Simplify Your Space with Wendy Wolff

My name is Wendy Wolff and I have drank the minimalist kool aid.  Seriously, possibly the whole pitcher. Here is the short story….

Two years ago my family moved to the middle of the Cascade Mountains for a one year sabbatical. We felt stuck on a treadmill that was set on EXTREME workout for so long that we really didn’t know how to get off, or even slow down. We wanted to recalibrate, so we went completely off the grid for an entire year and volunteered at a remote retreat center called Holden Village.  

Not recommending this course of action for everyone who needs a change, but I recalibrated at Holden 16 years earlier when I was in the midst of a major life decision. It provided the clarity and courage I needed….so I convinced my husband if a week could do that, then a year could only be that much better.

I will spare you all of the tedious details, but we rented our house to friends of friends and needed to decide what we to bring with us for the year, what was worth paying to put into storage and what we needed to purge.  As we dug through rooms, closets, drawers, storage bins and nasty corners of our basement and garage, we had to ask some questions of ourselves. Like, What the HELL is this? Where did I get this? Where did YOU get this? Why is this taking up our precious space?

We honed in on two questions that helped us with our decision making process, “Do we love it?” and, “Is it essential?” If we couldn’t say yes to either of these two questions, it was set into the purge pile… with gratitude. That was when I discovered how amazing it felt to gift lovely things that we didn’t need that can be LOVED and essential to someone else!

I was becoming a minimalist and I didn’t even know it was a ¨THING… like a movement with itś own gurus – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, Sara Susanka, and so many others I am learning about as I continue to immerse myself in this new world.

Fast Forward… We had an amazing, beautiful, very simple, clarifying year at Holden and came back to a home that holds only what we love and what is essential. I have empty drawers and half full closets. I know what is in every storage bin because every single thing endured that beautiful interrogation.

There is a mysterious connection between simplifying our spaces and clarifying our path. I believe that when we removed the physical clutter, we had more mental and emotional space to actually be present in our thoughts and dreams.  We had built our family life around our careers and came home and decided to turn everything upside down and rebuild our careers around our family needs. There was some demolition that needed to happen in order to pour a new foundation so we could start rebuilding. We continued to simplify and ask hard questions.

I decided to leave my profession of over 20 years. I was a school counselor and supported children and families through their emotional and academic struggles, building insight and resiliency in individual’s sense of self and their relationships.

For the past year I have been helping others simplify their spaces and walk them through the process we discovered before we left for Holden Village.  I have found my most motivated clients are those that are moving because there is no avoiding the back BACK closets and dirty corners of your basement.  I have helped people let go of belongings that represent lost dreams, lost relationships, lost places and make intentional decisions about how they want fill their new space with things that represent who they are and want they want to be moving forward.  

I just binged the Marie Kondo Netflix series and I so appreciate the gentleness and compassion in which she helps people reflect on what truly brings them joy.  I want to spend the next 20 years helping people untangle their relationships with their stuff. I have worked with empty nesters and aging parents looking to reimagine, simplify or downsize their space…  busy professionals who have avoided this process for too long and parents who just wants to reduce the clutter so life feels more manageable and efficient. I feel honored every time I am invited into people’s messy spaces and love taking them on this journey of simplifying.


Head over to our Move Prep & Packing page to learn more about some of the services Wendy joining our team allows us to offer!

What To Do With Food When Moving

 

The process of moving involves a lot of planning ahead. And when you have a full house, it’s tricky to plan meals so that there’s little to nothing left to transport to your new location.

While it’s admirable to try meal planning for a month straight to use every last amount of food in your home, it’s often not possible because there is already so much to do!

So instead, take a look at some of these solutions to use the week of your move.

SuperCook

Make recipes based on what you already have in your kitchen.  Take stock of what’s in your pantry, fridge and freezer then check the boxes and SuperCook does the rest.  You’ll get recipes from various cooking websites that all have the ingredients you’ve listed.  Great way to clear out the kitchen AND try something new!

Visit their website here.

Chose a Move for Hunger Moving Company

Move for Hunger is a company that comes to you, packs up non-perishables during your move, then sorts and delivers the items to local families in need.  While they have nationwide partners, all of the donations stay local.  By working with one of their recommended movers (like us!), you have an opportunity to help those in need.

To find a local Move for Hunger moving company, search here.

Donate Directly

Maybe you have a particular location or food bank that you want to work with – Great!  Before you load up the van and head over to the location you’ve chosen, be sure to call ahead to verify the items they are currently accepting and their ability to take on the items you’d like to donate.  If you’re in the Twin Cities area, one popular location for donations is Second Harvest Heartland.  You can check out their website hereto see what foods they need and how to donate.

Reach Out to Friends, Family and Neighbors

For perishable items that won’t be accepted at donation centers, reach out to friends or family to see if they’d be able to make use of them.  You can also see if any of your neighbors are into composting or maybe your local recycling center has a composting opportunity.

Throw Away, The Right Way

If you have items that are perishable, can’t be used before you’re move, won’t travel well, and you’ve exhausted all other options, you will need to throw them away.  But make sure that you do your best to limit the impact of each item. For example, if your milk isn’t going to last then empty the carton and recycle it properly.  Same goes for any juice containers or jars.  Check in with your local trash/recycling providers if you have any specific questions on items in particular.

 

With food, it’s hard to anticipate your needs in advance, but with the solutions above you might be able to not only save yourself some last-minute stress, maybe try some new recipes, and help out your local community.  Get creative and if you have other ideas, share them below in the comments section!

Your Guide to Post-Holiday Storage

The holiday season brings a lot of things: friends, family, delicious meals and treats, plus lots of decorations…  Whether it’s a full house or just your desk, it’s fun to decorate! Music plays in the background, treats are set out and everyone puts their best designing foot forward.

Once the New Year arrives, we find ourselves in a quite different place. As much as we loved the act of decorating, we find ourselves dreading the clean up.

But, there’s a way to avoid this feeling – a way to make it more fun. Get organized!

With our tips below, you can enjoy finding a specific place in storage for each of your items and may even create some space for new decorations you find.

Use Clear Bins

While those green and red themed bins at Target may suit the season, they can also be an absolute pain when trying to locate items next year.  Even if you label your bins, it’s still tricky to find exactly what you’re looking for.  Using clear bins will make it easier to see what is in the bin. So, when it comes to finding that particular snowman serving tray with a spot for veggie dip, you won’t spend a half hour opening each box, rooting around, and creating chaos in your once organized boxes.

Organize by Color

For whatever reason, every holiday season has its own trendy color.  Last year was blush pink and this year is turquoise blue, but two trendy colors don’t always go well together in practice. So put those clear bins to use and sort your hand towels, candles, dishware and sparkly things by color. That way you can easily see the different colors you have and what might look best together.

Take Care of Breakables

You can easily purchase a durable plastic bin with specialty dividers inside, but those get pricey. Another option is to create dividers using cardboard pieces around your home, like the one below.

Many smaller decorations are breakable, which causes a lot of stress when packing up for storage and then pulling them out a year later.  Beside the DIY cardboard dividers, you could also use this tutorial to create an even more secure storage bin.

Take Stock of the Unused Decorations

Over the years, you can end up with a lot of decorations. If you’re planning to get rid of them, avoid throwing them into the trash. Look into other solutions that are available in your community.

Donate!

Goodwill is a local non-profit organization that accepts plenty of seasonal décor. Note: They will not accept artificial trees NOT in the original box. Click here and find a location near you.

Reuse or Repurpose!

What’s broken may not necessarily be a lost cause.  If you’re crafty, you can easily turn outdated or damaged decorations into something beautifully new.  Check out this articlewith different examples ranging from broken ornaments to old tinsel strands.

(At the Very Least) Recycle

If you have broken items that won’t be accepted as donations and you aren’t really the crafty type, double-check what can or can’t be recycled.  If you aren’t sure, check in with your local recycling provider or you can also use this quick décor recycling guideas well.

Store Everything Together

Avoid searching your home last minute for that one missing bin that you need and keep all of you decorations in one particular area.  Whether it’s in a specific closet or area in your basement, make sure that you keep your bins together.  If you are able to add shelving to a space, consider purchasing some basic metal storage racks (link).  This way you could even have one shelf per holiday!

Just look at how cute all of your decorations could be, even in storage!

 

Redefining the Industry

For most, moving is not the most enjoyable activity. It can be physically strenuous, time consuming, and financially unpredictable. On top of all of this, customers often feel as if they are at the mercy of moving companies. At College Muscle Movers, we don’t believe moving has to cause such stress and are constantly working to raise the bar. Although there are many ways we seek to break the mold, below you’ll find a few areas we’ve already made improvements.

Here are some comparisons between moving companies within the Twin Cities. We’ll focus on their policies and how College Muscle Movers has set a new standard.

 

The Move Crew

Hourly Rate: The Move Crew has increased hourly rates at the beginning and end of every month and they charge more for weekend moves.

Travel Fee: The Move Crew charges their hourly rate from portal to portal. This means you are paying their movers the same amount to move your furniture as you are when they are stuck in traffic on the way back to one of their locations. Subsequently, the overall cost of your service is not known until your final bill is charged and can depend largely on factors totally out of your control.

The CMM Difference: Our prices are consistent! We do not raise our prices on the weekend, or at the beginning or end of the month. You don’t need to worry about getting charged more simply because your availability only allows for a weekend move. CMM also has a flat-rate, distance-based travel fee so our hourly rate only takes place from the time we arrive at your first location, and it ends when we have unloaded at your final destination, not our warehouse. And, you get to know our travel fee when you book your service. That means when we leave your final location, you know how much your credit card will be charged.

 

City Moving and Storage

Movers: There are many online reviews from customers complaining that City Moving and Storage’s movers weren’t working hard the whole time, and beyond that, took excessive smoke or lunch breaks.

The CMM Difference: We pride ourselves on employing young, enthusiastic, college-aged workers. We claim no smoke breaks or backaches and we mean it. We may take a lunch break on a full day move, but the customer will never pay for any time we aren’t moving.

 

Bosley Movers

Hourly Minimum: Bosley Movers maintains a 3-hour minimum. That means if you need help moving a single couch or even a handful of items, you’ll still pay for 3-hours of service. There are other companies in the Twin Cities that require a 4-hour minimum.

The CMM Difference: We understand their are many different types of moving needs. That’s why we offer labor-only services with a 1-hour minimum, moving van services with a 1-hour minimum, and truck services with a 2-hour minimum. We’ve set our services up so that not only will our vehicles most often be best utilized, but also so that our customers aren’t ever paying more than they need to for our services.

Now that you are able to see the College Muscle Mover difference, don’t stress yourself any more about finding a moving service. Book with CMM today and see the difference!

8 Must-Have Essentials When Moving

Moving can be a stressful situation and full of roadblocks. Especially when you aren’t prepared or organized with all of your belongings. Take charge of the situation and plan accordingly so you can reduce your stress levels. Tackle your move one step at a time!

The first thing people think of when moving is boxes and tape, but there’s fair amount more to keep in mind when moving.. Don’t forget these often overlooked, essential items.

Here at College Muscle Movers we specialize in moving and have been around  for over 10 years now! With our experience and young minds we are always steps ahead, aiming to make your move as easy and stress-free as possible. Below you’ll find a list often forgotten or overlooked moving essentials.

 

Cleaning Supplies

Moving out of a house and into another can be a messy task, so start it off right by having some cleaning supplies on hand. Then you can make sure everything is clean and ready to go. Supplies that will help are Clorox wipes, a bucket, sponges, toilet cleaner, rags, and whatever else you might need to make both the place you are at and the place you are moving too as clean as possible.

 

First-Aid Kit

A first-aid kit may be the most forgotten essential but moving is something that can beat you up and, if you aren’t prepared, slow you down. Paper cuts, headaches, and rolled ankles are just a few of the injuries you may encounter while moving. Be on your toes and be ready by having bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, cold packs, a blanket, and a list of emergency contacts handy.    

 

Tool Kit

This will be an extremely valuable item to have on hand while moving. From assembling or disassembling furniture, filling in holes in the wall, hanging up a picture, or a tightening a screw , a tool kit will be needed in order to get the job done.   

 

Plastic Bags

You’ll be surprised with how often you’ll need plastic bags when moving. They can be helpful if you want to get rid of some unwanted garbage or even extra storage for things like clothes or shoes, just to name a few.

 

Entertainment

This might be an afterthought but moving can be very boring and monotonous if you don’t have anything to keep you entertained. Be sure to have headphones or a speaker along to help you stay motivated and upbeat. Build a playlist prior to the move so you have fun dance and sing-along songs.

 

Sticker/Markers

Use stickers or markers to stay organized and keep track of all you moving boxes. This will make the transition as easy and as smooth as possible.    

 

Hygiene

You may not think this would be a priority while moving but it sure is. Having toilet paper, paper towels, hand-soap, and other toiletries on-hand will be very convenient to have while you move. Nobody wants to dig through boxes for toilet paper when nature calls.

 

Snacks and Drinks

Moving can take a lot out of you mentally and physically. So be prepared with snacks and drinks to help you stay hydrated and recharged!    

 

We hope our list helps you complete your move in an easy and stress-free manner. If you are looking to move in the near future be sure to give us a call at 651-917-4018. We would be delighted to provide help. If you’re looking for an estimate sooner than later, another key resource is our online estimation helper. It’s fast, free and accurate!

The Future of Moving?

With technology advancing so rapidly it can be compelling to think about the future. The world is getting more advanced and all industries will see major changes in the near future. The moving industry is no different. I thought it would be fun to look at some possibilities for moving in the future.

WHERE ARE WE NOW

Drones were once only viewed as a new means for photography, but are now being considered for several other functions. Many companies are experimenting with drone delivery. It is much easier than sending a delivery truck (Amazon, Dominos, UPS). Drones cannot get stuck in traffic which make them ideal for transporting goods. Their routes can be pre-programmed in less than a minute, so no one would have to be actively directing them.

CURRENT LIMITATIONS

Currently there are regulations around flying drones. As of now to fly under the small UAS rule, the drone cannot be over 55 lbs., including its payload. It also cannot fly higher than 400 feet and can’t fly over people. They also cannot fly over 100 mph. These regulations may be problematic for delivering goods now, but once airspace is more mapped out, new laws may be more suitable for companies utilizing drone services.

Of course, if a moving company were to use drones there is always a question of safety. We must make sure that the drone can hold large items safely and insure they won’t fall. We would have to have all routes pre-programmed to increase efficiency. Cameras could be attached to the drones to make sure we didn’t fly directly over anybody.

WHERE WE’RE HEADED

The Griff 300 is a new drone being deployed and it has a load capacity of 500 lbs for 30-45 minutes depending on payload. This is just the first in its series. The next model from Griff is projected to be able to lift up to 1,700 lbs. You can only imagine how powerful these drones will be in ten years. With current technology drone operators would only be able to take items from point A to point B. With improving technology, it is possible drone operators would be able to navigate items through a house.

(Griffin 300 seen above)

Another innovation that has just come out recently are driverless trucks. They run on electricity which is eco-friendly. They can also be made with a lift gate that would raise items up for you. This would revolutionize the moving industry because a customer could request a truck online and it would be sent to them. They could use the lift gate, and dollies to get items in and out of the truck. Then the truck would drive itself to their new house where the owners could unload the truck. Of course, it would still be smart to have some movers physically move items and provide their moving expertise.

Overall it is clear that technology is going to shape the future. It’s good to dream up new creative ways to improve an industry and consider how it could realistically influence that industry in the future.

Packing Your Possessions the Right Way

Packing

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to pack your most precious belonging?  Don’t stress about it. We are here to help you make your move as simple as possible. Follow these guidelines on how to pack boxes the right way.

DON’T OVERLOAD

Fewer boxes doesn’t mean a quicker move. If each of the boxes contain items that require two people to carry, the move will be the same as if you had two one-person boxes. Place heavier items in smaller boxes. If you overload a larger box with heavy items, it may take two people to lift it. Also, overloading a box can be tough to stack in the truck. Packing the lighter items into larger boxes is better for the movers to carry because it usually requires only one mover to carry, but also, it helps the move get done quicker.

SMALLER BOXES FOR HEAVY ITEMS

If you pack heavy items into large boxes and live on the fourth floor of an apartment, time will be lost but also it will get very tiresome for movers.  Even though it might take more trips from the apartment to the truck, it will be less tiresome on our movers if they carried heavy items in small boxes.   A good example of something heavy would be stuffing a load of books into a box.  Books have a good amount of weight to them and one can fit a lot of them into a box.  A solution would be either to put books into half of the box and then place a pillow into it, or place the books into smaller boxes.

LABELING IS KEY

Labeling boxes helps our movers and the customer know what is in each box.  Labeling heavy items and fragile items also allows you to load them into the truck more efficiently, and safely.  Movers can tell what is heavy and what is light based on them feeling the box, but if fragile items are not labeled, movers will load them into the truck as a normal box based on the weight.

BOXES SHOULD CLOSE

We want to fit boxes into the truck as easily possible and position them appropriately for a safe journey to your destination.  Unclosed boxes or no top boxes can be difficult and dangerous to stack.  Overloading boxes with extra items to use fewer boxes won’t help the move go smoother.

PROTECTING FRAGILE ITEMS

Having your fragile belongings padded before packing them is important when moving.  There are a few things to keep in mind when protecting those items.  Use bubble wrap or ink-free packing paper.  Newspaper can ruin or stain items.  Padding fragile items allow the objects to stay in place and safely make it to your destination.

5 Do’s and Don’t’s of Moving

It’s widely accepted that moving is among the most stressful experiences. But with some planning and preparation you can reduce the stress and set yourself up for a great move. Follow our do’s and don’t’s below to get started.

Do

1. Do an audit of all of your furniture/items

Here is where you will want to get a list of everything that you have and
everything that you need. It could be a simple checklist or an organized
outline.

2. Develop a plan

Once you have a list of everything that you have and everything that you are in need of, you will want to have a plan on how you will get from Point A to Point B. Things to take into consideration include: weather, if you will hire professionals or do it yourself, how you plan to pack your items, and when the move will occur.

3. Give yourself plenty of time

This is very important in having a successful move. These things take time so make sure when planning a move you are giving yourself plenty of time to find movers and to pack all of your belongings.

4. Outsource, if you can

If you are fortunate enough to be able to hire a moving, packing, or cleaning service for the move do so, as it will help ease the stress of the overall move. So consider getting some help, but make sure to book them well ahead of schedule.

5. Label items by room

This is something that you are going to want to do during the packing stage of the move. It will be very beneficial to you to label furniture items by room so when unloading the furniture it is easy to determine where it needs to go. Labeling items can also help when packing boxes to help you remember what is all packed inside.

 

Don’t

1. Wait until the last minute

We cannot stress this one enough! Waiting until the last minute to put together a move is the absolute worst thing you could do when moving. Develop a plan or follow a checklist to avoid falling behind.

2. Lie about inventory

If you are hiring a moving company, they will likely want a list of your furniture items to put together an estimate. It is beneficial to you and the moving company that you make sure to mention everything. That way you will have a more accurate estimate and will not be surprised on the day of the move.

3. Don’t hire someone you don’t trust

When moving you might want to hire someone to do it for. Whether or not it is a professional moving company, friend, family, or neighbor. Do you due diligence and research various moving companies, and think long and hard on who you want moving your belongings.

4. Waste time looking for boxes

There are many ways to acquire boxes for your upcoming move. First would be to look around to see what you have laying around. This could be old, used boxes, garbage bags, and suitcases or any other bags. Other options would include, purchasing or renting boxes from a moving company or going to find cheap boxes at stores such as Home Depot or Menards.

5. Forget to check all areas of the house

This is very important in the beginning of the moving process when you are making a checklist of all your items, to ensure you are not forgetting anything. You also might want to do one last sweep of the house before leaving to make sure nothing is getting left behind.

 

Follow these guidelines and we’re sure that your future move will go as smooth as it possibly can. It’s really about being proactive. Getting a head start and staying organized makes all the difference.

Planning a Successful Yard Sale

You’ve decided to host a yard sale. I’m not sure about you, but for me its an exciting endeavor. But, it’s not as simple as putting signs out and setting your items on your lawn. If you want really want to knock it out of the park, you’ll want to do some preparation.

 

 

Plan and Prepare Early!

It’s best to start collecting items early and store them in bags or boxes until its time to start the journey of pricing. Give yourself plenty of time to collect items and stock up, as many sale-goers are attracted to the larger sales. Also, more options means more opportunities to make money.

 

Date

One of the most important parts of the sale? The date, of course! You want to select your date well in advance to plan around. Weather will always impact turnout, so be sure to consider this when planning.

The date is also important because you will also need to check with your city to see if you will need to purchase a permit or license to host a sale at your home. Looking into this ahead of time will save a headache and potential fees.

 

Location

Now think about your location. Do you have enough space for the amount of items that you would like to sell? If not, you may want to look in to co-hosting a sale with a friend who has more space. Co-hosting  a sale also means more help, more items, and the need for more organization.

 

Tables

Tables. Do you have enough tables? I know I didn’t for my first garage sale. You don’t want items to be too cluttered and you certainly don’t want too many things laying in the grass, so think ahead and ask friends to borrow folding tables if you think you will need them. More space is always better than less.

 

Pricing Your Items

As you collect items, it’s helpful to price as you. When pricing, always ask yourself what you would reasonably pay for this item if you saw it at a yard sale.

On her blog, Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine writes, “I’d rather price something on the low end and have someone actually buy my item, than to have 25 people pick up the item and put I back down on the table because it’s too expensive.”

Also, make sure you write clearly or use pre-made labels that you can pick up from any local hardware store. The price should not be a scavenger hunt or require the customer to ask you for clarification.

For those of you who think you’ll skip the pricing items ahead of time, know that customers often don’t like asking for pricing, and are shy about bartering. They want a hassle-free experience.

 

Advertising for Your Sale

Getting the word out about your sale is crucial.

If you’re a real go-getter, create flyers the week before your sale and hang them around local hotspots like coffee shops and grocery store bulletin boards. Make them clear and bold with all of the necessary information.

If you’re a not quite ambitious enough to make flyers, use of the amazing technology at your fingertips and mention your sale on Facebook or post it to Craigslist. On Craigslist there is an entire section dedicated to garage sales. Remember, pictures always help! If you’ve got items that are higher value, be sure to include photos and mention them specifically in your post.

 

The Day Before Your Sale

The day before your sale will arrive faster than you realize. If you’ve got helpers, consider delegating the tasks mentioned below ahead of time.

Most important, be sure to check the weather for the days that your sale will span over. If you see potential rain, you will want to move items either into the garage or back into the home. While it’s not ideal, you want to preserve your items from the rain as much as possible, and you don’t want all of your marketing efforts to go to waste.

Don’t forget to stop at the bank and get plenty of small bills and coin! You do not want to run out of change in the middle of a sale and remember that most banks aren’t open at all on Sundays.

Try to organize and clean your sale area as much as possible the night before. Sweeping the garage and covering items that are not for sale with a bed sheet will eliminate customer confusion and put focus on the items actually on sale. Setting up tables and laying out whatever items you can will end up saving you time and stress the next morning. While setting up those tables, try to create some sort of organization between toys, clothing, books, etc. If a customer is looking for something specific, then they will be able to pick it out much quicker. Again, double check that all of the items are priced!

Put the kids to work and make signs to stake around the neighborhood that have all of the date and time information with arrows directing potential customers to your sale. Make sure that the writing is clear and the arrows are pointing in the correct direction. Including an address is a great way to ensure folks find their way.

 

The Day of Your Sale

The day you have planned for is finally here!

Be sure to get your neighborhood signs out early in the morning and have everything set up. Before the sale starts, make sure to double check that your doors are locked to the house to detour any opportunists.

You can also get the kids involved and have them set up a lemonade/cookie stand to offer refreshments to customers, for purchase of course.

During the day, keep track of your money by keeping your “cash box” on you and use either a fanny pack or an apron. This will not only provide for more security, but also allow you to more easily assist customers.

With the check out process, set up a wrapping station with bags, boxes and newspaper where customers can wrap their new-found treasures as they feel necessary. This will save time for you and save resources as many people may not find they need a bag or items wrapped. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get rid of all those Amazon boxes that have piled up.

When sales come your way, be sure and be flexible with any offers or negotiations that come your way. As mentioned earlier, it is better to sell something at a lower price rather than to lose out on a sale completely.

 

Post-Sale

Once your sale is complete and you have (hopefully) made plenty of money, you may find yourself with a few items left over. There are a few options that you can chose from if you absolutely do not want to keep said items.

First, you can simply create a FREE sign and make a pile at the end of your driveway, or you can schedule a pick up or drop off items at a local donation center like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

No matter what the outcome our your sale, we hope that you enjoy the excitement that comes with it and have fun.

 

House Hunting

House Hunting: Open Houses

Finding a new home can be a daunting task. Each member of the family has a laundry list of items they’d like and making all of those requests come together in one home can be difficult.  Alas, it’s always possible that perfect house out there!

Thankfully, we have the internet now, which provides amazing ways to see houses available for sale. You can view photos of each room in the home, take virtual tours and many realtors create videos to give you the feeling of walking through the home itself.

Although, that virtual tour isn’t always enough. That’s where open houses come in. They help you better understand the space.  The question is, how do you make the most of going to an open house?  Below, we’ve put together some tips and tricks on how to do that.

 

Finding Open Houses

First, let’s talk about research. Realtor.com has a great search function that can be used to find upcoming open houses in your desired area.  Search by zip code, city or county then select ‘Open House’ within preferences and you instantly have a list of houses that you could visit. The other great thing about this search engine is that it compiles properties from a wide variety of realtors, so there is no need to go from site-to-site to collect all of the information. It’s all in one, easy-to-use spot.

 

Map Your Path

Once you have found several properties that interest you and you’d like to visit in person, create a gameplan. Open houses tend to be on Sundays starting around noon and going until mid-afternoon. Often times, each house is only open for two hours so time management and planning is essential.

Make note of the timing for each house you are interested in, then create a map starting with the house that opens earliest out of your group.  Keep going down the line based on times available and establish how much time you’d like to spend at each location.  If you would like to spend at least a half hour in each, then aim to visit three houses in an afternoon.  Don’t forget to take drive time between locations into account.  Keep in mind, if you miss an open house you can always reach out to the realtor and schedule a private showing.

It’s also a good idea to make note of any questions you have after looking at the homes’ online. If you notice a listing doesn’t have photos of the garage, make a note.

 

Open House Day

Plan in hand, you’re ready to go and find your potential new home! If you have created set times to arrive and leave homes, keep an eye on the time so that you don’t miss out on the other houses you’d like to see.

Make the most of your time at each location. Don’t be shy to asking questions! The realtor is there to help and they are full of information, often times knowing far more than what is published on line.  Trulia has a great list of questions that’s worth checking out.

When visiting each home as a potential buyer you are not obligated to leave any sort of contact information for later. However, if they property catches your eye, be sure to take a card with the realtor’s information. This contact information will come in handy should you have any other further questions and/or you have interest in making an offer.

 

Don’t Forget Etiquette

It’s very easy to get caught up looking at a beautiful home, but make sure that if you want to take any photos you ask the realtor before doing so.  Most times they will say yes, but it is always polite to offer them the option to say no in case the seller has requested no photos.

Also, keep in mind that you are not the only one viewing the home. Any negative comments or notes about the home should be kept to yourself. Sometimes, realtors will wander the house in case visitors have any questions and the last thing they want is to hear negative remarks about their listing. Instead, carry a small notepad with you and make note of any parts of the house that you like or dislike. This will come in handy later once you’ve visited all of the homes and want to discuss.

If there are other groups of buyers in one room, allow them enough time to explore before entering with your group. This is common courtesy that should not be forgotten.

 

Post-Visits

You’re back after your afternoon of viewing potential homes! You’ve got all of your notes and maybe some photos, but what do you do with that information?

First, sort out everything by property and begin reviewing your notes. While you go through all of the information, keep your (family’s) wish list close by for reference. Consider factors like price, upkeep, and location. It will be very hard to find a home with every single feature on your list. Be flexible and prioritize.

If you find yourself with questions about certain properties, reach out to the listing agent directly. If there is a property that you are especially drawn to, set up a follow up private showing. It may just be the home for you.

If you follow the guidelines above, we’re sure you’ll eventually find the home you’re looking for in an stress-free, efficient manner.