House To Home Moving Blog

Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Moving or downsizing as a senior citizen isn’t like any other move. It’s a transition that requires much more planning and help than a move completed in your twenties or thirties. You often have to worry about moving not just a few years of stuff, but a whole lifetime’s worth–not to mention items that belong to your parents, children, and even siblings. A lot accumulates over a lifetime, which makes downsizing as a senior a challenge far beyond a standard relocation.

Find the right home for your current and Future lifestyle. Make sure your home–new or otherwise–is equipped not just for issues you have now, but for potential health concerns you may have in the future. You may not be up to the task of renovations in another ten years.

Get your senior downsizing strategy figured out. Downsizing can mean a lot of things, so having set goals, limits, and a determined strategy will make a big difference.

Clear out the tough-to-reach areas. Before you can dive in and get decluttering, you may want to get all your stuff together first.

Enlist your children to help with downsizing. When tackling downsizing as a senior, “don’t go it alone” is the number one tip to follow. That could mean hiring a professional organizer, working with a motivational coach, or, depending on what you’re decluttering, getting help from someone who’s a bit more personally invested in your decluttering efforts to help.

Give your items a second chance by donating them. Once you’ve sorted through what’s wanted and what’s just clutter, half the job is done. The second half is taking it where it belongs.

Bring the feel of your old home to your new one. One of the hardest challenges of moving or downsizing as a senior is letting go of the home you know and love. But the touches that make your home feel that way can be brought into your new home.

Five renovating tips

You’ve decided to renovate. Congrats! Now what? It’s okay to be a little stressed about performing major upgrades to your home, but it doesn’t have to keep you up and night. Follow – or rather don’t follow – these tips to ensure your remodel goes as smooth as that brand new hardwood flooring you’ve always wanted.

1. Don’t rush it. Take the time to think about the existing layout and design of your home, and what you’d like to change. Having a clear idea of where you want to go from the beginning prevents stress, which prevents cash from being siphoned out of your bank account. This also helps you create a budget. Generally, your budget should be 20% more than the number you come up with for all the “just in case” scenarios.

2. Don’t choose a contractor without doing your research. Do your research. You want to choose the contractor that will work for your unique requests. You don’t have to choose the first person you interview. Treat your contractor search like a job interview, only you are the one doing the hiring. Clearly express what your expectations are and listen to what the contractor has to say. Some ideas may be unrealistic even for the best contractor, so take notes and make sure you are going to be able to effectively communicate with the contractor you choose.

3. Don’t be unrealistic about your budget. Cutting every corner doesn’t work, and going over your budget range is the last thing you want. A middle ground should be established during pre-planning process, with coordination from your contractor. Find out which cheaper alternatives you can live with, and which ones you can’t. For example, vinyl floors instead of ceramic tile can save money and look just as good when finished right. That rare Italian marble backsplash? You may want to pump the brakes if it’s way over your budget.

4. Don’t be afraid to get creative to get what you want. If your budget allows, by all means, go for that chic backsplash you’ve been dreaming of for years. A cool, creative centerpiece can turn a regular home into a place you can’t wait to show off.

5. Don’t go contemporary just because it’s contemporary. Just because a certain feature or aspect is “in” right now doesn’t mean you have to follow suit and suffer for another ten years. It’s your home; do with it what you want. You are the owner!

Increase the Value of Your Home Before Selling It

Are you thinking about selling your home? Then there are a few things you should know. But first, you should know what your ultimate goal is. In the sale of your home, just like any other sale, your goal is coming out of the process with the maximum profit. That means getting as much money for your house as you can but with the lowest investment. And yes, it’s a really tough balancing act. On the one hand, you need to invest so you can increase the value of your home and get a better price – but on the other, you want to spend as little money as possible. Don’t worry though – that’s precisely what home improvement pros are here to tell you about.

Where to Start
Many people realize that they need to increase the value of their home before they even think of selling it. Really, it’s only natural – the higher value of your home is the lynchpin of success in the increasingly competitive world of real estate. And sure, higher home value is crucial – but it’s also crucial to do it correctly. Trust us – you don’t want to burn a hole through your budget while remodeling; you could even end up losing money after the sale. That’s why it’s very important to learn where to begin.

Follow Current Real Estate Trends
When looking for real estate advice, it’s important to know who to ask. The last thing you want is to blow your money on a bad investment. For example – many people will tell you to spend the majority of your money on house painting right away. But true experts know that this is a badly outdated mode of thinking.

In reality, better education and the existence of the Internet have changed every single market in the world – and real estate is no different. So, what does that mean for you? Well, that means that all home sellers are doing business with a consumer population that is much better informed than the buyers of yesterday. Simply put – these days, buyers know just what they need. And in line with that, they put much greater stock in practical, useful home improvements than in exterior renovations. Bearing that in mind, where exactly should you spend your resources?

Increase Energy Efficiency
If we’re talking about practical improvements to your home, it’s important to find something that’s meaningful but also not too expensive. In light of this, we recommend focusing a large portion of your budget on increasing the energy efficiency of your house. Current market trends have shown that this is a sound investment. And remember – this doesn’t mean you should invest no money in other home improvements. But this will increase the value of your home a lot more. And sure, it may look a bit more expensive. But it’s not like you’re throwing money out the window. Remember – the return on an investment in energy efficiency is much greater market value.

If you’re handling a smaller budget or you want to leave some money for other things, you don’t have to do a job on the entire house. You can simply start with insulation in your attic, and see where you go from there.

Don’t Overlook the Heating System
Also, insulation isn’t the only thing you can work on. Besides that, consider how old your home is and how well was it maintained? If you’re dealing with a particularly old house, you could probably upgrade the in-house HVAC system. In the current real estate climate, these are the kind of practical upgrades that home buyers really tend to value.

Think About Lifestyle
Once you’ve completed the practical upgrades to your home, you can see what remains of your budget for further improvements. Then, you can think about increasing the visual appeal of your house. Once more, you will still need to balance your finances. If you’re being realistic, you’ll realize you don’t have the money to improve everything you’d like. So, the question is – what to work on next?

Spruce Up the Interior
If you’ve still got some money left over, you may want to think about how you can increase the value of your home by working on the interior. And even more importantly, how will you choose your priorities when picking which parts of the interior to fix up?

First, you could spend the majority of your interior budget on the kitchen area. And this is no arbitrary decision either. Actually, the kitchen is a good choice because it isn’t a very costly improvement. If you don’t want to spend too much money, you don’t really have to buy all new appliances. You should focus your money and energy on the cabinets and other surfaces, breathing in vibrant colors and strong textures. Also, a small tip – make sure you replace the doorknobs and cabinet handles. Those are details but people tend to notice those.

While we’re on the subject of the interior, think about what you will do with all of your remaining things once you start renovating and selling your home. This will also be an expense, so you don’t want to be caught off guard with this. You may want to find some storage and keep your valuables in a safe space while renovating.

Fix Up the Exterior
Finally, let’s talk about what to do with any money that remains. Today’s business world is comprised of market trends that rapidly change. But in real estate and housing, there’s one constant that seems everlasting – the value of a home’s curb appeal.

The first impression is important in every social interaction – and real estate is no different. Except in this case, it’s your home that needs to make a good impression. That’s why you should remember something. Namely, if the first thing a potential buyer sees is a decaying exterior, the chances of them buying the house decrease rapidly. That’s why you want to invest some of your budget into basic landscaping, at least, if you want to increase the value of your home.

Before you move, check your cell signal

Most people don’t have land lines these days. If you’re relying on cell service to connect to people, places and emergency services. It’s important to see what your signal strength is if any.

Check your bars
Start with the obvious: your first indication of a strong or weak signal is checking to see how many bars/waveforms your phone has.  Not the best way to measure cell phone signal strength.

Think of it like cooking without using measuring cups and spoons. Sure you can eyeball everything and get a decent meal, but when you want to produce the same reliable results, you need to get accurate.

Check for cell towers in the area
To find out how many cell towers are near you and if there are any plans for future development, enter your street address on the Antenna Search website. You can compare your signal strength to other areas of the city, state, or even nation.

Check your phone’s decibel unit of measure (dBm)
Go to settings: Settings – About phone – Status – Signal strength. Typically, decibels are shown as a negative number. The closer the dBm is to zero, the stronger the signal in the area. A measure of -55 is one of the strongest (and rarest) signals you might see, while a rating of -100 dBm is considered a weak signal.

  • -50 to -40 means an excellent signal (your phone is close to the base station).
  • -60 to -50 indicates very good signal.
  • -70 to -60 shows good signal.
  • -80 to -70 means less weak signal.
  • -90 to -80 shows weak signal.

How to Find an Accurate dB Reading on your iPhone:
Starting with iOS 11 and 12, Apple has hidden dBm readings in iPhone field test mode. However, depending on your iPhone chipset (Intel or Qualcomm) and your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint), there’s a slim chance to find your dBm readings through this workaround.

AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone with Intel chipset (iOS 11 & 12)

Dial *3001#12345#*
Tap LTE.
Tap Serving Cell Meas.
Your dBm is read as rsrp0.
Verizon or Sprint iPhone with Qualcomm chipset (iOS 11 & 12)

Dial *3001#12345#*
Tap 1xEV-DO.
Your dBm is read as RX AGC0.
For any iPhone pre-iOS 11

Dial *3001#12345#*
Swipe down notifications bar.
Your dBm is in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

Try downloading an app
Network Cell Info Lite is a favorite of installers, and it’s more or less interchangeable with LTE Discovery. These two are the best options. The Network Cell Info Lite doesn’t mess with bars, but it shows neighboring towers, and is extremely user-friendly.

Gas saving tips

The price of gas this summer is skyrocketing. We all drive, here’s some great tips from AAA to implement while drive to save gas.

  1. Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
  2. Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  3. To idle or not to idle.
    -Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
    -Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
  4. When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
  5. When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
  6. Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
  7. Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
  8. If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can without “lugging” the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting – for example, going directly from first gear to third.

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