4 Areas Not to Skip in Your Move Out Cleaning

Most standard leases won’t penalize you for normal wear and tear to your apartment, so it’s OK if the carpet looks a little more worn or the paint a little faded by the time you move out. However, the parameters of your lease will most likely hold you accountable for making your apartment look as nice when you move out as it did when you moved in, which can require some extra care on your part.

It may feel like a tedious job, but you probably did put down a security deposit when you signed that lease, and you do want that money back, right?

First, check to see if your landlord or management company has a move-out checklist. This will help keep you on track to getting your security deposit back in full. Then, be thorough when you clean. Imagine how you want your next apartment to look when you walk in with that first moving box and give the same consideration to the people who just signed a lease on your current place.

Tackling stuff beyond the basics during your move out cleaning

Getting that “like new” feel to your apartment means doing more than just the basics. While it’s important to clean the countertops, floors and bathrooms well, here are few items you might not spruce up as frequently that need your attention before moving day.

1. Hard to reach spots

cleaning window sillcleaning window sill

Everyone has those hard-to-reach spots around their apartment that often get ignored on cleaning day. While that’s fine for regular cleaning, they’re not the spots to avoid when preparing to move out. Make sure you check these key areas for dust:

  • Crown molding
  • Baseboards
  • Ceiling fans
  • Air vents
  • Window sills
  • Tops of high cabinets and appliances

Spend some time wiping them down with a good duster and/or multi-surface spray if they look a little dingy.

2. Grimiest places in the kitchen

oven cleaningoven cleaning

Even though it may feel like the grease that has accumulated on your stovetop and in your oven is impossible to clean, you can return these appliances to their cleanest appearance with a little work.

Ammonia or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can serve as homemade cleaners for your stovetop, helping to break down grease and make it easier to wipe away the grime. Cleaners designed to target grease specifically can also often be found at hardware stores.

Many ovens offer a self-cleaning option, which is ideal if your oven is moderately dirty. This process heats your oven up to burn off the grime, so if your oven has a lot of build up, don’t use this option. Too much grease can smoke up during the self-cleaning process and be quite dangerous.

Oven cleaner is another option, but it can be a little rough on the person doing the cleaning, so make sure to wear safety gloves. For the natural route, baking soda, water and vinegar sprayed on and left overnight can loosen the build-up.

3. Newly emptied spaces

cabinetscabinets

Packing up all your belongings creates empty spaces where your stuff once lived. You may suddenly notice how dirty or dusty the inside of your cabinets is or a strange spill that has sat in your fridge for nobody knows how long. Wipe down all the insides of cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms, and give special attention to the shelves in your fridge and freezer. Complete the cleaning by wiping down the outside of each. as well.

4. Walls and floors

guy fixing wallguy fixing wall

General wear-and-tear typically doesn’t include carpet or wall stains or the holes from hanging pictures. It’s easy to take care of this common damage. Attack carpet stains with a carpet cleaner or use baking soda. Extreme stains may require you to rent a professional-grade carpet cleaner from your local hardware store.

Wall stains can typically be wiped clean. For small holes in walls, fill them with spackling paste, using a putty knife. Once dry, smooth over with sandpaper and you’re good to go.

Don’t forget your move out cleaning!

There are always last-minute items lingering, so a quick walk-through will help ensure you leave your apartment in the same condition it was in when you first arrived.

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

Moving Rituals from Around the World

By Al Harris, Web Editor, SpareFoot.com

Moving to a new home is a new beginning. What better way to make sure your new beginning starts off right than with a little ritual?

Cultures around the world have developed unique rituals for bringing good luck to a move into a new house. While you may not be of the superstitious sort, practicing a move-in ritual is a great way to set intentions for how you will live in your new home. 

So, let’s take a tour around the world to see what different cultures do when moving to a new home:

India

In India, it is important to pick certain auspicious days for moving. For example, the first day of the lunar calendar, a full moon, or a festival day are all common moving days in India. Families might even consult a Hindu priest to determine the best date that is suited to them based on various factors. Fridays, Saturdays and rainy days are considered unlucky for move-ins, but Thursdays are considered the best.

Another moving day superstition in India is that you must step through the threshold with your right foot first.

Russia

In Russia, it is considered good luck to let a cat into your new home first. This tradition is so widespread that one of Russia’s largest banks recently provided a “loaner cat” to any customer who obtained a new mortgage.

United Kingdom and Ireland

Many Irish believe it is bad luck to exit the home through a different door than you entered. But this only applies the first time you enter and exit the house. 

Another tradition in the British Isles is to bring a new broom with you to your new home. That’s because old brooms carry all of your past troubles and bad energy, and you don’t want to bring that with you to your new place. A new broom ensures a fresh start. The broom superstition is actually common across many cultures around the world, not just the United Kingdom.

Mexico

In Mexico it is tradition to place an aloe plant outside your home to ward off negative energy. The succulent plant is said to absorb bad vibes like a sponge.

The Philippines

To guarantee financial prosperity when moving in the Philippines, it is common to place coins throughout every corner of the home. Along with the coins, rice and salt must also be the first things that you bring into your new house.

America

In America it isn’t uncommon to burn bundles of sage throughout a new house to purify the air and expel any negative forces. The practice, known as smudging, is adapted from Native American culture. Oddly enough, smudging has been embraced by practitioners of Feng Shui as means to clear any negative energies out of a house. 

Another moving ritual in America is one you are most likely to find in the Deep South. It is tradition to paint the ceiling of your front porch a shade of light blue called “haint blue”. The color is said to repel haints, a regional term for ghostly spirits, from entering the house.

A World of Superstition

We’re not sure if any of these practices will actually bring you good luck, but it does go to show that every culture considers moving into a new home to be a momentous event. Whether you practice a moving ritual or not, be sure to take a moment to celebrate your move and recognize the major life event taking place before you.

Al Harris is the web editor at SpareFoot.com, the world’s largest marketplace for finding and reserving a self-storage unit.

Source: zoocasa.com

Using a Moving Company: FAQs We’ve Got You Covered On

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Moving to a new home is an exciting yet stressful endeavor. A lot of different factors go into a move, and it can be difficult to keep everything straight. A major question that we find comes up a lot: should I use a moving company? And with that question, many other questions can come up. How much will it cost? Do they pack my things? The list goes on. We’ve broken things down for you below, and have tackled some major questions that could come up when deciding to use a moving company. The key to a stress-free move is being prepared, and we are here to help you with that. 

How much should you tip the movers?

We know, paying for a moving company is expensive enough as it is, and to throw a tip on top of it all may feel like you’re breaking the bank. That being said, your movers are working very hard to make sure your items get from point A to point B safely, so tips are much appreciated. The amount you should tip is up to you based on your experience, the service you received, and the complexity of your move. A good rule of thumb to follow is to tip anywhere between 5-10% of the total cost, which will then be split amongst the moving team. If you are feeling tight on money, providing water, snacks, or meals for your movers is another great way to show your gratitude during the move.

Do movers cost more on weekends?

Peak times for moving include the weekends, summer, holidays, and both the first and last few days of the month. Because of the high demand during these times, you can expect the rates to be higher. Regardless of the time of year, moving during the week will always be the more affordable option. While this isn’t always the most convenient option for everyone, scheduling a mid-week move will definitely save you some cash.

When is the best time to move?

May through September, the beginning and end of the month, and weekends are the most popular times people choose to move. If you can be flexible with your move, choosing any off times will not only be cost-effective, but your movers will be considerably less busy and therefore, more attentive. Choosing the best date and time for your move will make things a lot easier and a lot less stressful when the day finally comes.

Is it worth having movers pack my things?

This really depends. Do you have a lot of large or hard to move items or a lot of breakable items? Do you have a lot of friends or family help you pack? If you are confident that you can handle the packing on your own, or have plenty of people to help you with it, it may not be worth having the extra money to have the movers pack your things. That being said, if you can afford the splurge, we do think it is worth it. There are a lot of factors that go into moving, and a million things to worry about on moving day. Having someone else handle the packing for you is a huge stress relief, and well worth it in our opinion.

How do I make my move cost less?

In our opinion, planning your move as far in advance as you can be the best way to cut down on costs. As we just mentioned, choosing your move date wisely will be a huge help in terms of cost savings. October through March are your best bet for lower costs. Opting out of having your moving crew pack everything up for you is another great way to cut costs as well. Grab a few friends and pack up your place together rather than paying someone else to do it for you. Another tip: don’t pay for boxes. While one box seems cheap, it adds up when you have a whole home to move out of. We like to head to our local liquor store to load up on boxes when we are getting ready for a move.

Do I need insurance while my belongings are being moved? 

Insurance is a great thing to consider having for your belongings while they are being moved, especially if you are moving far. Established moving companies will typically offer liability insurance for an additional fee, and there are typically different levels to choose from. Another important thing to note: if you have homeowner’s insurance, it may cover any damage to your belongings in the event that something happens. While paying for insurance may feel like an additional unnecessary cost, it is worth it for the peace of mind.

What if they charge me more than the quote?

We’ve said it already, and we will say it again. Moving can get very pricey. Make sure you are paying attention each step of the way when utilizing a moving company. If moving companies offer you quotes, make sure they are firm. On top of that, make sure you are asking the right questions when you are examining the costs behind your moving company. Are there any additional fees that may be added on to this quote? What about cancellation fees? How much more will it cost if things take longer than expected? These are all important things to know and address at the beginning to avoid being charged more than you are expecting.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

How to Move Long-Distance With a Pet Dog or Cat – Transportation Tips

Moving long-distance is hard. From finding a new home and booking movers to actually transporting your family and possessions to your new city or town, it can be overwhelming and exhausting for most people.

Adding pets into the mix just complicates an already challenging situation. Of course, you want to bring your furry family members with you, but how can you get Bingo or Mittens to another city, state, or country comfortably and with the least amount of stress possible?

Although long-distance moves can be harder with cats and dogs, planning ahead and considering their needs can make a world of difference. Breaking your plan into three parts can help to make sure you’re prepared before you move, while you travel, and when you arrive at your new address.

Pet Planning Before You Move

As most pet owners know, pets can be extremely sensitive to new situations and experiences. Giving them time to adjust to new circumstances before a move can make a huge difference in their stress levels — and your own.

Here are some tips for how to prepare to move long-distance with a pet before moving day.

Plan Your Pet’s Transportation

You have three options when it comes to moving with your pet. You can drive with them in a vehicle, you can fly together, or you can hire a pet transportation service.

Driving With Your Pet

If you’re going to drive with your pet, there are a number of different ways to prepare them for the journey.

If you plan to use a kennel or pet carrier, make sure that you give your cat or dog time to adjust to it before moving day. Leave the crate open and in an area of your home that your pet has access to. Make it inviting by putting a soft bed or blanket inside and feeding them treats and food in the carrier. If they have a favorite toy, encourage them to play with it in the crate.

If your cat or dog is small, try closing the kennel door once they’re comfortable and lifting the carrier up, and walking a short distance with it. Pets who are unfamiliar with being transported in a crate will need time to adjust to the feeling of being carried. Once your pet feels comfortable with the crate, try taking them for short trips around the block to see how to react to being in a vehicle.

If they seem to be anxious or afraid, cover the kennel with a light blanket or towel to help your pet feel more secure. Often, this is a great way to stop any whining or crying because it makes them feel safer and keeps them from seeing out the windows, which can be distressing.

Be sure to choose a carrier that is large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. Because you may need to provide a litter box or training pad and food and water bowls, it should be big enough to give your pet separate space to sleep and rest as well as relieve themselves and access food and water.

Make sure that the kennel fits in a part of your vehicle that you can access and monitor while on the road. Don’t put your pets in a trunk or trailer. Ideally, you’ll want them to be secured in the back seat of your vehicle so that you can check on them frequently and access them if there’s a problem.

Double-check that your vehicle’s climate controls — air conditioning and heat — are working, and never leave your pet in a hot or cold vehicle unattended while you eat, sleep, or take a driving break.

Flying With Your Pet

Flying with your pet can be an attractive option for a lot of pet owners. It’s faster than driving and can be much easier to plan because you won’t have to worry about stopping to eat or rest.

However, flying is much more restrictive than driving because you have to comply with airline rules.

Airlines charge fees to transport your pet, and how much depends on the airline, your pet’s size, and whether they fly in the cabin or in the cargo hold.

Cats and dogs are required to stay in a crate while flying, regardless of whether they’re with you or in cargo, so it’s important to kennel train them before a flight to help them to become familiar with being contained. Include an ID tag and your contact information — phone number, address, and email — on your pet’s kennel in case you get separated.

Depending on whether your pet flies in cargo or with you, they’ll need to go through security and may briefly be required to be removed from their kennel so that airport staff can confirm they’re safe to fly. You may also need to provide documentation regarding vaccines and health certificates from a veterinarian, so check your airline’s requirements in advance to find out what you’ll need before your board.

Keep in mind that airlines can refuse to allow your pet to travel at any point leading up to your flight. If you’re flying with your cat or dog for the first time, make sure you have a backup plan. If your pet is in severe distress, acts aggressively, or disrupts other passengers leading up to takeoff, you may be asked to make alternative arrangements.

Whenever possible, book a direct flight to keep air travel times to a minimum. Although some pets fly very well, others are affected by the change in air pressure, noise, and confined space.

Pet Transportation Services

If you aren’t able to drive cross-country yourself, but you don’t want to put your pet through the stress of flying, pet couriers can be a perfect alternative.

Pet transportation services are companies that specialize in driving pets from point A to point B while their owners drive, fly, or leave early to prepare their new home. Many of these services have specialized vehicles with built-in kennels and make frequent stops for walks and bathroom breaks.

Aside from doing the actual driving, some pet couriers can help to arrange both vehicle and plane transportation for pets, including permits, documentation requirements, and moves overseas.

This can be especially helpful for people who are moving to another country or who want to arrive before their pets so that they can be there to meet a moving company or set up a new home.

Make sure to research pet transportation companies beforehand and look for positive reviews from the Better Business Bureau. Look for additional feedback on Google or Yelp to see what other customers thought about the service. You can also ask your vet, trainer, or other pet owners for recommendations. Because you’re entrusting them with your furry friend on a stressful journey, choose a company that you feel comfortable with and that can send you photo and video updates along the way.

Get a Vet Checkup

Regardless of which method of transportation you choose, it’s important to ensure that your pet is in good condition before you start your journey. Your vet should make sure your cat or dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and that they’re in good health and able to travel. Even if you’re flying or using a pet transportation service within the United States, you’ll still need to have your pet’s health records and vaccination certificates handy.

If your pet has a tendency to be anxious or distressed when traveling, your vet can offer options to help ease their stress. This may be in the form of a mild sedative or a pheromone spray. They can also offer advice specific to your pet’s medical history and any health issues or conditions they have.

It may be difficult to get your pet in for a vet visit in cities or towns you’re not familiar with. Consider asking your current vet if they know any good veterinary clinics in your new area, and confirm their contact information so that you can get your pet’s health records transferred to a new vet when you arrive.

Update Your Pet Insurance

If you have pet insurance, make sure you update your information and ask your insurer about travel coverage for your pet while you’re on the move. Confirm whether they offer insurance in your new city or state as well — some providers may only offer benefits in specific areas. If your insurance provider doesn’t offer service in your new area, ask them if they have partners or sister companies where you’ll be moving.

If not, start researching new insurance providers with solid travel coverage for your pet and set it up before you leave on moving day.

Stock Up On Pet Supplies

You’re going to need supplies for your trip, especially if you’re driving with your pet in tow. What you’ll need depends on whether you have a cat or a dog. Make sure to visit Chewy.com before you leave to prepare for your trip to stock up on your pet’s preferred items.

Cat Supplies

  • Enough cat litter for your trip
  • A small, easy-to-clean litter box
  • Wet and dry cat food
  • Food and water bowls — preferably that attach to a kennel
  • Extra blankets and bed
  • Cat scratcher
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Collar, harness, and leash
  • Sturdy, generously sized kennel
  • Prescriptions
  • ID tags
  • Health and vaccination certificates
  • Unscented, sensitive baby wipes to clean messes

Dog Supplies

  • Training pads
  • Extra leash, harness, and collar
  • Food and treats
  • ID tags
  • Health and vaccination certificates
  • Medications or prescriptions
  • Chew and puzzle toys
  • Waste bags
  • Collapsible food and water bowls
  • Extra blankets and bed
  • Kennel
  • Unscented, sensitive baby wipes in case of accidents or messes

Update Your Pet’s Microchip Information

If your pet has a microchip or tattoo, make sure that your contact information is correct. This includes your pet’s name and description as well as health issues, and your name, address, and phone number. You can also list an additional contact, like a family member or friend in your pet’s hometown in case they make their way back to your old house.

Update your pet’s information on the microchip company’s website and call your vet to ensure your information with them is up-to-date as well. Notify them of your new address and phone number so that they can get in touch with you if they’re contacted in the event your pet gets lost.

If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your vet to book an implant, which is a quick and simple procedure.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your pet’s ID tag is current and includes a working phone number for you or your veterinary office.


Planning For Travel With a Pet

Once you have prepared, you can start thinking about how you’ll handle traveling to your new state or city with your furry friend. Now’s the time to start thinking about where you’ll stay, when to stop, and how long your travel time will be.

Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations

If you’re driving, or if you’re flying and have long layovers or cancellations, you’re going to need a place for you and your pet to rest between legs of your journey.

Start by planning out your route. If you’re taking a road trip, pick which cities and towns you want to stop in along the way. Try to choose populated areas where you can find a vet, mechanic, or pet store if you need them.

Once you know where you want to stop, check out which hotels, motels, or Airbnb rentals in the area offer pet-friendly stays. Because pet-friendly accommodations can be harder to find, it’s essential that you don’t wait to book until the last minute. Confirm that your lodging allows the type of pet that you have — some only allow dogs, while others allow cats as well.

If you do choose a hotel or motel, you may end up having to pay an additional nonrefundable pet fee on top of your stay. It’s usually anywhere from $15 to $50 and covers the extra cleaning associated with a pet-friendly room. Airbnbs may or may not come with additional pet fees, depending on the host and house rules.

Plan Your Route, Breaks, and Overnight Stops

When you take a road trip on your own, you have the luxury of sightseeing and stopping to visit friends or family members along the way. When you’re traveling with a pet, you often want to get to your destination as quickly as possible.

Being in a vehicle for hours on end can be hard on cats and dogs, so you need to consider how long your travel time will be each day. You may have to stick to 6- to 8-hour daily drives for longer trips as opposed to 12- to 14-hour drives that you would be able to handle on your own.

You’ll also need to adjust your driving time to include walks, bathroom breaks, and food and water stops for your pet. Dogs may need to stop and stretch their legs more than you do, and cats can be finicky during travel and may reach their daily limit of driving before you’re ready to stop.

Remember that it can be hard to stick to a strict schedule with pets, so leave yourself a lot of wiggle room. Pets may become car sick, hyper, or distressed, and may need extra breaks before they’re ready to keep going.

Check on your pet frequently to ensure they’re comfortable and that their kennel or carrier is clean and secure. If possible, have someone drive with you so that, if your pet gets stuck or spills a water bowl, they can handle it without you having to pull over. If you don’t have that option, try to choose a pet carrier that can be secured with a seat belt to add stability and safety.

If you’re flying, make sure that your kennel and food and water bowls meet your airline’s requirements. Remind flight staff that you are traveling with a pet to ensure that everyone is aware you have a furry friend on board. Be sure to adhere to cabin rules by keeping your pet’s carrier under your seat and closed. Air travel can be especially stressful for pets, so following the rules can help to keep you, your furry friend, and other passengers safe and comfortable during your flight.

If you’re traveling cross-country, you should be aware of different state laws, especially if you have an exotic pet or a controversial breed of dog. Not all states allow the same animals, or even certain dog breeds, to cross their borders, so plan ahead if you need to cross state lines.

Prepackage Food, Treats, and Litter

Instead of bringing an entire box of litter or food into a pet-friendly hotel room, keep the box in your vehicle filled with separate individually packaged bags that you can grab as you need them. Each night when you stop, grab one bag of litter and food and leave the rest in your vehicle. It will make packing and unpacking your car each day much easier and faster.

Keep items that you’ll need frequently in a separate bag, like waste bags, treats, medication, leashes, collars, and a full water bottle.

If your pet tends to eat and drink less while traveling, try bringing along some wet food to encourage them to take in some liquids and calories. But be wary of giving them anything that might cause an upset stomach. An accident in the car while you’re on the road can be unpleasant for everyone. Talk to your vet if your pet has a sensitive stomach for tips on how to best ensure they’re happy and full during your trip.


Planning For Your Pet’s Arrival in a New Home

Once you know how and when you plan to travel to your new home, you can start to think about making your pet’s transition to a new home easier. It can take pets longer to acclimate to new surroundings, but you can help to make them feel at ease by thinking ahead.

Keep Your Pet’s Possessions

A lot of pets like consistency. They like their own beds, toys, and litter boxes. Although you might be tempted to replace old belongings for your new space, your pets will appreciate consistency and familiarity. Bring their favorite scratch posts, beds, blankets, and pet furniture such as a cat tower to your new house, and wait to replace it until your pet has settled in.

Make Your New Home Pet-Friendly

If possible, make your new home pet-friendly before, or soon after, your pet arrives. For dogs, if you have a yard, ensure it’s fenced and clean so that they have room to play. You can also install a doggy door and have a dog house ready for them to use.

For cats, have a scratch post set up and give them lots of places to hide and rest. Cats can be a lot more apprehensive about new spaces than dogs, so consider putting them in a room with a bed, food, water, and litter box until the movers are gone and your house is organized. This gives them a chance to adjust to new smells and sounds and prevents them from bolting out the door while you’re unloading the moving truck.

Order or Buy Pet Supplies For Your New Home

Make sure you have your pet’s favorite food, litter, and treats on hand in your new home. New food can cause upset stomachs on its own, but it can be even worse for an animal adjusting to a different space.

Find a local pet store that sells your brand so that you know where to find your pet’s supplies when you start to run low. It’s useful to know whether you have a pet store close to you or if you have to drive across town when you need to restock. You can also shop online through Chewy.

Check Your New Location’s Pet Bylaws and Waste Guidelines

Different cities have different rules and bylaws about cats and dogs. Some will require you to register your pet with your city for a small fee as well as provide proof of spay/neuter and vaccinations. They also have different limits on the number of pets you are allowed to have and what kind.

Give your new city or town government a call before your pet arrives and ask about details like registration, fees, noise ordinances related to pets, or bylaws related to outdoor cats. Knowing what can get your pet into trouble helps to prevent issues in the future.

On top of bylaws, you should find out how you’re expected to dispose of your pet’s waste. Different cities handle pet waste differently, so find out what you’re supposed to do with it beforehand.

Find a New Vet

Even if your pet is doing well, you’ll still need to find a vet for annual checkups, vaccinations, and any prescription refills. If your previous vet wasn’t able to offer any recommendations, ask neighbors and coworkers who they use.

You can also use a televet like Pawp. You’ll have 24/7 access to a veterinarian with instant video chats. Being prepared will make things easier if there’s an emergency or your pet isn’t feeling well.


Final Word

Whether you’re relocating for work or personal reasons, moving long-distance with a pet doesn’t need to be overly complicated. By planning ahead and considering your pet’s needs before, during, and after a move, you can make their transition easier on everyone involved.

Tailor the specifics to your pet and think about how they’ve handled traveling or moving in the past to get a feel for how well they’ll acclimate to their new surroundings. By managing potential issues beforehand, you can prepare yourself for any situation, reducing stress and worry on your part and your pet’s.

Source: moneycrashers.com

8 Questions To Ask as You Search for an Apartment During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If your lease ends during the coronavirus pandemic—when shelter-in-place rules are in full effect in most states—finding a new rental can become much more complicated. You’ll have to rely heavily on virtual tools like listing photos and 3D tours, but you’ll also have to do more due diligence to ensure you cover all bases.

Photos and videos can provide an initial introduction to an apartment, says Caryl Berenato, a licensed associate real estate broker for Compass in New York.

A prerecorded virtual walk-through, she adds, “can answer a lot of questions you may have and provide fodder for those that hadn’t occurred to you.”

Asking all the right questions is the next vital step in landing an awesome abode.

So what are the questions you should run by the landlord or property manager? Start taking notes. Here are the top queries that should be addressed before you sign a lease on a new rental.

1. Can you show me the apartment live?

Since you cannot tour the apartment in person, the next best thing is a live video tour that gets you up close and personal with your potential pad. You can request from the landlord or property manager a live virtual tour via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.

“This will allow the potential renter to see the apartment finishes, any upgrades, the exact floor plan, color scheme, carpet, among other details,” says Amy Groff, senior vice president of industry operations, National Apartment Association.

You can also ask to see the property’s grounds and outdoor spaces during the video tour.

2. Can you send me the floor plan?

If an apartment is already occupied and a live viewing is not possible, request a floor plan. This can give you a good idea of space and whether the apartment will suit your needs. You can also ask for the floor plans of other units in the building for comparison.

“People always want to know where the furniture fits, where the bed goes in the master bedroom, etc.,” says Berenato. “However, a good floor plan will answer many of those concerns.”

It’s also important to ask if there is an elevator in the building, especially if the apartment is on an upper floor.

“What is charming to someone (a fifth-floor walk-up, great exercise!) could be a deal breaker for another,” says Berenato.

3. What is the closet space like?

Most of us have a lot of stuff, so ample closet space is essential. We know your fancy kicks need a home too, so it’s best to inquire. Ask for the measurements of each closet and get photos, if possible, for a better idea of the closet layout.

Other questions Berenato recommends asking include: How many closets does the unit have, and are they customized? Could a closet be converted into a home office? Do you offer an option to rent additional storage space on the premises?

4. Where is the apartment located?

You’ve done a live virtual walk-through and seen photos, and everything looks good. But, as far as you know, the rental could be located farther away from shops or entertainment centers than you originally assumed when looking at a map. Get the deets!

“When moving to a new location, renters always want to know where the home is located in relation to services—schools, grocery stores, shops, places of worship, parks, transportation hubs, health services, and hospitals,” says Berenato. “You should ask where the home is in relation to the services that matter most to you.”

If you’re charmed by the idea of being able to walk to a farmers’ market on the weekends, or repelled by the thought of having to deal with school drop-off traffic in the morning, you’ll want to ask about the surrounding neighborhood before it’s too late.

5. How is the apartment situated?

OK, so you’ve found out that the apartment appears to be in a good location. But what does it look out on? The last thing you need is to stay awake all night because of a sign with flashing lights across the street.

Berenato say renters should ask what the views are from each room, whether it’s a busy street, intersection, park, parking lot, or other buildings.

You should also ask about how many walls are shared with neighbors. Are any of your bedroom walls shared with a neighbor? That could be an important variable if you’re a light sleeper or don’t have a typical 9-to-5 schedule.

6. Would you live here?

You don’t want to move into just any old apartment. A good way to try to gauge the true value of a unit is to ask your future landlord or property manager whether they would be willing to take up residence themselves in the property.

Of course, there’s no way to know whether they are truly being candid, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You’ll want to do this by phone or FaceTime to get an unscripted response.

Find out what other renters think about living in the apartment building, too. You can find detailed (and brutally honest) answers to your questions through apartment reviews on websites like Yelp. Online reviews should of course be taken with a grain of salt, and should not be the only basis for your decision.

“Just as you would when making any major purchase—such as a vehicle, major electronic, or other expense—online reviews, photos, and social media platforms provide a wide array of perspective that should be considered before committing,” says Groff.

7. What is the price and lease terms?

This may be an obvious point to make, but you’ll want to be absolutely clear on the price, lease terms, renter qualifications, and availability of the unit.

Also make sure to ask about deposits, parking spot fees, and any other extra fees. Find out whether or not the unit is rent-controlled and how much the landlords are legally allowed to increase your rent at the end of your contract.

“Asking questions to your leasing consultant is important, to ensure you fully understand the expectations of being a future resident in that specific community,” says Groff.

8. What about the moving process?

During the coronavirus pandemic, rules may vary between states about how the moving process will work—or if it is even allowed. Get on top of that, so that your move can progress smoothly.

“How will you pick up keys and sign the lease agreement?” says Groff. “Because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, are there any restrictions on moving day, and can you hire a moving company if needed?”

Source: realtor.com

5 Most Horrifying Things Ever Packed for a Move

Broken plates and a mangled lampshade are fairly standard moving mishaps. But sometimes the truly crazy, surprising, or even embarrassing things happen when homeowners need to relocate. Even with the best intentions—and mountains of bubble wrap—people end up packing some strange and just plain off-putting things in an effort to get their possessions from point A to B.

Want proof? Enjoy the following moving tales so you’ll know what not to pack, lest you become a cautionary tale yourself.

1. Trash cans full of … trash

Larry Perlstein moved cross-country from Stamford, CT, to Los Gatos, CA, several years ago and appreciated the thoroughness of his packers. Everything was neatly wrapped and boxed and made it safely to the West Coast, he reports. But when he opened his wastebaskets, he realized they’d arrived full.

“The movers packed all the trash cans—with the garbage still in them,” he says.

Lesson learned: Empty your bins before the move, or your banana peels will join you on the journey.

2. A song that wouldn’t stop playing

Soon after Jenny Lilienthal and her family loaded their belongings in a 24-foot van and started driving it from Massachusetts to Florida, they heard a funny sound coming from the back of the truck.

“After we listened a bit, we realized it was our 3-year-old’s game, Gone Fishing, which was somehow triggered and playing music,” she explains.

Unpacking the truck to turn it off wasn’t an option. So, they spent the next three days listening to this jingle nonstop until it became forever drilled into their heads, like a moving theme song.

“It played cheerfully the whole way,” she adds. “And it nearly drove us nuts!”

3. Last week’s meal

Reba Haas, a real estate agent with Team Reba of Re/Max Metro Realty in Seattle, helped sell the home of a client who had hoarder tendencies.

“On moving day, the moving company told me that there were dirty dishes in the homeowner’s sink and she somehow convinced the movers to pack them up,” Haas explains.

Making matters even grosser, this was an international move—from the U.S. to Costa Rica.

“Nothing that might attract bugs or rodents can be moved,” notes Haas, who doesn’t know whether those dirty dishes made it through customs.

The movers admitted it was the most disgusting job they’d ever been a part of, but Haas insists they don’t know the half of it: “They have no idea what I went through for months just to get this client’s home ready to sell and pack!”

4. Stolen goods

It’s hard to leave certain things when you move, but some items must remain in place if they’re included in the purchase agreement. Haas, for one, recalls one seller who proceeded to make off with things that were supposed to stay.

“This seller stripped the house of its curtains, even though she’d earlier acknowledged that all window coverings were to stay,” Haas recalls. “She even dug up plants in the front yard and took them with her. She didn’t even bother to refill the holes with dirt!”

5. A dead person’s ashes

During one move, pro mover Yuval Beton and his team were prepped in detail about a client’s vase.

“We were told it was very important and that we were to take any precautions necessary to make sure it arrived safely,” he explains. With further probing, Beton discovered that the vase was actually an urn—and it contained the ashes of the client’s late husband.

“It was a nerve-wracking move,” he admits. Luckily, the urn was moved in one piece.

Source: realtor.com

6 Surprising Things You Never Knew You Had to Do Before the Movers Arrive

Moving is stressful, so you’d be forgiven if after packing the last box you thought that you were finally done. Now it’s just time to wait for the movers to arrive, right?

Not exactly.

Working with professional movers is a great option for people making big moves, moving with kids, or moving large or fragile items that would be otherwise impossible to transport. But while many moving companies do a great job of providing end-to-end service, there are some things that only you can do to make the whole process run smoothly. Here’s our list of six surprising things you’ll need to do before the movers arrive in order to avoid disaster.

1. Make a clear path

Whether you live in an urban apartment or a two-story house in the country, there are bound to be obstacles for your movers. By anticipating these issues before they happen, you can make everyone’s job easier, and possibly even save some money by taking up less of the movers’ time.

First, you should consider the parking situation outside your home. Where will the movers be able to leave their truck when packing up your stuff? If you do have that house in the country, this might not be an issue. But if you’re living in an apartment or urban area, chances are good that a huge double-parked truck won’t be taken very kindly by the neighbors.

“If you live in an apartment building or if there is limited parking in your area, ask the movers if they will handle the logistics or if you need to do so,” says Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.”

Some moving companies might be familiar with your neighborhood and know how to park in a way that doesn’t raise any red flags with the neighbors. But if they tell you they’d like your help with the logistics, then this will be on you to handle before they arrive.

“You may need to contact your building manager,” Wenzke says, “or the local city government to get the appropriate signage and allowances.”

There are other things to consider, too—like the state of your driveway.

Pat Byrne, operations manager of Long Island–based moving company Moving Ahead Moving & Storage, always asks clients to remove ice and snow to avoid any accidents during the move. You should also make sure the driveway and front access points are clear of debris—like kids’ or pet toys that might pose a slip hazard.

2. Make necessary reservations and get your paperwork together

Some apartment buildings might have service elevators available for use. This would be another time-saving question to ask your building manager in advance.

“See if service elevators can be reserved and whether the building needs any paperwork from movers—like a certificate of insurance,” says Byrne.

3. Protect your house, including your floors

To prevent damage to your house during the move, you should be aware of what furniture is going out the door, and anything fragile in its path that might be at risk of breaking.

“Lightbulbs, fixtures, pictures, mirrors, wall hangings should be removed from the main areas where furniture will be moved,” Byrne says.

And don’t forget about the hardwood floors. Nothing will put off a buyer more than seeing skid marks illustrating the path your sofa took out of the place.

“If you have hardwood floors or tile in any rooms, let your movers know ahead of time so they can prepare the right materials—and make sure your contract includes hardwood floor protection,” advises Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator at San Francisco–based moving company Dolly.

4. Measure!

On a related note, you’ll want to measure your furniture and make sure any large items will fit through the front door in the first place.

“Nothing is more heartbreaking than finding out the gorgeous sectional you spent hours assembling is not going to make it through your front door unless you spend more hours disassembling it,” Benson says.

———

Watch: Who Would Have Guessed: Weird Packing Tips That Really Work

———

5. Pack up the kids (and pets)

Not literally, of course. But you should take the time to consider where your family will be when the movers are at work. If paying for a space in the nearby pet hotel isn’t an option, at least consider keeping your pets in a safe space within your home.

“Pets should be kept in a room with everything they need that movers won’t need to access,” Byrne advises. “You’d want to do this even if your pet is friendly, to avoid [their] accidentally getting out of the house or injured.”

Similarly, young kids should also be kept out of the way on moving day. This is important for their safety as well as the safety of your moving team.

“The last thing you or your movers want to worry about is whether your 2-year-old’s scream is going to shock them at the wrong time,” Benson says.

6. Make yourself available

Once the family is out of the house, it’s time (drumroll, please) to sit down and relax—sort of. Find a central point in your home (that’s out of the movers’ way) and simply plan on making yourself available to them as they move your stuff.

Do we mean supervising their every move and reminding them the box is marked “fragile”? Probably not. But you should be around to help answer any questions, or alert movers to anything special they should know about your place.

“There are little things about your house that you only learn from living there: The hallway closet door never stays closed, the third step down has a slight bend, a pack of hornets tends to congregate around the back door, so use the front—these are all valuable things that make your movers’ lives easier,” Benson explains.

“On top of that, being available to answer questions, whether that’s in person or via phone, can make your move much smoother,” she adds.

Source: realtor.com