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Moving locally might not seem as stressful as a long-distance move, but it can still be hectic if you’re not well-prepared for it. Whether your local move is just down the street or to another part of town, make sure you start getting ready for it early. The following tips can help make your upcoming move a bit easier. 

Start Sorting & Packing Early

Even though it won’t take as long to get to your new home when you move a short distance, you should still get started on sorting and packing your belongings as early as you can. Waiting to begin may mean you’ll feel rushed and opt to skip the sorting process. Instead of donating or tossing items in order to downsize, for example, you might end up bringing everything with you to your new home. If you’ve closed on your new home and know your moving date, you can begin sorting through your household items. 

Label Your Boxes

Being as organized as possible can help your local move go smoothly. As you go through your belongings and pack them up, put labels on each box or container. Your labels should let you know what’s inside and where each box or container should go. You can either write the room on the label or use color-coded labels for different rooms. Having all of your boxes and containers clearly marked makes it easy for you or your movers to know where to put them at your new home. 

Switch Your Utilities

As your move gets closer, keep in mind that you’ll need to change your utilities over to your new home. Since you’re moving locally, you might not have to deal with switching to new utility companies. Instead, you might just have to contact each company to provide them with your new address and let them know when to shut off services at your current home and turn them on at your new home. 

Make Multiple Trips

Since your new home isn’t far away, you should be able to make several trips back and forth instead of having to move everything in one trip. You can load up your car with smaller items and boxes for these trips, and unload them in your new residence. For larger items, such as your furniture, make plans to rent a truck or hire local movers to handle these for you. Moving into your new home a little at a time through multiple trips helps make your actual moving day less stressful overall.

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Many modern housing developments share areas such as parks, pools and playgrounds. When this is the case, they need a homeowner’s association to tend to the needs of the common areas. The same is true for condominium complexes and townhome communities. Since hallways, elevators and the outsides of buildings require shared maintenance, the HOA’s purpose is clear, and membership means protection for home values.

But some neighborhoods have associations that do not maintain jointly-owned areas. Instead, they exist purportedly to keep the neighborhood’s appeal. Often, these groups set strict rules on paint colors, the length grass can grow, whether you can have lawn ornaments and various other personal taste decisions that might make your life there more complicated. They police the number of vehicles in your driveway and how quickly you put away your trash containers after pickup.

These rules can benefit owners by making certain one property’s neglect doesn’t reflect poorly on the other properties nearby.

Know before You Go

When you purchase a home in a community with a homeowner’s association, request a copy of the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) before you make an offer or with a contingency that you can back out if the rules are too onerous.

If you decide to purchase in an HOA neighborhood, realize that you’re giving up some of your freedoms in exchange for rules meant to enhance the quality of life in your community.

Get Involved

The best way to coexist with community life is to get involved. Attend the meetings, offer to be on a committee or run for office. Sometimes, due to lack of a quorum, the leadership rules by fiat, so try to get other neighbors involved too. Offer to host a social event so that neighbors can meet and get to know one another. It’s harder to impose harsh rules on people you know and see frequently.

If you don’t understand a rule, open a dialog. Perhaps you’ll discover there is a history behind the rule that gives it more validity.

Always make your requests in writing too, so that you can back up claims for a quick response to HOA action against you.

When the home you want is in an HOA-controlled community, do your best to become part of the influencers rather than a detractor. That way, if someone proposes a petty rule that you believe isn’t helpful, you’ll be able to have your say.

Let your real estate agent know how you feel about living in an HOA neighborhood. If you’re unsure, ask your agent to find out how the HOA functions and what the other members think about it. 

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