Moving

Should You Remodel or Move?

from Zillow.com

If you’re asking yourself if you should remodel your home or just move on to a new one, there are probably a few things about your home you don’t love — and that’s no surprise. No home is perfect! But when you’re asking yourself that question, you’re really asking: Can my dislikes be changed with a remodel? Would that make financial sense? Is remodeling worth the hassle?

With low inventory nationwide, more homeowners are renovating their current homes instead of moving. According to Zillow research, 76 percent of Americans surveyed would rather use a set amount of money to upgrade their home to meet their needs rather than use it as a down payment on a new home.

Everyone’s home, budget, real estate market and priorities are different. So, settling the remodel-versus-sell debate always varies, depending on who you ask. But, if you’re trying to make the decision for yourself, follow these five key steps.

1. Determine whether remodeling or moving is more cost-effective

You’ll incur costs no matter which path you decide to take, and what makes sense for you might not make sense for another homeowner. For some homeowners, moving is cheaper. For others, it makes more financial sense to renovate the house they already have. To find out the more affordable option for you, make sure to consider all possible expenses in order to make an accurate side-by-side comparison.

Read the whole article on Zillow.com.

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What Homebuyers Want in 2022

by Kendall Little
January 4, 2022
from Time/NextAdvisor

Outdoor space is in. 

That’s the feature most home buyers are looking for these days, according to real estate agents, who say the season’s stay-at-home orders have left millions of people feeling cooped up. 

If you’re going to spend time and money on a home improvement project, it pays to focus on things future buyers might find valuable, in case you choose to sell one day. Projects like refurbishing a patio — or replacing a garage door — can improve your day-to-day experience in your home and boost its value too. 

In fact, many Americans have spent their time at home over the past few months tackling DIY renovations. Quarterly earnings reports from big box home improvement chains Lowe’s and Home Depot both showed year-over-year improvement from 2019, even as overall consumer spending fell by record amounts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the whole article on Time/NextAdvisor.

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A Week in the Life of a Simplify Experts Organizer

Simplify Experts professional organizers handle a wide variety of situations. Decluttering and organizing, downsizing or upsizing homes, packing and/or unpacking a move, estate sale preparation, garages and garden sheds, businesses and home offices—you name it, and we’ve probably done it! To give you more insight into what our organizers do in a typical week, here are excerpts from our CRM. These entries are input by the organizers themselves, and all client names have been redacted. Keep in mind that these are mostly 3-hour sessions! We hope you’ll find it enlightening.

“Such a great day with 2 of us! We rocked through the whole kitchen and got the countertops cleared and made homes for everything so [client] can do the dishes and put them away. We moved the coffee station next to the fridge alongside the blender. Teas/coffees/accessories went in the drawers. Then all appliances went in the next drawer….We were such an efficient team that the kitchen took about 2.5 hours so for the last 25 minutes or so, I convinced [client] to let us at least get the recycling out of the garage so that there was more room. She consented to letting me do a recycling run….we helped break down boxes and I loaded my car with as many as I could fit.”

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Why Hire A Professional Organizer to Help With a Move or Remodel?

We are truly proud that Simplify Experts has helped thousands of clients across the Puget Sound with their home decluttering and organizing needs over the past 14 years. Many don’t realize, however, the large number of clients we have also helped with their moving and remodeling needs. It’s true! Professional organizers can help make this major life event less stressful, more streamlined, and yes, more cost-effective! A recent survey showed moving as the top stressor in life events, with 43% saying they’d never do it again. Still not sure why you should hire a professional organizer with your move or remodel? Read on, and you may have a change of tune.

Declutter and downsize before you pack…and save money.

Moving companies generally charge by weight. They give a cost estimate using formulas to calculate the total volume of your furnishings and household items, including everything in your closets, shelves, and cabinets. If you pack it all up, have the movers take it, and then unpack, declutter, and downsize at your new home, you will have paid the movers to move things you ended up getting rid of. With one client, our organizers took about 40 black garbage bags and a dozen large boxes to the donation center, and left a good-sized mountain of random junk on the porch for a hauler to take away. Imagine if they had had the movers take all that to their new home!

We help you get rid of the big things, too.

We help you declutter and downsize much more than just books, clothing, kids’ stuff, and household items. If you are moving to a bigger or smaller home, chances are your furniture and decor needs will be changing, too. That old disassembled antique crib in the garage? Your Chippendale mahogany dining set that doesn’t go with your new, modern condo? Several pieces from your original art collection that need a new home? We can help you consign or donate these items so you have several less things to worry about.

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8 Great Reasons to Downsize Your Home

Is your home still meeting your needs? For most people as they start their adult lives and possibly their families, they start upsizing to larger homes with bonus rooms and big backyards. What happens when the kids move out or your lifestyle changes? The word “downsize” may bring to mind recently retired folks who’ve decided to sell their big family home and opt for a sparkly new condo somewhere sunny, and with a pool a few steps away. While that is definitely one of the ways to do it, there are many more reasons to downsize. You don’t even have to be retired!

1. More Cashflow

The housing market in the Greater Seattle Area has been booming for years, and downsizing is definitely one way to create more cashflow. You could free up more cash with a lower or even no mortgage. With a smaller home you’ll also have lower utility bills and homeowner’s insurance; you may even save more with no more HOA dues or yard maintenance costs. It’s also a viable way to consolidate a lot of debt—and lower financial anxiety. For example, sell your home and with the profits, pay off your home equity loan, college loan, and credit card, then pay off most or all of your mortgage. If you’ve been in your home for at least 10 years and it’s value has gone up significantly, you can use that equity to your advantage.

2. Freedom

A smaller home is much easier to maintain. With our eldest launched, one in college, and one in high school, we no longer needed such a big house and yard. We downsized to a smaller but still spacious home with almost no yard, and with the house being brand new, there is nothing it needs in terms of updating or remodeling. Less to clean and keep up = more time for leisure! I’ve got a friend who is loving the freedom of her downsize from a single-family house to a condo in a doorman building. She calls it a “lock and go” setup because she literally turns one key and she can travel and work remotely from anywhere in the world.

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When Your Empty Nest Refills

Has your empty nest been refilled in light of this year’s unprecedented events? Guess what, you are not alone! According to a recent survey by Country Financial, 1 in 5 parents have had adult kids move back home in 2020. For younger millennials (24-29 year olds), 39% of them are either planning to move back home or have already done so. In some cases a child who was supposed to move out is staying home instead because their university is currently still remote-only. Whatever the reason, having a kid or two at home when you were expecting to be an empty nester is probably a surprise. We’ve got some tips on how to keep things positive and harmonious while enjoying this extra time together.

Set Expectations

Your kiddo is now an adult, and not only should you treat them as such, but they should also behave accordingly. Let them do their own laundry, give them chores, take turns doing groceries and making dinner—you get the idea. Unless you want your house to feel like your adult children’s personal “bed & breakfast,” set these expectations early on. It’s easy for your relationship to regress to the parent-child dynamic, but really try not to let it. Instead, move it towards more of an adult-roommates dynamic.

Communicate Needs

Everyone will have specific needs and these should be addressed and agreed upon. For example, if you and your spouse are accustomed to having dinner at 6pm but your late-working daughter likes to eat at 9pm, work out a compromise involving cooking and heating up leftovers. If your son has a daily 8am call with his boss, move your daily morning treadmill date with Van Halen earlier or later (or get AirPods!). It’s also important to communicate about finances. If your child is working, do you want them to help pay for utilities and groceries? If not, do they need financial support, and how much? Talking about it and clarifying details will make it a bit less stressful for both of you.

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What Happens During A Simplify Experts Assessment?

If you’ve been reading our monthly newsletters, following us on social media, or checking out our website, you are probably familiar with Simplify Expert’s amazing offer of a complimentary consultation. Founder Denise Allan visits your home and spends about an hour meeting with you and assessing your organizing needs and goals.

I am a Simplify Experts employee, but I am also a homeowner with current decluttering needs! With one child launched, another off to university in the Fall, and only one teen left living at home, our family will be downsizing to a smaller home in a couple of months. Our current home has 10 years’ worth of accumulation. Going from a fairly large home to a medium-sized home means getting rid of significant pieces of furniture; toys, games, sports equipment, books, and clothes that our older kids no longer need; and all kinds of household items we no longer use.

The closing date for our new home was looming, and the listing date for our current home was moved up. We weren’t quite in “panic mode,” but we did need to speed up our process and get the house ready—fast!—for the video/photo pro, and then to list a few days after that. You’d think after four months of quarantine we would have already completely organized and decluttered the house (as well as learned a new language and kept a sourdough starter alive). Our home wasn’t particularly messy or disorganized, but once we started the process of going through everything, it felt and looked like a small tsunami had hit. My kids took everything out of their closets, shelves, and under-bed storage. My husband and I did the same with our offices, the storage room, rec room, and study. The hallways and larger rooms became depositories of everything and we could barely even walk through! Overwhelmed much?

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5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home That Will Add Value

How long is your home’s to-do list?

Take a moment and think about how many tasks around the house you’ve been putting off. Perhaps a bathroom coated with chipped paint or an outdated carpet has been lurking in the back of your mind. Or, maybe your home requires more serious home renovations like replacing a leaky roof or redeeming some worn down siding.

Whether it’s a major haul or a project you can squeeze into one day and do it yourself, your newfound downtime could be perfect for making some of those updates. Before you set any plans in motion, ask yourself if the project is worth both your time and money. In other words, you shouldn’t make any serious alterations to your home simply for better looks because oftentimes it isn’t guaranteed that your home’s value will increase as a result.

So, which updates are worthwhile? Read on to find out which efforts, from largest to smallest, you can make to improve your home along with some insider tips on being smart with your money.

First, let’s take a look at a couple of bigger renos that are both popular and profitable.

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Say Goodbye to Your Storage Unit

Are you one of the 9.4% of U.S. households that own a storage unit? Be honest and think about the last time you needed to get something stored in your unit. Has it been three months, six months, or even a year? Chances are you could get rid of that storage unit and most of its contents, saving you an average of $89 a month. If you rented the unit as a temporary storage solution, consider the “temporary” part and recall why you had to rent the unit in the first place. Was it to store overflow items before or after a move? Did you rent it after you downsized your home or an aging parent’s? Were you using it to store items for a future estate sale? Whatever the reason, it’s probably time to clean out and say goodbye to your storage unit.

Step 1: Prepare yourself

It’s a big project that could take more than a day. Work in 4-hour time chunks if you can (it may take multiple sessions!). Do a last-minute pit stop at the location bathroom, and have a water bottle and a protein bar on hand. This is physical work and you’ll hit decision fatigue by the 4-hour limit. If you haven’t been to your storage unit in a long while, you likely won’t remember every item in there. Bring in extra hands, not just for heavy lifting and sorting, but for emotional support. You may come across items you have not seen in ages, such as your departed grandmother’s favorite dishes. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and sentimental about things you have dear memories of, but know you need to part with.

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Stress-Free Guide: Planning and Surviving Your Major House Renovation

If you’re planning to give your home a major facelift, you’re in for a very interesting time in your life. Renovations can be super fun, but also more than stressful, especially when they involve a big part of your home and last for a long time. However, renovations do not have to end in tears and nervous breakdowns! Here’s how to pull off a smooth and breezy reno.

Collect as many tips as you can

Make sure to do your homework before doing any renovation work. Talk to your homeowner friends and family, consult with neighbors and surf the internet for tips. You’re guaranteed to collect a good number of tips that will come in handy during your reno. These tips and information can greatly affect your renovation and even your end product. It’s always good to know what works and what doesn’t pay off.

Plan your budget

One of the first things to do before you grab a sledgehammer and start tearing down walls is coming up with a good budgeting plan. Check the internet for material prices, ask quotes from your contractors and see whether you need to pay for permits. Also, don’t forget the price of hotels in case you need to get away from the noise of renovation. Once you come up with a good budget, add 10% for emergency situations and you’re good to go. No matter how hard you try to make everything perfect, there are situations that you simply can’t predict. When you’re set on a budget, stick to it like crazy. It’s easy to get carried away with renovations and end up blowing your entire life savings.

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