent that you can trust, but always do your own research. Even if your agent is a great person and comes highly recommended, make sure you do your own research on pricing, the neighborhood, inspectors, anything else! After all, they are going to make a commission on the sale and that could sway the advice they give. I’m not saying that real estate agents are bad people, but it just pays to have your own knowledge.
  • Don’t fall in love with the house too much before you close. You never know what could go wrong. My sister and brother-in-law found a house they loved. They negotiated the price, signed the contract, and got the inspection going. That’s where it fell apart. The inspector found that the septic system was old and not well maintained. He said that it could collapse at any point. To replace it would cost approximately $15,000! My sister and her husband decided to walk away from the sale. I know they were heartbroken about it, but they decided it was not worth the risk or the expense. They have since found another home that they love and have been living there for years.
  • Listen to the inspector, but don’t freak out about the little things! Every home inspection report will probably come back with dozens of things that can easily be fixed, like a power outlet is not working properly. Keep on guard for big problems like termites or the septic issue I mentioned above.
  • Be patient! There are a lot of moving parts in buying a house and it can get overwhelming at times. I went from really excited, to terrified, to regretting our decision, all within the first few days after our offer was accepted. Then after our inspection, I realized it was such a great house and we really lucked out in finding it. Now we’re just waiting for all the paperwork to be finished up and have nothing to do but wait. It’s hard to wait, but we just have to be patient.

Once we close at the end of the month, I keep you updated on our moving process and setting up our house!

 

I am not a real estate expert. I am just laying out the attitude and process we had during the pre-search, search, and contract phase of buying our home.