Show your home: The ultimate checklist

Show your home: The ultimate checklist

Is it time to show your home? We have the ultimate checklist that will allow you to open up your home with confidence and style. But first things first. Remember that your home is now a property. Yes, you have lots of sweet memories and those memories are important and worth taking with you. But those will now live on in your photos and stories. It is now time to remove yourself from your house and truly look at it as a product. Something that you are selling. You want to remove yourself from the home so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in your home. Here is a quick list of things to keep in mind before that open house!

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8 Reasons to Fall in Love with Loudoun County

8 Reasons to Fall in Love with Loudoun County

Contemplating a move to Loudoun? Loudoun County is far more than just a pretty suburb of Washington, DC. It’s family-friendly, safe and offers “country living” right outside the nation’s capital. Loudoun has a small town feel with its local small businesses, farmers markets, close-knit neighborhoods, and friendly residents. However, when you are ready for a night out in the big city, DC is just a quick trip away. Many residents love this small town/big city balance because it makes living life in Loudoun anything but boring!

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8 things the relocation companies won't tell you

If you are in the market for being relocated in the future due to a job change, you or your partner/spouse may be assigned a one of many relocation companies to handle your move. It all sounds good from the initial discussion, your company advises they will connect you with your relocation counselor and they will handle all aspects of your upcoming move. Great!

The thing is, those relocation companies may be missing the boat.

I have worked personally with relocation companies for the majority of our moves. Some were overseas relocations and some were domestic in the United States. After several less than acceptable experiences, I decided to obtain my real estate license and after learning all of the tricks of the trade, want to share with YOU, the eight top things your relocation company won't tell you before you set out on one of the biggest journeys of your life.

1. You CAN choose your own real estate agent.

When you make first contact with your relocation company or specifically, the counselor assigned to handle your move, they will most likely automatically assign a real estate agent to you - one based on your current location and one based on your new location - and one that is under contract with them to hand over a portion of their commission8th. Even if you are renting in either location, they will let you know that an agent will be in touch with you to begin discussing your upcoming move.

While this may seem like a benefit (in that you don't have to do that work yourself), it often means you are being handed an agent from their database or network, without any real regard having been paid to the needs of your family, the personality of the agent and whether they are the right fit for the job.

You can choose your own real estate agent and often times, while the company policies may state the agent cannot be a family member, if you offer 2-3 potential agent names to your relocation company, odds are they will allow you to choose your own agent. In the long run, wouldn't you want to know that the agent YOU choose is working for you and your family?

2. You may need (and may possibly be approved for) more than one look-see visit.

If your relocation package includes a look-see trip, you will have some benefits as it relates to transportation and accommodations while you search for your new home. Depending on your family situation, it may take more than one trip and you should not hesitate to discuss any such need with your relocation counselor / HR Department if this situation applies.

3. You will have multiple points of contact within the company, not JUST your assigned counselor.

It may sound fantastic to get the call from your relocation counselor as he or she explains that they will be your main point of contact. Just what you've dreamed about, ONE person to communicate with as you navigate your relocation. The reality - sometimes - is that you will have many more people to talk with. Consider your two real estate agents (one where you are currently and one where you're moving), you'll also have someone to handle the pets in your home, if that applies. If you are moving vehicles, you can add on another person. It's quite possible you will also need to communicate separately with the person in charge of your actual freight shipment and if you can believe it, someone to coordinate your own transportation - whether by car, train or plane. Even though you may feel uncomfortable, it is always a good idea to keep your HR rep in the loop, especially if things start to slip sideways.

4. You will need to ask if your counselor is in the same time zone as you.

This may sound odd to you, but when your relocation counselor is first assigned to you, make sure they are located in the same time zone as you -- more specifically -- in the same time zone as where you are GOING. There is nothing worse than having shipments arrive, or problems arise with your real estate agent, or any host of issues and then you discover your relocation counselor isn't at the office yet, or has already left for the day. This is most common when dealing with international moves, but can also wreak havoc during a domestic move as well. Find out when their normal office hours are and request an after hours number, right off the bat.

5. You will need to be clear about communication preferences.

This also sounds like a no brainer, but if you don't tend to check email often, let your relocation counselor know that you prefer texts. Or, if you don't like texting, let them know that you communicate best via phone and advise which number you can best be reached at. It also is beneficial when you can be crystal clear about your expectations as they relate to return phone calls and emails. If you operate best when you receive a "received and noted" type of response after you reach out to someone, let your relocation counselor be aware of that. It can be frustrating to send an email, with what feels like an urgent issue, only to hear crickets in the days following.

Finally, on this topic, ask if your relocation counselor is going to be on vacation or otherwise out of the office during your relocation process and if so, request ahead of time, the names and phone numbers of their supervisor, as well as of the person who will be handling their case load during their absence.

Escape Button Relocation Settled Relocation Companies

6. You need to know about buy outs.

Relocation companies that buy houses call this a buy out, which means if your home does not sell in a specified period of time, your company will "buy out" your mortgage. ON the surface of things, this sounds like a policy that alleviates the pressure to sell. I have seen too many people rest on their laurels and not fight for top dollar when selling their home, because of this policy. In reality, the buy out policy is only meant to leave you NOT harmed (meaning, the buy out price is not necessarily representative of what your home will appraise at or otherwise sell for). However, if your home is being placed on the market during a time not conducive to a traditional sale, this policy does have its merits.

7. You need to remember that this relocation IS about the family, not just the employee.

If the non-employee adult is going to be taking the lead on the relocation, make sure that your HR Department AND the relocation counselor are very aware of this. If it applies to you, request that the employee only be contacted in cases where the non-employee is not able to be reached. Relocation companies do not work for you and your family, they work for the employer's company. At the end of the day, you need to take control of the situation and ensure that the relocation happens smoothly, while utilizing the resources that have been provided for you.

The relocation companies who have been around for awhile (I call them the monsters) have many years of experience working for companies who relocate their employees.

If you ask me, the old school relocation companies have forgotten what it means to truly service the global mobile family.

The newer up and coming companies who are just entering the space of relocation haven't been in existence long enough to fully know what it takes to relocate a family and are still very employee-centric.

8. You may not be insured on items that you pack yourself.

If you have a relocation package that includes a moving company packing your household goods, it is possible that your policy / package does NOT allow for insurance coverage on any items that you pack yourself. What this means practically is this: most often the listing agent hired to sell your house will have a professional stager come through your home to give advice and tips on how to purge, rearrange and otherwise set up your house to look its best during showings. She may even say something like "You're going to have to pack anyway, you might as well get a head start" or something along those lines.

The reality inside of a relocation is that often you AREN'T the one that is going to pack, and anything you place in tubs or boxes will have a "PBO" sticker placed across the top by the packing crew, which means if any contents are damaged in transit, those items will not fall under the reimbursable claim policy.


Relocation Settled Relocation Companies

Relocating can be extremely stressful, but it doesn't have to be. If you are in need of some guidance in this realm, fill out the contact form below and let us assist YOU in making your next relocation the best yet! We have amazing resources to share with you, including a helpful checklist to use during your first contact with your HR Department and/or relocation counselor, step-by-step tips and hacks to avoid the "PBO" sticker situation mentioned above, advice on how to get the most out of your look-see visit, and more.


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Leaving Well - Leesburg

This experience and journey is being shared today from one of our treasured 8th & Home friends, Heather Myklegard. Heather is the founder of Get Social Moxie  (you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Take it away, Heather!


 

Heather Myklegard Photo Credit- Alimond Photography

 

This spring our family of 5 decided to make a lifestyle change and move from the quiet town of Leesburg into the city of North Arlington. It was a tough decision and one we did not make lightly. Arlington was very appealing to us as it offered a friendly community vibe within minutes of downtown DC. It cut my husband's commute time by 2 hours a day and offered several more options as far as schools for our 3 boys. After several months of research, and driving back and forth, we decided that now was the time to make our move. We were lucky and found a wonderful house in Arlington on a street full of children and just minutes from the metro.

Heather Myklegard

 

However, we soon discovered that the hardest days were ahead of us. Leaving a city that you love and have grown so familiar with can be very challenging. On one of my hardest days, Naomi explained the term, “leaving well”:

Leaving a place that you don’t have to leave, but choose to for your own reasons, can sometimes be much harder than being forced to leave a place - because of a new job, etc. It is an important part of the transition when moving, to leave well. You’re making an intentional choice to change your lifestyle and restructure your mornings, your weekends, your everything … and that’s exciting, but it doesn’t mean it’s not sad to leave the choices you have been living in/with. Leaving well is the art of moving on from a place with intention and joy.

It made total sense. I cried off and on for several weeks, struggling with the realization that I was choosing to soon be gone from this wonderful little town that I had grown to love and cherish.

So, for the last month of our stay in Leesburg we made a list of all the things we had enjoyed doing during the 4 years that we had lived in Loudoun County. Here are ten things we did before saying good bye and heading east.

Great Country Farms

This was one of our favorite places, especially when the boys were little. There is a big bounce pillow, a petting zoo, miniature golf, big slides, and a wonderful Pumpkin Festival in the fall. But the best thing about Great Country Farms is their apple cider donuts. Trust me. They are worth the drive.

Great Country Farms

Mom's Apple Pie

Mom’s Apple Pie was the very first place we stopped when we drove into Leesburg for the first time 4 years ago. It was the first landmark that made me think we had picked the right town. Their raspberry-peach crumb pie is amazing and you must try their sugar cookies. Even if you are over the age of eight years old!

Mom's Apple Pie

 

Passion Fin in Ashburn

We love sushi and have had it all over the country. Passion Fin is definitely one of the best sushi restaurants we have been to. Passion Fin offers great service and fresh, quality fish. They also have a Koi pond in the front that is a favorite among our boys.

 

Passion Fin

Ida Lee

One last dip at outdoor Ida Lee ... Oh, Ida Lee. The heart of Leesburg. The AV Symington Aquatic Center was our pit stop every summer. The outdoor pool offers slides, lazy rivers, and great shaved ice.

Street Tacos at Senor Ramons

We were told there was a new taco shop in town so we hunted it down. Senor Ramons on Loudoun Street did NOT disappoint. We sat outside on the porch and walked over to The Cajun Experience for beignets afterwards.

Senor Ramon

King Street!

I love King Street in downtown Leesburg. It is the epitome of a small, historic town. I grabbed an iced coffee at Shoes and walked from store to store.

Loudoun County Fair

A. Sample Photography LLC

We are from Idaho so we KNOW fairs. The Loudoun County fair is the best fair I have ever been to. It sits among one of the prettiest parts of Loudoun County and has this amazing small-town feel. They have camel rides, petting zoo, and a demolition derby. We may have to drive back to Loudoun County for this next year!

George C. Marshall House

We walked from our house to downtown and looked at all of our favorite old houses on Edwards Ferry and downtown- When the boys were still in the stroller, we would walk from our house to downtown via Edwards Ferry and look at all of the old houses. The old houses are one thing I am really going to miss about Leesburg. I love seeing the history and how well the homeowners have preserved them over the years.

Heather Myklegard

Family Night at Chic Fil-A, Leesburg

Every Tuesday night the Chic Fil-A in Leesburg has a family night. They offer arts and crafts for kids and with the indoor play area, it is a great time for mom and dad to enjoy a semi quiet dinner. The staff at CFA are world-class. We are really going to miss CFA.

Shoes Secret Garden

Go for lunch! You may not know this, but behind the Shoes Coffee is a “secret garden”. Shoes has a back patio with a full lunch and dinner menu. They offer live music and bocce ball too. Great for the whole family or a night out with your partner. The ice cream is pretty good too!


 

As I write this, I realize that I do not have to say goodbye forever. We are only 41 miles away and can go back and visit some of our favorite places in Leesburg any time we want. If you are new to the area, or are looking for something to do in Loudoun County, I hope this offers you some fun ideas.

Heather Myklegard

 

Leesburg truly is a hidden treasure and I feel so fortunate that I was able to experience life there with my children. Leesburg will always hold a special place in our hearts.

~ Heather

How to Downsize When Moving to a Smaller Home

Tiny homes are not for everyone. You might have seen some of these tiny homes on the aptly titled reality show Tiny House Hunters. Yes, judging by the home improvement channel, "tiny homes" are now a thing. Petr Novak Apartment Complex 8th & Home Megan Wild

There is nothing wrong with wanting to minimize your belongings, but tiny might be too, well, tiny. Instead, folks are opting for a practical downsizing to a smaller home. There are many benefits from downsizing and getting rid of the clutter that can so easily take over a large house. Here’s how to downsize, and get ready to move from a bigger space into a smaller home.

Step 1: Check Out the New Space

Suppose you're currently living in a four-bedroom house but want to make the transition to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse. There are plenty of those on the market you can scope out for size. You should get a good sense for just how small your new place might become. Remember, it's not just about the actual living space but also available storage in closets and cabinets. This scouting trip will help prepare you for the next step.

Step 2: Take a Stuff Inventory

If you're serious about downsizing, then you'll need to get serious about your stuff. What do you need that you currently have to maintain a comfortable lifestyle? It might break down to a bed, a sofa, a TV and kitchen items. Nothing wrong with that, but it means you're going to have to start getting rid of things.

Henry McIntosh Dining Room 8th & Home Megan Wild

Your inventory should also include a lot of measurements. Your new living room might only be 12 feet x 12 feet. Will your current couch fit in there? What about your ginormous flat screen television? How much space would you have left over in the bedroom of a smaller house if you keep your king-size mattress? All things to consider.

Step 3: Keep, Trash or Donate

After making an inventory of what you will bring with you to your smaller space, it is time to deal with the rest of your stuff. This can all be separated into three piles: Keep, trash or donate. The other alternative is to sell off some of your collected stuff. You could be sitting on a goldmine in your closet and not even know it.

One more option is to upgrade. With all the new technology coming out, everything is getting lighter, smaller, and more efficient overall. Do you need to lug around that 20 year old sweeper? You could get another that operates off of Lithium ion energy, which is much more energy efficient.

You don't have to go through everything in a single day. Try one closet every weekend. Once you let go of all the things you don't need, then you'll have a much better approach for the transition into a smaller home.

Step 4: Hold Onto the Memories

Just because you're going small doesn't mean you have to throw out all your memories. It is important your new smaller home feel every bit like your last home in terms of coziness. That means putting up the family pictures or having easy access to the keepsakes that are important to you. Of course, that huge collection of Star Wars toys might have to go.

Step 5: Toss the Duplicates

A smaller space is going to mean smaller entertaining opportunities. In other words, you won't be throwing a dinner party for 16 people. That means if you have a dining set for 16, you might want to think about paring that down. The same holds true with sneakers, sweaters, remote controls and appliances. Remember, going small is all about letting go. If you haven't used something in the past year, then it's a good bet you might not use it in the coming year. You might not even miss it.

Step 6: Consider Storage

If you still have a hard time of getting rid of things, then you might consider putting it all in storage. This will mean an added monthly expense, but it could expedite the transition. It would also allow you to "go big" again if your living situation changes.

Erol Ahmed Moving Bag 8th & Home Megan Wild

Moving to a smaller home shouldn't be looked at as a step backward. Instead, you're creating a more manageable and affordable living space. That, in turn, can create a happier lifestyle.

 

Megan Wild has been here and there and has picked up a few moving tips along the way. Check out more of her tips on decorating and improving your home on her blog, Your Wild Home.