9 Moving Announcements That Say ‘We Moved’ in Hilarious, Unforgettable Ways

Moving announcements are just one of those things you have to take care of—otherwise how will people know where you live? Sure, you can just do a mass email to all your friends and family. Alternatively, you can show off your wild creativity with one of the far more memorable moving announcements below. Odds are, one of them sums up your own style or sense of humor to a tee.

For people who move a ton…

It's time to break out yet another new Rolodex card.
It’s time to break out yet another new Rolodex card.

Etsy

This hilarious card ($6.50, Etsy), which comes as a printable download, lets friends and family know that yes, your entry in their address book looks like a confused jumble of crossed-out streets and cities. And that while you’re sorry about that, you’d still enjoy a holiday greeting (or a housewarming gift).

For the scent-loving and/or GPS-minded…

Burn your new coordinates into their memory.
Burn your new coordinates into their memory.

Etsy

If you want to go all out, send a moving announcement in the form of a soy candle ($16, Etsy) in a calming scent with your latitude and longitude printed on the label. Just remember, 39° N is not a USPS-approved mailing address.

For movers (and shakers)…

Dancing with boxes on your head is not recommended.
Dancing with boxes on your head is not recommended.

Minted.com

Show people all that packing and unpacking all those boxes hasn’t dulled your sense of humor, or slowed your dance moves. These cards (85 for $132, Minted) can also be custom-printed to include a family photo on the other side.

If you truly love visitors…

Let friends know they are still welcome.
Let friends know they are still welcome.

Monique Harps

When real estate agent Monique Harps moved, her priority was letting potential visitors know they still had a warm bed to stay in. Her process was simple—a friend took a photo of her new home, then she designed the template and emailed or texted the announcement. Here’s to hoping recipients call first before they come a-calling.

For punsters…

Steer people to your new location.
Steer people to your new location.

Etsy

This printable postcard ($16, Etsy) comes in colors ranging from “bumblebee” to “flamingo” (clearly, this designer loves animals). Meanwhile, this card shows off your own cornball sense of humor.

For those who enjoy a frosty one…

Let friends know you care about their fingertips staying warm.
Let friends know you care about their fingertips staying warm.

Totally Promotional

Instead of sending cards, simply order a collapsible can cooler personalized with your new address and a phrase like “Help us toast our new home!” ($3.71 each per order of 25, Totally Promotional). This lets your old friends (and new neighbors) know you care about them down to the temperature of their beverages. It also leaves no room for anyone to make excuses about losing your mailing address (not until they run out of beer, anyway).

If you’re moving out of state…

The time zones they are a changin'.
The time zones they are a changin’.

Etsy

If you’re moving between any states in the union, why not give people a visual representation of your new boundaries? This instantly downloadable PDF ($5, Etsy) can be customized with any state from Alabama to Wyoming.

For the romantics…

The keyhole cutout makes this adorable card even cuter.
The keyhole cutout makes this adorable card even cuter.

Minted.com

Give everyone a peek into your home life with this “Love Is Key” ($1.92 each, Minted) moving announcement. Each greeting is fully customizable, so if you want to show a picture of what really goes on in your not-always-picture-perfect life through the keyhole, that’s an option, too!

If you want an excuse to show off a cute baby pic…

Baby, it's time to move.
Baby, it’s time to move.

Minted.com

If you and your new baby both have a new crib, let everyone in on it with this clever card ($1.92 each, Minted). Fun fact: Calling a home a crib comes not from “MTV Cribs” but Shakespeare himself. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, crib defined as “a small dwelling” first appeared in the following lines of the famous playwright’s 1597 play “Henry VI”: “Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee.” (Feel free to point this fact out in your moving announcement!)

Source: realtor.com

How to Make Moving During the Holidays a Painless Experience

Moving during the “most wonderful time of the year” is anything but wonderful. At a time when people look forward to cozying up at home, the last thing most of us want to do is pack boxes, clean, and wrangle odds and ends.

But some people don’t have a choice. Selling your home in the winter, graduating from college, or relocating for a new job are just some of the reasons people move during the holidays.

If you find yourself in this scenario, trust us when we say that moving doesn’t have to ruin your holiday fun. The following tips will help make it less hectic and more bearable. We promise!

Include a change of address in your holiday cards

This year, you can kill two birds with one stone with your holiday cards: they can also serve as your change-of-address announcements.

“If you know your new address, consider including a change-of-address note in your holiday cards to alert family and friends,” says Melissa Pollock, lifestyle and organization expert at PODS.

Donate seasonal items

The holiday season is a prime time to spread goodwill to others.

“Consider giving some of your gently used items to those who may otherwise have no way of affording them,” says Jonathan Self, a real estate agent at Center Coast Realty in Chicago.

Warm clothes, in particular, are in demand at consignment stores during winter months, and parents welcome toys for their kids. If you’re not sure where to donate your goods, your local Salvation Army is a good place to start.

Ask for a holiday discount

You may find that movers are in the giving spirit this time of year and will show their appreciation for your business.

“Book your moving company early and ask for a discount,” says Val Burmester, an agent with Engel & Völkers Seattle. “This time of year is not as busy as others, so the movers might feel more generous and agree to a reduced price for their services.”

Another bonus: Your moving date is more likely to be available to book because movers aren’t as busy during this time of year.

Keep gifts to a minimum this year

Secret Santa gift exchanges, Yankee Swap parties, and traditional gift-giving among your friends and relatives are all part of the holiday season. However, the last thing people who are moving need is more stuff.

To keep the mess to a minimum, Pollock recommends asking people to not bring or send presents until you have moved into your new home.

“As an alternative, consider keeping gifts wrapped until you arrive at your new place for easy packing and unpacking,” she says.

Recycle supplies

Relocating involves a lot of moving supplies like bubble wrap and boxes, but you don’t have to spend a lot on them.

“To avoid waste and save some money, reuse the boxes and paper from packages you receive during the holidays,” Pollock says.

Ask your friends for their leftover boxes and wrapping paper as well.

Pack accordingly

You’re bound to have a lot of boxes on your hands, which can make it difficult to find your box of decorations. But make it easy to deck your new halls by packing your ornaments, garlands, and festive adornments last.

“Load your holiday decor boxes last so when you move into your new home you can give it an instant holiday feel,” Burmester says.

Give yourself the gift of a moving company

If you have to move during the holidays but you’d really prefer to reduce the stress of moving, Self recommends gifting yourself (and your family) a professional moving company. It’ll be more expensive than moving boxes yourself, but hiring an extra set of hands will allow you to focus on the parties and festive get-togethers that happen during this time of year.

Source: realtor.com

5 Dire Mistakes People Make Moving Their Pets to a New Place

Moving involves so many tasks: planning, packing, hiring movers, enlisting emotional and physical help, and lots more. Moving with pets can add even more to your to-do list.

When we moved a couple of years ago, I never really considered how our two Lab mixes, Coco and Cookie, would handle it. That was a big mistake. I looked up a few tips online and tried my best to put them into practice. But, for the first few days in the new house, my dogs were stressed and anxious, got into fights with each other and barked all the time—all unusual behavior.

After a couple of weeks, they started to adjust, and their anxiety subsided. But it got me wondering what I could have done to make this move less traumatic for them.

My two dogs
My two dogs

Erica Sweeney

To help keep your animals calm and safe when moving to a new place, we’ve highlighted some top mistakes pet owners make in the process. Here are some moves that experts say pet owners should avoid if they want a smooth transition.

1. Keeping pets around on moving day

Moving day will probably be chaotic, so boarding pets, or having them stay elsewhere for the day or overnight, is a good idea, says Nicole Ellis, a pet expert and certified professional dog trainer with the online pet sitter and dog walker network Rover.

Cats can be confined to a specific room in the old or new place to keep them away from the activity, says Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert at Rover. She suggests placing a sign on the closed door that reads, “Cat Inside: Please Do Not Open Door,” to prevent escapes.

We boarded our dogs for a few days during our move, which gave us time to start unpacking and get their things set up before bringing them home. Knowing they were safe and out of the way made the move less stressful.

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Watch: For Floors’ Sake! Smart Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy

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2. Washing pets’ things before the move

Familiar smells ease pets’ anxiety, Ellis and Delgado say. It may seem like a good idea to wash your pets’ belongings or buy them new things before a move for a fresh start, but don’t.

Beds, blankets, toys, litter boxes, and food and water bowls bring the scent of the old home into the new one, and this substantially reduces pets’ stress and helps them adjust, they say.

Delgado also suggests not packing pets’ items until the last minute, so they’ll feel at home while you’re preparing to move.

3. Not keeping an eye on them in their new environment

Once you’ve moved, Ellis recommends watching your pets closely as they explore their new place—and checking (inside and outside) for possible escape routes. For instance, even if your new house has a fence, “Dogs can jump higher than we are often aware, so keeping them company outside is always safest,” she says.

She also suggests walking them around the neighborhood one step at a time to ease them into new sights and sounds, which can be overwhelming.

Another tip: Introduce yourself and your pet to neighbors. Give your number to neighbors and explain that your pets are still adjusting to a new place, so if they’re barking too much, neighbors can politely tell you.

4. Changing their setup too much

For cats, “Home turf is everything,” Delgado says. Cats are territorial and feel safest in familiar spaces; moving can cause unusual behavior, such as hiding, fearfulness, and being more vocal. Setting up a “safe room” with your cats’ necessary and favorite things for the first few hours, days, or even weeks helps them adjust.

Once cats get comfortable and are acting like their normal selves, they can be free to explore the rest of the house, Delgado says.

Ellis recommends arranging beds, crates, and toys as close to the old setup as possible. Giving dogs a sense of familiarity with where their stuff is located makes them feel more at home.

This is a tip I found online that seemed to work for us. We placed our dogs’ beds next to the couch in the living room of the new home, similar to where they had been in the old home, and put their water bowl in a similar spot in the kitchen. I also didn’t wash their favorite blankets and bedcovers before we moved, even though it was tempting.

5. Changing your pets’ routine

Routines are important for both dogs and cats, so sticking to regular feeding schedules, walk times, play activities, and other familiar tasks creates stability.

“They really rely on their favorite blankets, beds, and scratching posts to feel safe, and routine is very important to cats,” Delgado says.

Our dogs love their routine. They wake up at 6 a.m. every morning, ready to go outside to use the bathroom and then have breakfast. We kept up this schedule in the new house.

The bottom line is that settling pets into a new place will take time. How much depends on the individual animal, the pet experts say. Ellis urges pet parents to have medical records, microchip numbers, and current photos on hand, in case a pet gets lost.

Pets may show signs of stress and anxiety for several days, but there should be signs of improvement, Delgado says. If not, or if pets aren’t eating, call the vet.

Source: realtor.com

Our Basement Flooded 4 Times! Why It Could Happen to You, Too

When we bought a house in 2012, we were excited to give our children the playroom of their dreams in the basement. Since we’d never owned a house with a basement before, we had one question for the sellers: Had it ever flooded?

Prior to making an offer, we were assured up and down that the sellers had never had a basement flood. And not just one, but two home inspectors both agreed that the basement had never taken on water. We were sold.

When we moved in, the 200-square-foot basement had a lush rug on the floor, and walls covered in tree decals. We lined the walls with shelves of bins for the children’s toys and spent hours organizing every tiny Barbie outfit, Lego piece, and plastic fruit so that their playroom looked perfect.

The basement was my kids’ paradise … for two days. On Day Three, we woke up early in the morning to a strange sound.

“It sounds like running water,” said my husband, Rob. He headed to the basement to investigate. Within seconds, he was screaming, “Get down here!”

And when I did, I could not believe what I saw: The entire floor of our beloved basement was covered in water that was inching higher by the second. We spent the rest of the day calling our insurance company, dealing with water remediation companies, and crying. Because when your basement floods, there is a lot of crying involved.

As if that weren’t bad enough, that wasn’t our only flood; we endured four over the next four years, almost like clockwork. And each time, we learned valuable lessons. Here they are, in case they help you avoid the same fate.

Always insulate your pipes

One of our very first lessons? Pipes burst when they get cold. We’d removed the insulation around the pipes prior to moving in, since it contained asbestos. Only we hadn’t replaced it, so as soon as it got below freezing, the pipes froze and cracked. Our bad. The $10,000 cleanup was annoying, but thorough—and luckily, was almost entirely covered by insurance. We insulated the pipes and breathed a sigh of relief.

Enter flood No. 2. Almost a year (to the day) later, the same thing happened. The temperature fell below 10 degrees and a pipe froze. The non-asbestos insulation was simply not enough to combat the frigid temperatures. We caught this one earlier, so staved off major damage, but we still had to rip up the carpet. Again. And had to hire a water remediation company. Again. And invoke our home insurance.

Again.

Take care when installing new appliances

After our second flood, we installed a fancy system to keep our pipes heated all winter long that included copper wires running over the pipes and gentle heating designed to keep the water flowing. In hindsight, we wished we’d gone for this expensive fix the first time, so we could have avoided the second flood.

After this system was installed, we figured we’d solved the problem … but another one was brewing.

The following January, our daughter was having her ninth-birthday slumber party in the basement, when one of the girls noticed water dripping from one of the pipes in the corner of our basement. After getting 10 sugar-hyped 9-year-olds upstairs, Rob and I assessed the damage. Another call to insurance. Another remediation.

This time, flood No. 3 was caused by the cleaning chemicals our plumbers had used when they installed our new hot water heater. They’d failed to flush them out, thus clogging the pipes to the point of bursting. Had we been more on top of the process and done our homework, we might have checked that they’d flushed the pipes before bailing. Instead, we put all of our trust in the company and what they failed to tell us, we failed to know. From now on, any major home repair we make is well researched, and we always get at least two opinions.

We solved the problem, kicked ourselves for again not knowing, and breathed a sigh of relief, assuming this, at last, was our last flood. If only.

Watch what you flush

The following year, we made it all the way to March (March!) without a flood. But, like clockwork, flood No. 4 arrived anyway. This time, it was the basement half bath, where a year’s worth of flushed tampons—which claimed on the packaging that they’re “flushable”—had swamped the main sewage drain and forced the water back up into our laundry room. It was a mess, and by now, we both had a bit of PTSD from dealing with this same issue again and again.

Another lesson learned: Don’t flush tampons. Even if it claims they are flushable.

Act quickly

Waiting can mean the difference between a $10,000 remediation and a $2,000 one. Turn off the water, get the plumber out immediately, spring for the premium cleanup. Time is of the essence when you are dealing with water damage. Our first flood was so far gone by the time we got to it, the damage was extensive. The next three we caught before the floor was covered in an inch of water. Once there is standing water, the damage is bad. Which leads to our next point…

Get a shop vac

With our fourth and final flood, we decided to spring for a shop vac, which allowed my husband to get the water out of the laundry room within five minutes of shutting off the water. That time meant the difference between a $1,000 repair (carpet cleaning and some anti-mold treatment) and a $10,000 repair (ripping out the carpet, installing new carpet, and cutting out and replacing the baseboards). For $100, we learned you can have quick access to water cleanup. It’s so worth it. Even if you never use it (and pray you don’t).

Spring for tile in the basement

Due to these floods, we have ripped up our carpet four times. For the price of that, we could have installed tile in the first place. We haven’t installed tile yet (we keep hope alive!) but the next time, we will bite the bullet and do what we should have done four floods ago.

Don’t report a minor flood to insurance

We learned this last lesson the hard way after being dropped by our insurance company after flood No. 3. Getting new home insurance was a huge headache, and now it costs us four times our original insurance cost to stay insured. Before, we were paying about $1,100 per year; now we pay $4,000. We are not eligible for that reduced rate again for at least seven years (the date when it will be taken off the record), so over time, we are paying $21,000 more because we reported all our floods. The first was worth it to report (the damage was close to $10,000), but the next two were around $2,000 each. Had we paid out of pocket, it would have been better for us in the long run.

Source: realtor.com

Everything Must Go! How to Sell Your Stuff—for the Most Money—Before You Move

Taking the time to sort and sell your stuff before a move could save you a lot of money; in fact, it might even pay for your move entirely. And with the abundance of online marketplaces available, it’s never been easier to sell your stuff hassle-free.

But what if you aren’t just looking to get rid of things, but also to sell them for the best price? We spoke with moving experts from around the country to bring you these insider tips on selling your stuff for the most money.

Bundle items together

There are a lot of online marketplaces claiming to be the best one to help you sell your stuff, but in practice they’re not all equal.

“Craigslist is 80% flakes,” says New York City–based art collector Michele Hembree.

In 2018, Hembree and her family began the grueling yearlong process of moving from their suburban Alameda, CA, home to a small apartment in New York.

They had a lot of stuff to get rid of— everything from old books to 20 years’ worth of Christmas ornaments, children’s toys, and camping gear. After making a checklist with her husband, she got to work on selling nearly everything they had.

Using high-traffic sites like Facebook Marketplace (for small things) and Chairish (for furniture and larger pieces), Hembree’s strategy was to focus her efforts on marketing the items to get the best price.

“Sometimes I’d bundle things together—then you can ask for more,” she says.

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Watch: 4 Things You Have to Leave Behind When You Sell Your Home

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Put time into your photos and descriptions

Hembree also found that she had the most success when posting her items for sale with high-quality photos and descriptions, including information about the item’s brand and quality.

“If you take photos of your stuff in a dark corner, no one will buy it,” she says. “The photos have to be good.”

Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator for San Francisco–based moving company Dolly, emphasizes that point—with an extra trick to make your stuff stand out.

“I always advise including at least one stock photo of the item—you can usually find this by Googling the product and brand name,” she suggests. “And then a few well-lit, high-definition photos you’ve taken yourself.”

Benson also stresses the importance of the description.

“Make sure to be clear about what’s included, what condition it’s in, how long you’ve had it, and what kind of home it comes from, like if someone has a pet or smokes,” she says. “Whether it’s a designer handbag or a functional futon, buyers need to evaluate for themselves what they’re getting.”

Don’t rely solely on online marketplaces

To be sure she was getting the best price for her stuff, Hembree also sold through a variety of channels both online and offline.

“We had a great secondhand store nearby,” she says. “So maybe once every two weeks I would drop off a box or a piece at the consignment store—then I’d pick up a check a few weeks later.”

Just before the move, she got rid of her remaining things by selling them on site, bundling low-cost items together.

“It was a huge garage sale, and we had a great turnout because I advertised it a lot on sites like yardsales.com and estatesales.net,” she says.

Benson also encourages her clients to sell through multiple channels, citing Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp among her favorite online platforms. Although she doesn’t explicity dislike Craigslist, she says, “It does require you to be checking your email or texting people, which isn’t always the most effective for a quick sale.”

For more efficient sales, Benson recommends people tap into their personal networks, and take advantage of common interest groups, using them to advertise any niche items that might be harder to sell elsewhere.

“I belong to a few Facebook groups that are specific buying and selling marketplaces, including one for fans of Modcloth and vintage-style clothing,” she says. “I find selling my clothes there to be much easier than selling them on Poshmark or similar sites, because I’m reaching a niche audience that’s specifically interested in what I’m selling.”

Time it right for the best sale

Like most things, timing matters when it comes to making the best sale. Benson advises selling when people are in a shopping mood—that is to say, just after they get paid.

“Post new items on payday—generally the 1st and 15th of the month, or the second and fourth Fridays of the month,” she says. “Unless you’re selling a significant amount of items, you won’t notice a big difference, but you’re likely to see more activity and more deals being made after people get paid.”

Hembree used a similar tactic to sell her stuff for the most money, often dropping items off at a consignment shop just before the weekend— or posting new items online Friday afternoon.

“If people are going to be picking something up,” she says, “or scrolling these sites or going to a store, that’s when it’s going to be.”

Source: realtor.com

6 Surprising Things You Never Knew You Had to Do Before the Movers Arrive

Moving is stressful, so you’d be forgiven if after packing the last box you thought that you were finally done. Now it’s just time to wait for the movers to arrive, right?

Not exactly.

Working with professional movers is a great option for people making big moves, moving with kids, or moving large or fragile items that would be otherwise impossible to transport. But while many moving companies do a great job of providing end-to-end service, there are some things that only you can do to make the whole process run smoothly. Here’s our list of six surprising things you’ll need to do before the movers arrive in order to avoid disaster.

1. Make a clear path

Whether you live in an urban apartment or a two-story house in the country, there are bound to be obstacles for your movers. By anticipating these issues before they happen, you can make everyone’s job easier, and possibly even save some money by taking up less of the movers’ time.

First, you should consider the parking situation outside your home. Where will the movers be able to leave their truck when packing up your stuff? If you do have that house in the country, this might not be an issue. But if you’re living in an apartment or urban area, chances are good that a huge double-parked truck won’t be taken very kindly by the neighbors.

“If you live in an apartment building or if there is limited parking in your area, ask the movers if they will handle the logistics or if you need to do so,” says Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.”

Some moving companies might be familiar with your neighborhood and know how to park in a way that doesn’t raise any red flags with the neighbors. But if they tell you they’d like your help with the logistics, then this will be on you to handle before they arrive.

“You may need to contact your building manager,” Wenzke says, “or the local city government to get the appropriate signage and allowances.”

There are other things to consider, too—like the state of your driveway.

Pat Byrne, operations manager of Long Island–based moving company Moving Ahead Moving & Storage, always asks clients to remove ice and snow to avoid any accidents during the move. You should also make sure the driveway and front access points are clear of debris—like kids’ or pet toys that might pose a slip hazard.

2. Make necessary reservations and get your paperwork together

Some apartment buildings might have service elevators available for use. This would be another time-saving question to ask your building manager in advance.

“See if service elevators can be reserved and whether the building needs any paperwork from movers—like a certificate of insurance,” says Byrne.

3. Protect your house, including your floors

To prevent damage to your house during the move, you should be aware of what furniture is going out the door, and anything fragile in its path that might be at risk of breaking.

“Lightbulbs, fixtures, pictures, mirrors, wall hangings should be removed from the main areas where furniture will be moved,” Byrne says.

And don’t forget about the hardwood floors. Nothing will put off a buyer more than seeing skid marks illustrating the path your sofa took out of the place.

“If you have hardwood floors or tile in any rooms, let your movers know ahead of time so they can prepare the right materials—and make sure your contract includes hardwood floor protection,” advises Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator at San Francisco–based moving company Dolly.

4. Measure!

On a related note, you’ll want to measure your furniture and make sure any large items will fit through the front door in the first place.

“Nothing is more heartbreaking than finding out the gorgeous sectional you spent hours assembling is not going to make it through your front door unless you spend more hours disassembling it,” Benson says.

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Watch: Who Would Have Guessed: Weird Packing Tips That Really Work

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5. Pack up the kids (and pets)

Not literally, of course. But you should take the time to consider where your family will be when the movers are at work. If paying for a space in the nearby pet hotel isn’t an option, at least consider keeping your pets in a safe space within your home.

“Pets should be kept in a room with everything they need that movers won’t need to access,” Byrne advises. “You’d want to do this even if your pet is friendly, to avoid [their] accidentally getting out of the house or injured.”

Similarly, young kids should also be kept out of the way on moving day. This is important for their safety as well as the safety of your moving team.

“The last thing you or your movers want to worry about is whether your 2-year-old’s scream is going to shock them at the wrong time,” Benson says.

6. Make yourself available

Once the family is out of the house, it’s time (drumroll, please) to sit down and relax—sort of. Find a central point in your home (that’s out of the movers’ way) and simply plan on making yourself available to them as they move your stuff.

Do we mean supervising their every move and reminding them the box is marked “fragile”? Probably not. But you should be around to help answer any questions, or alert movers to anything special they should know about your place.

“There are little things about your house that you only learn from living there: The hallway closet door never stays closed, the third step down has a slight bend, a pack of hornets tends to congregate around the back door, so use the front—these are all valuable things that make your movers’ lives easier,” Benson explains.

“On top of that, being available to answer questions, whether that’s in person or via phone, can make your move much smoother,” she adds.

Source: realtor.com

7 Surprising Items Many Moving Companies Won’t Ship

A long-distance move can be tricky. In addition to having to pack up every possession you own, you’ll also have to figure out how to get it all to your new home. While some people choose to drive their stuff themselves across state lines, that might not be feasible with an entire household’s possessions. That’s why shipping is sometimes the preferred method when moving a considerable distance. It’s simple, really: The bulk of your possessions get boxed up and shipped to your new home, and you take all the invaluable items (e.g., your ID, birth certificate, medications, etc.) with you on the plane.

Many homeowners will hire a moving company, but did you know there are limits to what most companies will ship? Some items are just too fragile, valuable, or hazardous, and your movers won’t be allowed to take responsibility for them.

Of course, different moving companies will have their own rules for the types of items they won’t ship.

“Talk directly to the moving company and ask them what they are willing and not willing to do,” says Justin Hodge, co-founder and president of Muscular Moving Men based in Phoenix. Good communication with your movers will help reduce the number of last-minute surprises on move-out day.

While you’re in the throes of planning your move, consider the following items many movers won’t touch—and then plan accordingly!

1. Photos and photo albums

Photos and photo albums are very fragile and could easily get destroyed. Although they might not be of high monetary value, photos can have high sentimental value. Plus, once photos are ruined, they’re likely gone for good.

“If there was a situation where everything was damaged, you would have peace of mind of knowing you’re in your own control, not the moving company you’re working with,” Hodge says. Many movers opt to avoid the risk.

2. Unsealed personal care products

As obvious as it may seem, unsealed lotions, shampoos, and skincare products will likely give your moving company pause. If one were to spill, it could ruin your entire shipment, and your moving company doesn’t want to be on the hook for that.

Hodge says you could pack sealed personal care products in your suitcase, give them to a friend, or just throw them out if they’re nearly empty. Hey, you have a new place to live—buy some new stuff!

3. Expensive clothes and accessories

If you own any expensive or unique designer clothes, formalwear, or accessories, it might be better to take them with you on the plane.

Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in New York, recommends creating an inventory of your truly upscale items.

4. Flat-screen TVs

Many movers are reluctant to ship flat-screen TVs because they’re pricey and notoriously fragile. Plasma-screen TVs are especially delicate and need to be kept upright to avoid damaging the glass panels inside. If you do have a flat screen you need to ship, be sure to mention it from the get-go before hiring a moving company

5. Nail polish

If you have an extensive nail polish collection, you’ll probably have to transport it in your luggage on the plane. Zafrani says polish is a perfect storm of shipping badness.

“It’s a liquid and in a glass bottle, and if the bottle is not securely tightened, it can leak and cause damage,” she says. It’s also flammable and could catch fire during the move. Pack it with you it, toss it, or give it to a friend.

6. Fine art

Need to ship a one-of-a-kind Picasso? While fine art doesn’t show up on everyone’s inventory list, if you do need to transport artwork of value, your standard moving company probably won’t be up for the task.

To make sure your precious cargo gets to your place safely, look into professional art shipping services. Many of these companies will offer insurance and white-glove service.

7. Food in glass containers

You know that fancy bottle of olive oil you brought back from Tuscany this summer? Delicious! Too bad it’s simply too fragile to ship. The same goes for other glass containers filled with food.

“Glass bottles are pretty thin, and if the box is accidentally dropped, the bottle can crack,” says Zafrani.

Broken glass—and spilled food—will be the last thing you’ll want to contend with when unpacking. You already have enough to worry about.

Source: realtor.com

The Biggest Myths About Moving to the Suburbs—Busted

For generations, people have been drawn to big-city life by the irresistible lure of career opportunities, cultural riches, and the sheer excitement of rubbing shoulders with hundreds of thousands—even millions—of people doing varied and interesting things.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and suddenly, those tiny apartments, public transportation, and crowded public spaces lost their appeal. Many city dwellers fled their densely populated confines.

According to a study by MyMove.com that analyzed U.S. Postal Service data, during the first six months of the pandemic, big cities lost the most people.

New York City, with the country’s largest population at more than 8.5 million, experienced the highest losses. More than 110,000 residents left the city from February to July of this year.

That’s 487% more than the number of people who left New York during the same period in 2019. And where did many of these people relocating set their sights? Smaller towns and suburbs.

In fact, as people snap up homes in the suburbs, housing inventories in those areas are dwindling faster than in urban areas, according to realtor.com®’s September Urban vs. Suburban Growth Report.

Currently, inventory is down 34.3% year over year in urban areas, while suburban inventory has declined 41.2%.

But despite all this, city dwellers are often hesitant to leave the hustle and bustle behind. Lifelong urbanites may feel that moving to the suburbs is accepting defeat, and they may have lingering assumptions about what they’ll gain—and lose—by moving from a big city to a smaller town.

“People believe moving from the city is an isolating experience where neighbors are distant, nightlife is dull, and cultural experience is lacking,” says Lisa Collins, a licensed real estate salesperson for Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in New York.

But that’s not always the case. Below, we bust some of the biggest myths about buying and owning a home in the suburbs.

Myth No. 1: Real estate is less expensive in the suburbs

Historically, the average listing price of an urban home has been higher than a suburban home. But these days, don’t expect to hit the suburbs for a bargain.

During the pandemic, listing prices in the suburbs have actually grown at a faster rate than in cities, according to realtor.com.

Currently, the median listing price of suburban properties within the 10 largest metros is growing by 5.2% year over year. In urban areas, the growth rate is only 2.4%.

That’s true in Fairfield County, CT, where prices have risen an average of 33% since September 2019, according to Debbie Rehr, a licensed real estate salesperson for Compass Westport in Westport, CT.

Rehr, who lives in Weston, CT, says this area is only an hour’s drive from New York City and is attracting attorneys, financiers, entrepreneurs, and other affluent professionals looking for places to live, relax, and raise children.

Myth No. 2: The suburbs are boring

Moving to the suburbs means giving up all kinds of fun activities and resigning yourself to a boring, lonely existence in the middle of nowhere, right? Wrong!

In March 2020, Wendy Silverstein left New York City with her husband for Columbia County—about 120 miles to the north, closer to Albany—to stay in their cottage on a lake. She was wary that small-town life would be too slow, too quiet, and there would be a dearth of things to do.

Instead, she was pleasantly surprised by the activities available, and she’s adjusted to the different pace of life. In her time there, she says she’s discovered delicious farm stand offerings and terrific markets.

“There are lots of interesting neighbors and opportunities to meet people,” says Silverstein. “I love the quiet, and you can drive into small towns and small cities for interaction.”

Collins, who lives about 20 miles north of New York City in Larchmont, says the pandemic has brought together many neighbors who are now working from home, for a new network of socializing and support.

“Our neighbors are gifted artists, musicians, writers, and teachers,” she says. “During the pandemic, our neighborhood created an outdoor movie night so that kids can socially distance and have fun.”

Also, being in the suburbs often means you’re closer to the great outdoors.

“Just outside of town, you can go apple picking in orchards and wine tasting at vineyards,” says Collins. “Skiing at a small mountain can be as close as an hour away.”

Myth No. 3: There’s no culture

Leaving the big city means you’re no longer down the street (or a short subway ride from) world-famous museums, Michelin-starred restaurants, and other great cultural resources. But it turns out, the suburbs give cities a run for their money.

“I think many transplants are surprised with how much good food, wine, public schools, health and wellness, shopping—even high-end fashion—is right in town,” says Rehr.

Collins says the reality is that the suburbs north of New York City are vibrant. The towns of Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and Rye, for example, have many restaurants, shopping, kids’ activities, and cultural experiences within walking distance or within a short bike ride or drive away.

“There are hiking trails nearby, outdoor music on weekends, and our local colleges and high schools have educational and cultural programs to experience,” says Collins.

Even during a pandemic, Silverstein says there is an incredible amount of culture where she lives.

“Towns nearby are becoming more and more interesting, with bookstores, food stores, and art exhibits,” she says.

Myth No. 4: The commute will be a nightmare

Those thinking of moving to the suburbs but keeping their jobs based in the city might be apprehensive about a hellish commute. It might not be as much of a slog as you’d think, though.

“Work in midtown Manhattan? In Larchmont, you can take a quick drive or walk to the train station. The Metro-North train gets you to Grand Central Station in 35 minutes,” says Collins.

There’s also faster job growth in the suburbs, so you might end up finding work closer to home. Some 32% of U.S. jobs are in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

In addition, remote work is likely to be here to stay even after COVID-19.

A study by the research and advisory company Gartner found that 82% of business leaders say their organizations plan to let employees continue to work from home at least some of the time, while 47% plan to allow employees to do so permanently.

Source: realtor.com

What Can a Landlord Deduct From Your Deposit? A Primer for Current and Former Renters

Maybe you didn’t think twice when you put a big security deposit on that fancy apartment two summers ago. But now that you’re getting ready to move again, you might be wondering how much of that deposit you’ll actually get back.

Believe it or not, your deposit isn’t at the mercy of your landlord. Tenants have rights, and landlords have limitations on what they can deduct from your deposit.

In Florida, for example, “if the landlord fails to return the security deposit in a timely manner, or deducts for normal wear and tear, then the tenant can sue the landlord to get their deposit back and the landlord will have to pay the tenant’s attorney fee,” says Larry Tolchinsky, a real estate lawyer and partner at Sackrin & Tolchinsky in Hallandale Beach, FL.

But to avoid getting to that point, it’s important for tenants to understand the basics on deposits. In most states, the timely return of your deposit means there’s a deadline—such as 30 days—so be sure to leave a forwarding address.

When landlords deduct from your deposit, they will typically include an itemized statement explaining how the deposit was applied. In California, for example, if a landlord deducts any more than $126, they must provide receipts for their deductions.

Landlords can’t deduct from your deposit for any old reason; there has to be a legit circumstance. The rules may vary from city to city (or state to state), so read up on what your landlord can and can’t do in your area. But, in general, here are some things landlords can deduct from your deposit.

Nonpayment of rent

Unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit many tenants hard, rendering them unable to pay rent. Some landlords and management companies have offered rent relief, but others have claimed that unpaid rent is unpaid rent. In this situation, landlords can collect unpaid rent—and late fees—from your deposit as necessary.

“Rent that is not paid is considered damages when a tenant vacates,” says Eric Drenckhahn, a real estate investor and property manager, who runs the blog NoNonsenseLandlord.com. “A tenant cannot use the damage deposit to pay their rent without the landlord’s approval, but a landlord can deduct it for nonpayment after a tenant has left.”

Unpaid utilities

Forgetting to pay your utility bill happens. But if you pay for things like trash and water through your property management company, be aware that your landlord could tap your security deposit to cover any bills you missed.

Tolchinsky says there is no black and white law on this, but it is possible. It all depends on the terms of your lease and local rules governing the jurisdiction that you reside in.

Abnormal cleaning costs

If you left the place trashed and filthy, expect your landlord to dig into your deposit. Landlords can deduct from your deposit for excessive dirtiness, beyond normal cleaning costs.

Drenckhahn says the place should be “broom clean,” or as clean as when you moved in.

“Dirt and grease left behind is not wear and tear,” says Drenckhahn. “Examples of excessive dirtiness includes removing stains from the carpet, replacing the carpet due to a cat using a closet for a litter box, or replacing door trim due to cat scratches.”

Doing a little cleaning before leaving isn’t a bad idea, but it doesn’t guarantee it’ll save your security deposit.

Tolchinksy says if a tenant hires a professional cleaner, rents a steam cleaner, or buys paint to paint the walls, he or she “should maintain all invoices and receipts” to provide proof to the landlord.

Damage to the property

Security deposit laws allow a landlord to deduct from a security deposit for any damage. This is different from normal wear and tear, such as faded paint or worn carpet that is naturally occurring and not due to the tenant. Examples of damage to the property include a broken bathroom vanity, cracked kitchen countertop, or broken doors.

Tolchinsky says it’s a good idea for a tenant to request a move-in and a move-out checklist and document by pictures and video the condition of the apartment.

Items left behind

Packing and moving everything you own is a huge undertaking. But regardless of how exhausted you are, don’t leave any items behind; it could be a costly mistake.

“Mattresses and box springs left behind are expensive to get rid of, and you will be charged accordingly,” says Drenckhahn. “It is not unusual to be charged $50 or more for each piece.”

If you do need to get rid of a bunch of large items, hire a junk hauling company, try to sell them online, or look into donating them to charity.

Breaking the lease

In some circumstances, breaking your lease is the only option. But breaking your lease early makes it less likely that you will reunite with your deposit.

A landlord can keep all, or part, of your deposit to cover costs if you break your lease early, per landlord-tenant state laws and what’s written in your lease contract. If you can, try to move when your lease is up.

“In my places, you are required to be out by 10 a.m. There is no late checkout, as I have tenants generally moving in the next day,” says Drenckhahn. “When you have the place clean, and even move out a few days early, it’s very easy to refund 100% of the damage deposit.”

Source: realtor.com

5 Rude Awakenings You’ll Experience Moving to the Burbs

You moved to the suburbs for a reason. You didn’t go there naively. You knew it would be different. It was clear from the start that you would trading your innovative restaurants, exciting nightlife, and cool cultural attractions for more space and, well, mostly the extra space.

But there are other things you may not see coming. I am here to warn you about the rude awakenings you’ll experience when you leave city living for the burbs.

Some streets don’t have sidewalks

Nice, but where the hell are the sidewalks?
Nice, but where the hell are the sidewalks?

The Odyssey Online

So we’re walking to Trader Joe’s (because we’re still holding out on buying a car), enjoying the springlike weather and sunshine when all of a sudden, we cross the street and boom: no sidewalk. The lawns go right up to the street with no  friendly path to guide our way.

How does this happen? How do you build an entire neighborhood of houses and not include a strip of concrete where people can walk without getting hit by a car? What is happening in these sidewalk-less neighborhoods? Do the kids just never visit one another? Do you walk in the street or on people’s lawns? Regardless, I feel like we’re taking our life in our hands.

It’s a driver’s world and pedestrians had better watch their butts

Get outta the street!
Get outta the street!

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The mysterious disappearance of sidewalks is just the first sign that you have no business walking around in public. There’s a new world order out here, and we pedestrians are no longer in charge.

In the city, there are so many people walking everywhere the cars have to drive more slowly and carefully. We vastly outnumber drivers, but not so in the suburbs. Drivers don’t expect to see people using their legs to get places. You are a novelty, with your “I’ll just walk the five blocks to the movie theater.” And you’d better be aware of drivers’ unawareness of you or you’ll get mowed down, fast.

Panda, move!
Panda, move!

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It’s nothing personal. It’s just that drivers are totally not expecting you to be out there. You’re like deer to them. They’re driving along and all of a sudden, OMG, person! What the hell is she doing out here, trying to cross the street? Doesn’t she know? It’s a STREET.

You will get lost in the supermarket

Where am I, even?
Where am I, even?

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They’re huge here. They carry everything, and yet you can’t find anything, partly because you’re spending a half-hour in front of the vast pasta aisle unable to make a choice. Grocery shopping in the suburbs becomes a huge time suck, because you have to cover so much ground to find anything and there are way too many distractions.

But there is so much food here!
But there is so much food here!

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Where are the green onions? Hey, look, fresh guava! Why can’t I find coconut oil anywhere? Oooh, a whole shelf of Sriracha!

The mall will suck you in and make you its own

Let's go to the mall!
Let’s go to the mall!

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Enjoy your limited days of being “too cool” for mall shopping, because it’s only a matter of time before you have to replace a broken wine glass. Or you’re just curious and want to indulge in a totally self-conscious ironic afternoon at the mall, as in, “haha, let’s do the mall today, stroll under the artificial lighting, and see what’s 40% off at Banana Republic.” (Answer: everything.) Because the trajectory beam of the mall will draw you in, sooner or later. And you’ll kind of like it, because all the stores are there and you have your Godiva right across from your Teavana. And then you’ll hate yourself for liking it. But you’ll go anyway, again and again. Who are you, anymore? Shh, shh, baby. It’s all right. There’s a sale on hurricane lamps at Crate & Barrel.

People are so gosh darn nice all the time

Well hello there!
Well hello there!

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Prepare yourself for this, because it’s going to throw you the first few times and you won’t even know how to respond: The people in your neighborhood may be nice. Like, sincerely friendly and helpful. The office staff at the doctor’s office. The shopkeepers. People who have no business being so nice. What is with all the smiling and hopes that I have a good experience in the waiting room?

I can do this smiling thing.
I can do this smiling thing.

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Don’t worry, you’ll adjust to this culture shock. Just surrender to it all. Stop worrying and learn to love the mall, the huge supermarkets, the kindness. Just be really careful crossing the street, OK? All that niceness ends once people get behind the wheel.

Source: realtor.com