• Most Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes

    by Jackie Heath | Aug 21, 2014

    first time home buyersBuying a home is one of those things that is fraught with potential disaster. No other time in your life will you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single item—and no other time will you be forced to face your mistakes every day, should you make the wrong choice.

    The best way to enjoy a good move is to know that the home you’ve chosen is the right one. Here are a few common home buying mistakes it’s best to look out for before you sign the paperwork and get the moving van all lined up and ready to go.

    > Spending Too Much Money: There are countless financial guides to buying a home out there, and all of them say the same thing—don’t buy more house than you can afford. A dream home is more than an expensive residence in a good neighborhood. It’s a place where you feel safe and comfortable and confident in your family’s future.
    > Overestimating Your Home Improvement Skills/Time
    : An empty house seems easy to repair and improve, but consider what it means to actually live in a home you’re continually working on. A fixer-upper can be a great way to save money on a house, but be realistic about what you’re able to do on your own and how much time and space you’ll be able to give over to the project.

    > Refusing to Compromise
    : You have your list of requirements. You know what you want out of a home and will settle for nothing less. Good for you for going after your dream. However, don’t be so set in your ways that you refuse to see the good in each home. Sometimes, it’s worth sacrificing that third bathroom or the walk-in closet to find a space where you can put down roots. Square footage is hard to change, but the details can come and go over the years.

    > Falling in Love with the Staging
    : We all know that selling a home is a tough business, and homeowners will pull out all the stops to make it happen. They’ll slap on a new coat of paint and hire someone to maximize the space with the perfect furnishings. They’ll touch up the yard and bake cookies to add a home-like feel. Make sure that what you love about a home isn’t the way the curtains hang or how nice the landscaping looks in full bloom. Look instead at the home’s bones and structure—that’s where the real value lies.

    Not Taking the Future into Account: Will you be having kids someday? Are you hoping to pare down your lifestyle and live more simply? Is it possible you’ll change jobs in the future (and change incomes to go along with it)? Always look at the long-term effects of buying a home. Consider your needs, five, ten, or even thirty years from now—you might be surprised at what you consider truly “essential” over a lifetime.

    You should also always work with a real estate agent or broker you trust. Working with professionals you know will exert an effort on your behalf and ensure a good experience is a must—regardless of if you’re buying the house or getting ready to make the move to it.

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  • Most Common Packing Mistakes to Avoid

    by Jackie Heath | Aug 19, 2014
    Common packing mistakes to avoidMaking a mistake when you’re packing up your house for a move could end up being more damaging and costly than you might realize. Not only do you run the risk of damaging your personal items (many of which are irreplaceable or have personal value), but you can also end up hurting yourself physically.

    Take good care of your stuff—and yourself—by avoiding these common packing mistakes.

    > Packing Heavy Items in Large Boxes: It makes sense, right? Small items go in small boxes, large items go in large ones. Unfortunately, this rarely works out well in the end. No box, no matter what its size, should weigh more than 50 pounds. Any heavier, and you risk breaking the box, damaging the item, and putting too much strain on your back.

    > Not Purchasing New Boxes/Packing Supplies
    : You may be able to save money by using newspaper and old boxes from your basement rather than buying packing supplies, but it will probably end up costing you more in the end. Cardboard loses its durability with time and excessive use, and nothing will ever beat the safety of bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Inquire with your mover on new, specialized moving supply kits that specifically fit your needs.

    > Ignoring Specialty Items:
    A refrigerator isn’t packed the same way as a television. Books should be treated differently than kitchen utensils. Everything you move has its own requirements and restrictions, and it’s important to know what these are. Consult a packing guide before you start getting things ready and ensure you have the right materials for each job.

    > Moving Items You Don’t Need:
    Nothing wastes your time and money more than packing up items you don’t end up keeping. Decide ahead of time if you really want to keep that old couch or box of trophies. Hold a garage sale or give everything away to a local charity. Moving only the items you know you’ll end up using can save you quite a bit of time and money in the end.

    > Putting it Off Until the Last Moment: It’s an almost universal rule—packing will take you about three times longer than you think it will. Start early, work a little bit every day, and clean as you go. Saving everything until the last few days before a move is likely to increase your chances of making a mistake, cutting corners or forgetting something.

    Another good rule of thumb is to avoid doing all the moving yourself. This is one time in your life where it’s perfectly okay to ask for help and to accept what is offered from others. If you don’t hire a moving company, consider asking friends and family members to pitch in. Moving an entire household takes quite a bit of time and planning, and doing it on your own can make things overwhelming and lead to injuries.

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  • Ask Allied: What Supplies Do I Need for Packing?

    by Jackie Heath | Aug 14, 2014

    what packing supplies do i needPacking is by far the most frustrating part of moving to a new home. When you’ve lived in one area for a long time, possessions have a way of piling up, and getting them from point A to point B is a long process. That’s why it’s a good idea to start early. If you’ll be doing the packing yourself this time around, here’s a list of what packing supplies you’ll need and how to go about getting them.

    1. Make a survey of your belongings. You’ll most likely want a master inventory list for your move anyway (to ensure that you don’t forget anything), so take a moment to walk through each room in your house and list the contents. You don’t need to count every fork or book, but having a good sense of how much stuff you’ll be moving is good for purchasing the right amount of supplies.

    2. Overestimate
    . Most families underestimate how many packing supplies they’ll need. Save yourself several trips to the store by recognizing early on that you’ll most likely need more boxes, extra packing tape, and enough bubble wrap to send someone to the moon.

    3. Start with the basics.
    There are a few key items everyone preparing for a move needs. These include:
    > Boxes (of varying sizes)
    > Packing tape
    > Large trash bags
    > Bubble wrap (you can use crumpled up newspaper for many of your valuables, but make sure you have bubble wrap for large electronics like your television)
    > Stretch wrap
    > Newspaper/brown paper rolls or packing paper
    > Scissors
    > Box cutter/knife
    > Safety gloves
    > Permanent markers (in black or colored if you want to color-coordinate your packing list)
    > Labels

    4. Buy specialty boxes. When it comes to packing up and moving, no two boxes are created equally. These days, there are special boxes for just about every piece of furniture in your house. Depending on what you’re moving, you may want to look into:
    > Wardrobe boxes
    > Mirror/painting boxes (also known as telescoping boxes)
    > Dish packs
    > Dish barrel boxes
    > Mattress boxes

    5. Exercise caution. A good rule of thumb when packing up your home is to make sure no box weighs more than 50 pounds (with the exception of large items). Any heavier, and you risk not only injury, but the box breaking down, as well. It’s better to have multiple smaller boxes than a few large ones.

    Don’t forget to take regular breaks as you go. While it’s possible to pack up an entire house in one day, it usually takes an entire team of movers to make it happen. When you’re on your own, start early, work as you go, and always make sure you’re using quality supplies that will hold up all the way across the state (or the country) when it comes time for moving day.

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  • Forgotten Items in a Move

    by Jackie Heath | Aug 12, 2014

    commonly forgotten items in a moveIn all the hustle and bustle of packing up a house and getting your family safely moved to a new location, it’s not uncommon to leave a few important items behind. This may not be a big problem if you’re only moving across the city (and you still have a copy of your keys), but if your move takes you hundreds of miles away, you many never see these things again.

    During your final walk-through, make sure you keep a sharp eye for these commonly left behind items.

    > Gardening Tools/Hose: Sometimes, homeowners would rather not deal with the weight and hassle of outdoor tools; other times, these items are forgotten because they are commonly stored outside. Always include a walk-through of your outer buildings as well as your home’s interior.

    > Bicycles: Because they are also usually stored outside, bicycles might get left behind. These can be pretty expensive to replace, so try and pack them early. Bike accessories like helmets and spare tires are also forgotten fairly often.

    > Shelving: Many types of bookshelves and shelving units can be taken easily taken down and reassembled in your new home. Home storage is always a concern, so consider bringing your more useful shelves with you.

    > Vacuum/Cleaning Supplies: Many people (especially renters) do a final clean before they move. Leaving behind a vacuum, mops, and cleaning solutions is actually fairly common. It can be a nice gesture to leave these for the next residents, but make sure anything expensive goes with you.

    > Window Air Conditioning Units: Heavy, bulky, and difficult to remove from the window casing, air conditioning units don’t always make the transition to a new home well. However, if you want to stay cool and you invested quite a bit in your unit, you may want to double check to ensure you have yours safely packed.

    > Fireplace Grates/Accessories: Any items that are stored inside something else (like a fireplace grate or tools) can be easily missed. Always double check anywhere you keep seasonal items.

    > Pets
    : It sounds awful, but more than one homeowner has been forced to leave behind a cat or dog who gets lost during a move. Animals can get frightened or run away during the packing and moving stages. Always secure your pets ahead of time and make arrangements so they don’t get forgotten.

    > Touch-Up Paint: If you have extra cans of interior paint lying around, you may want to leave them behind on purpose. These can be used by the new homeowners to color match and/or touch up the walls if they ding them during moving.

    > Delivery Menus: These are another one of those items you should leave behind on purpose. If you’ve gathered a few takeout menus over the years, place them on the counter for the new residents to find—it’ll save them quite a bit of time figuring out who delivers to the area!


    In most cases, it’s the small, less frequently used things that get forgotten, so always do a final sweep of the cupboards, closets, and built-ins. Most walk-throughs only take ten minutes (at the most), and it will be well worth the peace of mind.

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  • Who Do I Notify a Change of Address?

    by Jackie Heath | Aug 08, 2014

    Who to notify change of addressYou wouldn’t think that moving to a new city would come with so much paperwork, but chances are you’ll spend quite a bit of time making sure all your files are in order. From local businesses to financial institutions, everyone you have contact with on a regular basis will need to be notified of your new address.

    While you can rely on a mail forwarding service for a few weeks, you’ll eventually need to contact each company individually. Here are a few steps for making the transition easy.

    1. Start collecting business names early. About three months before your move, start keeping a list of all your incoming mail. Jot down who sends you materials and why—this will be your base list for change of address notifications.

    Set aside a day for address changes. The best way to ensure you don’t forget anyone is to sit down and send all your notifications at once. This is best done on a weekday during business hours in case you need to personally call any of the business.

    3. Don’t panic if you forget anyone. As long as you have the USPS mail forwarding service in place, you’ll have a few months after you arrive in your new home to catch up on those you missed.

    Common Businesses/Individuals to Notify

    > Place of employment (even if it’s a former employer, in case you need tax forms or pay stubs in the future)
    > Financial institution (including banks, stock brokers, financial planners, and/or retirement companies)
    > Credit card companies
    > Utility provider
    > Cable company
    Phone and internet providers
    > Healthcare providers (including your doctor, dentist, optometrist, and other medical professionals you and/or your family see regularly)
    > Insurance companies (health, life, vision, dental, automotive, home)
    > Lawyers and/or accountants
    > Schools and/or private music, dance, or sports instructors
    > Veterinarian and/or pet groomer
    > Your alma mater
    > Gym membership
    > Service providers who come to your home (gardeners, babysitters, pool caretakers, housekeepers, etc.)
    > Subscription services (including magazines, newspapers, and catalogs)
    > AAA or other services you pay monthly/quarterly
    > Friends and family members who you may not be in regular contact with, but who send holiday cards/invitations

    For closer friends and family members, you may wish to send a more personalized change of address update. There are several types of cards you can send out, or you can go on social media and alert your loved ones that way (but only if you have your settings on private, since you probably don’t want to alert everyone on the internet about your change off status).

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