Applying for a Mortgage

Mortgage Application Prep and Tips

Applying for a mortgage can be a daunting task, particularly if you are a first time home buyer. Having a heads up can go a long way!

Here are some of the common things most folks know to consider;

  • They check your finances
  • Downpayment amount
  • Employment verification
  • Pre-approval amount

Beyond the basics, there are a few things you can do if you are getting the process going for applying for a mortgage.

5 Tips to a Smooth Mortgage Application Process

applying for a mortgageStop Shopping. Prospective mortgage companies will be evaluating your finances, which includes bank accounts and credit card debt. Avoid large purchases particularly if you have already started the application process. You may need to hold off on purchasing cars, furniture and the likes. Your debt to income ratio is incredibly important!

Get Tax Returns Together. Dig out 2-3 years of tax returns (May need more if you have had large fluctuations in income). You may need to involve your tax preparer to provide PDF copies, but it’s likely your mortgage company will want to see income trends for historical years.

Individually Employed or SMB? Get your boots on it’s about to get muddy.  For individually employed folks, small businesses and the likes, you may need to go the extra mile. On top of tax returns, profit and loss statements, balance sheets and corporate filings, you may need to furnish letters of intent from your clients as well as show adequate time in business.

Shop Rates and Mortgage Companies This can get tricky. Once you start the pre-approval process, you will have your credit ran. Getting multiple pre-approvals can be detrimental since it shows multiple credit report fetches. Have a good idea of where your credit stands and do some preliminary leg work to get an idea on rates before you commit to a mortgage company. Think about the terms (15 or 30 years?), interest rates, penalties for pay off or extra payments, etc.

Audit Your Bank Accounts The mortgage company will be combing through your bank accounts to ensure every penny is accounted for. If your have large cash deposits (Say wedding gifts, etc) you will need to provide an explanation. Being prepared ahead of time can save headache and scrambling at the last minute. Avoid moving money around and keep things as basic as possible.


Buying a home is a stressful, exciting and amazing process! Having a realistic outlook on applying for a mortgage can go a long way. Happy house hunting!

Moving a Collector

How to Plan for Moving an Accumulator

For many of us, we have moved ourselves or have come across the challenge of helping a family member or friend move. This scenario can get exponentially more complicated if you or that loved one is an accumulator of all of the things. From old newspapers to boxes and bags, trinkets to garage sale finds – Having to move when you have copious amounts of unorganized things can get complicated. There is a lot of work that goes into successfully planning for it!

Whatever you may call it, accumulating, pack ratting, hoarding or the likes, getting organized and providing a helpful hand can be a steep hill to climb. We’ve seen it all, and of course have families and friends of our own! Check out our tips for getting a less than organized house, packed up to move.


Tips to Move and Organize for an Accumulator


Time is the most important thing for a complicated move. You must have enough time. Think months, not weeks! Sorting, packing and purging can be an emotional experience and it can take A LOT of time.


Having the proper supplies is essential to keep the process moving. Have packing supplies, boxes, tape, markers, etc.


Designate areas. Clean a room out and start there.

Have the following areas;

  • Keep
  • Toss
  • Donate
  • Gift to XX

Keep the process moving and avoid regret by continually packing up the items that are getting moved, take trips to donate the items being donated and get the garbage out of sight.

Prioritize by keeping in mind items with sentimental value, useful items, important documents, etc. If it is not a useful everyday item, important doc or sentimental then it may be time to part ways!

The End Goal

The goal at the end of the day is to have a manageable move. Whether you plan to DIY or hire help, prep work is likely going to be part of the equation! Parting ways can be difficult, but is a necessity for moving.


DIY Home Inspection Checklist

Planning a Move? Do Your Own Home Inspection to Start

Home inspection is a part of nearly every home sale. If you are planning to put your home on the market, get ready ahead of time by running through a checklist of common inspection items! Preparing and repairing or updating necessary items can save you big in the long run, and will help to avoid delays and issues when it comes time to sell. Get to checking!

Home Inspection Checklist Items to Consider

Outside your home

Roof, siding, soffits Inspect for damage, missing shingles, missing siding panels, etc. All soffits should be properly ventilated.

Driveways and sidewalks Depending on your city code, cracks and sloping my be an issue during a home inspection.

Drainage Proper drainage of your yard, including proper slope away from your foundation and proper direction of gutter downspouts.

Foundation Cracks, shifting or unevenness

Exterior Structures Sheds, garages and barns will all be inspected

Railings and Fences Proper railings for decks and stairs, as well as all fences are inspected

Special considerations: Lead paint, Asbestos, septics and wells Lead paint abatement, asbestos abatement, septic inspections and maintenance records and well functionality would all come under inspection.

Inside your home

Plumbing Proper plumbing, proper drainage, proper water flow and no leaks.

Electrical Proper electrical code including GFCIs and fire / smoke detectors

Walls and Ceilings Inspect for cracks or water spots

Windows and Doors Proper closing as well as window and door quality – Improper closing may indicate foundation or structure issues.

Pests All pests can be concerning in a home inspection, but termites are a special consideration and may require disclosure and treatment records.

HVAC and Air Quality Age and proper working order for all HVAC systems and ductwork.

Mold / Water Damage Inspect for signs of mold or current / old water damage and water stains.

Attic  Proper insulation and ventilation.

Basement Check for moisture, water damage, foundational cracks.

Appliances If included, appliances must function properly

You may also be required to provide age and service records for appliances, septic systems, HVAC systems, water tanks and more. Prepare ahead of time for a smooth home inspection!

Neighborhood Safety Ratings

Checking Neighborhood Safety Before you Move

neighborhood safety ratings

Neighborhood safety ratings can go a long way to influence where you may move, particularly if you have kids. Maybe you are moving across the state or across the country, or maybe you are moving just a few towns away. Either way, it’s important to check out safety information before you move!

It’s important to keep in mind that even the most “Pleasantville” towns can have safety concerns and crime pop up from time to time. Having a realistic outlook, and having an understanding of what you want to deal with and what is a non-negotiable, is critical.

3 Tips For Checking Neighborhood Safety Ratings

Tip 1: Start following the local Facebook page for the police and local government and subscribe to the online papers for the area. Get an idea of crime reports, transparency, news stories and frequent police encounters. You can get a great sense of a community from this!

Tip 2: Use online tools. There are several websites that provide a grading system to gauge neighborhood safety ratings.

Tip 3: Use government registries. Check the sex offender registry and others available in your area.

Scoping out the safety aspects of your new neighborhood can be incredibly important to deciding what areas you want to live in. Whether you are moving for work, relocating your family or downsizing seniors – Safety is a critical aspect of any living situation. Doing a little bit of homework now can save you BIG in the long run! Finding out that trendy new up and coming neighborhood is riddled with crime is a lesson to learn before you make the leap.

If you’re planning a move soon, give us a call! Get a free moving quote today.

Moving Ahead Services Pittsburgh

Announcing Moving Ahead Services Pittsburgh

We are proud and excited to announce the opening of our latest office in Pittsburgh! Our full service, local and long distance moving company office is open, along with storage, junk removal services and more.

Moving Ahead Services Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh office is the 5th office for Moving Ahead Services. This is our first office in Pennsylvania. While we have provided long distance moving for customers going into or coming out of the Steel City area. Now the local office allows us the proper licensing and the ability to serve our customers with their local moving needs.  Our Pittsburgh General Manager is a long standing Moving Ahead Services’ team member, and a local native to the Pittsburgh area.

Choosing Moving Ahead Services for Local and Long Distance Moves

While we may be new to Pittsburgh, we are veterans in the relocation industry. Since our inception in 2005, Moving Ahead Services has grown from completing a few hundred moves annually to now serving thousands of customers each year. We proudly participate in all of the local and national recognition and review platforms, and adhere to the most stringent licensing and insurance standards.

Our team in Pennsylvania is a combination of local professionals. They are passionate about moving and relocation logistics and seasoned professionals from our team in Cleveland.

If you are planning your next big move in or out of the Pittsburgh area, give us a call! (412) 452-1222 or request a free moving quote.

HOA 101

Living with a Homeowners’ Association

HOA or a Homeowner’s Association are more and more common with the rise of housing developments in suburbs all over Ohio. While some developments do not have an HOA, many opt to have an organization to help to operate things smoothly and maintain the look and feel of a neighborhood. Before you buy a home, condo or townhouse in a development with a Homeowners’ Association there are some important things to know!

Movers in Cincinnati

Top 5 HOA Things to Know

  1. You pay for a “membership” fee. If you have a home in a development with a homeowners’ association you will pay a monthly fee. This will typically cover maintenance of common areas like pools and fitness centers, and also may include landscaping and garbage removal fees as well. HOA fees can range from $100 and up depending on the value of your home and the type of development.
  2. Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. These are part of the rules outlined by the homeowners’ association. As a resident, you agree to these rules. These can cover pets, home changes and more.
  3. Bylaws. The HOA bylaws can include rules for home maintenance, rules for holiday decorations, noise ordinances and more. It’s important to know and understand these rules and to make sure the home you are buying is not already in trouble with the HOA.
  4. Meetings. Homeowners’ association meetings are held on a regular basis. If you are considering buying a home or condo, get a meeting minutes copy or actually attend the meeting to see what it is like. These meetings are used to touch base and to reinforce rules and address concerns.
  5. Financial Statements and Records. A Homeowners’ Association must disclose financial statements and keep a budget. This is a critical part and can say a lot about how well or NOT well an HOA is ran.

Not every homeowners’ association is created equal! It’s important to research each one before taking the big leap. Just because you opted NOT to have a home in an HOA before doesn’t mean there isn’t one out there that is a good fit, it just may take some extra research.

Finding a Moving Company

If You’re Looking for Movers, Read This

Finding a moving company can be a difficult task. Not all moving companies are created equal! It can be overwhelming without having the proper guidelines. Let us help, and if you’re looking for a mover in Ohio, give us a call!


The most important part of researching and finding a moving company is a very basic licensing search.  All movers have to be registered with the Department of Transportation and the State of Ohio Public Utilities Commission. Your movers should have their OH DOT number and State Motor Carrier (MC) number listed on all paper and available in a search of records, as well as posted on their trucks and website.

You can search DOT here;

You can search MC Here;

Surprisingly, moving companies can technically fly under the radar and operate without being properly licensed, until they are caught. As a licensed moving company, we undergo annual audits with the licensing authorities to ensure we make any updates and have all current requirements in place.


While it may be tempting to hire a cheap moving company off Craigslist – It can cost you big in the long run. Think about it, not only are your belongings getting physically moved around, but they are also spending time in a truck, going from point A to point B. Failure to have the proper insurance could be catastrophic in the event of damage or an accident.

Most online platforms (Angie’s List, Home Advisor, BBB) even require proof of proper insurance (and licensing) to participate in their websites. Proper insurance is also required by the operating authorities (see Licensing tip above).

Track Record

A few quick internet searches can tell you a lot about the company you are going to use. In addition to the basics like licensing and insurance, it’s important to do a little extra homework. Look for length of time in business, complaints filed, and do general research to ensure it’s not a fly by night that opens up in a new name every 6 months.

Payment and Contract

Finding a moving company shouldn’t feel like a guessing game. Your contract and payment terms should be transparent and should leave zero room for guessing. Not-so-great establishments will use strong arm tactics, hidden fees and cash deposits as a way to dupe customers into the move. Don’t fall for it! You should never pay for an inspection or a moving quote, and your contract should be plain as day!

We are proud to work in an exciting industry that allows us to work with customers in one of the most exciting times of their life. Moving and all that goes along with it is a big life change! We are part of a wonderful industry with so much to offer our customers – But it’s important to be careful and ensure that you select a reputable, licensed and experienced moving company. Save these tips for your next move!

5 Winter Moving Tips

Tips for Moving in the Wintertime

Winter moving tips can go a long way if you are planning a move in the coming months (gulp, yes, we still may have months left). The cold weather is no surprise here in Ohio, and a little extra planning can go a long way for having a great moving day. Check out our 5 tips, straight from the pros themselves.

5 Winter Moving Tips

1. Plan for Extra Time

This is a no-brainer. It has to be at the top of the tip list because it is so critical to a successful moving day. The weather can be unpredictable, but keep an eye on the forecast in the days leading up to your move. Depending on the weather conditions, travel time and general packing/loading time can increase if the weather is not cooperating. Try to have a very flexible schedule on the day of your move, and even factor in an extra day into your timeline. If you’re closing on selling your house, it’s not a good idea to wait until the last day and be buried in the snow when it’s time to hand over the keys!

Winter moving tips2.  Extra Winter Supplies

Depending on whether you DIY or hire movers, winter means extra supplies are needed. Assuming you’re choosing the latter, some supplies will be provided by your movers and others you will want to plan for.

Things that will be your responsibility include salt for pathways, protecting floors, and even ensuring everything is properly packed. Many professional moving companies offer floor protectant and will provide the proper safety gear, including cold-weather gear and proper roadside items to indicate the parked truck, etc.

Take extra care to have proper clothing and footwear as well! Even if you have hired movers, chances are you’ll be spending at least some time going back and forth from the outside.

3. Chores and Tasks for the Weather

It’s incredibly important to be prepared on the day of your move if there is snow or ice on the ground. Providing safe working surfaces, including a clear driveway and walk paths, is critical. Not only is the movers’ safety a consideration, but it’s also critical for your items being transported to and from a moving truck! No one wants to slip and fall while carrying a heavy dresser or other furniture.

4. Packing Considerations

If you’re doing the packing yourself, take extra care to pack items appropriately that may be sensitive to the cold weather temperatures. If your belongings are spending extended time in the back of a moving truck or in a staging area such as a garage, this is incredibly important!

Check out our tips on how to pack electronics.

5. Storage Considerations

Climate controlled storage is essential in the wintertime. Some items may not matter, like clothing or some furniture, but other items cannot spend extended time in a cold storage unit. Some moving companies offer storage (we have an onsite warehouse at each location) or you can select a climate-controlled storage unit. Keep in mind, independent storage units can have a wait list for climate control so look early and often!

There you have it, our round-up of winter moving tips direct from the pros that know! Get a free quote for your winter move, and keep your fingers crossed the groundhog reports in our favor.

Angie’s List Award

Moving Ahead Services Selected as 2017 Super Service Award Winner

2017 SSA LargeAngie’s List Award announcements are in and Moving Ahead Services was selected again as a superior service provider for movers in Ohio. The Angie’s List Super Service Award is a great way for our customers to easily and quickly recognize us as a trusted provider for their next move.

About the Angie’s List Award

The Super Service Award selection processed is based upon Angie’s List performance, including customer ratings and reviews, operational standards, background check completion and overall Angie’s List presence. Both our Columbus and Cleveland offices have won the awards for almost a decade, displaying a consistent service quality and a commitment to Angie’s List Customers.

Angies List Award

A Look Back in Time

A lot has changed over the years, including within our business, with Angie’s List and with the Angie’s List Award itself. Over the years, Angie’s List customers have played a very important role in our business. In the early days, Angie’s List was one of our first customer bases and has maintained a significant impact on our offices.  Angie’s List has changed over the years, expanding to allow new features and easier ways to communicate with customers. Another huge change is Angie’s List dropping their subscription requirement – Meaning that you no longer have to pay to be an Angie’s List member as a customer. Angie’s List is harnessing the power of the internet and allowing customers to use the great platform without a monthly fee.

Today, Moving Ahead Services has grown to 4 offices in 2 states, completing thousands of moves each year. Our growth and success over the years is in large part to customers providing great feedback! Angie’s List provides an excellent platform for it, requiring reviews be verified and preventing false or misleading information.

Congratulations to our dedicated team, and thank you to our Angie’s List customers – We couldn’t have done it without YOU! If you’re planning a move soon, check us out on Angie’s List Cleveland or Columbus, or get your free moving quote today.

10 Moving Regrets

The Top Moving Regrets are NOT Surprising

Moving regrets are common, with over 47% of people citing some sort of regret in a recent article. That is crazy! With half of the population that has moved regretting it in some form or another, it’s time to grab the bull by the horns and get a realistic picture BEFORE you plan a move.

Being in the business of moving for the last decade + has given us some super power insights into the common exciting parts, and not so exciting parts, of moving. It all boils down to 10 common moving regrets. Remember, when one door closes another opens!

Moving Regrets10 Top Moving Regrets

  1. Wants vs. Needs. A simple concept, but the excitement of moving and the pain points of your current home can mean losing sight of the basics.  Moving is a very big life change, even if you’re going across town. The foundation of your choice comes down to deciding what you really want, what you really need and whether your current home or your new home are going to fulfill it.
  2. Finances. Need we mention the housing crisis? Yikes!  Selling your home and/or relocating can come with a hefty price tag. Buying a new home or renting a new place can also mean increased expenses! Have a very clear idea of budget, transparent expenses and an overall good idea of what your move is going to cost now, and in the long run. Set yourself up for success and make a move that makes sense for you!
  3. Homesick – Literally and figuratively. Being homesick can mean a few different things, but namely a. missing your actual old home and b. all the feels of leaving a place you called home. Your home was a place of comfort and security and leaving it can be emotional. The actual physical changes to your home can also take an emotion toll, which lends to our next point..
  4. Old Home Changes. Your old home will likely undergo changes after the purchase is finalized. Resist the urge to do a drive by (or knock on the door). The new owners may change everything, from exterior and interior design, landscaping and more. In some cases, many individuals are left devastated in the event their old home is torn down to make way for a new home. Remember, this is all part of the package!
  5. Space. Upsize, down size or same size, however you slice it, space is usually a big factor in the equation of moving. Give it a lot of thought!
  6. Home Value Changes. Your old / new home went up/down in value. It happens, sometimes you can predict it and sometimes you can’t – Try not to obsess over it!
  7. New Home Issues / Updates. Your new home, regardless of what the price point is, will likely need some updates to reflect your tastes. However, take care to select a home that doesn’t have major issues or costs as this can be a major source of regret!
  8. Neighborhood – Schools, proximity, friends, etc. Home and the area you are used to will change if you move. Shocker! You’d be surprised how many individuals cite this as their number one regret. Can you stand to part ways with your neighbors, neighbor hood, kids’ schools, etc?
  9. Job. Moving for work can be particularly stressful. Whether you relocated because of a job or you relocated and now are farther from your current job, work should definitely be taken into consideration.
  10. Stress of Moving. Moving is a big change, even if you hire experts to handle the actual move. The stress, fights and emotions that go along with moving can be a big undertaking for families and for individuals. While even an exciting move can be worth the stress, it’s still important to take it into consideration!

There you have it, our top list of moving regrets. Take it or leave it, but this is a good checklist to plan for your move and gauge the things that are going to matter most to YOU! As always, if you are ready to make the move, give us a call or use our easy online form to request a free moving quote!