Turn Your Backyard into an Exotic Paradise with a Koi Pond!

25074502855_f8441cf1e7_bAre you tired of staring out at the plain stretch of grass in your backyard? Feeling fresh out of ideas for increased curb appeal? If you’re looking for something unique and fun to do with your yard, a koi pond could be a great addition to your property!

A koi pond will take some work and know-how to start, complete, and maintain, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort. Here’s how you can get started with creating your exotic water garden:

Find the Perfect Spot – First, look around your yard and find the perfect spot for your koi pond. You’ll want to have enough room for these fish to swim in, and you’ll also want to opt for a shadier location since it will keep the water temperate for the fish and keep algae at bay. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a surface area of 50+ square feet for your exotic water garden.

Gather the Necessary Materials – Next, you’re going to need the right materials to help get the job done. We recommend putting sand, a polyvinyl chloride liner, an aquarium sealant, spray-foam insulation, and a water pump on your list. These items will help give you a great koi pond. Worry about acquiring your fish later.

Start Digging – Now it’s time to start digging! Aim for a depth of at least 2 feet, if not more, to help give your fish enough room to move around and to keep any predators like raccoons at bay. Of course, it doesn’t have to be one big pit; you can dig a deeper hole near the middle and keep the sides more shallow to keep the aesthetics more interesting!

Line the Hole – Unfortunately, dirt doesn’t retain water very well. That’s why you’ll need sand and a polyvinyl chloride liner to line the hole with! Be sure to line both the bottom and the sides of the hole with 2 inches of wet sand, followed by the polyvinyl chloride liner. Make sure that the liner’s edges extend above ground, too. This, along with using extra pond liner material, an aquarium sealant, and spray-foam insulation, will help ensure that your hole is sealed properly for your koi to enjoy!

Install the Pump Equipment – Don’t let this step worry you! Installing pump equipment isn’t as tough as it sounds. You can often purchase the equipment you need at local pool and pond supply stores, and the equipment should come with installation instructions. You can choose to hide the pump under rocks, beneath plants, or on the side of your house. Want a waterfall? Make sure that you choose a pump that will circulate half the pond’s capacity every hour!

Add Some Landscaping – It’s time to think about the landscaping around your koi pond! Find some beautiful plants, stately rocks, or even some decking to complete the look. Once you have it looking just the way you want it, add water! Just be sure that you check the chemical balance and temperature before you add any fish.

Add the Koi – If your water’s pH and temperature are adequate, then it’s time to add some koi to your pond! These fish are gorgeous and are very fun to feed. If you’d prefer a cheaper option, fancy goldfish are a good choice, too. You can also add snails, frogs, toads, and even a few turtles to your pond – they’ll help control insects and algae in and around the pond!

Keep in mind, if you live in an area that experiences severe winter weather, you’ll want to take your fish inside during the winter. If you live in a milder climate, your fish can live under a foot of ice as long as a pond heater creates a little air hole for them.

Adding a koi pond can really amplify your home’s curb appeal. Learn more tips about how you can put some pizzazz back into your home and yard by reading more of our fun blogs! Got questions about finding your dream home or selling your current home? Call The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298!

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Should You Rent or Buy?

11415768915_83a98098aaThinking about moving? Whether you’re relocating to an all-new city, heading across town, or spreading your wings and landing your very first place, moving can be a very exhilarating experience! Aside from where you want to move, though, you will be faced with one of the most important questions – should you rent or buy?

The answer to your question will depend on a many different factors. To give you a brief overview, here are a few pros to why you should buy and why you should rent:

The Pros of Buying

It’s All Yours in the End – When you pay off your home, it’s absolutely all yours! Better yet, you won’t need to pay off your mortgage once you reach that point. You’ll only need to continue paying your property taxes.

You Get to Be More Creative – After you buy your home, you get a lot of freedom to do whatever you’d like. You can paint the walls whatever colors you want, hang up your favorite paintings and photos, and make home improvements as long as they don’t break local building codes or any homeowners’ association rules.

You Could See Tax Benefits – These tax credits, which can help offset some of the costs of homeownership, aren’t available to renters!

Build Up Your Equity – Homeowners have the unique opportunity to build up their home equity in time. Any updates you make to your property can increase its curb appeal and your home’s value. Renters can’t experience this!

 

The Pros of Renting

Cut Some Costs – When you buy a home, you own it, but you also have to pay quite a bit in interest and taxes. Renting only requires you to make your monthly payment to your landlord, along with your utilities if your landlord requires it (some don’t!).

No Hassle for Repairs – If a pipe bursts or your air conditioning unit breaks down, you don’t have to hassle yourself with finding a professional to make the necessary repairs. Just call your landlord or superintendent. Better yet, you don’t have to pay for it!

Relocation Is More Convenient – If you happen to have a job that requires you to relocate frequently or if you’re just starting out in your professional life, renting is usually an easier option. It’s often much less time-consuming and easier to relocate if you rent your home or apartment.

Although there are many pros to renting and owning your place, there are several individual factors that you need to take into account along the way. You’ll have to look at rent prices and the cost of housing in your area, interest rates, your own financial situation, and how long you plan to live in your home, just to name a few. Either way, it all comes down to crunching some numbers and determining what’s right for your own situation.

Whether you choose to rent or own, you can count on one real estate team to help you find the perfect place – The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties. Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to begin your search today or view our many listings online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

7 Easy Ways to Decorate Your Home After the Holidays

winter-door-decoration-christmasThe holidays are now over, which means that it’s time to put away the holiday décor for another year. Now is the time to transition your home from the holidays to winter décor, which is actually a lot easier than you might believe it to be! Give your home a mini-makeover this month – here are 7 ways you can refresh your home and keep it happy and bright after the holidays!

Bring in the Light – Let’s face it, during the winter season, some days can be downright dreary. Just because it’s gloomy and gray outside doesn’t mean that your home needs to be! Plenty of lighting can help open your space and brighten any room in your home. Bring out your favorite lamps, candles, and lanterns and light up your home in no time!

De-Clutter – Is your resolution this year to get more organized? Kill two birds with one stone by going through your home and de-cluttering your space! Gather any of your holiday decorations and put them away in their designated storage spaces. We’re talking about ornaments, wreaths, garland, and mini Christmas trees. Do a bit of “winter cleaning,” repurpose any holiday decorations that you know can double up as winter decorations, and let your space breath again!

Refresh Your Throw Pillows – Want an easy way to bring some life back into your home? Try using different throw pillows! Fresh colors and textures can work wonders on your couches, chairs, and beds. Try choosing pillows in a trendy color scheme to update your home’s look. We’re loving whites, blues, and gold and also whites, blacks, pale pinks, and metallic for chic color schemes!

Take Out the Red – Pops of red belong in the holiday season, not necessarily in winter décor. After all, winter is a time for whites, neutrals, grays, blues, and metallic shades. Try taking out the red berries out of your birch decorations to get the right feel. Paring down the greenery can also help you steer clear of any festive vibe!

Jazz Up the Walls – Bring in some cheer by using some fun, colorful wall décor! Think bright colors and chic metallic foils for a fresh, energetic ambiance. Don’t be afraid to mix canvas and framed art to give depth to your walls!

Think Rustic – The holidays are a bright, bold time full of noise and joy. Winter, on the other hand, is a serene time of year that evokes feelings of quiet and calm. You can bring this atmosphere into your home with a few simple rustic touches! Substitute pinecones for heavy garland. Bring in twine and rustic objects to create unique centerpieces for your mantel and coffee table for the season.

Keep It Cozy – Winter is the perfect season to bring out your coziest, warmest blankets, pillows, and throws. Toss your faux fur throw over your favorite armchair. Make the couch extra cozy with oversized fuzzy pillows. Add warmth to your bed with incredibly soft blankets. There’s just something so great about snuggling up with these items and enjoying a good book with some hot tea or hot chocolate!

Looking for a new home to keep you cozy during the winter and beyond? The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties can help with that! Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started, or check out our current listings on our website at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

5 Fun Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Winter This Year

pexels-photo-54200It may not be official, but we dare to say that winter has arrived! We have recently experienced plunging cold temperatures, goose bump-inducing wind chills, and even a little bit of wintry precipitation. While some people aren’t big fans of winter, we think it’s a wonderful season full of beauty and opportunities to make fun memories!

Embrace winter this year! Here are a few ways you can make the most out of the season both at home and outside:

Get Outside – Yes, we said it – get outside and enjoy what winter has to offer! Journey down your neighborhood’s streets after they’ve been covered by freshly fallen snow. Have a snowball fight with your buddies and make snow angels with your family. Go skiing or simply take a drive and enjoy how the snow decorates the barren landscape.

Bask in the Sunlight – Along the same lines, it’s always enjoyable to take in as much sunlight as you can this season. Getting enough light during the winter helps maintain a positive mood and can help stave off those winter blues. Besides, sunny winter days are full of wonder! We recommend getting at least 15 minutes of sunshine a day, if you can.

Get Moving – While it’s awfully tempting to lounge around all day under your coziest blanket, it’s a really good idea to develop and maintain an active lifestyle. Bundle up and head out for a walk with the dog, or hit the treadmill in the basement or at your local gym. Staying active will make you happier and keep you fit and healthy!

Enjoy Winter’s Superfood Selection – When we think of eating delicious fruit and vegetables, we usually think about the fresh produce that summer gives. Winter, however, provides plenty of amazing produce! Enjoy fresh kale, Brussels sprouts, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, and clementine with your daily meals.

Pamper Yourself – Remember earlier when we mentioned snuggling with an incredibly cozy blanket? You should definitely do that! The long dark nights are the perfect time to enjoy yourself in the comforts of your home. Make yourself a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate and read your favorite book by the fireplace. Take a nice, warm soak in the tub. Do anything that will make you feel warm and happy!

Look Forward to the New Year – Now is the perfect time of the year to reflect and start looking forward to what the New Year has in store for you. Take the time to set a few personal goals for the coming year. Make sure that they are challenging yet attainable.

How do you enjoy the season of winter? Tell us in the comments below! We love hearing from you!

White Lights or Multi-Colored Lights – Which Side Are You On?

Christmas_lights_trees_and_snowman.jpg

The holidays are officially here! If you couldn’t tell from the colder temperatures and the shorter amount of daylight we’ve been experiencing, you can easily tell that the season is upon us whenever you go outside and see the beautiful spectacle of holiday lights. Trees and shrubs are bedecked in multi-colored lights, trees sparkle with clear white light in living rooms, and a myriad of bright lights can be found downtown or in your own neighborhood.

One of the biggest questions we usually wind up asking ourselves every year is this: should I decorate with white lights or multi-colored lights this year?

If you’re having trouble deciding between these two choices, here are a few reasons for you to use either of them:

White Lights

They Are Always a Great Neutral Color – If you don’t want to be totally inundated with color this holiday season, white lights might be right for you. Go totally neutral by pairing white holiday lights with metallic or glass decorations and plenty of gold, silver, and bronze. The color can come from the tree itself, the stockings, the presents under the tree, and other holiday decorations you place around your home!

They Always Add Ambiance – Glimmering white lights always add some level of magic, wonder and sophistication, especially during the holidays. Besides, their subtle light can complement any color scheme!

 

Multi-Colored Lights

They Get You in the Holiday Spirit – When added to trees, shrubbery, rooftops, and more, multi-colored lights give a happy, playful, and energetic vibe, which can really help you get in the holiday spirit. Thanks to LED settings, you can now customize your colorful light displays to sparkle, twinkle, and dance as well!

They Give You a Fun Color Palette – You can easily go with a more simplified route by choosing one or two specific colors, or you can choose to get more festive by using a myriad of colors. Whichever you choose, you have countless options, and there’s really no way you can go wrong!

Whether you put multi-colored lights or white lights on your tree or home this year, there really are no downsides to either lighting option. In fact, if you really want to, you can even choose to have the best of both worlds and use both! It all boils down to a matter of preference, so choose what you like!

Which side are you on? Be sure to tell us in the comments below! We love hearing from you. Happy holidays!

10 Fun Ways to Ring In the New Year in St. Louis

482791704It’s hard to believe it, but in just one week, we will be celebrating the arrival of a new year and ringing in 2016. If you think you’re stuck doing the same old thing again this New Year’s Eve, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to! After all, there’s always something fun to do in and around St. Louis, no matter time of year.

Here are 10 ways you can welcome 2016 by yourself, with your family or friends, or with that special someone!

Hang Out at Ballpark Village – Join the party at New Year’s Eve Live at Ballpark Village this year from 8 p.m. to midnight! You can have fun checking out the many bars and restaurants that the Village has to offer and enjoy live music from Charles Glenn. There are also drink packages and party favors for you to enjoy. General admission is $75, or you can splurge on the Diamond Access tickets, which include a delicious food buffet, for $125.

Throw a Strike at Edison’s – Want to keep your celebrations local, somewhat low-key, and lots of fun? Check out Edison’s in Glen Carbon! You can try your hand at bowling with your buddies, hit up the arcade games, or have a blast with laser tag until 1 a.m. Plus, they have a whole menu full of scrumptious appetizers, foods, and beverages. Regardless of your age, Edison’s is fun for everyone!

Get Some Laughs In – Chuckle, laugh, and guffaw the night away this year at the Funny Bone in Westport Plaza! This year, comedian John Morgan will be entertaining the crowds at 5:30, 7:30, and 10 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $40.

Take a Local Cruise – That’s right, you can go on a cruise close to home! Check out the New Year’s Eve Cruise here in St. Louis as you hop on a steamboat that cruises the Mississippi River. Starting from the south leg of the Gateway Arch, you can enjoy dinner, an open bar, music, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. This three-and-a-half hours-long cruise is only $85 per person.

Dance the Night Away – Love dancing? Then come to Casa Loma this year for the Beggar’s Carnivale show, complete with gypsies, a circus, vaudeville acts, and much more! The Three Penny Orchestra will be performing for your dancing pleasure. Doors open at 9 p.m. A light buffet will be served after midnight, and you can keep on dancing until 3 in the morning! Tickets are only $69 for this fun night of music and food.

Put Your Thinking Cap On – If you’re a fan of Sherlock Homes (and love to laugh), then the Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater on New Year’s Eve at the Lemp Mansion is for you! For $62.50, come out and enjoy an evening of good food and entertainment, and enjoy party hats, favors, and delicious champagne!

Enjoy the City’s Best Music – Treat your ears to some amazing music this New Year’s Eve by attending the famous St. Louis Symphony’s New Year’s Eve concert at Powell Hall. The program for the evening is always a secret, but you can bet that you will have a memorable evening under the direction of conductor David Robertson. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets range from $45 to $125.

Take To The Ice – For a wintery experience this New Year’s Eve, come out to Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park for a fun time for the whole family. Kids and adults alike can skate on the ice until 12:30 a.m. Skate admission is $7 and skate rental is $5 for everyone. Enjoy party favors and noisemakers, and purchase food and drinks to enjoy the night. Best of all – no reservations are required!

Take a Mini-Getaway to Pere Marquette – Looking for something completely different to do? Tune into your romantic side and take your significant other for a night at Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Illinois! Enjoy appetizers, an open bar, and a buffet dinner. After you eat, dance to the music and make a champagne toast at midnight, then head back to one of the lodge’s cozy rooms for the night. You’ll also be treated to breakfast the following morning! This little getaway costs $389 per couple.

Have a Blast at Home – Don’t feel like heading out this year? Have fun at home! You can call around to see if your friends or family members want to come over for your New Year’s bash, too. There’s nothing that a few pizzas, drinks, fun games, and music won’t solve!

Looking for more ideas to help you celebrate the New Year? Check out this list for plenty of ideas to help you celebrate in St. Louis! We hope you have a fantastic New Year’s Eve and a happy 2016!

8 Simple Ways to Sell Your Home in Autumn

how to sell your house in autumnFall is a wonderful season to experience, especially here in the metro St. Louis region. The leaves turn vivid shades of gold, red, and orange; pumpkins can be found placed decoratively on front porches, and the beautiful, chilly weather is just perfect for fall festivals, adventurous weekend getaways, or home football games.

Autumn is also the 2nd best time of the year to sell a home. The holidays aren’t upon us yet, the weather is gorgeous, and the autumnal lighting can really lend a hand in displaying one’s home in the best, well, light.

There is, however, an art to selling a home in the fall. Follow these 8 tips below to help you attract those autumn homebuyers to your home!

Keep Your Yard Neat – Fall leaves are really great to admire while they remain on the trees, but they’re all of a sudden a lot less fun when we have to rake them up. Be sure to take the time and put the effort into raking up the dead leaves, sticks, and debris from your yard, and don’t let overgrown vegetation block the paths to the entrance or any windows. Additionally, cut back any bushes and tree limbs that might be in the way; this will let the sun peek a bit more inside and bathe the exterior of your home in golden light.

Create Autumn Curb Appeal – Autumn brings a lot of very beautiful vegetation with it, so take advantage of the fall flowers while you can! Plant golden mums, marigolds, and chrysanthemums in pots on the steps outside or along the sidewalk. After all, yellow is a home-selling color! Accent these flowers with gourds and pumpkins to complete the look.

Treat the Windows – Your windows take quite a beating in the summer months; the summer rains, winds, and storms wind up leaving your windows streaked with dust come fall. You might notice the streaks and smudges on your windows, but buyers certainly will. Your windows need to shine if you’re trying to sell your home, so remove those screens and clean them up!

Show Your HVAC Some Love – When was the last time you changed your furnace filters? Take some time before the fall weather really kicks in to change it and to check your heater. You’ll get fresh, clean air circulating in your home, and you’ll be able to fix any issues your furnace might have before it gets too cold. Remember, the buyer will ask a home inspector to check out the HVAC, so make sure it’s in proper working condition!

Clean Out the Fireplace – No one likes to see a dusty fireplace full of cobwebs, so clean out that fireplace if you have one! Vacuum it out, wash it down, and decorate the mantle with fun fall knickknacks and pumpkins. If you have a gas fireplace, feel free to light it when buyers come through. They’ll enjoy the cozy atmosphere that you’ve created in your home (and will never want to leave!).

Use Autumn Accent Colors – Liven up your furniture with some fun autumn accents! A plain ol’ cream or gray sofa can really come to life when you place yellow, orange, or red pillows (or a combination of the three) on it. Toss an autumn-colored throw over your favorite chair. Place bold-colored accent pieces in odd-numbered groupings in your home to bring in a bit more of the autumn feel. Gather some pinecones, nuts, orange candles, and small, colorful leaves and create a centerpiece for the dining room table to complete the look.

Bring In the Light – As the days start to shorten more and more, the sun will set lower in the horizon and cast wider shadows. Counteract the shadows by pulling up the blinds, opening the shutters, and pushing back the drapes on every window. Turn on the lights in the house when a homebuyer comes by, including appliance lights and closet lights. Don’t forget to turn off the television, too!

Prepare a Few Autumn Dishes – Want to really promote that comfy-cozy feeling in your home? Try baking yummy pumpkin cupcakes or pie, or simmer hot apple cider on your stove! Put out a tray of cinnamon sticks on the counter and fill a bowl with crisp red apples. The smells will entice your potential homebuyer, and seeing these foods placed around the kitchen will make the buyer feel right at home!

Autumn is a great time to sell your home. It’s even easier when you list with a team you know you can trust – the Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties. Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or find our listings online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.

10 Easy Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Spring colorsIt seems as if this harsh, freezing winter will never end, but in just a few short weeks spring will be here! It’s time to think about color, lightweight materials, plants and flowers, and getting rid of the stale winter air in your home once again!

What can you do to properly welcome back the spring season? Just tackle these 10 small projects to give your home a small facelift and make a big impact for spring!

Change Outdoor Lightbulbs – Take to the outdoors and clean all of the light fixtures outside! Be sure to replace all burned-out bulbs with energy-saving CFL bulbs.

Spruce Up the Walkway – The snow, ice, and cold from the winter season can really take a toll on your walkway. Take the time now to patch up cracks and replace loose pavers and bricks before the weather gets really nice! Go the extra mile by renting a power washer to make your concrete, stone, and even the exterior of your house shine like new!

Clear the Gutters – Before the notorious spring rainstorms come, inspect your downspouts and gutters, clear them of leaves and debris, and make sure that they’re draining properly. Clogging will typically occur at the elbow in the drainage system, so be sure to take it off and check it for clogging!

Freshen Up Your Door – Make your door shine this spring (literally)! Polish the hinges and knobs of your door and treat it to a new coat of paint or stain. Make it stand out with a bold color like a bright blue or yellow! Add the finishing touches with a new, clean welcome mat to welcome in visitors!

Lay Down Mulch – Get your backyard ready for the new season! Grab a rake and hoe, take up all the debris from the fall season, and lay down some fresh mulch in your plant beds. This will give your garden a jumpstart in the growing season!

Clean, Clean, Clean – Of course, spring calls for some spring cleaning! Get rid of all the gunk, grime, dust, and stale air from a winter’s worth of weather on your windows, ceilings, fans, walls, air conditioner unit, floors, and much more! Take a step further by decluttering and purging items you no longer want or need.

Add Plants and Flowers – Be bold and add some living color to your home and yard! Head to the local nursery and pick out some of your favorite flowers. Plant some bulbs and seeds in your garden outside, buy freshly cut flowers for your home, and check out a few colorful houseplants, too! Commonly chosen flowers for the spring include peonies, white roses, hydrangea, tulips, and daffodils.

Love Your Furniture – With all of the snow and ice we experienced this winter, you probably were cooped inside while road crews tended to the roads. Give your furniture some extra love by spraying a fresh coat of paint and replacing and cleaning the cushions. Get your outdoor space ready for summer by filling the empty spot on your porch with a modern swing or chair!

Change Your Bedding – It’s time to put away your heavy comforters and quilts and make way for lighter fabrics and softer colors for spring! Choose something with pastels or at least a hint of yellow and bright colors to give your bedroom that spring-like feeing! While you’re at it, strip the bedding and flip your mattress – it will help you sleep better and increase its lifespan!

Brighten Up With Prints and Color – Once you’re done with the bedroom, take to the rest of the house and change up your tablecloths, throw pillows, hand towels, and area rugs with brighter colors and fun prints! Try something different in the kitchen and dining room by purchasing some colorful dishware for spring and summer. If nothing else, try using some cloth napkins or invest in a beautiful statement table runner.

Spring is also the time that potential homebuyers take notice of the homes in their area. If you’re selling your home now and want to attract homebuyers, we can help! Just call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyteam.com to learn more about us!

Crucial Tips You Need to Help You Move to a New State

Moving to a different stateMoving to a new state can be exciting and full of adventure and new memories. It can also be quite scary and take a toll on your stress levels, especially if you don’t prepare properly for the move. Luckily, good planning and a thorough checklist can help you stay on track with your move, keep your stress in check, and help you stay within your moving budget.

There will be many things that you will need to consider when you move to a new state, including how you can move your family with the help of reliable professional movers and how you can save money without sacrificing quality. Moving doesn’t have to be so scary with some very important tips from the Massey Team Real Estate. Read all about what you should do before, during, and after your move to a new state to see how you can move without all the stress (and without burdening your wallet)!

Before the Move

Plan Your Move First – Moving anywhere be it across the street or across the country requires effort in order to make it a smooth transition. Before you begin packing, you should plan your move and do your research on the state itself. Visit the state if at all possible before you move, and learn about the cost of living, the economy of the state and taxes, and the various neighborhoods in the city you want to settle in. We also suggest that you find a job in that state before moving; it takes the burden of job hunting off your shoulders while you’re moving.

Check Moving Reviews – Before you settle on a moving company, try to get reviews and estimates. Oftentimes, reputable moving companies will offer free estimates. The cost is based on weight, so try to hold a yard sale or donate some of the things you don’t want or need anymore before you make the appointment.

Get a List Going – Lists will be your best friend in this instance. Make a list of all of your accounts and services that will require address updates and take care of it as soon as you can. Remember also to either cancel or transfer your utilities, if necessary.

Tune Up Your Car – Before the move, get your car to the mechanic for a tune-up or full service. Tell your mechanic that you will be moving out-of-state and that your car will need to have a thorough road safety check before leaving, including tire pressure and wear assessment and windshield wiper replacement if needed. Be sure to check your car emergency kit to see that you have flares, jumper cables, and a reliable spare tire in case you break down on the road.

Take Care of Pets and Houseplants – Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their rabies and other vaccinations and that they meet the requirements in your new state. Try to accommodate them slowly to the idea of moving so that they won’t be too nervous on the road – pets don’t quite care for change. If you have houseplants, make sure that they fit securely in your car or find them a good home to go to. Movers will not move your houseplants in the van for you. Before you set them on the curb, think of someone who would be happy to have the plants in your home and give them away to that person.

Keep the Essentials With You – Before leaving, make sure that you have the essentials with you in your car. This can range from a change of clothes for a day or two, basic cooking equipment and utensils, medication, and your valuables. Also include your passports, extra checks, tax records, and other essentials on you at all times just in case some of your belongings go missing during the move.

Be Extra Kind to the Movers – A little bit of kindness goes a long way, and this is also true with your movers. Be sure to pay them gratuity or even spring for their breakfast or lunch. Also, give them water or soft drinks while they’re working. You’ll find that they will be sure to take extra special care of your belongings if you do so.

On the Way

Plan Time for Breaks – No matter how badly you want to get to your destination as soon as possible, road fatigue can really take a toll on you and those who are moving your belongings. Take plenty of breaks on the road, and if you can’t get there in one day, spring for a cheap motel to get a good night’s sleep.

Do Your Research – Before you hit the road, try to plan out the routes that you will need to take. If possible, try to take the routes that have great scenery or are at least not too terribly boring. Highway hypnosis is a real thing and can make you zone out behind the wheel before you know it. If you find that you or whoever is driving is getting sleepy, stop for a break or switch spots.

Properly Prepare Yourself – Before leaving, pack bottles of water with you and some snacks to minimize unnecessary stops and to tide you over in the event of a breakdown or other delay. If at all possible, avoid driving at night and be sure you know what to do in case your vehicle breaks down on the road. Always let someone know your route, your estimated time of arrival, and where you plan to stop.

Upon Arrival

Show Kindness to Movers Again – Once you get to your new abode, you will more than likely have a different set of movers who will be offloading your belongings, so you will need to tip again. Be sure to figure in the distance they had to drive as well, and offer them drinks, if possible, whenever they are unloading your things.

Follow Up – Not that it’s mandatory, but following up with the moving company’s office with praise or constructive criticism is always greatly appreciated. Additionally, if any damage to your items occurs, do you best to fill out paperwork before the movers depart.

Unload Box by Box – While unloading your things in a new place may seem incredibly daunting, it doesn’t have to be, especially if you took the time to label where each box is going. Go room by room and unbox your boxes leisurely. Remember, the hard stuff is over, so feel free to enjoy yourself on your new adventure!

Are you moving to the St. Louis area from out-of-state anytime soon? Call the best real estate team in the Metro East St. Louis region – The Massey Team! Contact us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyteam.com to see our listings!

10 Resolutions to Make for Your Home in 2014

2014As hard as it is to really fathom, 2013 is just about over, and 2014 will begin in less than 2 weeks! That means that you and many others around the nation will probably try to stick to different sorts of resolutions during 2014 – losing weight, saving more money, and taking better care of yourself.

But what about your home?

Our homes are typically the last thing on our minds when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but in reality, our homes should be at the top of our priorities. Making your home run more smoothly typically leads to us leading smoother lives.

Here are 10 resolutions to make for you and your home for 2014!

Get Organized – Depending on how long you’ve let things go in your home, this can be quite a daunting task. Take it one room at a time to put everything in its proper place. Make a list of rooms to tackle, go through your belongings, and group them together. Put your scarves and mittens in one basket and your hats in another, and place your bills in folders and your paperwork in files. Organizing your home will lead to a cleaner, calmer home.

Make a List – Go room by room to create a list of all the things you want to change about that room. Create a master list to make it easier on you to see the work ahead of you. You may find that many things you’ve listed out are very doable right now! While painting or replacing your cabinets may have to wait for a while longer, painting trim in the kitchen or a different room can be an easy afternoon project for you to tackle soon!

Start a Project – Nothing quite makes a home feel more like yours than changing it to suit your wants and needs. Give new life to a room that you don’t use very often. Even a fresh coat of paint can change things up and make you want to be in that space more often. It may even get the ball rolling for future makeovers as well.

Make Your Home Safer – Perhaps one of the most important resolutions you should make for your home in 2014 is to make it safer for you, your family, and anyone who happens to visit you at your home. Make sure your smoke detectors are working. If you don’t have smoke detectors or a carbon monoxide detector, get one as soon as possible – they could save your life. Get your furnace inspected to avoid major safety issues, and create an escape route with your family in case of a fire.

Buy a Plant (or Two!) – Purchasing a plant that brings you joy is one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest things you can do for your home. Bringing this life into your home will make your home brighter in an instant and will even elevate your mood. Also, some plants have air-cleaning qualities – an additional bonus for you and your home!

Be More Energy Efficient – Being more energy efficient in your home is easier than you might think! Start off by changing your light bulbs, unplugging your unused appliances, and turning off your lights are easy and efficient ways you can begin improving your energy resourcefulness. Go a step further by updating your appliances to more energy efficient models.

Finish What You Start – Checking items and projects off your to-do list is a wonderful feeling. Make it your goal to finish at least one big task a month on your to-do list. This could range anywhere from getting your family photos in order to organizing your movies and music or repainting a room that might desperately need a fresh coat of paint. These tasks become a lot less daunting when you aim to accomplish them on a month-to-month basis, and it might even give you more motivation to complete more tasks!

Make Extra Mortgage Payments – As much as you might not want to do so, putting extra money toward your mortgage payments can dramatically shorten how long you need to continue making payments. For example, the monthly principal and interest on a $150,000 mortgage with a 30-year-term and an interest rate 5.5% comes to be $852. Paying even an extra one-twelfth of that amount each month – in this case, $71 – would increase your payment to $923, but it will also shorten the term by 5 years and one month and will cut your interest expense by just a hair over $30,000. Remember, the more payments you make in a shorter period of time, the less you end up paying in the long term (and the less interest you’ll have to pay, too!).

Prepare a Household Emergency Kit – Disaster can strike when you least expect it (remember the New Year’s Eve tornado that happened in St. Louis just a few years ago?). Be prepared by assembling a household emergency kit for you and your family. If you’re ahead of the game and have an emergency kit already, check that it has sufficient supplies for your family’s needs.

Resolve to Enjoy Your Home Now – You might not be in your dream home at the moment. Maybe your kitchen has rickety cabinets and peeling floor tiles or the bathroom is too small. In spite of the things that might make you cringe in your home, learn to love the place you live in for what it is now, and remember that you can always make the changes that you want to see to make your home the house of your dreams.

Want more tips for the New Year? Resolved to find your dream home in 2014? Call the Metro East’s best real estate team to make your dreams come true – The Massey Team! Call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to learn more about us and to see our listings!