Advice

Adjust to the Market: Five Red Flags to Watch For

     You've encountered a problem. You have done everything your agent has told you to do when you put your home up for sale three months ago, and still not a single offer. You've followed your agents every piece of advice, done some remodeling, let them show your house on short notice, and not even a nibble.

     It's assumed when you want to sell your home you'll get an agent and take their seasoned advice. they often promise selling your home, but sometimes they fail. Why? Because the pool of buyers in a particular market determines the saleability of a home, not the agent, insurance agent, mortgage brokers, title companies, or even home owners. Home buyers can be a fickle group to tangle with. They can turn away on a dime for the simplest reasons. This is why it's so easy to make a mistake when positioning your home, and why it's critically important to adjust your strategy when needed. Here are five red flags to watch for:

1. No Showings- the average home buyer will look at 10-15 homes before buying one. If you are having few or no showings as the weeks pass, it is simply stating that buyers are rejecting your price. They are seeing your home on the market, but they are rejecting is as quickly as they see it because of the price. So adjust the price.

2. No offers- if you have viewers, but no offers all this means is buyers are rejecting the home itself, not the price. There are two solutions to this problem. One is to interview the buyers to see what they didn't like about your home and fix those issues. The next solution is to adjust the price to compensate for the cost of fixing the parts they do not like.

3. Low ball Offers- If you've received several low ball offers this means that buyers don't see the same value in the house as you do. To fix this you may want to allow your agent to show them the appraisal value of the home. Also you may...

Find a Home With Your Partner

When you are single, it is advised to get an apartment. You really don't need that much room, and if you have a decent job, you can afford rent by yourself. If it is certain you can afford it, consider buying the apartment. Fast forward to the time when you are ready to buy a house. Hopefully you have a spouse to contribute to the mortgage. When you are searching you'll consider several different neighborhoods, house types, and other aspects.

Here are 5 aspects to help you search for your home with your partner.

1. Discuss Expectations- You should discuss your desired space and budget before you go look for houses with an agent to avoid any awkward moments while the agent is doing their job. A lot of expectations are reached by something similar to what you grew up in. Get a firm framework before you just blindly go into the market looking for something to throw your money at.

2. Define Dealbreakers- find a price range you will both be comfortable with. Also have some similar agreements like a house with pets. Do you want to be stuck in a place where there are no pets allowed, when you might want one down the road.

3. Figure out Finances- it doesn't have to be even if both sides consider it fair. Figure out with your spouse what each of you can contribute to make it fair. maybe one of you pays the mortgage while the other pays the bills. what about an emergency fund, or the down payment? Just come to a mutual agreement on what is fair. It doesn't have to be set in stone for 30 years, there is always room for renegotiation with your spouse.

4.Work out an Escape Plan- today's rates of divorce are 50% and knowing that is half the battle. Devise a plan with your spouse to what will become of the property if you do end in divorce. Marriage today is like spinning the roulette wheel-red or black. come up with an agreement if it doesn't work out, like one buys the other out,...

What you Should Leave Behind When You Move

     So you've sold your home, good job, now comes the annoying part of packing. Gather up all the pots pans, toys, clothes, photo albums etc. and store them in multiple boxes. What about all the things you are questioning keeping or leaving? Some of these items are contractually obliged to stay with the new owner, and some of the items should just be left out of kindness.

Let us have a look at the leave behind items:
     Appliances: Leaving behind your appliances was probably in your sales contract. These appliances are your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer. It is important that you follow the contract requirements exactly as they're spelled out.

     Manuals: You should leave the new homeowners a folder filled with the appliance manuals. This is just courteous considering you have no use for the manuals anymore.

     Extra Keys: Many homeowners will change the locks once they move in, but you should leave them any extra keys you have to garage doors, sheds, back doors, etc. The new owner will appreciate not having to make new copies immediately.

     Security Alarms and Garage Door Codes: There is not a single thing more frustrating that having a nice garage door with a key pad and no codes, or resetting instructions. Be a kind person and just leave those behind.

     Warranty Information: All the warranties in y our home will be transferred to the new owners.

     Service Contracts:  It takes a new homeowner a little while to gain their bearings. If your house requires service like pool cleaners, lawn care, handymen, etc. leave the new owners with recommendations to save them some time.

     Finally if you have a pile of junk you don't want...

Pre-approval vs. Pre-Qualification

Are you wanting to purchase a home, but are unsure where to start? Here are a few items to consider before-hand

1. When do I want to move?

2. What area do I want to live in?

3. How much money can I spend?

4. How do I buy a home.

     As an onlooker to a real estate company, I would highly recommend finding an agent that knows the area really well, and who also has excellent communication skills. The next step would be gaining pre-approval or pre-qualification from a lender. If you do not know any lenders, your agent should be able to help you there.

     In some cases you can gain pre-qualification in mere hours electronically. This pre-qualified letter states the amount of money you are qualified to borrow. It is all based on the information you provide like salary, debt, etc.

   Getting pre-approved takes longer because the financial information you provide is independently verified, and more information is required.

     Having a pre-approved letter to submit with an offer can make the offer much more appealing to the seller.

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The Link You Didn't Know Between Your Credit Card and Your Mortgage

     Believe it or not, but there is a link between your credit card, and your Louisville mortgage. However, it doesn't have to do with using it with an 30% interest rate. The link lies in your credit rating. If your score isn't pleasing to the eye, you may find it much more difficult to get obtain a mortgage. If you want a loan, you need to make sure your credit card payments reflect responsibility, so this way the bank will consider you a safe risk.

     Credit Card problems- If you have or had any credit card problems they will be reported to the credit agencies. Just paying one bill late can have a significant impact on the look of your score. Black marks show up anytime your payment is late; and too many of these black marks will inhibit your ability to get a loan. Always make your credit card payments on time! Lenders will see you as a responsible credit card holder. When applying for a credit card, these files will be pulled up and assessed. Having good credit history is one of the most important part of getting approved for a loan.

     Purchasing with your Credit Card- Another thing that will be looked at is how much credit you have available. If you are considering buying the newest HD TV, you should wait until you get a mortgage first before buying it.

     Applying for new Credit- Do not apply for any new credit cards when trying to get a mortgage. It is best to look like you do not need any extra credit; and when you appear like you need more credit, it will turn lenders off. When applying for a mortgage, it is best to lay low with your credit so you don't raise any red flags. Make sure you pay every bill on time, and do NOT apply for any new cards.

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Decorating for the Fall and Winter

Your curb appeal is the sex appeal of your home. Getting people interested starts on the outside, and if they like what they see they will want to come inside to know more. The exterior of your home can either attract or detract. When you are selling you want to be the prettiest home on the block, without a question. Good things to do to achieve being the prettiest house is to

1. pressure wash your house, sidewalk, and driveway

2. wash the windows

3. paint the trim of your house

4. trim bushes to look clean

5. plant flowers for the season

6. keep grass trimmed and edged properly

7. rake away all the leaves in the fall

8. remove the snow in the winter.

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Have These Items Ready When Applying for a Loan

Income items

W2 forms from previous two years

Most recent pay stubs from past two weeks

Federal tax refunds (1040's) for the last two years: ONLY IF

     you are self employed

     earn regular income from capital gains

     earn sizable interest income

     earn more than 25% of your income from commissions and bonuses

     own rental property

Year to date profit gain, or loss (self employment)

Corporate or partnership tax returns

Pension award letter

Asset items

Social security award letters

Bank statements from past two months

Statements on all stocks, bonds, etc.

Copy of latest 401K statement

Explanations for any large deposits or source of those funds

Copy of HUD1 settlement statements on recently sold homes, or estimated statement if home is for sale but not sold

Gift letter (maybe cash from relative)

      Bank statement from gifted

     Copy of check used to make gift

     Copy of deposit slip

Credit items

if you rent- copy of landlords name, address, and phone number.

 Explanations for any late payments, credit inquiries within last 90 days, judgements, collections, charge-offs, liens.

Copy of bankruptcy papers (within last seven years)

Copy of divorce statement (and settlement)

Copy of child support statement

FHA loans

Drivers license

Social Security Card

Copy of DD214

Copy of most recent mortgage bill

 

 

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4 Ways to Help Pay off Credit Card Bills with Debt Help Options

Read on how to help pay off credit card debt with different debt help options.

1. Consolidation Loan- This type of loan can be taken from banks or a financial institution. There are two types of consolidation loans- secured and unsecured. A secured loan is one in which you take out money from your house, or property that you own. This type of loan charges low interest rates. AN unsecured loan means you take out a loan without anything held as collateral. This loan is a giant risk for the lender since there isn't anything to collect if they come up short.

2. Balance Transfer- This method allows you to take several credit card debts and transfer them to one credit card with one low interest rate. This allows you to pay off your outstanding credit card balance with ease. Once you transfer your balance to one of these cards, you should repay the balance of the card within the low introductory rate period. If you choose not to pay it off within the period, you may be charged a high interest rate on the balance amount.

3. Debt Snowball- In the debt snowball method you take all the debts you owe from lowest to highest and pay them off in that order. Once you pay off the smallest debt you move on to the next one. This method is highly advised by Dave Ramsey.

4. Debt Avalanche- This method allows you to pay off your outstanding debt from highest interest rate to lowest. Once you pay off your highest interest rate, then move to the next highest interest rate.

 

If all this fails, Call Dave Ramsey.

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Five Areas That Could Hurt Your Appraisal

When you finally decide to put your home on the market, there is one thing that can make a huge difference, and that is the appraisal. This is one area of your home that can have positive or negative consequences to the price value. Knowing which areas to give more attention than others can can lead to an increased home's value.

 UNKEMPT EXTERIOR/INTERIOR

     Having a dirty home from the outside in can not only cause potential buyers to run for the hills, but also have the appraiser shave off a a decent amount to your home's worth. An unkempt yard with bushes and shrubs growing wildly can actually take three percentage points off your home. Curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers look at, so it is crucial to have them enticed from the start, because a good looking yard actually increases the value of your home. Another point is that if your neighbor's yards look really nice, and yours isn't so nice, this could cause your appraisal to drop even more than expected.

 TRENDY REMODELS

     Remodeling can add much value to your home especially if you are adding storage, room additions, etc. However if you do a complete remodel and believe the trust cost should reflect the true value, you will be left disappointed. The best remodel you can do is adding space to your kitchen.

 UNFINISHED REMODELING PROJECTS

     Do not have the appraiser inspect when your remodels are still in the process. If you are under a time constraint, then tell your appraiser about the remodel and what plans are expected to be done.

 FORGETTING TO LIST IMPROVEMENTS

     Don't expect all improvements to help your appraisal. For instance a new roof won't count because roofs are expected to be in good condition. Make a detailed list of all the improvements you've...

Small Home Improvements All Add Up

In real estate, any type of improvement can leave a lasting impact on potential buyers. A good area to improve is the lawn because it takes an ordinary house into an attractive property. This emphasis on presentation applies to a residential home and even a commercial office.

Lawn care is a great way to beautify your home. All the shrubs, trees, flowers, can all be organized into a tasteful manner and create great appeal to the eye. This advice has added much value to the industry, and a giant portion of its inventory. Since this area of your property has such potential, it is vital you make the right choices about treating and maintaining your greenery.

The idea that the outside of the home can influence the evaluation of a building is all the more reason to take lawn care seriously. The only difficult part is deciding how to go about it. Will you do it yourself, and if so do you have the "taste" to put together a beautiful lawn? Or will you hire someone to revamp your lawn for a pretty penny?

There are many products out in stores to help you, but what you need to remember is that lawn care isn't a sprinkle and forget event. It takes some practice, along with wisdom how to use your money and respect of the people looking to buy your home.

It's a good habit to continually take care of your lawn so the value is always there. Once you have a feel for what you're doing you know what looks good and what doesn't. With time you can see the strengths of your property and enjoy all the outdoor amenities. 

While these points may seem obvious for a home owner, they can still be applicable to high-rise office building. A property should be attractive, accessible, comfortable, and memorable. As long as you're smart about what you're doing and don't half ass it, you can prosper.

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BUying a House NOW is a Great Investment

It isn't difficult to see both sides of an investment argument. Assuming you can get a loan, it is difficult to argue against buying a home now.

the housing cycle is a long one, because buying a house is a long system to endure. It's not even a tenth as fast as buying a stock or bond. Hopefully you are pre-approved for a loan, otherwise you will have to submit yourself for a credit check, which is barely below the CIA background check. Then you have to get your home inspected, figure out which fees your bank charges (mostly just because we can).

So how long is a housing cycle. Pretty damn long. Get ready for the ride by talking to your real estate agent and using their advice.

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All About Home Inspections

When buying a home, the general rule of thumb is to get a home inspection. Think of it as a test drive before you throw all your money towards one of the biggest investments of your life. You need to make sure you're getting a quality home. Below are a list of all the need to knows about home inspections.

WHY GET AN INSPECTION?

     The home inspection is an examination of a home from top to bottom. Just like a doctor checkup, a home inspection notifies you of any structural repairs that need to be taken care of. Buying a home is a big purchase, so when purchasing you want to make sure you're buying a good, quality home. 99%of all agents advise the buyers to get an inspection.

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

     Buying a home will be an expensive endeavor, so it only makes sense to buy the best. So hire a professional when selecting a home inspector. A professional will understand the home's system You can search for a professional in your area at Nabie.org.

WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTOR CHECK?

     A home inspector will conduct a visual inspection from the room to the foundation. He/She looks at the roof, insulation, attic, heating and air-conditioning systems, plumbing and electrical systems, walls, ceilings, windows, floors, basement, and the foundation. They will also look at the outside of the property like, roof, driveways, fences, and overall grading of the property.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

     The average inspection of a single-family home should take 2-3 hours.

WHAT'S THE COST?

     The fee for the home inspection differs, depending on size, location, age, and the services being performed. Example would be if the home is being checked for radon, or if the septic system is being examined. The average price for a single...

Top Strategies to Stay in the Real Estate Game

Here are some very simple, but helpful tips to stay in the game of real estate.

1. Always understand insurance- insurance policies can be confusing and can often get the best of you. It's for your best interest to understand your policy completely.

2. Never keep a building empty- an empty building only costs money without making any.

3. Never buy a property that has no equity- it's just a simple business rule.

4. Only sell out of necessity- if you don't have to sell it, don't. You can make money when you have the property, but if you have to sell it because money is tight, that is the best time to sell.

5. House prices can fall- house prices can fall, and likely will fall in an unstable economy. So it's a good idea to make internal and external improvements to your home.

6. Always compare mortgage rates- this is called shopping. Shopping for the bets long-term deal can save you more than you think. 

7. Take expert advice when searching for a home inspector- some inspectors can be shiesty and not do a good job. It's worth your time to find a reliable one.

8. Always check terms of contract- hire a lawyer if needed, but make sure you understand every part of every contract you are handed. If you think you have an idea what a clause means, double check. You don't want to end up in court for something you thought you understood, but really didn't.

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Fishing and Holme Selling: Not That Different?

     If you are reading this i Hope you can learn something. IF you already knew all this information then i apologize in advance for wasting your time. 

     For those of you who enjoy fishing, you might like this article. For those of you who do not enjoy fishing I would stop reading now. I enjoy fishing the most because you never know what you're going to reel in. You never know what kind of fish it is, or how big it will be. No matter who you are, fishing is a challenge. 

     what's the key to successful fishing? There are many theories, but I'll let you in on the top three. Timing, Location, and Advertising. Think about it. Fish bite your line at the right moment, and it would be super helpful to know when that moment is going to be. Location is cloth because depending on here you are, you might know the odds of what kind of fish you will pull in. Advertising would be the most important because the fish needs to want what you are offering, and they have to know that you are offering it in the first place.  

     Selling you're home isn't that much different. My point is there is nothing wrong with trying to sell your own home. You can look into it and see if your area would accommodate such a strategy nicely. Most of the time though selling it can be more challenging. Think about it. Aren't you selling your house the same way you are selling the bait to a fish. The key is to make your bait look as attractive as possible to as many fish as possible.

      So selling your home by yourself is kind of like fishing with a bare hook. It may end up to be a good deal, or you may end up just getting a nice tan. Getting your hook to be attractive for a numerous amount of fish is where the helpful advice of realtors comes in. Realtors know the timing, they know the location, and they surely know the advertising....

Establishing a Relationship With your Real Estate Agent

     One of the most important things you can do when buying or selling property is to establish a trusting relationship with your real estate agent. It's vitally important that you have a good relationship with this person because they are the one who is going to be buying and selling your home.This is the person that will be giving you advice along the way, which is why trusting them is super important.

     Other People's Opinions- there's no doubt you will be faced with other people's opinions. You will be getting examples of what worked for other people when it came to buy and sell their home, and how it should work for you. Your agent might tell you the very opposite leaving you to be very confused.

It's important to understand that real estate transactions differ from one area of town t0o the next. If friends and family are giving you advice on selling when they live in Bowling Green, it won't be the same when you are trying to sell your home in Louisville. I would listen to your agent because they know the area and the market more than your family and friends.

     The Times Change- You may also be getting advice from people who sold their home years ago. Take this into account when you are taking your real estates advice. The markets change from one month to the next in real estate, and that's a fact.

     Experience- One thing to remember is that your friends aren't real estate agents, and the only experience they have with the industry is personal. Shrug off any pressure from outside influences and trust in your agent.

     The Agent is on Your Side- Selling your house is a win-win situation. You sell your house, and your agent makes a commission for all their hard work. Your agent has invested much time and energy into selling your house so they are sure to get a positive outcome for both parties. When you sign an agent, its crucial that you...

Renting with a Four Legged Friend

     It's always nice coming home to  your furry friend, but not all landlords are big fans of your pets. Most landlords will tell you upfront if they accept pets, or the conditions in which they will accept them. Their main concerns is to the extent in which your pet will place wear and tear on the rental property. They're also worried about the aroma the pets shedding leave behind. For these reasons, some landlords forbid pets, or only allow ones within a certain weight limit.

     FI they do allow pets, they will most likely charge an extra deposit, or a non-refundable pet fee which is supposed to cover a heavy cleaning service when you move. These charges are not unusual, and can range anywhere from $300-$500 and maybe more, so don't be surprised if your landlord asks you for these fees.

     There are no set rules landlords abide by when determining the allowance of pets. It is totally within their rights to deny pets, so long as they do it to everyone. Again, some landlords only accept pets within a certain weight limit, so you should check your pets weight before entering the market to look for a place with your buddy.

     When you begin your search for a place, you might start online. If you do start online be sure to include your search criteria for places that allow pets. You should also ask your prior landlords to be a reference to your new landlord, and hopefully they will only tell good things about you. It also wouldn't hurt if you were to show your landlord your pets certification of obedience school, or that they are a well behaved pet.

     Finding a home can be challenging when you have a pet, but if you know your pets weight, have extra cash to put down on the deposit, and are willing to persuade your landlord that your pet is well behaved, then you can find a good place for your four legged friend.

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Moving Tips for Homeowners

Moving is a dreaded process that requires much planning, organizing, and commitment. This process often causes much anxiety even when it is planned out to the T. Here re some helpful tips to make your move as stress-free as possible.

     1. Get Recommendations- Ask around the the names of reputable moving companies from friends, family, and co-workers. Ask about their experiences, and what they liked and did not like. Be sure to ask about prices too. Make sure you check all of your stuff because some movers will steal from you.

     2. Check Background- When considering movers check their background to see if they are a licensed member of the American Moving and Storage Association. Check to see if the moving companies you are considering has any complaints about them.

     3. Seek Estimates- Find the estimates that are "not to exceed" because those cap the price you will pay from movers. Ask for "in-home" estimates because those are more accurate than the ones over the phone. Watch for hidden fees when you receiver you estimate and see what all services you will receive. Some moving companies charge by weight and distance, while others charge by the number of hours it takes to transport your belongings.

General note: the more you own, the more it will cost you. If you ask for them to box your stuff it will cost you extra.

     4. Think Insurance- Take an inventory and dollar amount of of everything you plan on moving and check what kind and how much liability coverage the movers provide.

     Is it enough to cover the value of the belongings. Look up the procedure to submitting a claim with each company if something was to happen. Your homeowners policy may cover some of the damages, so check it out first.

     5. Know the Rules- If your...

How to Hire an Expert Home Inspector

When buying a home, there is a serious step involved of having the home inspected for major and minor defects. Here are a few steps to find a well qualified home inspector who will give you an accurate report.

     Start Early- Buying a home is an important process, so get off on the right foot by knowing which inspector you will employ before you start looking for homes. This way you will have more time to vet professionals.

     Get an Engineer- You will want to hire an inspector who has vast knowledge about a home's inner workings, so you will want to hire an inspector who is also a licensed professional engineer. If a home has structural problems, a PE will know how to handle these.

     Get Recs- Ask your friends, family, business partners about recommendations about skilled home inspectors. Whatever you do, do not get an agent who is associated with the seller's party.

     Do a Background Check- Look into whether or not the inspector you are considering hiring has a ASHI certification. Also find out if your state regulates home inspections, and if they do find out if the agent you are potentially using has had any complaints against him or her. Angie's List would be one place to look.

     Interview- In a formal interview ask the potential inspectors about their experience, expertise, and background. You should also ask them how long they have been in the field, how they conduct their inspections, and what will be included in their report. (Always get a computer written report, not a hand written one). Ask them what they charge for their services. Ask about photos in problematic areas, a checklist for what all they checked, how long an inspection will take (a good one is a few hours), and lastly, how long a completed report will be returned to you.

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Evaluating and Responding to Different Offers

     Good job- you finally got an offer on your home. Now how do you know if the offer is in your best interest, and your counter offer won't send the potential buyer running for the hills. To begin with, any offer is a good offer. You may not believe this but this is true because it shows that the buyer has chosen your home over the entire competition in the market. Any offer then in this case, no matter how high or low should be taken as a compliment. Now the real question is should you accept this offer?

     You have three choices as a seller. The first is to accept, which is subject to the terms and conditions of the sale, your home is officially sold. The second option is to reject the offer, which kindly tells to buyer no thank you. The third and final option is to make a counter offer. Wise sellers take time to strategically think and plan their counter offer. Do not instinctively reach for a pen to throw out a counter offer number.

      A good portion of sellers consider counter offers a natural part of the selling process. Really all it is is presenting a new offer to the buyer. The only negative part of this is you may lose the buyer. Because of this successful sellers have to ask themselves if it is really worth a counter offer? The simple question should be a measuring stick with which to evaluate every item you plan to ask for from a buyer. In many cases, the risk is not worth the reward, but it is important to remember with great risk comes great reward. 

     If you make a counter offer make sure to use these three tips.

     1. Try to understand the buyer's position- Negotiation is always a two lane road. In order to create a deal both parties must feel they have come out on the winning end. Learn as much about the buyer as you can, like why they made the initial offer they did. By doing so you could possibly find some common ground that...

Letting Go During a Move

     Whenever you are moving from one house to another, you have to let go of something. Let go of them house itself, let go of the neighborhood, the neighbors, etc. We hold onto a  lot of baggage during our lifetime. Some of it is emotional baggage, while most of it is physical. We become attached to things both valuable and worthless.Moving is the time to let go of some of your belongings.

     This nation is made up of pack rats. My step-mom being one of the worst, put all of her boxes of priceless magazines in my room until I moved out. She, like the rest of the country likes to hold on to any gift, souvenir, anything they receive, even items that don't have any value or use anymore.

     Holding on to belongings keeps you living in your past, and can stiffen your new home. Living in the past can make moving forward a very difficult task when it doesn't need to be. You should fully embrace the new life, instead of pining away at the old. This becomes increasingly hard for those letting go of things that once belonged to loved ones who have passed on. 

     Moving is a time when we go through everything we have and decide if it is worth bringing to the new house. If you decide it isn't worthy of being packed up, sell it or donate it. If you're worried that getting rid of these items will cause you to lose your memories, you're wrong. Items do not hold memories, your head and your heart do, and they will be with you always.

     First decide if the object was a gift or a heirloom. If it was a gift, does this item clutter your home or create value? If it was a heirloom, does it still hold a place in your heart and take up a good space in your house? If not, then it is time to give this item to a family member or sell it to someone who will actually appreciate it.

     Moving can be an emotional time, and there's a reason it is ranked in the top ten...