Real Estate Information Archive


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Moving Tips


Check out these tips for moving, courtesy of It might just help save your clients a bit of time, stress and heartache.

4 weeks from move date: Get organized and start notifying the right people and companies that you'll be moving soon and give them a date to forward or terminate service. Start looking for licensed and professional moving companies, moving guides and relevant coupons.

Tip: If using a professional mover, get quotes from multiple moving companies to get the best deal that is right for you and your needs. Ask plenty of questions like whether or not they give binding quotes and what kind of insurance is included. Be sure to talk with them about the different options available with full-service moves such as packing and unpacking services and providing boxes and packing supplies.

Tip: Important documents such as your child's school records may need to be accessible during your transition. Make sure to put these items aside and make copies of any records for yourself, in case you forget what box they're packed in.

3 weeks from move date: Once you've selected a mover, begin by taking inventory of your belongings and their worth and decide what will be coming with you to your next home.

Tip: Start cleaning out closets, drawers and storage areas of your home and divide things into categories: "pack," "recycle" and "give to friend." You can always have a garage sale or donate old items to charity. This will make packing day a lot easier and you may reduce the total weight you'll be paying for to move.

Tip: If you're moving yourself or contracting for a self-service move, pack the items you know you won't need until 30 days after the move. It will feel great to get started early.

Tip: If possible, take pictures of rooms and areas inside the home or apartment you'll be moving into so you can start thinking about placement of furniture, artwork and other items. This will help save time, headaches...and money...on moving day.

2 weeks from move date: If you choose not to take advantage of full service mover packing services, or are planning to do it yourself and rent a truck, start packing things into boxes. Figure out the logistics of the move, travel plans and if other specialized plans need to be made.

Tip: If you are using a professional mover find out what items are on their "non-allowables" list and discard those items or find a way to transport them separately.

Tip: Instead of stacking plates, pack them vertically; they will travel safer this way.

Tip: If you are moving long distance, remember travel arrangements for your pets. There are pet-exclusive airlines available such as Pet Airways but regular airlines have travel options for pets as well.

Tip: If you have young children, you may want to make childcare arrangements so you can be 100% focused on moving day and your little ones remain safe and busy with fun activities.

Tip: Schedule "move out" cleaning service, carpet cleaners and heavy appliance disposal if necessary for once you'll be out of the home you're vacating. Even if you're selling your current home, it's a nice welcome for the buyers to move into a clean and tidy home.

1 week from move date: Set aside valuable items and keep those with you. Clean before moving and leave your house or apartment as clean as it was when you moved in.

Tip: Make sure the details for paying the moving company are taken care of. Some will require money orders or cashier's checks upon delivery; know their policy in advance to avoid stress on moving day.

Tip: Start eating all the frozen foods you have, or give them to a neighbor or friend. This way you won't have to throw them away on moving day, or worry about packing an ice chest.

Tip: Also think about necessities for managing moving day like confining your pets and anticipating the amount of time you will need.

Tip: Place necessities such as toiletries, toilet paper, rags, "must-have" cooking supplies and organize them in boxes marked "open first" so it's easy to find the initial items you'll want handy on those first few days of being in your next home. Don't forget the flashlight!

Tip: If possible, take one last tour of the new location and identify water and gas shut off locations, as well as the electrical breaker box just in case something happens in the first few days so you're prepared. Might be smart to drop off a fresh box of light bulbs too!

Moving day and beyond: Take one last walk through and make sure nothing has been forgotten or overlooked. Also, make sure all doors and windows are locked and switches turned off, then you are on your way to your new house or apartment.

Tip: Go back to the photos you took when you began to pack up. Now you can show the movers or those helping you unpack exactly where everything goes with photos.

Tip: Unpack one room at a time according to basic needs starting with the kitchen and at least one bathroom...and don't forget to make a bed as early in the day as possible if you'll be sleeping in your home that evening! Remember, you don't have to unpack everything in one day, or even in one week.

Tip: After you've settled in a bit, introduce yourself to some neighbors, ask for advice on the best places to eat, grocery shop, etc. This way you will feel like part of the community and can get some great local tips.

10 Steps to an Earth-Friendly Yard

by Nara Schoenberg

Want to make the planet a little greener? Look no farther than your own backyard—or, for that matter, your own front yard.

The U.S. is home to 32 million acres of lawn, or enough to cover the 100 largest U.S. cities almost twice, says Owen Dell, author of Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies. Lawns suck up 270 billion gallons of water a week and burn 800 million gallons of (mower) gas a year. And then there are the pesticides and the chemical-based fertilizers.

“I use this analogy,” Dell says. “If you take care of yourself—exercise, eat right, don’t drink too much alcohol, don’t use drugs—you’re going to have a much better chance of staying healthy. Similarly, if you keep the landscape healthy, whether it’s the lawn or anything else, you’re going to have fewer problems.”

How do you break free of the high-maintenance lawn care cycle? Drawing from interviews with Dell, Tom Christopher, editor of The New American Sustainable Garden (due out next year) and Annie Spiegelman, author of Talking Dirt assembled a list of basic tips to get you started.

1. Don’t overwater. Most people grossly overwater their lawns. Consider getting a free ‘water audit’ if your water company offers one, or just turn the sprinkler off and observe the results. If your grass doesn’t spring back when you step on it in the heat of the afternoon, it’s time to water. Watering four times a week is too much in most parts of the country.

2. Water deeply. It’s better to water deeply than frequently. Many lawns do well with 15 to 20 minutes at a time, once or twice a week. For maximum efficiency, give the water a chance to seep in: Water for 10 minutes, wait 20 minutes and then finish watering.

3. Get adequate coverage. If your sprinkler doesn’t cover a spot, you end up with a dry area or an overwatered lawn.

4. Give the soil breathing room. Aerate your lawn once or twice a year in the spring or fall with a gas- or foot-powered aerator. This loosens the roots and lets water and fertilizers penetrate.

5. Try a lush look. If you keep your grass 3 inches high, it will ‘shade out’ weeds, denying them the sun they need to grow and take over your lawn.

6. Reduce your lawn size. Less lawn means less watering. Consider a border planted with low-maintenance ground cover instead of grass.

7. Kick the chemical fertilizer habit. Don’t pump too many nutrients into your lawn. One fertilization with an organic fertilizer in early fall is plenty.

8. Go natural. Insecticides with ingredients such as vinegar and orange oil are sold at many nurseries and boiling water kills weeds.

9. Keep grass clippings. Rather than removing them, rake them gently over your lawn. They’re free and rich in the plant nutrient nitrogen.

10. Consider low-maintenance grass. Ask your local university extension program or agriculture department to recommend a low-maintenance grass (options include fine fescues and buffalograss) that grows well in your region. These easy-going grasses are designed for your region and will thrive with minimal water and mowing.

(c) 2010, Chicago Tribune.


Fannie Mae recently announced new standards for the purchase and securitization of adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) products. The company is changing eligibility criteria to protect consumers from potentially dramatic payment increases and to help ensure that borrowers who hold these types of mortgages can sustain them beyond the initial interest rate period.

“Our goal is to make sure consumers can sustain their mortgages and remain in their homes over the long term, while helping our lender partners offer a range of mortgage products for qualified borrowers,” said Marianne Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Single Family Credit Policy and Risk Management at Fannie Mae. “These policy changes reflect our intention to continue providing liquidity to different market segments by ensuring that support for ARM products remains in appropriate circumstances.”

For ARMs with initial periods of 5 years or less, Fannie Mae will require that borrowers be qualified at the greater of the note rate plus 2% or the fully indexed rate (index plus margin).  The company also said it will continue to make available an interest-only loan product, but will change its qualification criteria. The maximum loan-to-value ratio cannot exceed 70%, the borrower’s credit score must be 720 or higher and the borrower must have a minimum of 24 months of liquid asset reserves remaining after loan closing. Balloon mortgages, which typically offer lower initial interest rates but leave a significant balance due at maturity, will no longer be eligible, except with special approval.

All loans not meeting the new guidelines must be purchased as whole loans on or before August 31, 2010, or delivered into MBS pools with issue dates on or before August 1, 2010.  Fannie Mae exists to expand affordable housing and bring global capital to local communities in order to serve the U.S. housing market. Fannie Mae has a federal charter and operates in America’s secondary mortgage market to enhance the liquidity of the mortgage market by providing funds to mortgage bankers and other lenders so that they may lend to home buyers. Our job is to help those who house America.

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Contact Information

Photo of Laurel Sweeney Real Estate
Laurel Sweeney
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty
1209 State Route 213, PO Box 452
High Falls NY 12440
Office: 845-687-2200
Toll Free 877-468-5783
Fax: 845-687-4162

© 2016 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.®.  Equal Housing Opportunity.