Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lansing Moving Company Shares Real Estate Tips for Home Sellers



Preparing to sell your home means more than just deciding to do it yourself or choosing a realtor you feel comfortable with.  “First impressions count.  Potential buyers are envisioning themselves living in your home as soon as they pull up to the door,” says Wendy Mackey, Preferred REALTOR®  Partner with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®  of Greater Lansing.   Here are her top tips to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Perk up the curb appeal.  


  • Trim bushes and shrubs so they don’t block windows, doorways or walkways.
  •  Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen during winter months) on the front porch.
  • Edge the grass around walks and trees. 
  •  Lay a new doormat. 
  •  Put a new doorknob on the front door. 
  •  Put a fresh coat of sealer on a blacktop driveway. 
  •  Install a new mailbox. 
  •  Upgrade outside lighting fixtures. 
  •  Polish, paint or replace the house numbers. 
  •  Keep gardening tools and children’s toys out of sight. 
  •  Paint door and trim work if the paint is peeling. 
  •  If there is a door bell, make sure it is in good working order.

Make your home bright and welcoming.

  • Use incandescent light bulbs for a warm, homey feel. 
  •  Put out fresh pot potpourri or burn scented candles for each showing. 
  •  Buy new pillows for the sofa. 
  •  Buy a flowering plant and place it in a window that is frequently passed. 
  •  Make a centerpiece, using fruit or artificial flowers, for the dining table. 
  •  Replace heavy draperies or curtains with sheer ones to let in more light. 
  •  Put out new towels in the bathrooms.
Keep winter safety in the forefront of your mind when preparing for a showing.
  • Have the driveways, sidewalks and entryways cleared of ice and snow and salted if necessary.
  • Replace furnace thermostat batteries.
  • Make sure the porch lights are on for evening showings.
  • Have a boot tray or rug by the door to encourage buyers and REALTORS®to remove their shoes. 
Wendy Mackey, REALTOR®, Green, PMN, CNHS, RCC
Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood
www.wendymackey.com 

 



Whether you're moving across town or across the country, trust the professionals at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® to safely and efficiently transport your belongings.




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Movers wear red to fight against heart disease


Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.  That's why the team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is doing something to fight back.  During the entire month of February, the franchise will partner with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.

Beginning with National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 7, staff members will all wear red and movers and drivers will sport red dress pins on their uniforms.  Customers with moves scheduled during the month will receive a Go Red folder containing valuable information on heart health, such as heart-healthy foods, exercises and a Heart Health Guide from the American Heart Association.  And, for every Customer Satisfaction reply card that is returned during the month, the franchise will donate $1 to the local chapter of the American Heart Association. 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is known as the "Movers who Care" and one of the company's core values is to give back to the community.  Because the company was founded by a Lansing-area woman, MaryEllen Sheets, and because some of the company's most successful franchisees are women, supporting a women's cause like Go Red is a natural.

The following heart health materials can be found on our website:

It's time to fight back.  And now it's time to Go Red.  Together, we have the power to save lives.  Visit the Go Red for Women website for 10 ways you can Go Red this February.





Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five Lansing area charities that accept un-needed household goods

Written by: Brooke Weatherford

Here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing, one of our Core Values is to give back to our community, and we have found that our customers often seek to do the same.  Moving often provides the ideal time to de-clutter your space of old or unwanted items. Six to eight weeks before your move, go through every room of your house and decide what you'd like to keep and what you can get rid of.  While TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® cannot take these items off your hands for you, we can help you give back to the community by providing you with the right tools and information to easily give that outdated couch or old piano to someone less fortunate.  Ask any TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Move Consultant or Mover for a list of recommended donation centers, and they will provide you with a flyer about our five favorite charity donation centers, and how you can quickly and easily donate your unwanted items and help someone else in the process.  Here are five donation centers we recommend:

Habitat for Humanity Restore:   Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.  There are two locations in the Lansing area; one in Haslett (517-999-0488) and another in Lansing (517-374-6235). Habitat offers a direct phone number you can call to arrange for items to be picked up (517-575-8152). To see a complete list of acceptable items visit http://www.habitat.org/restores/.

Volunteers of America:   Volunteers of America is a national, non-profit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential.  The local Volunteers of America accepts items such as small appliances, furniture, bikes and toys, dishes, computers, wheelchairs and much more. To arrange to have your donated items picked up, call 1-866-333-8281.   Visit http://www.voami.org/Give-a-Gift/in-Kind-Donations to see a full list of acceptable items and to find a location close to you.

St. Vincent’s Catholic Charities:  Lansing partners with St. Vincent’s every summer for an event that collects school supplies for less fortunate.  Operation Backpack begins in late July and runs through mid-August.  Anyone interested in contributing may drop off school supplies and backpacks at our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location, or one of the other drop-off centers, to help these kids get the tools they need to do their best in the upcoming school year.
In addition to school supplies for Operation backpack, St. Vincent’s Catholic Charities regularly accepts items such as furniture, bikes, linens, pre-paid cell phones, car seats and booster seats, and many other items. To see a full list, visit http://www.stvcc.org and click on the “Ways to Give” tab, or call them at 517-323-4734, ext. 1050.

Hidden Treasures:  Lansing Christian School's Hidden Treasures Thrift Store is Lansing’s largest upscale thrift store.  Hidden Treasures accepts things like small appliances, furniture, toys, wedding and prom dresses, books CDs and movies, gently used linens and other things.  You can contact Hidden Treasures at 517-708-3300 or visit them online at http://www.shophiddentreasures.com/donations.htm to find out more information.


Lansing City Rescue Mission Thrift Store:   The City Rescue Mission provides food, shelter, and hope to women, children, and men in Michigan's capital area. When you give to or shop at the thrift store, you help the Mission provide "rescue" to the many women, children, and men who utilize their services. Funds from the store also enable them to meet operational needs and purchase specific items that are needed but not often donated. They accept small appliances, furniture, dishes, toys, rugs, curtains, and many other items.  Contact
 the City Rescue Mission at 517-203-5190 or visit http://www.bearescuer.com/BEaRESCUERthrift/help.htm.
 
So, as you are packing up your home for your move with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing  and decide you don’t want that old couch, or your college-age son’s childhood booster seat, remember how TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® gives back to the community and makes it easy for you to do the same. Giving away your old stuff not only helps you de-clutter, but it may provide someone less fortunate with a comfortable place to sit, a safe ride for their child, or even more important…. hope for a better future.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

10 Tips for Moving During the Winter

Relocating your belongings to a new home or office under ideal conditions is nothing short of stressful.  Add in the uncertainty of winter weather and your best-laid plans can easily be derailed.  There is no way to control what the weather will have in store on your moving day:  ice, snow, slippery roads and frigid temperatures.  All of which increase the risk for personal injury and damage during a move.

Whether you plan to hire a moving company or are handling the move yourself, the professional team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing offers the following tips to help you stay safe during your winter moving day.

1)     Avoid slip hazards by shoveling driveways and walkways before your truck arrives.  Apply salt or ice-melt to the walkways between your house and the moving vehicle.
2)     Stay warm in the cold by dressing in layers; you can always remove layers if you begin to overheat.
3)      Leave the heat and electricity on in your home until you are completely moved out; consider leaving your door open during the move to balance the temperatures. Constantly walking back and forth from a warm house to a cold driveway can cause fatigue.
4)      Cover your floors with old sheets or tarps to avoid tracking mud and snow into your home.
5)      Place towels by the front door to wipe away snow from the dolly wheels as you come in and out of your home.
5)      Consider purchasing extra moving pads to protect all of your belongings from the elements
6)      Make sure your moving pads remain dry at all times.
7)      Have a shovel and salt on the truck so you can easily clear the loading area of ice and snow.
8)      Be extremely cautious when driving and watch out for black ice
9)      Keep towels in the truck so you can clean and dry the moving ramp while loading and unloading.
10)   Don't transport live plants in the cargo hold of the truck, as they could freeze.  Take them with you in your vehicle or in the cab of your rented moving truck.

 If you have winter moving tips of your own please share them in the comments!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish

Even after you've chosen the perfect color for your room, you still have another important decision to make:  what is the best paint finish for the room you are about to paint?  There are five very different "finishes" to consider.  Here they are, along with the considerations that will help you make the best choice.  It basically comes down to how much shine and durability you want in that particular room.

Flat finish = Concealing
photo courtesy of valsparpaint.com
Sometimes also referred to as "matte", this latex paint is best suited for walls that won't likely require frequent washing.  It is the least shiny paint finish available.  As it doesn't clean well, it usually is not best suited for kitchens, bathrooms or children's bedrooms.  In fact, the only way to get rid of fingerprints or scribbles is to paint over them.  Because of its non-shine, is a good finish if you have to camouflage small wall bumps or cracks.  This is an ideal choice for your dining room, living room or closets. 

Eggshell finish = Easy Maintenance
Think of the very low sheen on the shell of an egg.  This will give you the indication of how an eggshell paint finish will appear.  This finish is often used for decorative finishes because it provides a low luster.  It cleans up better than a flat finish, but this is still not the ideal choice for a kitchen or bathroom.

Satin finish = Easy Maintenance & Durability
Satin paints are the preferred finish for highly-trafficked areas and are the most popular paint sheen.  With its smooth, velvety appearance it is attractive, durable and easy to maintain.  Most surface dirt can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.  This is a good paint finish for woodwork, walls, doors and hallways.

Semi-gloss finish = Durability
This paint finish is very durable and washable, and it will produce a visible shine.  Semi-gloss paint is most commonly used on doors, trim and cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens.  Because is easy to clean up, this finish is also a good choice for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms.  Just be sure to select a mildew-resistant paint formulation.

Glossy finish = Highlight
High gloss paints deliver the highest level of shine and durability.  It is also stain resistant and very scrubbable, making it a good choice for the areas in the home that get the most wear and tear, such as kitchens and bathrooms.  Though not widely used in home interiors, it is becoming more popular for a dramatic look on cabinets, trim and furniture in very formal and very contemporary settings.  It is also an excellent choice to highlight doors, trim and other architectural elements.  At the opposite extreme from the flat finish, this finish will magnify any surface imperfections, so careful preparation and sanding is imperative before painting with high gloss paints.

When you are deciding which finish to use, remember:  the higher the shine, the darker and more intense the color will be.  And, know that high-gloss paint reflects light and makes imperfections in your walls more obvious.  So, before you apply the paint finish, be sure to properly and thoroughly prepare your surface and make them extra smooth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Movers for Meals" collecting food for the Greater Lansing Food Bank



TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations across Michigan are collecting non-perishable food items to support The Food Bank Council of Michigan with their “Movers for Meals” program.  The purpose of “Movers for Meals” is to recognize and support the thousands of people across Michigan relying on The Food Bank Council of Michigan each year. 

Again this fall, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is partnering with the following schools, day care centers and businesses to collect food specifically for the Greater Lansing Food Bank:
  • ·         People’s Church Pre-school 
  •        Tutor Time, Okemos 
  •              Rainbow Child Care Centers, Lansing & Okemos 
  •        Emanuel Lutheran School
  •        Glenn Buege Buick GMC 
  •             Nexus Academy of Lansing 
  • ·         Mall Drive Kindercare
Starting in mid-September and ending on November 15, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is taking donations of canned goods, such as vegetables and soups, and non-perishable items, including peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese for donation to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. 

There is an obvious need in our mid-Michigan communities for support, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has always been the “Movers who Care®”.  It’s part of our core values, instilled from the very beginning when Mary Ellen Sheets founded the company.  Her focus has always been about giving back, and we embrace this aspect of our business with “Movers for Meals”.


Anyone interested in donating food items may drop off donations at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing store located at 1200 Keystone Avenue, in south Lansing.  Our office is open to receive donations Monday through Saturday, 8am to 5pm.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Blog: Which is smarter: renting or buying a house?




After watching what their parents experienced during the economic crisis of the last 5 years in terms of job loss, foreclosures, and/or a short sale (owing more on their home than what it is worth) many Millennials or Generation Y’s might think it makes more sense to rent rather than buy a home. 

Over the years I’ve often thought it was better to buy a house than to rent one
in most cases, but not in every case. Comparing buying to renting is actually a fairly complicated endeavor. However, there are a few easy guidelines you can use to aid you in your decision. 

Buying a house is usually more beneficial than renting except when:

  • ·         You intend to move within a few years

  • ·         Your rent is very low

  • ·         Job stability is questionable

Building equity vs. “throwing your money away”
Certain expenses that accompany buying a house do not build equity and may actually contribute to the argument for renting instead of buying. These expenses  would include:

  • ·         Property Insurance
  • ·         Private Mortgage Insurance (if your down payment is less than 20%)
  • ·         Maintenance
  • ·         Closing costs
  • ·         Interest on your mortgage
  • ·         Property taxes

Advantages to buying vs. renting can outweigh the expense

  • ·         You lock in your monthly payment for 15 or 30 years. (If you kept renting you’d pay more each year.)
  • ·         Normally your house gets more valuable over time, however that is no longer a guarantee. 
  • Tax Advantage - Your real estate taxes and the interest on your mortgage are deductible from your income tax. 
  • Security - A feeling of security that comes from owning a home and the knowledge that your home is a safeguard against inflation. 
  • Environment - Your children grow up in the neighborhood of your choice 
  • Satisfaction - Home ownership offers special advantages that make life more enjoyable - backyard barbecues, large family gatherings during holidays, a home workshop, a chance to enjoy your family's companionship in the privacy of your own home. 
  •  Investment - Payments on your mortgage loan mean you are acquiring a major possession; instead of rent, you own more and more. The garden you plant, the permanent improvements you make - all enhance your way of living as well as the value of your home.

Tax advantages could change soon with the legislation being introduced in Washington D.C.  Home Buyers today need to look at owning a home as a lifestyle decision that requires a large commitment - and investment - on your part. 

With interest rates at historical lows, and home prices at reasonable levels, this could be an opportune time to buy a home provided you have job stability, a reasonable down payment and qualify for the monthly principle, interest, taxes and insurance. Talk to a REALTOR to determine which route is best for you.

Mike Bowler is an Associate Broker for Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood Real Estate Company and has serviced the Greater Lansing Area for over 30 years. He can be reached at 517-492-3400 or Mike@MikeBowler.com.