Move Smart Solutions Blog

Move-Up America is a full service real estate brokerage that is re-inventing the process of selling an existing home while purchasing a newly constructed home from a builder. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Move-Up America has established itself as a national leader in contingent homebuyer services. With an extensive background in both new home procedures as well as residential brokerage services we are the industries leading resource in assisting families and homebuilders navigate the difficult process of selling one property while preparing to move into a newly built home.

6 Money Saving Tips for New Homeowners

Buying a new home is a major accomplishment for many people. While reaching a new milestone and beginning a new chapter of their life is exciting, a new home can also mean new and potentially unexpected expenses for homeowners. New homeowners, utilize these money-saving tips for both inside and outside of the home!

Spruce up old or existing furniture

Purchasing a new home incites the feeling of starting over or beginning a brand new chapter. Many new homeowners feel inspired to buy all new furniture when moving into a brand new home, but furniture can add an expensive tab on top of new home costs. Instead of adding new furniture, bring new life to your décor by opting to repurpose your current furniture. If you really desire a fresh look, you can purchase used furniture to repurpose or keep as is and still save money.  

Install energy-saving appliances

Although most brand new homes are now built from the floor up with energy efficient products, you can do even more to save on energy costs. Consider purchasing energy-efficient appliances for your new home, like energy-efficient washing machines and dishwashers. For heating and cooling, programmable thermostats help regulate the air in your home while preventing fluctuating temperature and energy cost. Additionally, installing LED light bulbs throughout your home can save on the cost of replacement as well as reducing heat and saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the long-run.

Purposeful planting to lower maintenance and energy cost

When new homeowners think about saving energy and maintenance costs inside the home, they don’t often think about doing it from the outside. By using purposeful planting strategies, new homeowners can plant shade trees near sides of the home where heat often affects them the most to keep cool air in during the hotter summer months. Keep lawn maintenance and landscaping costs at bay by reducing the number of bushes and flowerbeds in your yard as well as planting low-maintenance bushes and other plants, like succulents.

Organize maintenance lists, manuals, and receipts

Thorough inspections and deep cleaning appliances or other items in your household may seem time-consuming when you’re busy. However, proactive inspections and maintenance ensures your appliances and household products are in good working condition. Keeping a record of your major appliances and how often they’re cleaned and maintained – as well as warranty information, will help new homeowners ease the burden and headache of having to repair or replace it in the future. New homeowners should also properly store manuals and receipts in a place they can easily find them. This way, when something goes amiss, owners can attempt to repair the problem themselves, instead of hiring an outside professional, which can cost a pretty penny just to diagnose the issue.

Keep a design binder for your home

Remodel and re-design aren’t thoughts that often come to mind for homeowners moving into a brand new home. More often than not, everything they want is already put in place such as countertops, flooring, and paint. As a new homeowner, you probably won’t remember what that obscure paint color name is five or ten years down the road. Keep design things like paint colors, carpet or wood flooring information handy when you may need to have touch-ups or repairs done in the future. It’s much easier than flipping through a paint color book trying to find your home’s current paint colors.

With the summer months nearly upon us and perhaps one of the busier times for buying a new home, it’s important to think about money saving practices sooner rather than later. Being proactive and organized can mean saving both time and money in the future so you can focus on relaxing in your home. To find out how you can save money during the home-buying process, contact us today and learn about our Move-Up programs designed to fit your family’s evolving lifestyle and save you thousands of dollars!

Best Safety Practices For Family-Friendly Homes

Before you dive head-first into the spiral of spring cleaning and sprucing, you should take time to evaluate the safety practices within your home. Keeping your home safe for you and your family should be at the top of your priority list. Ensure your family is utilizing the best practices for safety within your home, and make our best safety tips the first items on your spring to-do lists.

Keep items out of reach from young children

Having young children in the home requires a particular level of thinking and planning in order to stay ahead of keeping them safe and away from breakables and household products that could harm them. Examples of basic safety tips to keep your home family-friendly:

  • Keep your medicine in child-proof bottles and away in high cabinets
  • Turn off and unplug hot tools – this includes hair styling tools in the bathroom as well as cooking tools in the kitchen that may remain hot after use
  • Store heavy tools and hardware in the garage – if you can’t store it in the garage, at the top of a closet or cabinet could work
  • Be cautious when storing cleaning products under the sink or any place where children and pets can find them

Safety on the staircases

For children, adults and even household pets, the staircase can become a hot spot for mishaps and accidents. A good precaution to take is to install small night lights that illuminate each stair step at night. If there are railings on the staircase, it’s also a good idea to measure the space between the rails and spindles so that a young child or pet cannot squeeze through them. If you want to keep children and pets off the stairs altogether, you could invest in a small gate that stays secure and locked at the top and the bottom of the staircase.

Backyard and pool

When spring time rolls around, you and your family will find yourselves spending more time out in the backyard. The warmer weather tends to bring uninvited guests to your yard, such as weeds and insects. In the front and back yard, you may be using products to eliminate pesky weeds and insects. If you have pets or small children that like to roam free throughout the yard, make sure you read the instructions and safety warnings on the product you use if you need to keep pets and children away.

If you have a pool in your backyard, you should follow proper maintenance guidelines for keeping it clean and chemically balanced. If you have children or pets you’d like to keep out of the pool when you’re not around, you could install a barrier or gate around the pool.

Stock your emergency kit

Every household should follow common safety practices - keeping a fire extinguisher or two in the house, changing the smoke alarm batteries every six months, etc. Households should also prepare an emergency kit and keep it stocked with flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, and more. If you live in an area prone to emergencies such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or major storms, additionally, you should design an emergency plan for your family.

The spring is an excellent time for your family to evaluate current safety practices inside and outside of your home. You can rest easier knowing you have these practices and measures in place at home and spend more time with your family basking in the beautiful spring weather. If you’re preparing for major changes this spring - such as selling your home or growing your family, contact us to find out how we can help you move into a brand new home while saving time and saving on closing costs AND save you thousands of dollars in the process!

Get into the Spring of Things with these Home Décor and Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring is just around the corner and that means breathing some new life into your home. It’s the perfect time of year to clean out, freshen up, and do a little bit of redecorating. With so much to do it can be daunting figuring out where to start. Luckily, we have all the tips you need to help you prepare your home for spring!

Start Spring with a Clean Slate

Start by doing some simple cleaning around your house. Mop and vacuum floors, dust shelves and counters, declutter bookshelves, tables and desks. Take the chores you do throughout the year and add a little extra time and attention for a good start to your spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to take care of semi-annual maintenance tasks as well! Here’s a quick checklist to help:

  • Replace or clean HVAC filters
  • Clean out your gutters
  • Wash your windows (inside and out)
  • Touch up any cracked or peeling paint
  • Replace smoke detector batteries

Go through and see what on the list needs to be done, and make your home fresh and clean!

 

 

Bring Spring Indoors

Now that you’ve got all your cleaning done, your home is ready for some spring decorating! One of the best things about this time of year is being able to decorate with natural elements. Pick out your favorite blooms and place them in vases around your home. If you want to get a little more creative, you could gather up some of branches, pebbles, and greenery and place them in a glass terrarium.

 

 

Freshen Up for Spring

Bring some color indoors by changing up your color palette. Think clean whites, soft greens and blues, and touches of vibrant yellows or pinks. You can do this with window treatments, throw pillows, placemats or tablecloths, rugs, and picture frames. There are lots of opportunities to add pops of spring color around your home.

Updating furniture is another wonderful way to freshen up your home. Whether purchasing new, moving pieces around or giving new life to older, aging furniture. Give worn furniture new life with some paint and some extra love. Picking out new wall art to display in your living room can also make for a new, fresh feel.

 

 

Add Some Spring Curb Appeal

Don’t forget the outside of your home! Get rid of all those fallen leaves and get ready for some color! If you’ve got a garden bed, planting some seasonal flowers will really brighten up your exterior and add some curb appeal to your home. Update your front door a fresh coat of paint while you’re out there, add a new welcome mat along with some potted plants to your front porch for an inviting spring feel.

 

 

The sunshine and warmth of spring are a welcome change from the dreary winter days. There is just as much fun to be had indoors as out! Take these tips and bring some of that spring joy in to your home! If you’re looking to make an even bigger change during this season and are ready to make a move, contact us to find out how we can help you get into a new home without all the hassle of a traditional real estate transaction!

Home Décor Tips for Families with Kids

Home Décor Tips for Families with Kids
Decorating a house is an important part of making your home feel like, well, your home. When kids come into the picture, it gets harder to keep your home looking as nice and stylish as it once was. We have a secret to tell you: There’s no need to sacrifice having a fantastic looking home just because of the little ones. There are several ways to make any room look stunning while still keeping it kid-friendly! We’ve picked out some of our favorites to give you an idea of how to decorate your home while keeping those loveable mess-makers in mind.

Get Creative with Seating

If you’ve got a toddler wandering around, too-high seating areas and pointy edges might be a cause for concern. Considering replacing it with poufs or even a storage ottoman. These will be easier on the little one if any accidents happen. As your toddler grows, the poufs can provide extra seating for them and any playmates they might have over, freeing up couch space for the adults. And a storage ottoman can be great for quickly clearing toys off the living room floor before guests arrive. Poufs and ottomans are easy to move around, and can make great accent pieces to any room.

If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can take your old, rectangular coffee table and turn it into an ottoman with this handy guide!

Get Creative With Seating

Use an Outdoor Rug Indoors

Outdoor rugs are incredibly easy to clean, but they don’t just have to be kept outside. Find one that’s stylish to add a nice touch to your dining or living room. When the kids get messy during meal time or rowdy at play time, your floors will be protected and you don’t have to worry about an expensive rug being ruined!  These are also great to throw down in other high-traffic areas of your home, in case of muddy footprints or spilled drinks while your family moves about.

Use Outdoor Rugs Indoors

Window Seat Storage

For any family, storage is crucial for helping keep the home clutter-free. If you’ve got the space, why not build a window seat with storage in a family room or play room? It adds extra seating, makes for a great, cozy reading nook, and gives you another place to quickly and easily hide any clutter that occurs in your day-to-day living right before the guests come over.

Window Seat Storage  

Durable Paint and Chalkboard Walls

Walls are bound to take a beating when you have kids running around. If they’re bored, they want to bounce their basketball off their closet door. When they come home from softball practice, they’re kicking their cleats off against the baseboard. Of course, there’s also the inevitable drawing-on-the-wall experiment that everyone does once during childhood. Choosing paints that are easy to clean is a great option when you’ve got kids. If you’ve got a little artist, and you want to give them room to create, a chalkboard wall in the bedroom is another fantastic idea. You can also mix magnetics (which you can find at a home improvement store) and paint a wall in a busy hallway to hang up artwork or school work.

You don’t just have to focus on how durable furniture materials are (though that’s, of course, important). You can get fun, stylish, and creative too! There are a lot of fun ways to decorate your home that not only keep it kid-friendly, but also let’s your families’ personality shine through. Move-Up America values family needs, and our services can be very beneficial to those who are looking for the right home, especially in the case of growing families! Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your family.

Chalkboard Wall Fun

Fun Christmas Traditions to Start this Year!

Camp Out Under the Christmas Tree

The night after you’ve finished decorating the Christmas tree, let the kids camp out on the living-room floor with the tree lit up. This will really get them in the Christmas spirit!

Make Reindeer Food

Cookies and milk are the classic Santa snacks, but he’s not the only one working hard Christmas night! Help your kids make sure the reindeer get fed too by mixing oats with glitter and sprinkling it out on the yard, the sparkle makes it easy for the reindeer to find.

New Year’s Prediction Jar

On Christmas, have everyone write down their predictions for next year in their own or someone else’s lives and place them in a jar. Next Christmas you can open it up and see if any predictions came true.

Candy Cane Countdown

Let the kids count down to Christmas with candy canes or another Christmas treat. Fill a jar with candy and/or other holiday goodies and let them have a piece each day through December 25th.

A Christmas Eve Present

Have one present that the kids can open on Christmas Eve. A great idea is to wrap up a new pair of Christmas-themed pajamas, popcorn, and a Christmas movie they can watch before bed!

Fun Family Activities Across Texas on Thanksgiving

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Christmas Day is upon us!

Are you prepared for Santa? If not, no worries, we have some great ideas to bring some Christmas magic into your homes and hearts!

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Three Tips To Help Your Parents Downsize Into a Smaller Home

You (and your parents) know that it is time for a smaller home. However, it does not make it any easier. You probably grew up in their home and have a lot of fond memories. They spent even more time in their home! It can be quite difficult to leave the home where they raised their family, even if they have an empty nest and want to downsize into a smaller house that is much more manageable.

Here are some tips to help your parents downsize to a smaller home.

  • Give them time. It took them a lot of time to accumulate their things so it is not going to be sorted through in a weekend, especially with all of the memories. It takes time. Do not rush them (too much). You can help by going through their possessions with them by making 3 piles. One for items that they must keep. One for items that can be sold/gifted/donated. And another pile for junk/trash. Get rid of the junk pile first as this will make things easier during packing. Then, little by little, get rid of the 2nd pile. Anything that remains from the 1st pile can now be safely boxed and stored away for moving time.

 

  • Help out as much as you can (or they will allow).Don’t make them pack up the house all by themselves. Help as much as they can, though some parents won’t want much help. They will want to do as much of the work as they can. Leave the heavier things for yourself and a friend or hire a professional moving company. All that will be left are the smaller items that they, or you, can handle. Make sure the boxes are appropriately labeled for each room the items will be in.

 

  • Support them in their move.Some parents will want to stay close to their children while others will want to move to a retirement community in warmer weather. Though you may not like it, support your parents in their decision to move wherever they want to.

 

If your parents are still against the idea of downsizing then ask them to consider these points:

·         Smaller homes are easier to maintain and clean

·         Smaller homes are less expensive and should be compared to the mortgage of the previous home

·         Smaller homes are better for the environment and reduce utility bills

·         Smaller homes are easier to decorate and deter accumulating “more baggage”

·         Smaller homes are always “in demand” compared to larger homes that can quickly become very expensive

It can be really difficult for parents to downsize from the home where they raised their children into something smaller. It will take a long time to go through everything. Help as much as they will let you and support them, no matter where they end up!  Contact us to Move Up into a smaller home!

The Best Time to Sell Your Home

Maybe you have been thinking about selling your house for several months or maybe even a year. Maybe you just started thinking about it. You could be spontaneous and are just going to put your house on the market today because you feel like it. However, most people are not like that. They prefer to sell their house if they know that it is going to sell in a decent amount of time. They don’t want to waste their time and energy.

So, how do you know if it is good time to sell your house?

 

•   If you are interested in selling your home, then it may be a good time to sell. If you are serious about selling your home and moving into a better home, you should try to do it. No matter what the market is doing, if you are ready to move, you should try to sell your home.

•   If you meet with a Realtor, they will be able to tell you how the market is going. A Realtor will be very helpful when the time comes to tell you whether or not you should try to sell now or wait a little bit.

•   Mortgage rates are low. Many people like to wait until mortgage rates are low. More people will be able to afford your home. Also, you will be able to afford a bigger home if that is what you want. You may also be able to move into a smaller home with a much more affordable mortgage.

•   Many people like to sell their home in the spring and summer.They believe that the curb appeal makes it easier to sell during those seasons. It can be hard to buy a home during snowy wintery months.

 

If you are interested in selling your home, it might be a good time to sell it. However, you might want to meet up with a Realtor to discuss your options. They will know the market better and may tell you to wait a little bit. You may want to wait until the mortgage rates are a little lower so more people are able to afford your home. Also, many people like to sell their homes in the spring and summer for better curb appeal.

Contact us to help you sell your home and Move Up into a better brand new home!

New Construction Trends: A Shift Towards Larger Homes

When it comes to the size of home on your wish list, don’t apologize for wanting a spacious home with a lot of bedrooms and bathrooms. According to a recent report by wsj.com, a lot of new construction homebuyers want larger homes even though some feel fascinated by the “tiny home movement.” While first-time homebuyers tend to buy the older, smaller homes in an affordable price range, move-up buyers long for at least 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms to accommodate a growing family. Commerce Department data cited by the Wall Street Journal also indicates a growing number of consumers rather own a home with a 3-car garage.

Making room for mom and dad

While some homebuyers want larger homes to make room for babies, there is also a multi-generational household trend. Many homebuyers in their 40s and 50s desire new construction homes with dual master bathrooms and extra living space for their aging parents. Because there are several generations living under one roof, it’s essential to have several bathrooms and a 3-car garage rather than the standard 2-car garage. If you live on a golf course, the extra garage room is likely used for golf carts.

Enjoying the indoor-outdoor flow

Another trend in new construction is to increase the living space with more outdoor areas. Especially in the warm-weather states, builders tend to build homes with patios. Whether you want an outdoor kitchen or just an area for gathering outside, capitalize on the building trend as a consumer. You can choose a floor plan that includes French doors that open from an eat-in kitchen and kitchen area to a covered patio. If you don’t have it in your budget to include a swimming pool now, check to make sure the community allows individual pools or other outdoor features that could interest you in the future.

Living in a master planned community

A lot of buyers look for homes built in master planned communities or subdivisions with home owner associations (HOA). Even though it costs more to belong to an HOA, the benefits include lawn maintenance and upkeep. Many master planned communities have amenities such as community pools, tennis courts, cafes, clubhouse, golfing and walking trails. Lush landscaping that you don’t have to personally maintain is another perk of living in a new subdivision with an HOA. According to the Wall Street Journal, 59 percent of houses built in 2014 had HOAs, which is up from 46 percent in 2009.

At Move Up America, we help move-up homebuyers who want to sell their current homes and live in a new construction house in a new community. For more information about our Move-Up Program, please Contact Us.

Five Tips For Downsizing To A Smaller Home

When people think empty nest, they either dread the thought or they can't wait. They think about having a quiet house and maybe some time to travel. Others dread the quiet without their children in and out all of the time. Many people start to think about downsizing to a smaller home when their children move out. However, that can feel very overwhelming with a house full of treasures.

Here are some tips to make downsizing a little easier.

•   Start early. Start as soon as possible to make the process go smoother. If you wait until right before you move, you will quickly get overwhelmed and end up just throwing a lot of things away.

•   Work at it slowly.Take a few minutes every day instead of trying to do it all at once. Maybe you would feel better to do a room at a time. Take a drawer at a time. Find a way that works for you and stick to it. Just start making progress and keep working at it slowly until you get through it.

•   Figure out what you really can’t get rid of.It is hard to realize that you can’t take everything with you. Make a list of things that you have to take, like photo albums and other sentimental albums.

•   Get help.Downsizing can be very hard so sometimes it helps to have someone else to help. You might be deciding whether or not to keep something when another person might tell you that you don’t really need it.

•   Think about where you are going. When you are downsizing, you are not going to have room to take everything. You will have to get rid of some of your furniture, clothing, and other things. You will have to downsize in your kitchen and bathroom. But who really needs that many toiletries and kitchen utensils?

 

When your children leave, you might be excited to have a quiet house or you might be dreading the day. You might also be considering downsizing. However, it can be challenging so you should start to think about it now, before you even start looking. What don’t you use? What won’t you ever get rid of? Take a few minutes every day to go through a room or drawer and in a few months, you will notice a difference.

Contact us to Move Up into a smaller home!

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