Moving Checklist for Sellers

  Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks ahead of the move.
  Notify your credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, and bank of your change of address.
  Create a list of friends, relatives, and business colleagues who need to be notified about your move. 
  Arrange to disconnect utilities and have them connected at your new home.
  Cancel the newspaper, or change the address so it will arrive at your new home.
  Check insurance coverage for the items you’re moving. Usually movers only cover what they pack.
  Clean out appliances and prepare them for moving, if applicable.
  Note the weight of the goods you’ll have moved, since long-distance moves are usually billed according to weight. Watch for movers that use excessive padding to add weight. 
  Check with your condo or co-op about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits for moving.   
  Have a “first open” box with the things you’ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pencils and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, and toothpaste.

Plus if you're moving out of town be sure to:

□ Get copies of medical and dental records and prescriptions for your family and your pets.
  Get copies of children’s school records for transfer.
   Ask friends for introductions to anyone they know in your new neighborhood.
  Consider special car needs for pets when traveling. 
  Let a friend or relative know your route.
  Empty your safety deposit box. 
□ Put plants in boxes with holes for air circulation if you’re moving in cold weather.

Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room.  A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

5 Feng Shui Concepts to Help a Home Sell

To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind.

1. Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.

2. Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.

3. The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.

4. The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.

5. The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.

Source: Sell Your Home Faster With Feng Shui by Holly Ziegler (Dragon Chi Publications, 2001)

Chances are your home has appreciated in value


Did you ever imagine it would appreciate enough to finance the home you've always dreamed of? It may be time to move up.

Stress Free Moving: Tips to make this Daunting Task Easier

Moving is not easy. But just what exactly makes it so stressful? The house-hunting process? The piles of unpacked boxes in your kitchen? Maneuvering that behemoth of a moving truck?

The recent study asked 1,500 consumers who had moved in the past three months questions about 75 moving-related tasks. What makes something stressful isn't just how expensive, time-consuming or difficult the task is, but also how much more expensive, more time-consuming and more difficult the task was than expected. If a task cost more money, took more time and was significantly harder than a respondent originally anticipated, that task would have a high composite moving stress rating.

So which tasks had the highest stress ratings and how can you make them easier during your own move? Let's break down the top five:
1. Packing and Unpacking. You never realize how much stuff you've accumulated until it's time to pack it. And many items -- that treadmill you stopped using two weeks after New Year's, your bobble head collection, everything in your closet purchased during the '80s -- cause more stress to move than they're worth. Make packing and unpacking easier by donating unwanted items to charity. Not only can your donation be tax-deductible, but less stuff means less stress during the move.
2. Loading and Unloading a Moving Truck without Professional Help. If you forgo a professional moving service in favor of a DIY move, you're in for a lot of heavy lifting. Don't try to tackle this task alone. Reduce moving-day stress by enlisting the help of friends and family (bribery in the form of a six-pack and pizza usually works best). Also invest in moving tools like a dolly, hand truck and moving straps to make the lifting and hauling easier on your body. And just because you haven't hired professionals doesn't mean you shouldn't pack the moving truck like them. Use this diagram to load the truck with maximum efficiency. You'll avoid unnecessary trips and prevent shifting of items on the road.
3. Home Improvement Projects for New and Old Homes. Major home improvement and remodeling projects can be a serious financial investment and often take longer than anticipated to complete. Add to this the disruption they cause to your daily routine if you're still living in the house, and it's no surprise these projects ranked as the third most stressful. Whether you're repairing the roof on your old home before putting it on the market or tackling a bathroom renovation in your new home, hiring the right contractor can make the process less stressful. Read reviews to find a reliable professional; subscribing to Angie's List is a great place to start. Be sure to research discounts for subscriptions, as they are frequently available.
4. Searching for a New Home. Rent or buy? The 'burbs or the city? Which neighborhood? Settling on a place to call home is a huge decision, and one made all the more difficult if you're unfamiliar with your new area. Start your search early and, to simplify the process, identify the criteria you're looking for in a home. If you have children, being in a good school district might be a top priority. If you're relocating for a job, proximity to the office might be your number-one concern. Once you know what you're looking for, make trips to explore the neighborhood options and familiarize yourself with the area.
5. Compiling a Home Inventory. We've already established that you're stressing out about how much stuff you've accumulated and need to somehow pack into boxes. Now, add the task of documenting all that stuff -- from art and furniture to electronics, jewelry and more. It's overwhelming, but compiling a home inventory is crucial for insurance purposes in the event of fire, theft or natural disasters. It'll also help you keep track of what went on and came off the moving truck, as well as the condition of each of your possessions. To simplify the process and save time, use a pre-populated downloadable home inventory spreadsheet.

Painlessly painting your home’s exterior: helpful tips before you start.

Clean it up!
Use a low pressure hose to rinse weather stains, muck, webs, or other dirt off the exterior of your home. Be sure to move outdoor furniture, vehicles or other décor out of the way before you get started. This is especially important if you’re paying someone else to do the job—pay them to paint, not redecorate.

Fix it up!
You may need to finish some other stuff on the “honey-do” list before you get to painting, such as fixing small holes in the siding and repair cracks where moisture tends to collect. Be mindful of whether the issue is crucial to the pre-painting process, or if it is merely a cosmetic issue you can address later. But remember, fixing those little issues helps us talk up the house for you when you’re ready to sell!

Scrape it up!
Tools required: 1) Paint scraper. 2) Sander. 3) Tenacity.

Be careful! If your house was built before 1978, the paint may contain lead. Get the lead out! Go to for information on the hazards of working with lead-based paint and how to have it safely removed.

Prime it up!
Treat yourself: splurge on some high-quality wood primer – it will ultimately make your job easier

Mind the gap!
Get some high-quality caulk and close up any gaps, cracks or holes in the wood. This will keep air in, moisture and vermin out, and turn that paint job into the talk of the town.

Talk it up!
If you plan outsource your paint job, make sure you negotiate the details with your contractor. Put the conversation in writing for easy reference once you’ve reached an agreement about liabilities, delegations and pricing.

Keep it simple!
Think two-tone, not Picasso and definitely not Pollock. Don’t make painting your home’s exterior more work than it is worth, and stick with colors and designs that won’t seem garish in a couple years.

25 Quick, Cheap and Easy Home Sale Tips

If you want to get a home sold quickly and inexpensively, you should review these sales and design tips.

Even with rising values and reduced inventory in certain markets, selling a home remains challenging. Buyers expect not just a shiny new stainless sink but pruned hedges, freshly painted walls, glistening hardwood floors, and more. Making everything look great can cost a pretty penny, and many sellers won’t be able to afford all the suggestions you might make.

You can help them prioritize based on the condition of what’s needed most, what buyers in the area typically request, what competing houses offer, and — of course — cost. Here’s a list of 25 affordable, easy-to-make changes from top design and real-estate pros:

1.Add power outlets with USB ports in rooms that lack them, especially in the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms where they’re most needed. “Younger, more tech-savvy couples and individuals love them,” says Tyler Drew, broker and property investor with Anubis Properties Inc. in Los Angeles.

2.Eliminate acoustic popcorn-style ceilings since they look dated and tacky.

3.Remove exposed posts and half walls. Today’s buyers want more space, and partial walls and posts gobble up room. The only walls that should remain are those that offer privacy or conceal electrical wires or plumbing stacks.

4.Update wiring for the Internet and flat-screen TVs. You don’t have to run CAT-5 through walls, which can be costly and require opening and closing and repainting walls. Instead, find a place to put a wireless router, Drew says.

5.Clean carpets and wood floors since they’re often the first part of a room that buyers check out; you don’t need to replace them unless they’re in terrible shape. A good carpet steam cleaning or wood floor waxing can be relatively inexpensive, sometimes less than $200.

6.Expand a small kitchen to make it work better and look larger. Two quick fixes: Change the backsplash by adding mirrors, stainless steel, or paint, which will introduce light and views; and add an island, which requires only 30” between counters and the island to pass through comfortably. If there’s not enough room for an island, bring in a rolling cart with pull-out shelves underneath and a wood top, says Libby Langdon, an interior designer, author, and expert with Liebherr Refrigeration..

7.Clear out and clean a garage, a big selling feature.Power wash the floor or paint it if it’s in bad shape, remove dated cabinets, and remove all junk that’s been stored there, so prospects can see how much space they would have for their stuff.

8.Change out corroded or dented door knobs and levers. The replacements don’t have to be expensive but they should look new and clean, Chicago architect Allan J. Grant suggests.

9.Pay attention to landscaping, which can add 7 to 15 percent to a home’s value, according to principals Jessy Berg and Bonnie Gemmell. Focus on mowing grass, removing crab grass, and eliminating dead plants and tree branches. “I’d rather have dirt and the potential to paint a picture for the buyers’ mind than a backyard full of dead plants,” Drew says. But if you have extra funds, consider Sacramento, Calif.-based landscape designer Michael Glassman’s ideas: Add lots of seasonal color through blooming annuals and perennial plants and remove problems like too much noise from traffic or neighbors by installing an inexpensive fountain with trickling water.

10.Paint exterior windows, doors, gutters, downspouts, and trim, then go inside and paint the home’s trim, doorways, and walls that are in need of freshening. Don’t worry about the colors but consider those that veer toward quiet and comfort such as Benjamin Moore’s Yosemite Sand, Edgecomb Gray, or Carrington Beige. “Gray is a hot interior color now,” says Manchester, Vt.-based designer Amy Thebault. Painting rooms other, lighter colors such as white, yellow, and beige help to bounce and reflect sunlight and use more natural and less artificial light, according to Chris Ring, vice president at ProTect Painters, a professional painting source. But in cooler months, Ring says, dark colors such as deep brown and blue absorb sunlight, thereby reducing heating costs. And don’t forget ceilings, which can be a “fifth wall.” You can improve them with paint or old-style metal or faux-metal tiles, says Beverley Kruskol, a general contractor and owner of MY Pacific Building Inc. in Los Angeles.

11.Remove outdated wallpaper, replacing it with paint and preferably a neutral color, says Shelley Beckes, ASID, CID, a designer with Beckes Interior Design in Los Angeles.

12.Remove, store, or discard excessive accessories on tabletops and walls and in cabinets. “Less is more, and you want the house to be seen by prospective buyers without the distraction of too many personal items,” Grant says. Some suggest following the rule of three: Leave out only three things on any surface.

13.Get the house inspected before it’s listed to know its condition and identify any structural issues that could derail sales. Many problems can’t be detected by an untrained eye, including those in a basement, crawl space, or attic, says BillJacques, president-elect of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “There might be roof damage or a plumbing leak. Many inspectors take photos and provide

Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home’s Exterior

Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips:

1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows or architectural details.
2. Mow your lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawn sparkle.
3. Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
4. Install new doorknobs on your front door.
5. Repair any cracks in the driveway.
6. Edge the grass around walkways and trees.
7. Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight.
8. Clear toys from the lawn.
9. Buy a new mailbox.
10. Upgrade your outside lighting.
11. Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.
12. Clean your windows, inside and outside.
13. Polish or replace your house numbers.
14. Place a seasonal wreath on your door.

Color that attract home buyers

Whether you’re ready to list your home for sale or you’re just beginning the process, there’s one crucial step to consider: paint colors. The colors you put on the walls can help make your home easier or harder to sell, so it’s well worth considering repainting before you put your property on the market.

But before you grab a roller, make sure you’re choosing colors that will help your home sell. Remember: the right colors will attract home buyers.

Colors that attract home buyers #1 - Not-so-boring neutrals

If you’re looking for a sure bet for all ages and income brackets, you can’t go wrong with neutrals. A soft beige is an easy sell – it adds warmth to the walls and gives buyers a chance to imagine the potential of the room. If you’re still living in the home, off-white neutrals are easier to keep clean while you’re in the process of selling.

Colors that attract home buyers #2 - Shades of gray

Gray is a fantastic alternative to beige for many reasons. A cool gray feels relaxing and soothing in a bedroom or bathroom. It’s a conservative but still chic color that appeals to many people, particularly older buyers, who may be seeking relaxation, rather than excitement, in their new home.

Colors that attract home buyers #3 - Wonderful whites

Although white seems like a default color, it’s anything but. There are hundreds of shades of white to choose from, and they each have benefits. A bright white makes any space look larger, while a warm white is inviting and cozy. White is universally appealing, and works especially well with younger first-time home buyers, since they’ll easily be able to repaint in their preferred color scheme after the purchase.

Colors that attract home buyers #4 - Beautiful Blue

There’s a blue hue for everyone, but to expedite the sale, stick to lighter shades. Go light blue in the bedroom for a peaceful oasis feeling, or choose a more energetic (but still pale) blue for kids’ playrooms. Blue makes a great alternative to more neutral colors if you just can’t stomach the thought of living in a blank white or neutral home until it sells.

Colors that attract home buyers #5 - Warm brights

If you’re dead set on using orange or yellow, make sure the tone is soft enough to maintain a neutral feeling. Many buyers balk at brights, since they take extra time and energy to repaint. Sunny hues work best in kitchens and other energetic spaces. Plus, warm tones are known to make people hungry – so confine your orange paint to the kitchen.

Colors that attract home buyers #6 - Easy earth tones

Earthy, rich colors like brown and green are best avoided when you’re trying to sell. However, depending on the neighborhood, lighter browns and greens could be appealing. Country homes do well with these rustic colors; just make sure you use them sparingly to avoid overwhelming potential buyers.

Painting a home is one of many steps to selling a home, but it’s also one of the most important. The wrong paint color can turn off potential buyers, so put some thought into the decision. Good luck and happy painting!