Mark Healey

mark-healeyMark is a content development specialist who enjoys researching and writing about various topics. He is passionate about the digital space and is involved with promoting and distributing beneficial content throughout internet communities.

 

 

 

 

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Moving is Expensive: Here are 5 Tricks to Cut Costs

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Mark Healey | 0 comments

Moving is Expensive: Here are 5 Tricks to Cut Costs

Everybody knows that moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Changing environments, a new office, and the process of packing could make any one go crazy; and that’s without looking at the financial impact of a big move. Use the following tips to reduce the fiscal burden of your next move. DIY This is the first and most obvious way to move without overspending. Find a quality truck rental company and move all of your belongings yourself. If you are staying in town then use pizza and beverages to inspire your friends to help you move. The cost of a nice lunch for your friends will be significantly less then hiring a mover. Make sure to choose a group of friends that you trust though. A careless friend could break something important or expensive without the means to reimburse you. You should also be aware of your liability if anyone is hurt on your property helping you move your stuff. This is the cheapest option; but tread carefully. If the move is sloppy and your walls get dinged up with dollies and boxes, you will need to hire a One Day Painter to get the house back in shape for it’s next inhabitants. Go local Some times doing it yourself with a move is just not possible. Some objects are hard to move like pianos and pool tables and require professional help. The best thing to do in this circumstance is go local. Hire a Professional Mover to help execute the move without damaging your belongings or property. Cut costs by buying the boxes and having everything ready to load when the movers arrive! Use clothes & blankets as bubble wrap Rather then spending money on packing peanuts or bubble wrap, get creative. Sweatshirts, blankets and the rest of your clothes can be used to pack breakable objects. This saves you money on the number of boxes you will have to purchase as well thanks to the fact you are packing your clothes while utilizing them to safe guard things like plates and glasses. Use your luggage to reduce overhead Delving even deeper into ways to save money on boxes; make sure you utilize every suitcase, back pack and duffel bag at your disposal. This is a great way to not only cut down on moving costs but also to reduce the impact of your move on the environment. The fewer boxes you have to use, the better the move will be in both of these aspects. When it comes to moving, saving money and saving the earth go hand in hand. Sell or donate what you don’t need Yet another great way to cut expenses while moving is to make sure you truly bring only what needs to come. Go through your house prior to moving and decide what things can be left behind. As a rule of thumb, if you forgot you had it the object can go. Start by gathering all of these items up for a moving sale and advertising it with signs, online listings and your social media account. Execute the sale and look at what is left over. If the items left are still in pretty good shape then donate them at the nearest Goodwill. If all you...

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Moving Safety 101

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Mark Healey | 0 comments

Moving Safety 101

Moving from one house to the next is one of the most exciting and stressful undertakings you will do in your lifetime. While there is obviously a lot to think about such as organization, timing and budget; one thing that is too commonly overlooked is safety. Safety is the most important aspect regarding moving, especially when heavy furniture and stairs are involved. If you choose not to hire a Massachusetts moving company use these tips to avoid adding stress or a hospital visit to your next move. Clear Pathways The fist step you should take to ensure no one is hurt during your move is to clear all walkways in and out of the house. When moving heavy furniture people often walk backwards and if they were to trip over anything it would be an absolute catastrophe. Remove all hazards from these walkways to ensure no furniture (or bones) get broken. It’s a good idea to call you’re a professional junk removal company prior to moving day to get as much junk out of the way as possible. Pack Smart While it may seem counter intuitive, the best way to pack is by putting larger, heavier items (such as books) in the smallest possible box. Instinct tells us to fit as much of these items as possible in one large box. The issue is that to many heavy items in one box could lead to muscle injuries for anyone helping you move. By placing lighter items in the biggest boxes and vice-versa you can keep all the boxes a similar, manageable, weight. Be Prepared This means have the right equipment for the task. A dolly is an invaluable asset during a move which is usually available to rent from the nearest home improvement store if you do not own one. A dolly takes a lot of the muscular stress off of your helpers, which will keep them safe! I also recommend having some old blankets, which you can lay down and use to help slide objects that are too large or awkward for the dolly. The blanket will help the object slide across the floor without damaging it, which is also nice. Be a Manager If you have all of your friends helping you move, it is a good idea to delegate tasks to those you feel most comfortable doing each task. Have the strongest movers carry the heaviest objects. If one of your friends gets hurt helping you it is your responsibility. This means that injuries can get very expensive for you and you have to do your best to help your friends stay safe. It is your move so take charge! Additionally, put all of your pets in crates or have a friend watch them while your moving. Animals never mean to be in the way, but always seem to be on moving day. Having animals out of the picture keeps them, the movers, and your furniture in one piece Dress Appropriately This is absolutely crucial on moving day. While your flip-flops may be your most comfortable pair of shoes, they offer zero protection in the case that something is dropped on your foot. Check your jeans to make sure the bottom seam is in tact and that your shoelaces are tied securely. Any one of these...

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Interview: Local Agent Thoughts On Housing Market Downturns

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Interview: Local Agent Thoughts On Housing Market Downturns

Interview: Local Agent Thoughts On Housing Market Downturns

We wanted to find out how real estate agents cope with market downturns or even seasonal market changes so we went out and interviewed a Realtor that has been in the business for quite a long time. Bill Gassett, a top Franklin Massachusetts real estate agent has been selling homes for nearly thirty years. He is a RE/MAX agent located out West of Boston that has been through both up and down markets and everything in between. We thought Bill would be the perfect candidate to answer some of our questions. What type of challenges do realty agents face during a recession or economic downturn? One of the things that is almost always affected in a recession is the real estate market. In most cases the real estate market follows what is going on in the economy. If the economy is rolling along the real estate market typically follows suit. Conversely the market will also be affected negatively is the economy is not performing well. Two things that can have a dramatic affect on the real estate markets performance are interest rates and the stock market. Both of these forces however can have varying effects on different types of buyers in the market. For example interest rates are more likely to have a greater impact on first time home buyers as a rate can really change a buyers purchasing power. The stock market on the other hand has a very powerful influence on those who are more wealthy and are heavily invested. Many luxury home buyers will be completely swayed whether to purchase a home based on how well their portfolio is performing. Each of these things of course can impact the amount of sales a real estate agent is looking at in a given year. This would especially be the case for an agent who has not established themselves well enough in the business. Is there a particular way realtors should approach selling/buying homes for clients during a recession? There really isn’t a different approach for a Realtor when selling homes for clients during a recession. There are however some Realtors who will make the mistake of spending less on marketing because of a lack of funds coming in. This is a big mistake! When times are tough the best of the best spend more money on marketing not less. How does a real estate broker keep his/her head above water when clients are not arriving to buy or sell houses? One thing that is kind of unique about the real estate industry is that the pay is commission based. Most real estate agents do not earn a salary so it is important to learn how to budget properly especially when times are tough. A Realtor should not only be investing a portion of each of their commission checks back into the business but also setting aside money for those times when things get tough. Are there any tips and tricks to selling or buying a home that real estate agents can employ during economic strife to increase the likelihood of a successful purchase/sale? The best tip of selling a home in any time is to make sure you are giving accurate pricing guidance and then doing an exceptional job of marketing. One of the things that often...

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Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand

Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand

Flicking on a light switch you notice a stack of month-old newspapers sitting in the living room corner surrounded by a pile of last week’s clothes, and that seven partially-full coffee mugs are haphazardly resting around the room, one nudge away from spilling their contents on the new carpet. Moving boxes are scattered around the area; some are full of random, dust-covered possessions that were tucked away in nooks and crannies for the last five years. You didn’t think moving would be this hard. You forgot how much junk you actually own, or why you even bought it in the first place. Sighing, it dawns on you that you wouldn’t be in this predicament if you de-cluttered the home first. The good news is you can now forewarn others about this calamity by giving them the following advice. The five minute clean up Once you’ve committed to moving, the best way to de-clutter, without taking up time from other tasks, is to start the process early. Begin cleaning up two weeks before you actually begin packing. Why start that early? Because you’re only going to spend five minutes a day de-cluttering specific parts of the house. It’s true that five minutes isn’t going to solve all of your problems, but it’s an excellent start. By taking those five minutes day after day, it’ll make a difference before you know it. But you have so much stuff to go through, where is the best place to start? Begin by creating a “no clutter zone,” by clearing everything away in a specific spot, be it a coffee table, kitchen counter or a three foot perimeter around your bed. Make a rule that nothing is allowed within this clutter-free zone that isn’t currently in use. Once something is no longer being used, it needs to be put away instead of being left in the new area. Every next day, take five more minutes and expand the zone. Maintain this method long enough and you’ll eventually get the entire room done. But if you have to move quickly, the slow and steady approach isn’t going to work well enough. The Trash Bag If you’re on a time sensitive deadline to de-clutter one of the simplest options is to grab a large trash bag, choose a room, and then begin filling the bag with items you either don’t want or don’t need. Naturally, debates are going to sprout whether you need something or not. To solve this, ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last three months. Yes? Keep it. No? In the bag it goes. Once you’ve filled up this bag, assuming there is no literal trash inside, donate the bag to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Repeat this process once a day and, before you know it, you’ll be ready to pack what possessions you actually want to keep. The 12-12-12 Challenge This is a task the whole family, kids included, can partake in and make a big impact. The goal is to choose 36 items, 12 of which are junk to be thrown out, another 12 that will be donated, and the last 12 are things you want to keep. This can be made into a fun competition as well, upping the numbers as you go along. If you...

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10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on 10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

Nobody likes to hear the sound of a leaking faucet,  and USAA recently shared an article detailing the 10 most common leaks and what homeowners can do to address them.. 1. Washing Machines Since the clothes washer is the biggest leak hazard you have to make sure you place it in a room with a floor drain. This helps minimize damage if there is a flood if it is on the top floor near the bedrooms, and floods, everything below it will be soaked and destroyed. To be extra safe replace old hoses every five years,check the connections every year, and make sure that you know how to shut off the water to the washer.   2. Plumbing Systems A burst pipe is one of the costliest repairs a homeowner can face. It may run as much as $8,000!  Freezing and high water pressures can shorten the life of these pipes.  To be safe watch for spikes in your water bill, listen for pipes that ping or bang, and make sure your water pressure is 30-40 PSI. Check that your main pipes are buried deep enough that they will not freeze in the winter.Finally make sure that everyone knows where the main water shut off valve is. Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. 3. Toilets Toilets can flood your home 2 ways – a leaky supply line or an overflow. To prevent this check the supply lines yearly and make sure they are secure. If you happen to encounter a clog, lift the tank lid, close the flapper, lift the ball, and then turn off the supply line. This will prevent overflows.   4. Water Heaters Water heaters, which can hold up to 80 gallons of water, can cause major damage if they are located on a main level and fail. Since they have a lifespan of about 10 years they need to be check and maintained or they may rust and fail.  Make sure you have a floor drain so that if your water heater ruptures you could avoid a major catastrophe.   WOULDA COULDA SHOULDA A water detection device could’ve helped prevent several weeks of personal misery and thousands of dollars in losses for one USAA employee. 5. Drains and Sump Pumps The worst possible leak is a bakced up sewer drain. Sewage in a home is not only smelly but alos bad for health.  To prevent this messisest of floods have backflow preventers installed by a plumber, keep trees and their roots away from the drainage lines, and avoid pouring grease down the drain.   6. Dishwashers and Refrigerators Kitchen leaks are actually fairly common but avoidable. Unfortunately these leaks can go on for yeas behind appliances and never be seen until the damage is done.  So check for leaks under appliances from time to time and identify discoloration as an early warning sign. Also be sure the connections are tight and secure when you clean out behind the fridge every year.   7. Sinks, Showers and Bathtubs Sinks and showers are also common flood risks because we use them every day. Some times we forget to turn them off, and some times we simply splash more than we think. To prevent these from causing damage make sure that the caulk around the sinks and tubs and showers...

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Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

So here is a situation that you may find yourself in one day. Your real estate agent shows you a home, and you fall in love with it. Seriously fall in love with it. It has the right size, great design, perfect neighborhood, and a surprisingly reasonable price. That is when your realtor shatters the moment and tells you that someone died in the house. But is the dream really over?Does it matter if someone died in the house? If someone dies in a house does it affect the sale price? First you have to understand the kind of tragedy that took place in the home before you determine if it impacts the sale price. When something tragic happens in a home, and it becomes public knowledge, the home becomes ‘a stigmatized property‘. Do does a stigmatized property sell for less? – “it depends”. Estate Sale of a Home The important thing when talking about stigmatized properties is always how the general see the events that took place. Lots of older people pass away in their homes. Unless you read the obituatires you would never know. Some people check the obituaries to find possible homes to buy before they are listed for sale. In that case, the death in the home may increase the sale price. How Do You Sell The Murder House? Every city has ‘that murder house’, where there was a violent crime. When a home is that notorious it you may see the banks, who typically ends up inheriting the real estate, tear it down because it is just unsellable. So there a death can really impact the price of the home. But there is a pool of buyers who do not care about what happened in the home in the past. All that they care about is getting a great deal, and a stigmatized home may offer them that. How long can a house be stigmatized? How long a house is stigmatized depends on how public perception changes over time. If the story persists in the media and the public’s mind the stigma can last for generations. So if you buy a stigmatized house you may save a bit of money, but you had better be prepared to sell it for less for the same reason you bought it for less. How Do I Know if Someone Died in my Cincinnati House, or if it is a Stigmatized House? Before you even begin a home search you should speak with a Realtor  whoactively works in the areas you are interested in. . They know the market and can answer these kinds of questions. . Beyond that  why not Google the home address and search for articles about the home? There are also services such as Died in House that runs a registry of stigmatized homes. It could be a good investment if you are concerned about things like this. As a parting though – when celebrities die in their homes they become stigmatized too. Here are a few interesting examples. Alison Moss is a Cincinnati real estate agent and can be reached at...

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Warm Investments… Home Heating Alternatives

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Warm Investments… Home Heating Alternatives

Warm Investments… Home Heating Alternatives

Maybe you’re looking for ways to simultaneously green up your home while reducing heating monthly heat costs during cold winter months. Especially if you’re building a new home or moving to a new home in a cold city like Vancouver, it could be helpful to plan for the future by investing in a nontraditional heating system. By and large, most American households are heated by consuming natural gas, following close behind is electricity. In fact, over 50% of US homes are heated using some type of gas-powered heating system and the majority of those people use what is known as a central warm air furnace. However, as with any natural resource in high demand, prices will climb as a response to increased scarcity. To combat or prepare for the cost of natural resources, you might wish to consider greener / more sustainable home heating options. Geothermal Heat Pumps Geothermal heat pumps, conceivably the smartest solution to winter blues problems, will also help cool you down when scorching summer months arrive. This is one of the best solutions to combating year-round temperature fluctuations. The fundamentals behind these systems are incredibly simple as they take advantage of nature’s 100% renewable energy (stable ground temperature). It turns out that the earth’s temperature about 10 feet down remains at a consistent 54 degrees fahrenheit. We can tap into that heat and export it to desired locations – like our homes! These systems attach to your home’s HVAC unit, so you’ll still need to schedule regular HVAC tuneups. Although upfront costs are higher than other, more traditional choices, geothermal heating and cooling systems can substantially lower energy & utility bills, eventually covering their original cost. Furthermore, individuals who invest in geothermal heating and cooling qualify for energy tax credits. Overall, geothermal heating and cooling is great for people building a new home or who plan to live in their current home for a number of years. If you’re selling a home with a system already installed, the selling value will be significantly higher. Furthermore, these systems can work in conjunction with tankless water heaters, solar water heaters and hybrid water heaters. They can also be hooked up to infloor radiant heating systems. Pellet Stoves This may sound like an old fashioned alternative and yes pellet stoves have been around for awhile but, like one might expect, technological advancements have made these stoves much more convenient. How advanced are we talking? Well, as it may be, most newer models automatically ignite and cycle themselves and can be controlled by a thermostat. The really fancy ones can even be controlled remotely. Although pellets burn cleanly, they do produce a small amount of byproduct. When purchasing pellets, it’s important to note their efficiency grade. Premium grade pellets will burn at hotter temperatures and produce only 1% of their weight in waste. 100 pounds of pellets leaves you cleaning 1 pound of ash. That beats paying for and cleaning out your home’s air filter regularly. Furthermore, these pellets stoves can burn materials such as grain, corn and woodchips. How much do these pellets cost? You might be wondering. Well, according to the United States Department of Energy, the average cost of a ton of pellets is $190. Plus, $15.15 creates around 1 million British Thermal Units (BTU). To put this into perspective, 60,000 BTU’s can heat a 2,000-square-foot home....

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How to Balance Out Your Compromises When Purchasing Real Estate

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on How to Balance Out Your Compromises When Purchasing Real Estate

How to Balance Out Your Compromises When Purchasing Real Estate

When you decide to start shopping around for a home, there will be a lot of things to take into consideration in order to find the one that’s just right for you. Before your house hunt even begins, you’ll probably have a long list of must-have features and other elements that you deem important to your search. While having a good idea of what you want will help give you somewhere to start, home buyers seem to be the most successful with their real estate purchases when they understand how to practice a good balance of give and take on certain aspects of their initial wish list. Knowing which details to compromise on and when to absolutely stand your ground is essential for getting through the buying process smoothly and in a timely manner while still coming out on top. Don’t Get Stuck on Size A lot of homebuyers start their quest by looking for a particular number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage. If you do this, it could end up actually limiting your results and you may end up missing out on a property that had a little less square footage but encompassed everything else you were seeking. The size of your new home should largely depend on your future plans and if you see yourself selling in a few years or if you envision needing extra space for a growing family. Do Stick to Your Location Preferences Location is one of the most significant elements of any real estate search and one you shouldn’t have to compromise on. Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Atlanta, or any other city, most anyone who has ever been through the process of buying a home will tell you that location is everything. There are many things that can be changed or fixed about a house after you’ve purchased it, but where it’s located isn’t one of them. The neighborhood you live in can make a considerable difference in your happiness and have a major impact on your lifestyle. Don’t Get Hung Up on Interior Aesthetics As mentioned above, there are many ways to spruce up a property, so what you first see doesn’t always have to be what you wind up with. First impressions of a home are important, but so is trying to see past the hideous fixtures, the furnishings you would never pick out yourself and other decor like wallpaper and carpet that can easily be replaced. If cosmetic flaws are the only thing you can find wrong with a home, then you may have actually discovered a gem just waiting for you to put your stylish touch on it. Do Stay Within Your Budget It’s crucial not to get ahead of yourself and begin pursuing the perfect house before putting together your financial plan. Once you find out the loan amount you’ve been pre-approved for, it’s necessary to make a budget that not only incorporates the monthly mortgage, but maintenance, insurance and other various costs as well. From there, you must decide on a realistic price range to conduct your search in and don’t stray from it so as not to overextend yourself with expenses. Any real estate purchase usually requires a little flexibility, but compromising in certain areas doesn’t have to mean settling....

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Six Must-Haves for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Six Must-Haves for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

Six Must-Haves for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

  Goodbye, plain old utilitarian bathrooms. Today’s bathroom trends emphasize luxurious comfort, turning these once-basic rooms into relaxing getaways that give homeowners a space to escape from a hectic world. Bathrooms are incorporating elements that make them more beautiful, more comfortable and more functional. Here are six must-haves to include when you decide to tackle that bathroom remodel.   1. Floors with Radiant Heat   This is a great touch for bathrooms, which always seem to be chilly because of the hard-surface finishes, especially in areas that endure several months of cold, hard winters. Heated floors welcome bare feet and also heat the entire bathroom efficiently, often more efficiently than other types of traditional heating systems. Because the entire floor is heated, bathrooms with radiant heat avoid the problem of warm air rising to the ceiling and leaving a layer of cold air near the floor.   Radiant heat systems work by embedding a layer of wires or hot water tubes under linoleum, laminate, or tile flooring. The entire surface of the floor becomes one large heater that gently radiates warmth. Radiant heat systems take time to warm up, but timers can be installed so the floor is nice and warm just when it needs to be, say when a homeowner first crawls out of bed in the morning. Getting out of that warm bed might become a tad bit easier when it no longer means walking on cold bathroom tiles. For added warmth and comfort for the feet, add a shag area rug to the space.   2. Luxury Showers   Showers are getting multiple upscale treatments and becoming a way to pamper yourself in spa-like surroundings. Walk-in showers take advantage of innovative new channel drains, which does away with the old-fashioned shower pan and allows the shower floor to be installed flush with the bathroom floor. Because there’s no physical or visual barrier between the shower and the bathroom floor, this enables showers to have a sleek, modern, integrated look with the entire bathroom. Multiple-head showers also add luxury by spraying water from multiple angles. Showers are getting larger too, often taking the place of a tub, and new trends include opening up the feel of the shower by using glass panels and doors. It requires proper ventilation and drainage, such as using linear drains, but it’s possible to remove shower walls entirely in a tiled bathroom for even fewer shower space limits.   3. Environmentally Friendly Functionality   Greater luxury doesn’t have to mean a greater carbon footprint. New technology enables homeowners to update their bathrooms without taking a bigger toll on the environment. Some of the options include smart showerheads, which deliver the same feel as a standard showerhead while using less water, hands-free faucets, which automatically turn the water on an off by a sensor, and dual-flush toilets, which allow homeowners two different flushing options with more water or less water as needed. On-demand hot water systems are another green choice that saves energy by heating water only when it is needed rather than hot water heaters, which must keep a large tank of water heated all the time.   4) Great Tile   Forget the standard glazed bathroom tiles of yesteryear. Say “farewell” to linoleum forever. These old, outdated finishes are making way...

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Moving with Kids? Take These Tips

Posted by on Dec 26, 2013 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Moving with Kids? Take These Tips

Moving with Kids? Take These Tips

Let’s face it – moving is difficult for all involved parties. It’s a financial and time consuming burden for adults and physically taxing for the movers. Yet the sheer impact of such a life transition is regularly felt most forcefully by children. They’re often comfortable in their current environment, and the prospect of moving somewhere new is an utterly terrifying one at best. These are some tips to help improve your kids’ outlook on the moving process and get them excited about this new chapter in their lives. Hold a Family Meeting Don’t call this meeting until the official decision to move has been made, since otherwise it’ll just wreak havoc with your kid’s emotions. Sit them down in the living room or dining table and gently explain the situation. Choose your words carefully and layer the news with plenty of warm reassurance. Be as open to them as possible and be ready to answer questions. Incorporate Them into the Decision-Making Process The prospect of starting a new life elsewhere is daunting, and can be relatively soothed by allowing your children’s’ opinions to be heard. If you have yet to decide on a new apartment/ house, bring them along on your tours so they can get a feel for the prospective new living space and the surrounding area. Incorporating their input promotes inclusion and can help build excitement for the move. Plus, there’s something undeniably alluring about the whole thing. Let Them Choose Their Rooms This is obviously contingent upon the exact size of your new residency, but few things are more exhilarating than letting children determine which room they’ll call their own. It’s fun for them and ensures they’ll be satisfied with it due to the fact they personally selected it. They can also begin pondering furniture placement and space allotment (if they’re old enough to entertain those thoughts of course). Encourage Honest Lines of Communication Moving can be achingly difficult, and it’s essential you establish open dialogue with your kids regarding the transition. Don’t be afraid to discuss the topic genuinely and earnestly to quell negativity and foster optimism. The moving process is difficult for everyone, and children are no exception. Use the aforementioned tips to help facilitate a more seamless transition into your new home, community, and life. Furthermore, if budget permits, hire a moving company like You Move Me, they offer national services but are a great option for Boston moves or San Francisco moves. Image courtesy of William Nordmann via Flickr Creative...

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