You’re on a tight budget for your move. You don’t want to do it yourself (DIY) and inflict the sweat and pain on your body, and you also don’t want to have to bribe your friends and family to begrudgingly help you on a Saturday. The quotes you’ve seen from full service moving companies (they provide the truck, pack, load, drive and unload) seem too expensive. Fortunately, there is another option: moving labor services. It’s halfway between the DIY option and the full service option. With a full service move, you pay for the convenience of having someone else take care of every aspect. However, if you compartmentalize it and do the easy part yourself, you get a cheaper alternative. You can rent your own truck and have someone else load it and unload it for you. However, it’s very important to hire moving labor that’s reliable, experienced, and well-reviewed in order to protect yourself and your belongings. You can find such movers and their reviews through services like HireAHelper.com, an online moving labor marketplace.
Since a move breaks down to two main components, transportation and labor, it’s easy to split up. Depending on the size, distance, and whether or not you need storage will determine the best mode of transportation for your move. The three main options are the ubiquitous rental truck, the multi-purpose portable storage container (“pod”), or the lesser known “rent space in a commercial semi-trailer” if you’re moving long distance. Let’s take a look at how moving labor works with each of these.
If you’re moving locally and don’t need storage, then a rental truck should work perfectly for you. You can normally get a truck, at most, for a few hundred dollars to take care of your move. Then, you can hire moving labor to do the heavy lifting. They can pack up your belongings in boxes if you’d like them to, or you can save money and do that part yourself, since it’s not too taxing. You’d then decide if you need your movers to load, unload, or both. Since you rented the truck, you’ll be driving your belongings to your new residence while the movers follow you in their own transportation. However, it’s understandable if you’re not comfortable driving that monster rental truck with the thousands of pounds of your belongings in it, which is why most moving laborers also offer driving help. They can drive it for you for an additional fee if you so desire. Otherwise, they’ll follow you like your own personal moving escort to your unload destination, or destinations. That’s right. If you need to load and/or unload at multiple destinations that’s not a problem. For example, if you need to pick up or drop off additional items at a storage unit, your movers will simply follow you to each location and load and/or unload your belongings. You can think of them as your moving entourage (they may or may not be able to get you to the front of the line at the storage facility office, truck rental counter, etc.).
If you do need temporary storage, perhaps you can’t move into your new place immediately or are doing a remodel, then a pod is a great solution. The pod company drops the container off at your residence and then you’re free to load it as you like. You can hire moving labor to load all or part of it. The pod company picks it up and stores it for however long you need and then delivers it back to you. Then, when you’re ready to have it unloaded, simply schedule some more moving labor to move your belongings out of the pod and into your new home. With this option you get to take advantage of the convenience of a pod without having to load and unload it yourself.
If you’re moving long distance, then renting space in a commercial trailer might be a good option for you. Services like Movex have fleets of commercial trailers for transporting household goods. However, since most people don’t need the space of the whole trailer, it’s split up into compartments which are rented out to different customers. The shipping cost is shared and it makes it a considerably cheaper option for you. Again, by compartmentalizing the aspects of your move, you create a much cheaper alternative. Now all you do is hire moving labor to load your portion of the trailer and you’re all set. You might be thinking, “Well, my moving labor company won’t be able to unload me thousands of miles away though.” Good point. Fortunately, HireAHelper.com has a network of moving labor companies across the country, from Los Angeles movers to New York movers, so there’s qualified moving labor for you on both ends of your move.
Remember, it’s important to know your moving labor company before you hire them, and it’s also beneficial to have a third party involved to provide accountability. Hiring day laborers off the street may seem like a cheap option at the time, but it can end up costing you much more. So, don’t put yourself in a position to be scammed or cheated, use a service like HireAHelper.com where you can find out what kind of company you’re hiring before you hire them by reading their past customer reviews.
Have a great move!
Oceanside, CA 92056
Having been to London, England a couple times during my college years, I got little tastes of British life during week-long trips over official breaks from school. Now thoughts of these trips have amounted to a desire not only to vacation, but to relocate to England. I imagine myself visiting Harrods for fresh seafood or some other awesome concoction in their renowned cafeteria or to spend my days visiting the cool (and free!) museums or simply taking a stroll thinking of all of the people I would meet. I now reminisce about the fields of green that I walked through, juxtaposing itself with the busyness of the City of London. This feeling of longing to move is one shared by many other Americans who have thought of ditching their hurried way of life—fueled by Starbucks—for something more abroad. There are 195 countries in the world today; why live in just one?
England is one of the top places for American expatriates simply for the fact of the common language. Communication is huge, but more of us are moving to England due to the areas stark commonalities to the U.S. such as its similar food, entertainment, technology and cultural amenities. We are also convinced to know England because we’ve seen all the movies based out of English cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford, Nottingham and others. We want the UK-typical adventure being offered up in “Wuthering Heights” (1936) or the “Harry Potter” series. So, here’s the plan: trade in my 9-to-5 routine and daily treks through the concrete jungle for afternoon tea, run-ins with The Queen and stopping every so often to sample the best fish and chips in the world.. My plans may be far-fetched, but what we need to get there isn’t. Stay a while and read Relocation.com’s guide to moving to beautiful England. Even better, Scotland is right above, Wales adjacent on the West and the English Channel to the South, along nearby Paris and Belgium. But before you go, check out some of the essentials you’ll need to traverse the sea as you make one of the most exciting moves of your life!
Pack your bags -- it's time to relocate to England! (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpattinson/412897896/)
Number 1: Obtain a Work Visa
Now, you didn’t think the United States was going to make it easy for you, did you? The first hurdle of moving out of the country will be obtaining for visa, which will grant you permission to work in the U.K. You can’t show up with a Holiday Visa and expect to find work—you will be turned away at the airport, most likely. There is a variety of visas you can get. They seemingly are tailored to what you need abroad—whether you are a student, temporary employee or trying to start a business. Available visas include: a Work Permit that requires you to receive sponsorship from an employer in England, a Tier 1 Visa for Highly Skilled individuals or a Tier 1 Entrepreneurs Visa that allows someone to set up or take over a business in the UK. We recommend going to the Skillclear Website or the UK Border Agency’s official Website for more inquiries about the different visas you can obtain.
Number 2: A Bank Account
In order to obtain an bank account in England you will need your passport, a letter from your current employer in England and proof of residency. These documents may be hard to obtain, if you are in the middle of the move and haven’t found a job yet. If possible, you should check with your local bank to see if you can switch to a UK branch before departing America with your global bank such as Citigroup, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and others.
Number 3: Health Care
The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital care and medical consultations to those with UK Work Permits and their dependents. Anyone who is in an accident or emergency situation gets free medical attention and treatment, no matter what the status of their visa. Most people in the UK see a general practitioner. We recommend going to the NHS official website to find a general practitioner in your new English home: www.nhs.uk/England.
Number 4: A Car
You will probably need a car to get around most parts of England because of the great disparity in rural parts and suburban parts of town. You will notice people drive on the left side of the road. American drivers will have to get used to the narrowness of all the roads and the lack of billboards on the highways. This is an effective way to move around different cities and towns in England. But, before experiencing the open roads, you will need to get a driver’s license as well as other paperwork. Licenses issued in countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa may be traded in for a Great Britain driver’s license. More information about licenses may be found here at: www. Dvla.gov.uk. Once, you buy a vehicle, you will have to register it in the UK to be taxed. For more information: www.direct.gov.uk/.
Number 5: Moving professionals to help you move
Whether it’s storage or moving overseas with international movers, you will need professional, experienced help with such a big move you are planning. You will have to hire a company that can handle shipping all your furniture, clothes and other life necessities by ocean in a large metal container. To ensure you have chosen the best moving company with the best prices, compare prices early of licensed moving professionals [More on how to choose a mover].
Here, you have it. Just a condensed version of what you need to ensure you have the smoothest ride to your new life based in England. For those who are in the middle of a move or for those who have already moved, please leave your own ideas and tips for Americans hoping to move to England.
Congratulations, you have survived the moving process to your new home! Although your kids accepted the moving news, they may be feeling less than settled in — as well as a little scared and uneasy once they are in their new home. One of the best ways to help kids make the transition after a move is create a space that is all their own by decorating their room. This will help them create a new look for their new room, as well as offer a creative outlet and a way for them to express themselves.
Start talking about decorating your child’s new room before moving day. Allow the excitement to help with those difficult transitions. Brainstorm ideas with your child, so you can get an idea of what appeals to them!
As soon as you are settled into your new home, start making decorating your kids rooms a reality. Take them shopping in your new community to get ideas for their room décor. (This is a also a great way for them to start feeling more at home)
Create a plan with your child, not for them. You want to make sure your child is involved in the whole process. This way they will feel a real kinship with their new space, and taking ownership goes a long way toward getting over that homesick feeling for all they left behind at their old home.
Pick a theme and a color scheme with your child. This doesn’t have to be some cutesy cartoon character theme or anything commercial at all. Perhaps your 10-year-old wants a chic, stylish room painted in pinks and greens; while your toddler may want fish and mermaids. As soon as you identify your theme, write it down and have them make a drawing or list of what things they would like included in their room. Make sure they include the necessities like window coverings and storage, in addition to the beaded curtain they want as a closet door, or the disco ball they will insist will make a great bedroom lamp. Sit down together, and make choices as to what will be acceptable to you, and what you can afford.
• Sew two sheets together on three sides and insert their old comforter for an inexpensive duvet cover.
• Use paint to create the feeling in the room. Whether your child is quiet and shy, outgoing and vivacious, or somewhere in between, the right color scheme for their personality will make the difference between the room being a success, or a dud! Paint is cheap; use it ravishingly to create a fantasy for your child.
• Visit dollar shops for accessories for your child. Fun picture frames, storage baskets in bright colors, and themed toys to use for décor are all easy finds that will save you big money. Remember, stick to your theme!
• Craft and fabric stores are a gold mine for the DIY decorator. Use iron on hem tape to create simple curtains and throw pillows. Use craft foam in your rooms colors to cut out shapes that can be used as 3-D art on the walls.
• Visit thrift stores and yard sales to find rugs, lamps and accessories that can be renewed with a quick update of paint or fabric.
Finally, make a party of decorating day. Assemble all the ingredients and implement them all at once, instead of gradually. This gives a dramatic effect and underlines the importance this new space has for the child. Allow them to invite a couple of their new friends over to celebrate, or make it a family affair with a barbecue or the child’s favorite dinner.
Decorating for kids when you move to a new home can be a fun and a healthy transitional experience for both parent and child. Take advantage of the situation to make it a bonding experience you will both remember.
Whether you are moving to a new home or have lived in your residence for a long time, there are certain home improvement projects that can spruce up your landscape and add value to your property, while also being an enjoyable activity for you and your family. As the top hobby in the country and a fun home improvement project, gardening beautifies your property, relieves stress, offers good exercise and even supplies you with fresh herbs for your dinner. Not to mention, it allows you the opportunity to commune with nature in your own backyard! Not knowing how to garden can stop many people from picking up that first trowel or planting that gorgeous rose they have long admired. No need to fear those hydrangeas, beginners can easily learn how to garden by following these simple tips.
Learn, learn, learn.
There are so many resources now for learning about gardening. Libraries and book stores overflow with gardening books and the internet has a wealth of information. Consider joining a local gardening club or online forum. Start a notebook where you can keep magazine pages of yards or plants you’ve admired, notes from online searches, or snapshots of your yard, both before you start gardening and as you progress.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The biggest mistake beginner gardeners make is to start with too large a garden, or to use plants that require an expert’s care. You can always add more to your garden as you gain experience; nothing is as off putting to a newbie as a huge garden that turns, practically overnight, from gorgeous blooms to overrun weeds. Talk about taking the bloom off the rose! It’s common to quit gardening after a bad experience, so don’t let this mistake choose for you. Start small. Start simple.
Plan… but be flexible.
Make sure you spend some time drawing out a plan for your new garden. Make lists of plants that you would like to try, and research what times of year they bloom or fruit and what their special needs are. Group plants with similar needs together. Make sure shade plants are planted in shade, and sun plants in the sun. All that have been said don’t be afraid to try something new. Sometimes a volunteer plant will pop up and look just gorgeous right where it is. Other times you will have chosen a certain plant for a site and find that even after all your preparation, it doesn’t do well there. So, move it! Head to the nursery with a list, but don’t be afraid to substitute a plant for a new find. (Be careful with this one, you may come home with twice the plants you need!) Also, make sure that you purchase the proper gardening tools and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Find a passion within your garden.
Once you learn a bit about how to garden, most beginners find a niche in gardening that ignites their passion. Find it, and enjoy it. Wildlife gardening, growing your own food, growing flowers for your own arrangements or water gardens complete with koi and living water plants are common passions. Letting yourself find that connection with the outdoors that speaks to you will only enhance your love of gardening all the more.
Consider hiring help.
If you love the idea of having a garden, or have gotten in a little over your head, hiring a gardener can be the perfect solution.
• Decide what kind of help you need. Do you need just regular mowing and fertilizing, while you take care of the flower beds? Do you want your gardener to do it all? Are you somewhere in between? Knowing what you need and what you can afford is the first step.
• Ask for reference from family and friends.
• Choose a garden service you can communicate with well. The last thing you want is for your new “help” to cut down the prize hydrangea you have been growing all season, or to use pesticides on your organic vegetables.
Learning how to garden is a fun and healthy hobby for beginners. Just follow these tips to get turn all your fingers into “green thumbs”!
Diane's Keaton's Spanish-style home on the market for $10.95 million-Image from The Huffington Post
By Serena Norr
Yet another week of real estate buzz-Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, reality starlet Teresa Giudice and Diane Keaton are the talk of The Celebrity Beat. And with an Upper West Side condo on the market, a Spanish-colonial home for sale and a New Jersey foreclosure it’s easy to see why. Check out the Beat and let us know what property peaks your interest.
Will Ferrell recently purchased a loft in the West Village (13th street to be exact) for $4.2 million. In contract since March, the 2,699-square-foot loft features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open-aired study with a fireplace, maple hardwood flooring and a newly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. Purchased by trustee Matt Lichtenberg, this luxurious New York City property was built in the 1890s that was converted into condos in 1998.
Purchased in 2005 for $1.9 million, Fey and her husband recently put their Upper West Side condo on the market as they upgraded to a $3.4 million five-bedroom condo in the same neighborhood. Now selling for $2.3 million, the 1,873 square-foot condo features two bedrooms with a private bathroom and two additional bathrooms with a 31-foot entrance way. The condo also appears to have some lovely hardwood floors, French doors, a guest bedroom, a fireplace, an eat-in kitchen and its own laundry facilities.
Real Housewives of NJ “reality star” Teresa Giudice has recently reported as having $11 million dollar in debt, ranging from home foreclosures and bankruptcy The old spending more than you make is to blame here with reported earnings of $79,000 per year and $104,000 in credit card debt, fertility payments, car payments and real estate debt of $2.6 million. Zillow.com via the New York Post is reporting that her Towaco, New Jersey home (valued at $616,000) is going through the foreclosure process as Giudice and her husband have not been making mortgage payments.
Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton has reduced the price of her home from $12,995,000 to $10,950,000. Although we still can’t afford such luxurious digs, her impressive casa is sure to draw in a buyer, especially as Zillow.com noted “her hobby is buying historically interesting homes in California and renovating them.” Designed in the 1920s, the 9,000 square-foot Spanish Colonial home features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms (wow!), an entryway converted into a library, a courtyard with a fountain, media room, a den, a pool and Keaton’s design touches featured throughout the home.
Night View of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan
By Serena Norr
Often dubbed “the Greatest City in the World,” New York City is a cultural melting pot that millions of people call home. Within this prime locale, residents have access to fine dining and nightlife, ethnic cuisine, museums and galleries, Broadway shows, sporting events and recreational parks and facilities.
With all of these unique amenities, it’s no wonder people from all over the world are moving to New York every year. However, once you relocate to NYC there is the issue of finding a place to live. There is no shortage of housing options in NYC with luxury apartments, two-family houses, buildings, condos and coops, brownstones, and even some houses with property; however these places don’t come without a sizeable price tag. In fact, when you move to NYC you will quickly find that locale determines the price of real estate. Due to these high-rentals (and desire for space), many people have moved away from Manhattan, opting for a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, as opposed to a studio in the Lower East Side. This real estate shift has greatly altered what neighborhoods are desirable in NYC; however the high-end Manhattan real estate shows no signs of slowly down with new development deals and luxury condos throughout the city.
From new commercial developments to residential brownstones on the market to celebrity deals, there is always something exciting happening in the NYC real estate scene. On the beat of the real estate industry are some extraordinary NYC bloggers that are on top of the latest industry news and trends and whose sites feature in-depth articles ranging from tenant’s rights to real estate taxes. Here are some of Relocation.com’s favorites:
Created by Jonathan Butler in 2004, Brownstoner covers Brooklyn’s real estate market, latest news, new housing developments and renovation projects. This also includes covering housing issues in Brooklyn, buying tips and pictures of houses, and listings of apartments, coops and condos on the market. The site has grown tremendously since it began that also includes a directory of services, a community forum, restaurant guide, links to various renovation blogs and a sister site called Brownstoner Philadelphia.
A free listing resource, How to Rent in NYC features no broker fee and no fee apartments. The site also includes a renters section where users can write reviews about their landlords, as well as place to read past tenant’s experiences. Created by Alicia Schwartz, the site also features a directory of no fee management companies and landlords, a helpful question and answer segment for renters, rental articles and a listing of moving companies to get you to NYC.
Covering all of Manhattan, NYC Blog Estate features current real estate listings, recent developments and informative articles about the industry. Users can also navigate their way through the site based on the neighborhood they are interested in. The site also has a buyer and seller section where interested parties can post their home or apartment for a direct sale.
A self-professed “real estate solider,” Property Grunt features the latest news on Manhattan’s real estate industry. The daily blog also provides commentary pertaining to current issues such as crooked real estate transactions, taxes and housing issues, problems with landlords, housing reports, tenant’s rights and pictures of local real estate developments.
A print and online edition, The Real Deal features daily content about real estate news, commercial developments, foreclosed properties and expensive deals throughout the NYC area. Stories can also be broken down by neighborhood and users can share their tips about real estate to the website’s editors. The site also has an event section and listing of offices, retail spaces and commercial properties for sale.
The New York Observer’s blog-The Real Estate covers stories about high-end real estate transactions, building developments, tenant experiences and market reports. They also showcase “it’s free to look” area where users can check out luxury apartments and condos on the market.
Published by the Heddings Property Group, the True Gotham blog delivers content that pertains to the inner workings of the real estate industry. Taking an open and honest approach, the site features market reports of transitions in Manhattan, industry news, podcasts and videos and a residential listing section.
As mentioned, in our Best Real Estate Blogs in Los Angeles post we are fans of Curbed and their network of websites. The New York addition — aptly named Curbed NY— follows a snarky and direct approach to covering the latest news and headlines of the NYC real estate market. The site also features celebrity homes on the market (Olsen twins home for $.45 million is just one example), real estate gossip and developments, commercial real estate news, real estate construction and a link to their flickr site showcasing gorgeous photos of real estate around the city. Sellers can also list their home and buyers can search through homes on the market at the Curbed Marketplace.
A comprehensive real estate site, Urban Diggs analyzes the Manhattan real estate market through the use of macro economics to determine real estate trends and investment strategies. Created by Noah Rosenblatt, the site provides in-depth articles, a user discussion section, charts of current trends and insider tips. The also site covers renovations, mortgages, inventory and features a contractor directory.
Everything is coming up green, which also rings true for the real estate industry. Green Buildings NYC not only covers the real estate segment, but design and construction projects in the greater NYC area. The content on the site is organized by neighborhood where users can discover the latest news and articles on green building and sustainability on office spaces, commercial real estate, architecture projects, environmental issues, energy efficient buildings, alternative energy sources, lawn development and much more. Through the site users can also learn about local events, engage in a community forum, locate jobs and search for green real estate listings.
Buy or Rent? The 10 Best Cities in the U.S for Both Markets
By Serena Norr
The great debate lives on: Should you buy or rent? Both sides of the discussion are very passionate about their stance. Renters scuff at the idea of buying due to an inability to put down a sizeable down payment or perhaps they live in an area where renting is favorable to buying a home. Buyers, on the other hand don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to own their own property in order to build a home for themselves or their families, as well as own a piece of real estate that may increase in value over time. This friendly debate has seen a bit of a shift with the upturn of the economy where some renters can now afford to buy due to foreclosures and financial assistance from the $8,000 tax credit for new homebuyers. Whereas, some homeowners have been forced out of their homes and can now only afford rent.
Of course, the complexity of the housing bubble isn’t so black and white. Location also plays a huge factor in an individual’s decision and ability to buy or rent. For example: in New York it is cheaper to rent than to own; whereas in Boston the market is stronger for buyers. As this paradigm continues to flip, we at relocation.com won’t be taking any sides; but we can offer a list of the best cities (area amenities, price, thriving job markets and real estate growth) for both markets. Now if we could just solve the mortgage crisis, we would all be one big happy family.
10 Best Cities for Renters
1. Columbus, Ohio: According to apartments.com, the average rental in Columbus, Ohio is $837 for a two-bedroom apartment—pretty amazing deal for the largest city in Ohio and home of Ohio State University. Real estate is also expected to pick up, but for now it is certainly a renters market.
2. Indianapolis, Indiana: As the largest city in Indiana, Indianapolis is experiencing a steady job market that is also renowned for its job market within the manufacturing industries and home of the Indianapolis 500. Residents of this Midwestern area also have access to numerous cultural attractions such as the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions and the White River State Park. Renters can also look forward to affordable apartment prices with an average monthly rent of $751 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to mynewplace.com.
3. San Antonio, Texas: As the second largest city in Texas, San Antonio has cultural ties to Mexico and the U.S. where residents can see a rodeo or check out exciting cultural attractions such as the Alamo and the River Walk. The area is also home to major universities and research centers such as South Texas Medical Center. The area is also ideal for renters where months rents average $850 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com.
4. Salt Lake City, Utah: The average two-bedroom rental in Salt Lake City, Utah is $804, according to mynewplace.com. This outdoor lover’s paradise is home to numerous ski resorts, golf courts and national parks and attractions such as The Utah Museum, the Historic Temple Square of Natural History and Great Salt Lake.
5. Austin, Texas: Dubbed the “live music capitol of the world,” music and Austin, Texas are often mentioned in the same sentence, which is evident by the numerous musical festivals (South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival) that are held here. Austin is also the corporate headquarters of Whole Food Market, Dell and recently a new office for Facebook. The city is also a biker friendly area and one that is very eco-conscious and not to mention affordable with the average two-bedroom rental at $1065, according to apartments.com.
6. Charleston, South Carolina: An exciting southern city, Charleston, South Carolina features numerous recreational amenities such as beaches, campgrounds, museums (Gibbes Museum of Art and the Charleston Museum) and an historical downtown area. The area also boosts a mild climate throughout the year to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. What’s even better is that you get all of this for a monthly rate of $ 825 as stated by mynewplace.com.
7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: As the largest city in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City is renowned for its livestock industries and oil production. This western city is also home to the Ford Center to check out a basketball game or a concert, the American Banjo Museum and Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Renters will also love the price of $665 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com.
8. Sacramento, California:Sacramento, California is known as a lively area for its recreational amenities (Sacramento Zoo, national parks, museums and marina). There is also favorable rent in this area of $934 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to mynewplace.com.
9. Tucson, Arizona: Dry, arid climates are in the norm in Tucson, Arizona where residents can enjoy outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, hiking at one of the areas numerous parks and nature reserves. New construction is also promising for renters with an average two-bedroom apartment at $723 a month, according to apartments.com.
10. Denver, Colorado: If surrounded amongst natural beauty and access to historic western attractions aren’t enough, cheap rents are sure to entice you to move to Denver, Colorado. According to mynewplace.com the average rent in the Mile High City is $978 for a two-bedroom apartment.
10 Best Cities for Homebuyers
1. Boston, Massachusetts: A vibrant college town, Boston, Massachusetts is the home of Harvard, Boston University and the Boston Conservatory of Music. The area is also experiencing a strong housing market with a 2.17 percent increase in home sales and an average single family home priced at $359,900, according to ziprealty.com.
2. Atlanta Georgia: Dubbed the Sun Belt for its hot temperatures, Atlanta, Georgia is the headquarters of CNN, the Coca-Cola Company and Delta. Not just a mecca for big business, this area is a hot market for homebuyers with the average single family home costing $146,500, according to zillow.com.
3. Baltimore, Maryland: Centrally located in Maryland, Baltimore is a vibrant seaport city situated along the Patapsco River. The area also has a downtown commercial district and nine surrounding neighborhoods for your pick of a suburban or city environment. According to ziprealty.com, the average home is $194,000 whose area is experiencing a steady increase since January 2010.
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota: The average single-family home in Minneapolis, Minnesota aka the Twin Cities is $184,000 , according to zillow.com along with a 2.33 percent sales increase in March, 2010 that makes this area favorable for buyers. In addition to affordable homes, the job market is seeing a slight increase, along with area amenities such as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, recreational parks and parks and historical tours that makes for an ideal (and affordable) location.
5. Washington, D.C.: As the nation’s capitol there is never short of something to do in while living in Washington, D.C. Exploring the White House, Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian Museum are just some of the many area attractions residents can take advantage of. This area also has a combination of modern and historic neighborhoods that is favorable for buyers with homes averaging $330,000 and increasing in sales of 2.36 percent in March, 2010, according to ziprealty.com.
6. Sacramento, California: Famous for the home of the gold rush in the 18th century, Sacramento is now a thriving city situated along the Sacramento River. The area is also the state capitol of California that is a hub for parks, modern museums and music (Crocker Art Museum and the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra), theatre (Sacramento Theatre Company) and colleges (Sacramento State). Buyers can also look forward to affordable housing prices with homes averaging $239,900, according to ziprealty.com.
7. Charlotte, North Carolina: Known as the “Queen City,” residents of Charlotte, North Carolina have access to numerous artistic and cultural attractions such as the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Discovery Place: a hands-on science museum, a vibrant financial center located in downtown Charlotte and historic neighborhoods. On top of all that buyers can score a major deal with the average price of home at $148,900, according to zillow.com.
8. Dallas, Texas: With a motto like: “Live Large, Think Big,” Dallas surely lives up its credo with its diverse culture, modern restaurants and access to one of the largest arts districts in the U.S (the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas City Arts Festival, and Shakespeare Festival of Dallas are just a few of the many cultural offerings.). This vibrant city is also very affordable with the average home at $189,750 and a steady increase in sales at 2.57 percent, according to ziprealty.com.
9. Jacksonville, Florida: The largest city in Florida, Jacksonville is sure to please sun worshippers but will also be favorable to individuals who seek a diverse area whose job market is steadily rising. Jacksonville is also home to the largest park system in the country, according to coj.net, along with beaches and a vibrant downtown area. Home buyers will also love this area for its affordable home prices. In March, 2010, the average home in Jacksonville was $165,000, according to ziprealty.com.
10. Las Vegas, Nevada: Hit pretty hard by the housing market, real estate in Las Vegas is starting to see signs of growth with a 1.19 percent increase in home sales in March 2010, as opposed to the -4.95 percent loss in December 2008. This dessert city is sure to be exciting for residents (and not just cause of the Vegas Strip), but an area that features natural beauty, an arid climate and established neighborhoods whose homes feature modern amenities and access to great schools. Houses typically range from $169,900 and new construction is promising for this dessert city.
As the second largest city in the United States, and the largest city in California, Los Angeles is renowned as a hub for glamour and entertainment, amazing weather, fine dining, attractions and breathtaking beaches.
This “City of Angels” is also home to some of the most immaculate real estate properties in the world with seaside residences, homes situated in the mountains, über modern architectural wonders and green design concepts. Although these housing options are plentiful, the area was hit pretty hard by the declining housing market, causing market price to plummet and foreclosures throughout the city. However, this area is now starting to see signs of growth with the rebound of home sales. Forbes magazine even named Los Angeles one of the top 10 metro areas in the U.S that is easing from the recession. Good prospects are up ahead and relocation.com is very excited to cover these Los Angeles bloggers who are on the pulse of what’s happening in this (once again) burgeoning real estate market.
As part of the popular Curbed network, the Curbed LA edition covers anything and everything real estate throughout all of the neighborhoods in the City of Lights. This up to the minute blog is certainly on the beat of what is going on in the market through their informative, but fun articles. The site also features breaking real estate news and deals, developments in architecture, home improvement and design concepts and real estates listings, accompanied by gorgeous pictures.You can also find restaurant reviews and everything about LA fashion on its sister sites-Eater LA and Racked LA for the complete LA experience.
Covering the Westside of Los Angeles and Downtown, the Los Angeles Real Estate Blog features the point of view of real estate broker-Keller Williams and his first hand insight of this residential real estate market. Since the blog covers Downtown, most of the listings feature apartments, condos and coops, along with location information (restaurants, area amenities, etc) room features, floor plans, pictures and even YouTube videos that give users an interactive tour. The site also provides informational articles such as green living, analysis of home growth in certain areas and parking in LA with a dead meter.
Crafted by the Valerie Fitzgerald Group, Los Angeles Real Estate Talkcovers the market in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Malibu, Santa Monica and the Westside of Los Angeles. This luxury real estate blog showcases the latest buying and selling trends and listings, as well an a great resource for informational articles about home inspections, construction sites, loans, mortgage rules and tax credits. Buyers and sellers should be sure to check out the blogs resource page, where they can check out a payment calculator, moving checklist, budget calculator, closing costs, and understanding investment, among many other informational (and free!) resources.
The Malibu Real Estate Blog gives users the “low down” on high end real estate from techy/real estate agent, Michael Gardner. Auctions, listings and pictures, sales and real estate developments throughout Malibu are all covered on the site through Gardner’s straightforward tone. He even lists his cell phone number, so that users can call or text him directly with their listing information or any questions.
A Manhattan Beach real estate blog, the Manhattan Beach Confidential lists properties on the market and compares current asking prices to its previous sales, which gives buyers a comprehensive analysis on property values and real estate trends. The reviews also include open house times, location information and a straightforward review of a homes appearance. Recent posting such as: “First, there’s that exterior, with its hard-on-the-eyes adornments. It just doesn’t work” are just some of the brutally honest remarks regularly found on MBC.
Blogger/real estate broker, Irina Netchaev breaks down the real estate market in Pasadena through her site, Pasadena Views. This informational resource covers architecture, home sales, real estate market reports, as well as information about loans and mortgages. Home owners can also list their homes here, or buyers can search through the up-to-date free listing section. The site also features foreclosures, market statistics and profiles on Pasadena’s neighborhoods such as average home price and amount of time a place is listed on the market. The site also has a personal touch with Irina’s real-life stories of the buying/selling market, advice and insider secrets.
Covering Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Los Angeles, Malibu, the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Westwood, the Los Angeles Real Estate Voice provides a neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown of real estate listing and housing news. The blog also features these areas through their own profile pages, as well as through lifestyle articles covering local restaurants, where the best schools are and an interactive video section where experts give their opinions on real estate in these markets.
Looks like brighter days are coming for Los Angeles, as the market is showing signs of some real change. Check out some of these blogs to stay up-to-date on current trends, real estate listings and industry news as they happen—we know we will!
First off, do your movers even charge for it? Many companies, particularly the van lines, do not. Moving companies don’t use much of it, so stretch wrap is a minor expense and they don’t pass the cost on to the consumer.
However, some companies do charge for this. And it can be hefty – I heard from one woman who said she got charged $1 a yard. Compare that to a large roll that you can buy yourself for 5 cents a yard.
If your moving company does charge, you can wrap items yourself to save on the expense (whether they charge for it should be broken out on your contract; I’d also ask specifically WHAT materials they charge for).
Hiring moving companies isn’t easy — or cheap. However, it’s generally easier than moving it all yourself, so if you’re hiring movers, here are some ways to save.
Pack It Yourself: A moving company’s packing services performed by the mover are often as expensive as the transportation cost itself. Even if you are having your goods packed by the mover, there are some ways of saving money. Items that are nonbreakable such as linens and bedding can be packed easily without the risk of damage — maybe pack these, and have the movers handle the breakables, it’s a good way to save money. This is called a partial pack of your goods.
Seasonal Considerations: You will save money if you can be flexible on your move time. Avoid June, July, and August – those are the most expensive months to move because of greater demand for full-service long distance moving companies. Year-round, try to play your move during the middle of the month — costs are higher at the beginning and the end of the month because of the large number of apartment leases that have month-end dates. If you have some wiggle room with your move-in times, that can also save you money because the moving company may be able to combine shipments; however, ask yourself how long you can go without your stuff.
Save on Packing Luggage and duffel bags are perfect for packing sheets, towels and clothing. Also, the bottoms of wardrobe boxes are great for bulky, lightweight items. Use that space. Be wary of packing tips that might save you money but won’t protect your stuff – for example, using wadded up newsprint instead of bubble wrap. You might save a few dollars, but in the end, is busting something worth it?
Stock Up Make sure you have plenty of boxes and materials so you don’t have to keep making trips to buy more. If you’re buying from moving companies, you might be able to return the boxes you don’t use. Most everyone underestimates how much they’ll need; don’t make this mistake, be sure to get enough.
Storage Notes: If you have stuff at a storage unit or at another location, move those items to your home to avoid extra pick-up charges. Most items that need to be disassembled can be done so by the moving company. However, other items such as exercise equipment, outdoor gym and play sets require extra labor, and will cost you more. Whenever possible, disassemble and reassemble these yourself.
Time is Money Color-code the boxes according to the room they belong in so they all end up in the same place, saving time for both you and your mover.
Taxing Times Your moving costs could be tax-deductible. Keep all receipts for the taxman.
Are You Insured? Moving insurance is cheap and usually worth the cost — the basic protection you get from the moving company is exactly that, basic.
Do You Really Need That? Most long-distance moving is based on the weight of your shipment, so do you really need to move those heavy items? Check areas of your home for items that have not been used for a long time and simply dump them – if you don’t use them, why pay for them to be moved to new place where you won’t use them all over again? Sell it on eBay, sell it at a garage sale, or donate it to charity and take a tax write-off.
Know What You Own: Decide what items you want to ship and what will simply be thrown away. And keep in mind that if you change the number of items you move, the total cost of your move will change. Inform the mover of any changes — effective communication is a key factor for a successful move.
Ask — Politely: If you want to save money, chat with your moving company when you get moving quotes. With the economy, many moving companies are pretty desperate for your business, and will suggest ways to cut your move costs. But don’t go crazy — scam moving companies will cut your costs to zero if it means they can get your job and scam you. Make sure the cost savings make sense.
It’s crunch time, do or die: You have to move this weekend and you haven’t done anything. You need to start packing but you don’t know where to begin, and the whole thing seems completely overwhelming. Take a deep breath — we’ll show you how to pack like a pro.
Divide your clothes into four categories:
1.) Clothes you will use before you move
2.) Clothes you will definitely be wearing in the weeks after you move
3.) Clothes that are off season
4.) Clothes that you are ready to donate.
Pack up the donation clothes first — be aggressive here, when was the last time you wore that ugly olive sweater? Purging your closet of the things you don’t wear anymore will give you a feeling of progress and the positive momentum to keep moving forward.
Pack up the clothes that are off-season and the clothes you won’t be wearing in the next two weeks next. Leave the clothes you will be wearing in the next two weeks in the closet and pack those the day of the move.
Order some affordable moving supplies that can be delivered for free the next business day. On average, somebody who is moving spends two and half hours trying to locate moving boxes, comparing prices and picking up the boxes. Save yourself this step get the boxes delivered for free.
Pack dresses, suits, and pants that can’t be wrinkled in wardrobe boxes. This is important because if an important garment is thrown in a regular moving box, they can be so thoroughly wrinkled that they make become hard or impossible to un-wrinkle.
A common novice mover mistake is to purchase many extra-large boxes. This is a mistake because as you fill an extra-large box they often become too heavy to carry. A good rule of thumb is to use as small a box as possible and use more of them. Small boxes also won’t obscure your vision as you are going down stairs or walkways.
Make sure to put your mattress in a heavy-duty mattress bag. Mattresses tend to get very dirty and grimy during a move. They are dragged from spot to spot because they are difficult to carry.
Lastly, enlist friends to help you. Perhaps somebody can watch your pets and/or kids the day of the move and Don’t forget to keep your cell phone charger handy often this gets packed into a box early on and when you need to talk with your mover they can’t reach you because your phone is out of batteries. Good luck!
If you’re moving locally, you’ll pay by the hour for a certain number of workers – many local moving companies charge around $90 an hour for 3 movers, but that varies around the country, of course, based on local labor costs.
As far as how long it will take, a good rule of thumb is one hour per room, using bedrooms, living rooms, family rooms, kitchens, and other whole rooms. The other areas usually even out, with the main rooms not always taking the full hour. Loading generally takes twice as long as unloading. Please note: Transit time will count toward the total, so be sure to keep that in mind.
The only way you’ll know for sure how much you’ll pay is to call local moving companies for moving estimates. Based on the stuff you need to have moved, they’ll give you a better sense of the costs you’ll be looking at.
I’ve always been impressed by people who are more action than talk when it comes to moving environmentally — during the stress of moving, it can be easy to just take the easy way out and forego your green ethos.
That’s why I was so taken with some of the cool new environmental moving products out there, particularly those from Earth Friendly Moving, which is based in California (where else, eh?).
This company has gone beyond the reusable packing crates and found alternative products for just about anything you might need on your move. Most impressive of all, it says the products are cheaper than their non-green counterparts — which is key in an economy where price might trump environment.
When it drops off its reusable packing crates, Earth Friendly will create a bubble-wrap alternative called Geami Paper that it presses from something called ‘cardboard sludge ’ — which it does right on the moving truck into rolls of 100 to 200 feet. It claims the material is more protective than bubble wrap — and cheaper.
When you’re done with it, re-use it throughout the year, or Earth Friendly will take it off your hands and recycle it for another customer.
The other cool product is ‘Recocubes,’ which are a replacement for syrofoam peanuts. They’re made from newspaper sludge — only 40% of recycled newsprint is usable; this product uses the other 60%. Just as the name suggests, it’s pressed into a sturdy, card-board-like cube that will cushion your belongings.
When you’re done with moving, you can just toss the relocubes into the garden, water them, and voila! Compost for those new plants at your new place.
The video segment below shows the owner eating one, which I don’t know if I’d recommend in a daily diet, but hey, to each their own. Check it out for other cool product ideas for your move, and ask your own moving companies about ways to make an environmental move.
No matter how much planning, study and shoe-leather you put into it, moving isn’t cheap.
But there are some easy ways to save on your move. Relocation.com came up with 5 that could help you shave more than $1,000 off your relocation expenses (OK, that’s more than a shave, more like a full cut and trim). We also offer you some other resources for easy ways to save on your move. (Savings are based on someone making a 3-bedroom, coast-to-coast move, which carries a roughly $7,000 tab.)
1. Negotiate Your Move Date – Save $300 to $600
Many moves take place at the same times: end or beginning of the month, or Fridays or Mondays. Consumers who are able to move on “off” days might be able to work a deal with a moving company. You can save even more if you move during the off-season — essentially November through April.
After you get moving quotes, ask the moving company if you could catch a break if you agreed to move at some other time. They might be willing to give you a discount.
2. Dump 10% of Your Stuff – Save $250 to $400
It’s simple in theory — most less stuff, pay less for your move, and have less headache. In practice, it’s usually harder. It needn’t be. For every 9 nine things you pack, throw away 1 thing. Other tips:
• Only move stuff you’ve used in the past year. If you haven’t used something in the past 12 months, you probably won’t use it again, so there’s no point in paying to move it.
• Use two plastic bins in each room you pack, and designate a ‘definite’ throwaway bin and a ‘maybe’ throwaway bin. When finished packing the room, throw out everything in the ‘definite’ bin, decide on the ‘maybe’ items and then move on to the next room.
• In the months before the move, divide a clothing rod between ‘must-move’ and ‘not-to-move’ clothing. After an item of clothing is worn and washed, put it on the ‘must-move’ side of the clothing rod. When it’s time to pack, get rid of all the clothes on the ‘not-to-move’ side of the rod.
3. Pack Half of Your Stuff– Save $400-$600
Roughly 50 percent of what you need to move is breakable, such as dishes and glassware. Let the movers handle packing these, since they are the most difficult to pack safely. Also, moving insurance usually will not cover items that are not packed by professionals, unless there’s clear damage to the outside of the moving box. You want coverage on these items.
The other half – items that won’t break, like toys and books – can be loaded into boxes relatively easily and don’t require special handling or supplies. Not using packers for these items can some money, it just requires a bit more work on your part.
4. Disconnect It – Save $150-$200
If the moving company provides any third-party moving services to handle disconnecting electronics and appliances, you will pay for it. Eliminate these fees altogether by learning how to safely dismantle any electronics systems and how to disconnect/connect appliances.
5. Don’t Move Large, Breakable Items – Save $200-$300 There are certain items a moving company won’t move without special crating, such as glass tables, flat-screen plasma TVs and specialty artwork such as pottery or big oil paintings. Here are some options to cut down on the need for expensive crating services.
• Glass items like shelves or tables, are generally cheap to replace compared to how much it costs to ship them. Consider the costs of moving them versus buying a similar type of shelf or tabletop at the new home.
• For a flat-panel TV, the least expensive method is packing it in the box it came in. If that’s not an option, search online for boxes designed specifically for TVs, which contain special foam inserts for extra protection.
• If you’re moving long distance, you can also pack fragile or valuable items in your car, rent a separate small moving van, or rent a trailer in which to tow them. You will pay more for this, of course, but you might have greater peace of mind about damages, and if you have enough that would require crating by the moving company, you might come out even.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you have to move fast – the house closing happened more quickly than you expected, or you just procrastinated because the thought of packing filled you with as much joy as visiting the dentist — you know the awful feeling.
* You’ll never have enough time to find a mover
* If you do find a mover, you’ll pay through the nose (or other uncomfortable body part)
While it’s true you might end up paying a bit more, you shouldn’t assume you’ll have an awful experience. Here are some things to keep in mind to make your move go more smoothly, at a price that won’t shock you.
1. You Probably WILL Pay More. Just accept that fact. Organizing the moving process, especially for longer moving, takes time and money on the part of moving companies. They don’t come together easily.
2. Be Explicit With Move Dates. Your mover needs to know what he’s up against. If you must be out by a certain date, make that crystal clear.
3. Even If You’re Desperate, Don’t Act It. When talking to moving companies, make it clear you’re talking to several firms that want your moving business.
4. Get Organized. This is important for a nonrushed move; it’s crucial for rushed moving. Stated simply: If you’re organized and prepared, you’ll get a more accurate quote and you’ll have a smoother move to boot.
Get your stuff ready to move as soon as possible, even before the moving company estimator comes to your home to give you moving quotes. Get rid of any goods not going and have everything as organized as possible. The more clear it is what needs to be moved the more accurate your estimates will be. On moving day, it will ensure everything goes more smoothly — the No. 1 cause of moving day stress is a discrepency between the estimate and the final cost.
5. Don’t Just Choose the First Mover That Can Handle Your Move. Take a few minimal steps to ensure you hire a trustworthy mover:
• Get 3 estimates. If you can’t have the movers in your home (which is always preferable), be as thorough as possible when describing what needs to be moved, and ask about extra costs if you happen to underestimate how much stuff you need to move.
• Don’t take a low bid. It’s a sign of a mover that’s just trying to win your business now, only to raise the price later with lots of little (and big) charges.
• Deal with movers that have a local presence. It makes everything easier.
When you move, everyone tells you to get rid of stuff, but it’s easier said than done.
There are the usual ways – try to sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist, or hold a garage sale to hopefully make some cash.
However, most people when they’re moving just don’t have the time (or energy) to organize a sale of their stuff. So most of it just gets throw away. (I love when people say, ‘Just hold a garage sale! There’s really no ‘just’ about it.)
Whatever you do, the end result for a lot of stuff you have is the dump – you’ll need to throw away a lot of stuff.
Here’s a tip to making it easier. Many people will be rent a dumpster if the job is huge. It ain’t cheap. And the neighbors might not like it. In fact, some homeowners associations won’t even allow it. And you could lose a kid or two in there.
The solution: rent a truck. Keep all the stuff to throw away in a garage or in a room, and when you want to haul it away, toss it into the rental truck and away to the dump! If you’re renting it for the day, you’ll probably have time to do other chores associated with your move, and if you’re moving yourself, you can just keep the truck to move all the stuff that you want in your new home.