Tips for Moving During COVID-19

Tips for Moving During COVID-19

Wondering how to move safely during COVID-19? This post has safety tips to help you make a safe transition into a new home!

The following is a guest post written by Laura McHolm, Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company.

Over the past few months, we have all been learning how to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of our social events or travel plans have been put on hold, moving does not have to be. Moving and Storage are actually considered essential businesses, which means they remain open. With a little extra planning and by following the CDC and WHO safety measures, you can safely move during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and belongings.

What to do before your move:
1. Plan a Contactless Move during COVID-19
As you begin researching moving companies online, remember to also ask questions on how they are mitigating the health risks of COVID-19. A few movers can provide virtual estimates, rather than in-home visits. The video estimate feature allows you to get the cost of your move without having an onsite estimator in your home. You can also use this handy moving box calculator to figure out how many moving boxes you will need.

2. Get packing supplies delivered to you
Since studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, it’s best to purchase new moving boxes and tape from your mover. Eco-friendly moving companies, like NorthStar Moving, use moving boxes made of 100% recyclable materials and also give you a discount when you recycle them back. Even during a pandemic, we can do our part to care for our environment.

3. Let others know ahead of time
If you are moving out or into an apartment building or condominium complex, notify your management company of the time and date of your move. Remember to make these arrangements ahead of time on both ends of the move. Ask your management team about using a service elevator for the day of your move and special arrangements needed for parking the moving truck. You should also notify your neighbors by phone or email so that they can be aware to keep a safe distance in halls and elevators on your moving day.

4. Donate unwanted items during this time of need
As you prepare for your move, mark boxes of unwanted clothing and non-perishable food items that can be donated to the Goodwill or local food bank. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused food insecurity for many families; donating your shelf-stable foods is a great way to lighten your load and give back to your community.

What to do during your Move:
5. Extra Sanitary Precautions while moving during COVID-19
Movers should come prepared with their face masks. Keep your distance from movers and avoid handshakes. Keep soap, running water and paper towels available for movers and your family to wash your hands throughout the day. As much as possible, keep windows opened to allow plenty of fresh air to circulate.

6. Label rooms and boxes to make the move seamless
Take the time to label your boxes and the rooms in your new home before your movers arrive. Clear signs will help movers know where to place each moving box and large furniture without you having to come into close contact with them. Creating a simple floor plan ahead of time will save you time and money.

What to do after your Move:
7. Clean your new home before unpacking
After the movers leave, take some time to disinfect any areas that are high touch zones. Wipe down door handles, light switches and bathrooms before you finish unpacking. Get rid of any germs that could have been brought in on foot traffic by sweeping and mopping your floors.

8. Pack your patience and an overnight bag
Finish unpacking by disinfecting boxes or simply wait 24 hours. Pack a fresh set of sheets, pajamas and toiletries in your overnight bag. This will come in handy after a long day of moving.

Stay informed while moving during COVID-19
Keep in mind, as we all continue to adapt to the changing times, it’s important to stay informed and follow any local or state restrictions. At NorthStar Moving, we want to alleviate the anxiety and stress of moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please consider all of the extra safety precautions our team is taking during moves and in our offices. If you are not ready to make the move yet, learn how to transform your home for stay-at-home needs.

Posted on July 22, 2020 at 5:18 pm
"The Frommann Team" Paul & Beth | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Celebrating 20 years of Service

We’re celebrating 20 years of making our clients Real Estate dreams come true!

 

Posted on July 17, 2020 at 2:24 pm
"The Frommann Team" Paul & Beth | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

How to Screen In a Porch Using Basic Hardware Store Supplies

screened in porch with ocean viewJames Merrell

Posted on July 16, 2020 at 6:46 pm
"The Frommann Team" Paul & Beth | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

How to Get Stains & Grease Off Walls

How to Get Stains & Grease Off Walls

Image: Carrie Robinson                           Learn how to clean 7 tough stains off your walls — and ensure a lasting paint job.

 

You can’t wait to cover up that nasty beige on your walls, but as you take a close look at all the areas you’re gonna have to prep you see a lot of grime, gunk, and stuff that looks too stubborn for your standard vinegar wash.

Any cleaning rookie can wipe off dust and cobwebs. But it takes a cleaning pro to scour grease stains, watermarks, and kids’ crayon and ink wall art.

Kitchen Grease on Walls

Grease is an occupational hazard of cooking. If only it wouldn’t ind it’s way onto your walls and cabinets, trapping all kinds of gunk. Yuck!

Good news. Any decent dish soap can remove grease stains on walls.

For small stains, mix: 1/4 teaspoon of soap in a cup of warm water, and wipe. Rinse with clean water, and blot until dry. Clean stubborn grease stains with solution of 1/3 cup of white household vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Dirt and Grime Buildup

The oil from your hands gets onto walls, cabinets, doors, and door frames. A wall eraser, like the Mr. Clean Eraser ($3 for 4 pads), easily wipes away these stains.

Wet the sponge and rub gently to avoid taking bits of paint off with the stain.

Or make your own homemade wall cleaning sponge:

  • 1 cup ammonia,
  • 1/2 cup white distilled or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • one gallon of warm water.

Wipe the solution over walls with a sponge (or cloth), and rinse with water.

Crayons

Wall erasers work like a charm on crayon marks. If they don’t do the trick:

  • Rub marks with toothpaste (not gel).
  • Erase marks with an art gum or a pencil eraser; use a circular motion.
  • Swipe marks with baby wipes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub marks.

Permanent Marker

Permanent markers are tough to remove from walls. Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and dab the stain. Or spray marks with hairspray, then wipe drips.

Ink

Ballpoint ink, which is oil-based, often melts away if you use foaming shaving cream, dry-cleaning solvents such as Carbona, or nail polish remover.

Make sure you open windows when using cleaning solvents and polish remover.

Mildew

Mildew is a fungus that eats soap scum and body oil. To remove from walls, spray with vinegar water: 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 quart water. Also, try an enzyme laundry detergent; follow the pre-treating directions on the label. Blot it on the stain, and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Water Stains

After you’ve solved the problem that caused the water stains, rinse with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Thoroughly dry with a hairdryer or fans. If bleaching doesn’t remove water stains, you’ll have to repaint. Prime the walls with a stain-killing primer, such as Kilz Paint.

PAT CURRY

Pat Curry is a former senior editor at “Builder,” the official magazine of the National Association of Home Builders, and a frequent contributor to real estate and home-building publications.

Posted on July 16, 2020 at 6:07 pm
"The Frommann Team" Paul & Beth | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

Important Things to Avoid Before Buying a Home

Don’t Move Money Around

When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your company 401K and retirement accounts.

If you have been moving money between accounts during that time, there may be large deposits and withdrawals in some of them.

The mortgage underwriter (the person who actually approves your loan) will probably require a complete paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits. You may be required to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts, and other seemingly inconsequential data, which could get quite tedious.

Perhaps you become exasperated at your lender, but they are only doing their job correctly. To ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud, it is a requirement on most loans to completely document the source of all funds. Moving your money around, even if you are consolidating your funds to make it “easier,” could make it more difficult for the lender to properly document.

So leave your money where it is until you talk to a loan officer.

Oh…don’t change banks, either.

No Major Purchase of Any Kind

Review the article title “Don’t Buy a Car,” and apply it to any major purchase that would create debt of any kind. This includes furniture, appliances, electronic equipment, jewelry, vacations, expensive weddings…

…and automobiles, of course.

Don’t Buy a Car – or Did You Already Buy One?

Don’t Buy a Car

When an individual’s income starts growing and they manage to set aside some savings, they commonly experience what may be considered an innate instinct of modern civilized mankind.

The desire to spend money.

Since North Americans have a special love affair with the automobile, this becomes a high priority item on the shopping list. Later, other things will be added and one of those will probably be a house.

However, by the time home ownership has become more than a distant and hopeful dream, you may have already bought the car.

It happens all the time, sometimes just before you contact a lender to get pre-qualified for a mortgage.

As part of the interview, you may tell the loan officer your price target. He will ask about your income, your savings and your debts, then give you his opinion. “If only you didn’t have this car payment,” he might begin, “you would certainly qualify for a home loan to buy that house.”

Debt-to-Income Ratios and Car Payments

When determining your ability to qualify for a mortgage, a lender looks at what is called your “debt-to-income” ratio. A debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your gross monthly income (before taxes) that you spend on debt. This will include your monthly housing costs, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and homeowner’s association fees, if any. It will also include your monthly consumer debt, including credit cards, student loans, installment debt, and….

…car payments.

How a New Car Payment Reduces Your Purchase Price

Suppose you earn $5000 a month and you have a car payment of $400. At current interest rates (approximately 8% on a thirty-year fixed rate loan), you would qualify for approximately $55,000 less than if you did not have the car payment.

Even if you feel you can afford the car payment, mortgage companies approve your mortgage based on their guidelines, not yours. Do not get discouraged, however. You should still take the time to get pre-qualified by a lender.

However, if you have not already bought a car, remember one thing. Whenever the thought of buying a car enters your mind, think ahead. Think about buying a home first. Buying a home is a much more important purchase when considering your future financial well being.

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm
"The Frommann Team" Paul & Beth | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Benefits To Owning Your Own Home

The Best Investment

As a fairly general rule, homes appreciate about five percent a year. Some years will be more, some less. The figure will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and region to region.

Five percent may not seem like that much at first. Stocks (at times) appreciate much more, and you could earn over six percent with the safest investment of all, treasury bonds.

But take a second look…

Presumably, if you bought a $200,000 house, you did not pay cash for the home. You got a mortgage, too. Suppose you put as much as twenty percent down – that would be an investment of $40,000.

At an appreciation rate of 5% annually, a $200,000 home would increase in value $10,000 during the first year. That means you earned $10,000 with an investment of $40,000. Your annual “return on investment” would be a whopping twenty-five percent.

Of course, you are making mortgage payments and paying property taxes, along with a couple of other costs. However, since the interest on your mortgage and your property taxes are both tax deductible, the government is essentially subsidizing your home purchase.

Your rate of return when buying a home is higher than most any other investment you could make.

If you are moving to a home for the first time, you are going to be very pleased with all the new space you have available. You may have to even buy more “stuff.”

Income Tax Savings

Because of income tax deductions, the government is basically subsidizing your purchase of a home. All of the interest and property taxes you pay in a given year can be deducted from your gross income to reduce your taxable income.

For example, assume your initial loan balance is $150,000 with an interest rate of eight percent. During the first year you would pay $9969.27 in interest. If your first payment is January 1st, your taxable income would be almost $10,000 less – due to the IRS interest rate deduction.

Property taxes are deductible, too. Whatever property taxes you pay in a given year may also be deducted from your gross income, lowering your tax obligation.

Stable Monthly Housing Costs

When you rent a place to live, you can certainly expect your rent to increase each year – or even more often. If you get a fixed rate mortgage when you buy a home, you have the same monthly payment amount for thirty years. Even if you get an adjustable rate mortgage, your payment will stay within a certain range for the entire life of the mortgage – and interest rates aren’t as volatile now as they were in the late seventies and early eighties.

Imagine how much rent might be ten, fifteen, or even thirty years from now? Which makes more sense?

Forced Savings

Some people are just lousy at saving money, and a house is an automatic savings account. You accumulate savings in two ways. Every month, a portion of your payment goes toward the principal. Admittedly, in the early years of the mortgage, this is not much. Over time, however, it accelerates.

Second, your home appreciates. Average appreciation on a home is approximately five percent, though it will vary from year to year, and in some years may even depreciate.. Over time, history has shown that owning a home is one of the very best financial investments.

Freedom & Individualism 

When you rent, you are normally limited on what you can do to improve your home. You have to get permission to make certain types of improvements. Nor does it make sense to spend thousand of dollars painting, putting in carpet, tile or window coverings when the main person who benefits is the landlord and not you.

Since your landlord wants to keep his expenses to a minimum, he or she will probably not be spending much to improve the place, either.

When you own a home, however, you can do pretty much whatever you want. You get the benefits of any improvements you make, plus you get to live in an environment you have created, not some faceless landlord.

More Space

Both indoors and outdoors, you will probably have more space if you own your own home. Even moving to a condominium from an apartment, you are likely to find you have much more room available – your own laundry and storage area, and bigger rooms. Apartment complexes are more interested in creating the maximum number of income-producing units than they are in creating space for each of the tenants.

If you are moving to a home for the first time, you are going to be very pleased with all the new space you have available. You may have to even buy more “stuff.”

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 2:10 pm
"The Frommann Team" Paul & Beth | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,