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Top 5 Tips When Downsizing

 

 downsizing

 

Prévu works with many clients who are in various seasons in life.  Some of which are planning to downsize when moving to a new home.  They may have become empty nesters and no longer need such a large space. Some are moving into the new high rise properties being built all around the greater Houston area.  Others may want to move into a gated, townhome community to reduce their lawn maintenance.  Regardless of the reason, downsizing your space when moving to a new home can present a challenge. Prévu is here to help! We are experts at putting a plan into place to make the transition easier for our clients.

 

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Here are our top 5 tips to consider when downsizing your residence:

 

  • Start purging early! You have decided to move and are making plans to put your house on the market.  You will need to identify items in these three ways: Keep, Trash, and Donate. Start sorting these into bins.  This is the most difficult part because we are emotionally attached to our things.  However, there are ways to keep memories without keeping all the things.  Less does not mean none.  Perhaps the process of purging is too overwhelming to handle in one event.  If so, do what you can and then set a schedule to take it a step at a time while utilizing storage options for what will fit comfortably into your new home.   

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  • Reduce duplicate items and toss useless items. Do you have 4 measuring cups? How about 12 white wine glasses? Or 15 dish towels? Think about how often you really use all of these duplicate items and get rid of the extras. Maybe you only use the 12 wine glasses once a year at the holidays, but use 4 of them on a regular basis. Get rid of 8 and then when that once a year event occurs, consider borrowing or renting what you need.  Keep only the Tupperware that has a matching lid.  Get rid of the plastic cottage cheese container.  The frying pan without a handle?  Toss it!  Take stock of what you have and if necessary, invest in a good set of storage containers/lids and matching pots/pans.  Reduce the clutter and duplicates and you will be amazed at how much space you will save.

measuring cups

 

  • Think about your new space. Maybe your new home will not have a closet in the foyer or a large linen closet in the hallway. Consider furniture and storage options that are multifunctional. A leather ottoman that has a storage space inside can store your winter blankets. End table with drawers can store seasonal table linens. A lovely armoire may be perfect for storing bath and bed linens.  Think outside of the box.

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  • Deal with sentimental items. Do you still have your children’s sports trophies? Or their special baby clothes? Schedule a day with your family to purge your sentimental items.  Ask your adult children to take their memories to their own homes for safe-keeping.  Perhaps your son doesn’t want to keep all 10 football trophies, but would like to take a photo with all of them to preserve the memory of them before you toss them.  Do you have 3 sets of china from your family?  Why not keep a cup and saucer, or just a plate, from each set and use them as decorations in your home.  You can pass the rest along to other family members or send to a donation center.  Digitize documents and use tools such as Shutterfly to create memory books.  Getting your family involved will help you make these decisions.

cups

 

  • After the purge, organize what you are taking with you. Take the “Keep” bins and organize them based on the layout of your new home.  You can take the floor plan for your new home and strategize the placement of your furniture and how to store the items you are keeping.  Being proactive early in the pre-move phase will save a lot of time once the packing, moving, and unpacking takes place.

 

One of the best ways to get your stress managed when relocating is to call on Prévu Relocation Concierge Services. We offer complimentary consultations and can tailor a plan to fit your needs. We can get you organized before your move and settled into your new home with our team of experts!

 

 

 

Best Time of Year to Move

 

Summer is the time of year when many people choose to move to a new home.  One of the major reasons people decide to move during the summer is to allow their children to finish up their school year before making a major change.  Yes, moving is definitely a major change!   Moving during the summer break allows families to get settled, meet new neighbors, and adjust to their surroundings. 

 

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Another major factor in the move decision could be job related.  However, people may be at the mercy of their new employer and not have much control over the time of year in which they are able to move.  Even if someone has little control over the time of year in which they move, they may be able manage the day of the week to schedule the physical move.  According to Money Saving Ideas the best time to move is early in the morning, mid-week. Movers are often less busy during the middle of the week, thereby saving their customers the higher fees associated with weekend moves.

 

Regardless of the deciding factor, hiring a reputable move coordinator can help lessen the stress of a move.  Every individual and family dynamic is unique.  Prévu Relocation Concierge Services can discuss the different options and create an individualized plan to turn a relocation into a more comfortable experience for everyone involved.  

 

 

 

 

281-205-7956

Top 5 things to do before moving into a new home.

 

There are so many important things to do when moving. These 5 things top the list as most necessary tasks that will pay off in the long run. 

 

  1. Deep clean: Whether it is a new house or a previously loved one, it will pay off tenfold if you simply have it cleaned before any of your belongings arrive. With a new house there may be paint splatters or dust on every shelf. Even if the builder has had someone clean before you take ownership, do yourself a favor and give it a once over yourself or hire a professional to get into the nitty gritty corners. If it is a previously owned home the same rule applies, even if they cleaned it, you want to be confident that it has been done to your satisfaction. This includes having carpets cleaned if the are not brand new. 
  2. Shelf liner: We love shelf liner, no denying that. It saves your shelves from scratches, moisture damage and is so easy to clean. It is one of those essential pre-move tasks that is so much easier to have done before all of your items are in. We like the ribbed shelf liner because it cushions, protects, and the ribbed texture allows air to circulate, preventing molding, mildewing and odor retention. Also for future resale, scratched and dented shelves and cabinet interiors are a buyer turn-off. 
  3. Paint: This is another task that is so much easier to have done before your items are moved into the home. It can be a big decision to pick colors but if you can, you will save yourself some trouble later to pick them as soon as possible. Even if you are not sure about the final color, go with a nice neutral that will go with the majority of your decor and you can live with for awhile.
  4. Change out locks: This goes without saying but changing out locks from pervious owners is a smart security decision. Many new home builders are using Re-Key or Smart technology locks that can be re-keyed yourself or by using a smart phone. Replacing the screws on the deadbolt to prevent a door from being kicked in is also a wise pre-move in task. Your handyman or locksmith should be able to do this for you or for the DIY’er here is a helpful link.  www.familyhandyman.com/home-security/how-to-reinforce-doors-entry-door-and-lock-reinforcements/view-all
  5. Purge: Before the movers come to pack up your old home, spend some serious time thinking about what you have and what you will use in the new home. There is no reason to spend time and money moving items that you will not use once moved. Donate, sell or trash what you do not want. You will be so much happier on the other end if you do this up front then are stuck with “stuff” you know you do not like or need later.

 

If all of this seems like too much to handle, remember we can oversee and manage each one of these essential pre-move tasks and take the stress off of your plate!

Give Prévu a call today! 
281-205-7956
Prevumove.com

 

 

Employee Spotlight: Kim Olson

 

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Name: Kim Olson

 

Current Position: Marketing Director and Project Manager

 

How long have you been with Prévu? I have been working with Julie since May 2010, since our iOffice days. It was a smooth transition for me as a project manager under the new company Prévu/Move Resource Group name. 

 

Where are you from? Originally from Buffalo, NY but I have been in Cypress, TX since 1993. 

 

What do you enjoy most about what you do? I absolutely love taking the stress of moving away from my clients. At the end of the day, nothing is more rewarding them seeing them happy and being told “Thank you, we could not have done it without you!”

 

What makes Prévu unique compared to previous work experiences? Previous jobs I was in more of a sales role, so the marketing part of what I do is similar. However the flexibility that this job provides myself and my family has been a true blessing. I am able to work from home often and be available when my children need me. The project management side of my job is like nothing I have ever done before but really enjoy it. I feel I took to it quickly and believe my psychology degree and calm personality helped equip me for working with people in a variety of stressful move situations.

 

What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job? Of the marketing part, it is getting the word out about what we do and how we can help people who are moving. Of the project manager side, it would be to take as much stress off the client as possible. 

 

What is the most challenging part of your job? Being creative and staying on task. I tend to get brain fog with marketing but am so thankful for an incredible team that I can confer with to get back on track. The biggest challenge with the project management part would be trying to read the clients mind. No two jobs are the same and there are not always black and white answers toward how to do things. Using training, logic and experience to determine who, what, when, where, why and how we do what we do, is a fun challenge. 

 

What are your thoughts about your coworkers? They are amazing! The hard work and dedication to what they do is so admirable! 

 

Favorite organizational item? Bins. I love everything sorted and put away. The clear containers from The Container Store are amazing, especially for the pantry. I like to see things but not have stuff falling off the shelf. Everything in its place! 

 

What are your top 3 tips for someone moving? 1. Hire us! 2. Label everything. 3. If you have children, get someone else to watch them.

 

What are your hobbies? I have 2 little boys so they are pretty much my world. When I have time to “hobby” I enjoy doing crafty things, gardening, getting outside (camping, hiking, checking out new parks), baking, just to name a few.

 

What was the best vacation you ever took? I have been on some amazing trips but I have to say the best one was when my husband and I took a 3 week road trip and traveled up through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho (where we stayed for 10 days on my Aunt/Uncle’s property, which is 300 acres in the mountains) then back down through Utah and Arizona. It was amazing! So glad we did that trip before we had kids! 

 

What’s your favorite coffee/food joint in your neighborhood? I love Mexican food and to me Gringo’s is the best. I also love Salata if I am in a healthier mood.

 

What was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? When we were with iOffice we did a project for a cancer research facility. They had lab equipment I had never seen before and the most interesting part was the mice. They had rooms dedicated to the breeding, raising and testing of these rats and mice. It was so fascinating. 

 

What is one thing you couldn’t live without? My cellphone! I seriously do not know how people made it through the day without it. It is my lifeline to friends/family, entertainment, map, fitness tracker, news source, weather center, social media avenue and occasionally I call someone with it.

 

What is your favorite show, movie or book? I am a binge TV show watcher. I do not get to watch a lot of TV but have a tendency to watch only 1 show until I watch every episode. My husband and I loved Dexter, Jessica Jones and we are big Walking Dead fans. Right now my husband is finishing up his graduate studies which means his evening are busy with school work so I am able to watch my “girl shows”. I have been into Fixer Upper and Call the Midwife lately. 

 

Tell us about your family: I have been married to my amazing husband for almost 9 years, we have 2 incredible sons. We have some family close by that we see regularly and my parents live the neighborhood over so we are very close with them. The rest of our family is all out of state but we try to see them as often as we can. 

 

Ladies Night Out

 

Our team had a fun filled evening of a good food, games, laughter and getting to know each other better. Due to the nature of what we do, the chance of us all being on the same project at the same time is very minimal. So nights like last night are so beneficial for us all to be able to relax and get to know each other on a personal level. Some of us have been working with each other for a long time but we are steadily growing as a company and have added new members to the team.  It was great to be able to hang out with (almost) everyone! 

 

One of the best parts of the night was getting to celebrate and honor the reason we are all together, our sweet boss, Julie on her Birthday!

 

julie's Birthday team dinner

 

We played a couple of hilarious rounds of Have You Ever? (the edited PC edition!), Catch Phrase and ended the night with a serious game of giant Jenga! 

 

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What our clients say

 

Nothing makes us happier and proud to do what we do then a satisfied and happy client. We strive to provide service better then any they have ever received and are honored when we receive such positive feedback. 

 

“Julie Walker recently assisted me with a high profile client’s move. She was exceptionally professional and it was one of the smoothest moves I have every been a part of. I left everything up to Julie and ALL was taken care of efficiently, effectively, and (most importantly) on-time. WOW is all I can say. If you are looking for assistance with moving yourself or a client, CALL HER! I look forward to working with her again and can not speak enough great things about how easy she made it.” -Gina S.

 

“I recently moved to the Houston area and I was overwhelmed with the thought of unpacking alone. I relocated due to a new job and didn’t want to spend my time unpacking while working. The process was easy and the people were very professional. My entire house was unpacked and set up in over a day. I had time to focus on more important issues and do some sightseeing stress free. I would highly recommend this service!!” -Anthony M.

 

Cathy comment card

If it is hard to read, the above comment card says “The ladies (Janice, Jackie, Carolyn, Cheryl) saved me DAYS of work! Worth the price to have luxury of time in my schedule. They came equipped with everything needed to tackle the project. So easy to work with. I will call again if need be…” -Kathy I.

“The team was knowledgable, resourceful and very responsive – it was an excellent experience.” – Dr. K.

“They had great ideas about how to organize things, I was very grateful for their services and I will refer your team to everyone I know.  I can’t imagine moving any other way”. – Sandy L.

 

Employee Spotlight: Julie Walker

 

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Name: Julie  Walker 

Current Position:
 President

How long have you been with Prévu?
Since 2006 (I sort of started the company)

Where are you from?
Houston!

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
#1, Hearing the words of our clients “Are you for real? “ and “This is amazing, thank you!” Secondly, working with my incredible team, they humble me and I’m so grateful for all of them.


What makes Prévu unique or special compared to previous work experiences?
This is an easy question. Owning a company is new to me. I’m committed to being the leader and employer that I always wanted to have and I’ve learned it’s not always an easy job!


What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job?
  Making good decisions. My decisions affect our clients, the staff and the future of the company. That’s a huge responsibility.


What is the most challenging part of your job?
  Making good decisions! Some days it’s very difficult because you know you may make somebody unhappy but you know it’s for the greater good of the client or the company.


Favorite organizational item?
I love bamboo drawer organizers and ribbed shelf liner. Really, anything that breaks up large spaces into smaller spaces so that they are completely organized. 


What are your top 3 tips for someone moving?
 1) Try and look at it from a high level, approach it as you would a project at work (with less emotion); 2) Get as organized as you can before a move, once the movers arrive it’s mass chaos point forward (unless you hire us); 3) Seriously, hire us and get rid of the stress!


What are your hobbies?
Right now it’s our “fixer upper” lake house. It was built in 1983 and hasn’t had an update since then and needs a lot of work.


What was the best vacation you ever took?
We love St. John, USVI. It’s our get-away place, we try and go once a year to really get away from it all.


What’s your favorite coffee/food joint in the neighborhood where you’re now working?
We are in Tomball and I love going to all the shops “downtown”. Cisco’s Salsa Company is one of our favorites.

 

What are you personal interests / hobbies? I have arrived at the time in life where I want to spend as much time as I can with my grandchildren. They are the most amazing blessing to me and I can’t get enough of them.

 

What was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?  I have to say that for me, moving the labs at Rice University into the Brockman Hall for Physics was incredibly challenging and one that I still shake my head at and wonder “how on earth did we do that?” We are getting ready to move a new client that partners with NASA on the space station and that will be another very cool project. Stay tuned!

 

What is one thing you couldn’t live without? My toothbrush.

 

What is your biggest pet peeve? Bad table manners make me nuts.

 

What is your favorite movie and book? Movie: “Harvey” with Jimmy Stewart, Book: I have to say my Bible.

 

Tell us about your family: I’m not sure I have enough space to do that. Let’s just say my mothers’ side is (literally) the Hatfields and my father’s side is the “proper” side. I had the best of both worlds. I grew up learning how to have a lot of fun and also how to drink coffee from a demitasse cup with your pinky finger out. Our family was close on both sides and my life was filled with cousins, grandparents and friends and we enjoyed the little things that matter. My mother taught us about faith, being truthful and that we were accountable for our actions. Both of my grandfathers worked hard to “make a name” for our family. One retiring as a CEO of a company with only a 7th grade education, the other started an oilfield supply business back in 1959 which is now a multi million dollar company. My brother and I learned that you have to work hard, be honest and trustworthy and that your word means something.

 

Houston Housing Update

 

January 2016

The Houston Association of REALTORS® has released December 2015 and YTD 2015 home sales results. A few items of note:

  • December 2015 sales compared to December 2014 continued the downward trend that we saw in October and November. Sales were off just under 10% compared to a year ago.
  • 2015 in total was a strong year for home sales, second only to 2014 in Houston’s history. 73,724 single-family homes were sold in 2015 compared to 75,535 sold in 2014.
  • The average sales price in 2015 was $280,290 vs. $270,182 in 2014, up 3.7%; median sales price was $212,000 vs. $199,000, up 6.5%.
  • Months of inventory went from 2.5 in December 2014 to 3.2 in December 2015.

 

Find the complete report at: http://www.har.com/content/mlsprint/?m=1&y=16

 

 

Barry’s Take

Home sales slowed in the 4th quarter of 2015. We’ve been expecting this adjustment due to the significant downturn in oil prices and the responsive cut-backs of oil-producing companies. Despite the Q4 slowing, 2015 was a strong year in home sales, and home values have remained positive. That the average sales price was up by 3.7% shows even stronger when you note that the 2015 Consumer Price Index for the Houston area was a mere 0.4%. Those increased prices were real gains in value.

 

So, what do we expect for 2016? Well, I, like you, cannot foretell the future. However, there are a few things that we do know. 2016 will be another tough year for the oil & gas industry. Oil, currently hovering around the $30 mark, will likely stabilize but is not expected to begin its uphill climb for a while, and will need to get above $50/barrel for the latest production technologies to kick back in (i.e. shale production). Even then, companies will be cautious… slow to respond with renewed exploration. The Greater Houston Partnership does project an increase in jobs through 2016, driven by other industries such as health care. Despite the job cuts in oil & gas, there is still an influx of population into the Houston Metro, and there is still an undersupply of single-family homes.

 

Home sales will continue to be lower than a year ago, but there is no expectation that the bottom will drop out since the market is still undersupplied. Homes will continue to take longer to sell, but the 3.2 months of inventory is still below that national average of 5 months. Home values appear to be holding up. Mortgage rates have been fluctuating below the 4% mark, indicating that the Fed rate increase has not had a substantive impact on them. In Houston Metro, the outlook is still positive for those buying or selling homes.

 

Now is the time of year when people begin to think about the possibility of moving. If you, friends or family members are in that frame of mind, please get in touch with me. I’ll be giving you a call soon to see if there is some way in which I may serve you.

 

With appreciation,

Barry

Barry Hart, REALTOR®
Keller Williams Signature Realty
832 859 4725
JBHart80@gmail.com

Employee Spotlight: Susette McSwain

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Name:  Susette McSwain

Current Position: Office Manager

How long have you been with Prévu? 20 Months

Where are you from? Dickinson, Texas (little town between Houston & Galveston)

What do you enjoy most about what you do? Managing the inside aspects of the business to make everything flow smoothly, for the most part. Plus, the ability to wear different hats.

What makes Prévu unique or special compared to previous work experiences? My boss and co-workers, hands down! We also have some amazing customers!

What do you feel is the most important aspect of your job? Keeping the inner workings of the office running so our team can execute their jobs efficiently.

What is the most challenging part of your job?  Challenge is a good word for me. So, the ability to wear different hats is a great challenge. I don’t perceive it as a negative… 

Describe the work environment? Respectful, kind, uplifting, courteous, fun! Working at Prévu feels like I am “home.”

Favorite organizational item? Plastic boxes – labeled properly.

What are your top 3 tips for someone moving? 1. Hire Prévu! 2. Get rid of what you know you do not need before moving – seriously, don’t pay someone to pack and move things you know you aren’t ever going to use again. 3. Immediately start setting aside the items for the “Open First” box so that it is all ready to go and be available at your new home.

What are your hobbies? Reading, sports viewing, family time, being with friends, exploring my surrounding. 

What was the best vacation you ever took? Even though my husband and son weren’t along for the trip, it is Italy. I saw my daughter’s college choir perform at St. Peter’s Basilica on Mother’s Day. Really awesome Mother’s Day gift.

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?  My cell phone (I know it sounds shallow, but I can access everything through that little hand held device.

What is your favorite movie and book? “Shawshank Redemption” and book is “To Kill a Mockingbird”

 

 

Clearing Out the Holiday Clutter

 

We all know the New Year brings on new resolutions, some of which are unreasonable thereby causing us to ditch the commitment by about the third week of January.  But one resolution which can be easily executed and completed in one day is organizing your Christmas décor as you prepare to store it until next Christmas. Tradition states the tree, trimmings, and other Christmas décor is supposed to stay in place until after the 12th day of Christmas, which is January 5th.   However, from a practical standpoint, most people try to have the Christmas decoration cleaned out and tucked away earlier.   For those who have children, it is always nice to have our homes back to normal before everyone returns to school and work once the holiday break is done.

 
Whatever practice you follow for taking down your holiday decorations, we have some great tips for getting your house back in order and ready for the New Year.
 

The key to storing your Christmas decorations is organizing them as you remove and box them up. Home Storage Solutions has great tips for purging, organizing, and storing your decorations for safekeeping and easy retrieval next year.   Some of the suggestions are as follows:

  •  Declutter and get rid of decorations you no longer use or want.
  • Assess the decorations left after the purge and place them in categories.
  • Gather the right storage solutions. 
  • Organize the items by size and type. 
  • Store with boxes clearly labeled for easy access next holiday season.

 

There are easy to follow suggestions and details on the Home Storage Solutions site. 

And if you are feeling especially adventurous here is a list of 200 things to throw away and get your life more organized for the new year.

 
As you enter into 2016, our team at Prevu wishes you a most wonderful 2016! 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest for more helpful tips throughout the year!