How to Move While Practicing Social Distancing

You bought a house prior to the pandemic, and now it’s time to move. Even if you didn’t buy a new place but still have to move, the day is here when you have to pull up stakes and go somewhere else. Yes, some moves are unexpected and this isn’t an especially great time to change places for any reason, but some people are left with few choices. But at this time, when the virus has yet to be contained, is it safe to move? It can be, if you take some precautions. The timing may not be ideal, but if you gotta go, you gotta go.
There are three main options you’ll have when deciding how you’ll be moving; with the help of family and friends, hiring a professional, or doing it by yourself. While you can ask friends and family to help you during your move, some of them might be hesitant due to the virus, so make sure you’re flexible and accepting of others willingness, or lack thereof, to help you pack up and get going. If you decide on hiring professional movers, someone is going to have to come into your current residence to see exactly what has to be moved and tell you what it will cost. Either option is going to result in you having to work closely with those you haven’t been self-isolating with, so keep in mind the proper social distancing protocols to keep you and your household safe.
moving with face mask social distancing coronavirus covid-19moving with face mask social distancing coronavirus covid-19

Tips for Moving While Practicing Social Distancing

When your friends, family, or moving professionals arrive, they should wear a mask, gloves and coverings on their shoes. Have plenty of disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer readily available to spray down boxes or high-touch areas or objects. Make sure you also set ground rules before starting the move so everyone is on the same page. Trying to stay six feet apart as much as possible, no contact with one another, put on new gloves if you’ve taken your pair off, are just some examples. Setting boundaries will help make everyone feel comfortable and safe while helping you move.
Another way to stay as protected as possible, is to buy new boxes or use ones that you already own. Now is not the time to try to save some money by scrounging around for used boxes since cardboard can carry the virus for 24 hours, so for the sake of your health, invest in new boxes. Most movers sell them as well as other packing supplies, and they’ll deliver them to your door. Just be sure to spray with a disinfectant prior to the big day. Another option? Sanitized plastic bins, but leave them outside or in the garage for 24 hours.
Before your dedicated helpers arrive, clean all the furniture that you are taking with you. Then, on the day of the move, wear masks and gloves, maintain a 6-foot safe zone, and ask that everyone washes their hands before jumping in. Follow these same precautions once you and your belongings arrive at your destination. Plus, disinfect everything and that has been padded and wrapped once it is unwrapped, and recycle the packing materials, including the boxes, when the move is complete.
And one more crucial tip: Make sure the move can be rescheduled or cancelled outright if someone in your household becomes ill because of the coronavirus.

Precautions to Take When Hiring Professionals

If you’ve chosen to hire a moving company to assist, you can – and should – accompany them as they go from room to room to answer any questions, but do so from a safe distance. There may be another alternative, though. Bellhops, a moving service company, books moves without the need for someone to come to your home, walk around and give you an estimate.
The Chattanooga-based firm is not a moving company in the traditional sense. Like Uber and Lyft, the company uses technology and a vast amount of data collected from performing more than 200,000 moves to base your cost on the time it believes will be involved rather than on weight or number pieces you need to move. Of course, someone has to actually perform the move. But, Bellhops bonded, licensed and insured movers are fully versed with the hygiene and social-distancing practices outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.
Each mover who arrives at your current location has deliberately chosen to accept the job. Each one arrives independently, wears gloves and a mask, avoids physical contact with his fellow workers, or the client, and cleans and disinfects the equipment used before and after the job.
If this 21st Century company isn’t active yet in your neck of the woods, you’ll have to find another mover. But if you do, make sure you and the professionals you hire take every precaution to protect your family and your things.

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Lew Sichelman

Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.


Economic Sweet Spots for Tech, Finance and Health Care Workers

When it comes to finding the right balance of jobs, salaries and housing costs, not all areas are created equal.

With Silicon Valley workers living in vans and RVs and interns squatting in corporate offices, it’s clear that even a tech salary does not shield some workers from the vagaries of sky-high housing costs.

The good news is, there are tech jobs outside the Bay Area — and, in some places, workers have thousands of dollars left over each month after paying income taxes and housing costs.

The same is true for finance workers, who no longer have to brave New York City rents to build their careers. And health care workers can do well in markets where jobs in their field are as plentiful as the housing is affordable.

Zillow and LinkedIn analyzed a host of housing and employment data — from salaries to hiring to income tax rates — to determine which markets are well suited to technology, finance and health care workers.

The results held surprises. While the Bay Area doesn’t offer the best mix of employment and affordable housing, tech workers in San Francisco do manage to make up for the stratospheric cost of housing — the median home there is $833,600 — with their higher salaries. The average San Francisco tech worker ends the month with $140 more in disposable income than the average tech worker in Denver, where the median home value is $356,900. Tech renters also fare better in San Francisco than in Denver, with $591 more in monthly disposable income.

Still, Seattle is a better bet overall, with tech workers keeping $5,987 as disposable income if they own their homes, and $5,493 if they rent. Austin and Pittsburgh also pencil out better than the Bay Area.

Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix are sweet spots for finance workers, while Phoenix, Indianapolis and Boston are the best bets for health care workers.



The Homebuying Journey with Love and Renovations

Hello,! My name is Amanda Hendrix and I blog with my husband, Corey, at Love & Renovations about DIY, home decor, and how we make our builder-grade house in the suburbs of Austin feel like home. We are embarking on the process of selling our second home and moving into what will (hopefully) be our forever home, and we’re so excited to be sharing the journey here with you.

The House Hunt

We have always loved fixing up homes that need a little love, so when we began the process of searching for our third home we knew we wanted something that wasn’t updated and needed some work. We’ve always lived in homes that were a bit on the ugly side when we moved in because there’s nothing more satisfying than totally transforming it!

exterior of a gray and white homeexterior of a gray and white home

We were so confident in our plans that as we began browsing for a home we hid “new construction homes” in our searches because there was no way we’d be buying a brand new build. We need an older house with character, ugly tile to demo, and old laminate counters that are so bad you have to shield your eyes when you walk in the room! I mean, what good is an “after” without a really bad “before”, right?! 

But then (there’s always a “but then,” isn’t there?), we decided to go scout some neighborhoods in our area on a whim one afternoon because we were antsy to look at houses. We pulled up to a gorgeous neighborhood with brand new homes and I cringed a little in my soul. However, I started to cringe a little less as we drove past the gorgeous pool and splash pad at the amenity center, the gym for the residents, and the walking trails throughout the neighborhood. I had never seen an older neighborhood in our area with all of this exciting stuff so I have to admit I was intrigued.

We love houses (obviously), and the kids were getting antsy so we decided to pop into the model home. Just for fun! We DEFINITELY weren’t going to actually buy a new construction home.

You’re sensing the foreshadowing, right?

We got to chatting with the saleswoman and found out they just so happened to be building a home in our exact budget, in the size we want, and that it would be finished right in time for us to close at our planned mid-November deadline. Oh, and did I mention it had pretty much all of the bells and whistles we could want? Upgraded flooring, a covered patio, a sprinkler system and two-story ceilings in the living room… I’m a sucker for two-story ceilings.

home under construction home under construction

I feel like the rest of the story tells itself – we drove out to a nearby neighborhood that had our layout as the model home, and I got teary-eyed standing in the living room because it just felt so right. All of the pieces fell into place exactly as they should and a couple of days later we found ourselves signing a contract for the new construction home we always swore we’d never buy.

And then the chaos began.

New Construction vs. An Older Home

We quickly learned that buying a new construction home is worlds different than buying a home that’s been previously owned. For starters, the builder requires you to have your home on the market within two weeks (ideally less) of signing your contract. If you aren’t under contract at least a couple of weeks after that then they start to get nervous. We had originally thought we would have a full six weeks to prepare our house before putting it on the market, but we were suddenly looking at a mere six days to get everything done that we wanted to do (photography, marketing, etc) – and that list was long, my friends.

I went on a DIY spree in my house and managed to get the entire list crossed off just in the nick of time, but there were definitely a few stressful moments!

Another big difference when building a new home is all of the choices! When you’re buying a home that’s already been lived in, it comes as it is (unless there are issues to be fixed), but when you’re buying new construction – even a spec home like ours – you get to have some input in the design process. About a week after we signed our contract we got to go out to the design center for our builder and change out some of the finishes that had been decided on for the home. Our house was far enough along in the process that we were only able to change the flooring, but that was the big thing we wanted to change, anyway! If you get in on the process earlier, you’ll have way more options – it’s staggering how many decisions go into building a new construction home!

construction of a new homeconstruction of a new home

Finally, the other big difference we’ve noticed so far comes during the inspection process. When you’re buying a previously-owned home, you generally have one inspection sometime during the option period. With new construction, however, you get to have a few different walkthroughs of the home throughout the building process and you can (and should!) bring an inspector to all of them!

The builder will likely tell you that they have an inspector they work with, but you should always hire an independent inspector to come with you to each of your walkthroughs to check things out. The builder must fix anything that the inspector finds isn’t up to code, so you are guaranteed to walk into a home that has zero issues – which, let’s be real, is a huge perk over buying an older home! It’s a little more expensive to have multiple inspections, but it’s well worth the peace of mind to know that your home is in tip-top shape.

We’ve still got a long way to go on our home buying, and selling, journey, and I am so excited to be able to share the details with you here on! If you want some more insight on new construction and the potential benefits, check out this post about the pros and cons of new construction and this post that talks about what new construction upgrades are worth the splurge

Amanda and Corey Hendrix

Amanda & Corey Hendrix bought their first home in 2011 and love to share their renovation and decorating adventures on their blog, Love & Renovations. They love to encourage homeowners to have the confidence to make their house a home, and believe that anyone can tackle DIY projects in their home. You can follow their adventures at loveandrenovations.comInstagramFacebook, or Pinterest.