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Tying Up Loose Ends When You Move

by The Hat Team

Let’s face it - moving is overwhelming no matter how well you prepare.  There are what seem like a million little pieces that all must fall into place to make a move go smoothly. And even then, it is stressful.  You are upending your life; putting everything you own into boxes and bags, and making big changes.  So, it’s easy to understand how some tasks fall through the cracks and are forgotten.  Here are some important things that many people forget to do (or don’t even realize need to be done) when moving:

  • Cancel recurring charges for local memberships. During the chaos of moving, the last thing you are likely to think about are membership fees for things that may not transfer to your new place of residence, like a gym membership.  And if those fees are automatically charged to your credit or debit card you need to cancel those memberships at least a month before you move so that you don’t continue to get charged even when you’re not there to use them any longer.
     
  • Call your car insurance company. Per the Department of Motor Vehicles,  it is vital to check on your car insurance when moving, as states have varying levels of required coverage.  In fact, insurance rates can even vary from neighborhood to neighborhood in the same city.  So, make sure you call your insurer before you move to see if you need to update or change your coverage at your new address.
     
  • Change your address early.  Changing your address is easy using the Online Form provided by the U.S. Postal Service, but don’t wait until the last minute to do it! If you want to be sure that your mail arrives at your new home in a timely manner, complete the form about two weeks before you move. 
     
  • Take care of your finances.  During the whirlwind of moving, it’s easy to forget the everyday tasks that are a normal part of your routine…like paying bills.  It’s also easy to lose track of paper bills among all the boxes you’ve packed.  Take the time to set up auto pay for things at your new home like mortgage/rent, phone, utilities etc.  This can help assure an on-time payment during a hectic time.  Designate a spot for mail both in the home you’re packing up and in your new home so that paper bills aren’t lost in the shuffle.
     
  • Change your billing address on credit cards.  Don’t get caught by surprise when your billing address doesn’t match the address on your credit card because you forgot to change it when you moved.  Some transactions now require that you put in your billing zip code when using your card, so if that has changed, then you need to change it on your credit cards as well.  The last thing you want is to deal with a transaction being denied and then finding out it was simply because you hadn’t changed the address on your card.

Yes, moving is stressful. But taking care of these often overlooked tasks will make it a little bit easier!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: braybray.co.uk

Helping Your Parents Move in Their Golden Years

by The Hat Team


There comes a time in everyone’s life when a large family home is no longer needed.  Some people choose to downsize when they reach the empty nest stage, but others stay on until they must move due to circumstances beyond their control. This can be very challenging when it entails moving senior parents out of a home they have lived in for many years.  Even as an adult, it is difficult to see your parents in a vulnerable position of having to leave behind a home filled with memories.  But there are some ways to make it a little easier and less stressful. Here are some tips to help you successfully move your senior parents with as little drama as possible:

  • Focus on one or two mementos to represent your best memories.  When you are packing up your parents’ home, you are likely to come across many items that remind you of your childhood.  It will be tempting to take it all home with you.  Stop and remember that you have likely already gone years without seeing these items.  Create a “keep” pile and after you have sorted through everything, go through that pile and choose a couple of items that are most meaningful to you.  If your parents are downsizing to a much smaller place, help them do the same thing so that the new home will not be overflowing with stuff.
     
  • Use technology to save things.  While it may be emotionally challenging to get rid of items, you don’t have to get rid of them completely. You can take photos of them.  Take pictures of the interior and exterior of the home before you start packing. As you go through boxes, take photos of the many things that have been saved over the years like concert tickets, programs, school reports, children’s artwork, etc.  Then create a photo album that your parent can look at any time. This makes a lot more sense than transferring boxes of treasures from one home to another where they will only be looked at the next time there is a move. 5 Ways Technology is Helping Us Preserve Family Memories
     
  • Don’t seal the boxes until you are done packing up every room.  The best way to make the “move-in” easier is to organize everything during the “move-out”.  For example, pack everything that will go in the new living room into boxes labeled living room. This will obviously include items from the current living room, but it might also include items found in other places in the house.  If you find some photos packed away in the garage that your parent wants to hang in the new living room, you will want to put them in the living room boxes. You don’t want to have to open boxes that have already been taped up and sealed.  So, leave some boxes open until every room has been organized and packed and then when you are sure everything is in the right place, seal them up for the move. A Room-by-Room Guide to Packing Your House for Moving
     
  • Consider trading in the old for the new.  It’s easy to hang on to old furniture that has been in your house forever when you have remained in the same home the whole time, but sometimes it makes more sense to get new things for a new home.  Maybe the old furniture is worn and scratched, or maybe it’s simply too big for the new place. Whatever the reason, a fresh, new look might be just the thing your parent needs to help let go of the past and enjoy a new home where a whole new set of memories will be made.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: andrewsmoving.com

How to Pack Like a Pro!

by The Hat Team

Congratulations!  You have successfully sold your home!  What a relief, right?  Now comes the hard part. Moving.  Moving is one of the 10 Most Stressful Life Events along with job loss, death of a loved one, divorce and major illness. Sounds fun, huh?  That’s why it is important to go about moving in a thoughtful and organized manner.  The more prepared you are, the less stress.  Packing up your house can be overwhelming, but you can make it easier by spreading it out over several weeks rather than trying to do it all right before you move.  Here is a general timeline for packing that you can use as a guide:

FOUR WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY: PRE-PACKING - Hopefully when you sell your house, you won’t have to immediately vacate.  About a month before moving you can begin to pre-pack items that you won’t need or use before you move.  Out of season clothing, tools and small appliances, and collectibles/knick knacks are items that you won’t miss. Hint: if your house is still on the market you can take this step as well, and it will help with staging your home for prospective buyers.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY: NON-ESSENTIALS - Among the items that you didn’t pre-pack, choose those that you know you likely won’t need before moving.  Books, extra linens, and kitchen items can be packed up because you likely won’t be doing much reading, and you only need enough linens, plates, and utensils for the number of people living in the home.  CDs and DVDs can go as well.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY: THE SERIOUS PACKING BEGINS - Yes…now it is time to start paring down the amount of “stuff” still in your home. If you have children, allow them to choose a few toys/games to keep out, and box up the rest. If you have a home office, clean it out and pack what you plan to take with you.  Any jewelry and shoes that you don’t wear daily can go as well.  You may feel that two weeks is a long time to go without these items, but trust me, before you know it you will be unpacking them in your new abode! 5 Ways Children Can Help During a Move

ONE WEEK BEFORE MOVING DAY: SEVEN DAYS AND COUNTING - Now it is time to pack up all but the few things you will need to get through the last few days at your current home.  The rest of your clothes and kitchen items can go (leaving yourself what you will need until the move, of course).  Go through your medicine cabinet and toss any expired medications. Pack the rest except for the ones you take daily.

TWO DAYS BEFORE MOVING DAY: IT’S GETTING REAL YA’LL - At this point your stress level may be peaking, but if you have been following the time-line and packing a bit each week, you should be almost finished!  Box up your electronics (in their original packaging when possible), bathroom items, and any miscellaneous items that are left.  Keep a box for essential items that you will keep with you as you are moving.

MOVING DAY: IT’S HERE! -  All that should be left is furniture and appliances.  Whether you have hired movers to load the large items or you are doing it yourself, it will be so much more manageable with everything else already boxed up and ready to go.

IMPORTANT TIP - Label every box.  You can either write what is in the box or what room the box should go to.  Or both.  You will be glad you did when you are unpacking!

Remember that this is simply a general guideline.  You should do what is right for you and your family when it comes to packing and moving. But hopefully this will make what can be a trying and overwhelming time a little less stressful.

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Creating a Moving Day Survival Kit

by The Hat Team

You’ve closed on your new home and it’s time to move in!  This is an exciting time, but can also be a bit stressful.  Where do you even begin?  A good place to start is to create a moving day survival kit for yourself. It should include anything and everything that is important or of great value to you and should stay with you and not go with movers. Here is a list of “must have” items to make your move as organized and stress-free as possible:

 - Toilet Paper.  At least a few rolls. Trust me on this one.

- Pain reliever and all your medications.  You don’t want to be searching for these necessities, so make sure they are easily accessible.

 -Toilet Plunger.  Yes, really. Especially if your new place only has one bathroom. Better safe than sorry!

 - Cash for tipping your movers.

 - A Multi-Tool.  While having a whole tool box handy would be great, there is only so much you can (and should) fit into your survival kit.  Something like a Leatherman will provide you with a way to open boxes and other small tasks…and it will fit in your pocket!

 - Trash Bags.  And clear recycling bags.  Look up where you can recycle locally and have the address in your phone so you can take packing boxes/materials there after you unpack. Montgomery Recycling

 - Power Strip and Mobile Phone Charger.  There is nothing worse than discovering your phone is dying and you have no idea where your charger is!  The power strip will come in handy because you will probably clear one small area and can plug in your electronics, a lamp, a coffee pot, etc.…

 - Personal Hygiene Items.  Pack an overnight bag with your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo etc.  That way, when you are ready to call it a day you can jump right in the shower without having to search through boxes for them.

 - All Purpose Cleaner and a Roll of Paper Towels (or two). Hopefully move-in day won’t be cleaning day, but you never know.  Be prepared.  Even if the house looks clean, you are going to want to wipe down the toilets, sinks and counters.

 - Bottled Water and Granola Bars.   You are going to be hungry. And tired.  Have water and snacks on hand to get you through the day.  Look up some Take Out Restaurants and have their numbers in your phone so you can have food delivered.

 - First Aid Kit.  Well, at least a box of Band-Aids in case you cut yourself opening boxes.

 - Note Pad and Pen.  Because you WILL come up with a list of things you need and need to do as you are unpacking and you will want to write them down so you don’t forget.

 - Scented Candles or Air Fresheners.  Even the cleanest house will smell a little musty if it has been closed-up for a while.

 - Flashlight.  Some rooms won’t have overhead lights and if you haven’t unpacked the lamps yet, a flashlight will come in handy.

Enjoy your new home!  And if you haven’t found your dream home yet visit Homes for Sale in Montgomery AL  or call Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professional Realtors at 334-834-1500 and start your search today!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Items to Throw Out Before You Move

by The Hat Team

Moving from an old house into a new house can be an exciting. It can also be a very stressful time for those folks who don’t like to throw anything out.  Don’t worry.  You can keep most of your items, but there are a few that should most definitely be thrown out before you move and those are listed for you below.   
 

  1. 1. If you have a lot of old towels and rags lying around your house, whether you use them or not, you might want to get rid of those before you move  into another home.  These types of things can carry bacteria on them.  And you don’t want to start out in your new place with dirty items when you can purchase new ones once you arrive.   
     

  1. 2. Make-up is good to have but it does have a shelf life.  Once that has passed, it isn’t really good to keep it around.  Avoid the compulsion to throw all of your old makeup into a box and take it with you.  Although you use it once or twice, there really is no need for it because it won’t look as nice as a new pallet of makeup.   
     

  1. 3. Soaps, deodorants, nail polish,  and sunscreen may be things you use on a regular basis but you really don’t need to take up space in your moving boxes for these types of items.  These things don’t cost a lot of money and can easily be purchased anywhere.  
     

  1. 4. Once you start packing and you find a ton of USB cables, realize that you don’t need them all and get rid of a few of them.   You may have a friend in need of a USB cable that you can bless with one or two.   
     

  1. 5. Don’t pack paperwork unless it is absolutely necessary.  Of course you will have to keep important contracts and tax information, but most of the paperwork you’ve collected over the years is likely now obsolete and can be thrown out before you head out.   
     

  1. 6. Last but not least, go ahead and let go of all of the clothes you can no longer fit into.  Donating these types of items can many times be a big blessing to others.   

  2.  

These are just a few ideas of things you might want to get rid of before you move.  By doing this you will avoid having to unpack all sorts of unnecessary items and will save yourself a ton of time in the process.   

 

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

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