Jane Barker | Napa Real Estate, Staint Helena Real Estate, Yountville Real Estate


Perhaps the ultimate test of your planning and organizational skills is moving to a new house. If you fail to plan ahead and make the necessary preparations, moving can be a stressful and frustrating experience.

On the other hand, if you approach it in a methodical, goal-oriented way, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how smooth the process will unfold.

That's not to say that there won't be a few bumps along the way, but staying focused on the details can help ensure that the experience won't feel like a roller coaster ride!

Depending on how many weeks you have before your actual move, you'll probably want to get rid of stuff you don't need, want, or have room for. Planning a garage sale and a donation truck pickup are often among the first orders of business for families on the move. If a lot of your excess belongings are of questionable value (to anyone), you may want to call a junk removal service. For some people, renting a dumpster is a convenient and affordable way to have household junk hauled away.

Since one person's junk is another man's treasure, you can also get rid of things you don't want by posting them on social networking and classified websites. If the items you want to pass along are even marginally useful, the word "free" will almost always generate a few emails and phone calls from interested people looking to save or make money.

It also helps to have plenty of packing supplies on hand. That would include an ample supply of cardboard boxes, packing tape, permanent markers, and cheap packing material. Although you may be able to get your moving company to "throw in" some wardrobe boxes and other containers into the price of their service, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper are often free for the asking -- especially from friends, neighbors, relatives, coworkers, and sometimes retail stores.

One word of caution when it comes to cardboard boxes: Flimsy containers often have a way of tearing and falling apart at the most inopportune times! Another mistake people make is filling large boxes with too many heavy items. Not only are heavy boxes difficult to move, but it also increases the probability of dropping them or having the boxes tear while you're carrying them.

If you're hiring a professional moving company to transport your belongings to a new home, it usually pays to get two or three quotes. As is the case with other services and contractors, you can often save headaches and hundreds of dollars by comparing prices, terms, incentives, and online reviews.

Probably one of the most important methods of making sure things get done in a timely way is writing out your own detailed to-do list and revising it on a regular basis. Unless you commit goals, priorities, and tasks to paper (or a computer file), there's a good chance it will be forgotten about or left to the last minute.


Getting settled in your new neighborhood is a big task. There are boxes to unpack, utilities to organize, new schools to register for, and new neighbors to meet. You have to learn new routes to work, and if you moved because of an employment opportunity, a new job to learn.

On top of that, you have to figure out new traffic patterns and where to find the best grocery stores, how to get to the post office or find the library and other services. You’re trying out new restaurants, exploring the sights and just getting settled in. 

Then, you fall ill on the weekend, or your child discovers broken glass the hard way. With all the busyness and activity, that last thing on your mind is having to deal with an unexpected medical emergency. You realize that while you signed all of the paperwork in HR at your new job, you didn’t really read it and follow instructions to find a local doctor, determine the nearest hospital or urgent care that takes your insurance or even locate a pharmacy.

This common scenario can derail your relocation experience and make navigating an emergency even more difficult.

Follow this guide for locating the necessary emergency services ahead of time:

  • Dedicate a few hours to locating a nearby urgent care to deal with minor issues. Ask neighbors, school teachers, and co-workers for recommendations. 
  • Urgent care facilities often are open on the weekend or later hours to care for simple infections and respiratory illnesses like a cold or flu, scrapes and bruises, sprains and other minor issues that need immediate attention but not hospitalization.
  • Find the nearest 24-hour pharmacy. Call ahead to make certain they take your prescription coverage.
  • Find the nearest hospital that has a trauma-level 24-hour emergency room and that takes your insurance.
  • Be sure to locate an emergency dentist too. A dentist specializing in emergency care may be able to save a broken or knocked out tooth while waiting to get into your regular dentist might be too late.

Learn directions to these locations from your home, your work and your children’s schools. Drive by each location to become familiar with the proper entrances for emergencies. Keep the addresses and phone numbers of these locations in your contacts. List them by “pharmacy,” “urgent care,” or “hospital” along with the business name, since during an actual emergency you may not be able to recall the business name. Keep a printed or hand-written list on your refrigerator or another visible location in your home for older children or childminders. 

Pets have emergencies too. Not all pet hospitals handle emergencies, so locate the nearest one to you and find a veterinarian that has a nearby clinic or makes house calls.

Finally:

If it is possible your child or pet has ingested something poisonous, memorize the number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222.

Put this number in your phone and post it on your refrigerator. Be sure to share it with babysitters and pet-minders.

For assistance locating other emergency services in your neighborhood, talk to your real estate professional for recommendations.


Before you sell your home, you may wonder if there are any areas that you can improve on before putting the home on the market. Kitchen renovations have one of the highest return values of any changes that you make to your home. It’s worth investigating what areas of the room could use some improving. Some of these upgrades don’t even require you to start a construction project.


Clear Off The Counters


You don’t even have to replace the countertops to add some value to your home. Making it appear as if your counters have the maximum amount of space before you show the home can really impress potential buyers Simply clear your counter, clean it, and make any small repairs that you notice may need to be done. If you have time and the budget, you can always replace tired old countertops. Simply showing that your counters have more room can really make a big difference.  


Add A Backsplash 


You can add a backsplash or update your existing one in order to breathe some life into your kitchen. Make sure that the tiles you choose coordinate with the theme of the kitchen. This is purely cosmetic but a kitchen with a fresh backsplash sells much faster than a tired, worn looking kitchen backslash, or even a kitchen without a backsplash at all.


Add Some Technology To The Kitchen


Buyers like simplicity and convenience in their potential homes. Consider adding some technology to the kitchen like USB outlets and smart appliances. If you can save a buyer from needing to upgrade their appliances and meet their 21st century needs at the same time, your home will be a very attractive sell. There are few things more enticing to buyers than brand spanking new appliances in the kitchen! These updates will surely add value to your home before you sell.   


The Floor 


While floors offer the least return for your investment, buyers don’t like looking at old, dirty floors! Take the time to clean up your floor and replace it if needed. It’s not a difficult do-it-yourself project and can really make your kitchen look more attractive.       


Clean The Cabinets


Buyers are very into looking at every nook of the home they may potentially buy. That means if you have nice looking cabinets, you can have a leg up as a seller. Whether you need to clean and stain the wood on your cabinets, add a fresh coat of paint, or do a larger project and replace the cabinets altogether, there are plenty of ways that you can give your cabinets a fresh look, drawing attention to this part of the room. Be sure that whatever you do to your cabinets will bode well with the style of the kitchen.  


Congratulations on your recent home sale! Now, you just need to figure out how to tell family members, friends and other loved ones that you'll be packing up and moving out of your current residence.

Informing loved ones about a home sale may seem challenging at first. Fortunately, we're here to help you keep your cool as you tell loved ones that you've sold your house.

Here are three tips to ensure you can avoid the stress and headaches sometimes associated with informing loved ones about your decision to sell your home.

1. Get Ready for Questions

Loved ones have your best interests in mind, and as such, likely will have many questions about why you sold your residence.

What prompted you to sell your home now? How much did you receive for your home? And where do you plan to live in the future? These are just some of the questions that you should be ready to face from family members, friends and other loved ones.

Moreover, answer loved ones' questions as best you can. And if you are uncertain or uncomfortable about answering a question, you can politely decline to respond.

2. Keep an Open Mind

Things will move quickly after you sell your home. Although you may have plans to buy a new residence or relocate out of state at some point, you might still need time to finalize your next move.

Oftentimes, loved ones may pressure you to move in a certain direction following your home sale. But it is essential to keep the best interests of yourself and your family in mind at all times.

If family members or friends pressure you to make a move that makes you feel uncomfortable, let them know. Remember, your loved ones want you to be happy, and they should be willing to listen to your concerns after you share the news that you have sold your residence.

3. Operate Fearlessly

After you accept a homebuyer's offer for your residence, the toughest part of the home selling journey is over. At this point, you can finalize your home sale and move forward with the next stage of your life.

It takes a lot of courage to sell a house, and you should maintain this confidence as you tell loved ones about your home selling decision.

Regardless of how a loved one feels about your decision to sell your house, what's most important is how you feel about your choice. If you believe you made the best decision possible, you should feel good, even if family members or friends disagree.

When it comes to telling loved ones about your home selling decision, don't forget to reach out to your real estate for assistance. This real estate professional understands the challenges of informing family members and friends about a home selling decision and may be able to offer expert guidance. That way, you can remain poised and confident as you share your home selling news with others.


It's the dreaded laundry day! If you're the kind of person that is always putting off laundry as your most hated chore, or find that you have no time to accomplish it, laundry pickup and delivery services may be your salvation. They will often wash anything from garments to linens with care and deliver them directly to your door. Laundry delivery services are very city specific, so do some research in your area to find out your options. When comparing these services, here are some questions to ask:

  • How do they charge? (and how much?) Each of these companies is going to use a different method or some combination of techniques, so find that pricing page and compare notes. Some companies sell or lease you their proprietary bags in different sizes and charge for however much fills the bag. Others may offer bags or let you use your own, but charge by the pound. Either of these companies and still others may be set up subscription style, allowing a maximum number of bags or pounds each month depending on your level. Nearly all of them charge extra for dry cleaning, specialty cleaning and, cough, extremely soiled items.
  • How long does it take? Determine what the turnaround time is for each service. Some will offer same day delivery or next day delivery, and the price may include it, or it could be an additional cost. Make sure you check all of the fine print and find out to what you have agreed. This also might vary depending on the day of your pickup or time of your pickup or even what kind of clothes you're having cleaned.
  • Check Out the Detergent Many services pride themselves on eco-friendly detergents with clean solvents. Be sure to check and make sure there are no other ingredients to which you could negatively react. Depending on the service and subscription level, there may be a variety of soap and add-on cleaner options, or you may even be able to send your own. This option is especially useful for those with more sensitive skin who want to keep control over their detergent.
  • How Easy is it? These companies are often fighting to see who can make it the easiest the fastest. Compare them and see how they rank with everything from scheduling calendars to phone apps and nearly all with online payments, you could be getting your laundry picked up as early as this evening.

Want to know if there’s a local company in your area? Ask your real estate professional what kinds of laundry services are available in your area.