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Lighten The Load Before You Move

Moving Tips New Home
"Moving is easy," said no one ever. While moving to a new home will never qualify as fun, you can take steps beforehand to make it less tedious and time-consuming. Our real estate agents offer valuable moving tips they've learned from years of experience helping home buyers and sellers throughout Virginia and West Virginia.

  1. Create a Game Plan
    As with any other major project, successfully streamlining your move relies on a workable action plan. Here are some questions to answer before proceeding:

    • Will you be using a professional moving service?
    • What will you need in your new home? (Drawing a floor plan helps you decide.)
    • In which order will you clear rooms? How will you dispose of unwanted items?

  2. Start Early
    If you cut it too close to the actual moving day, you're likely to make bad decisions under pressure. Estimate how much time you think it will take and double the amount to allow for a cushion.

  3. Sort as You Go
    Items you decide to toss should go in one of three piles:

    • Reuse or repurpose for items to donate or sell
    • Recycle for paper, glass and other recyclable materials
    • Trash for anything that doesn't fit in the other two categories

  4. Use the 12-Month Rule
    Do you find yourself with boxes that have survived one or more moves without ever being unpacked? Purge items that haven't been used for 12 months or more with a clear conscience. This will apply primarily to clothes and accessories, but it's also helpful for items such as kitchen utensils.

    Other guidelines include:

    • Does an item give you joy or sorrow?
    • Would you buy it again?
    • Are you keeping it out of a sense of obligation?

  5. Consider Temporary Storage
    Are you still on the fence about several items? Pack them separately and keep them out of your new house for a while. If the number of items doesn't justify the cost of a storage unit, ask a friend or family member to hold them. This will help you decide once and for all if you can live without these items.

  6. Dispose of Hazardous Products
    Professional movers won't accept paint, propane tanks, lawn chemicals, and other hazardous items, and it's too risky to attempt moving them yourself. Check for the closest hazardous waste disposal center in your local area. Under no circumstances should hazardous products be put in trash or recycling bins.

  7. Use up What You Have
    Non-perishable food items and personal care products add weight and take up valuable space in moving boxes. Inventory what you have on hand and use up as much as you can. Donate remaining items to a food bank or shelter.

  8. Enlist Help
    The pre-move process can be intimidating if you take on all the responsibility yourself. Spouses, significant others, and children all have a stake in what stays and what gets tossed, so get them involved. Set up a schedule assigning times and tasks so everyone knows what is expected of them. 

  9. Reward Yourself
    No one can remain focused without breaks. Stay motivated by setting daily goals and rewarding yourself for each accomplishment. Watch a movie, read a book, or meet a friend for coffee.

Buying or selling a home involves seemingly endless decisions that can be difficult to navigate on your own. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty and let our experienced and professional real estate agents show you the way.


7 Tips for Moving with a Pet

Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day

Moving with Your Pet

Our real estate agents adore their pets and are excited to show them some extra affection this February 20 on National Love Your Pet Day. On this day, we celebrate the joy our pets bring into our lives and recognize the responsibility we have for keeping them comfortable, safe, and secure. 

When you're planning a move, it's more important than ever to pay special attention to your furry (or feathered) friends. Pets are experts at reading our body language, so if we're feeling stressed and anxious, they'll feel it too. Since they won't understand what's going on, the sense of upheaval they feel can be even more dramatic.

Luckily, pets are also very adaptable. For them, "home" is wherever they are with you, not necessarily the four walls where you currently live. Planning and taking a few simple precautions will help keep the move easier on everyone.

  1. Safety First
    Before your move, make sure your pet has a good collar with an ID tag attached. The tag should list your name and current cell phone number. Microchipping your pet will serve as another level of protection in case the collar slips off.  Hopefully, your pet will never get out of your sight, but if the unthinkable happens, you want to know you've done everything you can to ensure you'll be quickly reunited.
  1. Stick to Your Routine
    Although you'll be busy packing and preparing for your move, do your best not to change your pet's routine. Try to make sure you feed and walk him at the same time that every day.  If you usually play for 15 minutes when you get home from work, don't skip it just because you have packing to do. Maintaining structure helps your pet know what to expect, even when everything else feels like chaos. 
  1. Visit Your Vet
    A couple of weeks before your move, pay a visit to your vet. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and doesn't have any significant health issues. Staying ahead of potential problems is far better than scrambling to find a new vet as soon as you move. If you're worried about your pet suffering from car sickness or extreme anxiety, ask your vet for prescription medications while you're there.
  1. Secure Your Pet on Moving Day
    Moving day activities can be scary for your pet, and the chaos involved creates far too many opportunities for your pet to get lost or injured. Keep him safe by using a crate or arrange for him to stay somewhere else until the move is done.
  1. Make Arrangements for Long-Distance Moves
    If you're traveling a long distance, find pet-friendly hotels along your route and make your reservations ahead of time. Plan plenty of stops for water and potty breaks and try to keep a consistent feeding schedule.  Keep small animals secured in a crate the entire time you're traveling, and always keep larger dogs on a leash. Remember that the stress of a move can cause even the most well-behaved pets to run away or behave uncharacteristically.
  1. Create a Familiar Environment
    Although you might feel compelled to clean everything when you move into your new home, resist the urge to wash your pet's things. Having some familiar smells can help ease the transition.  Arrange your pet's bed, dishes, and toys as close as possible to the way they were in your old home, and keep your routine as consistent.
  1. Practice Patience and Compassion
    Above all, remember that there's a good chance the move will cause your pet to act out of character. It's not unusual to notice excessive whining, barking, or pacing. 

Are You Ready to Make Your Move?

Whether you're thinking about moving across town or across the globe, our real estate agents at Old Dominion Realty are here to help. Contact us to get started with the search for your dream home.


Harrisonburg VA Moving Guide

Moving to Harrisonburg Help
Making Your Move to Harrisonburg Easier

Located two miles south of Washington D.C. right between the beautiful Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, Harrisonburg attracts new residents every year. It's a great place to move: Up-and-coming professionals, growing families, and retirees all find their way here.

As one of the three top Virginia cities in the area, Harrisonburg is noticeably less expensive than its neighbors Richmond and Alexandria--while still offering truly amazing homes.

Of course, you'll want to start enjoying everything Harrisonburg has to offer as soon as you can. That means taking care of the preliminaries so you'll be comfortable in your new home.

Here's how to navigate some of the most common issues when moving to Harrisonburg:

Driver's License and Registration

You'll find the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) right on Rt. 11 at 3281 Peoples Drive, Harrisonburg, VA. To get your Virginia driver's license or ID, be sure you can bring multiple forms of identification (such as a passport or valid out-of-state ID.) You'll also need some mail and bills that include your local address, such as utility bills.

Vehicles must be inspected each year to be compliant with state rules. Any local auto servicing center approved to perform auto inspections can get this done for you. An inspection is necessary to accelerate the process of getting your local license plate and registration.

Electricity, Gas, and Fuel Oil

For electricity, you'll need an account with Harrisonburg Electric Company.

Residents moving from out of state may be surprised to see how common natural gas and fuel oil are in Virginia. It's good to be familiar with natural gas services at Columbia Gas of Virginia and propane gas services at AmeriGas. Some popular fuel oil providers include Columbia Gas of Virginia, Rockingham Petroleum Cooperative, and Quarles Energy Service.

Water and Sewer

If your home has existing water and sewer service, all you need to do is drop by the billing office and pay a deposit to switch the service to your name. When you make your deposit on the morning of a business day, you'll usually have service by the end of the day.

Trash Pickup

Trash pickup begins immediately for all Harrisonburg residents living on public streets. The city uses an "all-in-one" approach for its waste and recycling collection. Trash pickup schedule depends on your home's location. It's a good idea to review the local trash collection fees.

Public Transit

The local area provides a wide range of public transit options. In particular, Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation is known for its clean and efficient buses. Bus schedule and route information can help you plan your trip. Also, take a look at Harrisonburg bus fares.


Dogs, cats, and other pets are welcome in Harrisonburg. All animals, regardless of species, must be on a leash while in public. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after pets while on walks. Animal bites should be reported to Animal Control at (540) 437-2670.

Virginia law requires current rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats aged 16 weeks and up. You can have this performed and get a certificate verifying vaccination status at any licensed veterinary office. Dog licenses are also required for any dog aged 16 and up – a dog license tag should be affixed to the pet's collar any time he or she is not on the owner's property.  Dog licenses are available from locations throughout the city.

We'll Help You Make Harrisonburg Your Home

Want help finding the best Harrisonburg homes? Our REALTORS® are the local experts. Contact Old Dominion Realty to get started.

Contact Old Dominion Realty



10 Common Moving Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid These Pitfalls When Moving Into Your New Home

Home Buyer Moving Mistakes

Moving can be chaotic and complicated.  When clients share their experiences about moving into a new home, we often hear the same types of stories and answer similar questions.  Consequently, our team at Old Dominion Realty has compiled this list of the top ten most common moving mistakes home buyers make when moving into a new home with tips on how to avoid them.

# 1 Procrastinating

Waiting until the last minute to pack and hire movers is a no-no. Save yourself stress by preparing in advance of your moving date. It might be helpful to complete one thing each day so that you are not overwhelmed.

# 2 Hiring the Wrong Mover

There are many movers to choose from and services vary greatly. Conduct research before choosing a moving company. If their offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before signing anything, go over the fine print, looking for hidden fees.

# 3 Not Getting a Written Estimate

A written estimate is important when it comes to hiring movers. There are typically two different kinds of estimates:

  • Non-binding-This gives you an idea of how much your move will cost. If the estimate is in writing, the rate can only be increased 10 percent.
  • Binding-This is a legal document. It provides a detailed estimate of the charges, which cannot be changed unless you withheld pertinent information from the mover.

#4 A DIY Move

Although it might be cheaper, trying to move your things yourself can lead to hassle. In the end, it is probably not worth the money saved. Many things can go wrong with a DIY move, such as dropping your new 65-inch television or crashing into a parked car with the moving truck.

# 5 Not Organizing Boxes

When you are in a hurry, you might be tempted to just throw everything into boxes. Trying to sort through unorganized boxes can be a nightmare. Properly organize and label everything. Pack things that you will need right away, such as toilet paper, into a specially-labeled box to make it easy to find things that you will need immediately.

#6 Forgetting to Donate

Most people have things that they do not need anymore. Moving is an opportunity to get rid of possessions that you do not use. As you pack up your belongings, ask yourself if you really need each item that you come across. Keep only things that you really will use.

#7 Not Securing Your Valuables

The majority of moving companies are not liable for valuables. Take the time to separately pack valuables, such as expensive jewelry, and transport it to your new home yourself.

# 8 Forgetting to Transfer Your Utilities

There is nothing worse than moving into your new home, only to realize that you forgot to transfer the utilities. Request that major utilities be turned on by your move-in date and do not forget to turn off the utilities at your old house.

#9 Not Making an Inventory List

An inventory list is very important as it lets you know that everything from your home is packed. Check the list again when your items are unloaded at your new home. Mark any missing items and ask out how you can make a claim for them.

#10 Forgetting About Your Pet

With the chaos of moving, it is easy to forget about your pet. If you have a pet, ask yourself these questions ahead of time:

  • Do you have a carrier?
  • Is your pet current on all of their shots?
  • Do you have all of your pet's medications and necessary supplies?

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Old Dominion Realty specializes in helping families in the West Virginia and Virginia real estate areas sell their houses and find new homes for sale.  When you have a trusted REALTOR® on your side, finding and moving into a new home is a sna p.  Contact Old Dominion Realty today.

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