Moving to Lakeland, FL? Fun Things to Do in Your New Community

Are you looking for some fun things for you and your family to do in your new home of Lakeland? We have a few ideas to get you started.

Situated midway between Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland, FL is a vibrant and exciting place to live. Not only do you have the best of both worlds to the east and the west, but Lakeland itself is also home to breathtaking nature with 38 lakes, a stunning college campus, and lots to do.

Find some of the fun Lakeland has to offer.

Polk Museum of Art

Stop by The Polk Museum of Art, one of the most highly recognized art museums in Florida. It is a Smithsonian affiliate and emphasizes art, science, and history. The museum has more than 2,500 works of art, including pieces from acclaimed artists Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Miriam Shapiro as well as others.

Explorations V Children’s Museum

Head over with the kids to experience the only hands-on children’s museum in Polk County.  The Explorations V Children’s Museum provides an educational and cultural experience for children and families.

Geared towards children pre-K through 5th grade this dynamic museum offers three floors of kid-powered exhibits and programs. In-house programs promote skills for academic readiness, problem-solving, creative expression, as well as fine and gross motor skills.

The museum even features a unique interactive orange grove display where kids can pick and pack “Florida oranges.”

Safari Wilderness Ranch

Set out on a wild safari right in your own backyard in Lakeland, FL.

Experience a natural habitat where exotic herds roam freely across 260-acres of pure Florida wilderness at Safari Wilderness Ranch.

See ring-tailed lemurs, African Watusi, Irish Dexter cattle, and a whole lot more. The Safari Wilderness Ranch has some incredible wetland exotic species. Learn about Florida’s history through this educational safari experience.

Florida Southern College Frank Lloyd Wright Visitors Center

Check out the architecture of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright at the Florida Southern College campus located in Lakeland. Here you will find the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture – 13 structures in all.

The visitors center hosts a permanent showcase of photos, paintings, drawings, and furniture of Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition to the permanent collection of Wright memorabilia, the center hosts temporary exhibits of pieces from other Frank Lloyd Wright museums.

Self-guided walking tours, as well as full tours by knowledgeable volunteers, are available.

Bok Tower Gardens

Take the family for a stroll through the renowned Bok Tower Gardens located on the highest point on the Florida peninsula near Lake Wales, FL.

Bok Tower Sanctuary, a national landmark, includes 128 acres of gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. as well as a majestic bell tower housing one of the world’s grand carillons.  

Enjoy more than 50 identified varieties of butterflies, nature walks, daily concerts and special events.

Discover Lakeland’s Fun and Beauty

Between lakes, parks, and museums there are so many opportunities to explore the Lakeland community and to get acquainted with the people in it.

If you’re coordinating a move to or from Lakeland, FL soon and would like to know how Browning Moving & Storage can lend a hand, contact us today!


On the Move: Staging Your Home for a Quick Sale

One of the most important things to consider when selling your home is how to stage it.

“Staging” a home means more than just cleaning it up. A properly staged home is more likely to attract serious offers than one that’s not.

We have a list of tips for when you’re trying to decide how to best stage your home for a quick sale. Not all of these tips apply to all homes – select the ones that are most appropriate for your situation.

1. Highlight your home’s strengths.

There are good reasons you bought your home, to begin with. You may have chosen your existing home for location, price, decor, neighborhood, schools, or convenience to shopping.

When you’re staging your home take into consideration its strengths, and highlight them. If your house has a remodeled master bathroom, for example, ensure the bathroom is decorated with light colors, smells clean and fresh, hang decorative towels, make sure shower doors are clean and free of streaks.

Use your imagination, but don’t go wild. Stick to tasteful, neutral colors that highlight the physical strengths of the living areas.

2. Remove bulky furniture.

If you’re selling a smaller home, remove any oversized furniture to storage before opening it to potential buyers.

With furniture removed, once-hidden flaws may become more noticeable. If necessary, replace wall outlets, patch nail holes, and apply a new coat of fresh neutral, off-white paint to any areas that need it.  

3. Give walls a fresh coat of paint.

Paint walls with a fresh new coat of off-white paint. Before repainting be sure to apply a primer. Paint the walls with a flat, off-white or other neutral paint. Put a light, neutral paint on the walls to  make the room appear larger.

4. Declutter the house.

You may be living in your house while it’s staged, but consider what items you can live without.

Typically, realtors want sellers to remove up to 50% of furniture to maximize the appearance of available space. Anything you don’t need to live while your home is for sale, move to storage or another location.

5. Reposition furniture.

Float furniture away from walls and reposition sofas and chairs into conversational groups to give the impression of coziness and comfort.

6. Consider the lighting.

Boost the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, and shoot for around 100 watts per 50 square foot.

Replace fluorescent bulbs with incandescent or LED. Remember the three types of lighting:  ambient (general/ overhead), task (under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).

7. Keep it odd.

An odd number of similar fixtures and decor items staged together has been shown to increase attention and interest. Keep the number low (5 at most), and don’t go overboard.

8. Clean and empty closets.

Studies have shown that empty storage spaces help to sell houses fast, so remove unnecessary clothing, boxes, and anything else that’s taking up closets or storage spaces, including unused hangers.

9. Make it serene.

Decorate the bedrooms with warm colors, comfy-looking bedspreads, and luxurious bedclothes. Your bedroom should invite the potential buyer in an inviting and warm way.

10. Finish all repairs before the first showing.

Don’t wait until your realtor calls you to tell you about an upcoming showing before pounding in loose nails, fixing floorboards, oiling hinges, and the hundred other little things you’ve meant to get to.

On the Move

Are you preparing to move? Need a little help? Browning Moving & Storage is ready to assist you. Contact us today for a free quote.


Yard Work 101: Tips for Your new Yard at Your New Home

Are you a new homeowner, moving into a new home from an apartment or condominium? One of the most critical, challenging, and potentially frustrating aspects of owning a home is managing your home’s yard work.

You may look forward to spending your weekends relaxing and enjoying your home, but without proper care and planning, your weekends may quickly become dominated by the physical and emotional toll of doing outside labor you’re not prepared to do.

If you’re buying a home with a yard (even if it’s a small one), there are steps you can take to make your life easier. Here’s our list of the essentials when it comes to managing your yard work.

1. Get the right equipment for the job.

Invest in good quality hand tools, such as rakes, shovels, spades, and so on. Don’t be taken in by what looks like a bargain, only to regret the purchase later. Opt for high-quality, steel implements rather than cheaper plastic ones.

Carefully weigh the pros and cons of gas vs. electric equipment. Consider the size of your yard and how useful each item will be. It might be tempting to buy a new electric lawnmower, pressure washer, leaf blower, or another item, but keep in mind that electric motors rarely have the torque (power) as gasoline engines.

2. Know your new area.

Learn the rules in your new area and follow them. Your yard care might not be entirely up to you. Find out if your neighborhood has homeowner association restrictions when it comes to landscaping, plant life, house exterior, and fencing.

3. Pace yourself.

According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, yard work can put a lot of strain on your heart, and if your body is not used to that exertion, you may be a prime candidate for a stroke or heart attack. Break the yard work up into manageable chunks, and take enough time to rest.

Avoid doing yard work in the hot afternoon hours, and stop when you’re tired.

4. Consider a lawn service.

Consider hiring a lawn or exterior maintenance service rather than taking on the work yourself.

Professional landscapers don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Check with your neighbors for recommendations, and chat with workers in your neighborhood to have them inspect your property before quoting you a price.

If you have trees on your property, opt for a lawn service or landscaping company that can take care of your outdoor work, including trees.  

5. Organize a work party!  

If you have major yard cleanup work to do, there’s no better way to get the job done than to make it an event.

Invite a few friends or new neighbors over to pitch in, fire up the barbeque grill, and have some R&R after the work is done. You’ll get the job done faster with more hands on deck, and have fun in the process.

Enjoy your yard!

Good luck with your new yard!

Have you made the move yet? Still, need help? Contact us for a free quote. We can help you get to your new home.


Buying a Home: Checking Your New Home’s Interior Before the Move

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may be eager to move in. Haste, as the saying goes, makes waste.

One of the most important tasks you’ll need to do before signing any document that obligates you to financial responsibility is to inspect the home yourself. Whether you’re purchasing a brand-new home or one that’s had several previous owners, you owe yourself (and your wallet) the peace of mind that you’ve done your homework.

We’ve put together a checklist for you to follow as you inspect the interior of a potential new home before you consider making an offer. It’s important to identify any possible problems with the inside of any house you’re considering making an offer on before you commit to the financial responsibility as a homeowner.

Here’s our list of the most important things to check in the home’s interior.

1. Doors and Windows

Open and close all doors and windows, and make sure they open quickly and fasten securely.

Look at calking and weather sealing and note any cracked caulk or worn weather seals. Take special note of any possible mildew or mold. Examine window sills and look for bubbles or discoloration, sure signs of water damage.

If the home has glass block windows or other window types that don’t open, be sure to check them as well. Pounding rain, freezing temperatures, and heat can crack caulk and sealants even in decorative or fixed windows.

2. Plumbing

Open the cabinets under the kitchen sink and look for discoloration and signs of rust. Using a flashlight, check that drain pipes are securely fastened to sinks and free of any signs of mold, mildew, rust, or hard water stains.

If the drainage pipes are made of PVC, make sure all seals are free of any visible signs of stains.

Move all items from under sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms and look at surfaces. Pay close attention to areas where the area under the sink meets a back wall and take note of any gaps or possible signs of previous water damage that may have been repaired.

Examine each toilet in the house, flush, and wait to ensure the water supply shuts off. Check that toilets are securely fastened to floors. In a multi-story home or townhouse, check the ceilings in rooms below any plumbing fixtures for any possible signs of drywall damage.

Check showers, shower stalls, and bathtubs. Turn on all water supplies, and note how quickly water fills up a tub and drains. A slow drain is a sign of damaged, old, clogged, or worn-out drainage lines.

3. Water Heater

Feel the hot water supply line that leads out of the water heater to make sure it’s hot. If the hot water heater is insulated, feel the insulation carefully to make sure it’s not warm or damp to the touch.

Look at the drainage pan under the water heater to see if there are any signs that it’s ever contained any water (it shouldn’t).

If the home has a tankless water heater, check that the system is operating correctly.

Turn on hot water faucets and note how long it takes for hot water to flow. If the home has more than one shower or tub, turn several on simultaneously to see if there is a sufficient supply of hot water.

4. Kitchen Appliances

Dishwasher

Check that it runs and is quiet enough for your preference.

Refrigerator

Open the fridge and note the temperature, the make, and model, and be sure to ask about its age. Check the manufacturer’s product label on the inside of the fridge and write down the make and model. The average lifespan of a home refrigerator is 13 years. If the fridge is nearly that old, chances are you’ll need to replace it soon.

Stove

Make sure gas supplies work for gas ranges or ovens, that there is no scent of gas when the appliances are off, and open doors and inspect under gas cooktops to make sure there is no odor.

Other

Turn on the kitchen disposal, under counter lights, and open and close all cupboards and drawers. If the kitchen has a food pantry, look for any signs of pests such as roaches, rats, mice or other predators.

Next Steps

If the home passes your inspection, it’s time to call in a professional to do a more thorough examination before making an offer. Contact the American Society of Home Inspectors to find an expert in your area.

Need help with your move? Browning Moving & Storage Moving Systems is committed to providing outstanding customer service and is ready to help you move to your new home. Contact us today for a free quote.


Long Distance Moving: Getting The Big Items There

Long distance moves generally cross state lines or are 400+ miles. Once a move crosses a state line, it falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government and is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

When a move is designated as Long Distance, the carriers switch from charging by time to charging by weight and distance. This has implications for your decisions as a mover.

Reduce the Weight

Given that carriers price long distance moves by weight, it is evident that the less you move, the lower your cost will be. Household movers are commonly told to reduce the number of items they have to move. This advice is particularly true with long distance moves as it directly impacts your cost.

Things You Won’t Use

You can reduce by leaving behind things you simply will not use. But, also consider things that you may want to replace in the near future.

Rather than move larger items now only to replace them in a few months, sell them before the move. You’ll save money on the move and be able to replace the items at your destination.

Items that Won’t Fit

Determine if everything will fit in the new home.

Two homes of approximately the same size may be configured such that the same furniture cannot work easily in both. Create a small, to scale layout of the rooms in your new home, as well as to scale cut-outs of your current furniture. Does that couch still fit? How about that bookcase? Or try a room design app to see if your stuff will fit.

Again, it will be cheaper to reduce before the move than after you move, so be sure the items you want to keep will fit in the new place. You may be better off parting with them before the move.

Changes in the New Home

Once you’ve moved into a new home, it’s likely you’ll want to make changes. Some might be minor. Other changes, might be very disruptive.

When you move a long distance, you leave behind a network of friends and family that can help you manage the disruption. There is no one to look after the kids, give you a refuge from the chaos that comes with changes in your home, or just be there to lend a hand.

If you can, have some of the more significant alterations done before you move. Settling in will be much easier.

Refinishing floors or replacing carpet can, and should, be done before you move your furniture to the new home if at all possible.

Painting the walls is easier without furniture to move or cover. Making these changes before the move will make the changes and move easier.

Your real estate agent may be able to make recommendations or introductions to reliable, local resources for handy-man work or contractors.

Utility Connections

One challenge for moving a long distance is understanding the local utilities. From state to state there are different regulations. But even from municipality to municipality, resources can vary.

In some parts of the country, electricity provides power for heating as well as cooling, while others use natural gas to power furnaces. In the northeast, oil is often delivered for heating, while many rural areas use propane. Your heat source can change by the town.

Water can be private wells or municipality supplied. Similarly, sewer may be private septic or municipal. You may be familiar with one source, but need to learn about a different type of water/sewer utility in a new home.

As soon as you know where your new home will be, learn about the local utility providers. Your real estate agent should be able to provide you with the correct utilities as well as let you know about oil or propane providers if they are the fuel source for heating. Do not put off learning about and contacting the local utilities. The time to establish connections and deliver fuel will vary, and you want to be on the list as early as the services allow.

Ready to Relocate

There are some aspects of moving that are shared in local and long distance. But, long distance moving has some unique challenges. If you start early, these challenges don’t have to be overwhelming.

This is true with selecting a long distance moving company as well. Contact us, and we will help you plan your move and provide a free estimate of your moving costs.