Archive for September, 2011

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Moving for Work: What’s Involved and What’s Covered?

Follow our tips to successfully move for work

By Maria Paulia Belgado
Special to Relocation.com

Moving for work sounds exciting but can also be quite overwhelming and frightening. There are several questions that occur to ones mind about getting started. There are several tips and tricks to that will ensure that your move is hassle-free. Here are some to-dos that will help you smoothly move for work.

Ask the Employer About Relocation Packages.
If you are moving for a particular employer, you must check about the benefits the company provides for moving. Will they be reimbursing you for all or part of the costs such as the moving companies fees? Plus, they may already have existing relationships with movers who have great offers and provide discounted rates.

Choose Good Realtors to Find Your House.
Experienced realtors will provide you proper estimates, and also give you details about the time that the entire process will require. Choose realtors who are ready to provide you homes that suit you needs and preference. Do not fall for agents who suggest high priced properties. The house you choose should be in sync with the recent sale price of the locality you choose.

Consider Location and Proximity.
If you are moving for work, you must look for living areas that are close to your offices. Do some research and find the local rates. You may have a job that pays a great salary but if the houses near your new office are more costly, you will be burning your notes anyways.

Make Some Preview Visits.
Moving can be really stressful if you don’t know where you are going. You must be familiar with the new locale. Preview trips will ease your stress and make you feel comfortable. You may also end up enjoying some great shopping.

Decide Your Specifications.
People living with families will require quick accessibility to hospitals and schools. Find out the presence and distance of these facilities from your new home. If you do not have a personal vehicle, you must find about the frequency of public transport in the neighborhood.

Make Travel Preparations.
After your move date has been finalized, book your tickets accordingly. If you are moving with pets make sure you are aware of the airline laws and litigation’s. You must have all those necessary objects at hand that you may require, while in transit. Keep the new destination’s weather and climatic conditions in mind before you pack your hand luggage. Keep the required documents and keys properly labeled and handy.

Think About Minute Details.
You can not move into a home which has only walls. You must look for places which are somewhat furnished or at least have stoves and ovens. If that is not the case, make sure your realtor sets them up on your arrival. You must also make sure that you have turned off or disconnected services like electricity Internet connections, gas and television for your old home. You must also have the numbers of fire stations and trauma centers before you step in your new house. Provide all your contacts and banks with your new address.

Following these simple yet important steps will help you move for work with complete peace of mind.

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Tips and Advice When Changing Your Children’s School

Image Credit: Active Rain

By Relocation.com

There are several things to think about when changing schools for the kids. Starting with the educational offerings and then questioning the safety, affordability, transportation options and location.  If you’re moving somewhere far (or at least far enough to change school districts), here are some issues you may think about when choosing a new school for your kids.

1. Security – Choose a school with great security features for the kids. Find out what they do to keep your kids safe from harm, and if there have been any other issues in the past.

2. Level of education – Schools always differ in levels of education. Although it may not be prominent, if you do a closer look at their alumni and their teachers to help you assess it.

3. ActivitiesKids will mostly likely learn from activities faster than they do in classrooms. This has been scientifically proven. When they participate in events, they learn at higher rates. Activities also help develop confidence and will give boost to your child’s potential. Find a school with a good mix of activities – sports, arts, social clubs – so that they’ll have a wide range to choose from.

4. Transport and distance from home – Know that your kids may get stressed from long trips. Try to have a good proximity from your kid’s school. Kids often have the urge to stay close to home as much as possible, especially for toddlers.

5. Resources – if you are going to transfer your kid to another school, be sure to get him a new school with better resources. Better libraries, good classrooms, wider spaces – these matter to kids who are growing up and learning.

6. Cost – Finding a school that gives the best education that fits your budget may be challenge, but with research you’ll be able to do this. You can also find alternatives, like charter schools, or you can help your kids by augmenting their education with after-school programs or private tutors.

Changing schools for kids can be scary. Always try to consider their preference and try to put yourself in their position. When a kid changes schools most of the time he has to deal with the adversities of finding new friends and getting to know the place. This is what the kids are always thinking about, and perhaps not so much their education. Here are more tips on how to understand your kids’ feelings and help them move on to their new surroundings.

1. Friends – This is your kids’ priority. Try to encourage them to find new friends and get them out there to open up conversations. If your child is shy from the start, try to help them out by approaching other parents and introduce your child.

2. Bullies – for the first months, please do try to check on your kids. Bullies often target new comers, but will always be afraid of parents and teachers. Try to maintain a good presence.

3. Teachers - get to know their teachers and ask for feedback. Your kid is new and ask for everything that you need to know about the school.

4. A good playground – This is always good for younger kids. This is the best place for your kid to socialize and find a new circle of friends for him or herself

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What Look for When Buying a New Refrigerator?

Learn what you need before you purchase a new refrigerator.

By Dermound Becker
Special to Relocation.com

Out of all the appliances and gadgets in our homes, a refrigerator is the most important and one item we simply cannot live without. It is also a very costly appliance to purchase, so one really has to know what to look for and what each model provides. To begin, you will need to know the size of the fridge you need, not only so that the new one will fit into its designated place in the kitchen, but also because if you buy one that is too large, it will use a lot of unnecessary electricity. The reverse also applies, in that if you buy one that is too small for your needs and it is stuffed to capacity most of the time, it will also use more electricity as it struggles to maintain the ambient temperature.

On the topic of electricity consumption, it is to be noted that the very popular side-by-side fridge and freezer units are the least energy efficient and therefore use the most electricity so, if your electricity bills is on your mind, it is advisable to look for a model that is more ecology friendly and energy efficient. Also, the fridge you purchase should have an Energy Star, as any model bearing this mark will save you up to 50 percent in electricity costs; those that do not will be at least 20 percent less energy efficient.

Consumer magazines report that those models of fridges which have a through the door ice make and dispenser are the models which break down the most and therefore need the most repairs. For this reason it is wise to consider having ordinary ice cubes in the freezer section, as fridge repairs are notoriously expensive.

Refrigerators with a freezer at the top are generally less expensive than models with a freezer section at the bottom. All the manufacturers of fridges on the market generally have a choice of internal features, such as shelves made of tempered glass which are not easy to break, special temperature controlled units for dairy and vegetable storage and adjustable shelving. All of these are a matter of personal choice.

Color is another important factor to consider, as the fridge should blend in with one’s existing kitchen, but it must be noted that a stainless steel or special color finish is more expensive than the regular white or cream painted finishes most commonly found.

When you have decided on the exact model of fridge you would like to purchase, approach as many reputable suppliers as you can to see which one will give you the highest discount and the best offer on the repair and warranty package. Also, ask if they will waive the charge for delivery and installation and if they would be willing to take away the old model. This will save you a great deal of money, as every outlet is fighting for a sale in these hard economic times.

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Tips and Advice When Living with a Roommate

Check out our tips before you move in with a roomie.

By Relocation.com

Living with a roommate is both exciting and daunting. You might have grown up having your own room, or sharing a room with a sibling, but living with a complete stranger is a task that should never be taken lightly. Conflicts arise only when things are unclear. Sometimes anything petty, like eating his or her food, or leaving dirty dishes in the sink can cause many fights.  An important piece of advice: keep communication lines open and be clear about everything with your roommate from the very beginning. This helps to avoid such conflicts and misunderstandings.

Here are some areas where rules must be set so that you and your roommate can maintain a good relationship and keep peace and harmony around your shared apartment.

Personal and “public” stuff.
This must be clear between you and your roommate: which among your stuff is available for common use and which is restricted. Do you share your books and CDs? Will you allow your roommate to use your kitchen utensils? Are you sensitive about the use of your shaver? These are some of the issues that must be addressed.

Visiting hours.
Your apartment building may set their own time for this, but you and your roommate must also agree with regards to your own apartment. Issues to address include: What time is considered to be available as visiting hours? Who may be accepted as visitors? How long can guests stay over?

Entertainment.
Some people love loud music while others don’t. Some like TV, while some hate it. Be sure to have an agreement as to how loud s the music can be played inside the room at up to what time should the television turned on. You might have to battle on who takes control of the remote.

Housekeeping schedule.
If you don’t have any experience in housekeeping, it may be a pain. This time it’s a necessity for both of you to keep it clean. Your mother won’t be around to pick  up after you. Make an agreement on the assignment of tasks and a schedule: Who deals with cleaning the floor, putting out the trash, dishes? The important thing is to be fair.

Lights out.
It is important to set a time for the lights out so both of you may properly manage the time. You may follow different timelines for your stuff, so plan your schedule. Say, activities that may need lighting should be done early on so that you will not need to go beyond your scheduled lights out time.

Bills payment.
There are cases where you may have to pay for some bills like water, electricity, as well as cable and internet. Since you might be sharing the use of these, be clear on how you would split the bill for each.

Kitchen and toilet supplies.
Have an agreement on how you will purchase or use your toilet or kitchen supplies. You may decide whether you should take care of buying your own supplies or just splitting the cost of those between each other.

It will save you a lot of trouble if you can arrive at a consensus on the areas enumerated above. Make sure that you always have an open line of communication with each other. Be proactive and take time to discuss problems with your roommate as soon as possible. Both of you should be able to live in peace and harmony.

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What to Look for in a Contractor?

Know what to look for when seeking to hire a contractor.

By Dermound Becker
Special to Relocation.com

When it comes to hiring a contractor to do work in your home, you need to take your time in choosing just the right one for you. A contractor is going to have people spending time in your home, so they need to be trustworthy and professional. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right contractor for you.

Get as many bids/quotes as you can. Not only are you looking for a good price, but the more quotes you get, the better idea you have as to what the going rate in your area is for the work you want done. Remember, though, that the cheapest quote may not prove to be the best contractor for the job. Ask if the quote is a hard quote (the actual price that you will be charged) or just an estimate.

Ask for references and then, actually call the people. Find out if the job was completed entirely to the customer’s satisfaction. Was the work completed on time? Was the work site kept clean and safe? How close was the final bill to the estimate that was provided? And would they consider hiring this company again.

Is the contractor fully insured, licensed and bonded? Are ALL of his employees insured as well? The employees should be covered by workman’s comp and liability insurance. Also ask if the contractor is a member of any trade associations.

Check online for litigation history for the company. If they have been sued a number of times, this would be a definite red flag. You should also call the Better Business Bureau. They can provide you with a lot of useful information as to the company and its business history in the area.

Find out how long the contractor has been in business. As a general rule of thumb, a contractor that has been in business for at least five years is probably reliable. It is difficult to stay in business that long if they are doing shoddy work.

Ask if the price covers everything, such as permits, materials or blueprints . You should know the actual cost before you start working with a contractor.

Make sure you choose a contractor that you are comfortable communicating with. Does he or she really listen to you? Are they taking what you want done seriously? After all, this is your job, your home and you should have the final say in decisions. The contractor should have ideas to present to you, but you make the final decision.

Is the contractor going to be easy for you to reach if you need to? They should respond to your messages the same day.

You should realize that problems can arise. Weather, material problems, any number of reasonable problems can pop up and slow the course of your home improvement project. The contractor should communicate fully with you about these. But make sure that it clearly states in the contract before you sign it what will happen if there is a dispute. Mediation is a lot less costly than having to go to court.

Choose wisely and your home improvement project should go through without a hitch.

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