Aura Gauthier - ERA Key Realty Services - Distinctive Group


Are you planning on moving in the next 6-8 months? Don’t let your belongings take ownership of you. As consumers, we tend to accumulate a lot of “stuff” over the years. After spending 5, 10, or 20-plus years in one home, this can amount to more than some of us can handle. Do you have more than 4 sets of dishes? How about piles of toys & board games from when your kids were younger? And then there are those passed-down antiques that no one in the family seems to have use for, yet no one wants to throw away.

 

Rather than rush while packing and having to take the whole mess with you to your next home, consider starting the process early! You can categorize your belongings into the following groups:

 

  • Keep
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Throw it away


It may be hard to discern which category an item goes in. This is why it’s a great idea to solicit help when you’re moving and downsizing your piles of stuff. An outsider can be a bit more objective to help you see what’s useful and what isn’t. 


The Keep Pile


The items you want to keep through your move are those that you use every single day. There’s no question in your mind that you’ll need these things at your next residence. Think of the items that are either irreplaceable or still in good working condition like bedding, the coffee pot, furniture, and personal items like books, DVDs, and electronics. 


Sell For Profit


If you have a question about any of the items that you’re going through, you may want to consider selling them. Is your sofa still in good condition, but won’t fit well into your new place? It’s time to get that piece of furniture to another good home and make a bit of cash while you’re at it. There are tons of websites, apps, and other resources that connect you with people who are looking for the items that you want to get rid of.


Donate


Some items may not be an easy sell. You may not even have the time to sell them. This is where donation centers allow you to do some good while you’re cleaning out your things. As you’re packing for the move go through things like clothes, books, DVDs, games, toys, and other knickknacks. Those figurines that have been sitting on the shelf may not be ideal for your new house. 

It’s also a good idea to keep the amount of space that you’re dealing with in mind. If you have less space, downsizing will be ever important. On the flip side, if you’re moving into a bigger house, you don’t necessarily need to fill it up!


Trash Pile


Unfortunately, we’ll always have a few things that need to be thrown out. Items that are ripped, stained, worn, broken, or plain useless must face the fate of the dumpster. 


No matter how you go about cleaning out your home before a move, you should know that it will feel amazing to have a lighter load to move as the clutter is cleaned out.             



Getting a cat, dog or other pets ready for an upcoming move sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, we're here to help you and your pet enjoy a quick, seamless transition to a new address.

Now, let's take a look at three moving tips that every pet owner needs to know.

1. Prepare Your Pet's Records

If you're moving far away from your current address, you likely will need to find a new veterinarian in the near future. As such, it pays to prepare your pet's records today to avoid potential problems down the line.

Ask your current veterinarian for a copy of your pet's records. By doing so, you'll have these records readily available for your new veterinarian once you reach your new address.

2. Help Your Pet Manage Stress

Moving is stressful, even for a pet. However, there are many simple ways to help your pet alleviate stress throughout the moving process.

For example, keeping your pet away from movers may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If a pet sees familiar furniture and other items leaving your home, he or she may start to feel worried. On the other hand, spending extra time with your pet while movers pick up your belongings may help you pet minimize stress on moving day.

3. Protect Your Pet While Traveling

Keep your pet in a crate while you're driving to your new home – you'll be glad you did. It is unsafe for your pet to roam free in your car, especially if you're going to be on the road for several hours. Conversely, if you keep your pet in a crate, you'll help him or her remain safe for the duration of your journey.

If you are traveling by airplane, ensure your pet has met all necessary airline requirements. In addition, pick up a pet crate and consult with a veterinarian before your flight.

For those who need extra assistance with navigating the moving process, it often helps to work with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you and your pet overcome myriad moving day pitfalls.

A real estate agent can offer expert insights into what it takes to move with a pet. He or she also can provide comprehensive support as you prepare for a move and respond to any moving day concerns or questions that you may have.

Of course, a real estate agent can help you buy or sell a house as well. For homebuyers, a real estate agent can provide details about homes located near dog parks and other pet-friendly venues. Meanwhile, for home sellers, a real estate agent will make it easy to generate plenty of interest in your house so that you can get the best price for it.

Are you and your pet ready to move? Use the aforementioned moving tips, and you and your pet should have no trouble completing a successful relocation.


Image by Tierra Mallorca from Unsplash

One of the most important things to check once you decide to start the home-buying process is your credit score. The three major credit bureaus keep track of how you pay for your credit and how much credit you have. Your score fluctuates, sometimes daily, depending on how much you owe and how many accounts you have. Applying for credit also affects your score. It will usually drop by 2 points every time you apply for a loan or credit card, even if you don’t get the credit.

Applying for a Mortgage

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender pulls your credit score from all three credit bureaus. The lender will advise you whether it has a loan program that will accept your credit score. Some loan programs work with those who have scores as low as 520. Because the credit bureaus deduct points every time you apply, it’s better to call lenders and ask them if they have programs for lower credit scores—if your score is low.

Credit Scores and Interest Rates

Because lenders interpret your credit scores as the inability to manage your credit, they deem the risk of loaning you money quite high. The higher the risk, the higher your interest rate will be. If you have a credit score of 750, you might get a lower interest rate, depending on the current going rate. However, for the same loan, if you have a credit score of 540, you will pay quite a bit more interest. While rates depend on the bank, an example would be that you could pay 9 percent instead of 4 percent if the going rates are at 4 percent.

Changing Your Credit Situation

Before you even start looking for a house, pull your credit from all three major credit bureaus. Look for incorrect data. Dispute the data to correct it. For example, if you see a 90-day late on a credit card that you did not apply for or use, dispute that card to take it off your credit report. It is always a good idea if you pull your credit at least every three months to check for identity theft and incorrect data.

If your credit score is low because you ran into hard times and everything is correct, you could buy down your interest rate and put a larger down payment down on the loan. While you are saving up for the down payment, make sure you pay your bills on time to better your credit score. Try to save up 25 or 30 percent instead of the 20 percent most lenders require. Saving up a few thousand extra dollars also allows you to buy points, which drops your interest rate. A higher down payment also decreases the lender’s risk and might get you a lower interest rate.

The cost of points is usually 1 percent of the total loan. Thus, 1 point on a $100,000 mortgage would cost you $1,000. It could buy you a quarter of a percent interest rate. Instead of an 8 percent interest rate, you would have a 7.75 percent interest rate.

Researching loan programs and making sure your credit is accurate helps you determine whether you want to start the house-hunting process now or save for a higher down payment and wait for your credit score to increase.


Water features aren’t just limited to the outdoors, anymore. You can bring the calming serenity of a soft stream into your home to give a more relaxing atmosphere. They can also be used as room dividers, conversation pieces, or as a simple decoration.

Wall Fountains

One of the most common ideas for indoor water features is the wall fountain. They add a soothing, bubbling sound and make the room appealing without consuming too much floor space. Most times, wall fountains work well in homes with rich, natural textures like natural stone walls and native, wood flooring and evoke a luxurious style without breaking the bank.

Indoor Water Streams

A water stream running through the floor can give your home a sophisticated edge. Moving water also comes with a calming effect. This type of water feature requires a vast amount of surface area so movement isn’t obstructed. One option to preserve your floor space is to cover the stream with glass.

Indoor Waterfalls

Another good indoor water feature idea is an indoor waterfall. With an indoor waterfall, you can transform an ordinary room into a beautiful and classy setting. It is best to place indoor waterfalls close to accent walls and close to natural lighting to ensure that you get all the beautiful, glistening effects from the water.

Indoor Ponds

With an indoor pond, you can make a perfect spot to relax and unwind. You can place indoor ponds in your entry, your sunroom, or any other central area in the home as long as it doesn’t obstruct the walkway.

Free-Standing Water Features

You can add a beautiful water feature, even in the smallest of rooms, in the form of a table-top or wall mounted fixture. A free-standing water feature is available in a variety of styles and sizes, and it can be set up without the hassle of remodeling.

Best Places to Install an Indoor Water Feature

Indoor water features bring elegance to your bedroom, living room, hallway, bathroom, or kitchen. Ponds, streams, and waterfalls are great for the living room where many people can admire them. Under the staircase is another ideal place to install a waterfall in your home if it happens to be open. If you are buying a free-standing water feature, make it a focal point so that it occupies center stage.

Water features can be a significant improvement to your home, increasing its buyer appeal and sale value. Need a little assistance in finding the right feature for your home? Contact me, and I’ll point you in the right direction.


If you've recently put your home on the market -- or are considering doing so in the near future -- home staging is a priority which will soon take front and center!

Since "presentation is everything" when trying to catch the interest of prospective buyers, it's crucial to be able to see things through their eyes.

Unfortunately, being able to accomplish that objective is next to impossible because, as a homeowner, you're looking at your home and property through a completely different lens than the rest of the world. The longer you've lived in your home, the more your objectivity is compromised.

Here are a few reasons why it's really difficult to "see the forest for the trees" when it comes to home staging:

First of all, there's the emotional aspect of owning a home and seeing your life unfold there over a period of years. That's especially true for first-time homeowners, parents of growing children, and people who have sunk a lot of money, time, and energy into improvements and customization. Once you've added personal touches to your home to reflect your own tastes, personality, and lifestyle, you're viewing your home through a unique perspective that may cloud your objectivity as a home seller.

Solution: Think Like a Business Owner

For the same reason business owners and executives hire outside consultants to tell them how to improve management efficiency or profitability, home sellers often need professional marketing guidance from a real estate agent or home staging consultant. Getting input from home decorators, landscapers, or home improvement contractors may also provide you with helpful ideas, but their recommendations may not always be the most economical and cost effective.

When staging your home to enhance eye appeal and attract the most potential buyers, a good guiding principle to keep in mind is ROI or "return on investment." While you don't want to sink more money into sprucing up and staging your home than necessary, you do want to cast it in its best possible light. Depending on how recently your home has been updated or improved, your investment in home staging may be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, if you haven't updated, repaired, or made improvements for more years than you care to remember, the cost of making your home irresistible to buyers may be a lot higher!

One More Scenario

If your tastes could be described as eclectic, "off the wall", or otherwise out of the mainstream, you might need to consider a major overall in the look and feel of your property. Unless you're lucky enough to have it be a "sellers' market" at the time you're putting your house up for sale, it's generally advisable to make your home appealing to as wide a range of potential buyers as possible. An experienced real estate professional is usually in the best position to provide the guidance you need to accomplish that key objective.




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