Everything You Need to Know About Moving Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic—If You Must

Packing up and moving has always been remarkably stressful in and of itself. Moving during the coronavirus pandemic, when everyone across the nation is supposed to be staying put to lower their risk of illness? Well, that’s a tricky undertaking, to say the least.

We’re here to help you navigate moving safely with the final installment of our new series, “Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus.”

First, a note of caution: If you don’t have to vacate your current home, consider staying right where you are. Aim to reschedule your move for when the spread of the coronavirus outbreak slows and the government lifts restrictions on movement.

“During this crisis, many customers are postponing their moves and some are just completely canceling them,” says Lior Rachmany, CEO and founder of New York’s Dumbo Moving and Storage. “However, we’re still receiving a great deal of new customers that need to move at this time.”

So if you are one of those people who absolutely have to move right now—maybe the home you own or rent was recently sold, you have to relocate for a new job, or you just closed on a new home—then here’s some info on how to move safely during this pandemic.

Checklist: Before you move

Make sure moving is allowed in your area or building

Not sure if you can move? According to the American Moving & Storage Association, moving has been deemed an “essential service” by the federal government.

Still, while moving is legal in the big picture, it might not be allowed for your specific circumstances. For instance, some apartment buildings in New York City are not allowing residents to move during the current shelter-in-place order. So check with your local and state governments (and your HOA or condo board, if applicable) before scheduling any move.

Choose car travel over air travel

“In order to be safe and to protect others from possible exposure to the coronavirus, drive instead of fly for your long-distance move,” advises Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.”

It may take longer for you to arrive at your new home, but driving is better for the safety of everyone.

Carefully research your movers

Hiring movers should always be a process that involves careful research before signing a contract. Now that missive is even more important. So is using professional movers rather than a cheaper man-with-a-van option, which could involve unknown rental equipment and multiple trips to get everything moved.

These days, many companies have transitioned to contactless moving, which means customers leave their homes while the crew comes in to pack up and load the truck. Many movers are also using video chat technology to see customers’ homes and offer quotes.

At Bellhops, a company that provides moving services in 30 states, “the customer provides instructions and takes a video and sends it to us,” says Luke Marklin, the company’s CEO. “We do a FaceTime walk-through when we arrive and a final FaceTime walk-through to show them the truck and the house, then repeat that process for the unload.”

Make sure to ask all prospective movers about their COVID-19 policies and practices, and make sure to ask the following:

  • Do you provide virtual or digital estimates?
  • Are the trucks and movers equipped with hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves?
  • Will the truck transporting your furniture and boxes be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before your belongings are packed inside?
  • Will all equipment—such as hand trucks and sound blankets—be cleaned before your move?
  • How often are high-touch surfaces in the trucks sanitized?
  • What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?
  • How are the movers ensuring employees aren’t sick? This could include taking their temperature on the day of the move and asking if anyone in their household is ill or experiencing symptoms.

These best practices don’t just apply to the movers but to you as well.

“We advise that anyone who is planning to move right now to get gloves and masks to wear during the move,” says Rachmany.

Decluttering? Call ahead if you plan to donate

Moving is a natural time to sort through your closets and set aside items to donate. This unusual time period doesn’t have to be an exception to this.

But if you plan to drop off old housewares, clothing, and other items at your neighborhood Goodwill or Salvation Army, call ahead—not all stores are open or accepting donations right now, and you may need to take additional steps to sanitize donated items.

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Watch: The Essential Quarantine Supply List

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Plan ahead if you need to set up new internet or cable service

If you need a technician to come to your place to set up internet or cable service with a new provider, schedule that installation ASAP so you can get connected as quickly as possible and avoid delays.

Appointments are harder to come by these days, says Jenna Weinerman, vice president of marketing for Updater, a moving app. “You can’t bank on getting an installation appointment as easily as you have in the past.”

Use new cardboard boxes you pack yourself

“In normal times, I recommend using neighborhood sites like Nextdoor or Craigslist to get free moving supplies,” says Ali Wenzke, author of “The Art of Happy Moving.” However, during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s safer to buy brand-new moving supplies.

Don’t use plastic bins, either—the coronavirus can survive up to a day on cardboard, but three days on plastic.

You should also pack your own china, books, and clothing rather than hiring movers to do it. The fewer items the movers touch during your move, the safer you will be from exposure to the coronavirus.

Stock up on cleaning supplies for you and your movers

Don’t pack up your cleaning supplies quite yet. Even though your movers should come equipped with their own supplies, you can help by providing plenty of opportunities for the crew to wash their hands before, during, and after the move—and to wash your own hands before and after making contact with any surfaces.

“At a minimum, you want adequate supplies of antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes on hand,” says Matt Woodley, founder of MoverFocus.com. “You will need to disinfect all common areas before and after your movers arrive, too.”

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Checklist: On moving day

Don’t involve more people than necessary

Many moving companies are reducing crew sizes to comply with guidelines to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Homeowners and renters should also try to reduce the number of cooks in the kitchen.

“Designate one person to manage and oversee the entire move to ensure best social distancing practices are observed,” Woodley says.

Time your move carefully

If possible, plan your move so that the crew drops off your belongings first, then wait at least 72 hours to move yourself or your family into your new place—by then, the virus is less likely to remain on any surfaces.

If you have to move at the same time as your items, Weinerman suggests packing a designated “open first” box that you drop off before the rest of your items. Fill the box with essentials like disinfectant spray, paper towels, snacks, soap, toiletries, bed linens, phone chargers, and a change of clothes.

“Place the rest of your boxes away from your ‘open first’ box,” she says. “Cover it in colorful tape or use colored markers to make sure it doesn’t get swallowed up in a sea of brown boxes.”

To be safe, disinfect the box and the items inside when you open it.

Disinfect all points of contact

As you come in and out of your new and old places, you’ll need to frequently disinfect doorknobs and cabinet pulls, along with wearing a mask and gloves. Keep windows open to promote airflow and circulation.

If you’re moving in or out of a multiunit building, take extra care in common areas like the lobby or mailroom where your neighbors pass through. Don’t forget to sanitize any surfaces you touch, including elevator buttons.

“It’s really helpful to reserve a dedicated elevator,” Marklin says. “One of the worst situations is to be crammed together in a crowded elevator.” He also suggests scheduling your move early in the day to avoid running into neighbors.

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Checklist: After the move

Wipe down your moving boxes and furniture

Even if your movers take every precaution to keep you and your belongings safe, the coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic carriers. So you will need to thoroughly clean and disinfect everything after the movers leave.

“Even things that are wrapped in moving blankets, like tables or couches, should be completely disinfected before using them again,” says Rachmany.

To play it safe, also give your boxes a good cleaning once they’re placed in the appropriate rooms, and make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling any items the movers touched.

Canceling or changing your move if you’re sick

Feeling under the weather? Don’t think twice about canceling or postponing your move; it’s not worth putting others at risk.

In most cases, your agreement with a moving company is nonbinding, Weinerman says, which means you can change your plans without penalty.

“However, if your moving company collected a deposit prior to your move, it may be nonrefundable,” she says. “Contact your moving company about your deposit. Many reputable moving companies will be flexible or make an exception considering the pandemic.”

Companies like Bellhops have waived cancellation and rescheduling fees for anyone who needs to change plans due to illness.

“This is a pandemic, so all of the previous rules need to be thrown out the window,” Marklin says. “Everything needs to be viewed with heightened care and concern.”

Source: realtor.com

How to Find an Apartment in Houston

Man in backpack going down an escalatorThere are over 2.3 million people in Houston, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. On top of that, the HTX metro area spans more than 599 miles! So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about your move to H-Town — we don’t blame you! But, before you say “screw it” and move into whichever decent place you can find, read our insider’s guide on how to find an apartment in Houston.

Finding Apartments in Houston, TX

Consider your commute.

Despite its advanced infrastructure, Houston has some of the worst traffic in the U.S., reports KHOU. Even using HOV lanes and toll roads, the average Houstonian commutes 50.56 minutes, says Robert Half.

If you can’t stand the stress of long commutes and traffic, finding an apartment in an area near your work can save your sanity (and your gas money). Luckily, there are plenty of pleasant suburbs, happening neighborhoods, and even hotspots for singles in Houston for you to pick from. Here’s a quick list of neighborhoods to consider if you work in certain areas of town:

  • Do you work in downtown Houston? Check out apartments in Montrose, River Oaks, The Heights, and The Museum District.
  • Is your office in North Houston? Start your apartment search in Houston suburbs like Spring Branch, The Woodlands, and Humble. These communities are generally family-oriented, so you may be able to find lower rent prices by seeking out studios, one-bedroom apartments, or even duplexes!
  • Headed due south for your daily drive? If you work in south Houston (or just south of downtown) look for places in the vicinity of the medical center and Astrodome area, or check out apartments in Central Southwest and Crestmont Park for a more suburban feel.
  • Are you commuting to East Houston? Before you sign a lease on the other side of town, look for apartments in the Greater Eastwood neighborhood and the Manchester/Harrisburg area. If your budget is on the higher side, you can also check out apartments in EaDo — the up and coming east downtown region.

Pick a Houston neighborhood.

When picking a neighborhood, don’t just focus on being close to work. Also, consider what you like and need to do before and after the daily grind. If you’re really trying to avoid traffic, live in an area that contains all the “necessities,” like grocery stores, pharmacies, and excellent schools (if that’s a priority for you).

Remember, we all need some fun, too! So, find a neighborhood that’s close to your needs and wants — whether that means pubs and eateries or churches, gyms, and art galleries. Soon enough, you’ll find a community in Houston that fits your lifestyle and your work or school schedule.

Browse apartments in your desired area.

Once you’ve zeroed in on the perfect Houston neighborhood for you, it’s time to find the ideal pad, too. Find apartments in your desired neighborhood by entering your fave HTX ‘hood or zip code in the search bar on ApartmentSearch.com. That search will pull up rental housing options in that neighborhood, showing rent prices, apartment reviews, and even open availabilities in each property.

Find budget-friendly Houston apartments.

A general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than a third of your gross income on rent. However, the lower your expenses, the better — regardless of how much you make!

Crunch some numbers and figure out how much rent you can afford. Then, use the settings on our apartment finding website to filter your search results by rent prices. You’ll get a list of available apartments that fit your budget and are in your desired Houston neighborhood!

Pick your favorite!

Last, but certainly not least — it’s time to pick your ideal apartment in Houston! If you’ve followed the steps above, you now have a list of properties to choose from. Narrow that list down further by deciding which “extras” (a.k.a., amenities) you’d like your rental community to include.

Make a list of amenities you’d enjoy, ranking them from most to least important. Consider renter favorites like gated access, resort-style pools, fitness centers, and free WiFi. Once your list is ready, find properties in your ApartmentSearch that offer what you need and use the “Contact Property” button to request more info.

Once you’ve found the one, give the lease a careful read before signing. Don’t forget to tell them ApartmentSearch referred you — it’ll help you qualify for our exclusive $200 reward!

Make Houston Your Home

Whether you want a pool-front studio in The Woodlands, or you’re looking for an apartment with access to a fitness center in River Oaks, ApartmentSearch can help you find a place to call home in Houston!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

5 Terrible Mistakes People Make Moving During a Pandemic

So much can go wrong during a move. Add a coronavirus pandemic, and a lot more can go off the rails, and the consequences can extend far beyond a broken lampshade. They can affect your health.

Nonetheless, according to a survey conducted in late March by apartment listing site RENTCafe.com, 60% of renters planned to go ahead with their move, while just 9% are putting it off until the crisis is over.

“Not everyone gets the choice of when to move,” says Mike Glanz, founder of HireAHelper, an online moving services marketplace. “Predetermined corporate relocations and moves due to evictions or escrow closings are forcing some people to keep their move dates in place.”

Plus, transportation has been designated an essential service by the federal government, and that includes moving companies, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. Yet Glanz urges anyone planning to move soon to check with their state or city government to make sure no limitations or regulations exist preventing movers from operating.

And the truth is that moving can be done relatively safely right now, if you take some precautions. To help point you to the pitfalls, here are some common coronavirus-related moving mistakes to avoid.

1. Assuming a DIY move is safer than hiring help

Hiring movers can be pricey, costing between $600 and $1,700 for a move less than 100 miles away, according to HomeAdvisor. Add the possibility that movers might be sick, and it might seem safer and smarter to go the DIY route.

True, renting a truck and rounding up a few friends or family to help you move may be cheaper—but it won’t necessarily be safer. For one, your friends and family might just likely be as sick as the movers. And odds are, professional movers should have the training and equipment (including gloves and face masks) to move things as safely as possible.

If you’re determined to move your possessions yourself, make sure to take all the same precautions. If you rent a moving truck, you’ll have to spend time cleaning it. Ask local truck rental offices about their process for sanitizing vehicles between customers, Glanz says.

Bring your own sanitation supplies to clean and wipe down the steering wheel, door handles, and any other high-touch areas. Use gloves when driving the truck and while opening and closing the back door and loading ramp.

And since the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces, “I would recommend disinfecting the walls and floors of the truck before loading your items,” adds Justin Carpenter, owner of Modern Maids, a housecleaning service in Dallas and Austin, TX, specializing in move-in and move-out cleaning.

2. Not vetting your movers

If you do hire movers, you should vet them thoroughly. Glanz suggests checking to make sure a company is licensed and insured, for starters, and also checking for wording on companies’ websites about their commitment to sanitation and safety.

“That tells you they are taking their responsibility to everybody’s safety seriously,” Glanz says. “If a moving company has a history of positive, active interaction with customers, they’ll shine even brighter under tough circumstances.”

Make sure the moving company you use is taking extra steps to ensure safety during the coronavirus outbreak, including providing virtual rather than in-home estimates and no-contact options, according to AMSA.

3. Using recycled boxes and packing supplies

The novel coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours, according to recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Using boxes and plastic bins that you already have on hand should be fine. But, if you need extra moving supplies, AMSA recommends purchasing new moving boxes and packing tape, and avoiding picking up free, recycled boxes from supermarkets and liquor stores.

Moving companies may also let you rent plastic bins, so be sure to wipe them down, inside and out, with disinfectant before packing your things.

4. Not prepping for your movers

Make sure you do what you can to pack and prep your boxes so they’re ready to go once the movers arrive. The reason: The less time spent moving your items means lower exposure risks.

“The faster a move can get done, the better and safer it is,” says Lior Rachmany, founder of Dumbo Moving and Storage in New York City.

This is also a decent argument to not DIY your move.

“The movers will do one straight transaction from point A to point B in less time than it takes the average person to do a DIY move,” Rachmany adds.

5. Moving in without deep cleaning first (and hiring help here, too)

Similar to hiring movers, hiring a professional cleaning service can be a cost-effective time saver, letting you focus on the move. A one-time housecleaning before moving into a new home averages $125 to $300, according to HomeAdvisor. And at a time like this, that may be money well-spent.

“A professional cleaning service already has years of experience cleaning hard-to-reach places or forgotten surfaces,” Glanz points out. “That comes in twice as handy now that it’s more important than ever to keep every touchable area cleaned.”

Before hiring a cleaning service, check online reviews and ask lots of questions.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the products we use to clean and if we are taking any extra precautions,” Carpenter says. “Ask the company for recent references that have been served since shelter-in-place directives started rolling out. Call those customers and ask if they’d hire the service again.”

If you’re cleaning the place yourself, make sure to use products that actively disinfect and include ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, pine oil, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and quaternary ammonium compounds. And, don’t forget high-touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, faucets, and cabinet pulls.

Source: realtor.com

Often Overlooked Spots to Check During a Move-In Inspection

Flower vase on a granite kitchen countertopSummer is the season for pool parties, vacations, and fun. But it’s also the season most people move from one apartment to another. Having a thorough moving-out checklist is one thing, but what should you keep top of mind when you move in?

You may have found the perfect apartment and done the apartment walkthrough and basic move-in inspection, but excitement over the move-in stage could cause you to miss some issues that might affect your security deposit down the line. So, if you want to know how to get your security deposit back, use this list of often-overlooked spots to check during your move-in inspection.

Closets and pantries

It might seem frivolous to give the inside of your closets and pantries a good look-over. But this is a perfect place for things like water damage, holes in the drywall, or faulty lights to be hiding. (Not to mention any pests that might currently be residing in your new closet. Freeloaders.) So, don’t be shy. Grab a flashlight and check all those nooks and crannies.

Soft spots in floors

If the previous owner had pets, there’s a chance those pets had accidents. Unfortunately, these accidents can ruin spots on hardwood floors, even if they are covered in wall-to-wall carpet! And if you have a pet, the last thing you want is your landlord blaming your furry friend for those damages when you move out.

If your apartment has hardwood or laminate floors, then checking for pet urine damage is fairly easy. Look for any places where the floor is buckling up or spots where the floor planks are separating. Make note of these areas and notify your landlord.

If your apartment is carpeted, it’s not as easy to tell if your subfloor or carpet has urine damage. One way to do it is to get down and start sniffing. Pet odor can linger for quite a while, so if you detect a weird smell, inspect the floor in that area for soft or spongy carpeting. Take a mindful stroll through each room, making note of anywhere that feels or smells unusual.

If you aren’t bringing a pet with you to your new apartment, then it will probably be easier to get off the hook for damages caused by pet urine when moving out. But if you are moving into your new place with a pet, a little prep work can help make sure you aren’t penalized for prior accidents.

Kitchen cabinet shelves

You’ve probably opened and closed every cabinet while admiring all the potential storage space in your new apartment. But did you check every shelf in each cabinet? You probably should. If the previous tenant put dishes away before they were dry, moisture could have built up inside the cabinets and caused water damage. Double check every shelf. Even those top ones you never plan on using.

Bathroom floors and walls

Bathrooms are pretty good about keeping water where it needs to be. But leaks happen (and so do messy tenants). Check the floors for water damage by looking for buckled or raised areas, and ensure there aren’t cracks or mold in the shower.

Additionally, steam from hot showers can create excessive moisture in the bathroom that condensates on the walls. Check for any soft spots in the walls and ceiling where water may have accumulated over time.

If your new apartment isn’t well ventilated, you’ll want to check spots on your walls around the bathroom where excess moisture could have caused damage, too.

Bathroom drawers

Like your kitchen, it’s best to check every bit of storage space in your bathroom for existing damage. Open every drawer to make sure it isn’t warped, and the drawer slides are working correctly. While you’re at it, check for water damage, as well. You can’t be too careful.

Blinds

Go through every room in the apartment and check if the blinds are in good shape. Look for any broken slats, faulty tilt mechanisms, or missing pull cords. Make sure they go up and stay up, as well as go down without getting stuck.

Lights and outlets

You probably used most of the light switches already during your walkthrough of the apartment. But to be as thorough as possible, you’ll want to make sure you check every light switch and outlet. Place sticky note tabs on each light switch and outlet as you inspect them so you can see which ones you’ve examined. Mark the sticky notes for ones (if any) that are defective.

Adding these items to a written move-in inspection report is a great way to hopefully keep your landlord from nickel and diming you to death when you move out. But the most foolproof way to avoid worrying about getting your rent deposit back is not to have one. It’s hard to do, but possible! Use ApartmentSearch to find apartments near you with little to no security deposit.

Want more apartment tips?

Check out our Moving Resources guide to help make your next move the smartest one yet.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Love Decluttering, Hate Craigslist? 4 Far Easier Ways to Sell Your Stuff

Decluttering is a constant battle—and if you’re downsizing to smaller digs, it can be an all-out war. One way many people make the process less painful is by selling their castoffs—because parting with old possessions doesn’t feel half as bad with a cash kickback, right?

There’s just one problem: Many find the old standby of hawking their wares on Craigslist to be more of a pain than it’s worth. Plus, the act of having to invite random strangers into your home can feel kind of creepy—and if those randos want to haggle, the headache really isn’t worth it.

But you’re in luck! Plenty of apps have filled the void by making the process of selling your possessions much easier—often with a better payoff to boot. So whether you’re lightening your load before a move, downsizing to a smaller space, or just decluttering, here’s how to sell the items topping your get-it-outta-here list.

1. Trove

Best for selling: Furniture

Think of Trove as a virtual consignment shop for furniture. Sign up through your Facebook or Google account, and answer a series of questions before your item is listed: title and description, price (and if you’re willing to negotiate), type of payment accepted, where you’re located, and when you’re available for the buyer to pick up the item. You’ll also need to upload at least one photo—the more, the better. If you check the box for negotiating, you receive notifications of all offers, and then you can accept the one you like best based on price, mutual connections, and the buyer’s reviews.

Any downsides? Similar to Craigslist, an in-person meeting and inspection are required to complete the transaction. A helpful tip: Never let a buyer leave with your item until the transaction has been marked as approved in the app—that’s how you’ll get paid if the buyer has chosen a debit or credit payment. Listing is free, and although Trove takes a 10% fee from credit card transactions, it doesn’t charge for other payment methods (e.g., PayPal).

2. Decluttr

Best for selling: Tech

Want to sell your old cellphones, DVDs, CDs, and video games you have lying around without the hassle of finding a buyer yourself? Download the free Decluttr app, use your phone’s camera to scan the bar code, and you’ll get an instant selling price. The app has a Tech Price Promise, which guarantees you the first price it offers—or you get your item back for free.

Any downsides? You do have to actually pack your item(s) into a box and mail it to Decluttr. But hey, it provides a free shipping label, and once your box arrives at the warehouse, the Decluttr team checks the item(s), then sends payment through direct deposit, PayPal, or check (or donates it to charity upon your request).

3. ThredUp

Best for selling: Old clothes

Rather than hauling all your unwanted or ill-fitting clothes and accessories to a local consignment store, you can create an account at ThredUp and request a “kit.” In a nutshell: ThredUp sends you a giant, polka-dot plastic bag, which you can fill up with women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, handbags, fashion jewelry, or other accessories. (Menswear is not yet accepted, but check the site for updates on the items that are in demand.) Ship the filled bag for free by dropping it at any U.S. Postal Service or FedEx location, and once your bag is processed, you’ll earn cash or credit in your account for the items that are accepted.

Any downsides? There’s one caveat: Any items that aren’t accepted will be donated (i.e., you won’t get them back). But honestly, do you really want them back?

4. 5miles

Best for selling: Anything locally

Described as Craigslist meets Nextdoor (a private social network for neighborhoods), the 5miles app has 14 million buyers across the United States, yet it focuses on the ones in your immediate area. It’s safer to use than Craigslist, though, with features such as online payment, shipping options for people who don’t want to meet, and a tool to locate nearby police stations where you can do in-person transactions. The app also prides itself on a 24/7 “Awesome Experience” customer service team to help with issues.

Nice plus: Prefer the old-fashioned method of decluttering, aka garage or yard sales? You can list your sale in a special section of the app, where buyers can search for sales in their area and come check out your goods in person. It’s way more effective than newspaper classifieds.

Any downsides? While there’s a category on 5miles for just about anything you might want to sell before a move, keep in mind that you may not sell everything. Top sellers include furniture, household wares, electronics, and sports/outdoor items. While it’s free for both buyers and sellers, there is a fee on some automotive listings, in case that’s on your to-sell list.

Source: realtor.com

Things to Consider When Moving From a House to an Apartment

Moving from a house to an apartment has its perks and its challenges – and planning your move strategically can help with the latter! Whether you’re looking for a fresh start in a new town or moving cross-country for school, there are several things to consider as you downsize to an apartment.

1. Measure your new space.

That plush, overstuffed couch may look incredible in your house’s open-concept living room. However, it might be a bit overwhelming in a smaller apartment. The same goes for your six-person dining table and king size bed.

Don’t spend time or money (or elbow grease!) lugging your furniture to a new apartment only to discover it won’t fit in the door! If you’ve already picked out your specific apartment, you’ll be able to get exact measurements of each room you’ll be furnishing. Use those measurements or your apartment’s floor plan to figure out what can stay and what needs to go.

Haven’t selected your apartment yet and not sure how to downsize? You can still start determining which furnishings need to go. For example, if you know you’ll be searching for a one-bedroom apartment, you can probably get rid of your guest room and home office furniture.

2. Ditch the (unnecessary) past.

Aside from losing the excess or oversized furniture, you’ll likely have plenty of belongings to sort through as well. The beautiful thing about apartment living is that you won’t need everything you needed in a house. Appliances are provided, so don’t worry about transporting your stove. Lawn care is officially a thing of the past, so you can get rid of your gardening and landscaping tools. One downside of moving from a house to an apartment is that you’ll likely lose some storage space. However, this makes your move a perfect opportunity to declutter, donate, and sell stuff you won’t need.

3. Look into storage units.

If you’ve got things that won’t quite fit in your new apartment, but you can’t fathom getting rid of them, check out your local storage options. You can use a storage unit for keeping the things you only use sporadically, like a camping tent, seasonal décor, family heirlooms, and so on. This is also the perfect option for someone moving into a temporary apartment, who needs to stash their extra things for the time being.

4. Consider “double duty” furniture.

When downsizing to an apartment, it’s wise to be savvy with your furnishings. For example, buying a pullout couch can instantly turn your living room into a makeshift guest room. Opting for a storage ottoman instead of a coffee table can offer extra functionality. In an apartment, multi-tasking furniture like futons, modular couches, and expandable dining tables can help you make the most out of every square foot.

If you’re just testing the apartment life, you don’t need to spend a fortune on new, “multi-tasking” furniture. Avoid the upfront costs and hassle of furnishing a new space by renting furniture with CORT. When you shop at CORT, you don’t have to empty your life-savings to furnish an apartment for a one-year lease!

5. Embrace everything apartment living has to offer!

One beautiful thing about moving from a house to an apartment is the ability to take advantage of the amenities of the property. For example, an on-site gym means you can cancel your pricey gym memberships and sell your home gym equipment. Additionally, some apartment complexes offer free internet and cable, giving you one less bill to pay. There are plenty of things to look forward to when moving to an apartment!

Considering a grander life in a smaller space? Make sure you’re happy with your new home’s amenities, neighborhood, and square footage. Find your next place on Apartment Search and downsize to the perfect apartment.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

5 Rude Awakenings You’ll Experience Moving to the Burbs

You moved to the suburbs for a reason. You didn’t go there naively. You knew it would be different. It was clear from the start that you would trading your innovative restaurants, exciting nightlife, and cool cultural attractions for more space and, well, mostly the extra space.

But there are other things you may not see coming. I am here to warn you about the rude awakenings you’ll experience when you leave city living for the burbs.

Some streets don’t have sidewalks

Nice, but where the hell are the sidewalks?
Nice, but where the hell are the sidewalks?

The Odyssey Online

So we’re walking to Trader Joe’s (because we’re still holding out on buying a car), enjoying the springlike weather and sunshine when all of a sudden, we cross the street and boom: no sidewalk. The lawns go right up to the street with no  friendly path to guide our way.

How does this happen? How do you build an entire neighborhood of houses and not include a strip of concrete where people can walk without getting hit by a car? What is happening in these sidewalk-less neighborhoods? Do the kids just never visit one another? Do you walk in the street or on people’s lawns? Regardless, I feel like we’re taking our life in our hands.

It’s a driver’s world and pedestrians had better watch their butts

Get outta the street!
Get outta the street!

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The mysterious disappearance of sidewalks is just the first sign that you have no business walking around in public. There’s a new world order out here, and we pedestrians are no longer in charge.

In the city, there are so many people walking everywhere the cars have to drive more slowly and carefully. We vastly outnumber drivers, but not so in the suburbs. Drivers don’t expect to see people using their legs to get places. You are a novelty, with your “I’ll just walk the five blocks to the movie theater.” And you’d better be aware of drivers’ unawareness of you or you’ll get mowed down, fast.

Panda, move!
Panda, move!

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It’s nothing personal. It’s just that drivers are totally not expecting you to be out there. You’re like deer to them. They’re driving along and all of a sudden, OMG, person! What the hell is she doing out here, trying to cross the street? Doesn’t she know? It’s a STREET.

You will get lost in the supermarket

Where am I, even?
Where am I, even?

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They’re huge here. They carry everything, and yet you can’t find anything, partly because you’re spending a half-hour in front of the vast pasta aisle unable to make a choice. Grocery shopping in the suburbs becomes a huge time suck, because you have to cover so much ground to find anything and there are way too many distractions.

But there is so much food here!
But there is so much food here!

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Where are the green onions? Hey, look, fresh guava! Why can’t I find coconut oil anywhere? Oooh, a whole shelf of Sriracha!

The mall will suck you in and make you its own

Let's go to the mall!
Let’s go to the mall!

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Enjoy your limited days of being “too cool” for mall shopping, because it’s only a matter of time before you have to replace a broken wine glass. Or you’re just curious and want to indulge in a totally self-conscious ironic afternoon at the mall, as in, “haha, let’s do the mall today, stroll under the artificial lighting, and see what’s 40% off at Banana Republic.” (Answer: everything.) Because the trajectory beam of the mall will draw you in, sooner or later. And you’ll kind of like it, because all the stores are there and you have your Godiva right across from your Teavana. And then you’ll hate yourself for liking it. But you’ll go anyway, again and again. Who are you, anymore? Shh, shh, baby. It’s all right. There’s a sale on hurricane lamps at Crate & Barrel.

People are so gosh darn nice all the time

Well hello there!
Well hello there!

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Prepare yourself for this, because it’s going to throw you the first few times and you won’t even know how to respond: The people in your neighborhood may be nice. Like, sincerely friendly and helpful. The office staff at the doctor’s office. The shopkeepers. People who have no business being so nice. What is with all the smiling and hopes that I have a good experience in the waiting room?

I can do this smiling thing.
I can do this smiling thing.

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Don’t worry, you’ll adjust to this culture shock. Just surrender to it all. Stop worrying and learn to love the mall, the huge supermarkets, the kindness. Just be really careful crossing the street, OK? All that niceness ends once people get behind the wheel.

Source: realtor.com

5 Signs You Should Sell Everything and Move

Woman walking on a pathHave you ever felt like the universe is telling you you need a fresh start? Many of us get the urge to scrap everything and start over from time to time, but it can be challenging to know if this is just a fleeting feeling or if it’s meant to be.

With that said, there are often a few surefire signs that you should sell everything and move somewhere new. Our team at ApartmentSearch is here to help you make sense of those signs and discover whether there’s a new adventure waiting for you to embark on.

5 Signs You’re Ready to Sell Everything And Make a Move

Maybe you’ve been contemplating downsizing and starting over for a while now, but you’re not quite sure it’s the right thing to do. No need to worry! With this guide, you’ll have a chance to consider five signs it’s time to make a move, and feel confident you’re ready to tackle the new challenges this change will bring.

1. You’re unhappy with your current city

If you’ve lived in the same city or kept a certain lifestyle for years, it’s not uncommon to start craving a significant shift. After all, when we go through our daily commutes and routines without experiencing anything that refreshes us, it’s easy to find ourselves in somewhat of a rut. If you’re unhappy with your surroundings or your current city no longer suits you, it may be a great time for starting over in a new city to bring you the joy and fulfillment you deserve.

2. You have an incredible job opportunity

Landing your dream job is sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it may require a big move to make it happen. Still, few people get to do what they genuinely love, so an incredible offer is often worth the leap. You’ll undoubtedly have to weigh your options and ensure the company (and your potential role there) are the right fit, but if things feel like they’re falling into place, it’s a great reason to trust your gut and really go after what you want.

3. You find yourself wishing for more freedom

When we find ourselves saying, ‘I want to move away and start over,’ many times, this sentiment is rooted in our desire for more freedom. Whether you’ve been living in your childhood home or an apartment with a few roommates, the need for greater independence is a natural part of growing up. If you’ve come to that crossroads in your own life, there’s a strong chance you’re ready to sell your belongings and start fresh in a new space.

4. You want to create new memories

It’s no secret life can throw us some major curveballs, and no matter how well we handle all the twists and turns, occasionally things don’t turn out as we’d hoped. For anyone who’s experienced the loss of a loved one or the heartbreak of a relationship that didn’t last, you know where we live can be a reminder of our pain. If that hurt or heaviness is a burden on your mental health, a move might be precisely what you need to heal and create new, positive memories.

5. You’re making a shift toward minimalism

The shift towards a minimalist aesthetic has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. Essentially, minimalism promotes a clear understanding of what you value most in life and calls for removing anything that distracts from it. This philosophy can be attributed to how we spend our time and how much we own.

If you want to reflect minimalism in your living space, you’ll have to take a look at the furnishings you already own and figure out how you’d like to pare them down. One way to do this is by opting to rent furniture instead of buying it. Renting furniture can not only save you money, but it’ll save you from having to haul or resell large, bulky pieces, later on, should you move into a smaller home in the future.

Get a Fresh Start in a New Place

For one reason or another, you might’ve found yourself wanting to wave goodbye to your old life and usher in a new chapter. But even if all signs are pointing to an impending move, it’s going to take some practical planning to execute everything.

By partnering with ApartmentSearch in your housing hunt, you can hone in on exactly where you’d like to live and how much it’s going to cost. Whenever you’re ready to turn your dreams of starting over into a reality, ApartmentSearch is ready to help you get there!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.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.

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

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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

Cities With the Best Public Transportation in the U.S.

Woman standing in front of a moving trainNo car? No problem. Plenty of U.S. cities with good public transportation make it possible to live comfortably without owning a vehicle. Living without a car has some serious perks, like fewer responsibilities (goodbye, routine oil changes) and serious cash savings (hello, luxury apartment!).

Plus, when you live in a city with good public transit, the time you spend commuting can be productive or even enjoyable. When you don’t have to focus on driving to and from work or daily errands, you can read, reply to emails, or take a few minutes to breathe after a long day.

If you’re ready to ditch your car in favor of a new city lifestyle, check out these U.S. cities with the best mass transit systems.

U.S. Cities with the Best Public Transportation

Chicago, IL

The “L” is Chicago’s legendary urban rail system, but surprisingly, it’s not the only easy and safe way to get around! In addition to having some of the best mass transit systems in the U.S., Chicago also has one of the highest bike scores in the country. If you’re looking to relocate and find adventure, check out one of Chicago’s several up-and-coming neighborhoods to find the perfect change of scenery for your life. A car is not required!

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is an integral city in United States history, and its rich background gives it a unique charm that you won’t find anywhere else. With one of the best mass transit networks, Philadelphia makes it easy to get to and from anywhere in the metro area, or to another city entirely.

The internal city train system is perfect for making your commute a smooth one. Plus, the Acela Express lines can get you directly to Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore (all of which have fantastic public transportation, too). Nothing beats having easy access to five cities, without having to pay for parking in any of them!

New York, NY

In New York City, living without a car is the only way to live! With space to park at a premium, most New Yorkers don’t own a car at all. Instead, they rely on New York’s robust, far-reaching public transportation system. The subway is the fastest way to navigate to NYC boroughs (especially for commuters), but an MTA bus route is excellent for shorter trips.

Living in a densely populated city means you don’t have to go far to find the nearest grocery store or coffee shop. That convenience explains why New York is one of the most walkable cities in the U.S., according to Walk Score. On the downside, it’s also one of the most expensive cities to live in, but moving without a car can save you considerable cash, whether you’re going to Brooklyn or the SoHo.

Washington, D.C.

Transportation options can be one of the most significant factors when deciding between urban vs. suburban living. If you’re considering a move to the Washington, D.C. area, you may not have to choose! With D.C.’s Metrorail system, you can call a major suburb home and easily commute to the heart of the city for work or entertainment.

Living in the ‘burbs can slash your rent expenses, and most of D.C.’s major suburbs still have all the city amenities you’ll need! Bonus: many people claim that D.C.’s subway system is cleaner than others around the country!

San Francisco, CA

We get it—sometimes, you need to head west. Fortunately, San Francisco is amongst the U.S. cities with the best public transportation. Walk Score says it’s second only to New York City. San Francisco’s best public transportation options aren’t limited to just land, either. Trains, buses, and even ferries make it easy to get around the Bay Area. So if you work in Silicon Valley, but want to live in San Francisco, you can get by without a car!

Living without a Car: Find Convenient City Apartments

See? Maybe trading in your car lease for an apartment lease in one of these cities isn’t so bad! Life without a car is a breeze when you choose a city with excellent public transportation. When you’re ready to get rid of your car and go for an upgraded apartment instead, check out affordable apartments on ApartmentSearch.com.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com