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Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist

Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist

Moving into a new home can be a very exciting time for you and your family. But the job’s not done until the old house is empty and clean, and the new house is set up and ready to go. Cleaning the old house doesn’t have to be a dreaded task, though.

This moving cleaning list will help you get your old house in tip-top shape—so you can look back, smile, and move on without regrets. For the most thorough clean, move down this list in order.

Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist


  • Remove any trash and cobwebs.
  • Clean windows, blinds, and mirrors.
  • Dust light fixtures, closets, baseboards, windowsills, and shelves.
  • Spot clean walls, doors, trim, and shelves.
  • Vacuum or steam clean floors. Dust ceiling fan and fixtures.
  • Remove any nails, and repair holes with spackle.

Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist

Laundry Room

  • Remove any trash and cobwebs.
  • Clean sink, windows, and exterior of washer and dryer.
  • Use vacuum or extendable duster to remove lint from vents.
  • Dust baseboards, windowsills, and shelves.
  • Spot clean walls, doors, trim, and shelves.
  • Vacuum or steam clean floor.
  • If dryer is removed, block off vent to keep bugs/animals out.

Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist

Living Room

  • Remove any trash and cobwebs.
  • Clean windows and blinds.
  • Dust light fixtures, stair rails, baseboards, and windowsills.
  • Vacuum or steam clean floor.
  • Remove any nails, and repair holes with spackle.
  • Dust ceiling fan and fixtures.
  • Clean light switches and outlets.

Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist

Kitchen and Dining Room

  • Dust baseboards, windowsills, shelves, and behind appliances.
  • Deep clean the sink (including hardware) and appliances.
  • Clean and disinfect countertops and floors.
  • Quick clean cabinets and drawers.
  • Wipe down pantry shelves and floor.
  • Spot clean walls, doors, trim, and shelves.
  • Clean light switches and outlets.

Moving? Here’s the Ultimate Home Cleaning Checklist

Tips for Preventing Homeowner Identity Fraud

Anyone can be a victim of homeowner identity fraud, including wire, mortgage, and title insurance fraud. The financial implications can be damaging and long-lasting.

Use these tips to protect yourself from being scammed and defrauded.

Tips for Preventing Homeowner Identity Fraud

Wire fraud

Wire fraud usually happens during the closing phase of a home purchase. Homebuyers are typically busy with their last-minute to-do lists and unwittingly become victims to wire fraud activity.

Phishing and spoofing
The scammers scour the internet for pending real estate listings and collect as much personal data as possible about the real estate agent and seller. They pose as someone involved in the transaction by setting up a valid email address that looks similar to the real one making it easy to miss—it may contain a dot or an extra letter that is not immediately noticed. Consequently, buyers may divulge their personal and financial information. You can take preventive measures at the onset by obtaining the contact information of all parties involved in the transaction. Reference this information later to sidestep this type of identity fraud.

Database hacking
Cybercriminals are adept at capturing and identifying current real estate transactions and information about buyers and sellers. They hack into online programs used by real estate agents, title companies, and mortgage lenders, opening the door for them to track closings. Once the hackers have all the information they need, it makes it easier for them to masquerade as the real estate agent, title company, or lender, swooping in on unsuspecting homebuyers.

Wiring instructions changes
Do not reply to emails trying to confirm your wiring instructions, even if they appear to be coming from the agent, lender, or title company. You may not realize that the email is fraudulent, so be sure to verbally confirm the wiring instructions with your title company and be suspicious of calls from an unknown person who claims to be part of the transaction.

Mortgage fraud

Mortgage fraud can come in many forms, but homebuyers must pay particular attention to predatory lending practices, hacking schemes, mortgage reduction scams, or promises of foreclosure rescue.

Home refinancing
Various database systems make it easy to see who is behind on mortgage payments or who is in pre-foreclosure—this can be a goldmine for hackers who prey on distressed homeowners. These scammers will send letters, emails, or even call or text to offer their services to provide relief by refinancing your loan with low-interest rates. Their intent is to obtain your personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, and social security number, which may be used for their own purposes or to sell to another entity for profit.

Forced refinancing
This scam is an attempt to steal your personal information and pose as the lender by sending you a letter that appears to be legitimate since it includes your mortgage loan number and amount. It instructs you to call a certain number because your loan must be refinanced. They may even ask you to fill out a form or wire money to start the process.

Predatory Lending
Be wary of lenders who will not divulge their lending fees to you, try to sell you unnecessary products that are added to your mortgage payment (called loan packing), or who offers to set up an automatic payment plan for you which can result in them forcing payments from your account, leaving you with overdraft fees.

Tips for Preventing Homeowner Identity Fraud

Home title fraud

Home title fraud occurs when the ownership of your home is fraudulently transferred out of your name and the scammer replaces their name on the deed. They use this updated deed to defraud lenders by using your home as collateral or selling your home without your knowledge. Although not overly common, occurrences have increased over the past five years as personal information continues to be more accessible online.

Primary targets for home title fraud include owners of vacation homes and investment properties that are not regularly monitored (have someone regularly check your unoccupied home), and the elderly. It should be noted that because these signatures are fraudulent, your property cannot legally be stolen.

Preventing homeowner identity fraud

Securing your identity is the first step to protecting yourself from wire, mortgage, and home title fraud. You should also secure your digital devices by installing firewalls and antivirus software.

Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) 
Setting up a 2FA verifies that you are the person accessing an account. Leaving this dual-factor authentication on adds a layer of security to prevent hackers from stealing your information.

Create strong passwords
Although 2FA will supersede any attempt for scammers to use your passwords, it’s still a good idea to create strong passwords for that extra tier of protection. Be sure your passwords are not tied to your personal information, that they’re longer in length, have a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, include numbers and symbols, and don’t use complete words.

Monitor your mortgage status
Do not ignore any communication that appears to be coming from your mortgage company. Sporadically check that your mortgage information has not changed, and if something doesn’t seem right, investigate it.

Subscribe to a monthly credit monitoring service
Credit bureaus including Experian, Transunion, and Equifax, will alert you of any new activity on your account. If something appears suspicious, you can contact them immediately.

Be wary of unknown email addresses
Phishing and spoofing scams obtain your personal information by luring you in with fraudulent tactics via texting, phone calls, emails, and harmful links. Scrutinize email addresses and do not download unknown links and attachments. Never give out your personal information when contacted by unfamiliar people or businesses.

Be mindful of your social media shares
You can unwittingly provide scammers with personal information on your social media pages, such as your birthdate, family member names, or even the schools you have attended. This leaves an open door for them to guess passwords and even usernames.

Tips for Preventing Homeowner Identity Fraud

5 Takeaways for preventing home identity fraud:

  1. If you discover you have been a victim of fraud, you must act quickly by immediately contacting your bank, lender, or title company to freeze the transaction.
  2. Protect your personal information—install software to protect your digital devices and make sure you don’t tie your information to your passwords.
  3. Never open links or attachments or provide personal information to unrecognizable or questionable
  4. Before wiring money, call your bank or title company for verbal confirmation.
  5. Be wary of refinancing scams—if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Design Trends to Follow in 2023

Design Trends to Follow in 2023

Every year, new concepts take the interior design world by storm, with design experts conjuring approaches and fresh new ways to design a home. As we say goodbye to trends like macramé, decorative crystals, and mass-produced “multicultural” knickknacks, look and plan ahead with this design outlook for 2023.

Design Trends to Follow in 2023

Design Trends to Follow in 2023

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor

No matter where you live, or in what type of home, there’s excitement about decking the halls for the holiday season. And, even though you may or may not choose boughs of holly as part of your home’s holiday decor, there are many things you can do—and should avoid doing—to achieve the look you want.

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor


Plan ahead.

Get a jumpstart on planning your holiday decor by starting the process in late October or early November. Otherwise, you may quickly find that items or colors you want are long out of stock. Begin planning at least a month earlier, and jot down notes as you go.

Bring the outside inside.

Use twigs, pine cones, and even wood as accessory pieces in spaces like your living room or dining room to weave a thread between the inside and outside. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, this theme will work even better.

Make scents of it.

Speaking of the outdoors, the smell of pine—usually from a real tree—often elicits thoughts of the holidays, as do other classic scents like cranberry, vanilla, and peppermint. Perhaps no other time of year is so associated with the olfactory sense, so use that to your advantage.

Walk the fine line between too much and too little.

Can anything really be too much during the holiday season? Uh, yeah. And it’s usually easy to spot: for example if there are more inflatables than lawns showing in your yard. On the opposite end of the spectrum, going for a minimalist vibe can look quite classy, but it can also look quite empty. To prevent the museum look, choose three or four decorative pieces per room.

Choose a theme and stick to it.

This doesn’t mean that the theme must be the same every year. In my house, for example, we have a history of alternating multicolored lights and white lights on the tree and then expanding that theme through the rest of the room. Likewise, you can choose to run the theme or color palette throughout your home, or you can choose a different one for each room or each floor. Keep in mind, however, that if you choose to decorate room by room, it will be better if the rooms are separated rather than having an open-plan layout.

Transition your furnishings.

You don’t need a complete overhaul for the holidays (other than perhaps rearranging your furniture); adding touches to the holiday will do the trick. For example, you can add some throw pillows in textured fabric to your living room couch that match your overall holiday decor, or swap out the neutral duvet on your bed for a cozy, plaid flannel one.

Focus on tree spacing.

There are two different spacing considerations if you have a tree. First, don’t crowd your tree by placing it too close to furniture or the fireplace (especially if it’s real since you’ll need to water it). Also, make sure it’s in a prominent place, such as in a corner or by the main wall, and you’ll get bonus design points if you can also see it from the outside.

When it comes to what wraps the tree, the garland, and the lights, take your time to ensure they are balanced from top to bottom. The dreaded “tree gaps”—seemingly cavernous holes where there are no decorations and no lights— are real

And then there are the ornaments and other trinkets, which, if not spaced properly, can look like a hot mess. If you are going minimal with one to three colors, such as gold and red ornaments with white lights, separating the reds and golds is easy to do. If your ornaments have a wide array of colors, your primary focus should be making sure that like colors, hues, and styles are distanced from one another.

The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Decor


Overdo scents.

The downside of aromas is that, depending on what you use, they can be downright overwhelming. Even one peppermint candle can soon overpower your senses and your home. If possible, put natural items, such as the aforementioned pine cones or peppermint leaves, in a bowl or jar, or create a DIY potpourri of your own liking.

Limit your color palette.

Which two colors make you think of Christmas? If you answered “red and green,” congratulations—you and just about everyone else answered the same. (The same would apply to the expected colors of Hanukkah.) It’s all right if you love classic holiday color combos; they’re awesome. Just don’t hesitate to add a splash of another complementary color here and there, or, if you’re feeling daring, go for a completely different color scheme, like a monochrome pink or purple palette. If you can dream it, you can create it.

Lose sight of your own tastes.

It’s tempting to buy decor when you’re out shopping, and it’s obviously OK to do so. However, to emphasize your style, consider personalizing your overall aesthetic by adding a DIY craft, such as a homemade garland, here and there to display your own personal touch. Here’s a fun way to take personalization to the max: purchase a meaningful ornament every year at a vacation destination. Your tree will become a scrapbook of memories.

Forget about your doorways.

What’s one of the first things that people see when they walk into your home? A doorway leading from one room into another, often through a hallway. Make your first impression eye-catching by framing such doorways with lights or cards attached to a green garland. If you choose the former, make sure it matches the rest of your surrounding decor.

Leave everything up too long.

For many people, the holiday look will get as stale as an old fruitcake after several weeks. The natural cutoff for Christmas is usually after the New Year (new beginnings, after all), although it may vary based on your family or faith tradition. Keeping any winter holiday going until late January will definitely make your home look tired—and make you look like you’re desperate to cling to the holidays.

The holiday season is one of the best times of year to transform your home, both inside and out. By following these few simple principles, you can achieve a cohesive, memorable look that everybody will love and create inspiration for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our past, present and future clients. Woodside-Aiken Realty is thankful for our fantastic team of real estate agents, the Aiken community, and the opportunity to help families and individuals take the next step in their real estate journey.

If you are looking for a home in the Aiken area, reach out to us today at 803-643-1899. Let our real estate experience work for you!