Monthly Archives: August 2016

Breaking Up: A Guide To Moving Out & Moving On

Great article from the Huffington Post for anyone moving after a break-up – be it a significant other of a year or spouse of several decades.

A 20-Something’s Guide To Moving Out & Moving On

Refinery29 Refinery29: For a more stylish and creative life.


So you’re moving on the heels of a breakup. Please accept my virtual hug. Lord knows I’ve been there.

Over the last 14 years, I’ve lived in 11 different apartments. Three of those moves were inspired by a breakup with someone I shared a home with. By now, I have moving down to a science. But it never feels any less taxing. And it’s worse when there’s a breakup involved.

First comes the dreaded division of the belongings. I once came home to an apartment where every imaginable object was covered with Post-it notes reading, “This is mine.” Who knew that two humans could have such impassioned feelings about the origins of a paperback copy of The Artist’s Way? As if that weren’t the worst thing imaginable, next you must package your worldly possessions and schlep them all over creation. Like me, you may feel like a dejected turtle, balancing your home on your back. Until you started packing, you had no idea you owned so many books, so many sneakers, so many half-used hair products.

At long last, you and your boxes land in your new space. Your hands have never looked so dirty. You have no idea where your toothbrush is. Occasionally, it dawns on you, like a bad dream you can’t escape: This is where you live now. Just you. Alone.

In truth, there are plenty of positives to starting over, many of which grow apparent with time. In the meantime, here are nine things I’ve found make the process a little easier. I hope you may find some comfort in them.

>Moving is the worst. And the best. It can signal a fresh start or a devastating end. Whatever your style, wherever you settle, at the end of day, the most important thing is you find a place to call home. Check out more from our Get The F Out moving package here.

Illustrations by Natalia Spotts

Illustrations by Natalia Spotts


This sounds obvious, but it can be hard to remember. Whenever your heart is creeping toward your throat, take a moment to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. You are okay. This awful moment, like all other moments, shall pass. While you’re at it, get yourself a mantra. I spent the entirety of my last move repeating the phrase, “Life is easy and fun.” I whispered it when I found myself buried in the midst of a fortress of boxes. I muttered it when my movers attempted to squeeze my table around a narrow, twisty staircase. Did it actually make it fun? No. I mean, is moving ever fun? But I promise, it did make it feel easier.


Plan Accordingly

The minute the movers left, I felt how very alone I was. I could not reach the high closet shelf, I could not lift the heavy thing, I hadn’t the faintest clue how to hang things using an anchor. Now I stand by this motto: No newly single person is an island. You will notice your partner’s absence when you encounter any job he or she would have helped with. So get backup ahead of time. Call your friends to have an unpacking party. Hire a handyman. A good handyman will be your new best friend. Not only will you never worry about your curtains/bookshelf/TV/mirror crashing to the ground, you’ll feel empowered that you got the job done right.



Look at your moving experience as a tremendous exercise in clarity. Because it is. In life, we’re so often asked to compromise, to bend and conform to the wills of others. But setting up a solo space is an amazing opportunity to figure out what the heck it is you really want, not just from your home but from your life. My last move was the most sudden (and stressful) I’ve ever had, but it forced me to learn to be mindful. By slowing down and listening to myself, I realized it was time to make other changes, too. Nine months later, I’ve changed jobs, am far more active, and am all the better for it. So sit back and enjoy the space. (I’m talking about mental space, but if you’re lucky enough to have ample physical space, more power to you!) Ask yourself: How am I feeling? What do I need right now? Listen closely for the answer.


Before your move, pack one box full of things that make you feel good — bath products, your softest shirt, a book that lifts your spirits. (Oprah’s What I Know For Sure or Heather Havrilesky’s How To Be A Person In The World are two favorites.) Label it clearly, and unpack it first. This way, when you’re going through the disheveled organizing phase, you can breathe a little easier, knowing your immediate needs are taken care of.





There is power in editing down your belongings and starting with a blank canvas. In the immediate emotional aftermath, feel free to toss or hide any belongings that trigger memories. Does an object feel laden with bad energy or complicated emotions? Marie Kondo that right out of your life. Do NOT, however, put said items in a box and ship them to your ex. After one breakup, I received a giant shipment of photos, mementos, and even a stuffed alligator purchased for our never-to-be future child. A dear friend helped me sort through it, to minimize emotional impact. The alligator lives with said friend to this day.



In my new space, I painted the walls a dark navy, something we could never agree on in our old shared space. It is, by far, my favorite décor decision, mostly because it feels so much like me. Celebrate all the stuff you can get away with now. Proudly display your burgeoning tarot-card collection, your color-coded bookshelf, or your borderline creepy shrine to your cat. (You can always hide it once you start dating again.) While you’re at it, don’t temper your behavior. If you’re obsessively neat, revel in the way all the labels in the medicine cabinet can face forward. If you’re naturally slovenly, make little piles all over your space and bask in the mess. Wear sweatpants or hot pants, or no pants at all.



There will be feelings. This is okay. When I moved into my solo space, I missed things about my partner that I never anticipated: the way his feet reminded me of Fred Flintstone’s when they smacked against the floor, how he’d leave a glass of water near the bed and never, ever drink it. I was suddenly tormented by the way the toilet seat was always, always down. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. The emotions will come, and eventually they will pass.





The night before I moved into my new place, I hosted a painting pizza party. My friends and I painted the walls of my new living room so that upon my official arrival, it already felt like a place that was touched by people I love. Likewise, you can throw a decorating soirée. Host a housewarming. Invite a friend over to watch The Bachelorette every week. Convince your out-of-town buddy to visit. Whatever you do, fill your new space with positive nouns — support, warmth, laughter. It will feel like home in no time.




If all else fails, remember this quote from the inimitable Martha Beck: “Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact.” Loneliness, while uncomfortable, isn’t actually a bad thing. It’s just further evidence that you are a person, bound for future happiness. It may feel crappy, but you’ve got this. Congratulations on your new beginning. One day not too far from now, life will be fun and easy again. I promise.

By: Caroline Donofrio

Homeselling Tips: Attract Real Buyers, Sell Quickly

You want your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professional wants to sell your home quickly and at the highest price possible and in the Alexandria and greater Northern Virginia area, many think it is easy as pie. If your REALTOR makes the home selling process look that easy, then you know you have hired the right professional for the job! They are getting the job done for you with the least amount of hassle. One of the key things any good agent needs to do is make sure your home must is exposed to qualified buyers who are serious about finding a home. This is a basic step, no matter if your house is in Alexandria, Virginia or on Maui!

What do serious buyers look like? They are ready to buy and show it by getting prequalified by a lender and knowing their price range. They have criteria to meet, including likes and dislikes. They have a moving date in mind. They’re represented by a real estate agent. They’ve already eliminated homes using the Internet and your home is on the short list. They can make a solid offer on the right home today.House for sale

Serious buyers aren’t nosy neighbors, open house explorers, or people who can’t or won’t make a realistic offer. Serious buyers won’t waste your time because they don’t want to lose the opportunity to buy your home to another buyer.

Your listing agent’s job is to network, advertise, and market to make serious buyers aware of your home. How attractive your home is to buyers is up to you. Here are five ways to help your agent attract buyers to your home.

  1. Verify market prices with your agent. Price your home for today’s market reality.
  2. Stage your home to best advantage. Declutter, depersonalize, clean it, paint it, and enhance curb appeal with fresh landscaping.
  3. Fix everything that’s a problem. No leaks, chips, smells. Move-in ready condition is what most buyers want. Don’t give buyers room to argue price due to condition.
  4. Do something extra for your home. Some updating, fresh paint, new appliances, or new countertops can work wonders.
  5. Be a serious seller. Just as a serious buyer is ready to buy, show you’re ready to sell by offering your home at an attractive price, being flexible about moving dates and other terms, and making your home available for viewing with their agents.

If you are considering putting your house on the market, give us a call and we will be glad to assist. No worries if you are outside the Washington, DC metro area, we will be happy to help you find the right agent in your market.

Homeselling Tips: Four Ways to Price Your Home to Sell

Four Ways to Price Your Home To Sell

Is your home really worth your asking price? The best way to answer that question is to consider the same criteria that homebuyers do: market conditions, location, condition and price.

  1. Market conditions: Smart buyers hire a real estate professional to help them navigate market conditions—whether their city, neighborhood and price range is in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and what strategies to employ to get the best home possible for their money. The greater the inventory, the more room buyers have to negotiate.
  2. Location: Buyers narrow their searches to neighborhoods within their price ranges. They look at your home and its competitors and choose the one they perceive to be the best value.
  3. Condition: Your competition is not only other similar homes in your area, but what buyers could get if they purchased brand-new. Your buyer is comparing size, number of bedrooms and baths, amenities, updates, views, landscaping and décor. The closer you can put your home to move-in readiness, the higher the price buyers will pay.
  4. Price: Price your home to get immediate and serious offers. You can’t put a price on everything, but many features such as fine workmanship, room flow and convenient storage are simply worth more to buyers. A buyer may compromise on a neighborhood, or they may pick a home in less than perfect condition, but only if the price is right.

Most importantly, trust your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professional to show you how to make your home the best choice in any market.