Moving “there”

4 Sep

If you’ve ever moved, you know that it is a process – and not always an easy one. That’s especially true if your move takesJoyful relocation you to another state.

But moving “there” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It just requires a bit of extra planning.

Here a few things to consider to prepare for your move:

Start early. Most experts agree that you should begin planning your move six to eight weeks before your move date. Complete a change of address form with the post office. Notify all credit cards, banks, doctors, schools, utility and insurance companies.  Make arrangements to disconnect the utilities at the old address and connect them at the new one.

Seek professional assistance. When you’re moving out of state, you want to connect with reputable resources (and real estate professionals) on both ends. Allen Tate Relocation is your one-stop-resource for relocating.  Whether you’re moving across the state; across the country; or around the world, our team of relocation professionals will connect you with the resources you need to make your move efficient, seamless and pleasant.

Declutter. There is no point in paying to move things many miles away that you don’t want or need. Purge before you pack, and donate items. Or hold a garage sale to make a little cash to pay for packing supplies.

Pack smart. Have an organized system. Pack by room, beginning with the room you least use.  Be sure to label boxes with room and contents, so that they are easy to unpack at your new address. Use small boxes for heavy items like books.

Know your rights and responsibilities. Most moves go smoothly. But if your personal items are lost or damaged by packers or movers, it’s important to know what’s covered and how to submit a claim. Check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Protect My Move page to learn more.

Explore your new area. You’ll likely make a trip to your new destination to find housing or finalize employment details. Use this opportunity to scope out schools, shopping and health care facilities. Ask for referrals and recommendations from any local contacts you make. And search online for resources as well. You’ll start to feel at home before you officially move!

For more information about moving to a new state – or even a new country, contact Allen Tate Relocation.

DJ Stephan Blog

DJ Stephan
President, Allen Tate Relocation

When and why you might need a permit for your latest home renovation project

2 Sep

You’ve seen enough renovation projects on HGTV to turn the dynamic duo, Jonathan and Drew Scott of the hit home-renovation show Property Brothers, into a trio. You know what’s trendy yet timeless, tasteful yet inexpensive, and you’ve gotiStock_000002670878_Small about half of a million Pinterest boards dedicated to the kitchen remodel of your dreams. You’re all set to create the kitchen that will make your friends green with envy, but before you fantasize about sending in the before and after shots to HouseBeautiful, you should  think about permits.

For many residential renovation projects, permits are required before renovation can take place. While pulling a permit can seem like a frustrating step in the home renovation process, the procedure is designed to ensure updates to your home are made according to code and are safe for occupants.

The following projects definitely need a permit:

  •  Structural work—projects that involve things like removing a load-bearing wall or modifying foundational flooring
  •  Changing the roofline of your house
  •  Plumbing or electrical work
  •  Completing an addition to your home
  •  Building decks over a certain height
  •  Replacing a hot water tank
  •  Creating a new opening for a door or window

Keep in mind though, there are many variables that may or may not require you to obtain a permit for renovations. If you’re not sure when you will need a permit, it’s best to do some research and explore your county’s website or call your city’s plan examiner.

When it comes time to put your house on the market, potential buyers will want to know whether or not the necessary permits were obtained during the renovation process. It’s best to be upfront and honest with potential buyers—by the time the inspection rolls around, the inspector will easily be able to tell whether or not permits were pulled before renovations took place, as there will be a discrepancy in the public record. A potential buyer could retract their offer if they find out large renovations were done without a permit, as they are unwilling to deal with unforeseen expenses down the road.  In more extreme cases, renovations done without a permit can even prevent the transaction from closing.

Even if you aren’t planning on putting your home on the market any time soon, it’s still necessary to get a permit before you do the work. Processing a claim against your homeowner’s insurance after a fire, flood or other natural disaster, is sure to be a headache if the area affected was built without the proper permits. More than likely, your insurance company will deny the claim and you’re left with a costly mess on your hands.
Forgetting to pull a permit is like forgetting to read the fine print in a contract—it will come back to bite you. Make sure you’re in the clear by using the “better safe than sorry approach,” and reach out to your city’s plan examiner if more clarification is needed.  

Phyllis Brookshire
President, Allen Tate Realtors®

Ways to Get Your Home Back-to-School Ready

31 Aug

iStock_000068807041_SmallNow that schools are in session, consider taking these first few weeks to get your home in order.

Fall Wardrobe Prep.

Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards. Keep fall jackets, hoodies and sweats off the floor with a coat rack in each child’s room.

Family Central.

Whether you use a magnetic, white board, flip-style calendar or bulletin board, designate a place that everyone can see the family schedule at a glance. Include need-to-know information such as school lunch menus, class assignment sheets and practice schedules.


Avoid bathroom drama with a bathroom schedule or time limit so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror. Set up a designated hair station to make finding hair clips and hair ties easier. Keep toothbrushes color-coded and in a toiletries bucket where each child can keep other personal items.

Study Station.

Set aside or create a homework area. Make a comfortable, productive homework station where the kids can sit down and focus to get it all done, and where you can be close-by for help.

Create Some Cubbies.

Make cubbies or buy ready-made cube storage to provide a place for backpacks, homework supplies and even shoes ready for the next morning. Keep the cubbies near the door where the kids can stash their stuff as soon as they get home.

Filing system.

Create a filing cabinet before the year starts to keep important school papers organized throughout the year. Divide into important papers that need immediate attention and special papers you want to keep (like art projects).

Extra Curricular Clutter.

Back-to-school season also signals the start of many sport activities. Keep equipment under control in heavy-duty, non-toxic storage bins. For around the house clutter, create a put-away bin. Assign a child to collect and put away items each and every day to keep the clutter clear and everyone organized.

By: Susan Larkin (Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations)

Allen Tate Mortgage: You Might Be Surprised Where We Show Up

28 Aug

Qualifying for a mortgage can be a bit intimidating, and navigating the loan process even more overwhelming. But with the right mortgage mentor, you can reach your destination smoothly and enjoy the journey to homeownership.

After all, choosing a mortgage consultant is as important as choosing a Realtor®. You want someone with the knowledge 04_Dfrnt_Mtg_Boost (4)and expertise to guide you through the mortgage process, someone you can trust with your most confidential financial information, and someone who always has your best interests at heart.

Your Allen Tate Mortgage Consultant can help you understand the full range of mortgage products and programs at your disposal. From low down-payment programs to fixed-rate loans, Allen Tate Mortgage will introduce you to different types of mortgage products and help determine which loan options may be best for your financial situation and the type of home you plan to buy. Your mortgage consultant will answer all of your questions, make you feel at ease throughout the process – and make you wonder why you ever considered talking with anyone else.

Allen Tate Mortgage is affiliated with more than 40 local and national lenders representing 1,500 loan programs. We offer complimentary pre-qualifications and mortgage consultants accountable to you.  And, as a mortgage banker, Allen Tate Mortgage does its own underwriting and funds its own loans, making the whole process smoother and faster.

At Allen Tate Mortgage, we’re proud to recommend any of our mortgage experts. Our mortgage team takes great pride in their work and believes in creating and fostering a relationship with their clients that extends well beyond the closing table. It’s not unusual to find an Allen Tate Mortgage client who has financed – or refinanced – two, three or even more homes with the same Allen Tate Mortgage consultant.

If you’re buying a home, Allen Tate Mortgage should be your preferred lender. It would be our pleasure to help you.

Lisa Green

Allen Tate Mortgage NMLS# 79543

Loans available in NC/SC

What’s ahead for the real estate market?

26 Aug

Tablet on a desk - Real EstateModerate appreciation for the real estate market in 2015 was predicted by most professionals and economists. In many markets, we’re a bit ahead. I see overall home prices being up about 8 percent vs. the predicted 5 percent. This is due to builders still jogging and not sprinting, and existing home inventories still lagging.

Too many folks are fighting over too few properties. The two largest generations – the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – are competing for the same homes. Historically, the 50+ Boomer generation wanted to downsize and move to a community where others the same age were settling in. Today’s Baby Boomers want convenience and they want to live in a community with diverse age groups.

With unemployment around 5.5 percent and the stock market averaging 17,500-18,300, the confidence buyers need to make the next move is there. Finding what you want is the tough side of the transaction today. Buyers and sellers do not want to do the “fix-up” work, which means that homes that are not decluttered and lacking current amenities will be passed up.

During the past 12 months nationally, we put 5.3 million sales of existing homes on the books, a rather modest performance compared to 7.2 million in 2005.  For new construction, it was 600,000 in the past year versus 1.3 million in 2005. No proof of the market going crazy here. If you look at housing starts to understand the trends, the comparison is just as graphic: 1.1 million starts for this recent period versus 2.1 million a decade ago (at a time when the US population was actually 10 percent smaller).

Today’s economy is good but still sluggish. Inflation is not yet a factor. A strong dollar and low energy costs are cooling. The Feds will feel the pinch to raise interest rates a bit this fall.

The housing market today can best be described as healthy and steady. If a move is in the cards, I would suggest you play sooner than later. Waiting in this type of environment is rarely a good move. The cost of NOT buying is more costly now than ever.

Pat Riley

Pat Riley
President and Chief Operating Officer, Allen Tate Company


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