Thursday, November 30, 2017

The benefit of homebuying vs. renting has increased!

Renters are seeing their budgets increasingly squeezed as incomes stagnate while homeowners are reaping the benefits of lower mortgage rates.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Who can remember everything that needs to be done to relocate your entire life? Based on the experience of moving ten times in the past 20 years, here are my best tips for keeping it together amidst the chaos.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tips For Moving Into A Smaller Space.

It seems more likely these days to hear of people downsizing their homes than to hear of companies downsizing businesses — and the connotations are getting more and more positive. Moving away from a large house, where maintenance is expensive and stuff seems to magically accumulate in the black hole of the basement, can be a really good thing, but getting from here to there is not so easy. How do you decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind? How and where can you sell all of your excess stuff? And how can you find a smaller place that still meets your needs?


Get Ready to Downsize

Change your mind-set. Don’t feel limited. If you are downsizing by necessity, it can be easy to get down about the whole process. But there can be a lot to love about going smaller; easier upkeep, lower maintenance costs, and less pressure to host large groups of people can be a relief after years of living in a big house. Or perhaps you will be relocating closer to an urban center, where you can reduce reliance on your car and have easier access to shopping, restaurants and cultural events. Try thinking of three benefits of downsizing and keep those things in mind as you winnow your belongings and move into smaller digs.

Set your top three priorities. What do you most crave, need or want in your living space? Really think about this and be honest. It’s not often you will get everything you want in a new place, but if you stick with your top three priorities (I suggest you actually list five but ultimately don’t settle for fewer than three), you can get what is most important to you. For instance, is it really important to you to have a private outdoor space? An entrance that is not in an enclosed hallway? Lots of light or an open floor plan? These will point you quickly toward the spaces that may be a good fit and allow you to move past others that would not suit your needs.

Start an inspiration/motivation file. It wouldn’t hurt to also start saving images of small spaces you find inspiring (like perhaps the rooftop patio shown here), as well as organizing and decluttering ideas. When you are feeling discouraged, you can flip through your Houzz ideabooks and clippings for a boost.


Decide What to Get Rid Of

List your must-haves. Imagine you lost your possessions in your home in a fire today. What would you immediately feel heartbroken to have lost? What would you need to replace right away to move on with your life?

Your answers to these questions should make up the beginnings of a list of things to definitely bring to your new home. I encourage you to start with your “yes, definitely” list rather than the other way around. You can always talk yourself into keeping something you don’t really need or want, but it is infinitely harder to let things go. Identifying your most important things right from the start should make the rest of the process easier.

Get rid of the obvious stuff first. You can probably think of a dozen things off the top of your head that fit this category — the broken toaster in the basement you never got around to tossing, outdated clothes, books you’ve been meaning to donate to the library. Take your time if you must, but doing a marathon day of clutter clearing can really get you motivated to continue. It’s liberating to get rid of stuff like this!

Cut back on duplicates and “just in case” items. When you live in a big house with plenty of storage, it’s easy to stash things just in case you might someday need them — but in a small space, it’s “use it or lose it.” If you need something, you can go out and get it, right? Also cut out as many duplicate items as you can, from the big (multiple sets of glassware and china) to the small (five pairs of scissors). What’s convenient or even necessary in a large home will simply not work in a small space.


How to Get Rid of Your Stuff

Give relatives a chance to take stuff. It can be quite upsetting for relatives to find out after the fact that you got rid of family heirlooms without consulting them first. Offering to pass along family treasures is a good idea — but you don’t have to put up with endless waffling or wait forever for relatives to get their act together to take what they want. Set a clear but reasonable time limit, and let your family know what you intend to do with the items they don’t want at the end of that time.

If you have younger family members who want something but have nowhere to store it, it’s your call how you handle it. If you are planning to rent a storage unit anyway and money is not an issue, you could (generously) offer to store the pieces for them for a certain amount of time. But it is not your responsibility to act as a warehouse for other people’s stuff — if you want everything off your hands now, just say so. Maybe another relative will step up and offer a garage corner.

Consider hiring a company to sell your things. If you have the time and patience, you may be able to make more money for your unwanted stuff by selling it yourself on Craigslist or eBay, or at a large yard sale. But if you want some help, it is available.

It’s not widely known, but many estate sale companies also handle sales for the living — either in your home, like a typical estate sale, or outside in a yard sale. If you want only a little help, some will come over and appraise your items, set prices and help you get organized for a sale you run yourself. Search online for “estate sale company” plus your city and state to find help.

Rent a storage space as a last (temporary) resort. There are times when renting storage space makes sense: if you think you might move again into a larger space within the next year or so, or if you simply need to buy yourself more time before letting go of everything. Just remember, you are literally buying yourself time, and that time can get expensive. Choose the smallest space possible and give yourself a deadline to decide what to do with the stuff.


Finding and Moving Into the New Place

Try to have it meet your top three criteria. There is no doubt you will have to compromise on something — price, location, size, style — but if you get your top three needs met, consider that a major win. For some, the bedroom shown here, with its lovely French doors leading onto a private balcony, would be worth sacrificing living space; others wouldn’t mind a smaller, darker bedroom if the main space is bright and sunny. Know yourself and stick with what’s important to you. If you’ll be living with a partner, each of you should come up with your own top three priorities and then combine them to create the top three things you both agree you want.

Expect to shed even more stuff. Even the best-laid plans are sure to have a crack or two, so don’t beat yourself up if your already pared-down collection of dishes doesn’t fit in the cupboards. You can avoid some of this last-minute shuffling by making adjustments as soon as you know exactly where you’ll be moving to. Those final weeks offer you a chance to replace a few pieces of furniture with smaller versions that will fit the new space better, and to do one last pare-down.

Source: Tips For Moving Into A Smaller Space

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How To Declutter Your Home.

Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. OK, some of us may have more than a little. Regardless of how much stuff we have, we can all benefit from getting rid of clutter and excess things we don’t need any more, or things we haven’t even seen in a while. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) conducted a poll that suggests nearly 65 percent of Americans feel their home is at least somewhat disorganized

Monday, November 20, 2017

Should you hire a custom builder or an architect?

Planning to build a home is an exciting time. From selecting the block of land to watching the project come together during construction, there is much to look to forward to.

Building a home from a unique design, bespoke to an individual family and having the complete control on all of the key details of the design, heightens the excitement further.

This excitement can be dampened, however, if the design put forward cannot be completed for a variety of reasons.

“Clients often come to us after seeing an architect; they’ve already spent a lot of money to get complicated plans which can’t get approved through the council and are way over budget,” Riverstone Custom Homes Owner and Director Tim Marshall said.

The alternative, Mr Marshall said, was choosing to build a home with a custom home specialist who would oversee every aspect of the project.

“At Riverstone we always design with an eye for building and completing the house from start to finish,” he said.

One of the great advantages of using an architect is that they are a skilled professional who is required to be registered with the Board of Architects.

Friday, November 10, 2017