Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Helpful tips to make moving to Pune safer, quicker and easier

Moving to a new city with or without family is a tiring job to accomplish and you can imagine the pain associated with it, when you have to take care of everything related to the shifting. In order to make the moving easier and fun loving, you can surely hire the professionals who have the expertise in handling the moving requirements. And when it comes to some of the much talked about cities like Pune, you can be sure that the House shifting companies in Pune will surely make the moving easier and efficient for you. These days, owing to the amicable environment of this city, most of the people are preferring this to be one of the favorite places to visit, and stay in either permanently or for short duration.
Pune is rightly known as the queen of the Deccan. Pune has an effectively gotten it's name composed ordinarily for a wide range of reasons in the brilliant pages of history. It is presently not only a place where Maratha's lived. It is presently an IT center point where such a significant number of organizations are there. Now that being stated, we can rest guarantee that Pune is a city which has experienced a great deal of changes throughout the years and has asserted it is a situation as a standout amongst the most wanted spots to go through a time in the country when it comes to the 21st century. With a considerable measure of posts and other traveler goal in and around the city, Pune has likewise kept itself as a common subject among the experienced and the wanderers. This city has everything that makes it best city to live and work in.
So, if you have planned to move to this city, here are some of the helpful points which will help you move to the city with greater easy and in a stress free manner. Let us read these points to know some of the important things which will help you be in Pune with all the enjoyment as you want:
Keep a check on the weather
Mostly Pune has pleasant and comfortable weather, which will make you enjoy the stay there.  Also, when you are moving make sure that you do not move during harsh weather condition, such as during heavy monsoon or during hot summer this will make the move a comfortable and efficient task to be achieved. You can see the weather forecast well on time for the dates you have deicide to move and carry the required things like woolens, raincoats etc. along with you depending on the climate.
Pune has amazing places to study for your kids
Some of the best-known schools in Pune are: The Bishop’s School, St Helena’s School, Loyola High School, Symbiosis International School, and the Mercedes-Benz International School. There are premier colleges too, including Savitribai Phule Pune University, Ferguson College, Symbiosis College, BMCC, MIT among many others. On the off chance that you are moving to Pune with school-going kids, finding a decent instructive foundation will be no issue by any stretch of the imagination. There are a few surely understood and believed pre-schools and universal schools all over Pune, with brilliant offices and prepared teachers and professors/ educators. Much like most parts of India, schools’ sessions begin in June. So you can consider moving in June to make sure that your kids get the admission on time into a suitable school which you have chosen.
Hire someone who is professional in offering moving services
You can visit LogisticMart which is a platform to get the list of the best Packers and Movers Pune, who will help you move in the easiest manner. Also, this is a platform, where you find credible and certified movers and packers who will provide you door to door delivery of the products in the best condition. Such organizations have trained professionals who have expertise in handling the products in the best manner possible.
The city has people who speak in various different languages and they are from all across the nation, hence you will not be surprised in this city. The city has various things for you regardless of your age.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Boxtume Tutorial Part 3: Frankenstein

Frankenstein Final.mp4.00_02_45_00.Still001
If you’re looking for a fun DIY Halloween costume, we’ve got you covered! Pick up a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK box, and follow these tips for creating the perfect costume — or “boxtume”, as we like to call it.
Frankenstein Boxtume
Want to make a spooky Halloween costume? This super easy Frankenstein boxtume should do the trick! Follow the steps below to make your very own!
What you’ll need:
  • TWO MEN AND A TRUCK small box
  • Green, black, and silver paint
  • Paper towel tube
  • Box cutter
  • Hot glue
Step 1: Assemble the box, taping the top and bottom shut. Paint the outside with green paint.
Step 2: Once the paint has dried, use a box cutter to cut a rectangle out of the front of the box for the face. Then, cut another rectangle out of the bottom that’s large enough to fit your child’s head.
Step 3: Add black, pointed hair around the top of the head.
Step 4: Cut paper towel tube in half and paint silver. Once dry, hot glue to each side of the box.
Complete the look with a purple shirt and black jacket, and maybe even green face paint if you’re feeling extra spooky!
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Boxtume Tutorial Part 3: Frankenstein

  1. The move went excellent and we were extremely pleased. The two men assigned to our move were very professional and friendly. They worked constantly and with great care. Their constant work helped keep the cost of our move down which is deeply appreciated. Movers we have used in the past would seem to slow down on several occasions to make the move last longer which raised the price of our move. You will not have that problem with Two Men and a Truck! We will definitely be recommending Two Men and a Truck to everyone we know who is going to be moving. David N. at the Carrollton office how set up our move and he was very professional, kind, and did everything he could to accommodate every need we had. I wish I could compliment David to his supervisor. Write the name Two Men and a Truck down and use them on your next move.

Sunday, August 26, 2018


TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® started in the early 1980s as a way for two brothers to make extra money while they were in high school. Now, 30 years later, the company has grown to more than 350 locations worldwide.
Brothers Brig Sorber and Jon Sorber started moving people in the Lansing area using an old pickup truck. They had their mom, Mary Ellen Sheets, develop a logo to put in a weekly community newspaper. That stick-men logo still rests on every truck, sign and advertisement.

After the brothers left for college, Sheets continued to field calls for moving services while she also worked a full-time data processing job with the State of Michigan. In 1985, she decided to make things official by purchasing a 14-foot truck for $350 and hiring a pair of movers. That $350 is the only capital Sheets has ever invested in the company.

Her experience with data analysis, combined with her commitment to customer service, earned her a spot on a 1988 graduate business panel at Michigan State University. When a fellow panelist suggested she franchise her little company, Sheets decided to consult with an attorney on the matter.


In 1989, Sheets awarded the first location outside of Michigan to her daughter, Melanie Bergeron, with an office located in Atlanta, GA.
When the company reached 39 franchises, Sheets asked Bergeron to assume the role of company president while she pursued a seat in the Michigan State Senate. Bergeron is now chair of the board. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s long track record of aggressive growth continued under Bergeron’s profession leadership and keen business strategies.
Brig and Jon  eventually returned to team up with their mom and older sister in the mid-1990s. Brig has served in multiple executive roles over the years, including President, Co-CEO, and now in his role as Chief Brand Officer. Jon is executive vice president.
Jon Nobis – who joined TWO MEN AND A TRUCK as Chief Information Office in March 2013 – took the role of Chief Operation Officer in 2013, then joined Brig as a Co-CEO in 2017 before transitioning to full-time CEO June 2018.
In August 2012, former Chief Operating Officer Randy Shacka was promoted to president of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Brant Hartle joined the executive team in 2016 as chief financial officer, and Sara Bennett was promoted from HR director to Chief Talent Officer in 2018.


That first truck Sheets bought in 1985 has now multiplied into a fleet of more than 2,800 trucks. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the nation's largest franchised local moving company. Customers benefit from having trained, uniformed movers who are insured and bonded to handle any home and business moving tasks.

The company has come a long way – and logged a lot of miles – since Sheets sketched the first "stick-men." The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system continues to pave the way for future growth and innovation, while remaining rooted in the core principles of exceeding customers' expectations.

Thursday, August 2, 2018



After months of planning and preparation, your moving day is finally here. As your movers get down to business, you might be tempted to keep an eagle eye on everything they’re doing. Are they being careful with the piano? Have they scratched the hardwood or scuffed the walls? It can be a stressful experience and it can be tough to know what to do while your movers are moving.
It’s always best to keep yourself busy during your move and stay out of the movers’ way. But if you really want to help, there are a few little things you can do before and during moving day that your movers will appreciate.
Here are four ways to make your move as easy as possible.


To save time and money during your move, pack as much as you can before moving day. Empty dresser drawers, organize everything into boxes, and label everything with its proper destination. This will make it easy for your movers to know exactly where to put your possessions in your new home. They’ll appreciate your help and you’ll appreciate the cost-savings after the move.
Labeling Moving Boxes
If you’re tight on time (or just don’t feel like it!), You Move Me is always happy to pack for you. We’ll take care of everything from your furniture down to the very last fork.


While professional movers will always take precautions to ensure that nothing gets lost or damaged during a move, sometimes things happen that are out of their control. For certain items, it simply may not be the worth the risk. To put your mind at ease, pack smaller, valuable items — like jewelry, artwork or small electronics — in your personal vehicle. This way, you won’t have to stress and your movers can focus on the heavy lifting.
Fragile Items


Moving is a physically demanding job and your movers will likely work up a sweat, especially if you’re moving in the warmer months. Offering cold refreshments is a nice way to show your appreciation for their hard work. You could also provide snacks like bananas or granola bars to keep them fueled up for the day ahead.


Sometimes it’s a good idea to let movers how to handle certain things or point out which boxes contain fragile items. But remember: you hired professional movers for a reason. Nobody likes to be micromanaged, so let your movers do their jobs! If you took the time to research and hire a reputable moving company, you can trust that they won’t just move your boxes — they’ll move you.
You Move Me Movers

Thursday, July 26, 2018

10 Things to Consider While Relocating Your Business

Relocating from one place to another is as it is a big decision for any individual. It requires mental preparation and prior planning and proper research about moving companies, packing, insurance etc to get it right. And, when it is about relocating your business, it is even more complicated and tougher. When you move individually from one city to another, then it is a matter that concerns only you and your family members. But, in a business, there are various other things that one must take note of before considering to relocate the business. If you are planning to relocate your business and wondering about various things to consider while relocating your business, then here’s a must read post for you. Today I am going to talk above several important things worth considering before you decide to relocate your business.
Things to Consider While Relocating Your BusinessIn case of relocating your business, you have to think about various stakeholder like your suppliers, customers, staff, sourcing of materials, production and so on. The decision is a kind of make or break situation where if you are right, then you win and your business will flourish. But if you take any wrong step, it may put you at a huge loss which might get really difficult for you to correct easily. However, relocation a business can rarely have 100% advantages or 100% disadvantages. It is basically a 50-50 situation.
It does require enough research about the new place you plan to relocate and then only can you come to any decision. I know it sounds quite confusing and tough to make but I can help you in making your decision a little easier. I will share with you the list of top 10 things to consider while relocating your business. These crucial things will help you in the decision-making process about relocating your business.
Obviously, if your current business location is not working for you, then you have every right to think whether you need to relocate the business, but to get it right, there are many other things you should consider. If you are currently in any such situation and you are wondering what to do, then take a note on my list of things to consider while relocating your business. It concerns most of the aspects of business relocation, to be more specific the pros and the cons, which will give you an idea and will ultimately, benefit you in decision making.
So, are you ready to know more? I think you are, so let us begin our today’s topic of discussion without further delay.

Things to consider while relocating your business

Most decisions that we take in our life is not easy. It includes a lot of challenges. But, you must be always ready to face it. Similarly, if you are businessman, you will have to face many business-related challenges where you will have to keep your head cool and take the decision which you think is right for your business. The decision to relocate your business is a part of it and here also, you have to be careful so that you do not end up at a loss.
Below is mentioned a list of 10 things to consider while relocating your business. Have a look at these and use these to the best of your advantage:

Safety factors and your reputation

Before taking the decision of relocating your business to a new place, you need to consider the safety factors. If the environment of the place where you plan to start your business is not friendly and supportive, then that is going to affect a lot in finding and retaining talented employees. Also, the number of your potential customers or clients approaching you may reduce due to this. This can even have a drastic negative impact on your brand image and reputation as well.
Hence, you have to do proper research on the locality of the new place before relocating so that people do not feel threatened to work there. Moreover, you do need a suitable environment for official works, interviews, meetings etc. and so the safety and reputation are important factors to consider.

Proximity to targeted consumers

If relocating to the new place increases the proximity to your targeted consumers, then that is going to be highly beneficial for you. But, if it is the other way round, then it is definitely one of the important things you need to reconsider while relocating your business. This is because; there is every possibility of losing your potential and target consumers to your competitor which will have a huge impact on your business as a whole.
In that case, what is advisable is to have prior talks with them whether they are OK to travel that much for the business dealings or will they be comfortable with making the deals over the phone or through email and visit your new place once in a while. If they are agreeing to it, then that is fine else you need to think again before coming to any conclusion.
The number of competitors present in new location- When you think of relocating your business to a new location, it is obvious that you want to do it for your profit. But, if you move into a location where there are already too many competitors offering people with similar services or products, then your whole relocation is going to be a complete failure. You may face extreme difficulty in establishing your business in a place whether others have already made a name over the years. So, when you are planning to relocate your business, make sure you are moving to a place whether there will be less competition and more demand for your products or services.

Losing your old employees

Relocating your business to a new place which is quite far from your current location obviously may not be favorable to all of your employees. While some may still agree to relocate to the new place and continue working, many may instead decide to resign from the job. Also, there is every chance thatthose who are Ok to relocate in their new office initially may be having thoughts of simultaneously searching for jobs in locations suitable for them. So, whatever it be, the concerning factor is, you may be losing some of your old employees.
Now, if that number is a handful, then that will not make too much of an impact on your business but if that number is large, then that is not good. Firstly, you cannot get so many new staffs all at a time and even if you do get that, training them and making them equally efficient like your previous ones will be very time and energy consuming.
However, every business has some more talented and reliable employees who handles important departments and are at good positions. So what you can do is to arrange for a formal meeting with them, discuss with them about your relocation plans, listen to their side of the story and then come to any conclusion.

Research the location you are moving to

Take information from a trusted source working in that locations before you decide to move your business. Before you take any decision about relocating your business, it is very much necessary that you do enough research on the demand of the products or the services you provide to people in that particular location. To be doubly sure, you may consult a trusted source who probably has been working in that location for quite some time. He can easily guide you and give you advices regarding the prospects of your business in that area. This will also give you a firsthand account of the location you are planning to relocate your business and will help a lot in the decision making.

Visibility and promotional strategies

One of the other things to consider while relocating your business is the exact location where you plan to move your business. This is necessary to note as visibility is an important aspect to be thought upon for your business to flourish in the new location. If your business is in a primary location of the new area like for example near any mall, any station, near larger business etc., it will then be advantageous for you. People will visit those places and will become aware of the existence of your business, the products or the services you offer to people etc. This is very much needed in the initial stages if you have to create a brand name in a new location.
Slowly, when you start getting noticed, take the help of various innovative promotional strategies so that it draws the attention of your potential clients and customers. This will make your business popular and help you benefit in the long run.

Take note on the operational costs

Operational costs forms an important part of the business, and hence it is definitely one of the important things to consider while relocating your business. Do enough research whether shifting to the new location will have tax advantages or disadvantages? The amount of sales tax must also be taken into consideration. In some states, charges are there upon commercial leases as well, which means you will have to pay more on the commercial rental properly and hence that is another point of concern which you need to note.
Also, you need to be aware whether the relocation of your business has any negative impact on the taxes of your customers. Because if it does, then you might be losing some of your good customers to your competitors and that won’t be good for your business.

The other important expenses

Relocating a big business from one place to another is no child’s games as besides the responsibility, there are many expenses that you have to bear. First, comes the moving and the transportation cost of relocating the items. You will also have to spend quite a lot in furnishing the new business premises and also in training your new staffs. You will need professional commercial movers and packers for office shifting. To design and furnish your new office, you may have to consult an interior contractor. So consider these things and related expenses before you decide to relocate your business to a new place.
Moreover, in the initial stages, you will have to spend bucks in advertisements and promotional strategies. Then, making connections and business contracts with the new vendors for raw materials, transport etc. may also cost much. And, if you think of importing the materials from some neighboring state, then that may also increase the overall production cost. To cover things up, you will then have to hike the prices of the goods or products or increase the rates of the services you provide which in turn, may lead to losing of many potential and trusted customers. So consider these things carefully before you choose relocate your business to another place.
Remember, all these things are the possible consequences which you may have to face. So, you have to take note of these and only if you find that you are OK to afford the expenses or if the expenses are not that high, then only make the decision of relocating your business.

Consider the business premises

Firstly, you have to ensure that the business premises and the surrounding areas are safe as I already said you in the beginning and then you need to check the amount needed to rent a commercial property. If it is low, then great but if it is quite high, then you have to consider how long you can afford it till the time your business establishes. Check out whether the other business in that particular location has the same clientele as yours as that may not work in your favor.
You must also consider the other facilities or amenities which will come along with that business premise before confirming to anything. If, they do not have proper parking facilities for your clients, that will have a huge impact on your business. So, how good the business premise in your new location is an important thing to consider while relocating your business.

Workplace culture is important

You were so long working in a familiar environment and you got acquainted with it but you cannot always expect the same thing once you relocate to a new place. In other words, there may be a big change in attitude among the people of the new location which in turn, will make it difficult for you to implement the same workplace culture as it was before. There may be a lot of disparity which may affect the work as a whole. Hence, the work place culture of the new location is one of the important things to consider while relocating your business.

Over to you

The decisions that one takes in any kind of business are the deciding factors that makes the business a success or a failure. One wrong decision can make you a beggar from a king within days and vice versa. So, any decision requires careful research and thorough understanding of all the possible factors that affect your business. Just like other business aspects, the decision of relocating a business from one location to another is not so easy and there are important things to consider before relocating.
I have already mentioned few of the most essential things for you to consider while relocating your business. These are the basic things and you must not ignore. You may be lucky and things might go in your favor but what if it happens the other way round? For, that, you need to be prepared and only after weighing things properly, you must come to a conclusion. The growth of the business is the main motive and so you must take steps carefully which will enable you to do so.
Once you finally decide that you want to relocate your office, then use a office moving checklist to plan and prepare everything from sorting out inventory to finding and screening movers and packers to relocate conveniently.
Until, then, I wish you all the success in your business relocation plan. Do share your feedbacks, experiences and suggestions in the comments section. What else do you think one should consider while relocating a business?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Moving to San Jose “Silicon Valley”, California

San Jose is one of the biggest cities in California. It ranks 3d by population with about 1 million registered citizens in 2014. It is an exotic place that is perfect for those who are in love with the summer and the sunshine. With a long list of beautiful and interesting places to visit, career and education opportunities, San Jose can enchant you and make you fall in love. But what is it like to move to San Jose, CA, and what do you need to know before your relocation? Here are some tips that will help you make the transition easily and start your new life smoothly.
Hayes Mansion, San Jose
This is a photo of the Hayes Mansion. Wouldn't you love to be there to see it yourself?

Moving to San Jose, CA

Economy & Cost of Living

If you are looking for a job after you move to San Jose, there are quite a few options for you. To begin with, the city is also known as Silicon Valley not without a reason. There are plenty of computer, engineering and microprocessor companies in the city. There is a very long list of companies with more than 1,000 employees in various areas like fast food, public authorities, PC, and many more, which means that you have a wide choice of career options. To begin with, you could check out the job offers of the City of San Jose. To sum it up with numbers, of all the venture capital funds in all of America, 35% are invested in San Jose and Silicon Valley companies. Logically, after all we’ve said so far, it would be correct if you supposed that the cost of living in the Silicon Valley and the areas around it is among the highest in California and the USA in general. The reason for this lies mainly in the housing costs. The metro area is claimed to be the happiest place to find employment at by Forbes, though, which means that living there has its pros as well, plenty of them.
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
This is the Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose, California, at night.
As for crime rate, San Jose is ranked as one of the safest cities in America with population above 500,000 people. It has the second lowest violent crime rate of any city with 500,000 or more residents. This makes the area a comparatively safe place for you and your kids. To add to the list of things to consider, there are also many schools, colleges and universities to select from, should you need to.

San Jose Climate

The area has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. The average sunshine days per year are 301, great, isn’t it! Since the city is surrounded by mountains on three sides, it has much less rain than other parts of the Bay Area. The coldest months are December and January and hottest are usually July and August.

Interesting Places

What can you look forward to seeing in San Jose? Those could be the San Jose City Hall, the Mexican Heritage Plaza, the Circle of Palms Plaza, the Lick Observatory, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, Japantown San Jose, Oak Hill Memorial Park, the History Park at Kelley Park, the Basilica Cathedral of St. Joseph, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, to name just a few of all.
And if you are looking for interesting and fun things to do in San Jose, you could find a regularly updated calendar here and on this link. It is good to give the place a chance and get to know a little bit of it before you move. If you do so, you will surely have great fun. Spending a couple of days in San Jose, CA, with your partner or your whole family would be an incredible experience worth going through.
Downtown San Jose
Downtown San Jose

Finding Movers and Packers, San Jose

If you are looking for San Jose movers to pack and take your things to your new home, best would be to get a moving cost estimate. It will give you an idea of what your move would cost you so you can prepare with your moving budget. If you will be needing a storage after you move to San Jose, let the movers know in advance so they could find you a suitable storage unit that will match your needs and requirements. Here are a few simple, but useful tips on how to select your storage facility.
Since San Jose is a costly place, it is logical that moving services could also be higher than in other parts of the country. That is why we recommend taking precautions like reading reviews of movers before hiring them. Here is a list with top websites to check for reviews before you actually sign your moving contract. Taking precautions is a must, especially if you are relocating from another state which means that the move will cost you more than a local relocation.
Either way, San Jose is a great option for you and your family because of all the reasons we gave you in this article, and many more you will find for yourself. Have you lived there before? Do you have any advice you could give to other people who are considering moving to San Jose, CA? Please, make a comment and share!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Top 10 real estate tips for the fall

High demand and low interest rates continue to drive housing sales this month.

While home prices for starter-to-midrange homes are pushing upward toward pre-recession peaks, especially in secondary markets, they’re stabilizing in higher-priced areas.

Prognosticators see the robust markets of Seattle, Portland and Denver as this year’s top performers, with 10 percent to 11 percent price growth. If mortgage rates rise modestly as expected in 2017, sales elsewhere may normalize with smaller price appreciation, especially as housing starts rise to fill the inventory breach, but recently, rates have been on the decline.

Here are 10 tips to adapt to the latest market conditions.

1. First-time homebuyers: Get that starter home now
And we mean now! More than half of the home sales (52 percent) in 2017 are expected to be to first-time buyers, and mostly to the millennial set (19 to 34 years old), many moving from urban rentals, research by the National Association of Realtors shows. That means competition — and bidding wars — could become fierce through the rest of the year for such “starters” in desirable areas.

While there’ll be less inventory this winter, there’ll also be less competition per unit and a higher percent of motivated sellers. Before you shop for homes, check out our best mortgage options.

2. Sellers: Hire the right agent
Oftentimes, the best investment a seller can make is time spent researching agents. A bad hire can cost sellers tens of thousands of dollars and months of worried waiting.

First, look at an agent’s online marketing material and listings. Is there good photography or video? Does it “pop”? Are descriptions accurate and complimentary without seeming exaggerated?

Then, look at profiles of the agents on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media; and be sure to read web reviews. What kind of vibe is an agent sending out?

Narrow your search to three agents and interview each, ideally in person. Ask for sales-activity reports, existing listings and time-on-the-market averages, plus the requisite local comps.

A seasoned listing agent also will know the best times for open houses and how to initiate a price war if the market allows. Never consent to a listing contract of longer than 90 days in a seller’s market. You can always extend later.

3. Buyers: There’s more loan money out there
Those who couldn’t get mortgages during the downturn because they didn’t have 20 percent to put down can find affordable financing again.

Borrowers with FICO scores as low as 690 are now getting conforming mortgage loans (those under $417,000).

One telling sign: About two-thirds of mortgage refinancers were getting approved in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to just one-half of those at the end of 2014.

However, borrowers without a 20 percent down payment will still pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until they hit the 20 percent to 25 percent equity mark.

The best rates go to those with 800-plus credit scores, though 750-plussers are getting virtually the same terms.Check your credit score for free at myBankrate.

Unfortunately, those seductive interest-only loans are also on the menu again. Avoid them. They’re affordable at first since you’re not paying principal, but then years later, well … see the Great Recession of 2008.

4. Sellers: It may be a seller’s market but …
Home sellers can do several simple things to enhance appearance, increase buyer interest and boost their home’s profile:

Renew selectively: Instead of wholesale renovations from which sellers recoup maybe 60 percent on investment, do light makeovers everywhere, with an eye on the kitchen and bathrooms. They’re far more cost-effective.
Clean, clean and clean some more: It’s hard for buyers to picture themselves living in a dirty house. Scrub floors, baths, kitchens, windows and walls, and be sure to clean, vacuum and deodorize rugs. This is simple but effective.
Depersonalize, declutter: Show the space, not the contents. Box up family photos, kids’ school papers and excess art, and store bulky and worn furniture. Organize your closets to make them look half empty.
Illuminate: Think bright and cheery. Open drapes and add brighter light bulbs in dark areas. Repaint where needed but use neutral colors.
5. Renters: It might be time to buy
In many cases, rents are rising faster than home values, yet mortgage rates remain low. That, and the fact that renters now account for 37 percent of households (the highest level in 50 years), seem to indicate an imminent coming-out party for renters-turned-buyers, especially if they plan to stay put for five to 10 years after buying.

Check out a buy-versus-rent calculator like Bankrate’s to compare affordability.

Looking to stay in your house and not sell? Find the best refi rates now.

6. If you’re a buyer, don’t believe the house is yours
Don’t bank on a done deal or other verbal promises from listing agents until you sign a contract.

In heated markets across the country, sales agents are giving buyers false hope and using their offers to bid up the price for preferred buyers who they think can pay more and close faster. Have other homes in mind.

Strategies such as preapproval (versus prequalification), proof of funding, closing flexibility and the always-risky practice of waiving inspection and repair contingencies can help sway buyers.

For added clout, tell sellers you’re willing to “escalate,” or exceed all offers to a certain limit. Some agents even advise buyers to write so-called “love letters” to sellers, telling them how much the home will mean to their families.

7. Sellers: The grass is always greener …
… in yards with a “sold” sign. Major presale upgrades typically aren’t needed, but a little greening outdoors is a must.

Surveys show that strong curb appeal can increase prices by 10 percent or more. Greener grass, whether derived from new sod or fertilizer and water, is a must.

New shrubs, plantings and flowers also project a welcoming feel. Sellers typically enjoy a 100 percent return on the money they put into curb appeal.

Another form of green, sustainable landscaping has become a value-add for buyers. Native plants, native grasses and perennials that require less water and attention fill that bill.

Do some local research or ask your local home-and-garden pro for simple “greening” tips.

8. Sellers and buyers: Know the state of your market
A balanced housing market is defined as one with an average inventory of 6.5 months, according to Texas A&M University Real Estate Center research. When inventory remains below equilibrium, sellers enjoy more control over prices and terms, and the area becomes a seller’s market.

When inventory lingers well above stasis, you have a buyer’s market where sellers must get more serious about price reductions, credits and throw-ins. Of course, these averages don’t necessarily reflect demand in certain desirable and undesirable submarkets.

Go to for such market home sales data by state or to a local agent, business journal and daily newspaper you can read online. In 2016, the U.S. housing inventory average was under five months.

9. Sellers: House going on sale in the spring?
Do some prep work now. First, grab your camera or smartphone and do an exterior autumn photo shoot, with the leaves changing colors.

It’s a much better way to showcase your home than to wait until late winter when everything is still dead and brown and mucky. Also take some landscape shots after the first snow, ideally on a sunny day, to show how cozy your place looks in winter.

Take a preliminary inventory, too. Look through your attic, closets, basement and garage to see what stored items you’ll want to keep, give away or sell in the spring. This will help you determine whether you’ll need a storage unit when your home is on the market and if there are any problem areas that need repairs or attention.

It’s also a good time to start discussing financing options with a local lender and interview prospective listing agents who also might provide additional preparation tips.

10. Buyers: Relocating near a waterfront?
You’d best consider weather and insurance realities. Major hurricanes and floods of the past dozen years have pushed the National Flood Insurance Program into a $23 billion hole, forcing flood-insurance rates to spiral.

FEMA flood-map changes are aggressively expanding flood zones, especially along the East Coast and Gulf Coast, forcing hundreds of thousands of homeowners to buy flood insurance for the first time and others to pay thousands more annually.

Parts of Florida saw 20 percent increases in 2016 and will likely see similar hikes through the end of 2017. Insurers also are imposing coverage caps so there’s no guarantee you’ll be made whole post-catastrophe.

Some home sellers and their agents are conveniently not disclosing these realities, so buyers will have to ask pointed questions and do their own research. Go to for more info.