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!

How to Keep Your Plants Healthy During a Move

plants

Besides the attractiveness of house plants, there are many health benefits to having plants around your home. Studies have shown indoor plants boost mood, productivity, creativity, and they can clean indoor air by absorbing toxins and producing oxygen. When the time comes to make a move, there are steps to ensure your houseplants arrive at the new destination safely. Here are five steps to help you before, during, and after a move.

  • Check regulations – If you’re moving out of state, you may need to do a little more prep work to be in compliance with the law, as each state has its own set of regulations and certification requirements for moving with plants. Before packing up your plants, check the laws and regulations in the state you’re moving to make the best decision. If you choose not to take a plant due to regulations or for any other reason, consider gifting it to a friend or a nearby nursing home.
  • Make arrangements – Your delicate, leafy friends will almost certainly not survive the trip in your trunk, a portable storage container, or the back of a dark moving truck. Make arrangements to transport your house plants in a car that is making the trip. Keep them near a window if possible so the plants have sunlight and fresh air to keep them healthy. If you stop overnight along the way, bring them inside so they are not affected by extreme temperatures. You can also contact your local shipping office to see if sending your house plants through the mail is an option. They can also advise on the best way to pack your plants to ensure they arrive in the best shape possible.
  • Prepare your plants – About a week before moving, transfer plants from decorative pots into plastic holders. This will give you the opportunity to wrap breakable decorative pots in paper, bubble wrap, or cloth and pack tightly away for the move. Inspect and treat any plants with pests. You don’t want to transfer insects to your next destination. Keep your plants healthy and make them easier to transport by trimming back any dead or protruding limbs. Water plants two or three days before moving. The soil should be moist, but not too wet on moving day. It’s important to make sure the roots stay damp while moving.
  • Pack with care – To help avoid plants from falling over, place them snugly in appropriately sized boxes. Place newspaper or bubble wrap around the base of the plant so it won’t shift during the move. For large plants, use packing paper or sheets to gently cover them. Your goal is to protect the leaves and limbs from bending or breaking during the move.
  • Ease the transition – Packing your plants last and unpacking them first will minimize any distress from the move. Unpack carefully to avoid any breakage, establish a new location for your plant, and water it on a regular basis. With time it will adjust to its new environment and hopefully continue to thrive.

While we don’t recommend moving or storing live plants in a Zippy Shell container, we will keep your other belongings safe and secure until they are needed. Our storage centers are equipped with climate control and added security. When you are ready, we will redeliver your storage container or move it to your next destination.

Mattress Moving Made Easy

moving a mattress

When it is time to plan your move, some items in your home will take more thought than others. Large items that can’t be put into a box, or moved by yourself, will need some advance planning. We often hear from clients asking for advice on how to move items like a mattress. Take a look at a few of our favorite tips for moving your mattress to your new home or storage.

PURCHASE MOVING SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE

Mattresses are not cheap to replace, so you should do what you can to protect your mattress set as best you can during your move. Mattress moving bags are generally easy to find, but don’t wait until the day of your move to purchase them. You need to determine which sizes you need and if you need a simple, quick cover, or bags that offer maximum protection. You can find a variety of types online if you prefer something more than the standard bag. You can even find some with handles. Don’t forget to get bags for your box springs as well!

ASK FOR HELP

If you have a large mattress, you are going to need some help. Even getting the mattress bag or cover on would be difficult without an extra set of hands. A king size mattress needs at least two strong persons, preferably three, to safely move. If you are trying to move with minimal help, plan to have all your large furniture pieces moved in the same day.

BE EXTRA CAUTIOUS

As with any large item, we recommend working with even more caution than normal. Heavy items can cause bodily injury if not lifted and moved properly. If a mattress is not too floppy, you may be able to slide it across the floor. Even more dangerous, though, is moving large items down stairways or narrow pathways. Make sure the route is cleared of all items that could pose an obstacle or tripping hazard. You should also make sure that you are able to clearly communicate with the person helping you move the mattress.

SECURE IT IN THE UNIT

Once you have your mattress loaded into your portable storage unit, make sure you are able to secure it against the edge. You want to store it upright on the long edge rather than laying down. Use moving straps to make sure they cannot fall over once the unit is moved.

HIRE A PRO

If you prefer to skip the extra work of moving your mattress and your other heavy furniture, hire a professional mover! You can save your efforts for unpacking and getting your new home set up how you want. Professional movers will get your large furniture to your new home without you having to lift a finger.

We hope this article helps you when it comes time to move your mattress. If you need references to professional packers and movers, we would be glad to help. Give Zippy Shell a call today at 888-947-7974 for all your moving and storage needs.

Quick Millennial Moving Tips

millennial moving

Is everything you own in the box to the left?  Well, probably not, but there is definitely wisdom in getting all of your stuff organized and the planning complete before you make that big move, whether switching apartments locally, moving into the city for the first time, or into your new home in the ‘burbs. Our moving experts at Zippy Shell have a few tips made just for millennials.

  • Purge: Sure, you know you need to do it, but it’s hard. Be strong and merciless when it comes to culling the closet. If you haven’t worn it in two seasons, toss it. If that concert t-shirt has sentimental value but has seen better days, put it in a maybe pile, and revisit, but don’t automatically save it. One of the best things about a closet purge is that you can help others. Not only do local charities come to your doorstep and pick up the clothes, many retailers focused on sustainable practices have donation bins in or near their stores, as well, like H&M.

  • Put pride aside to save some dough:  Most of us are living on a budget, so it simply does not make financial sense to load up on moving supplies from your local retailer. That gets expensive – fast! Put out the ISO SOS across your fave social media channels for any boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and anything else that you can reuse to pack your things. You also may want to ask businesses, restaurants, and strip malls if you can scavenge near their bins.

  • Make a day-after box:  The morning after your move you probably won’t feel much like digging around looking for clothes and cleaning supplies. Plus, did you remember to get food for the fridge? Make a list of items you’ll need immediately when you get to your new place and put them in a separate box: sheets, towels, basic kitchen items, a few clothes, toiletries, important papers, keys. Label the box clearly and keep it accessible. Then, have a shortlist of what you’ll need on hand in the kitchen from the store.

  • Getting from here to there: You have choices when it comes to moving your things from here to there. Sure, you can rely on friends who have vehicles, but life happens. You could also rent a truck, but the time and stress associated with that are costly, too. When you are looking at all of your options, be sure to include Zippy Shell. Whether you are moving in city or cross country, Zippy Shell is cost-effective and, even better, a personal account manager works directly with you and your budget. You can load up your container and have it picked up at your convenience and delivered to your new location. And, yes, we can deliver and place in even the biggest cities!

  • Document your move: Moving is a big step! Your friends and family will love to see what’s happening, so don’t forget to take that selfie at your old place and at your new place. If you rely on Zippy Shell to help with your move, don’t forget to tag @zippyshell, as well. We’d love to congratulate you on your big day.

Pack the Essentials for a Successful Moving Day

packing boxes

If you have moved before, you know that moving day can be chaotic. This is why it is very important to make sure your essentials are covered. It can be easy to forget a few small things that happen to make a big difference on moving day and in the days immediately following. Check this list for items you want to be sure you can put your finger on when moving day comes.

• Pack a “moving day” overnight bag for each member of the family just like you would pack when going on a trip. Include a pair of pajamas, a change of clothes, plus your personal toiletry items like toothpaste, a toothbrush, and your shower essentials (including a towel). For children, pack one or two of their very favorite belongings in their overnight bag. Keeping these items close by can provide assurance throughout the move and allow access as soon as you arrive at your new home.

• Come prepared with essential cleaning supplies. Before you even think about unpacking, you need to bust into cleaning mode. Now is the time to clean cabinet shelves, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and more -get it done while you have an empty space. You can also expect dirt and dust to be tracked into your home along with the movers and your boxes.

• Your moving day essentials kit should contain clean bedding and pillows. The first item of business in your new home should be setting up and making up the beds. You don’t want to get to the end of a long, tiring moving day and realize your bed is not ready for you to crash in!

• A basic toolkit with a hammer, drill, level, screwdrivers, tape measure, and pliers will also come in handy on moving day. Whether you need to assemble a bed frame or measure out where to fit the furniture, this will come in handy.

• Paper products like toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, paper plates, and disposable cups/utensils are a must. It is incredibly easy for these items to be forgotten during a move. Save yourself a trip to the store on an already stressful day by having these necessities on hand.

• Have your cell phone ready and fully charged on moving day and then keep your charger handy for the rest of your busy day.

• Keep your energy up by packing snacks and plenty of water for everyone involved with your moving day festivities.

• Extra supplies you will want to have in your essentials kit include garbage bags, light bulbs, box cutters, scissors, power strips, and a shower curtain/rod if your new place does not have a shower door.

We hope these suggestions will help your moving day flow smoothly. Zippy Shell is here to take the stress out of your move allowing you to focus on your family during this exciting time.

Helping Your Pets Adjust to a New Home

Dog under a blanket

Research has shown that pets can reduce stress, improve health, and lengthen our lives. So, of course, we always want what is best for them! While moving to a new home can be a stressful time for most people, it can also be stressful for your pets. Unlike us, pets aren’t able to mentally prepare for such a big shift. Whether your move is long-distance or just down the block, there are many ways to make your pet feel more comfortable after a move. Check out these tips to help your pets adjust to their new home.

  • The first step is to make a plan for moving day. There are a lot of people coming and going during the actual moving out and in, and that means many opportunities for a beloved pet to escape. If you can’t have them stay with a border or a friend, a crate can help ensure they are safe on moving day.
  • Introduce your pet to your new home slowly. At first, limit your pet to one room in the house. After your pet has explored every corner of the room and feels comfortable, introduce them to the rest of the house one room at a time.
  • Do your best to keep your pet’s routine as close to usual as possible. Your pet’s world revolves around activities such as eating, playing, napping, and going out to take care of business. From morning meals to walks to bedtime, keep the same routine as much as possible for stability.
  • Set up a space for your pet that includes all their favorite items. Laying out their bowls, blankets, toys, and bed in a designated spot is a great way to help your pet feel secure amongst the chaos of moving.
  • Also, resist the urge to toss any of your pet’s gear for new items right now. It will cause less anxiety for them to lay down in their same bed, eat out of the same bowls, and play with the same toys as before. These favorites will help your pet feel in control. Plus, the familiar scent can help them feel more at home in a new location. You can make changes once your pet has adapted to your new home.
  • Help them let out their energy. Just like us, exercise can help to reduce the stress your pet is feeling. Add in some extra playtime or make your normal walk longer than usual.
  • Give them extra attention. Be generous with affection and encouraging words. Steal a few moments for quiet, quality time together in between your moving tasks. Take a couple of minutes to toss around a favorite toy or to give out belly rubs. It will be good for both of you!
  • Update your pet tags or pet chip with your new contact information as soon as possible. Being in a new place can increase the chances that your pet gets lost and you want to be able to be contacted right away.

Zippy Shell can service moves of many sizes, and even offer storage options during the course of your move. Contact us today for a free quote and see how we can make moving and storage simple for you! 

Is It Safe to Move During COVID-19?

Planning a Move

If you are planning a move or planning to store items during the COVID-19 pandemic, know that Zippy Shell values the safety of our employees and customers. We have put together a list of the safety measures we are taking to keep everyone safe.

  • Zippy Shell is sending contracts via email to help limit contact and maintain more socially distanced interactions while onsite at delivery.
  • All doors, and handles on containers are disinfected before delivery at all corporately owned facilities to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
  • When applicable, customers may also request to have no interaction with the labor crews. Customer is still required to be available onsite when labor crews are onsite in case of additional services required and for liability reasons.
  • Masks, gloves, and disinfectants are readily available and use is mandatory at all of the corporately owned facilities.
  • Zippy Shell has notified and recommended our franchise and partner facilities follow the same safety protocols.

Not everyone can or wants to move on their own, when reaching out to a professional labor provider, be sure to ask what their safety policies are regarding the Coronavirus. Are their workers utilizing masks, gloves, taking regular health screenings, etc? These are all important questions that any professional labor provider should be happy to answer for you. Learn more about how you can hire help by visiting our partner Hire A Helper and check out a blog they recently wrote on the topic.

Zippy Shell is fully committed to the safety of our employees, our customers, and their things. Whether you are moving or storing your items, know that your safety comes first.

Moving and Storage Made Easy and Safe

People Packing

Zippy Shell makes moving and storage easy and safe.  During the COVID-19 pandemic safety and social distancing are essential.  Zippy Shell puts the safety of our employees and customers first by following the CDC’s guidelines on sanitation and by providing our drivers with necessary protective equipment while in the field.  Click here to watch our latest video to learn more about the safety measures that Zippy Shell is taking.

One of the biggest advantages of using a mobile moving and storage company during COVID-19 is being able to follow social distancing guidelines.  Your sanitized portable storage container will be dropped off at your location, you will pack your items into the container, and only you will have a key to the container.  When you are ready to schedule pick up, your container will be delivered to its next destination with minimal contact.  Our warehouse employees and drivers are using sterile gloves while handling your container. 

Zippy Shell is open and ready to serve your moving and storage needs in the safest way possible.  Call today or click here to get a quote!

Tips for Moving Someone with Disabilities or Special Needs

Moving Boxes

Everyone knows moving can be chaotic and create a storm of different emotions. For a person with disabilities or special needs, the stress of moving can be even more difficult. April is Autism Awareness Month and the effects of moving can be even more pronounced for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as it is not uncommon for children on the autism spectrum to be hyper-dependent on routine and order. Fortunately, there are steps you can take throughout the move to make the experience easier for persons of disability or special needs.

· Evaluate your new home for accessibility. You will need to fully access the space to determine whether or not modifications will need to be made. Questions like ‘are the doorways wide enough’ and ‘is the floor suitable for mobility’ may need to be answered. You can find a full checklist here that covers everything to look for from ramps and slopes, parking, entryways and halls, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more. If you need to make modifications in your new home, hire professionals with accessibility improvement experience who can complete the work successfully.

· Make healthcare arrangements. If you’re relocating out of the area, ask your doctors for referrals to new health care specialists, based on your treatment needs, and check if any of the specialist health services you currently receive can be transferred. You may want to check with your insurance providers and other organizations to make sure you can retain the same disability services once relocated. You’ll want to make these arrangements a few months in advance so that if you are in need of health care soon after arriving, you’ll know where to go and any new providers will have your health history information on file. It also is very important for a disabled or special needs person to have their medical records in a safe and easily reachable place at all times. If possible, they should keep all the records with them during the move so you’re sure that they don’t get misplaced.

· Create a sense of stability. During the move, pack the personal belongings of those with special needs last and then unpack them first in your new home. You will want to create a space in the new home where they will feel safe and comfortable as soon as possible. Also, help them to maintain as normal of a daily routine as possible during the transition.

· Consider safety and security on moving day. Arrange for help if needed for your loved one with a disability or special needs. Ask a trusted neighbor, grandparent, or loved one to care for them on moving day or at least part of the day.

· Be prepared for the emotions. You can eliminate some negative emotions by making sure the person you’re caring for gets a fair amount of control over as many aspects of the move as is reasonable. Also, engage in regular talks about current feelings and fears of what may be to come. Always be mindful of how you assist the person with a disability or those who have special needs during the move. They may need a lot of help and support, but they are usually the expert on exactly what they need.

Moving with a disability or special needs requires the same planning and preparation as any other move. But you do need to take a little extra care to make sure they are comfortable before, during, and after the move. The most important thing to focus on bringing to the new home is their physical and emotional health!

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!