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The Current Real Estate Market is Hot – Just like Texas Summers!

Today’s real estate market is booming hot with high demand for not only primary homes but for secondary vacation homes as well.  If you are going to be putting your home on the market, try your best to make it appealing to all different types of buyers. Let’s talk about some things you can try to do to get your home sold quickly in this fast moving market.

Making a positive first impression is crucial- this starts with the curbside of your home. Try and remove all dead and distressed plants and make sure yard is in tip top shape.  If you have a lot of yard art or knickknacks around the perimeter of the house, it is best to remove all of it.  While you are getting your yard prepared, this might also be a good time to start clearing out the garage if you have one.  It can be helpful to buyers to leave any extra repair items such as flooring, labeled paint or any other items that would be useful if they purchased the home.

Next, move to focusing on the inside the home, the best strategy is to remove all clutter and bulky furniture.  One way to remove and organize the clutter is to rent a storage unit(s) to keep organized off the premise. Buyers do not want to see storage Pods around the house or in driveways.  If you need a 10x 20 size, it might be easier to rent 2 10×10’s so its easier to arrange and separate items for future move. Also, remember you can put items that need climate-controlled storage in one storage unit and garage items in a non-climate storage unit.  Buying plastic tubs is probably going to be your best investment getting your house ready to put on the market. These clear plastic tubs are ideal so you can locate items easier. If you decide to purchase non-transparent ones, just make sure and label so its not a nightmare later on in your move when you finally locate and unpack items.

Try and remove all items from counters and if you have a lot of pictures and just leave a couple out – no family pictures or portraits. I have family members and friends recently put their home on the market and listened to their real estate agents on decluttering and the home did not stay on the market long at all. Their key phrase was “Remember the buyers want to envision their items in the home, not yours”.

As far as secondary and vacation homes, staging might be an option.  Many people in the market for a beach home want a beach feel, so making it a beach or coastal theme helps set the mood when buyers are looking.  Some buyers are also looking for investment return and you want to show the homes potential. Show all rental records and show why people come to rent and list all amenities offered. For example, if the home has a game or sitting area, put a chess board out to show how the room can be used. 

Who knows how long this seller’s market will last, but if you remember one thing with this article, make sure you make yours stand out and get it sold!

RVing-into the wide open

RVing – into the wide open

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has been present, travel is evolving from air travel to hitting the open road in RV’s.  While any travel can be a risk, many people are turning to traveling in RV’s.  With stay at home orders in place, staying at home is key, but when the stir craziness happens -is it still safe to travel in a RV?  If you must travel, here are some tips to staying safe while RVing:  1.  Check to make sure and reserve parking at an RV park ahead of time.  During these times there has been a lot of RV parks closed, so make sure your check in date is available and have a backup in mind. 2.  Join Facebook groups, this is a great way to get answers and can have many helpful resources.   3.  Try and request your parking spot further away from the crowd, some parks have prime spots with more room in between pull throughs. These cost more, but worth the upgrade.  4.  Try and bathe only in your RV and avoid park showers.  5.  Pack plenty of disposable gloves for dumping and wear a mask while dumping to avoid inhaling any fumes or bacteria.  6.  Try and avoid common laundry facilities.  Some motorhomes have the luxury of washer and dryers, but if not, there are many alternatives that can be purchased online such as portable washing machines (Amazon) or even a good old-fashioned washboard and clothesline to get your laundry cleaned away from the public.  7.  Though it might be tempting, try and not gather with fellow RVers and social distance. 

As we all hope this pandemic will soon be gone, travel and gatherings have changed drastically.  No matter where you go or how you get there, hopefully these tips will help you enjoy and stay safe during your travels.


Should I buy a brand new boat or RV?

Lately, let’s face it, everyone is exhausted from sitting around the in house and doing nothing. COVID has drastically transformed everyone’s lives in the past 6 months. Nothing seems normal anymore. No more going to restaurants with your family, going to movies with friends, and going on fun dates with your significant other. It seems like the virus has stripped away every ounce of fun that existed in today’s world. That is, until you see a catchy advertisement on TV of a family happily camping in their brand new luxury 5th wheel or cruising around the lake in their sporty blue boat. You quickly imagine yourself in this position- being able to travel the world in one of these recreational vehicles and decide that its time for you to invest. But let’s put the brake on this impulse decision and think – is it really a good time to purchase an RV or a boat without doing proper research? Here are some factors to consider if you are going to jump on the COVID purchase bandwagon.

  1. Have you ever owned a boat or an RV? – Although fun and exciting, owning one of these can become a heavy burden if you aren’t ready. In order to take care of your boat or RV properly, you must use it often. It is often said that the 2 happiest days of being a boat or RV owner is the day you buy it and the day that you sell it.
  2. Have you considered the expenses that come along with ownership? – sure, the initial purchase is probably very expensive, but you will incur other expenses down the line. If your motor dies or a part needs replacing, you will need to spend money on these.
  3. Do you know how to operate a boat or RV? – if you have watched the news lately, there is no doubt that you have heard about all the people getting in accidents who are new to driving RVs or boats. This is why it’s important to learn how to operate these before you get on the highway with a bunch of others. This isn’t your average smart car that you are learning to drive.
  4. What about the HOA? – have you considered where you are going to park your boat or RV? The HOA is usually not thrilled about homeowners having a boat or monstrous RV in their driveway that’s blocking other traffic. Storage facilities will be happy to take you but make sure that you have arrangements before purchasing the boat or RV because many of these places fill up during the summer months (especially during COVID). Make sure the place you are storing your vehicle is secure too. The last thing you would want is someone else taking your boat or RV out for a joy ride.

These are some things to think about when you are deciding if a boat or RV purchase is the right thing for you. Please take into account these factors and be careful during the entire process. Good luck with researching and have fun during the new era of COVID!

Moving Tips

Can you believe that the holiday season has already come and gone?? Before we know it, it will be over 90 degrees here in Houston, Texas. That means spring and summer are right around the corner. It is officially moving season. Summer is a point to start over and start fresh. Whether it’s coming home from college, moving apartments or homes, or taking a long European excursion, we all seem to be on the go and moving things. As an individual who just finished moving back from college, I have compiled a simple list to help someone who needed some moving tips.

  1. Buy items in advance so you aren’t wasting time and money hunting them down at the last minute
    1. Amazon and some second-hand retailers can often be cheaper than most stores
  2. Organize items by how you are going to pack them
    1. Clothes, glass items, kitchen supplies, bedroom, décor, large pictures, large furniture
  3. Be sure to pack your items properly
    1. Some furniture might require extra care and attention when packing, such as valuable antiques
  4. Research what moving company you are going to use beforehand
    1. There are so many moving companies out there. Make sure you research each company and look at their online reviews. Some might be more expensive than others but it is crucial that the company will pack your items carefully and efficiently
  5. If you need storage, research the storage facility and their amenities
    1. If you aren’t able to move everything immediately, be sure to check all the storage facilities in the area and pick the one that will accommodate most of your needs. Some of these can include access hours, stable pricing (no monthly price increases), accommodating staff, and cleanliness of the facility
  6. Don’t wait until the last minute!
    1. This is so important. Be PROACTIVE. If things are not packed appropriately and you are rushed, you might forget things or break your expensive furniture

Keepsake Storage

We all have a need to keep children’s keepsake items and school artwork for sentimental reasons. When there is no room in closets many people resort to storing in attics which most times ruin precious items. The heat and poor circulation can damage, so climate-controlled storage is a great solution. Storage is a great solution to keep items safe and in good condition to pass on for generations to come.  Children’s keepsakes and artwork are usually the hardest to sift through, we all want keep artwork through the years and don’t want to let it go.

The first step is to take the initiative to start clearing and categorizing. A great solution is to purchase plastic tub containers and label with a marker. Clear containers work best so you can actually see what items are where. If you have multiple children boxing each child’s separate is key, so in years to come when you pass it down boxes are already labeled with whose items are whose. Labeling : Toys, Pictures, School work and child name can easily alleviate stress now then going through in the future. A great cost efficient solution for keeping children school work are large unused pizza boxes. The boxes are normally wide enough to hold construction paper drawings you just can’t part with but can be organized. All you need to do is label the boxes by age or year and then stack them up neatly. Make sure any items that were made with food items (ex: macaroni necklaces) are not stored. This can attract unwanted pest and rodents.
Once you have your containers organized and labeled it is now time to rent a storage unit. Choosing a size should be stress free with the help of office staff here at Challenger Storage. Another great tool is our size estimator that can be found on our website.
Good luck and be clutter free.

Don’t lose sleep over storage

What to do? The dreaded letter from the neighborhood HOA informing me the boat/RV presently in my driveway needs to be removed within 72 hours or else. The in-laws can’t accommodate me as usual so my best bet may be to contact a nearby storage facility that caters to larger vehicles. Many offer fully enclosed units with electrical outlets to enable batteries to be trickle-charged. Others may offer outside parking into an assigned parking spot. These are usually less expensive options and some may even offer access to an outside plug as well. Convenience and pricing are often overriding factors in the decision-making process but other factors should be considered as well. Are the aisles wide enough to allow me to safely back my vehicle into my space? What are the access hours and how does this fit my needs? How well-lit is the facility at night and will my family and I feel safe? Is someone riding around after the office closes to keep and eye on things? If I have a question, will someone be in the office to answer the phone or will I have to wait endlessly for a return call? Are security cameras used and are they actually recording? Are the facility reviews reassuring or do they raise additional concerns? Storing property away from home, especially expensive vehicles, should be a stress-free experience. Spending time up front to select the best overall facility will allow you to sleep better at night.

Traditional Storage vs PODs

Even though traditional storage has been around for years, PODs seem to be gaining a newfound popularity as a form of storage.  But the question we want to ask is – are these new methods of storage such as PODs always better? There are a variety of different points that will help someone determine what is right for themselves. Let’s start off with the pros and cons of a traditional storage:


  • No extra fee to access stored items
  • Climate-Controlled options available
  • Lower cost


  • Moving is not as convenient
  • Some storage facilities have restricted hours

Traditional storage may seem more time consuming, but when you look at the big picture, the pros outweigh the cons. It is the more cost-efficient option. Just remember that if your items are going to be stored over a period of a couple of months, PODs do not offer climate-controlled units. On the other hand, if you store your items in a traditional storage unit, you at least will have the option of climate-controlled units, which is crucial during extreme weather conditions.


  • Convenient access to items stored


  • Costly fees to access items if POD is stored offsite   
  • PODs are an eyesore to your neighbors – HOA and city ordinance hassles
  • PODs are not climate-controlled

These are just some items to consider. A lot of people don’t realize that when he or she has a POD stored in a warehouse, the fees can become outrageous. The convenience of a POD in your driveway is nice, but a normal neighborhood HOA tends to not allow this and city ordinances can be a hassle. Before you have a POD delivered, be sure to check with your HOA and your city regulations. In the long run, PODs sound state of the art. In my opinion after researching, however, traditional storage is still the most economical and best way to store your items.

My personal experience with storage

Everybody has their own ideal of what they want out of storage. Let me tell you about my experience. My friend came to me asking about where to store her furniture. Our conversation went on and off a couple of weeks. First of all, the storage facilities that she called her computer automated adding to her frustration. Moving out a big home that her family has lived in for 25 years was a huge undertaking for her. She felt that every storage that she called had an underlying deal – first month free + fees or 2nd month free + another month + insurance. They wanted to make her pay for insurance even though her homeowners already covered all her items. Again, she did not realize what she was doing so I told her I would help to make it easier for her to find a good storage facility with a reasonable price. I started calling around the area she lives in and I spent a whole day calling pricing out these storage places. I found one storage facility that actually had a real person answer the phone. Surprise surprise! She made my journey very easy. No hidden fees, month-to-month contract, and most importantly, 24-hour access. She even gave me a 6-month special. My friend and I drove to this storage facility and rented her units. It was such a simple and painless process. So I guess my point is, not all storage facilities provide great service like this particular one did. My friend will keep her items at this place for a long time!

Texas Style Climate-Control

Almost every storage facility today offers what they call “climate-controlled” units for rent. Many people are often deceived by what they think is climate for storing their items. It’s always a good idea to make sure and check that the facility you plan on storing with offers A/C in the warmer months and also HEAT in the colder months. If this is not the case, a problem can arise especially in states with a lot of humidity near the coast. I have heard many horror stories of people who have stored in so called “climate-controlled” units that were not cared for properly. These people came back months or even years later to find their precious items molded and mildewed. Unfortunately, we all know that in the Texas coastal area, the winter months tend to have high humidity as well. This continuous condensation will also most likely lead to mold and mildew. Here is a general rule of thumb to go by, if you have furniture inside your home, you would most likely want to store your items in climate-controlled unit. If you have items in your garage that you want put in storage just to clear up some space, then non-climate might be just fine for you. If you do choose to with a non-climate unit, here are some helpful tips on reducing moisture

  1. Use a product such as Damp Rid
  2. Open bags of regular charcoal throughout unit to absorb moisture
  3. Do not cover items in plastic (which tends to hold in moisture). If you wish to cover items, a cotton sheet works well
  4. Spray cloth items with Lysol disinfectant spray (which will help eliminate mold growth) but make sure you always test the area first

Most people who store house-hold items such as leather, electronics, photos, furniture, etc., should be recommended to store in climate-controlled. So just remember that when you store your grandma’s treasured heirloom, make sure it is climate-controlled Texas style.

Is it really only a $1 move-in?

Let’s answer this question in the most simplistic terms – there is no such thing as a $1 move-in special. I wish life was this easy and cheap, but the harsh reality is, it’s not. When searching online for where to store your items, big storage companies tend to offer a large amount of these types of specials. Therefore, it is easy to fall into the trap of price deception. It has happened to a number of us, including myself and I would like to share my experience with you. A few months ago, I was looking into storage facilities online so that my daughter would be able to store her things from her college dorm room. I looked on a variety of websites and found some really good deals. So I went to this particular storage facility down the road from me that was offering $1 move-in specials. It was a really nice facility – brand new, clean, and it felt secure. All the things you could want. That seemed like an AWESOME deal for just $1. However, when I was talking to the front office manager when signing my lease, she told me that my total for the day would be $41. This amount wouldn’t even include the next month’s rent which I was required to pay at move-in. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. $41???? That seemed like A LOT more than the $1 I was promised online. I couldn’t even follow thru with the lease. After getting home, I looked back on the website and in the tiny fine print it said – administration fees, insurance fees, and deposits not included.*** Also, when I looked further into the company’s reviews, some of them entailed that the company raised their rates continuously year after year. I discovered that the $1 move-in offering was just to nudge you in the door before the storage company squeezed every penny out of you. By this experience, I learned that it is so crucial that you do your research on storage facilities before making your move. Look at the prices very closely and make sure that the company won’t raise your rate often and that they don’t charge you for extra unnecessary fees. Don’t be deceived by the $1 move-in special – it sounds cheap, but in the long run, it’s very expensive.

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