The Rochester Report

Month: January 2016

10 Packing Tips That Are Completely Doable


Packing is a nightmare.  Period.  But there are a few tricks of the trade that will make your life less stressful on moving day.

Use Your Phonebooks.

Tear out pages of those old phone books to wrap breakables. Seriously… who needs them anymore and why would you want to move them?

Color Code Your Boxes.

If you have children or are moving into a large home, assign different colored duct tape to each room and use that color on corresponding boxes.  Find assorted colors here.

Pack First Day Essentials.

Pack a clear bin with “first day essentials”.  Items that will go in this bin will be things like: trash bags, box cutters, scissors, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, disposable dinnerware (you will be calling for pizza).  If you’re anything like me the coffee maker and coffee will also go in this bin.  This bin will move with you; meaning, don’t put it in with the rest of the boxes, but rather with you in the car.

Don’t waste space.  

Fill your crock pots and appliances that have dead space with smaller kitchen items like spices.  Also fill up your luggage with heavier items if they have wheels.

Seal Off Bottles.

Use plastic wrap under lids to seal off bottles of liquid, (i.e., toiletries, cleaning supplies).

Use Styrofoam.

Place styrofoam plates in between breakable plates to prevent them from breaking.

Throw Your Clothes In The Trash.

Just kidding… But seriously, there’s no need to throw copious amounts of money at those garment boxes from the moving company.  Keep your clothing on hangers and use trash bags to keep each bunch together.

Don’t Buy Moving Boxes New.

Find moving boxes & other packing materials on Craig’s List.  Re-list and sell when you’re finished with them.

Go To The Liquor Store.

It’s not what you think.  I mean, most people do find themselves at the liquor store during a move but for now I want you to go to the liquor store and ask for their extra wine boxes.  Use them to pack your wine glasses.

Plastic Wrap What’s Already Organized.

Wrap your entire silverware holder in plastic wrap instead of dumping them out in a box to get tossed around. Same goes for small bins without lids.  Plastic wrap them before packing them into boxes.

If you or anyone you know have questions about the current market or are curious to know what the new value of your home is please contact me at:

Jenna Martindale, Realtor | Edina Realty | Lic Mn | 507-993-7036

7 Small Space Hacks

2Maximize Pantry Wall Space. 

Buy these drawer organizers and affix them to the inside wall of your pantry for spice storage.

Try tiered counter storage.  

This can be used in every room of your home to store toiletries in the bathroom, to diaper changing items in the nursery, to produce in the kitchen.

Create a Small Command Center. 

Choose a wall in your home that is central to most of the activity and create a command center like this one.  Paint the space in chalkboard paint, hang a framed calendar, clipboards for report cards & artwork, and a few storage containers for mail, keys, and the like.

Consider a Skinny Sofa Table. 

Small living rooms and bulky coffee tables just don’t vibe well.  Consider this DIY skinny table to go behind your sofa.

Don’t waste wall space. 

Invest in tall bookcases that will add visual height and more storage to your space.  Adding shelves like these (which I have in my own home) over your toilets will create more decorative storage space in small bathrooms.

Use decorative baskets. 

One-off items in every room of your home exist, but they cannot be left lying around.  Use decorative storage baskets to throw miscellaneous items into.  Try to keep these categorized but labelling them isn’t always necessary.

Cut your nightstand in half. 

You heard me.  If your bedroom is small, cut a nightstand in half and use each side on either side of the bed (or both).  It’s functional and fun.  Here’s a tutorial for you.

I realize I just told you to start cutting your furniture in half to save on space.  But doing things the same way they’ve always been done isn’t always the right thing to do.  If your space is small, your furniture needs to be a step above the rest when it comes to functionality and aesthetics.

What Not To Do When Applying For A Mortgage


Purchasing a home can be an overwhelming task.  Don’t complicate things by making these  common mistakes while applying for a mortgage.

Make Big Purchases or Lifestyle Changes

Your lender wants to see that you have stable activity in your accounts and a large purchase (which would cause a decrease in your available funds) could derail your approval.

Accept Large Gifts

Again, lenders want to see a steady & regular income flow when they look at your financial situation and an abnormal deposit could raise a red flag.  I know, I know, but Mom and Dad want to help you with your down payment.  If you plan to utilize a large monetary gift, be upfront with your lender about it and be prepared for paperwork.  Your donor will most likely have to write a gift letter to your lender including personal information about the donor, their relationship to you, the property’s address, the total amount of money gifted, the date of transaction and a statement saying the donor is expecting nothing in return.  Phew… see what I mean?  It’s a lot.

Change Your Credit, At All.

This means no opening or closing any of your credit lines.  New credit is bad credit because it decreases your net worth by giving you more available debt.  Closing credit cards that you’ve paid off long ago may seem like a good idea, but it’s a big no-no during the approval process because this gives you less available credit and therefore negatively effects your debt to income ratio.  Instead of closing them, just pay off your credit cards monthly as you normally would.  Wait six months after you’ve closed on your home, then, and only then, should you think about closing them.

Switch Jobs.

Sometimes this is out of your hands, but if you can help it avoid a job swap during the approval process.  Employment verification is an important piece of the loan approval puzzle and some underwriters require 6 months of pay stubs from the same employer.  Again, focus on non-changing scenery during this time.

Get Behind on Bills.

Duh.  I know.  You’ve never had a late payment in your life; this is so insulting.  Just be extra vigilant with deadlines & auto payments; especially when you’re changing addresses and such.

Buy a Car or Furniture.

But I’m buying a house; I need furniture.  Wait until after you’ve closed to buy that furniture.  Don’t pay cash.  Don’t take a credit line through the furniture store.  Practice patience.

Spend Your Savings.

You’ll need cash at closing for down payment and closing costs.  Your lender will have already verified that you’ve got those funds available but they’ll most definitely do another last minute check right before closing so make sure those funds stay in place.

Two Rules To Live By When You’re Applying For A Mortgage.

  1. When In Doubt, ask your lender first.
  2. Stability, Stability, Stability.  Don’t do anything out of the ordinary.