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All About Moving: Moving With Kids

by MMRES Team

Moving, no matter the distance, can be confusing for kids. There are a few easy ways to help them understand the process and ease the transition from one home to another. It can be frightening for a child to see his or her toys being boxed up and loaded onto a big truck. They often wonder if they will ever see their belongings again. Letting kids help with packing and labeling their boxes, even decorating the boxes with stickers and crayons, can give them a sense of control and something to look forward to when the truck delivers the items to the new house. Let them choose a few special toys to keep out as travel toys. Take them to see the new house or show them pictures before the move, so they know what lies ahead.

You may also want to enlist some help with childcare (and/or pet care) for moving day. This can make the whole day easier for everyone, including the kids and pets who will have much more fun playing with friends or grandparents than being confined to the only clear area in the house.

Finally, it’s important to show your appreciate to all the folks who help you out with your move. Snacks, cold drinks, and a simple meal are always appreciated. A small tip for hired movers is a good way to say thank you to a great crew.

Moving can be a daunting task, but a little planning can reduce the stress. If you have lingering questions, you can always contact a Marsha Marsh agent. They are happy to help in any way possible! 

All About Moving: Packing and Unpacking

by MMRES Team

Do it right, do it once!
Create a system. Many families use color coding and labeling systems, detailed inventories with serial numbers, and other organization tactics to ensure the easiest possible unpacking process. Try assigning each room a color or labeling certain boxes as “Unpack First”. Some folks prefer to pack each room as it is, while others choose to group like items. Consider what your plans are for your new home. Will you arrange your family room similarly to your current set-up? Or are you more likely to try out some different décor? Questions such as these can help guide your decision as to whether you pack everything from one room together, or pack all your frames and wall art together, knick-knacks together, etc.

Establish a “Do Not Pack” space to store all the items you will carry with you. This is where you can stash a few toys, cleaning supplies, and valuables to be sure they don’t get tossed in boxes. Additionally, you may want to make a “Do Not Pack” list for yourself and anyone who will help you pack. Believe it or not, some families have opened boxes at their new homes to find toilet plungers and brushes, and even bags of trash!

Packing can be a tedious chore and it is tempting to just toss things in a box. Our expert movers remind us that packing smart can save a lot of time and trouble on the other end. Things like large zip-top bags allow for organization and cleanliness of your belongings. Use the smaller gallon-size bags to hold things like silverware and kitchen utensils so you aren’t running your dishwasher as soon as you unpack your kitchen.

When it comes to unpacking, it’s best to be realistic. Of course we would all love to have the whole house unpacked and put together in a day or two, but chances are that’s not going to happen. Instead, set a goal of unpacking one room at a time, focusing on your most-used rooms first. Before you even open a box, try to plan out the placement of various items. For example, some people find it helpful to use sticky notes in the kitchen to label cabinets and drawers. That way, when the unpacking begins, everything already has a place and you don’t wind up with counters full of pots and pans. You can do the same for shelves in linen closets and even placement of furniture to help the movers.

Essentially, some very basic planning can make your whole packing-unpacking experience smooth and stress-free.

All About Moving: Preparing and Planning Ahead

by MMRES Team

Every move is different. You may have a few weeks to plan, or you may have a few months. Perhaps your employer is covering the cost of your relocation. Are you upsizing or downsizing? These are all things to consider when planning your move.

First things first—do your research! Whether it’s a long distance move or a local one, you certainly don’t want to be scrambling for a truck or moving help at the last minute. Talk to friends and family and use tools like online review sites to choose the moving company that will work best for you. If you’re enlisting the help of friends and their trucks, make sure you ask well in advance and stick to your schedule. If you hire movers, ask about having someone come to your home to determine what size truck you will need. Consider your moving costs. Use a tool such as www.realtor.com’s moving cost calculator to establish a general moving budget. This is also a good time to research things like utilities, cable, and internet for your new home. Some companies have moving specials and you might be able to put together a new bundle that saves you some money.

The next step is to take stock of your belongings. We tend to realize just how much stuff we’ve accumulated when it’s time to move. If you’re selling your current home, you’ve probably already begun the de-cluttering process, so you’re off to a great start. But what to do with all that stuff? Yard sales, Craigslist, and consignment shops are great ways to clear out the belongings you no longer use and make a little cash as a bonus. And while you’re eliminating all the stuff you don’t need, try to get a little pre-packing done. Sort through children’s clothing and pack away the items you’re saving for younger siblings. Consolidate and organize like items, because it really is no fun to have a box in each room of your new home with odds and ends hanging out at the bottom. And speaking of odds and ends, clean out that junk drawer now! There really is no point in moving junk from one house to another.

Finally, make a plan and stick to it. Of course, flexibility is crucial, but if you have a plan, you can prepare for your move efficiently and feel confident and ready to go when moving day arrives. Try tackling one or two rooms a week, creating an inventory of your belongings, and setting up child and pet care for the day of the move. 

All About Moving

by MMRES Team

With the school year winding down and warmer weather on the horizon, prime moving season is about to return for another year. And while the prospect of starting fresh in a new home is exciting, the truth is that moving, whether across town or across the country, is stressful. As if the process of buying a new home or finding that perfect rental weren’t intense enough, you now have to get all of your belongings from one home to another. Planning and executing a move can be overwhelming, and children and pets add a whole new dimension to the process, but Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services is ready to give you plenty of advice to help make your move as smooth as possible.

We thought it would be helpful to gather a few moving tips from some of the most experienced movers out there—military families! These folks pick up and move every few years, all over the country and the world, often with very little notice as to where they are actually headed, yet they manage to transition from one house, school, and town to the next over and over again. Many families have developed their own systems and tricks to streamline the process.

We’ll break it down into a few distinct stages of the move:

Prepping for your Open House

by MMRES Team

An Open House is a lot like a job interview. Even the most qualified candidate needs to make a great first impression. When you're ready to have an Open House, you might want to take the following tips into consideration to make it a success.

  1. We say it all the time, and we just can't say it enough: clean, clean, clean! Don't forget the refrigerator, freezer, oven, cabinets, and closets. Empty the trash cans, scrub the tub, and clean the windows.
  2. Now that you're house is spic-and-span, you'll want it to stay that way for the whole Open House. Consider placing a doormat just inside the door and even some disposable shoe covers to protect your floors from the slush and muck outside.
  3. You'll want the house to smell nice, but not overwhelming. A batch of cookies or a freshly brewed pot of coffee is warm and inviting. Brand new air fresheners in every room might distract buyers.
  4. Remove yourself. This is more than just staying out of the house for a few hours. Tuck away toothbrushes, family photos, refrigerator artwork, and the family calendar. This not only helps buyers envision themselves living in the home, it also protects your privacy!
  5. With a solid blanket of snow on the ground, there's only so much you can do for the sake of curb appeal right now, but don't let potential buyers trudge through snow and slush right up to your front door. A neatly shoveled walk and porch will help make a great first impression.

Thinking about purchasing?

by MMRES Team

Perhaps you're ready to start house hunting and you're new to the process. Not sure what to look for in a house or what questions to ask at a showing? Let us help you get prepared.

  • Establish a relationship with a reliable REALTOR® who will look out for your best interests and help you find the home that best fits your needs.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. You don't want to fall in love with a home you can't afford.
  • Get to know the market so you can be a more informed buyer.
  • Keep in mind that there is rarely a "perfect" home. Compromise is part of the process, but you will find a home you love.
  • Don't hesitate to ask questions! Depending on your situation, you may be interested in updates or upgrades that have been made, whether or not there are schools and/or other children in the neighborhood, or issues that may make the home ineligible for a VA or FHA loan. Don't forget to ask about the Seller's Disclosure, comparables in the neighborhood, and the general condition of the home. 

If you want more information about buying or selling a home, take a look at our Buyer's Guide and Seller's Guide on our website or contact an agent who will be happy to answer all of your questions.

 

Click to Download our BUYER'S GUIDE

Click to Download our SELLER'S GUIDE

What can you do to help your house sell?

by MMRES Team

You may be wondering, "What can I do to help my house sell?" or, "Why is it so important to have an Open House?" Here's what our agents have to say:

  • Take a look at your home as if you were a buyer. Even the tiniest details count, so once you're left with nothing to nitpick, you know your home is market ready!
  • When it comes to pricing your home, it's important to be realistic and flexible. Price according to what the market dictates, and be ready to negotiate.
  • Enlist the help of professionals! A qualified agent, a good home-stager, and folks who can take care of any maintenance issues properly will make your home stand out.
  • An Open House offers many advantages when selling your home. It means better exposure to a wider audience. Curious neighbors might decide your home is fantastic and start talking about it to their friends and family. Folks who are looking at homes casually may drop in and fall in love with yours. An Open House also allows buyers to take their time and really get a feel for the house, more so than if they were checking out photos online or going on a tour of scheduled showings.

​​You can learn more about our agents by click here. 

What to do if you are thinking about a move

by Nanci Lorei, REALTOR®

Sellers: 

Talk to your favorite REALTOR® early. Get the best advice about how to prepare your home for the market, so that you get the best price and sell it in YOUR time frame. Homes that sell fast with competing offers are the ones that are priced right when they come on the market and are clean, well decorated and maintained.  It doesn’t work nearly as well to start high and then reduce the price later. If you think some updates may be needed, get some advice before you spend a lot of money. Your REALTOR® will know which improvements bring the best return or help your home sell quicker. Download our Sellers Guide for more tips to optimize your properties potential.

  1. De-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. People who look at your home may want to buy it if they can picture living there. Help them to “mentally move in” by having less personal stuff around the house. When my family moved a few years ago, we rented a storage unit and moved things out. That was a big help. We were going to have to pack it anyway, might as well do it earlier. Let me know if you need our “Prepare and Stage Your Home” flyer.
  2. Checks and balances. You will want to know for sure what the balances are on any loans you might have. Some homeowners forget that a loan they got in the past used their home as collateral. Those loans are liens on the property and must be paid off when it is sold.
  3. Ask your REALTOR® about your local market. What is your competition? How long do homes in your neighborhood take to sell? What price have other homes sold for? Which amenities or improvements will make the most difference to the buyers that will view and consider your home?

Buyers:

Connect with your REALTOR® early in the process. You need to prepare for a mortgage with a fair amount of documentation. Get that list from your lender early so you can be ready. Also, start viewing homes by email and online, so you can learn the market and feel more ready when you are set to start your actual search.

  1. Get pre-approved with a reputable LOCAL lender. And do it way earlier than you think you need to. It is surprising how many people find mistakes in their credit history and those take a while to correct. Your REALTOR® will have names of some good lenders that you trust.
  2. Leave enough time. Mortgage processes are longer than before. Most lenders want 45 to 60 days to get your loan closed. Maybe you will find just the right house quickly or maybe it will take a while.
  3. Needs and Wants: Decide which features are “must haves” and which features are on your “wish list”. You probably won’t get EVERYTHING you want but if you prioritize early, deciding between the top contenders will be easier.

All in all, 2014 is shaping up to be a great time to move. An improving economy, reasonable home prices and low interest rates all point to an improving housing market. If you have been putting off a move, this could be the year!

I hope you have enjoyed my tips and resources. If you’re thinking about buying or selling real estate, I would be more than happy to set a free, no obligation consultation with you at my office at 8840 Peach Street. Email me at Nanci.Lorei@MarshaMarsh.com, like my Fan Page for more real estate tips, or give me a call at 814.881.0580 or at my office at 814.866.8840.

Please feel free to pass this along to your friends are family who might be thinking about a move.

State of the Erie Real Estate Market

by Nanci Lorei, REALTOR®

This is the time of year that we hear the “State of the Union” and the “State of the State”. There might not be network coverage, but I wanted to give you my “State of the Erie Real Estate Market”.

First, a bit of reflection.
2013 was an interesting year. Listing inventory was tight in some prices ranges and neighborhoods in our Erie community. For instance: A $200,000 home in Millcreek was sold in an average of about 30 days (and if priced right, with photos that show it is in good condition, it seemed to be snapped up in about 12 hours). Time on market for an $80,000 home within the city limits took twice as long to sell. Homes over $400,000 sold in 73 days (median calculation) but MANY were under agreement in less than a month. One thing was true for every neighborhood and price range.  Homes that were priced correctly and were in good condition SOLD FAST.  Overall, prices have risen very slightly (kept in place largely by the appraisal part of the mortgage process), and interest rates went up a little but affordability was still very high.

Why? The general market has recovered from the national downturn that started in 2008. The Erie area, fortunately, was not hit that badly in terms of prices, but we saw a downturn in the number of homes sold for the last several years.  Erie seemed to want to apply the national trends to our local market, which had people putting their moving plans on hold and waiting for the market to improve.

So what is in store for 2014 and beyond?
I am not an economist or a fortune teller, but here is how it looks to me - being a real estate agent for over 37 years.

The better market is here!
The buyers are the first to come out of hiding and 2013 saw more activity from buyers looking for a home. However, we are still seeing a lack of inventory (the amount of homes listed for sale in our Multiple Listing System MLS) in some areas and price ranges. Hopefully in 2014, sellers will come to know that homes are selling. If you have been wanting to move and thought your home might not sell – Your WAIT IS OVER. The demand for new construction is coming back and we should see some more inventory becoming available soon.

  1. Reasonable interest rates: Interest rates will probably stay very reasonable, but could bump up a bit this year as the national economy continues to recover. I recommend anyone interested in purchasing real estate in 2014 to speak with a qualified lender to get a pre-approval before looking for a property.
  2. There’s money to go around: There will continue to be plenty of mortgage money, and buyers with regular income and reasonable credit will be able to get a mortgage, however the mortgage process will continue to get more complicated, will take longer, and be more expensive as the new lending rules are implemented. That is another reason to work with a qualified lender and an experienced real estate agent: I can help match you to a lender when we work together.

Expect some changes: The process for buying and selling will be different than the last time you moved – even if it was just a few years ago. Ask your REALTOR® what has changed, and what to expect. You can download our Buyers Guide for a more comprehensive look at the buying process. Click to download

Thinking about a move in 2014? Click here for friendly tips

All in all, 2014 is shaping up to be a great time to move. An improving economy, reasonable home prices and low interest rates all point to an improving housing market. If you have been putting off a move, this could be the year!

I hope you have enjoyed my tips and resources. If you’re thinking about buying or selling real estate, I would be more than happy to set a free, no obligation consultation with you at my office at 8840 Peach Street. Email me at Nanci.Lorei@MarshaMarsh.com, like my Fan Page for more real estate tips, or give me a call at 814.881.0580 or at my office at 814.866.8840.

Please feel free to pass this along to your friends are family who might be thinking about a move.

Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report

by Mary Huffman, REALTOR®

Mary Huffman, REALTOR® at Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services in Erie, Pa provides a Cost vs. Value Chart to consider when thinking about home doing home improvements and home remodels before listing your home for sale. 

If you would like more information contact Mary at 814.490.6698 or at 814.833.8840. You can also email Mary at Mary.Huffman@MarshaMarsh.com

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Name - LIC #RB066549
Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services
8840 Peach Street
Erie PA 16509
814.866.8840
Fax: 814.866.8631

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