Realtor Spotlight: Jenn Cook

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Moving can be a complicated process and we take pride in making the task easy for our customers. But we're only one part of the moving process... finding a good realtor is just as important. We have decided to highlight our favorite realtors in the area, starting with Jenn Cook. An agent at The Charlotte John Company, she helps clients in Central Arkansas and the Greers Ferry area. We reached out to Jenn Cook and asked her a little bit about herself...

What do you love most about your area?

"The growth that Little Rock has had over the last few years -- it has all the amenities of a big town with the small town feel."

Why is your area a great place to raise a family?

"Arkansas has so much access to beautiful vacation spots -- there's something for everyone."

What is your favorite restaurant in the area?

"Graffiti's and The Pantry."

What is your favorite pastime in the area?

"Weekends at the lake!"

What do you love most about being a realtor?

"Cultivating relationships with people I wouldn't have otherwise met."

What's your biggest professional challenge?

"I want to please everyone."

If you had to pick one, what tip would you give to someone shopping for a new home?

"It is a fun process, but also a hard process. Don't get discouraged -- it's a big commitment. But it's worth it in the end."

The Best Places to See Fall Leaves in Arkansas

Autumn is a beautiful time in Arkansas. Thankfully, the Natural State offers many, many excellent places to view breathtaking landscapes covered in fall colors. Whether you're moving, traveling, or just ready for that Fall feeling, we'll point you to a few of the best spots in Arkansas to see the stunning leaves of Fall!

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The Ozark Mountains. Arkansas’ Northwest region is characterized by its wooded mountains. The Ozark Region, extending into Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, is made up of three different mountain regions. In northwest Arkansas, you can enjoy a ride on the “Pig Trail” through the Boston Mountains that will give you some amazing views. The foliage in the Boston Mountains region is plush, creating a brilliant spectrum of colors in the Fall. The Pig Trail runs up Highway 23 through the Ozark Highlands, and features steep, winding mountain turns. There is also a beautiful Scenic Route nearby, running through U.S. Hwy. 71 and Interstate 49, which features many locations to stop and take in a scenic bird’s-eye view.

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Crowley’s Ridge. In the northeast corner of the state, you can discover another scenic drive opportunity. Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Byway begins in St. Francis and winds south along the Ridge, ending in Helena. A trip down the Byway will provide excellent scenes of Autumn on the endless rolling hills. This area sits above the Mississippi alluvial plain and boasts some of the richest soil in the State, supporting flourishing foliage. Though it part of the Delta Region, Crowley’s Ridge is technically within the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest.

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Mount Magazine. This Mountain is actually Arkansas’ tallest at 2,753 feet! Mount Magazine State Park is a great place to do some Fall leaf-viewing because there is so much to do. You can find epic views of the region’s trees from the top of the mountain, or you can take the Scenic Byway from the Lodge down state highway 309. The mountain and park provide a swath of nature trails and overlooks, not to mention the camping areas and cabins—all excellent places to enjoy Arkansas’ natural beauty in the Fall.

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Ouachita National Forest. Visible from the peak of Mount Magazine, the Ouachita National Forest is “the oldest National Forest in the Southern United State.” The Ouachita Mountains are covered by endless woodland featuring several different varieties of Oak trees. The Talimena Scenic Byway on Arkansas Hwy. 1 is an excellent choice for discovering the natural beauty of this region during Fall. This scenic drive extends 54 miles between Mena, Arkansas and Talihina, Oklahoma, taking you over Rich Mountain and Winding Stair Mountain.

Drop-Off Texas Hurricane Relief Donations at Brandon Moving

If you are looking to help our neighbors in Texas,  Brandon Moving & Storage will be a drop-off location for donations to be made towards relief efforts caused by Hurricane Harvey. The Brandon Moving & Storage team will handle delivery of the donations to ensure they get to the proper facilities. Here are the items that are needed:

Brandon Moving & Storage Named June Mover of the Month by Move For Hunger

All of us here at Brandon Moving & Storage are honored to have been named June Mover of the Month by Move For Hunger! Supporting the community and helping our friends and neighbors is important to us, and our partnership with Move For Hunger helps us give back on an extraordinary level.

"CONGRATS Brandon Moving & Storage Team!
You are Move For Hunger's Mover of the Month for June 2017! Thank you for all you have done to fight hunger in your community."

Move For Hunger is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working with relocation companies to collect non-perishable food items, and deliver it to food banks all across North America. Currently, they are working with over 700 relocation companies across 50 states and Canada. Move For Hunger has delivered over 8,000,000 pounds of food to food banks across North America.

Nearly 570,000 people in Arkansas are food insecure, and Brandon Moving & Storage, partnered with Move For Hunger, is dedicated to helping combat the hunger in our state and nation. 

A Newcomer's Guide to Central Arkansas

Have you recently moved to Central Arkansas? As a newcomer, you’ll be excited when you learn how many possibilities the area has to offer. Miles of breathtaking natural beauty surround Arkansas’ unique historical and modern landmarks and provide a backdrop for a growing hub of business and commerce. You’ll find plenty of opportunities in the center of the Natural State!

In Little Rock, the state’s capitol, a must-see is the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The Clinton Presidential Center opened in 2004 and features a museum boasting an extensive archive and items from the Clinton years and beyond. World-renowned art and cultural exhibits are regularly displayed here, and documentary films are often screened in the library’s event hall. The museum even has a direct replica of the Oval Office! Find out more about visiting the Clinton Presidential Center at https://www.clintonlibrary.gov/

The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock is also a great destination. The MOD is Arkansas’ premier science center and is considered to be one of the best science museums in the country. The Museum’s scientist Kevin Delaney has even appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon! MOD always has exciting events and exhibits such as the Tesla Theater, Tornado Alley, and Tinkerfest. Science After Dark provides fun exhibits—along with food and adult beverages—for the older crowd. https://museumofdiscovery.org/

Central Arkansas has an impressive assortment of natural landmarks to experience and enjoy. West of Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain is a defining characteristic of Central Arkansas, standing over 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River Valley. Pinnacle Mountain State Park features a huge variety of hiking and biking trials, some of which end up at the summit! Beyond the mountain terrain, you should consider visiting Arkansas’ many beautiful lakes. About an hour west of Little Rock, outside of Hot Springs, sits Lake Ouachita, along with the man-made Lakes Hamilton and Catherine. Greers Ferry Lake, another popular boating and water recreation destination, is about 60 miles north of Little Rock. These are just a few of the many indoor and outdoor attractions that Central Arkansas has to offer. As a newcomer, you will not be left with limited options for entertainment!

SOURCE: Hendrix.edu

SOURCE: Hendrix.edu

Central Arkansas is also the hub of the state’s economy. The Little Rock area has enjoyed significant economic and population growth in recent history and continues to grow. According to the City’s website, Little Rock and the Central Arkansas area have seen over $2.5 billion in economic development since 1994. This growth has been both characterized and facilitated by an increasingly active private sector and a highly dedicated Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Central Arkansas is a great place to start a business—Arkansas offers tax incentives for industrial and economic development. Major industry has also been increasingly active in Central Arkansas. Aviation, for instance, has been and continues to be a dynamic industry in the Little Rock area. Little Rock is home to the facilities of companies such as Dassault Falcon Jet, Raytheon, and Central Flying Service who contribute greatly to the economy and provide tons of jobs.

So, welcome to Central Arkansas! Now what are you going to do first?

Moving During the Summer

Moving is such an exciting feeling. The prospect of a new life and new environment, whether you’re moving one town over or a couple states away! Newton’s third law says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So just as you’re excited about the move, you can also feel nervous or even scared. Have you given yourself enough time to prepare? Do you have a “plan B” if something goes wrong? If you’re moving in the summer are you ready for the heat? It’s hot, it’s humid, and it’s muggy (especially in Arkansas). And to remind you just in case you didn’t see it, it’s hot! This can be quite overwhelming when you think about all the factors that go into relocating your life, but we’re here to help! Here are some tips to get you through your Summer move:

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Plan ahead. If you think you have time before you need to focus your attention to the details, you’re wrong! Give yourself 4 to 6 weeks to contact your moving company and get a quote. Summer is a very popular time to move and you don’t want to be left in the dust. Try to avoid weekends and holidays, especially Memorial Day. Do plan on moving during the middle of the month as these are a little less busy and aim for the morning time while it’s still cool.

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Pack it up, pack it in. Are you sure you want to pack your stuff by yourself, or do you think you’re going to need help? The mindset of packing a little at a time weeks in advance can turn to packing everything the night before. Some items shouldn’t go in the moving van or even be in a hot car for very long. We’re not just talking about candles and electronics, we’re talking about items that you need easy access to. Medications, dog food if applicable, and school records should be packed separately. Consider downsizing such as cleaning out closets, furniture, and having garage sales to lighten the packing and make a few extra dollars (there’s that silver lining)!

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Play it cool. The day of your big move let’s start things the right way and crank up that air conditioning. We know it’s going to be a rough day but that little bit of cool breeze can make it a little more bearable, especially if you have pets or children. Have ample amount of water and sports drinks available. Dehydration and heat stroke are problems that you don’t want so it’s okay for you or the movers to take a break! Once at your new home start off the way you started leaving your old one, by turning on that A/C again! Try to unpack one room at a time and if you’re not completely exhausted yet, introduce yourself to your neighbors.

Finally don’t forget to enjoy the beginning of your next step in your life!


Preparing to Move After College

Graduation has finally come. It’s a beautiful day because after four years (maybe a little more, maybe a little less) have all come down to today and you can finally have something tangible to reflect the late nights and justify buying copious amounts of Starbucks. Then, affter the euphoria of graduation day has past, reality doesn’t just slowly hit you -- it sucker punches you right in the face. What do you do now? Do you have a job? How are you going to afford living expenses now? Where are you going to live? 

The Story of a Truly Satisfied Customer

We always strive for customer satisfaction. As cliche as it may sound, we want nothing more than for our customers to be happy, especially when they've gone through an exhausting move. For us, the best compliment is one of our customers telling everyone about the great experience they had with us! Here's one of our amazing customers talking about working with us during their recent move...

It reads:

"I just want to take the moment to brag on Kyle Pryor and his moving team for a moment.
Many of you know I spent some time living in Dallas, Texas for a while and didn't expect to pick up and start travel nursing across the country, but one thing lead to another and I did. It was when my Dallas apartment lease was up and I was living in Denver, Colorado I found myself looking for a company willing to package, load, ship and unload my fully furnished one bedroom apartment. His name popped up and one thing lead to another and his team was the one to do it.
While it wasn't cheap, but extremely competitive pricing for what I was asking them to do, I could not be happier! As I've been going through boxes I haven't seen in almost a year and half, I'm amazed at the great and detailed job they did. I mean, they even carefully package my sugar 😂
No, but really.. If you're looking for a moving company or know someone who is, PLEASE know I HIGHLY recommend him and will most definitely use them again if needed!! Thanks Kyle!"
-Lauren Gattis

Four Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Mover

Four Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Mover

Moving is a big deal. Because you have to pack up all of your valuable belongings and transport them, it’s usually a stressful undertaking. According to the US Census Bureau data, between 20 and 60 million households, or families, move each year.* Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, it’s best to hire a professional moving company to carry out your move, to ensure that your property is delivered safely to your new home or business location. Hiring a professional moving company you trust will give you peace of mind, knowing that your belongings are in the hands of trained professionals. 

Easy Tips on Preparing Your Home to Sell

Easy Tips on Preparing Your Home to Sell

If you are planning to relocate soon, you might be needing to sell your current home. To attract potential buyers, you’ll want to have your current home looking clean, fresh, and inviting. Your home might even be in need of aesthetic or functional upgrades. If you’re putting your home on the market soon, take a look at these four tips to keep in mind to make it a stress-free and profitable experience!

What to Avoid During your Commercial Move

What to Avoid During your Commercial Move

Is your business or office planning a move? Commercial moving is never easy, and there are so many different things to take care of—relocating employees, taking items out of storage, hiring movers, etc.—that can raise your stress level. With all of these things come the possibility of mistakes or oversight that can set you back and cause unneeded frustration. You don’t want your business to suffer from wasted time during a poorly-planned move—making the move as efficient as possible should be your #1 goal!

Protecting Your Move from Scams

Are you moving to a new home? For most people, it’s a stressful time—to put it lightly, things don’t always go as planned. Hiring a moving company shouldn’t be one of those things! Since you’re moving everything valuable to you, you want to put the move into trustworthy hands. Don’t let yourself put your belongings in the hands of poor quality movers, or even worse, a moving scam!

The Cost of Living in Arkansas

As time goes by, the cost of living tends to increase. Some parts of the United States have higher costs of living than others, which depends on many different factors. Let's take a closer look at the cost of living in Arkansas...

According to bestplaces.net, the average cost of living in Arkansas is 84.3 on the cost of living index. This means that overall, the cost of living in Arkansas is less than the national average of 100. Out of all the factors taken into account in this average figure—grocery, health, housing, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneoushousing is the lowest factor. Housing costs in Arkansas scores 64 in comparison with the national average of 100 (costs registering over 100 are therefore higher than the national average).

The Clinton Library in Little Rock, AR

The Clinton Library in Little Rock, AR

Another website provides 2016 data on a breakdown of different living costs in Arkansas. With housing for instance, the average monthly rent for a 900 square foot apartment or home in Little Rock ranges from about $850 to $1,095, and the monthly cost of utilities averages at about $120 for a small studio apartment.

According to recent cost-of-living research, the cost of living in Central Arkansas (Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, etc.) is generally about 3% below the national average, while the cost of healthcare in this area is above the national average. Average childcare, housing, and transportation costs, however, remain below the national average. Moving away from the metropolitan areas, the cost of living decreases to 4% below the national average and beyond. However, in Northwest Arkansas (Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, etc.), living costs average 7% below the national average. Pine Bluff and Jonesboro reflect a cost of living similar to the rural areas of Arkansas, which ranges from 10% -12% below the national average. In Arkansas’s rural areas, transportation costs are higher, but taxes, healthcare, childcare, and housing all remain below the national average.

Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, AR

Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, AR

What does this all mean? Generally, it means that Arkansas offers a relatively low cost of living. A Talk Business & Politics article from 2015 explained that the cost of living in Arkansas is the second-lowest in the nation. This means that money earned in Arkansas “goes further than just about any other state.” Even with higher state sales taxes, people earning income in Arkansas have greater buying power than in other states and are able to afford better housing due to the lower housing costs. The only other state in the nation with a lower cost of living is Arkansas’s neighbor, Mississippi.

Moving with Children? How to Make it a Great Experience...

When the time to move to a new home draws near, chances are your kids may not be looking forward to moving day. Like in the movies, some kids may be experiencing a range of emotions, from anger, to sadness, to excitement, as their parents drive them away from their old house past the “SOLD” sticker pasted over the For Sale sign. However, moving with kids does not have to be this dramatic. This article will discuss some easy steps to get your kids on board for a worry-free and fun move!

Before moving day, plan on gathering the family for a “move meeting” to calmly go over the details and schedule of the move. If your kids feel more involved in the decision making, they are less likely to feel like it’s something they have to do. Try making a moving-day plan with lists to check off as steps are completed, with the kids completing tasks along the way. Keeping the kids focused on those tasks may just help the time go by faster!

Next, allow the kids to begin planning their new spaces. Taking them to the new home and letting them brainstorm about how to arrange their new rooms will turn a potentially drama-filled experience into an exciting adventure. It’s likely your kids will also enjoy taking part in deciding how to arrange furniture, what colors to choose for the walls, and how to decorate the living areas.

Writing a letter to the new owners of your old home can also be a fun and novel activity. Gather the family to sit and write about things each person loved about the house, or why the house is special. Maybe include some favorite stories of pets or funny things that happened there. Bringing together the family for an activity like this will help the kids keep a positive attitude about the move and will result in some lasting memories.

On moving day, utilize the extra help your kids can provide by assigning tasks to each child. You can even make it a game with rewards for finishing packing or cleaning! Also have each kid compile a “moving-day box,” which should contain their essentials and favorite small items. The kids will likely feel more comfortable keeping these more valuable items separate from the chaos of the rest of the moving boxes. Ease of access = ease of mind!

After the hectic throws of moving day are over, it’s time to go exploring the new environment! After the essentials are unpacked, get the kids outside to walk around and breathe in some fresh air. They’ll start taking in their new surroundings, and maybe even meet some other kids in the neighborhood.

The most important tip for moving day is to have a positive attitude. Your mood affects your kids’ moods more than you may realize, and it’s important to project a sense of positivity and confidence when tackling an obstacle like moving to a new home. Stay positive and energetic, and your kids will too!