JoAnn Asselin | Westfield Real Estate, Agawam Real Estate, West Springfield Real Estate


Moving into a new home can be overwhelming. Once you have gone through the long process of buying a home, when the keys are your hand, your mind could be swirling with tons of ideas for what you should do in your new space. There are a few important things that you need to complete before you get into painting those walls or buying a new sofa. Read on for tips.


Look At Your Things


In the excitement of moving, you may forget about all of the stuff that you actually moved into the home. If you hired movers, check your boxes. Make sure that nothing is broken or damaged from the move. If there is anything wrong, you can file a complaint with your moving company.


Turn The Utilities On


The utilities need to be turned over to you from the previous owner. In many cases, you’ll need to contact the local utility companies in order to get the bills switched to your name and the services started. This is important for you to have a completely functioning household. Cable and Internet is a choice provider that you’ll also need to set up ahead of time before your move.


Unpack Your Stuff


Rome wasn’t built in a day but you need certain things like clothes and coffee makers as soon as you move into a space. Find the boxes that have the most important things in them like sheets, blankets, clothing, and important appliances. Work your way out. You don’t want your new home to stay a complete disaster zone forever. 


Organize Your Stuff


Moving into a new home gives you a new opportunity to get organized. Get everything in order the first time. This will keep you from needing to clean up constantly at a later date. When you start off with good organization you’ll be a lot happier in your new home. 


Think Security


Make sure that your new home is secure for your family. Think of everything from accidents to crime. Install an alarm system. Change the locks. Inspect the property for any hazards. All of these activities can help to make your new home a more secure place to live. 


Learn About Your New Surroundings


When you move into a new neighborhood, you should take the time to get to know the area. This includes meeting your neighbors and taking a stroll around your neighborhood to see the area more closely. Discover the highlights of the area like restaurants, shops, and other activities. Enjoy the new place that you call home to the fullest!


Image by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Often, you cannot choose the timing of your move. If the rainy season happens to be in full swing, moisture could become an added challenge to your relocation strategy. Even a drizzle could cause damage to your property but you can avoid issues if you are prepared. Below are tips on how to have a successful move on a rainy day.

Wrap what you can

The best way to protect your valuables from moisture is by wrapping your boxes with plastic wrap before they leave the house. Moving blankets are not usually water-resistant and as such would do little to protect your belongings when it rains. Place smaller boxes in trash bags. For larger cartons and furniture, purchase spools of stretch wrap from your moving store or DIY retailer. In a pinch, use cling film to cover boxes and small furniture. Cover large furniture items such as sofas and mattresses with tarps as you move them from your home into the truck or vice versa.

Line inside your boxes

If you haven’t started to pack yet, consider lining the inside of your boxes before loading them. Line your boxes with trash bags, secure the bags tightly and seal the boxes afterward. For additional protection, wrap the exterior of the boxes.

Have a plan

Have a plan to ensure the rain comes in contact with your property as little as possible. Map out how to load the truck before you begin to avoid having to unload your belongings onto wet pavement or grass and reload in the rain.

Reinforce weak or damaged boxes

Discard or reinforce boxes that might be thin or ripped to prevent damage to the contents inside. Tape the seams completely then apply another line of tape opposite to the seams for added strength.

Line the truck bed with tarps

Water will likely collect on your belongings as they are transported to and from the truck. Arrange tarps around your items as they are loaded to protect them from getting soaked by water puddling on the floor or dripping from other items.

Dry items as you load them

To minimize puddles inside the truck, dry your belongings as soon as you load them into the vehicle. Keep extra towels in the truck bed to wipe off items and keep them as dry as possible during the trip. Monitor the weather closely, whenever possible, schedule your loading and unloading during a clear moment or when the precipitation is lighter.

Moving in the rain might seem very discouraging but it’s an activity that can be completed successfully with a carefully crafted plan.

If you are working with a moving company, check for professionals with experience moving in inclement weather. Secure insurance for your belongings to protect against moisture damage. Your realtor is an excellent resource for finding professionals to make your relocation run smoothly.


Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Shopping trips, holiday parties and family gatherings make the season one of the most anticipated and enjoyable times of year, but it is also a prime time for thieves and safety hazards. Learning more about the typical risks a homeowner faces in the holiday season allows you to prepare – and enjoy a safe and secure holiday season.

3 Ways to Keep your Home Secure this Holiday Season

You know the standard tricks – putting the lights on timers, letting neighbors know you’ll be gone and stopping your mail, but incorporate these tips the next time you leave home during the holiday season.

Don’t Share Your Plans

If you are one of the millions of Americans hitting the roads this holiday season, your home will sit empty for days at a time. Prevent tempting thieves by keeping your travel plans private. In today’s busy social media climate, it is natural to share travel plans and pictures while you are on the road. A thief seeing your picture of the family at the beach or on a cruise ship will know you are not at home in your snowbound state. That image may be all they need to add your home to their list of targets.

Hide Packaging

If you leave home after the holidays, don’t put the boxes from gifts out at the curb. The box for that flat screen television, gaming console or laptop will let thieves know exactly what they will be able to find in your home. Hide boxes or wait to recycle until you are home, just in case.  If you are expecting packages, try to be home for the delivery and bring them in promptly, to avoid tempting thieves.

Decorate Wisely

The month of December is the most dangerous of the entire year when it comes to electrical fires. Lights, dried out trees and new (but unsafe) decorations can contribute to risk. Don’t leave lights burning if they are damaged or if you will be out of town. Be sure to use a fake tree or keep your live one hydrated to ensure your risk is minimized, as well. Turn lights out at night to cut your risk and keep your home secure.

You’ll get more enjoyment from the holiday season when you know your home is safe and secure from harm. Taking these simple steps can prevent damages and loss and allow you to have an amazing holiday season.


Mortgage scams are everywhere, and many times are well disguised so they can be hard to uncover. Not all mortgage lenders have your interest at heart so when you go out for a mortgage loan, keep an eye on these warning signs and Mortgage scams are everywhere, but this time around they come like a wolf in sheep clothing, so it is pretty hard to uncover them. Not all mortgage lenders have your interest at heart so when you go out for a mortgage loan, keep an eye on these warning signs and be prepared to run away from any lender who does the following shady actions:

They pressure you to borrow more than what you want or need

Even though you are eligible for a certain sum of money that does not mean you have to spend heavily on buying a home. Paying less on a home purchase will prevent you from living from hand to mouth in your new home. An honest lender understands and will respect your choice to borrow less than you can afford instead that encouraging you to overspend or splurge on a house.

They rush you into signing documents without reading it

Getting a mortgage is complicated. There are piles of complicated paperwork, so it is crucial that you wrap your head around every document before putting your pen on it. If a lender encourages you or uses the familiar phrase "Everything is fine," it is best you withdraw yourself f from the mortgage. No matter how busy the bank may be, they would give you time to read through the papers.

They don’t give you a Good Faith Estimate

According to law, after three days of applying for a mortgage, a bank must provide a Good Faith Estimate showing your mortgage rate, closing cost, and other mortgage-related expenses. This way, a borrower will clearly understand their cost and know the estimated amount you will pay at closing. A shady lender typically does not provide this, so make sure you request one. Many banks hide this information to prevent borrowers from comparing the cost with other banks.

They use the bait and switch on you

To get more borrowers and get them excited about taking a mortgage, disreputable lenders promise borrowers one set of terms, but when it gets to closing, they deliver a different set of conditions. It is the sad truth some lenders get borrowers excited and take advantage of them when they're in a state of euphoria to alter the loan terms at the dying minute. If a lender uses this tactic on you, request an explanation. And if their reasons do not seem reasonable to you or your realtor, do not sign the mortgage documents.

They give you a blank loan form to sign

When going over mortgage document with your loan officer, be watchful for any blank forms or lines, and make sure the lender fills in all relevant information before you sign.

Getting a mortgage is not a stroll in the park. Experts recommend that you consult your attorney, local credit counseling agency or financial advisor to be on a safe side.


Securing mortgage pre-qualification and pre-approval are two crucial steps which assure lenders that you will be able to afford payments. Pre-qualification and pre-approval are quite different, but they do share numerous benefits.

As you get ready to finance a new home, you have probably come across mortgage pre-approval, mortgage pre-qualification, or even both of them. So what does it mean to get pre-qualified versus get pre-approved for a mortgage, and what are the benefits of the two? Some people use these terms interchangeably, but there are crucial differences that every homebuyer should know.

The Similarities of Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification

Mortgage pre-approval and pre-qualification have the same great benefits for anyone who wants to buy a home with a home loan. Here are the benefits:

1. Both can help to estimate the loan amount that you will probably qualify for.

This particular benefit can help you save time as you will start your home search with a goal in mind: looking only at properties that you know will fall into your budget or fit in your financial goals. It will also help you avoid the frustration of discovering that the house you are looking to buy is actually outside your budget.

2. Both can help convince sellers that you are a serious buyer when submitting your offer.

Regardless of whether you have a pre-approval or a pre-qualification letter, the seller will take you as a serious contender. For a home seller to accept your offer without fear, they will want to know that you will be approved successfully for a mortgage and the home sale will close. A pre-qualification and pre-approval letter can help show that you have a better chance of being approved for a home loan for the amount that you have offered on the home.

3. Both of them will make you stand out from the crowd.

Many home sellers will require a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter if you are planning to get a mortgage as one of the mandatory requirements. However, if it is not needed, have it at the back of your mind that the letter may help your offer stand out. This can be extremely helpful, especially in competitive real estate markets.

Additionally, you should know that neither pre-qualification or pre-approval letter is a guarantee that you will get a loan from the lender. Also, you are not duty-bound to get a mortgage from the lender who pre-qualified or pre-approved you. Pre-qualification or Pre-approval?

Since the terms mortgage pre-qualification and pre-approval are often used interchangeably, it could be challenging to know which one you need to purchase a home. This depends on how your mortgage lender defines the service. So, ensure you ask your lender exactly how they interpret pre-qualification and pre-approval. 

Then discuss with your real estate agent to find out which version of the letters has more credibility in your market. So that when it is time to make an offer, you will have what you need to give sellers confidence that you will be approved for a mortgage.