Tips for Saving a Down Payment for Your First Home

saving money

Buying a house requires a lot of planning. You need to have a certain credit score, a specific length of time spent at your current job, a certain income, and according to the loan you are going to apply for, you may need a down payment. Saving up a large sum of money can be difficult, but with some changes to your spending and budget, you can increase the amount of money you can save each month.

ANALYZE YOUR SPENDING AND BUDGET

If you don’t know where your money is being spent, it is going to be difficult to save for your down payment. Pull out your bank statements from the last few months and categorize all your spending. Pay close attention to the money that is being spent on extra items like entertainment, eating out, and anything could be cut or pared down to save that money. Some things simply cannot be downsized, like your monthly rental payments.

CUT OUT BAD HABITS AND EXTRA EXPENSES

Whether it is smoking or a daily stop at Starbucks, cutting out any habits that costs money is going to help you save money faster than you think. Do you order out your lunch every day at work? Start packing one instead. Do you subscribe to every streaming service? Cancel all but your favorite. Cancel magazine subscriptions or any monthly subscription that you don’t need. If you don’t already, start shopping the sales at the grocery stores, use digital and physical coupons, and plan ahead in order to save money on what is typically a big monthly expense. Remember, you are making big changes to meet a big goal. It is going to take work and sacrifice, but it will be worth it in the end.

PAY OFF DEBTS

If you have credit card or other outstanding debts, work on getting those paid down or completely paid off. Not only will this help you cut out some of your monthly bills, but it will also make your debt-to-income ratio much more attractive. That’s a big deal when you go to apply for a loan.

SWITCH PROVIDERS

Call your current car insurance, internet, and cell phone service providers and see if they can offer you any current customer discounts. If not, call around and find new providers that can give you better prices. Any place that you can save money will help you meet your goals.

CONSIDER DOWNSIZING

If you have a lot of things in your current home or apartment that you don’t really need or even want, consider having a yard sale or selling online. This can make you some extra money that can go straight to your savings.

MARKET YOUR SKILLS

Do you have a special skill or craft? Maybe you can knit, paint, sew, or cook. Market your skills and make some extra money on the side to help boost your savings.

Do you have any other tips for saving for a down payment? Stop by our Zippy Shell Facebook page and share with our online community.

If you have a move coming up, or you need mobile storage, give Zippy Shell a call at 888-947-7974 or contact us online. We would be happy to give you more information on all our moving and storage services and can give you a no-obligation estimate. We look forward to hearing from you!

7 Homebuying Mistakes to Avoid

homebuying

If you are looking to buy a home, you know it can be an overwhelming process—especially if it is your first home. It is a lengthy process and has a lot of moving parts. Hopefully, you have found yourself a reputable mortgage lender and real estate broker to work with and guide you through this tedious adventure. If you haven’t reached that step yet, take a look at some of these common homebuying mistakes you should avoid.

NOT GETTING PREAPPROVED

If you are out looking at houses before you have been preapproved for a mortgage, be ready to miss out on those homes. It is currently a seller’s market and homes are moving fast. Mortgage lenders have their hands full right now and it can take longer than usual to get your preapproval letters ready. Some real estate agents will not even show houses if you don’t have your preapproval ready.

GETTING DISTRACTED BY UPGRADES

Flipping houses is a big business right now and has been profitable for many people. Unfortunately, some of these homes have a lot of surface upgrades, but not much is done for the important things. The new paint and shiny appliances can sometimes distract potential buyers from the items that truly need upgrades. Look at the condition of big-ticket items like the roof, the HVAC system, the plumbing, any water damage, and the septic system.

GOING TOO LOW

Since this is a seller’s market, homes are going quickly and most are going for asking price or more. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you in making a smart and enticing offer. If it is a home you really love, don’t lowball your offers.

WAITING TOO LONG

Some potential buyers, especially when they first start looking, will hold off making an offer on a home they really love because they want to look at other homes first. Unfortunately, if you wait too long during this market, that home will most likely have been scooped up while you were touring other homes.

NARROW PARAMETERS

You should definitely love the house you buy, but one mistake some people make is refusing to keep an open mind. Widen your parameters for the homes you want to tour you never know you may be surprised at what you find, and even fall in love with!

SKIPPING AN INSPECTION

This is a big no-no when it comes to buying a home. While everything can look just fine on the surface, you may be shocked to learn what a professional home inspector finds. There may be damage or need upgrades that you are just not prepared or willing to deal with.

GOING OVER BUDGET

This is a hard one because it is very easy to be tempted into a home that costs more than you can comfortably afford. Be firm with your real estate agent that you do not want to see homes outside of your budget. Even if you can make the monthly mortgage payments, you need to be prepared for rising property taxes and home maintenance that can be surprisingly costly.

We hope these tips will be helpful to you as you get ready to buy a home this summer or fall. When you are ready to move, be sure to give ZIPPY SHELL a call for a free quote. We are ready to help you with all your storage and moving needs!

9 Apps to Help You with Your Big Move

phone apps

When you are planning for a big move, the number of items on your to-do list can seem endless. The key to making sure your move goes smoothly is to make a plan and stay organized. The good news is there are plenty of resources that can assist with the process. To help, we have researched the best, most useful apps for moving. Take a look and get ready to download!

Finding a New Home Before planning your move, you will need to find a new place to live! There are several great apps to help with this process. Zillow is perhaps the most popular app in this category. It uses photo-heavy listings as well as a multitude of filters that you can apply to your searches. This ensures that you find exactly what you are looking for. Zillow even has exclusive listings not found anywhere else. Using the Homesnap app, you get property information in a snap – literally – by taking a picture. You can unlock sales history, interior features, lot boundaries, market information, school district ratings, and more. While you are out and about scouting neighborhoods, AroundMe allows you to quickly find out information about your surroundings. You can find out within seconds how long it will take to get to a grocery store and restaurants, which helps you have a better grasp of the neighborhood.

Staying Organized During Your Move Try the Todoist app to capture and organize all your moving tasks. You can set reminders, prioritize your tasks, and even assign tasks to others. MagicPlan allows you to create a 3D floor plan of your new home by taking pictures of the space. You can use it to plan where you will put your furniture in every room which will reduce stress on moving day. If you need extra help with tasks such as packing, patching up holes, painting, cleaning, or other small tasks – TaskRabbit is the app for you. TaskRabbit will match you with freelance labor for projects of all shapes and sizes. Sortly is a digital organization app that lets you catalog what you put in each box, so you know where all of your things are. With the premium version, you can even create QR code labels to put on your boxes.

Getting Settled Use the Nextdoor app to stay informed about what is going on in your new neighborhood. On this app, you can do anything from finding out about local events to finding somebody to help you take care of your yard. Using Nextdoor will keep you in the loop and make the transition to your new neighborhood much easier. Meetup is an invaluable app when moving to a new area. It connects you to people who love the same things you do so you can get involved and make friends in your new neighborhood. Call Zippy Shell today to get a quote!

3 Step Plan for a Long Distance Move

Young couple eating while unpacking belongings

Long distance moves are a major life event. The key to making sure yours goes smoothly is to make a plan and stay organized. The long-distance moving tips below will help you remember some of the key items you need to do ahead of time in order to have a successful move.

  1. The first step of your plan is deciding who is going to move your belongings. Choosing a moving company can be overwhelming. Our best advice is to get referrals, do your research to look for red flags, and then ask for in-home estimates. If you would prefer to have a little more control over your moving process, consider using Zippy Shell. Whenever you’re ready to move, we’ll drop off our Zippy Shell unit at your home. Then, you can either take up to three days to pack it yourself, or we’ll do it for you. When you’re all packed up, we’ll pick up the trailer and drive it to your new home.
  2. Spend extra time downsizing your belongings before you pack. You should get rid of unwanted items before any move, but especially before moving over a long distance. If you don’t use it, love it, or need it to survive, it doesn’t need to make the move with you. Decluttering can have positive effects on your mood to, as well as making packing and unpacking much easier in your new home!
  3. Create a change of address checklist. Changing your address requires updating your information in a lot of different places – utilities, insurance, doctors, banks, license and registration, post office, etc. And it gets even more complicated when you’re moving a long distance. Make sure to plan ahead and research what all needs to be updated in plenty of time before your move.

Did you know Zippy Shell offers 30 days of free storage for customers who are moving cross country and need to store items until they’re ready to move into their new home? Your items will be stored in one of our secure facilities until you arrive. Call Zippy Shell today at 888-947-7974 or go to our website to get a quote for helping you with your moving and storage needs!

Avoid These 4 Common Moving Mistakes

Couple enjoying time together after move

If you are like most Americans, you will move several times in your lifetime, whether across town or across the country.  There are a few other things Americans-on-the-move also share – common moving mistakes! We’ve seen it all here at Zippy Shell and want you to avoid these mistakes.

Late planning: Like many things in life, planning usually makes things easier. Start planning for your move weeks or even months in advance, utilizing free checklists and apps that will help you get organized and stay on track. Waiting until the last minute could really derail the best intentions.

Choosing a total DIY move: Great planning cannot overcome trucks that break down or aren’t ready when you are, wasting time driving to and from the truck rental place, or attempting to move all your stuff with an old dolly. Decide how much peace of mind and time is worth. Also consider that moving heavy things can be costly physically, as well. You won’t have to worry about rental trucks with Zippy Shell and if your friends aren’t available, we can even recommend professional help to get your stuff into the Zippy Shell container.

Forgetting what you’ll need the first few days/nights: Picture it – you are excited to be in your new space, but you did not mark a box with things like toilet paper, paper plates, salt, pepper, shower items, towels, etc. That can put a damper on things. Avoid this common mistake by marking boxes with essential items so you can scan your unit and pick them out easily.

Ignoring the forecast: The show must go on when you are moving, but keeping a close eye on the weather not only will make for a smoother move, but it will also keep you and your helpers safe. If you see that rain, sleet or snow is forecasted for your moving day, be sure to have tarps and non-slip boots available.

Packing the cleaning materials: After much of your stuff is in the Zippy Shell unit, you’ll want to go back in and start the final cleaning of your apartment or home. But, wait? Where are the cleaning items? Be sure to keep what you will need aside so you can make the final sweep through the space.

When you are ready to move and store your stuff not only can the experts at Zippy Shell help you avoid the most common moving mistakes, we can have your stuff ready when you are. Give us a call today at 888-947-7974 or go online today for a free quote! See how we can make moving and storage simple for you.

Real Reasons to Ditch a Moving Truck

Couple celebrates move in their home

You’re moving! Congratulations… right?

It’s only natural to have some anxiety over the moving process. After all, it’s one of life’s more stressful events under the best of circumstances. Fortunately, though, there are ways to minimize the anxiety and maximize the efficiency of your upcoming move. One of those ways, believe it or not, is to ditch the moving truck and consider using a portable storage unit instead.

The pricing is rarely what it seems: Budgets are important, and you want to stay on yours during your move. Renting a truck may seem cheap and easy, but the pricing isn’t always it seems. When you see a “rate” on that truck, that’s usually just the beginning. Be sure to check any fine print to determine the mileage rates, the late return rate and more. It adds up fast.

Time is money: One of the most annoying parts of trying to rent a truck for your move is the time it wastes. It’s not like you don’t have a lot of other things going on already. You surely don’t need to waste time picking up the truck (assuming the last person dropped it off and it’s even there), getting the truck back to your home, loading, moving and then stopping to return the truck to a destination that may or may not be close to where you are.

Driving a moving truck isn’t fun: One of the best things about a portable storage unit, aside from its flexibility and convenience, is that you don’t have to drive it anywhere. We come and pick it up when you are ready and drop it off when you are ready. Those rickety moving trucks may have mechanical issues between here and there, are supremely uncomfortable and can be pretty big, too, making them unwieldy for a novice driver. Added tip: If you are moving to or from an area with intense traffic, you really don’t want to be weaving in traffic with a word-out truck full of your precious things.

There is value in everything when it comes to your move, including time and safety. Rather than investing in time, money and effort into a potentially unreliable vehicle, why not explore our portable storage solutions? It will be one less thing you have to stress about. Give Zippy Shell a call today at 888-947-7974 or go online to get a free quote and see how we can make moving and storage simple for you!

Moving Myths You Can do Without

Young couple and dog unpacking boxes

You’ve heard about popular myths, but have you heard about these moving myths? We’ve taken time to outline a few moving myths that might surprise you–because they aren’t true!

Myth #1 – Moving is overwhelming!

So, yeah, moving isn’t an easy thing to tackle. There are the kids, the dog, the scheduling, the packing, the electricity transfer, and coordinating help. But, with the right planning, a lot of patience, and a great moving partner, you can accomplish amazing things with as little stress as possible. We advise creating checklists! There are lots of great ones online to get you started.

Myth #2 – Moving and storage companies are all the same!

So, cousin Joe stopped by while you were sorting out your moving ideas and informs you that moving and storage companies are the same. Well, he couldn’t be more wrong. Like any other service company, these companies vary by price, services offered, credibility and many other critical factors. It’s important to note that lots of moving companies rent vans and trucks, but Zippy Shell rents portable storage units that you may place on your property and pack at your own convenience. We bring it to you, and we pick it up! The best thing to do is determine what is most important for your move and find a company that works well to meet your objectives.

Myth #3 – I have to move every single thing at one time!

It’s simply not true, especially if you are moving long distance. Portable storage units give you added time during your move. Send the things you need right away to the new place and then put your other things in storage. Doing this will mean you have less hassle on moving day and you can leisurely unpack all the extra stuff.

Myth #4 – I don’t need to label my boxes.

If you want to create a chaotic moving day, label nothing. However, if you want to minimize the stress, grab your favorite color marker and put a quick label on every single box. You can get really fancy and use different colors for different rooms, but at the very least mark what’s inside the box and which room you would like for it to be placed in. This will save you so much time moving stuff from room to room in your new home!

So, when you get ready to move, tell cousin Joe, “thanks but no thanks” for his advice. And when you get ready to begin planning for your move, take some time to check our website for helpful tips, lists and maybe even a few discounts, www.ZippyShell.com.

8 Easy Ways to Save Money When Moving

Cardboard boxes and potted plants in a brightly lit house foyer with hardwood floors

1.    Free moving boxes

Many local places such as post offices, liquor stores, and offices have lots of empty boxes lying around that they are most likely going to recycle.  It doesn’t hurt to ask them if they have any extra boxes that they don’t mind giving away to help you save on moving boxes.

2. “Reusable” packing material

Instead of packing up your delicate items in packing peanuts, pack up your items with your linens. Using your towels or t-shirts, wrap up your fragile items to protect them from the move, all while saving money and packing space.

3.    Pack smart

Large items should be packed within big boxes. But try to fit small items inside these big items when applicable. An easy example would be packing your clothes inside your suitcase when packing your bag.

4.    Sell your items

Having a garage sale or offering any miscellaneous items to neighbors is an easy way to make a little extra cash and free up moving space (save money on having to purchase fewer boxes or moving trucks). Ebay or Craig’s list is also an easy way to earn money on any items large or small.

5.    Consider age

If you have any old appliances that are almost at the end of their lifetime anyway, consider not moving them. You can replace them once you get to your new home.

6.     Free babysitter/dogsitter

Rather than paying to put your child in daycare or your dog in a kennel for the day while you move, ask a friend or relative if they wouldn’t mind taking care of them to help you save.

7.    Load up a cooler

Rather than throwing away all of your groceries from your home, fill them in a cooler to help keep them fresh until they make it to your new home. This will help you save by not having to buy all new groceries at your new location.

8.    Portable storage units

Contact Zippy Shell today to get a quote on our portable storage units. You load up your belongings however you please, and we will simply move them for you! Then you can unload your items at your convenience.