Lauren Brooks' Blog
For most people, the idea of moving conjures up dread and stress. There are things to sort, boxes to pack, fears that the dishes might get broken because you didn't add enough padding to keep them safe, and concern that you'll lose something, miss something, forget something.
But moving doesn't have to be all stress and bother. You can make a game of moving and have some fun while you do it. Look for the easiest ways to arrange things so that both packing and unpacking go more quickly.
- One down - leave things as they are: If your dressers are full of clothes, instead of removing the clothes and repacking them in boxes. Just leave them in the drawers. Grab some plastic wrap—available at most moving rentals stores, big box DIY stores, and office supply outlets—and wrap the furniture to hold the drawers in place. If you're not sure how to complete this yourself, ask your movers to wrap it for you. And use a garment box for hanging clothes. Just grab a group of hangars and move them from the closet onto the bar in the box. They’re all set to transfer back into the new closet.
- Two or more - leave utensils and flatware in their trays. Find boxes that will fit the whole tray but slip a plastic or paper shopping bag over the entire thing before you slide it in the box. That way, the bag holds the items in the tray and protects one tray from rubbing on another. When you get to the new home, just move the trays directly into the new drawers. Easy as pie!
- Three to go - Race to see who can fill the most boxes. Give kids easier options such as games and books and other flat objects that fit into boxes easily. And have a bigger box for stuffed animals and dolls.
- Four on the floor - use smaller boxes. A tendency for novice movers is to fill large boxes that are then impossible to move. The problem is, you often fill large boxes with a mixture of things that may not even belong in the same room, merely to fill the box. Using smaller boxes more strategically might give you more boxes overall, but will save you time, effort, and an aching back when you reach your destination. Label each box as you go, then stack them like a Jenga puzzle until moving day.
- Five-minute rule - if you're trying to pack yet keep your regular life flowing smoothly, spend just five minutes at a time packing. Grab a packing box and fill it up, then go back to putting on makeup or finish your workout.
If moving seems daunting to you, download a moving app to help you stay organized and keep you moving.
The millionaire lifestyle conjures up visions of luxurious Country French-style mansions nestled in verdant estates at the end of a mile-long tree-lined drive, their arching bows of blossoms dipping overhead as you pass through in your top-down convertible. And that lifestyle is a perfectly pleasant way to live. But is it your way to live?
Luxury comes in small packages too
You have finally made it all the way to the top in your industry, received that windfall, won the lottery, sold your IPO … now you are ready to live the good life, but the idea of whiling away your time idly by the duck pond on the back side of your newly purchased acreage gives you pause. You've been striving toward a goal for a long time, and now that you've reached it, you're not sure it's exactly what you want, but sitting around at home most likely isn't it.
Do not force yourself into believing that the only way to live rich is in a large estate. If you love an active urban life now, you'll love it even more when you can fully enjoy it. Instead of moving out to the country, consider opting for a luxury condominium or townhome instead.
Sure, you’re giving up the rolling hills, bowing trees and the like, but you’re gaining access to all the things you want: gourmet food, good friends, great entertainment, grand shopping all at your doorstep in a high-rise condo, boutique flat or an imposing townhouse near to all the things you've grown to love.
Modern luxury condominiums offer premium options such as security, concierge service, valet parking, security, housekeeping, and staff to handle your dry-cleaning and package delivery. Some luxury buildings go so far as to offer membership in jet clubs—use of private jets, sort of like upscale limo service for longer trips. And many luxury associations offer limo and private driver service as well.
Building amenities may include indoor, outdoor, and rooftop pools, steam rooms and saunas, fully-staffed spas, on-premises sommeliers and private wine-cellars. Some locations offer larger private dining rooms—chef included—for entertaining large groups while others provide children's play areas and teen game rooms.
When you want to have overnight guests, some buildings provided guest apartments for short-term rental. Your guest has all the privacy of a hotel, but proximity to your residence and its amenities.
To find an agent specializing in luxury condominiums, check with your local real estate broker.
It is a fact that people who plan carefully to own a home will run into fewer financial issues later. So, if you want to buy a property now or sometime in the future, your first step should be to check your credit. It is a good idea to review your credit reports and scores from time to time, even if you are not buying the house or applying for a mortgage immediately.
Your Credit Scores
Nowadays, most lenders use a FICO score when determining whether to offer you a loan or not, as well as in setting the rate and terms. Different lenders may use different credit scoring formulas, so your score can vary based on what type of scoring model the mortgage lender uses whether Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion FICO score.
The scoring system is dynamic so that your score changes as the information in your credit report changes.
Ways of Getting Your Credit Score
There are many ways of accessing a credit score, and some of them are free. However, most organizations that provide free credit scores do so using different scoring methods than what the lenders' actually use.
The four ways to obtain a score:
1. Evaluate your credit card or another account statement - Most big credit card companies and some financial institutions, as well as credit unions, have started the service of providing credit scores to all their customers every month for free. The score is often written on your monthly statement or can be found by logging in to your online account.
2. Consult with a non-profit adviser - Non-profit credit advisers and HUD-approved housing counselors can provide you with a free credit report in most cases and score and even assist you in reviewing them. A counselor may help you to buy a home, but we recommend you reach out to your reliable real estate agent who is more experienced and understands the job well than a mere counselor.
3. Buy a score - Credit reporting companies will sell your scores to you directly. You can also buy a FICO credit score at myfico.com. These credit scores are often different from your free ones and can be more accurate to what your lender sees. Don't get sucked into paying for extra features with your credit report such as identity theft monitoring, credit protection, or other services offered at the time of purchase.
4. Credit score services - Several websites offer a free credit score service. Some of these websites may be funded through advertising while others may require that you register for a credit monitoring service where you pay a monthly subscription fee to get your free score.
Be aware that some of these services are usually advertised as free trial offers, and will start charging you a monthly fee if you don't cancel within the first week or month. Before you register for a service, ensure you know how much it really costs and how long the free period lasts.
Your Credit Score Matters
Everybody is entitled to shop around for the best mortgage for their financial situation no matter their credit score. So, checking your credit history, fixing any mistakes, and knowing your credit scores will make you most suitable for getting a mortgage to buy a property for yourself.
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If you own lots of items and plan to buy a house in the foreseeable future, now may be a good time to list any unwanted items online. That way, you can simultaneously eliminate clutter and earn extra cash for your excess items.
Ultimately, selling items online before you pursue a home can be simple – here are three tips to help you showcase your unwanted items online to dozens of potential buyers.
1. Provide Relevant Information in Your Item Listings
Find out as much as you can about any items you decide to list online. Because the more information you can provide to prospective buyers, the easier it becomes for a buyer to determine whether a particular item is the right choice.
There is no need to stretch the truth in your online item listings, either. If you provide accurate, relevant information, you can help a buyer make an informed decision.
2. Add High-Quality Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for those who list items online. Thus, if you add high-quality photos to complement your online listings, you can instantly show off your items to large groups of prospective buyers.
You don't need to be an expert photographer to take high-quality photographs of your items. If you use a smartphone, tablet or digital camera, you should have no trouble capturing top-notch images that you can upload onto a computer without delay. Then, you can add these photos to your item listings and help buyers see exactly what you have to offer.
3. Be Ready to Respond to Concerns and Questions
If a buyer has a concern or question about an online item listing, you should be ready to quickly connect with this individual and provide him or her with the requested information. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the process of getting rid of unwanted items.
As you start selling items online and get ready to search for a house, you may want to find a real estate agent as well. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert housing market assistance as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.
A real estate agent is happy to guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey. First, he or she will help you craft an effective homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and meet your desired criteria. Furthermore, if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if your offer is approved, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can finalize your home purchase as soon as possible.
Don't wait to get started on the homebuying journey – reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest for your dream house.