How to Sell a House That Still Has a Mortgage Left on It

How to Sell a House That Still Has a Mortgage Left on It

Most people won’t live in the same home for 30 years, the typical life of a mortgage loan. So, when it comes time to sell, many homeowners still have mortgage debt to deal with. Is this a problem? What happens to your mortgage when you sell your home?

Once you sign your name on a mortgage loan, you are responsible for the money—no one else. This means that you must pay it back, which you can do with the money you gain from selling your home.

The truth of the matter is that selling a house with a mortgage is a common occurrence.  Consult with your mortgage lender and your real estate agent to find out how you can sell a home with a mortgage. Here are a few tips that they might share with you.

Check Your Mortgage

The first step to selling a house with a mortgage is to contact your mortgage lender and ask about your current mortgage. You want to know:

  • Your current mortgage payoff amount
  • Your due-on-sale clauses

Your mortgage payoff amount is the exact amount of money, including accrued interest that you owe to the bank. This amount is typically good for 10-30 days and represents the outstanding loan balance that you must pay. The last thing you want to do is default on your mortgage.

The due-on-sale clauses reveal the exact rules of how to sell a house you still owe money on. It covers such information as when the paid-in-full loan is due and what the process is, including any fees. The clauses won’t tell you who you can or can’t sell your home to, but they may need some additional information about the buyer’s mortgage lender. Be sure to ask any questions you might have about these clauses, so you have a full understanding before you take the plunge and start your sale.

Selling Your Home

Once you know the ins and outs of your loan terms, it’s time to get to selling a house with a mortgage, which can get slightly complicated. First, you’ll want to work with a title company.

If your current lender doesn’t set you up with a title company, you can hire an agent on your own. This agent will be responsible for ensuring that there are no issues with your property’s title, and act as the intermediary throughout the entire purchase and sale process.

Here’s what happens to your mortgage when you sell your home and use a title company:

  • The title agent holds the money from the new buyer during the sale
  • After you sign all the documents at the closing table, the title agent uses the sale money to pay your current mortgage holder
  • Once the amount has been paid, the title transfers to the buyer and you, as the seller, are given the leftover money (minus various fees)

If the sale covers the full cost of the current loan, it’s a fairly smooth process. However, if you owe more than your home is actually worth—negative equity—there could be some trouble. In that case, you’ll have to work out a deal with your lender for a reduced payoff amount, or you may need to refinance and stay in your home for longer than you planned.

In the end, selling a home with a mortgage shouldn’t be a problem. The most important thing is to know your options, so that you can make the right decisions.

For help throughout the entire selling process, visit www.coldwellbanker.com and find a real estate agent near you.

How to Choose the Right Pet Door for Your Home

Installing a pet door in your home can remove a little hassle from your daily life by allowing your pet to come and go freely. So how do you choose the right pet door for your home? Here are a few steps that will guide you through the process:

Step 1: Decide on a Budget
Like any other purchase, there are going to be varying costs associated with a pet door. Are you going to hire a pro or install the door yourself? If you’re handy around the house, you can probably handle cutting the opening in a door. It’s always a good idea to call a pro to handle in-wall installations — even if you have the experience. Accidentally cutting wires, pipes or important structural features can severely damage your home.

Keep in mind that pet doors are going to range in price from as low as $30 for the traditional flap and smaller plastic door models, to upwards of $600 for larger doors and electronic/magnetic models.

Step 2: Choose a Location
Many homeowners install their pet doors on a patio or mudroom door. There are also in-wall pet doors that are perfect for homeowners with unusual door locations.

Step 3: Pick a Type of Door
Pet doors range from traditional flaps to magnetic or electronic doors. Here’s a brief rundown of your options:

  • Flaps: There are no frills with this option. The flap is made of screen mesh and does not close tightly against the door or side of your home. Your pet uses the door by simply walking through it.
  • Plastic Doors: These models work like a flap, pushing open from either side as your pet comes and goes. The major difference with this model is the rigid design and the ability to lock these in place overnight to prevent other critters from coming in.
  • Magnetic/Electronic Doors: This option requires an electronic dog collar in order to work. As your dog approaches, the door will unlock or even open automatically.

These are the best models when it comes to convenience and safety.

Step 4: Measure Your Pet
To find the right door size, measure your dog’s width around the chest and its height from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the chest or belly. With this figure in mind, add one to two inches to each measurement to find the proper door size. Keep in mind that the size of door you purchase can have an impact on its placement. If you have a large dog, there may not be a pet door big enough for certain types of storm doors or single-door patio doors.

Step 5: Don’t Just Focus on Your Pet
There are additional pitfalls that come from the convenience of installing a pet door in your home. Dog doors make it difficult to control the movement of your dog, which is a bad thing if your pet is sick or dirty. Additionally, a dog door could give unwanted animals access to your home. Larger dog doors can also cause problems for your home’s energy efficiency.

Selling? Low-Cost Home Improvement Fixes that Make Your Home Shine

When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:

1. Address the Heart of the Home

In real estate, the kitchen is the main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:

  • New cabinet hardware
  • New faucets
  • Installing a new backsplash
  • Storing countertop appliances to create more workspace
  • Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether

2. Update Switch Plate Covers

Switchplate and outlet covers are brittle and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.

3. Beautify the Bathroom

An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.

New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much-needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.

4. Address Storage

Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.

5. Deep Clean for a Good Return

If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor-free environment for buyers to tour.

6. Boost Curb Appeal

Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.

7. Improve the First Impression

As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.

8. Add a Coat of Paint

Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.

9. Update Lighting

While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.

10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz

Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked.

How to Get Wood Flooring on Any Budget

Hardwood flooring is often considered a must-have feature by new homeowners or those undertaking a remodeling project. Wood is a natural, renewable resource. Plus, wood flooring complements all types of home decor, from traditional to contemporary. The downside is that wood floors, especially solid wood floors, can be expensive. Some exotic wood species, such as Brazilian walnut, can cost more than $15 per square foot — and that doesn’t include installation labor. However, you can find alternatives that give you the look of real wood at a reduced price — some as low as $2 or $3 per square foot. Here are some of the best budget-friendly hardwood floor choices.

Calculating the Overall Price

The products listed below go from most expensive to least expensive, but there’s a lot of overlap among the categories. For example, some solid wood products are less expensive than some luxury vinyl tiles. Before you make your final decision, factor in the cost of professional installation, which can add as much as $3 to $10 per square foot to the total cost of a flooring project. Some of the items that can drive up installation costs include:

• Removing and disposing of the old flooring
• Repairing the subfloor when necessary
• The size and shape of the room(s)
• Stair installation

If you’re an experienced DIYer, you can save money by installing the floors yourself. Beginners should leave the job to the professionals, though — you may end up making mistakes that are even more expensive to fix. 

Solid Wood 

This is usually the most expensive option, but there are ways to reduce the cost, especially in the long run. When properly maintained, solid wood flooring will last as long as the house stands. You can freshen up the look at any time by sanding away the old finish and restaining and sealing the floor.  

Some wood species are more expensive than others. Fortunately, many of the most common types, such as oak or maple, fall into the low- to mid-range of costs. Solid wood products can come finished or unfinished. If the floor is unfinished, the installer will stain and seal the floor once it is in place, which adds to the installation costs. On the flip side, the prefinished product may cost more up front. 

Engineered Wood 

These products are constructed of multiple thin layers of material that are bonded together under pressure. The top layer is made from a familiar wood species — such as oak or maple — and is usually treated with a factory-applied finish that resists dirt and scuff marks. Engineered wood floors are less likely than solid wood to wrap and twist because of moisture and humidity, so they can be installed in basements and bathrooms. Some products feature click-in-place installation — no need for adhesives or fasteners — which is an easier, faster installation method perfect for DIYers. However, a vapor barrier needs to be installed or attached to the flooring.

Bamboo 

Bamboo floors are manufactured to either look like traditional wood flooring or showcase their distinctive grass-like look. Some bamboo products are harder than solid wood flooring. They are strong and long-lasting, but are easy to scratch and are not recommended for areas prone to moisture. Bamboo is a type of grass and grows to maturity much more quickly than trees do, which makes it a sustainable, eco-friendly option. Click-in-place installation is available for some products. 


Porcelain Tile 


New porcelain tiles can be made to look like anything, including real wood. Some products are available in planks that have a wood-like texture. Porcelain tiles are an inexpensive, easy way to achieve a “reclaimed” wood look — many tiles mimic the texture and color variation of aged planks. As with regular tiles, they are durable and can be used in wet areas, including bathrooms. They are also stain-resistant and much easier to clean than real wood — spills wipe up quickly, and using just water and a mild soap makes them shine. Porcelain tiles must be installed using mortar and grout. 

Luxury Vinyl Tile 


As with porcelain tiles, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) can look like wood and come in traditional-style planks. LVTs are thicker and more durable than standard vinyl. They are usually waterproof, are easier to clean than true hardwoods, and can be installed in any room in the house. To prolong their durability, many LVTs are treated to resist color fading and scratches.

Laminate 

Laminate floors are composed of a high-density hardboard core protected by a melamine layer that can be made to look like anything — including real wood. The top layer protects against dirt and scuff marks, but the material should not be installed in rooms that are exposed to moisture. Click-in-place installation is available. 

Hardwood flooring is a classic, timeless look that fits a wide range of design options. Thanks to today’s selection of flooring products, it’s easy to get a wood look at a lower cost. When making your final decision, be sure to include both the material costs and the installation costs. That way, you’ll get the look you want at a budget-friendly price. 

Stages of Buying a Home

It may be a goal you have had since childhood. Perhaps, you have rented for most of your adult life and now want to experience the joys and satisfaction of home ownership. Buying a home is a big step and requires a lot of important decisions along the way. With some advanced planning and research, you can be sure your home purchase is something you feel good about for many years ahead. Here are the basic steps that lead you to a successful transaction.

Understanding What You Can Afford
This is different from qualifying for a loan. This is calculating how much of your budget you will devote to your home and how much money you want for other things. For a person who values travel, they can afford more house than they should buy. Some of their money will go toward accommodations on the road or other travel expenses. If you love fishing, boating, or a hobby such as restoring classic cars, factor the required budget for your preferred pastime into your overall household budget. With that in mind, think twice about buying a home the bank says you can afford. You will be happiest in the home that allows you to enjoy life to its fullest.

Review Your Credit Report
Know your credit score prior to meeting with any loan officers or mortgage brokers. A lower score will result in a higher interest rate and possibly prevent you from qualifying for the loan you want. It can take several months to correct any errors in your report. By reviewing your report a few months before home shopping, you could save yourself several thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Choosing Your Professionals
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advises potential homebuyers to attend a homeownership education class prior to choosing a mortgage. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established to help protect consumers from predatory lending and mandates all required information about your loan and real estate transaction be written in clear, easy to understand wording. It is an excellent resource for home buyers.

Take time to interview several loan professionals before signing with one. You can be pre-qualified by your bank or any loan company. That does not obligate you to choose them for your home loan. Discuss your goals with a Coldwell Banker® brand agent. They are here to consult with you at each step of the process. Also, it is a good idea to know who will be your attorney for the closing. Many builders want you to close the transaction with their attorney. As the home buyer, it is your right to choose the attorney who will represent you in the closing.

Choosing Your Home
Once you are pre-qualified, you are ready to begin shopping for your new home. For most buyers who plan to purchase with a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, there are few restrictions on the houses they view. If you will be using a FHA loan, USDA home loan, or other special financing, you can only consider homes that qualify for these programs. HUD has incentives for first-time buyers and community servants like firefighters, teachers, and law enforcement officers. To see if you qualify for special financing, and to learn if there are any Good Neighbor Next Door homes available in your area, consult with a Coldwell Banker® brand agent.

Take your lifestyle and future plans into consideration as you view homes. If you plan to move in a few years, you may want to choose a simple, easily affordable home that will always be in demand and fairly easy to sell. It is best to have a second and third choice in mind that you can go to if you have to walk away from negotiations on your first choice.

Negotiating the Contract
Buying a home is an emotional experience. Trust your home buying expert with Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC for guidance. They work with lenders, home sellers, and other real estate agents every day. They will advise you on negotiation strategies and be there to provide objective advice that protects your best interest in the transaction. Most contracts have contingencies, and the negotiation is not complete until all contingencies are met.

Home Inspection
A thorough home inspection by a certified professional is crucial for any home purchase. You should attend the inspection and feel free to ask questions about any areas of concern. Once you have received the home inspection report, your Coldwell Banker brand agent will review it with you. You may choose to ask the seller to make some needed repairs, negotiate a lower price, or accept the report and move forward with the transaction as it is.

The Closing
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires that lenders provide home buyers with as accurate of a good faith estimate as possible and that they disclose the nature of all cost. It also prohibits kickbacks and other unlawful payments among real estate professionals and lenders. The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule combines forms required by the Truth in Lending Act, also known as Regulation Z, and the Real Estate Procedures Act, known as Regulation X, into one simple form. This new document replaces the final document required by the TILA and the HUD-1. You have three days to review and discuss it with your Coldwell Banker brand agent.

For any changes in amounts before or after closing, the lender must provide you with a corrected Closing Disclosure showing the actual amounts. All financial figures must be documented in writing and not delivered verbally. With sufficient communications prior to closing, you know the amount of certified funds (if any) you need to bring to closing. You can relax, sign the necessary paperwork, and receive the keys to your new home.

Wedding Registries: Financial Saviors for Young Homeowners

You’ve gotten engaged and are starting to plan a wedding—congratulations! If you and your partner already own a home together, the expense of a wedding can be a stretch on the household budget. The good news is that wedding gifts can help defray these costs. Curating a carefully-planned registry can provide a financial boost to homeowners building their lives together. Here are some of our top tips for creating a financially-savvy wedding registry.

Take Stock of Your Guest List

While you don’t need to have an exact headcount when you create your registry, it’s a good idea to have a basic sense of how many people you’ll be inviting to your event. Try to register for approximately 25% more items than guests so people will feel like they have a choice. So, for every 100 guests, select about 125 items. Hosting an intimate wedding with fewer than 20 guests requires a very different registry than a large affair with 200 or more attendees. Keep the number of items on your registry properly scaled to the number of people purchasing gifts, and you’re more likely to get the variety of items you need.

Prioritize According to Need

Couples who already own a home together likely have a lot of the necessities of furnishing a home. Take stock of the gaps and consider what you and your future spouse will really need and use after the big day. Prioritize those items, then fill out your list with some “nice-to-haves” at a range of price points.

For the biggest financial boost, consider high-quality pieces that will last decades. This could mean choosing dinnerware and serving pieces you’ll use every day, instead of kitchen towels and spatulas that are more likely to wear out after a year or two. You also don’t necessarily need to register for a complete set of formal bone china if you have no plans to host regular dinner parties.

Add Something Special

Think carefully about the activities you both enjoy. A registry could be the chance to get that special item that would be a big splurge if you bought it yourself. Are you both wine aficionados or coffee buffs? Consider registering for that wine cellar or automatic espresso machine you’ve been eyeing. Love movie nights? A popcorn maker and matching ceramic bowls could be perfect additions to your list. Finally, with group gifting becoming more and more popular, you can feel free to add bigger ticket items to your registry, including stand mixers, specialty cookware and even furniture.

Consider Gift Cards

Another approach to get the best financial benefit from your wedding registry? Think gift cards! This is a great way for guests to contribute to a group gift that you can use in your new life together without giving cash. If you and your future spouse have your heart set on a bigger bed, a new sectional sofa or an updated media stand, look into adding retailer-specific gift cards to your registry. Include a message on how you plan to use any gift cards to give guests a more tangible sense of how their gift will be enjoyed.

Remember to Have Fun

Overall, remember to have fun as you and your future spouse choose the items you’d like to share during your lives together. Prioritize practical items that fit with your daily activities and hobbies, and be sure to add a few “nice-to-haves” as well. Look for high-quality pieces that are likely to stand the test of time, and don’t be afraid to ask for larger gifts to accommodate group gifting.

Top 10 Damaged Items When Moving & How to Protect Them

 

Nearly 40 million of us move in the summer and begin to plan in the spring. If you are moving this season, we want to help you protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!

Before you start to pack, make a game plan. Which of your items are fragile? What will you need to pack them? We’ve seen some folks pack themselves so, unfortunately, we know which household items are most likely to break and typically aren’t packed properly. We have compiled a list of the top 10 items damaged when moving. It’s surprising what items make the list. Not only have we compiled the most breakable list, we’ve included tips on how to protect them properly so you can “break” this pattern. 

1. Drinking Glasses

It is no surprise glasses are the #1 breakable. But, with simple steps you can ensure they arrive in one piece.

Protect: One of the key factors to keeping your glasses and wine glasses from breaking or getting crushed is using the proper box. Use a “dishpack” box that  has double thick walls for extra protection. Place a glass on packing paper horizontally. Grab a corner of the packing paper and roll the glass into the paper. Make sure to tuck the sides of the paper in, like you would do wrapping a burrito. Repeat 3-5 times (depending on thickness of glass) with more sheets of packing paper. Make sure to label your glass burrito: “Wine Glass” so it won’t get tossed aside with the packing paper during the unpacking process. Cushion the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Place the wrapped glasses vertically (yes, you read that correctly: VERTICALLY) in one layer in the box. They are much more secure vertically. After completing the first layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Fill all remaining space with crumpled packing paper.

2. Plates

The biggest moving crime — plates are often placed in boxes without enough packing paper. You don’t want to hear the dishes rattle in the box!

Protect: To keep plates from breaking, first wrap each plate in packing paper. Repeat 3-5 times with more sheets of packing paper until the plate is properly secured & cushioned. Label your little plate package: “Plate.” Again, use a secure dishpack box. Always, use plenty of tape on the bottom and tops of every moving box, just don’t use one strip of tape, use multiple strips and run the tape both directions to make sure that box is secure. Before placing any of the wrapped plates in the box, cushion the bottom of box with crippled packing paper. Then place the wrapped plates VERTICALLY in one layer in the box. After completing one layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Once the box is full, fill any remaining space with crumpled packing paper.

3. Artwork

Glass artwork often breaks because there is not enough cushioning in the moving box and the top of the box is left with a gap. The top of the box then collapses and the piece of art breaks.

Protect: To protect artwork from breaking use a picture box. Line the bottom of the box with crumpled paper. Place the glass art in the box, then stuff front, back and along the top with paper and or eco-bubble wrap. You want to be sure the box is completed packed with paper (top, bottom and sides) with no air gaps.

4. Lamp Shades

Lamp shades are an awkward shape and large, making it difficult to pack. If not packed properly, they can easily be dented or torn.

Protect: Wrap the lamp shade in eco-bubble wrap, covering every inch. Then fill the interior cavity of the lamp shade with packing paper (do not use newspaper as the print may rub off onto your lamp shade). Fill the box with enough packing paper to keep the shade from shifting around inside. Do not place anything on top of the shade, not even soft items such as linens. Use only packing paper to secure the lamp shade from shifting.

5. Liquid Cleaning Supplies

Many times homeowners pack bottles of liquid cleaning supplies without sealing them properly. This causes leaks and damages things inside and outside of the box. Do not pack or move flammable supplies!

Protect: First, remove the cap from each bottle and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening. Then tightly screw the cap back on. Use tape again to secure the cap to the bottle. Begin placing the cleaning products in a small book size box and check the weight as you go. You don’t want to pack the box too heavy. When the box is full and not too heavy, place packing paper all around the bottles to keep them from shifting. And, this is important, remember on every box be sure to use more than one strip of tape on the bottom and top of the box and run the tape in multiple directions. When a box is not taped properly, boxes can open at the bottom and spill on the floor. Always, label every box with its contents, room in the new home where the box should go and directional arrows pointing up. Repeat the label on each and every side of the box. You will hate us for this tip while you’re writing and re-writing the same thing over and over again and love us later when you have stacks of boxes and don’t have to turn boxes around to find out what’s what.

 6. Wine & Liquor Bottles:

Again these bottles can easily leak or break, and damage items in and outside of the box.

Protect: Use a divided/cell box you can get free from a specialty wine shop or liquor store, or purchase a cell kit from a moving store. Use smaller boxes so they are easy to lift and carry. Again, be sure you double and even triple tape the bottom of the box. If you’re packing opened bottles, ensure they are properly sealed by tightening the caps. Tape the caps on to the bottles. Roll each bottle in packing paper with 3-4 layers of paper. Secure the wrapping with tape and make sure there are no loose ends. Label the bottle: “Bordeaux.” Finally, place the bottle into the box. If there’s any space or gaps between the bottle and the divider, fill it with paper. Make sure the box is not too heavy.

7. Mirrors

The big mistake with mirrors is that people pack them in picture boxes without any eco-bubble around the mirror. If the front of the mirror faces the wall of the box without protection, it will break.

Protect: Use a flat box or have your movers pack the mirrors in a custom wood crate to provide extra protection. If you’re doing the packing, line the flat box with crushed packing paper to create a padded bed for the mirror. Wrap the mirror completely in multiple sheets of paper or eco-bubble. Tape the wrapping tightly around the mirror and place the mirror in the box. Fill any gaps with more crumpled paper. Only pack one mirror to a box.

8. Glass Pictures

Glass picture frames are easily broken if not packed in the right box. We want to keep those precious memories in one piece!

Protect: Use a picture box. Line the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Wrap each picture frame in packing paper or eco-bubble and pack each frame in the box vertically. Stuff packing paper in between each picture and on top, making sure nothing will shift.

9. Stereo & Audio Equipment:

The reason stereo and audio equipment gets damaged is folks stack a few components in the same box and they do not put any layers of padding in-between the pieces of equipment.

Protect: If possible, pack your stereo equipment in their original cartons. If you did not keep their original boxes, use a dishpak box. Remember, dishpaks are specially designed boxes to handle and protect fragile items. If you can’t find dishpaks, use double corrugated boxes. After double taping the bottom of the box in the both directions, pack the bottom of each box with crumbled packing paper for padding. Wrap each electronic component separately in eco-bubble. Pull the wrap over and tape it all together. Make sure the item is completely covered. Place it up right, vertically in the box. Repeat this process for the next big item then place it vertically in the box next to the first item. Do not stack! Stuff packing paper in open spaces and on top for extra cushion.

10. Books:

This one is a surprising one, but if books are packed improperly they can actually get damaged. When books are placed too tight together the edges get folded and covers get damaged. Also, if books are packed with too many air pockets/gaps inside the box they can shift during transportation and get damaged (smashed corners, wrinkled covers, etc).

Protect: Use a book box. Place books flat, horizontally and stack them with the heaviest books on the bottom and the paperback books on top. Be sure not to make the box too heavy. Pack paper on top and sides if there are any air gaps.

With these steps, your move will be unbreakable! Remember, you can always do some of the packing yourself and leave the rest to the professionals.

Spring-Cleaning Hacks That Will Last All Season

So, it’s that time of year again when we get down on our hands and knees to scrub our home top to bottom. Sponge? Check. Eco-friendly cleaning solutions? Check. Rubber gloves? Check. Ready, set, clean. You step back to admire your hard work only to realize your home doesn’t look any different after hours of scouring.

Avoid the spring-cleaning blues. Put the duster down and actually make a visual difference to your home. Remember that feeling when you just moved in? It’s like a new car smell. Everything had its place, décor was new and you had just what you needed. Find that home again! It’s simply a change of mindset, look beyond the mop to the tasks that will actually transform your home for the entire season. Follow these spring-cleaning hacks to a cleaner, brighter home:

  • Out With the Poinsettias: Replace houseplants with fresh spring plants from a local farmer’s market. Fresh plants help improve the flow of oxygen in your home, bringing in that clean spring-like air.
  • Toss the Pillows: In the spring, it’s time to put heavy fabrics, throw blankets and extra toss pillows in storage. Less things and textures will make you feel cool and clean.
  • Raise Your Kids: Beds, that is. Purchase bed raisers for your kids’ rooms to create under-the-bed storage. You can store everything from shoes, laundry basket, books to any bulky items that might otherwise clutter their room.
  • Sort the Soups: Done with winter’s comfort foods? Sort through your kitchen cabinets and box up canned foods you have not used in three months. Donate them to your local food bank. An organized pantry creates space for fresh spring meals and perhaps a cleaner diet.
  • Seasonal Style Assessment: Take a look at your winter shoes, coats and purses. Will they make it another season? If so, remove them from your closet and put them in storage. If they won’t make it another season, donate them. And, no shopping for new spring clothes! That is until you make room for them. Get rid of an old item for every new item. Then say hello to your organized closet!
  • Clear Clutter Magnets: What are the places in your home that attract the most clutter? By the front door? That special junk drawer? Bedside table? Coat closet? Identify your clutter magnets and pick one per weekend to de-clutter.

To de-clutter, empty everything out and create four piles: keep, give away, throw away and store. If you can’t remember the last time you used something, get rid of it! Only put the items back that you really need. Create “homes” for items that end up attracted to each spot. For example, make a basket for each family member so little Logan has a place to dump his school books when he walks in the door. Stack the baskets close by their former drop spot. Lastly, take a picture of your new “anti-clutter magnet” and place it on the inside of a drawer or underneath a table to refer to, so you can keep it that way! You will be amazed at how happy that clutter-free spot makes you feel every time you walk by.

Now step back, take a deep breath and soak in the clear clean space of your refreshed home. When your friends come over, they will be sure to ask for the name of the cleaning service you used!