Making a New House Feel Like Home Through Your 5 Senses

When you move into a new home, you will likely appreciate all of the unique elements of your new place. But sometimes, to make your new house feel like your new home, you might crave some familiarity from your last location. The key to truly creating a cozy and comfortable feeling for you in your new home is to engage each of your five senses.

Check out some of the ways to make your new house feel like home by engaging your senses.

1. Create Familiar Visuals

Part of making the new place feel like home is to make it look like home. While you may not have enough time to unpack every belonging right away, you can work on some essential areas. For example, your new place will feel a lot like home if the room you wake up in looks like a familiar place. Therefore, it can be a good idea to get a few things unpacked in your bedroom, such as pictures or decor you would typically have on the walls.

2. Make the House Smell Like Home

Science tells us that scent, emotion, and memory are closely intertwined. Therefore, the more a new house smells like a home, the more it may be perceived as such. If you’re moving into a new build, the smell of new construction might make you feel content, but it’s possible some the scent of your new home doesn’t elicit positive emotions.

Try using the home fragrances you usually use, preparing a meal with familiar herbs, or even simply doing a few loads of laundry with your usual fabric softener. 

3. Add Familiar Sounds

What does home sound like to you? Every location and house can have its own collection of sounds. For example, maybe you could hear birds singing in your previous house when you opened the kitchen window. If those sounds are missing, consider doing something to make the environment sound more familiar, such as playing bird songs on a speaker.

4. Cook a Favorite Meal

Food stands at the center of everyday life, but we often don’t realize how much familiarity it brings to our lives. If you have yet to prepare a favorite meal at your new house, doing so may make the place feel more comforting. Whether it’s the family’s favorite entree, a yummy dessert that you’ve frequently prepared in the past, or simply grilled cheese sandwiches, pick something that tastes familiar and enjoy it in the new house.

5. Check the Thermostat

The more the new house feels like the old one, the faster it will feel like home. Sometimes, this may only be a matter of adjusting the thermostat to ensure the temperature is close to what you are used to. No matter the HVAC system, all houses can have temperature variances and drafty areas. If you have to adjust the thermostat a few degrees to make the place feel more familiar, it’s worth it in those first few days in the house.

Get a Free Moving Quote from the Pros

Moving can be a little emotionally challenging. However, when you have help from professional movers, you can have time to focus on what’s important: making a new house a home. Contact our team to get your free moving quote today to get started.

How to Help Kids Remember Their Old Home After Moving

Moving can be a difficult time for kids, especially young ones. Relocating to a new home is a time of uncertainty when kids might be fearful of change, forgetting their old house, and missing their friends.

Making the transition involves letting children feel sad about the move, even if they’re also happy about the change.

Here are a few ways to help your kids with their relocation, remember where they were, and keep it a part of their childhood memories.

Take Pictures

Kids often rely on visual things to help them remember. So before you leave, take pictures of various rooms of your house, your neighborhood, and maybe a few neighbors.

It doesn’t have to be meticulous or complicated. If you’re short on time, take a picture of your child’s bedroom, a photo of your house, and call it good. Follow tips for taking good photos, so you end up with lovely images. 

Make a Storybook

For kids, it can be difficult being in a constant state of transition. They may have some sense that they are leaving, but they don’t know what to expect. Making a mini scrapbook can help them process it.

The beginning of the book can be about the home you’re leaving and end with images and things about your new one. Start with a photo of your child in their old room. Then, gradually expand outward until you show your old home, your new neighborhood, and your new home.

Tell Stories

Even children who are in elementary school may have very few memories of their old home after moving. They will be more likely to remember their old house if you tell stories about it.

Make a brief list of your favorite things about your old home, like a big backyard or shady tree in the summer. Then, talk about those things on occasion, and help your kids situate themselves in the stories. Keeping that context for them makes it easier for your kids to put everything in the proper order.

Visit When Possible

Moving represents an interruption in life for many kids. They might have to change schools, make new friends, and meet new neighbors. Parents can help the transition by contacting good friends, especially if visits are possible.

Don’t force it if it doesn’t feel natural or practical. Driving by your old home on occasion can feel nostalgic, or it can feel awkward to some. It’s better to visit your old neighborhood as a way of seeing your old neighbors or letting your kids visit their friends.

Stay Positive

As with many things, kids are sensitive to parents’ negative energy. If you’re dying to leave your old home, they will probably pick up on that. So it’s better if you can stay optimistic about the process.

Instead of describing your old home negatively, present your new home positively. You may be in love with it already, but your kids could need a little more time. Keeping a balance allows them to retain fond memories of their old life while building good ones for the future.

Pro Movers Can Help With the Transition

Helping kids process the overwhelming feelings from a move is a great idea. Contact us for a quote to learn more about simplifying your upcoming move.

How to Set Up Home Utilities Before Moving In

Relocation day brings many variables to consider, but one of the most important is ensuring that you’ll have working utilities when you arrive at your new home or apartment. Without electricity, running water, or garbage service, it’ll be hard to enjoy your new place. Fortunately, getting your utilities set up is pretty straightforward. Let’s break down the various steps involved. 

Step One: Determine Your Providers

The first step to setting up new utilities is to find out who will be in charge of your service. Look up the different utilities (e.g., electricity, water, and garbage) and add your new town if you’re unsure. For example, you can look up electric services in Los Angeles. Be sure to know all of the utilities you’ll need, including: 

  • Electricity
  • Water and Sewer
  • Internet
  • Natural Gas
  • Garbage

For example, water and garbage might be part of your rent if you’re moving into an apartment. However, if you’re moving into a house, you’ll have to set up everything yourself. 

Step Two: Figure Out if You’re Transferring or Starting New Service

If you’re moving across town, you might be able to use the same company for your utilities. In that case, you just have to transfer the service from one address to another. However, if you’re moving out of state or to a new country, you’ll have to set up utilities with brand-new companies. 

In either case, you’ll need to provide the utility company with your date of cancellation and new start date for service. Realistically, you want to have these dates overlap a little bit for some extra safety. This way, if anything shifts or changes with your moving plans, you’re not stuck without service in either location.

So, for example, if you’re planning on moving on the first of the month, you can set your cancellation date for the third and your new start date for the last day of the previous month (provided the previous owners have canceled their services and vacated.) When doing this, make sure to ask if you’ll have to pay any extra fees for adding a few days. If so, you might need to limit the overlap, so you don’t spend more than necessary. 

Step Three: Double-Check Your Utilities on Moving Day

As you’re moving into your new place, be sure to test all of your utility services. Most of these will be easy to check, as you can turn on the faucet or a light switch. However, keep in mind that the previous owners might still have service, so just because something is working doesn’t mean that the utility is under your name. Instead, call your utility provider to verify that your account is set up for your new address. While this step may seem redundant, it’s better to be sure than to experience an outage because of a lack of service. 

Step Four: Don’t Forget to Cancel Your Old Utilities

After your stuff is moved to your new home or apartment, be sure to call your old provider to verify that your account is canceled. If you’re transferring service from one address to the next, you don’t have to do this step. Again, this process might seem redundant, but you don’t want to wind up with a bill for service that you’re not receiving. 

Get Moving Help Today

Setting up utilities is one part of a much larger puzzle. So don’t let the moving experience stress you out! We’re here to help with expert services and benefits. Contact us today to see what we can offer. 

Inexpensive Ways to Boost Curb Appeal to Help Your Home Sell Quickly

First impressions of your home matter, especially when trying to sell a home before a relocation. However, boosting curb appeal can go a long way towards impressing potential buyers. Houses with good curb appeal can increase a home’s value by 7% or more, and it doesn’t involve emptying your bank account or taking out a home equity loan. Here are five inexpensive ways to boost your home’s curb appeal and help it to move faster on the market.

1. Paint (or Replace) the Front Door

Ideally, you want the front door to be in tip-top shape. In many cases, all this requires is a new coat of paint if the door is still in good condition. However, replacing it would be a worthwhile investment if a door is warped, dented, or otherwise damaged. In addition, a home’s front door is its welcome mat (which, btw a new one would also be an excellent inexpensive addition), so you want it to look its best.

2. Invest in Landscaping

A little landscaping goes a long way. Homeowners that take the time to keep their lawns, gardens, and other outdoor spaces tidy demonstrate to buyers that they take pride in their homes, both inside and out. Easy remedies done either by hiring a professional or by taking the DIY route include:

  • Routine mowing
  • Spreading new grass seed to fill in “bald spots”
  • Pruning trees and shrubs
  • Adding color with florals
  • Spreading fresh mulch
  • Removing weeds and dead branches

Are you selling a home in the off-season? In that case, you’ll want to clear fallen leaves, keep any snow neatly plowed, and add seasonal plants to your entryway, along with these five additional tips.

3. Install a New Mailbox or Spruce Up an Existing One

A mailbox is one of the first things home seekers see as they pull up to the house. If the existing mailbox is dingy, replace it with a new one. However, freshen its post with fresh paint or stain and add new house numbers if the box is in good condition. Another way to boost its appearance is to frame a small garden around the mailbox and plant some color or pretty groundcover greenery.

4. Clean Up the Driveway and Walkways

Driveways with oil spots or other stains are unsightly. Apply a good cleaner or other remedy to clean off concrete surfaces and give it a power wash. For a blacktop driveway, have a professional come clean and reseal it.

5. Clear Out Gutters

Gutters stuffed with leaves and other debris not only look terrible, but they can also lead to destructive events affecting the home. Routinely clean out gutters and ensure rainwater and melted snow can flow easily. If water backs up, it can lead to sagging gutters, water flow inside the home, algae growth, and, eventually, mold problems. Buyers who see overflowing gutters will likely think the house is poorly maintained.

Moving Made Easy

Homeowners looking to make a quick sale on their house can help the process by boosting the curb appeal of their home by making a few minor, aesthetic changes. If you want to sell your home quickly without breaking the bank, try the above tips because buyers see more worth in homes that look nice.

Are you looking to move to your new home? Contact us today for a free quote! We’re happy to work with you within your selling and buying timeline.

Tips for Announcing Your Office Relocation

Changing offices can be an exciting moment for a business. Ideally, the move is happening because of growth and success within the company, necessitating a shift to a more significant, better location. 

That said, relocating your office comes with many hurdles to overcome. One critical factor to consider is announcing the relocation. Here is a four-step plan to make this announcement successfully. 

Step One: Plan Logistics and Prepare Answers to Questions

Determine the move logistics before making the announcement (if possible). The primary reason for doing this is to answer any questions that may come up. 

Some issues that employees may need to know about include: 

  • Timeline – How long will the transition take? 
  • Operations – Will the move disrupt the company, or will everything be business-as-usual during the move? 
  • Accommodations – What will the new space look like, and how will it benefit the employees? 

Step Two: Notify Employees Well In Advance

Your staff members will need time to adjust to the new location. So, it’s best to notify them as soon as possible. Ideally, you can announce the news at least a couple of months before moving. This way, there’s enough time to address any concerns and work out any kinks that you may not have considered. 

When notifying employees, be sure to bring everyone on board simultaneously. If possible, use a company-wide event to share the news. Alternatively, an internal memo or notification can ensure that all employees know what to expect. Then, they can reach out to managers or supervisors for more information. 

Step Three: Publicize Your Move

Changing addresses can be time-consuming for businesses because you need to update the details across various channels. In addition, everyone from vendors to clients will need to know where to find you. 

Before publicizing the transition, list all the different entities that need this information. Start with crucial elements like financial institutions and vendors. Anyone who sends you mail should know as soon as possible. 

From there, you can publicize your move online through social media and other channels. However, you should only make the public aware of front-facing offices, such as storefronts and customer service centers. 

Step Four: Get Feedback From Employees

Finally, after you announce your upcoming transition, be sure to ask employees what they think. This feedback can be valuable because workers may bring up issues you missed. In addition, you want to frame the move as a positive relocation and highlight the benefits that employees can expect. Doing this will make the shift more efficient since everyone will be on board and enthusiastic about the change. 

Another benefit of soliciting feedback is that you can notify individuals and teams about what they need to do before, during, and after moving. Coordinating all of your employees can be challenging, so you want to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible. 

Get Moving Help Today

If you’re getting overwhelmed by your office relocation, let us help! We can assist with the planning and completion, whether you’re moving down the street or across town. Contact us to find out more!

How to Help Seniors Pack For Moving

Moving is a major task, and seniors often face additional challenges their younger counterparts don’t need to think about. Things such as downsizing, planning, and making the actual move can be particularly stressful and physically difficult for seniors. As a result, they may need assistance. Here are eight expert tips to help your favorite senior pack for a move.

1. Break Packing Into Smaller Tasks

Completing a large undertaking like moving or downsizing can be overwhelming if you view it in its entirety.  It becomes more manageable when you break the job down into smaller pieces.  Often seniors have lived in the same home for years, so it may take some time to work through it all.  

2. Consider Eliminating Some Non-Essential Stuff

Since many seniors have lived in their homes for many years, they have probably accumulated many possessions. They might need to downsize to move to a smaller place or relocate to a senior community. Decluttering is tedious work and with numerous decisions to be made. This isn’t always easy, especially since people tend to become attached to items. You can assist by sitting down with them to help decide what to do with their belongings. If they have a hard time parting with their belongings, consider a storage unit until they are ready to let go of their favorite things.

3. Get Layout for New Home

See if you can obtain access to the senior’s new home so you can take measurements. Remember to check closets and other storage areas to see how much space there will be. Having all this specific information about the new home helps with the downsizing and packing processes because it’ll give you and your senior an idea of what will fit and what won’t.

4. Start With Large Items

Help your senior decide what to do with bulky items such as tables, chairs, sofas, extra beds, dressers, and any other large pieces of furniture. Chances are these all won’t fit in the new place, so have them decide which ones are necessary and sell, donate, give away, or store the rest.

5. Pack Room-By-Room

Packing belongings room-by-room makes the task of boxing up items less overwhelming and makes it easier to organize. Label each moving carton so that the movers know where to place them at the new home. This process will make it easier for your senior to locate items when getting settled in and unpacking. This task often makes sense to hire a qualified and experienced mover that offers packing as a service.

6. Take Photos of Electronics

Managing the wires, cables, plugs, and other details associated with electronics is confusing. Be sure to take photos of each configuration for televisions, cable boxes, computers, printers, and any other items that will need to be reconnected. This way, either you, the person moving, or another individual can quickly get things set back up at the other end of the move.

7. Chart Important Dates on a Calendar

If your senior is used to smartphones, set digital reminders on their phone’s calendar. If not, get a good, old-fashioned paper calendar and highlight important dates for tasks. This should include utility turn on/shut off dates, mail forwarding, moving day, and any other notifications you need to send out as moving day approaches.  

8. Pack Overnight Bag

As moving day approaches, be sure to make a list of all essential items, such as medications, that will be needed right away and pack these in an overnight bag.

Moving Made Easy

Are you or someone you’re helping get ready for a move? We can help! Contact us today for a free quote.

5 Energy-Efficient Tips to Consider Before You Move In

Everyone loves energy efficiency. The less energy you use, the less you spend.

Of course, efficiency isn’t always easy. And the way you set up your new house makes a difference.

Start with these five tips to make your new home much more energy-efficient.

1. Replace Incandescent Bulbs

Some homes may still use incandescent bulbs. However, these bulbs spend the most energy and only last about a year. If you’re not sure how to identify an incandescent bulb, just look for the small metal coil inside it.

For a minor investment, you can replace old bulbs with LEDs. LED bulbs use only a small amount of energy and last up to 10 years. Compare the lumens on the old bulbs so you get the right amount of lighting in each room.

2. Install Ceiling Fans

When people list a home for sale, they often remove ceiling fans to make the room look simple with less clutter. It’s unfortunate, as ceiling fans are a great way to circulate air throughout the room.

For each room with a ceiling light, check to see if it will support a ceiling fan. Many models offer lighting and circulation.

Be sure to learn how to use the fan in every season. For example, you can change the direction in winter to keep cycling warm air toward the floor.

3. Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat

If your new home has an older thermostat, upgrading to a smart thermostat is relatively easy. These thermostats let you adjust settings on your phone, with other unique features.

Thermostats increase energy efficiency by turning down heating or cooling when you don’t need it. If you create the proper settings, you’ll always feel comfortable without having to do anything.

Choose appropriate settings to get the best efficiency. But, of course, cranking it up to the max will always use more energy, whether it’s on a schedule or not.

4. Improve Insulation

Adding insulation to an existing home is a great way to lower heat transfer. That keeps the home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. But, of course, you might have no idea how much you need or what you have now.

If you can get to the attic, go up there to see which kind you have. Batts and rolls are common, as are spray foam and blown-in insulation.

It’s easy to hire a professional to increase the insulation, and it’s not necessarily expensive. That way, you can focus on your household move.

5. Seal Air Leaks

Existing homes often have gaps around the doors and windows. Those gaps allow heated or cooled air to escape.

But how do you know that you have a problem? If the spaces around doors and windows feel hotter or colder than the rest of the house, it’s time to seal the leaks.

In most cases, all you have to do is fill the gaps with a bit of caulk. However, if the windows or doors seem very old, it might be time to plan to replace them.

Your Residential Move

Increasing your energy efficiency doesn’t have to be too hard. You can do it before you move into your new home. Contact us for more information about making your relocation easy.

Becoming a First-time Homeowner? Here Are Some Tips

Buying a home is a significant undertaking and can be both scary and exciting. But, just as with any other major project, success depends on careful planning, research, and attention to detail along the way. 

Start Saving

Start saving several years before you hope to buy. The down payment required depends on the type of loan you take; some require as little as 3.5 percent, but others require more. In all cases, the more you pay down, the more likely you’ll be to obtain a favorable mortgage and the lower your monthly payment.  A down payment calculator can help you set a goal.

You’ll also need to save money to cover closing costs, which can be between 2 percent and 5 percent of the loan amount. Then, you’ll need money for moving out of your current rental and initial repairs and decorating. And, you’ll still want to keep six months of expenses in reserve after closing in case of illness or job layoff.

Decide What You Can Afford

A general rule of thumb is to keep your housing costs at about 30 percent of your gross income. Many lenders will allow you to qualify if your total debts, including the mortgage, are less than 43 percent of your income if your credit scores are good. However, if you pay this much, you may feel house poor for a few years.  Use estimating tools to help you determine what you can afford comfortably. 

Check and Strengthen Your Credit

The better your credit score, the better interest rate you’ll be able to obtain on your mortgage. Even a slight percentage difference in the interest rate can make a big difference in your monthly payment. So check your credit and take steps to improve it.

Qualify for a Mortgage

Prequalify for a mortgage before house shopping. Many sellers will not take your offer seriously if you don’t have a written approval letter. If you shop before getting the preapproval, you may find a home you love only to have your offer rejected.

Talk to at least three potential mortgage lenders to get the best deal possible regarding rates and customer service. Consider both conventional and government-backed loans such as FHA, VHDA, and VA when looking at lenders. Also, research first-time buyer assistance programs in your area to see if you qualify.

Choose a real estate agent. 

You want a real estate agent who will scour listings for houses that meet your needs. You also want one who will stick with you through home inspections and closing procedures. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers. Interview several and specifically ask about their experience with first-time home buyers. 

Consider Homes Carefully

Weigh the pros and cons of different types of housing. For example, condos and townhomes may be less expensive, but they will be less private. Consider your housing priorities; for example, is a large master suite the most important, or do you value the size of the yard. If you plan to stay long-term, consider whether it will meet your needs 10, 15, or 20 years from now.

Also, prioritize neighborhood amenities.  For example, are recreational amenities within the neighborhood essential, or is commuting time the driving factor? Research each potential neighborhood to see how well it fits your priorities.

Select a Mover

When it’s time to choose a household moving company, talk to friends, family, and your realtor to get referrals for reputable, established companies that have years of experience and excellent reviews. Get at least three in-home survey quotes for the moves and make sure they are licensed and insured.  

When you’re ready for your next move, contact us. We can provide you with a stress-free full-service move, so you can start enjoying your new home quickly!

Choosing Where to Live in Retirement

You’ve worked hard for your retirement. Now you’re getting close to retiring. The decision of where to live can significantly affect the quality of your golden years. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding where to move for your retirement.

Consider the Cost of Living

You’ll likely be on a fixed income, so you’ll want that income to go as far as possible. Develop a budget based on our retirement income before beginning to review locations. Be sure to allow yourself enough disposable income to participate in the activities you’ve dreamed of doing while you were working.

Once you begin to consider potential locations, look at the prices of housing, utilities, transportation, essentials, and the tax structure. For example, many states do not tax pension or Social Security income, which will leave you with more to spend. Some also have low (or no) inheritance taxes that allow you to pass more of your wealth to your heirs.

What’s Your Passion?

What would you like to do most in retirement? Do you want to visit your grandchildren frequently? If so, then you’ll want to move closer. Or, do you want to golf or boat or fish? If so, you might want to relocate to a place with a temperate climate and a beach. If you like the idea of being able to walk wherever you go, look for areas with a high walkability score. Whatever you plan to pursue in retirement, you can likely find a location to support that.

The Need for Friends

You might also want to make friends your age in your new location. Research to see whether other people your age are locating to or live in a particular area that you’re considering.

Access to Health Care

Generally, the older we get, the more we need access to good health care. While you might be willing to travel some distance for annual physicals, you’ll still want quick access to good hospitals and doctors in case of an emergency. If you’re considering moving to a foreign country, check whether they’ll accept your insurance there.

Factor in Travel Plans

Consider the traveling you’ll want to do in retirement. If you opt to live in a different city from your children, grandchildren, or good friends, consider how difficult visiting them will be from your new location. If you think you’ll want to travel the world, consider locating near a major international airport. Also, consider the cost of travel when planning your budget. You don’t want to spend too much on housing only to realize you now can’t afford to visit those dearest to you.

Take a Trial Run

Once you think you’ve narrowed down the locations, spend a week or two there to experience its lifestyle. If possible, do a week in each season of the year to gain a flavor for the area’s annual life cycle. Test the public transportation, drive to experience the traffic levels, and check out the community activity offerings. Ask locals your age about their opinions and tips for living in the community.

Settle into Retirement

Let us help with your retirement move. If you are relocating near or far, we can help with the planning, packing, and unpacking. Contact us today for a free quote.

6 Ways to Explain Moving to Small Children

Young kids often have a hard time understanding certain things. For instance, big concepts, like moving, can overwhelm them.

As a parent, it’s hard to balance getting ready for the move and helping your kids prepare. But it’s still an excellent idea.

With these tips, you’ll have a few ideas for how you can explain your upcoming residential move to your young kids.

1. Tell Kids in Advance

Parents often avoid telling children about important events in advance. Sometimes, they worry that their kids will get too upset. But kids need plenty of notice before something as big as moving.

It’s a better choice to start talking to the kids before you start packing. That way, when you start packing, they understand what you’re doing and why.

Expect them to have a lot of questions. They might even be unhappy. But they need time to process it before you leave.

2. Keep Explanations Age-Appropriate

Kids tend to react to moving in different ways, based on their age. For instance, toddlers may have a much more difficult time understanding the process, whereas young school-age children may have more opinions about it. You can expect some disagreement from any age.

Experts suggest that you focus on age-appropriate explanations. Keep it simple and repetitive for very young children. Reassure older children that you will make their needs a priority.

3. Use Books with Messages

Reading stories to your children about moving is an excellent way to introduce and reinforce positive messages about your upcoming relocation. Books about moving can open up communication about the changes ahead and help your children prepare for their new environment and perhaps feel more secure in this significant change.​

4. Pack Deliberately

As you pack, you’re likely to get some conflict. Toddlers don’t understand why you’re taking things away. Preschoolers may worry that you’re going to get rid of their belongings.

Give yourself extra time for this step. Packing with kids always takes longer, even if they’re happy about the move.

Be clear about your process from the beginning. Enlist the kids to help you pack and explain where everything will go in the meantime. If your kids struggle to set aside essential items, wait to pack them until near the end.

5. Listen to Concerns

Throughout the moving process, kids will tell you the concerns they have. Older kids can verbalize it, while younger kids may simply act out.

As a parent, your goal is to make sure your kids feel safe. They need to know that you can keep them secure while you move and afterward.

Be ready to have a lot of conversations. Keep the doors open for communication at times when you are not busy.

6. Stay Positive

Even if you’re not looking forward to the move, you need to stay positive for the kids. They look to you for hints on the ways they should react. If you’re upset, they are more likely to be unhappy. They may even try to convince you not to move.

Instead, focus on the benefits of moving. Talk about the cool things you’ll get to do as a family. Remind them that you’ll do your best to keep in contact with friends in your old location.

Families on the Move

Explaining moving to kids is difficult. It may be much more challenging than the actual process of moving. To help you make it easier, request a quote for moving services today.