Pass the time when moving in a car with some of these creative activities
By Richard Farrell
Special to Relocation.com
Moving across the country in car is one way to save money. However, when you add kids into that mix you have to consider that they may get bored – especially when you will be driving for hours on end. Check out some of our creative solutions to make it easier to get to your new home when driving.
Planning the Trip:
Once you have chosen your route, it is time to calculate how long you are going to be a passenger or driver in the car. Allow for unforeseen delays such as traffic backlogs and diversions along the way. Once you know your likely journey time you can plan around it better.
Pack a cooler of healthy snacks and lunch options for your initial ride. Once you get on the road, plan to use drive-through food outlets along the way as this will save a lot of time. Keep a couple of trash bags handy for any garbage.
Wear sensible clothing and shoes for the journey. Choose comfortable shoes and clothing that are easy to slip off so that you can relax and let your feet breathe. Long trips will likely result in posture issues and your feet will soon remind you of the fact that you are not comfortable. Shoelaces are not practical in these circumstances.
Should you be sharing the driving, do make sure you stop in a safe place and take time out to walk about and do some breathing exercises before you take the wheel. Include some stretching exercises too..
Consuming of alcoholic beverages immediately before or while traveling makes for another definite “no.” Apart from affecting your reaction time it is breaking the law and your journey to your new destination will be remembered for all the wrong reasons!
7 Fun Tips to Pass Time in a Car:
Bring CD’s. Sort through your CD collection and pick out some favorites and maybe a couple that you have not played for some time.
Radio. Satellite radio played through your car sound system is of excellent quality and clarity. Tune in to your favorite stations before you set off.
Books and Magazines. Kids love books and magazines. Make sure you have plenty for the journey.
Music DVD’s. You may be lucky enough to have a sophisticated in-car system. If not, then there are plenty of good quality portable players for you to enjoy the latest movie offerings as well.
Take Naps. Short napping is good, but sleeping the entire journey may be considered antisocial, and besides you will be missing the passing scenery and could arrive feeling less than your best.
Food. Choose snack food that does not make a big mess. Dry snacks such as chips and peanuts or glazed dry fruit are great for the car. Avoid too much intake of food and drink or you will be stopping at every restroom along the way.
Rotate Drivers Regularly. This is very important for long journeys. If you are the only driver you will need to consider breaking your journey with an overnight stop. In any event, do stop every 90 minutes but make sure you pull over in a safe place.
In general, families in the military move from one base to another – and even from country to country – about once every two years on average. Since moving is such a great upheaval it can be especially difficult for military families to cope and manage with the constant packing and unpacking.
As with all moves, basic organization and planning are the keys to a successful and less stressful relocation. Listed below are some tips for military families who have to move often.
The first step is to set up a meeting with the transportation office on the base where you are currently located. During this meeting you will be given certain forms which must be filled in, in order for those in charge of this office to process your details and ensure that you have all the information you may need to, for example, apply for a Dislocation Allowance (an allowance to help pay for all sorts of miscellaneous expenses); for a temporary housing allowance, or for any other of the numerous financial benefits which may be available to your family. You will also be given information on the two ways of making the move, because military families have two programs to choose from when it comes to moving from base to base. One is that the government will actually transport your household possessions for you. The other option is the DIY method. Should you choose to move your belongings yourself, you will be reimbursed about 95 percent of what it would have cost the government to use their moving services.
Along with the planning and organization, families should also downsize and get rid of absolutely everything they don’t need. With clothing, this means anything that you have not worn in the past year. Downsizing will ensure that you do not have to pack and then unpack (and find place for) items for which you no longer have any use. Donate these items to charity, ask friends or family if they would like to have them or, as a last resort, have a garage sale.
For safety and security reasons, keep all your personal important and legal documents with you – do not pack them into boxes for the moving company to take away for transportation.
Take photographs of any of your valuable items so if anything gets damaged or lost, you will have a record of such objects.
Finally, make a list of what you have packed into each and every box and, once they have been sealed, write on them in clear handwriting exactly which room in your new home the boxes need to be put in. This will help enormously when it comes to unpacking and organizing your new home.
We finally get to see the amount of stuff we actually have when moving. Throughout the years, many items are replaced and the older ones get dumped in the garage, basement or attic. We also buy new clothes, crockery, upholstery, furniture, electronic gadgets and decoration items that gets added to our pile of stuff. When everything is decorated and in its correct place at home, it all feels less. But that’s not true. When you begin packing your belongings during moving, you realize the true magnitude.
The first thing is to get rid of all the things in your garage, basement and attic that you haven’t used in months, or in some instances, even years. Here are some of the best ways to unload your old junk before moving.
Have a yard sale. When planning a yard sale, start by organizing your items into boxes and labeling them based on their price. You will then have to consider making signs and posting them around your neighborhood to get the word out about your sale. On the day of the sale, set up your items early (people will arrive before the designated time) and be flexible with pricing – this will help you get rid of more stuff quickly.
Donate your belongings. If you don’t have the time for a sale, consider donating your items to a shelter, an orphanage or a humanitarian organization such as the Goodwill or Salvation Army. These non-profit organizations usually need items like clothes, books, canned food, toys, tools, bags and more.
Give them away to family and friends. Many people prefer giving fairly new and useful items to their friends and families. Older models of cell phones, laptops and clothes that no longer fit may be useful to your friends, neighbors or relatives. You can also have a clothing swap party, which can also function as a good-bye party as your friends exchange goods with one another.
Toss it. Sometimes even the best of intentions to pass along your items will fail when you have old and smelly clothes or broken down items that can’t be salvaged. In these instances, it is best to toss your old and useless stuff. Look into recycling centers in your area for old electronics and paper goods.
After getting rid of the garage, basement and attic stuff. Make and inventory of your belongings. For an average family, about one-third of their belongings are still “excess” and its best that you get rid of them too to lighten your load.
Less stuff makes for easier packing, easier travel and most likely cheaper moving expenses. It is also a great way to start fresh without the excess of junk that may have been weighing you down for years.
The Kentucky Versailles Castle - Listed for $30 million. (Image Credit: Kentucky.com)
This week we are loving the gorgeous pictures of the castle Kentucky that is currently on the market. Constructed by Rex and Caroline Martin after their trip to France the home was left unfinished after the couple divorced a few years later. Now listed for $30 million, the massive castle is currently run as an inn and bed-and-breakfast that is being looked at by several interested buyers. On the rest of the Beat we featured celebrity homes for sale in California. Molly Sims recently listed her Hollywood Hills home as did Meatloaf and Burt Reynolds. As we get into spring, we are excited to check out what new properties will be featured on the Beat. Until next time…
Shot of the Kentucky Versailles Castle - (Image Credit: Zillow.com)
• Kentucky’s Versailles Castle for Sale
After a trip to Versailles, France in 1968 Rex and Caroline Martin were inspired to create their own castle right in Kentucky. They later divorced in 1975 and the uncompleted castle was left unused until Rex’s death in 2003. According to Zillow.com, it was later sold for $1.8 to Thomas Post who rebuilt it as a bed-and-breakfast/inn that has since been open for rentals and special events like weddings and fundraisers. Located on Versailles Road between Lexington and Frankfort, the stunning 50-room castle is now on the market for $30 million, according to Kentucky.com. There are talks that at least two people from South America are interested in purchasing the castle and if they do they can look forward to a 50-acre estate with stone walls, gardens, fountains, a tennis court and a huge pool. The new buyer can also look forward to having a game room, a library, a dining room as well as opulent window and home furnishings.
Molly Sims' modern kitchen - Listed for $2.8 million. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)
• Molly Sims Listed Her Hollywood Hills Home for $2.8 Million
Model and actress Molly Sims recently placed her gorgeous Hollywood Hills home on the market for $2.8 million. The Spanish-style home, built in the 1930s, includes three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and a modern kitchen with Viking appliances. The immaculately-styled home was also featured in InStyle magazine.
Pics of Kourtney Kardashian's new home - Purchased for $1.7 million. (Image Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Kourtney Kardashian Buys a New Home
Kourtney Kardashian of “Keeping up with the Kardashian” fame recently purchased a new home for $1.7 million. Located in Calabasas, California, the four bedroom, 4.5 bathroom room also includes an office, library, guest room, fitness room and a media lounge. The 5,334-square-foot home also includes a wine cellar, a fireplace, a game room, and a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a breakfast nook as well as gorgeous views of the hills.
Pics of Meat Loaf's home - Listed for $3.2 million. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Meat Loaf is Selling his California Estate
Singer and current participant of “The Celebrity Apprentice” is currently moving from his Calabasas, California estate. Listed for $3.2 million, the 7,142 square foot estate includes seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms that once featured in Architectural Digest for its impressive décor. The new owner can also look forward to a three-car garage, a formal living room, a fireplace, a media room, and a custom-made kitchen.
Burt Reynolds home - Listed for sale at $10.9 million. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)
• Burt Reynolds’ Home for Sale at $10.9 Million
Burt Reynolds recently listed his Los Angeles home for sale for $10.9 million. His modern 20,580-square-foot glass home features stunning views of the city and the ocean. The home was recently designed by Steve Hermann who updated the home to feature numerous amenities such as a state-of-the-art kitchen and a large family room. The home also has four bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Congratulations on moving in - now it's time to unpack and finally settle in.
You did it – you finally moved it! Although the moving companies are long gone you now have a sea of moving boxes, unpainted walls and a bare home to deal with. Before you go crazy with the unpacking, we advise setting up a plan so that you can quickly settle-in and enjoy your new home.
1. Go out to dinner. No, this isn’t a plot to aid in your procrastination. We simply think that taking break after the days (and sometimes months) leading up to a move is a healthy way to re-focus on your plan. Getting out of the house is a great stress-reliever that will (hopefully) allow you to think about something else other than those boxes at home. Plus, having a relaxed dinner is also a great way to check out a restaurant or neighborhood in your new town or city.
2. Make it a party. If you can’t manage to break away from your unsettled home, consider having a painting and/or unpacking party. This will allow you to ask for help by offering your friends food and drinks as well as they help you in making your house a home. Make sure you tell your friends to wear old or ratty clothes –painting isn’t pretty but it can sure be a lot of fun.
3. Unpack with purpose. Moving is a great time to unpack in an organized manner – meaning not just leaving your items unattended to for days, or the worst case, leaving them in boxes and shoving them in a closet! If you find that you don’t have room for certain items, consider storage or maybe giving them away. You want to establish a fresh start in your new place and not a continuation of the way you were living.
4. Don’t overdue it. Everyone wants to be settled into their new home and neighborhood as quickly as possible. The problem when you try to do too much is complete burnout. Give yourself a schedule – allotting time for breaks outside of the home. Sometimes what you think you can do in a week will actually take two or even three weeks. Don’t let this stress you out and realize the hard part (moving) is over.
5. Celebrate. We mentioned going out to dinner and having a painting party, but now that you have unpacked and decorated it’s time to really celebrate with a housewarming party! Invite friends in your area for a casual evening of food and drinks. If you are completely new to an area, have a small dinner party with just you and your partner and/or roommate. However you celebrate, make sure you site back and finally enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Arm yourself with an arsenal of cleaning products to tackle spring cleaning!
By Serena Norr
It’s officially spring! Even though it’s still pretty cold out there, we are getting excited about shedding our bulky winter coats, getting a much-needed dose of Vitamin D and cleaning out our homes for the season. Spring cleaning is a great way to get rid of items that you no longer need by donating, tossing them or placing them in storage – making your home more functional and organized. Here are some simple tips to make your house a lean mean clean machine this spring.
1. Start with the windows. An often neglected part of any house, the windows are also the easiest places for dirt and grim to acclimate. Using a rubber-edge squeegee or a sponge, mix a bucket with water and some window cleaner. Wipe and repeat until the windows are spic and span. You may also need to use a dry cloth afterward to ensure that you removed all of the dirt. While your doing this make sure you also wash your window blinds and/or curtains.
2. Change your linens. Do you have frayed and broken down linens? Spring is a great time to try new patterns and update your home with lighter and brighter colors (think feel good colors for summer!) We love flowing duvets with pale greens, yellows and lavenders.
3. Clean the refrigerator. Your fridge should really be cleaned all the time, but the winter has a way to make it easier to acclimate containers of old food – leading to mildew and pretty nasty smells. Even if you do throw out old boxes of Chinese food before it goes bad, you (most likely) aren’t rigorous about cleaning out your entire fridge. Start by taking everything out (yes, we mean everything) and throw out anything that is old or has a strange smell and/or resembles something of a science project (e.g. mold). Remove the drawers and shelves from the fridge and wash off any dirt, crust or old food. You can also scrub difficult-to-get areas with a scrub brush and/or an old toothbrush. Throughout the spring and summer get in a habit of regularly cleaning your fridge and freezer by making it a part of your normal cleaning schedule (about twice a month).
4. Clean those rugs. Rugs and carpets can very easily acclimate dirt and dust (even if you regularly vacuum). In the spring, deep clean your rugs or carpets by using a strong cleaner or hiring a professional cleaning company. Since these solvents are pretty strong, be sure to keep the windows open and try to avoid staying where the carpets are for a few hours. If you don’t have rugs, make sure to sweep, scrub and mop your floors.
5. Go through your closet. Ah, the closet, the quintessential dumping ground for all seasons. Use the spring as a way to de-clutter your closet and make some sense of the mess. Start by removing any winter items – like bulky coats and sweaters – and place them into boxes for storage or storage bins to be placed under your bed or in your garage. If there are items that you don’t need (or really never use), consider this a time to get rid of them once and for all by donating them to a local charity or give them to friends and family members. Since it is getting warmer, you may also want to sell them at a garage sale. It’s up to you how you get rid of them but the main thing is that you actually get rid of them. This also applies to shoes, bags, belts and the random knick knacks that often have a way of getting tossed into closets.
6. Junk draws no more. Junk draws are called junk drawers quite simply because they are a nesting ground for all the random things in our homes. Instead of making it all about junk, make these drawers practical and useful. Start by taking everything out of your drawer in order to clean it. Look through the contents and decide – what you really need and what is just garbage. Is your drawer filled with random nails or old tape? If you don’t need it, you may want to toss it. Oftentimes these useless items just live in our drawers until moving day. You may also consider purchasing a storage unit for your drawers in order to keep your items organized and neat.
7. Don’t forget these drawers. Cleaning not only applies to your junk drawer but should apply to your medicine cabinets, silverware drawers, cupboards and clothing drawers. Get rid of any expired medications, clean your silverware and go through your cupboards for old food. You should also go through your clothing drawers – they same way you did through your closets – and get rid of anything you no longer need or use.
8. Update your look. Just like update your style, you should also do the same for the look of your house. Your home is a place to seek refuge and find comfort and you can’t find such peace in a home with dreary colors or one that has dirty walls. Start by washing and scrubbing the walls. Then decide on a new paint scheme. Before you paint the entire home, be sure you know your vision and what “look” you want for your new home. You can purchase samples of a color or bring home color swatches before you make your final decision. Also, look through magazines and cut out pictures that resemble the look you want. After you paint, consider hanging up artwork and/or family pictures to give your home a personal touch.
Spring cleaning isn’t easy and sometimes can’t be fun, but it is a great way to shed some excessive junk from your home as you lighten up for the summer. You will not only feel better about losing these unnecessary layers of junk, your home will look brighter and become more functional – making it truly a place to find comfort.
This week ended up being an all-homes-for sale edition of the Beat, and boy, were there some interesting ones on the market. Starting in NYC, we featured the $90 million dollar estate that was once owned by the Woolworth family. The mansion, now owned by Lucille Roberts’ family, includes 10 bedrooms and 11.5 bathrooms. For a smaller amount (and not much), you can purchase Dennis Quaid’s home in the Pacific Palisades, Mary J. Blige’s home in New Jersey or Christine Aguilera’s home in Beverly Hills. Kelsey Grammer is also selling his Avon, Colorado home this week for $7.9 million. Still too rich for our blood, we’ll simply admire this luxurious real estate eye candy. Until next week…
View of the $90 million dollar Woolworth mansion. (Image Credit: Curbed NY)
• Woolworth Mansion for Sale at $90 Million
The former Gothic-style townhouse once owned by Frank Woolworth (of the nickel and dime store) has recently been place on the market for the staggering asking price of $90 million dollars! Located on East 80th Street in NYC, the 18,000-square-foot mansion, now owned by Lucille Roberts (the fitness mogul), includes lavish amenities such as three kitchens, 10 bedrooms, an elevator, a library and 11.5 bathrooms. The massive complex, designed by famed architect Charles Pierpont Henry Gilbert, also includes 14-foot ceilings, seven floors, eight fireplaces, a gym and a suite for staff members. Roberts purchased the home in 1995 for $6 million but passed away in 2003 – which is why her family is looking to sell the opulent mansion. For those that can’t fork over the $90 million dollars, the home is also available as a rental for $210,000/month.
Exterior Shot of Dennis Quaid's Home - Listed for Sale at $16.9 Million. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)
• Dennis Quaid Lists Pacific Palisades Home for $16.9 Million
Famed actor and musician Dennis Quaid is reportedly selling his Pacific Palisades home for $16.9 million in order to relocate to Texas. The French-style home, purchased in 1999, has been completely renovated by Quaid and includes a guest house, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a huge barn for several horses. The two-acre home also includes 8,400-square-feet of living space, a modern kitchen, an office, a pool and a wine cellar that is situated amidst a backdrop of sprawling trees and luscious greenery. If sold at $16.9 million, the home would average a profit of about 823.5 percent, according to Zillow.com.
Pictures of Mary J. Blige's New Jersey Mansion - Listed for Sale at $13.9 Million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)
• Mary J. Blige Lists New Jersey Mansion for $13.9 Million
Hip-hop mogul Mary J. Blige is reportedly looking to sell her New Jersey mansion for $13.9 million dollars. Located in Saddle River, New Jersey, the 25-room mansion features a gourmet kitchen, a movie theatre with 14 seats, a wine cellar, an indoor basketball court, a six-car garage and 18,250-square-feet of living space. The 4.2 acre house was originally listed at $17 million in 2008 and recently dropped to the current asking price.
Christina Aguilera's Beverly Hills Mansion - Listed for Sale at $13.5 Million. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Christina Aguilera Places Beverly Hills Home on the Market for $13.5 Million
Pop singing sensation Christina Aguilera recently listed her Beverly Hills estate for $13.5 million. The 10,000-square-f00t home (once owned by the Osborne’s) includes six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a formal living room, a home theater, a library, a recording studio and an in-home hair salon. The home also includes a massive backyard equipped with a pool, lounge and built-in barbeque area.
Kelsey Grammer's Colorado Ski Home - Listed for Sale at $7.9 million. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Kelsey Grammer Lists Colorado Ski Home for $7.9 Million
Kelsey Grammer of the hit shows “Cheers” and “Fraiser” recently listed his Avon, Colorado ski estate for $7.9 million. The recently divorced and remarried TV star is looking to sell this 8,230-square-f00t home as part of his settlement with Camille Grammer (of “The Real Housewives” fame). The gorgeous three-story vacation home includes six bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, stone fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen and a wine tasting room that is situated on 1.67 acres.
Om - Practicing the art of yoga will help you stay sane leading up to moving day.
By Serena Norr
The activities leading up to moving day are going to be strenuous, and unfortunately stressful. From locating moving companies to finding to boxes to packing, these rigorous and draining moving day tasks have a way of living your body and mind all out of whack. Eating well, getting enough rest and exercise are sure bets to help you focus your energy on something other than moving for an hour or two – not to mention help you maintain your sanity. Here are some of our top workout picks for before and after the moving process.
Yoga. The ultimate in zen, yoga is the art of finding peace within the mind, body and spirit. This involves flexing the body and maintaining balance through a variety of poses and postures that can benefit both the mind and the body. When moving, try to set aside a few hours a week to practice a rigorous or gentle practice of yoga such as a vinyasa-style by creating heat or more basic and controlled poses by practicing Hatha. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to yoga, try to focus on controlled and strong breathing exercises. This will be particularly helpful on moving day.
Pilates. Pilates is another exercise model that focuses on a connection between the mind and the body. The basic idea is to develop controlled movement from the body’s core such as by using resistance training through machines, exercise balls and bands. Strengthening your core will not only help you feel better but it will keep your mind and body energized and refreshed when dealing with the rigors of moving.
Walk. Sometimes something as simple as a walk is enough. Not only a great way to clear your mind it is an excellent form of exercise that is relevantly easy and free! Leading up to your moving day, establish a walking schedule – either an hour in the morning or after you have dealt with a stressful moving issue. Remember to load up your iPad with your favorite tunes for a much-needed break from your home and the sea of boxes.
Run. For those that want something more intense, try running. Running is ideal sport to not only improve your physical well-being but it can improve your emotional state and promote weight loss. It is also believed that after a run, you can experience a “runner’s high” where endorphins get released causing the body and mind to become intensely elated and positive. This is definitely something everyone needs during the planning stages of a move.
Zumba. Some people like to exert steam by working up a sweat. Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance, is a great way to exercise and take your mind off of the moving process through fun and intense movements. The high-energy classes will be a welcome break from packing resulting in an exhilarating workout that incorporates reggaeton, salsa, meringue and hip-hop. If you can’t make a class, try a DVD at home – ranging from Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold (for babyboomers) and Zumba in the Circuit – all of which can be adapted to all fitness levels.
Moving Announcement Cards by Tiny Prints. (Image Credit: Tiny Prints)
By Serena Norr
Congratulations on your exciting move. This will be a (very) busy time for you as you research and locate movers, pack, and of course, leave your old home. Another thing on your growing to-do list should include letting your friends and family know that you are moving by announcing your move and providing them with your new contact information (address, phone number, email address, etc). One way to do so is by sending out a moving announcement either as a postcard or through an e-card – here are some of our favorite options.
1. Tiny Prints. The adorable moving announcements by Tiny Prints feature a wide-range of styles and patterns from contemporary and modern to more traditional cards to announce your move. We love the Simply Understated: Basil Cards and the Beep Beep Bug: Agua Cards that allow you to add a picture. The price for these moving announcements is also right averaging around $1.00/per card.
2. Purple Trail. With everything involved with the moving process, ordering and sending out cards might not fit into everyone’s schedule. As a website, we love quick and simple and found that on PurpleTrail.com. This online invitation site (they also offer cards you can order and mail out), features over 50 moving announcements that you fill out in their browser. You can add a personal message, upload photos and add creative design elements from Purple Trail’s library. Even better? Purple Trail is a free service when you send 75 cards or less.
3. Make your Own. For those craft mavens out there, consider making your own moving cards. This definitely requires some planning (and time) but if you are able to manage both then making your own cards can be a fun way to announce your move as you add your own personal design and flare. This can also be a fun project for kids and a great way to keep them busy while you are dealing with the organizing of your move. In your own cards, be sure to include your forwarding address, new phone number and email address.
The wacky and wild world of celebrity real estate did not disappoint this week. First, we have Charlie Sheen and his never-ending media circus has once again made the news – except this time it is within the real estate segment. He recently purchased a 9,020-square-foot mansion in Sherman Oaks, California that is reportedly for his ex-wife and their two children. On the rest of the Beat you will find homes listed on the market – ranging from Jennifer Aniston’s $42 million mansion to Julianne Moore’s $12.5 million dollar NYC townhouse. Those amounts are a bit out of our price range but we look forward to reporting on who the lucky buyers are. Stay tuned…
Charlie Sheen's New Mansion. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Charlie Sheen Buying a New Mansion
Much has been said about the drama involved around Charlie Sheen and his media circus and now he is making news within the real estate market with his recent purchase of a mansion in Sherman Oaks, California. Purchased for his ex-wife Denise Richards, the $7,495,000, 9,020-square-foot estate includes an elevator, six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a library, a formal living room and a gourmet kitchen. The two-story gated home also includes a formal backyard with a swimming pool and spa.
Jennifer Aniston Lists Beverly Hills Home. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Jennifer Aniston Lists Beverly Hills Mansion for $42 Million
Jennifer Aniston has recently been featured on the Beat as she has been scouring NYC for a new condo. No word yet on whether a home has been picked but there is news this week that she placed her Beverly Hills estate on the market. Listed at a whopping $42 million, the 10,000-square-foot Asian and Balinese-inspired home includes five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, two living rooms, a gourmet kitchen and a home gym. The home is also said to include state-of-the-art smart house technology, an extensive security system, tons of storage space, a three-car garage and an outdoor swimming pool. Originally purchased in 2006 for $13,500,000, we’ll be sure to let you know who buys this luxurious (and expensive) property.
• Julianne Moore’s West Village Home is on the Market
Actress and children’s book author Julianne Moore originally listed her five-floor West Village townhouse for $11.995 million in 2009 – unable to find a buyer the home has been re-listed for $12.5 million. Built in the 1800s, the six-bedroom, 3 bathroom home, includes a gorgeous 49-foot garden, eat-in kitchen, a high-tech security system, a home office, media room and a laundry room.
Tom Brady's floorplan. (Image Credit: Curbed NY)
• Tom Brady Selling Time Warner Center Condo
NFL star Tom Brady recently listed his three-bedroom condo for $14 million. Purchased in 2006, the condo, located in Time Warner Center, was then re-listed shortly after in 2007 where it has since been rented for $50,000/month. It has been reported by the Journal that the condo has a seller who is expected to enjoy a home with incredible light, oak flooring, a modern Chef’s kitchen with state-of-the art appliances, granite counter-tops and customized cabinetry.
Cher's former home. (Image Credit: The Real Deal)
• Cher’s Former Home Reduced to $10.2 Million
The Gorce Island mansion home formally owned by Cher in the 1990s has recently listed has recently been to $10.2 million. Located off of Miami Beach, the luxurious 11,460-square-foot mansion, owned by investor Armin Mattli, includes upgrades of about $1 million dollars, a 60-foot pool, and 158-feet or water front. The three-story home also has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a two-story hall embraced with double staircases. Originally listed for $16.9 million in 2008 and then for $11.5 in July – making this recent drop at least 40 percent below the market price.
Sometimes you have to move, regardless of whether you want to or not. One of those special situations occurs during pregnancy. With all of the ups and downs that occur during this time, adding moving to the mix can increase a mother-to-be’s level of stress and anxiety. No need to fret, Relocation.com is here to help you make this transition as smooth as possible; whether you are moving down the block or to another state or across the country.
1. Move in the Middle:
If you have any sort of flexibility, move during your second trimester. The nausea and tiredness from the first trimester will likely have passed, leaving you feeling energized and pretty good (in general). This will be beneficial when you move, especially since your day may involve long travels, organizing boxes and dealing with movers.
2. Prepare for the Move:
In general, a successful move is determined by how organized and prepared you are. This involves planning your move by locating movers (and picking individuals that you trust), as well as obtaining boxes, packing and locating a storage facility. When looking for moving companies, ask friends and family members for referrals. You can also locate reputable and local movers online through Relocation.com. When calling moving companies, never accept an offer over the phone and be sure to research and then invite at least two-three movers to your home for an in-house moving estimate. This is the best way for movers to actually see your belongings (thus determine the price) as well as a great opportunity to interview them and ask them specific questions pertaining to your needs.
Tip: Since you are with child, make sure that you pace yourself when completing these tasks. It is best to give yourself extra time to stay on top of everything that needs to be done (writing things down helps), which will also prevent you from getting too stressed out along the way.
3. Ask for Help:
You are going to need help with your move. Even if you have a small move, be sure to ask friends and family members for their assistance with anything from packing to calling movers to locating storage. If you can, assign your helpers specific tasks in order to stay organized – having efficient and step-by-step moving checklists are great for this. You can also have your moving company do all of the packing (for an additional fee).
4. Organize your Items:
Hopefully you have some very handy helpers to assist you with your packing, but if not you can stay organized by devising a packing systems for your belongings. Through this efficient plan, organize your items into three piles: pack, donate and toss. The items that don’t work or maybe have holes in them are likely items to toss. The donate pile may be items of clothing that you no longer like or those that don’t fit to be given to friends or charity; while the keep pile are items that will move with you to your new home and can be placed in boxes. This moving system is also a great way to start fresh and get rid of old junk before the new baby. Stay organized throughout the packing process by labeling all of your boxes based on what room the items will be placed. This is also a great way for the movers to know where your belongings should go.
5. Test your Home:
If you are moving into an older home be sure to have it tested for lead. Although you likely had a home inspection, make sure that this also included looking for metals, lead and asbestos. This problem is common in older homes and even in homes that have undergone renovations where walls were simply covered and not stripped of these hazardous materials.
6. Rest and Rest Some More:
It’s finally here; your moving day! This goes without saying but be sure that you get plenty of rest before your move. During the move, be sure to take breaks to rest and stretch, use the restroom, drink tons of fluids and don’t strain your body. This includes not getting stressed out when the inevitable problem happens on moving day. Also, be sure that you are comfortable by wearing comfy shoes and loose fitting clothing and don’t lift anything heavy. Luckily, you don’t have to prove you are supermom on moving day, especially since you are prepared, organized and have a few helping hands to assist you along the way.
You'll have a newfound freedom when moving abroad - just don't forget to process your driver's application beforehand.
By Relocation.com Staff
When moving abroad it is advisable to obtain an international driving permit – (even if you don’t plan on doing much driving). This form of identification is valid in over 150 countries and is translated into 10 languages. It can be very helpful as a universal identification, and of course, necessary if you are actually driving.
For those that plan to operate a vehicle, you should investigate the driving laws in your new country as soon as you arrive. Every country has different rules regarding how long after you arrive that you will need to get a new license and what information you will need to provide to receive your new license.
In some countries a driver’s license from the United States will be honored and in others you must obtain a local license. You may also need an international driving license or international permit. This is just a certification of license and is currently available in nine languages. When you arrive in your new country you will usually be given a grace period before you need to obtain your local license. You should be prepared to take a whole new test, including a written exam and eye exam and potentially a practical driving test.
If you are moving to a country in which driving is done on the opposite of the road (e.g. England, Japan or Australia), you will want to get some good practice in before you are required to take a practical driving examination. Even for experienced drivers, these new driving rules will pose some serious short-term challenges.
To obtain a international driving license or international permit, you will need a valid U.S. driver’s license, $15USD , and two passport-type photos to your local AAA office. You will also have to fill out an application to obtain an International Driving Permit and they may take 4-6 before you receive your license or permit. If you are currently overseas you can mail your completed application to the following office and address:
1000 AAA Dr.
Attn: Mailstop #2
Moving to the city or the country? Read our detailed list about the pros and cons of both.
Transitioning Between the City and the Suburbs?: Here’s What You Need to Know about Making the Move
By Faith Teel
Special to Relocation.com
As the old saying goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Whether you’re headed out to the wide-open spaces of the suburbs or moving into the exciting neighborhoods of the big city, you might find that you’ve gotten more than you’ve bargained for. Here are just a few examples of the things they don’t tell you in the advertisements.
Moving to the Suburbs
Long Commutes and Distant Stores – Many people move to the suburbs in search of more space to raise a family or grow a garden. Unfortunately, there is a flip side to having more space: everything is farther apart. Your commute will probably be longer, and you’ll have to drive, because most suburbs are too spread out to make public transportation cost-effective. In some places, it’s common to have an hour-long commute in each direction, which may mean 10 hours that have disappeared from your week.
The lack of public transport also means that you’re more likely to encounter the greatest terror to ever stalk the streets: the teenage driver. In cities, teens can often walk or catch the bus to socialize, but some suburbs are so spread out that a jog to the local coffee shop would be a three-hour marathon. Suburban teens usually get cars long before they get good judgment about driving them.
A Cultural Vacuum – One of the first things that urbanites miss when they move to the suburbs is the variety that cities offer. Many suburbs are extremely homogenous, with cookie-cutter houses and cookie-cutter restaurants. Even the people often seem the same, because few suburbs are economically or ethnically diverse. Don’t bother to look for museums, and feel lucky if a few of the chain restaurants offer take-out or delivery.
Where Are All the People? – The very privacy that you came looking for can also be your downfall in the ‘burbs,’ because everyone around you moved out here for privacy as well. With everyone so spread out, it can take a long time to meet new people.
Crime is Everywhere – Yes, there is usually more crime in the city, but the suburbs are not exempt from it. There’s lots of petty theft in suburbs, and there are still gangs and drug use in the high schools. Your kids are less likely to get mugged, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your doors unlocked at night.
The Grating Outdoors– One of the biggest surprises for ex-urbanites is the proximity of Mother Nature in the suburbs. If you’ve never had to mow a lawn or check the kids for ticks, you’re in for quite an experience.
Moving to the City
No Space – The city is an exciting place to be and a great place to find work, which is probably why you want to be there. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to be there too, and that drives up the price of real estate. If you want to live in a reasonably safe neighborhood, be prepared to pay through the nose for a tiny apartment.
For the same reasons, city parking is often impossible. People often sell their cars when moving to the city, which means you will have to rely on public transportation such as buses and cars.
Other People – Other people are everywhere in the city, and that can take some getting used to. Traffic is often worse, but the real nuisance is the noise, smells and constant crowds.
Goodbye, Mother Nature – It can be hard to get in tune with nature in the city. The parks are often crowded with other people (see above) and some may not even be located within a close distance to your home. If you manage to score a balcony or small yard with your apartment, keep in mind that the pollution can be hard on plants and trees. It’s also tough to keep animals in the city, especially big dogs that need room to roam.
School Roulette – In the city, it’s easy to get to know other parents, and you’ll need this advantage when it comes to getting your kids into a good school. In the suburbs, getting into the right school is usually a matter of buying a house in the best neighborhood. In the city, finding the right school is a combination of luck and strategy, and every city’s rules are different. You won’t even have to raise this topic at your kids’ next playdate, because it will be the first thing on every parent’s mind.
Abrupt Changes in Neighborhoods – With everything in the city so packed together, it can be hard to tell at first glance which neighborhoods are safe and which aren’t. In some cities, the transition from slum to swank can happen in just one block. The transient nature of a community’s character becomes more obvious over time. One day, you could wake up to discover that your edgy, artistic neighborhood has become a slum or a yuppie’s paradise.
Whether you’re searching for greener grass in Levittown or the Big Apple, one thing is certain: you’re sure to need some time to adjust. Before you make the jump, take a little bit of extra time to explore the community that you’re moving to. No two cities are alike, and the same is true for suburbs, so if you don’t like what you see, look elsewhere. The quality of your life depends on it.
When making a decision on where to relocate, does your pooch’s social life come into play? Moving with a pet can be hard, but it’s easier when you’re moving to a pet-friendly city! Here are some of our favorites.
Once you put away the moving boxes, both you and your best friend can take a bite out of the Big Apple, especially when shopping. Dogs are welcome in swanky Manhattan shops, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Tiffany & Co.
There are many outdoor restaurants that welcome canines. For a special treat, you can take a walk through Riverside Park (pup must remain leashed), and head to the Boat Basin Café. There, you will find a pet-friendly, open-air patio, where tails will be wagging as the sun sets over the Hudson River. Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island are also huge pet towns.
Dog beaches abound in Boston, where the both of you can get some exercise. If you’re hungry, most of the outdoor cafés will welcome your pack. Try Madison Park Café, which features an attractive garden setting and welcomes pets with a fresh bowl of water.
TORONTO International relocations can be especially grueling, but in this case, completely worth it! Toronto is a doggie’s dream. In addition to the numerous dog parks and off-leash areas, you’ll find that almost every family in the city has a pup, so Fido is sure to find many friends.
For some serious treats, hightail it over to Three Dog Bakery and get a whiff of the yummy peanut butter scent that fills the shop. Pick up a pack of Peanut Woofers or some Jump ’n Sit Bits.
When you get hungry in Kansas City, head to nearby Country Club Plaza and grab a bite at re:verse, which has a great dog-friendly outdoor seating area. Then, for some off-leash action, head to Wayside Waifs Bark Park, which features five acres of fenced-in grass, plenty of room for Fido to burn off the extra energy.
This town is known for more than just beer. It is a super-friendly town that is super friendly to canine companions as well. You can give the pup a run at Granville Dog Park, Milwaukee’s only county park where dogs may run and socialize off-leash.
For even more Fido fun, take a trip to Petlicious Dog Biscuit Bakery and Pet Spa, located 30 minutes from the heart of the city in Pewaukee. Treat Toto to a spa grooming, a new sweater and a tin of homemade biscuits.
Everything might be bigger in Texas, but that doesn’t mean people are going to laugh at your favorite little buddy. Since the weather is always welcoming, pet-friendly outdoor cafés are a terrific way to spend some quality time with the pooch. In addition, large off-leash parks dot the city.
On special occasions, pooches can travel in style during a carriage ride with Party Animals Carriage Rides and tour the Historic West End and Uptown Dallas.
Moving with young children can actually be enjoyable!
By Relocation.com Staff
Although it is advisable to move during the summer period to start children in school during the beginning of a new school year, this is not always possible. Given the other alternatives, experts are divided on the best time to move when you have children that are in school. Some experts think that it is best to move during the holidays, while others believe it is best to move during the school year.
If you have the flexibility to choose when you move your family, then you should consider a couple of points when making your decision.
Moving During the Holidays:
The children are out of school anyway. Their studies will not be interrupted.
Your children will start the new term with other new kids and therefore may not be considered the new kids on the block.
Other activities such as sports or extra-curricular activities may begin after major holidays.
Moving During the School Year:
Your children will make friends more quickly because they immediately jump into the classroom environment.
A quickly established routine may help your children adapt easier.
Given the inherent challenges that both of these options create for your school-age children, you will want to carefully assess all of the factors before making your final decision. Most moving companies will provide meaningful discounts when you are not moving during the busy summer moving season, which is yet another factor that you will want to take into account when you choose your date to move.
It’s that time of year again; out with the old and in with the new. Part of that old might involve upgrading your home with a renovation or new design or throwing out your old clothes or moving to a new town or city – all exciting prospects that warrant a few pointers in the new year. As we say goodbye to 2010, we wish you the best of luck with your prospective change and have a few pointers to help you make your 2011 brighter, more exciting and more organized! Happy New Year from all of us at Relocation.com!
1. Moving in the New Year? Whether you are planning a big move across the country or a small move around the block, we advise planning ahead. All too often we hear stories of people scrambling for movers – only to use the first company that they find. We always advise researching three to five licensed moving companies from a reputable resource such as Relocation.com AND to have the movers come to your home for an in-house moving estimate. Taking estimates over the phone is a huge NO for 2011 – these prices are not binding and are subject to increase on moving day. Having movers come to your home allows them to see your belongings (thus determine the price) and this is also a great opportunity to ‘interview’ them – where you can ask them about anything from their insurance policy to how long they have been in the industry. No questions are off limits.
2. Decorating? Designing? Renovating? If you staying put you may want to spruce up your home with an exciting decorating project or an entire home renovation. No small feat, you should start by determine if the project is a necessity (leaky faucets) or a want (painting a room). The necessity should take precedence over the want and in some instances should only be handled by a professional. Be honest with yourself by what you can handle. You don’t want to start a huge project only to find out that you made a bigger mess that you started out with. As with finding a mover, meet with three to five contractors, architects or home improvement experts to discuss your project. They can also tell you how long they are expected to work in your home, what fees are involved and what the room will look after the project (if you designing). If it is a simple project, like painting, create a plan for yourself. Make a note of your budget, prospective color scheme and the estimated time line. Visit your local hardware store and bring home a few samples before you begin the job – also make sure to ask about what supplies you will need.
3. Out with the old in with the new. The New Year is a great time to get rid of some junk that you have been hoarding. Oftentimes we hold on to items that we no longer need or no longer realize that we even have. This turns into junk; leaving our homes filled with tons of useless stuff. Of course, some items are valuable or sentimental to us but still may not have a place in our homes. In those instances, consider keeping your belongings in a secure and climate-controlled storage facility. Going from room-to-room, evaluate your stuff by placing your items in a keep, toss or donate/store pile. Be honest with yourself about your needs vs. wants as well as your space restrictions. Items in the keep pile are necessities. Items in the toss and donate pile can be sold in a garage sale or donated to a local charity or to the Salvation Army.
4. Storage solutions. We are huge fans of storage – as mentioned above. This doesn’t only include housing your belongings in a self storage facility but placing your items in smaller organizational units to clear up some space. We love under-the-bed storage options such as this one from Bed Bath and Beyond and this modular closet system that organizes items in your closet. The kitchen and the bathroom are also major areas for clutter. Consider using roll-out under-cabinet drawers to contain and organize anything from products to dish towels.
Stick with your housing or moving resolution for 2011 – big or small – Relocation.com is here to help you every step of the way!
If you have a friend or family member who has recently moved, you must have heard how difficult moving can be – ranging from deciding on a moving company to packing up all of their belongings. Although challenging, it can be one of the most exciting experiences for your friend or family member as they explore a new town or city. To help them acclimate to this new life and ease some of post-moving day stress, we suggest one of these inexpensive housewarming gifts as a way to welcome them to their new home. After all, there is nothing better than a gift from an old friend.
1. Wine Glasses. Nothing is worth toasting more than the end of the moving process. Purchase a set of two or four wine glasses from popular vendors like Create and Barrel or Bed Bath and Beyond, along with a bottle of wine. We also love the elegant wine carafe’s at Create & Barrel.
2. Coffee Mugs. If your friend isn’t a drinker, consider a set of fun over-sized coffee mugs or a practical travel mug so your new friend can get their java fix and head out on the road as they check out their new town.
3. Coffeemaker. Coffeemakers are relevantly inexpensive these days. Choose from a 10-cup or 12-cup coffee maker such as the Capresso Digital Coffee Maker or a model from Cuisinart. A nice French press is also a great gift that would be perfect with a bag of gourmet coffee.
4. Beauty Pack. For the female post-movers in your life consider putting a gift bag together with their favorite body wash, candles, lotion, nail polishes, cream, or facial mask. There is nothing she will love more than this mini-spa kit after moving day.
5. Tool Kit. A sensible gift filled with screws, a hammer, a screw driver, hooks, nuts and bolts that can help your friend as they place pictures on their walls or as they assemble new furniture. Not just for after moving, tool kits – ranging from electrical to portable models – are a practical and useful gift for anyone.
6. Food. Most likely, your friend will have gotten rid of most of his or her food before moving – at least the non-perishable items. Surprise your friend with a gift basket filled with fresh fruit, nuts, crackers and some cheese. If you live far from each other, you can order fruit baskets online from popular retailers like Edible Arrangements or sweets such as cookies and cakes from Mrs. Fields.
7. Plants. Greenery really has a way to spruce up a home – especially as your friend’s home is filled with unopened moving boxes. You can have plants delivered from a local nursery or if you live close-by consider bringing a bouquet of flowers to their new home after moving.
8. Pictures. Pictures such as an image of you and your friend or a scenic painting make for a nice personal gift. Consider ordering a 8 x 10 image and purchase a new frame for your friend. This warm gift may even inspire your friend to start decorating their new place.
Home Sweet Small Home - More Americans Prefer Smaller Homes in the Suburbs, According to a New Relocation.com Survey
Could it be true? Has the “McMansion Era” finally come to an end? Surprisingly, recent survey results reveal that a majority of Americans prefer smaller homes.
During the 80s and 90s, large, opulent homes, dubbed “McMansions,” were what many U.S. homebuyers wanted. However, in our recent consumer lifestyle survey of nearly 1,500 Americans between the ages of 18 and 60, 48 percent indicated that their ideal home size would range from 1,000 to 1,999 square feet, while less than a third said they’d want a 2,000 to 2,999-square-foot home.
What do you think – have the days of the 3,000+ square-foot McMansions come and gone?
Additionally, the survey found that cost of a residence is NOT the #1 deciding factor when purchasing a home. In fact, only 29 percent of respondents stated that living costs was the most important reason when relocating. We also found that Americans prefer to live in the suburbs (54 percent of respondents) and only 24 percent of those who responded preferred to live in an urban area.
Are you as surprised by these findings as we were? What do you think this means for Americans and real estate in the next five to 10 years?
According to Relocation.com's latest lifestyle survey, respondents believe that a well-manicured lawn indicates a safe neighborhood.
How many times have you heard that before? Well, last month we conducted a lifestyle survey where we asked 1,492 Americans between the ages 18 and 60 to determine what lifestyle factors play a key role in moving and relocation decisions in the U.S. As it turns out, most Americans do judge a book by its cover or at least judge a neighborhood by its general appearance!
The survey found that 75 percent of respondents believe that the most important factor in determining a neighborhood’s safety is the up-keep of surrounding homes and the general appearance of a home’s front lawn.
Could this mean that Americans will start to take better care of their lawns knowing that they’re being judged for their landscape? Furthermore, do you think this could possibly encourage members of the community to help their neighbors out by helping with their gardening in order to keep their neighborhoods presentable?
It also seems that less Americans prefer to pay attention to local crime reports and crime statistics as reported in the local media to select a neighborhood based on its safety record. Furthermore, ranked number two in importance based on the respondent’s answers indicated that they would select a neighborhood based on “word-of-mouth” or its local reputation over any other factor.
What do you think – are you surprised by these finds and how do you think this could impact U.S. neighborhoods in the near future?
Although there are dozens of fantastic neighborhoods in the Aloha State, there’s no single best place for everyone that is considering moving to Hawaii. After all, everyone is looking for different things. Nightlife? Good schools? Rugged natural beauty? Nonetheless, to help you get a feel for the many flavors of Hawaii living, here are five very different local towns worth considering.
1. Kailua on the island of Oahu.
When people imagine small town life in Hawaii, they’re probably thinking of a town like Kailua. Downtown Honolulu is a mere 20 minutes away, just over and through the Ko’olau mountain range, but Kailua feels like part of an entirely different island. This green, breezy, fiercely preserved historic neighborhood is the heart of the Windward Side of Oahu.
Kailua is the third largest city in the state, but it doesn’t feel like it, making it one of the most sought after areas in island real estate. It’s a residential neighborhood that’s home to a mix of local families, military families and many recent island transplants. Long-time residents work hard to preserve Kailua’s distinct character, choosing small and quirky boutique stores and restaurants over megamarts and mainland chains. Its farmers market is said to be the best on the island.
Kailua is green, clean, safe and friendly, surrounded by the natural beauty that postcards are made of. There’s Kailua Beach, wide and welcoming, and nearby Lanikai Beach, a world-famous stretch of sand tucked behind some of the most coveted real estate on the island. And the nearby mountains and hills offer great hiking, and great views.
Kailua is one of the more bike friendly towns in Hawaii, and is developing a reputation for being pet friendly as well. The big city is a 20 minute drive (or bus ride) over the Pali Highway, but if you’re lucky, you’ll never want to make the trip.
2. Lahaina on the island of Maui.
For those seeking to live somewhere that offers something closer to a permanent vacation, there’s Maui’s crown jewel: Lahaina. Nestled against the breathtaking West Maui mountains, Lahaina has all the amenities of the perfect vacation, but still retains a distinctly Hawaiian history and personality.
Lahaina hosts a myriad of great activities, from land tours to ocean cruises, surfing and snorkeling, as well as being the location of several galleries, great restaurants and countless shops. There’s not much nightlife anywhere in Hawaii, but Lahaina has a good share of it, with bustling Front Street still serving as Maui’s after-hours hotspot.
Lahaina is located near Kaanapali, the quintessential resort town with high-end luxury hotels and huge golf courses, but is also a short drive away from pristine natural areas, including the imposing majesty of Haleakala, the largest dormant volcano in the world.
You can find everything from condos right on the beach, to single family homes, to multimillion dollar estates in Lahaina. If you’ve been looking to buy a Hawaii condo, Lahaina and nearby Kaanapali are great places to start your search. Lush and green and full of history, this former Hawaiian whaling village has something for everyone who wants to call Maui home.
3. Kapaa on the island of Kauai
On the tiny island of Kauai, Kapaa doesn’t capture the headlines and buzz that surrounds other Garden Island neighborhoods. Neither a quaint rural enclave nor a glistening resort town, Kapaa nonetheless has a lot to offer.
Kapaa feels like a smaller town than it is, with a great mix of small shops, boutique stores, restaurants and coffee shops lining its main avenues. For the artistically inclined, Kapaa shines, with museums galleries, and cultural exhibits galore. It’s also home to the island’s largest shopping center – which actually isn’t very large.
Nature lovers can explore the Makaleha mountains, admire Opaekaa Falls, or relax at nearby Kapaa Beach, a popular surf spot that’s renown for picture perfect sunrises. Families can enjoy several great parks, as well as the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum.
Kapaa is centrally located, with world famous resorts to the north, and the airport and county center Lihue to the south. Kapaa also offers the widest range of housing options. More middle class than high class, it’s home to a great mix of people, from long-time working families to Hawaii newcomers.
And since it’s Kauai, if you’re still looking for something else, it’s no more than a 20-minute drive away.
4. Hilo on the Big Island
At a glance, Hilo would probably not be anyone’s first choice in choosing a tropical paradise. Instead of sunny skies, this East Hawaii town is known for its almost constant rainfall. Instead of four-star resorts with glistening swimming pools, Hilo is a sleepy residential community where most people work for a living.
But if you want a taste of the real Hawaii, of old Hawaii, Hilo fits the bill. To be sure, there’s a Wal-Mart and a shopping center and a modest rush hour every morning and evening. But the pace of life is slower, the people are friendlier, and the vibe is unmistakably local. Hilo is the second largest city in Hawaii behind Honolulu, but couldn’t be more different.
Hilo is the government seat of the Big Island, and also home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, one of only two four-year college campuses in the state. With a population of over 40,000 people, Hilo is home to a wide variety of businesses and industries, from agriculture to astronomy to heavy industry. Though the economy is weak, the city’s character is strong, and whatever your specialty, you’ll likely find a niche to fill.
The East Side of the Big Island offers some of the lushest rainforests and tallest waterfalls in the state, although beaches are practically nonexistent. What the area lacks in sand it makes up for in lava, as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just south of Hilo on Highway 11.
Best of all, Hilo real estate is affordable. At least compared to almost anywhere else in Hawaii. There are no towering condos in Hilo, however, mostly single family homes ranging from brand new to historic. They fill the sweet spot between cheap empty lots and overpriced resort condos.
5. Mililani on the island of Oahu
Mililani is the largest planned community in the state. With its countless cul de sacs and manicured medians, it could probably pass for a middle-class suburb anywhere else in the U.S. But what it lacks in personality, it makes up in amenities — particularly for families with kids.
Mililani is a relatively young city, established in 1968 but really coming into its own in the late ‘80s. It received the All-American City Award from the National Civic League in 1986, and has continued to grow and thrive ever since. Located near the center of Oahu, Mililani is a long drive from downtown Honolulu. But if you don’t have to commute, you can find everything you need in the neighborhood.
This master planned community was designed to have it all. It’s filled to the brim with parks, playgrounds, and sports fields, and has several community recreation centers with pools and gyms. There are three bustling shopping centers, strong schools, movie theaters, and a golf course. Mililani is ideal for families, and is where many local professionals find their first home. Situated near major military installations, the neighborhood is also popular with military families that want to live off base.
Mililani offers mostly single-family homes, some with huge yards but others clustered tightly together. But there are also hundreds of townhomes, and a few low-rise apartment buildings for more affordable options. For home buyers, it’s a great microcosm of Honolulu real estate.
Many urban Honolulu dwellers still see Mililani as too far away from the city, but compared to newer developments now sprawling across the west side of the island, its an increasingly popular neighborhood even for those who work in town. Served by both the Interstate H-2 freeway and Kamehameha Highway, residents are as close to Waikiki as they are the pristine beaches of the North Shore.
If you need more than one bedroom, crave the pride of homeownership, or want your kids to have room to grow and play, Mililani may be your best bet.
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
Don't forget to pack your fruits and veggies on moving day.
By Serena Norr
You are what you eat and if you eat junk on moving day – you are going to feel pretty junk, not to mention tired, irritable and moody. The common rite of passage on moving day involves gorging on high-carb, high fat fare like pizza, chips, candy and fast food – where anything in sight is often fare game. Carb loading may initially feel great and a welcome comfort to dealing with the rigors of moving but when your blood sugar spikes causing your body to crash, it won’t be pretty. And not feeling your best is not how you want to begin moving day – especially when throughout the day, you will have to be on top of your game – dealing with packers and movers, and in some instances, the loading and the driving of the moving truck yourself. So while we believe that staying organized and double-checking your to-do list will contribute to the success of your move, feeling good, rested and energized is also a huge part of the success of your move.
1. Breakfast: As mom says “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Eating a nutritious breakfast is not only advisable on the day of your move, but you should do so every day to keep you energized and maintain your blood sugar so that you don’t overeat. Consider a breakfast with a balance of complex carbohydrates and high protein/fiber to keep you sustained. We like Zen Habits and their healthy breakfast suggestions like oatmeal with flaxseed and blueberries, protein shakes, muffins and fresh fruit. Spark people is also on top of the breakfast game and suggested starting the day with waffles, bran muffins and an egg white omelet.
2. Get Snackin’: While breakfast is essential to get you through the day, so are snacks – and of course we only mean the healthy ones. Experts suggest that eating throughout the day is actually more advisable – as opposed to eating three big meals. Since you might be snacking on the road, consider snack items that are portable like trail mix, almonds, protein bars, fruit, carrots and hummus and cheese are quick snack options to keep you full until lunch.
3. Lunchin’ on the Road: Hopefully your healthy snack will have sustained you, but now it’s time for lunch. Consider making a brown bag lunch to save you money and use some of your left over food. Eating Well magazine recently released their picks for the 25 best lunches. Simple sandwiches like their Tuscan-style tuna salad and even pizza roll-ups (great for the kids) would be easy to travel with and prepare the night before on the. You can also make a simple peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread (also great for the kids) or a spinach salad packed in a plastic container. Load up the sandwiches in a cooler, along with your snacks and water. If you can’t make lunch, be wise when on the road. Even popular chains like Mickey D’s now offer salads and fruit these days.
4. DinnerTime: Hopefully you will be in your new home by dinnertime. Since everything will be packed away, this is a good excuse to try out a restaurant in your new area. If you are too exhausted to go out, consider take-out, but still sticking to a healthy meal. Remember, tomorrow and the next few days are going to be exhausting with unpacking, sorting out utilities and decorating your new home – tackling the madness by eating healthy is one easy way to keep you on your toes during the hectic time that is moving.
Relocation.com’s Ideas for the Best Breakfast, Lunch, Snack and Dinner Options.
Cereal with fresh fruit – not the sugary kind
Protein shake with mixed berries, bananas, flax seed, oats and protein poweder
Egg white scramble with spinach, mushrooms and a light cheese
Oatmeal with flaxseed and berries
Tofu Scramble with whole wheat toast
Low-fat granola with yogurt
Tuna sandwich on a whole wheat wrap
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Spinach salad with a lean protein like fish or chicken, carrots, beets, avocados and rice
Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
Fruit like melons or mixed berries
Carrots, cucumber and celery with hummus or peanut butter
apple with peanut butter
Lean protein like grilled fish or chicken
Whole grain rice
Sautéed broccoli or spinach
If you have any questions, comments or inquires, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We never know what to expect when we research the celebrity housing market for the Beat. This week we were excited to learn that Steve Jobs was finally given the go-head to start the demolition of the historic property he owns called the Jackling House. The demolition, which took six years to approve, will involve the construction of a smaller and more contemporary space — simplifying the home and tearing down its 30 rooms that will reportedly cost Jobs $8.45 million to complete. This week, we also discovered that Larry the Cable Guy’s home was placed on the market. Listed for $1.55 million and developed by the “Git-r-done” comedian, the Florida log-style home includes a “man cave” with a pool table, TV, mini-bar and bar signs as well as a pool and a spa. Acting couple, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are also on the Beat this week. They placed their 4,410-square-foot Los Angeles home on the market that includes an on-site gym, a two-story guest house and six-bedrooms. We look forward to what next week brings…and the (unexpected) real estate news that follows.
Floor plan of Steve Jobs' new home -Expected construction costs: $8.45 million. (Photo Credit: Gizmodo)
• Steve Jobs’ Construction Plans Revealed
Steve Jobs, the multi-billionaire and CEO of Apple finally received the go-ahead to renovate the historic Jackling House. The 17,000-square foot, 30-room Spanish Colonial home, built for copper baron Daniel Jackling, is owned by Jobs but he has been unable to complete or even start his plans for a full-on demolition and remodel. Architectural preservationists stated that the home was an historic piece of real estate and shouldn’t be demolished. Finally in July of 2010, the preservationists’ dropped their case but some elements of the house such as an organ, flag pole and decorative tiles are being removed and preserved. The newer and more contemporary home plans was reveled on Gizmodo – showing the elaborate floor plan created by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson – the design firm responsible for several Apple stores. The new floor plan indicates a smaller home – measuring at 4,190-square-feet – that will include five bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The new design also indicates that there are plans to build a three-car garage, a pool with a pool house and a third building for an office. Additionally, among the six acres of land there are plans to add various plants and flowers, stone walkways and a private vegetable garden – a diminutively simpler home than the former grandiose estate. It is estimated that the home will be completed in 22 months.
Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber's home - listed for $5,995,000. (Photo Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber List Brentwood Home
Actor couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber recently placed their Los Angeles home on the market for $5,995,000. The 4,410-square-foot, two-story home includes six bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms; a two-story guest room; an on-site gym; a two-car garage and a gated and secured entry way. The European-inspired home also includes several fireplaces, an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, a swimming pool and circular spa. The couple also owns a 2,900-square- foot condo in New York.
You, too, can have your own personal "man cave" if you buy Larry the Cable Guy's home - listed at $1.55 million. (Photo Credit: Housing Watch)
• Larry the Cable Guy Places Florida Home on the Market
Comedian Dan Whitney aka Larry the Cable Guy known for the catchphrase “Git-r-done” recently placed his Sanford, Florida home on the market for $1.55 million. The five-bedroom home, situated on 18.79 acres, includes a lot of interesting details that Whitney himself renovated. There is a “man cave” that includes a poker and pool table, mini-bar, TV and bar signs as well as an outdoor movie theater, a pool with a waterfall, an outdoor spa, detached gym and two children’s rooms with personal murals. Whitney sited outgrowing the home as the reason for the sale.
Scott Baio's home - sold for$2.5 million. (Photo Credit: Zillow.com)
• Scott Baio Sells Encino, California Home
Actor Scott Baio recently sold his “Spectacular Celebrity Owned Estate!” to an undisclosed buyer for $2.5 million. Built in 1964, the new buyer can look forward to enjoying 4,400-square-feet of living space, three fireplaces, four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The Encino, California home also includes a swimming pool with a hot tub, a tennis court, a koi pond, a formal living and dining room and a sprawling back yard with luscious greenery and gardens.
We are a caffeinated nation. We wake up craving coffee, need it to perk us up midday and even enjoy it as a treat at night. We know how we like it and choose to have it black or sweet or light or as a latte or a cappuccino. It is the center of our business meetings and friendly get-togethers; it warms us when we are cold and keeps us cool when we are hot. There are blogs about coffee and magazines dedicated to it – there are even those who relocate to a new town just be near their beloved brew. Some even say that it can prevent stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and some cancers. Although we don’t know much about that we can speak about the popular cities that fuel our desire for caffeine more than others. Thanks to data from Daily Beast and Share Ranks, we complied a list of the best cities to get your (caffeinated) buzz on.
Some may say that Seattle is the birthplace of the specialty coffee industry. The first Starbucks was built there in 1971 (across from the Pike Place market) and we all know what happened to that little company. Seattle, though, isn’t solely about this popular chain especially when there are endless options to get a decent cup of coffee. We love the single-estate coffees (beans purchased from individual farms) from the retailers Espresso Vivace, Caffe Vita, Louisa’s Café, Zoka and numerous other independent roasters through the city.
New Orleans, Louisiana:
According to Share Ranks, New Orleans (pronounced Nawlins) ranked number two as the go-to city for coffee. As a French Market area, you won’t be able (or want) to leave New Orleans without trying their signature chicory-infused coffee. This blend is infused with a chicory root from an endive plant that is roasted and ground with coffee – creating a rich flavor and enhanced body that also softens the bitterness (and acidity) of the dark blend. We suggest accompanying your café with a delicious fried fritter known as the beignet. Check out Café Du Monde for a coffee served Au Lait style (with half and half and milk) or PJ’s Coffee and Tea where you can choose from over 20 different blends of coffee.
Portland often parallels with Seattle has having the best coffee where it often said that Seattle led the way but Portland has taken over the crown [kuow.org]. The home base of World Cup Coffee and Tea, Urban Grind, and of course, the popular roaster Stumptown where you can try locally roasted blends from Latin America, Africa, Indonesia and more.
New York, New York: New York has finally gotten around to the buzz surrounding the specialty coffee market [the New York Times]. Not that we are am knocking a 75 cent cup of coffee from a truck vendor or the bodega blends, but having Ninth Street Espresso, Gorilla Coffee, Think Coffee and Café Grumpy has now given us New Yorkers more peep in this fast-paced city that never sleeps.
One of Relocation.com’s top healthiest cities, the mountainous Denver, Colorado – also known as the “Mile High City” – is packed with coffee roasters and independent cafes. Check out Stella’s Coffee for a gourmet blend of coffee from Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, to name a few choices or Fluid Coffee Bar for a freshly roasted cup of Joe.
San Fransisco, California:
According to the Daily Beast, San Fransisco residents spend more than $30 bucks a month on coffee that we are sure is wisely spent at the historic Caffe Trieste or the organic roaster Blue Bottle Coffee. Ritual Coffee Roasters on Howard and Valencia streets is also a signature purveyor in this hilly city where you can try their signature sweet tooth espresso as well as delicious seasonal blends.
As the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee, Hawaiian coffee comes from several regions on this tropical state, but is probably better know for its varietals from Kona. Try Bad Ass Coffee or Maui Coffee Roasters. Even better, visit a coffee plantation to test a blend fresh from the source. If interested in visiting a coffee farm, be aware that the bulk of the harvest occurs from September through December. For more information, visit the Hawaii Coffee Association.
Other Popular Coffee-Friendly Cities:
• San Jose, California
• Houston, Texas
• Phoenix, Arizona
• Los Angeles, California
• Boston, Massachusetts
• Washington, D.C.
• San Diego, California
• Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
• Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
San Francisco -- One of the Top Towns for Vegetarians. (Image Credit: www.nps.org)
By Joann Pan
These days being a vegetarian isn’t as hard as it used to be, but we say that from a big city standpoint. We’re not quite sure how it is for folks in small towns. Here in NYC, instead of getting a burger, there’s always an option for pizza or salad. Instead of having a sausage sandwich for breakfast, there’s always an option to get some sweetly caked waffles from a food truck. With a plethora of stands, kiosks and restaurants in New York City [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $5,286: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]that seem to take up every nook and cranny of our beloved city, it’s actually hard to eat meat every day (and not that hard to eat meat ever again) when there’s so much vegetarian food around—from the cheap and delicious falafel sandwiches on St. Marks, avocado rolls in Midtown, to the meat-shaped tofu Asian place that we enjoy when we visit the beloved borough of Queens. Our vegetarian food tours of our hometown have inspired us to see what’s available in other hometowns across the U.S. This is for you current veggies or wannabe vegetarians out there: Relocation.com’s Guide to the Best Vegetarian Towns in the U.S.
Austin, Texas [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $1,239: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
Wow—who knew that there was such a big vegetarian metropolis in the southern state of Texas where the beef and poultry are abundant. Personally, without having taken a trip to out West, I only know of Texas from the old-time cowboy movies and from trying out a Texas-style steakhouse in Queens (pre-veggie days). From doing vast research online; we found out that Austin vegetarians love living animal-friendly in their city. They are really proud of the fact that they can ride their bicycles (Austin is also one of the greenest cities in the U.S., according to USAToday.com) to get to a dozen vegan trailers and cafes with ease. Some of the mentionable restaurants are: Counter Culture (we hear that their Jackfruit Philly is delicious), Korean vegetarian restaurant Koriente and Casa de Luz (picture lush green decorations and pebbled paths leading to the most peaceful meal you’ve ever had).
Portland, Oregon [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $1,626: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
Goveg.com and Relocation.com love Portland, Oregon—who recently named it “America’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Large City” and the top city people are relocating to (in respective order). They say Portland is a big city (much like NYC) that persuades people to eat vegetarian with convenient veggie meals on wheels, amazing animal-free meals at star restaurants and vegan desserts you can only have here. Such as something called a Voodoo Doughnut that sells many vegan options that includes the “Fruit Loop Donut,” which you can imagine looks like something out of your childhood breakfast bowl and the “Old Dirty Bastard,” which actually doesn’t look how it sounds—it’s a doughnut with chocolate frosting, crumbled Oreos and peanut butter drizzle. And when we looked up vegetarian places in Portland we came up with over 1,035 restaurants, carts and bistros that include popular digs such as Vita Café in Alberta Arts District, Paradox Café in Southeast Portland, and Swagat Indian Cuisine in Alphabet District.
San Francisco, California [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $3,969: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
San Francisco the city by the bay is a perfect location for vegetarians because of the plethora of vegan restaurants and organic food markets. I can even say that the vegetarian establishments can outnumber the city’s large number of cafes. PETA lists it in spot number seven on a list of “The Most Veg-Friendly Cities in North America.” I believe it should be higher on the list. There were over 2,777 restaurants that came up as vegetarian when we did our own search. Some of the most popular vegetarian/vegan restaurants we know of are: Weird Fish in the Mission neighborhood, Greens in Cow Hollow, Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant in Inner Sunset, The Plant Café Organic in Cow Hollow (we seriously recommend the green curry) and Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant in Civic Center.
Asheville, North Carolina [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $827: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
Asheville is different than the big vegetarian cities we’ve featured because it’s a small town nestled in the back woods of North Carolina. Asheville was once named “the Happiest City in America” by Self Magazine; probably because of all the vegetarian eateries and pleasant neighbors that the city has to offer. Asheville veggies love the Sunny Point Café and Bakery that serves amazing tofu chorizo, we hear, and the best mussels in town. After dinnertime, head over to the Crispycat, where you can buy and taste the very first candy bar of its kind made from fully organic ingredients. There is the chocolate sundae flavor, mint coconut flavor and the toasted almond bar, all made from real organic ingredients.
Of course, we have only skimmed the surface of the best vegetarian-friendly towns in the U.S. What are your favorite vegetarian cities? Let us know where you had the best vegetarian/vegan meal—we never pass up the opportunity for a good food story.
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.
The ornate abode of Rush Limbaugh -- Sold for $11.5 million. (Photo Credit: Corocan via the Wall Street Journal)
By Serena Norr
A few politicos made “the Celebrity Beat” this week. The “Lion of the Senate” aka the late Ted Kennedy’s Washington, DC home was recently placed on the market for $7,995,000. This massive Colonial-style estate includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a wine cellar and a personal gym designed by “the Terminator” or Governor Schwarzenegger, as he is referred to these days. On the right side of the political spectrum, Rush Limbaugh’s Upper East Side penthouse was sold for $11.5 million to an undisclosed buyer. Limbaugh has been stating he has wanted out of New York due to the city’s high property taxes — but if you have an $11 million dollar home, we are thinking you have sufficient funds to pay good-old Uncle Sam. To light things up a bit, comedians Cheryl Hines and Adam Carrolla are both selling their California homes. Hines’ home is situated in Brentwood overlooking the mountains; while Carrolla’s home overlooks downtown Los Angeles that was also personally designed and renovated by Carrolla.
Exterior Shot of the Late Ted Kennedy's Home -- Listed at $7,995,000. (Photo Credit: Zillow.com)
• Ted Kennedy’s Home on the Market for $7,995,000
The Washington, DC home of the late Ted Kennedy (Kennedy passed in 2009 after a long bout with brain cancer) is on the market for $7.95 million. Purchased in 1998 for 2.7 million, the 8,900-square-foot home includes five bedrooms, six full-sized bathrooms and two half baths, a wine cellar, an indoor and outdoor pool, a secret hideaway from the library and an indoor gym designed by no other than the movie star-turned-gobernador Arnold Schwarzenegger! Described as a “Colonial-style home” whose decor features long white columns, French doors, high ceilings, an outdoor terrace, gardens and a massive dining room that is customized to fit 50 people. Listed by Vicki Kennedy (Kennedys’ widow), who is seeking a smaller home in Washington, DC. According to the Wall Street Journal, the home is “quietly being shopped around” with no current buyer.
Exterior View of Cheryl Hines Brentwood Home -- Listed at $4,249,000. (Photo Credit: Paul Barnaby via the Wall Street Journal)
• Cheryl Hines Lists Brentwood Home for $4,249,000
Comedian and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Cheryl Hines recently listed her walled and gated Mandeville Canyon-area estate for $4,249,000.The 4,908-square-foot home sits on an acre of land that features stunning views of the nearby California mountains and new furnishings and renovations throughout the properties open-floor plan. If that isn’t enough, perhaps the homes six bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, a guest house and an outdoor pool with massive trees throughout the property may entice you to buy?
Joe Torre's home includes an indoor swimming pool -- Listed at$1,175,000. (Photo Credit: Zillow.com)
• Joe Torre’s Home Listed for Auction at $1,175,000
Joe Torre, former coach of the New York Yankees and current coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers has recently placed is New Rochelle, New York to be sold via a public auction. Located 30 minutes from Manhattan, the 6,500-square-foot home is listed at $1,175,000 that is expected to exceed the asking price. Some notable features about the two-level property includes six bedrooms, five bathrooms, an indoor pool and a three-car garage all of which is situated on 1.01 acres of land. The first level features a family room, a fireplace, and a large kitchen; while the second level has a master suite, guest rooms and a laundry room. Owners of the property will also become stockholders of the estate property company. For more information on the auction, visit BidOnTheCity.com.
Rush Limbaugh's master bedroom complete with a ceiling mural -- Sold for $11.5 million. (Photo Credit: Corocan via the Wall Street Journal)
• Rush Limbaugh Finds Buyer for NYC Penthouse
On another side of the political spectrum, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh has found a buyer for his Upper East Side NYC penthouse. Originally listed for $13.95 million, the undisclosed buyer will pay $11.5 million for the condo, according to the Wall St. Journal. The full-floor penthouse overlooks Central Park and features 10 rooms, four terraces, a 30-foot-wide living room and a private elevator. The new buyer will also enjoy personal decorating touches of the conservative talk-show host such as ornate wall designs and a mural of clouds and birds in the master bedroom, along with various ceiling murals throughout the penthouse featuring palm trees and the beach. Limbaugh is relocating from New York due to the high property taxes, which he announced in February on his radio-show entitled “El Rushbo to New York: Drop Dead.”
Adam's Carolla's Home for Sale-- Listed at $1,395,000. (Photo Credit: the Luxist)
• Adam Carolla Lists Home for $1.3 Million
Comedian, Adam Carolla recently put his Beachwood Canyon home on the market. Carolla – who also owns two other properties in the Los Angeles-area – personally did all of the renovations on this three-bedroom as stated on the Luxist, “the home was totally rebuilt, piece by piece, like a restoration of an old car with modern equipment.” With a contractor background, Carolla spent at least $350,000 in home improvements on his 2,281-square-feet French-style home. The “ultimate bachelor pad,” that was “overbuilt,” as stated by Carolla, includes some interesting features such as an office, an indoor and outdoor bar, an updated kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances and a soundproof basement. The exterior of the house is also pretty impressive, which resembles a castle and overlooks downtown Los Angeles and views of the Hollywood sign.
"Moving Day" by Stan and Jan Bernstein (Image from: Amazon.com)
By Carolina Pichardo
Although adults can deal with the stress and changes that come with moving into a new home, children will probably tell you a different story.
Their toys, furniture and clothes are missing. They’ve said goodbye to everything that’s familiar to them, including best friends, parks, school and the familiar surroundings of their neighborhood. Depending on the age of the child, this could all be a very frightening and stressful period.
One of the simplest, and probably easiest way to prepare and facilitate the transition for your child is to connect their moving day experiences through a story. This will not only change their perspective, but can answer several questions and allow them to relate to someone their own age who had a similar experience. Whether it’s a concern about making new friends, or what to do with the ones they’re leaving behind. Also, understanding that moving away doesn’t mean that they’ll have to change anything else about themselves.
Surely, there’s a lot that your child will like to talk about. So before the moving companies arrive, why not be ready to start your new adventures with the following books.
1. “Moving” by Fred Rogers (Ages 2-6): If it has to do with neighborhoods and friendly neighbors, Mr. Rogers has it covered. This book helps kids understand the process of moving and eases their worries and fears by showing them the bright side of everything that’s happening, from the confusion of packing, saying goodbye to the people and places they love, to making new friends.
2. “I Want to Go Home” by Sarah Roberts (Ages 3-5): “Sesame Street” is where the air is sweet and friendly neighbors meet, which is what Big Bird misses the most when he goes on a trip to the beach to visit Granny Bird. It seems that everything reminds him of his friends back home, until he meets a boy named, Wally. Wally has his own special cave, which reminds Big Bird of his friend back home, Mr. Snuffleupagus. After a while, Wally and Big Bird begin to share more moments together and enjoy the rest of the vacation playing games, sharing a popsicle, and becoming the best of friends. Certainty a sweet tale for younger kids as your family gets ready to move.
3. “The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day” by Stan and Jan Bernstein (Ages 3-6): When it comes to anything pertaining to kids, these bears are the specialists, and moving day is no different. This book marks the beginning of the family’s move to their new and now very famous tree house. Although it’s an exciting time for everyone, Brother Bear is hesitant and not sure if he’ll be able to make new friends.
4. “Maggie Doesn’t Want to Move” by Elizabeth Lee O’Donnell (Ages 5-8): Third-grader, Simon doesn’t want to move. He doesn’t want to leave his friends, favorite playground, old house or his understanding teacher. However, instead of telling his parents exactly how he feels, Simon decides to blame it on his little sister, Maggie. He then places her in his little red wagon and runs away to his friend’s house. His parents realize what’s going on and give the kids a tour of their new neighborhood, including the beautiful country park. Simon enjoys this very much and decides that he, er—Maggie, does want to move after all.
5. “Hey, New Kid” by Betsy Duffey (Ages 8-11): Being the “new kid” is a lot of pressure of a child. Children often ask themselves questions about whether they’re cool enough, or have the right skills? Will their ordinary life be exciting enough to fit into their new school? This is what happens to the new student, Cody. He decides that being a regular kid isn’t enough, and prefers to be Super Cody. He tells his new friends at school that his father is FBI agent, his pet emu, and of course—his great rollerblading skills. The kids are fascinated with his stories, and Cody doesn’t think much about it. That is until someone decides to throw a skating party!
Moving is hard and adding anxious and scared children to the mix doesn’t make for a pleasant transition. With these books and a lot of open communication, your kids will understand the move better and probably even be excited about their new area, new home and new set of friends. It is also important to tell them that just because you are moving, it doesn’t mean their old life is gone…only that new experiences await them.
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.
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.
Now that you’ve moved into your new home, unpacked the boxes and started to settle in by putting everything in its proper place, it’s time to get to know your new neighborhood and meet your new neighbors.
Getting to know your community is very important, especially if your family was upset the second the moving company arrived. Not all your neighbors will be like Mr. Rogers, so take the time to get to know them. Whether they’re noisy, pleasant or always getting into your business, these people will define how happy you’ll be in the years to come.
Although it might be a little difficult to get the process going, it can actually be a lot of fun and a great way to learn about the amenities of your new location. There are several places to begin, such as your child’s school or your local community center, but the Internet and local businesses are also great resources. The main thing is to get out there, make an effort and we promise that you be on your way to having a beautiful day in your new neighborhood.
Start with Family and Friends. If you’re fortunate enough to have family and friends in the neighborhood, then take advantage of that direct connection. These are people that already know the best schools, supermarkets and how to get around the area, so don’t be afraid to pick their brains. This is also a great opportunity to meet their friends, as well as a way for them to show you around in your area. Chances are that they’ll be more than happy to show you the ropes!
Community Events and Publications. Most towns and cities, regardless of size, have a local newspaper or community board available. These provide great events and activities, such as fundraisers, picnics and parent conferences that could help get your search started. Because of the scheduled meetings, forums and contact lists, this is the simplest and most organized way to meet those living in your neighborhood.
Social Networking and the Internet. These days, the Internet makes meeting new neighbors easier than ever. Social networks, such as Facebook, Meetup.com and Twitter, bring together neighborhoods with a common interest, cause and skill. Although joining these requires a more proactive approach (researching groups, participating in forums, etc.), it’s the best way to find local “niche” groups. There is something for everyone, including knitters, actors, writers and Karaoke singers.
Coffee Shops, Bars and Small Businesses. Despite the Internet, coffee shops, bars and even laundromats are still the most effective and best spaces to meet new neighbors. That’s why it’s important to walk around your new community and learn about the businesses that keep it running. These aren’t just resources that you share with others; they’re also the life of your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at how much you could learn by just waiting in line, enjoying a favorite drink or even finishing several loads of laundry.
Hosting Your Own Party. Often the Internet, community events and newspapers don’t get you the results you want, which means that you’ll have to take the matters into your own hands. If this is the case, then go ahead and have your own soirée, such as a housewarming party. Invite other families, co-workers, and the few people that you’ve already met from your new neighborhood. More than likely, these people will bring along other friends and before you know it, you will have a large network of people under your roof. Usually, all it takes is for you to open your home so that others could do the same.
Give It Time. Like all communities, your new home has an identity and personality of its own. Large cities, for example, have a different beat than the smaller towns. That’s why, regardless of what approach you decide to take, remember that meeting new neighbors does take time. You’ll find that some people are very easy-going and open, while others just aren’t that simple. However, continue to participate and remain vocal in the community, and you will soon be attending children’s birthday parties, school rallies and other cultural events.
Annie Rice's Home Listed at $3.3 Million-Image from the LATimes.com (Photo Credit: Jeff Atkins)
By Serena Norr
Welcome back for another addition of The Celebrity Beat: Relocation.com’s real estate report. This week James Bond and Jon Stewart purchased new homes; while Anne Rice and Jesse James are looking for sellers. From duplex lofts to homes on the beach, which space peaks your interest?
Double 007 just scored a luxurious 1,121-square-foot pad for $1.9 million. The penthouse (purchased in cash!) is located in the über hip neighborhood of TriBeCa that includes one bedroom and two bathrooms. According to the Real Estalker, this hefty price tag means that Mr. Craig is paying about $1,700 per square foot, along with monthly condo charges of $2,265! The duplex loft features three terraces, a dining area with 20-foot ceilings, hardwood flooring, a balcony and two closets (one of which is a walk-in).
According to Housing Watch.com, political satirist and “Daily Show” host, Jon Stewart recently purchased a new home on the Navesink River in Red Bank, New Jersey. The 4,999-square-foot Victorian home features 1.3 acres of land located on the river with what we all can assume features some amazing views of the nearby landscape. Other details include a wrap-around porch with a deck, a swimming pool, two-car garage and a boat house.
Author Annie Rice has listed her six-bedroom home for sale. Built in 1995, the California residence features an outdoor pool, a garden with fruit trees, an air-conditioned garage, a separate dining area and an updated kitchen, seven bathrooms (yup, seven!), a private living area for a housekeeper or maid and a detached two-bedroom home for guests with a full kitchen. Rice is selling her home for a smaller pad, but stated that “I’ve loved it here in Thunderbird Heights with views of the valley and the mountains.”
Much has been mentioned about motorcycle manufacturer and reality star, Jesse James from the tabloids. Mr. James is also causing some buzz within the real estate industry as his $6.75 million dollar beachfront home was recently placed on the market. The two-floor Mediterranean-inspired casa features four bedrooms, a media/game room, an office, a guest room, a fireplace, a modern kitchen, an island bar and a three-car garage with a built-in space for tools and storage. The home also has a built-in security system and an outdoor area with a swimming pool, tiki torches, waterfall and a waterslide!
This gated mansion can be yours for $4.5 million- Any takers?
By Serena Norr
Oh, what to do when you when you have millions of dollars? Travel around the world, eat in fine restaurants and real estate investing comes to mind and for some people, like celebrities these purchases are the norm. At Relocation.com, we are fascinated, part disgusted and semi awe struck by these luxurious extreme homes (eight bedroom condos and in-home movie theatres anyone?) and recently launched a real estate only blog called The Celebrity Beat. Every week we will cover real estate news, a rundown of recent purchases, homes for sale and foreclosures-stay tuned!
• Uma Thurman Selling Greenwich Village Townhouse-Listed for $14.2 M
According to Zillow.com, Uma Thurman aka the lady that killed Bill is reportedly selling her Greenwich Village townhouse. This 5,086-square-foot luxurious pad has seven bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and an urban garden complete with a Buddhist sanctuary. Those not so keen on walking up and down stairs may not be into this place (of course if price was no option) since the home has no elevators and five floors. But the media room, spacious dining area and the rooftop deck may change your mind.
• Conan’s $29. 5 Million Home May Have a Seller
Much has been covered of Mr. O’Brien’s late night woes, but perhaps making $29.5 off of his duplex will have him laughing all the way to the bank. This sprawling super-sized duplex (the 17th and 18th floors were combined in 2004) includes seven bedrooms, three terraces, two libraries, and 8½ bathrooms, according to a listing by John Burger, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens. An unidentified buyer is intended to make this sale, which if it does follow through will be the most expensive real estate sale to date at the art-deco apartment complex, the Majestic.
• Kanye West’s Home on the Market for $3.9 Million
Producer, rapper, quasi political communitarian, Kanye West’s Hollywood Hills condo is on the market for $3.995 million. His modern pad is modest (at least for celebrity standards) with three bedrooms and 3.5 baths. But then again, there are built-in computers in every room, an in-home movie theater and room with a pool that makes it out of the norm.
• Billy Joel Purchases $3.3 Million Townhouse
The piano man recently purchased a 1,607-square-foot townhouse in the lovely neighborhood of Nolita. This $3.3 million home features bedrooms and two bathrooms, complete with handcrafted architecture from old NYC and an uber modern kitchen (stainless steel and modern appliances). It is speculated by CurbedNY.com that the apartment was purchased for his daughter.
• Julianna Margulies sells Santa Monica home to Ed O’Neill
Al Bundy bought that nurse from ER’s Spanish-style home for $3,350,001. This pricey Santa Monica, California abode features a spacious office, a library with built-in shelves, three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a swimming pool. There is also a separate guesthouse with its own bedroom and bathroom.
Let’s Get Physical: Where are the Healthiest Cities to Live?
By Serena Norr
A wise person once said: “Your health is your wealth.” Although this can’t more true, living in major metropolitan area such as the great (and stressful) New York City makes it rather challenging to stay on top of the healthy game – both physically and mentally.
Regardless of what stressors plague their way into our lives, we try our best by eating well, exercising and staying mentally stimulated (oh, do we try!). But despite what we do, some geographic locations are prone to induce stress and affect our health more than others.
While some cities are major detriments to our health, there are others that actually encourage healthy living; ranging from those with numerous outdoor parks and facilities to those that focus on eating healthy from local resources. Centrum and Sperling’s Best Place recently uncovered the healthiest cities to live; ranking how they stack up in the categories of mental, lifestyle, activity, health and diet and how they contribute to ones overall well-being. From the looks of this survey, cities in California are leading the pack, with Indiana not doing so well—which oddly enough is one of the most affordable places on our buy vs. rent report. Check out what healthy spot would be ideal for your next relocation.
1. San Jose, California — As the third largest in California, San Jose is renowned for its spacious gardens and parks (Almaden Quicksilver County Park, Alum Rock Park and Kelly Park, to name a few), outdoor festivals and cultural attractions such as the San Jose Museum of Art and the Tech Museum of Innovation. Being the number one healthiest and cleanest cities, San Jose residents rank highest for health, diet and lifestyle. And its no wonder, since residents have access to numerous outdoor trails for walking, running, camping and mountain climbing, as well as other recreational sports that encourage exercising outside. With rents averaging $950-1,200, according to apartments.com and two-bedroom homes at $450,000, San Jose, California is also an affordable moving destination.
2. Washington, D.C. — As the nation’s capitol there is never short of something to do in Washington, D.C. According the cities website-Washington.org, D.C. is the number one city for walking, which is a great way to discover the areas historic monuments and museums. Residents also rank the highest for mental health and diet, along with affordable living that features modern and historic neighborhoods. Homes average $330,000 and increasing in sales of 2.36 percent in March, 2010, according to ziprealty.com.
3. San Francisco, CA— On top of being number three on Sperling’s list, San Francisco, California residents were recently surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation for the state of their health and wellbeing. The results? 71 percent of residents reported being in excellent or good health. And it’s no wonder why with a city that encourages walking, biking and running up and down its uphill and windy streets. Activities don’t fall short here either with golf, trips to Fisherman’s Wharf, the Yerba Buena Gardens or simply taking in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Rents range from $1,000-1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com and homes average $799,000, according to zip realty.
4. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA— It’s not all rain and coffee (although this is part of the Seattle, Washington experience) in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett areas of Washington. This healthy city is renowned for their outdoor activities— biking, fishing, running and exploring— that is also considered one of the cleanest cities to reside. Residents can also enjoy the Space Needle, visits to the Pike Place for fresh fish, local fruits and vegetables, walks to the waterfront and exploring the areas many zoos, sporting facilities and wildlife trails at the Northwest Trek.
5. Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT — This outdoor lover’s paradise is home to the historic temple square, national parks (The Bonneville Salt Flats, Kennecott Copper Mine and Miller Motorsports Park) and attractions such as The Utah Museum, the Historic Temple Square of Natural History and Great Salt Lake. A healthy culture, Salt Lake City is also all about outdoor recreation where residents can enjoy skiing, golfing, biking, hiking, camping and extreme sports such as scuba diving, rafting, paragliding and skydiving to keep you busy and very active. The average two-bedroom rental in Salt Lake City, Utah is $804, according to mynewplace.com.
6. Oakland, California — Another California City-are we starting to see a trend? Oakland, California ranks very high on the list for its healthy lifestyle choices and activities available to its residents. Visits to Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, Preservation Park and local attractions (Chinatown, Oakland Museum of California and the Chabot Space and Science Center) are a part of life in Oakland; along with access to healthy dining options, farmer’s markets and walking that keep residents fit. Apartments average $895 for a two-bedroom place, according to mynewplace.com and homes averaging $895,000, according to zillow.com.
7. Sacramento, California — The state capital, Sacramento, California ranked very well in the lifestyle, activity, health and diet categories, which is apparent by the areas attractions that includes historic buildings, museums, and recreational parks (Old Sacramento national and California state historic park). Residents can also take advantage of the areas natural surrounding area by biking, hiking, camping, golfing and partaking in numerous recreational sports throughout the year.
8. Orange County, California — Much as been chronicled about life in “The O.C” by reality shows, but little is discussed of the high quality of diet, lifestyle, activity and metal health in Orange County, California. With 42 miles of coastline, numerous beaches and recreational parks that include historic sites and open spaces, for biking, camping and hiking. Recreational activities such as surfing, running, tennis, volleyball, basketball and golf also keep residents of the O.C. healthy and active. All the healthy amenities are great, but real estate in the area is a bit steep, averaging 1.5 million for homes, according to zillow.com.
9. Denver, Colorado — Residents of Denver, Colorado have access to historic western and cultural attractions (Denver Art Museum and the Denver Zoo) and natural beauty to hike, raft, horseback ride and camp. The Mile High City also has affordable rentals with $978 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to mynewplace.com.
10. Austin-San Marcos, Texas — Dubbed the “live music capitol of the world,” Austin, Texas is also one of the healthiest cities for its high ranks in physical activity. The area also has the highest number of gyms and health clubs in the U.S, along with being a biker friendly area and one that is very eco-conscious, aptly named the “Greenest City in America,” by MSN. The city also has affordable apartments with the average two-bedroom rental at $1,065, according to apartments.com.
And now for the low-ranking cities…
1. New Orleans, LA
2. San Antonio, TX
3. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
4. Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH
5. Orlando, FL
6. Columbus, OH
7. Detroit, MI
8. New York, NY
9. Las Vegas, NV-AZ
10. Indianapolis, IN
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!
For instance, what’s this thing called a ‘van line’?
In its simplest terms, think of a van line like a franchisor. Much as McDonald’s has franchisees that own and operate the actual restaurants independently, van lines use ‘agents’ in the same way — an agent is a van line franchisee that operates on a local level.
Moving companies that are not part of a van line are labeled ‘independents.’
There are advantages to using a van line:
* A van line agent can tap into van line’s tractor-trailers for long distance moving, which usually means greater precision in delivery dates, and fewer chances that your items will be offloaded en route and bundled together with another shipment headed toward your destination.
* Also, the van lines are pretty thorough on enforcing quality control at their agents, so an agent that gets a lot of complaints can be kicked out the van line system. You’ll be less likely to face a scam operator on the van line level.
However, because of the overhead associated with a van line, a van line move can often cost more than a move from an independent.
The van lines will say, of course, that the advantages outweigh the disadvantage of cost.
There are about 20 van lines around the country, including the biggies like United, Mayflower and Atlas, with agents nationwide in most larger cities.
Maybe your next customer will FIND you on Twitter or Facebook, but they probably won’t HIRE you until they’ve read a few reviews about your services.
And if you’re not trolling the review sites and responding to reviews, you’ve got a gaping hole in your marketing plan.
Most small businesses overlook this simple fact in the hyperventilating over Facebook, Twitter and the like.
Many people don’t think of online reviews as social media, because they can’t engage in the type of back and forth and outreach that you see on most social media networks.
That’s slowly changing, as more online review sites allow companies to comment on reviews. Most notably, Yelp allows it.
So small businesses, and most especially moving companies, can now take part in the conversation about their business in a way that was impossible before. If it’s a positive review, they can thank the reviewer. If it’s negative, they can explain their side of the story — and apologize if they were at fault.
Either way, it demonstrates a company that cares enough about their customers to take the time to reply to what a customer has written about their experience with a company.
Companies should also be actively encouraging their satisfied customers to submit reviews — good reviews are gold for a moving company, particularly heartfelt, obviously genuine ones.
I was recently reminded of this when a Relocation.com customer wrote a review about a moving company she used through our network. It shows that a satisfied customer can not only shower you with kind words; they can also become an advocate for your business.
So if you’re experimenting on Facebook and Twitter, that’s great — it can be a great way to find customers.
But those customers won’t choose you just based on a cool-looking Facebook page: they will search for online reviews about how you’ve treated previous customers. So get involved in the conversation and see what customers are saying about you.
Twitter and Facebook get the customer in the door; a review gets them to buy.
(I’ve removed the moving company’s name because we haven’t yet launched our reviews section.)
“Let me begin by saying my MOVING experience. I am a woman alone who is almost 70 years old and was leaving the residence where I had lived for more than 35 years to start over in a part of the country, in a town where I did not know anyone, and from the very first interview, the movers treated me with the greatest respect and never once tried to take advantage of my vulnerability as a woman; as a senior citizen, or as a woman alone.
“Quite the contrary, because I was a senior citizen, a woman and a woman alone, the staff did everything they could to assure that my move would go smoothly — and it did. After interviewing more than 40-50 moving companies which in and of itself was a nightmare, I finally narrowed my choice down to three, and even gave a $200 deposit to one, and actually was requested to pay the second one $2,100 in full. However, at the 11th hour based on several factors which seemed very unsettling to me about both companies, in the final analysis I felt there would be a negative outcome if I went with either of them.
“I was so pleased with everything about the movers that by the time the move was over, we were like family; and unbeknown to the staff, I am the founder, President and CEO of “A Woman’s Corner” and the Executive Director of www.awomanscorner.com, and decided to negotiate to have the moving company be the official movers posted on the AWC website www.awomanscorner.com so women all over the country could hire a moving company with the confidence to know that they would be treated with respect and dignity, and would not be taken advantage of.
“1. I moved from New York to Virginia, and I liked the fact that the movers were a small/mid-sized company that does all of their own moving, and does not subcontract or outsource their long distance moves to other companies.
“2. The movers gave me a quote on the telephone based on the Inventory List that I gave them, and then followed-up with an on-site in-home interview which they conducted on a Saturday afternoon because it was the only time I was available.
“3. Their salesman gave me a binding quote of $1900 which they honored, although they spent considerably more time than was anticipated; and the second quote was only $100 more than the initial telephone quote, although the inventory list was significantly more than I submitted online.
“4. The moving company provided extra boxes, wardrobe, mirror and other essential boxes needed at the time of the move at NO ADDITIONAL COST, as well as packed the mirrors, electronics, clothes and many other incidentals that I neglected to pack in my haste. Although I would encourage customers to disconnect their own electronics and take responsibility for the cords and sensitive items — bear in mind that they are movers are not electronic technicians or computer geeks.
“5. Because my move was a six hour drive, and would involve getting caught in rush hour in the Washington DC metropolitan area, the movers arrived at my apartment at 7:00 AM so they could complete the packing, load the truck and be on the road at a reasonable hour so we would arrive at our final destination by early evening.
“6. Because I had a shipment going into storage, which I would have otherwise had to hire a small truck to pick-up after they dropped it off at my Virginia destination, the movers dropped the shipment off at my storage unit for me at no additional cost.
“7. Several hours into my drive to Virginia, the sales personal who booked the move called me to assure that everything went well and to inquire if he could be of any other assistance, and assured me that he was only a telephone call away?
“8. At the end of the move as a token of my appreciation I gave the driver a 20% tip to divide amongst the crew which I hope expressed in some small way my sincere and extreme satisfaction that I felt for their efforts and a job WELL done.
When a group of movers complained to local politicians at an Oregon town hall meeting about a recently passed law, they got a rough lesson in politics.
The movers were objecting to Senate Bill 2817, which forbids moving companies from using rental trucks to haul household goods.
Intended to crack down on rogue moving companies that don’t have their own trucks, it also penalizes movers who might use rented or leased trucks to meet demand during peak seasons or don’t keep any fleet at all — it’s expensive to keep a fleet of trucks year-round, particularly for the small moving companies that were complaining at the town hall.
Aside from the fairness of the law, the whole episode offers a mirror into how government sometimes works — and why people feel so alienated from it.
According to a report from Southern Oregon Mail Tribune, when the smaller movers asked how they could fight the bill, State Rep. Dennis Richardson was candid:
They probably can’t, because the law has already been passed.
But he did offer some tough-love hindsight.
“You needed a lobbyist,” Richardson said. “You needed someone who was specifically looking out for you.”
Politicians everywhere lament about the plight of small-business owners.
But so often, that voice often goes unheard — because it’s never sought out unless you have the resources to pay someone to be your voice. Which is exactly what small-business people (not to mention much of the general public) often lack the resources to do.
“We’d be doing a lot better if these guys weren’t skimming from us,” Ron Montanez, director of operations for Aaron’s Reliable is quoted as saying in the article.
Unlicensed movers in Chicago enjoy the same advantages that unlicensed moving companies do nationwide: much lower operating costs because they don’t have insurance and don’t have the expenses of obtaining a license; fewer regulators enforcing existing laws; and shippers so enthralled with saving money that they’re willing to take their chances.
The situation is exasperated by a chilly economy, as more folks with a truck and a pair of arms get into the business.
From the Tribune: “An out-of-work carpenter named Tom is one of them. He wouldn’t give his last name but said he started posting a few weeks ago after carpentry jobs dried up and he needed another source of income. He had what’s needed to be a mover: able body, pickup truck and Internet connection.”
The authorities are trying to keep up with what seems like a spate of unlicensed movers. They’ve ticketed 80 movers in the six-county Chicago area, which is up from 65 in all of 2008 and more than any year in recent history, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Of course, going with an unlicensed mover brings up all sorts of issues, well catalogued by sites like movingscam.com.
However, I rarely hear about one of the biggest risks of all when you go with the unlicensed, uninsured fly-by-nighters: they don’t have Worker’s Comp. And if you’re moving to a new home, you might not have purchased homeowners insurance or renters insurance yet.
So if a mover hurts himself at your place, you could be on the hook for a huge legal bill.
It’s pretty rare to see even a few interesting moving-related articles in the media — most are retreads: how to avoid a moving scam, packing tips, etc.
These, however, are actually worth reading.
The New York Times profiled a young Serb, Vladimir Cvijovic, who came to the New York this summer to work for FlatRate moving company. He tells of his experiences moving, and reports that there are over 30 Serbs alone working at FlatRate this summer. He explains why that is:
“While all the SerbsYou can’t find a lot of guys to do moving jobs in New York because they think it’s very hard to do it. In Serbia, it’s not that kind of situation. A lot of Serbians, they do moving, and they are not afraid of physical jobs. It’s not hard for us.”
Just the day before, the Times chronicled Rabbit Movers, which tends to hire folks with a creative background as moving company employees. Company ranks include photographers, musicians and novelists. Rabbit Movers owner Shawn Lyons, a would-be writer himself, said he finds employees of a creative bent easier to work with because they more closely share his own values and background. “He decided that, for better or worse, he would hire only people who were passionate about art, as he was, and had creative ambitions, as he did,” the Times reports.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal came out with an interesting article about tax collectors combing through social networks for tax dodgers. They specifically look for any information that can give away where they can be found, and people talking about an upcoming relocation are good ways to get that information.
Minnesota authorities were able to track down one man who posted on his MySpace that he would be moving, giving the town he’d be moving to as well as his new employer’s name.
Mayflower Transit came out on top in a recent Customer Satisfaction survey from consumer survey powerhouse J.D. Power and Associations about moving companies, followed closely by Allied Van Lines.
Overall, J.D. Power said overall quality improved in its most recent survey of major van lines customers, saying there were ”considerably” fewer reports of lost or damaged items.
J.D. Power bases its rankings on evaluations from consumers who used a full-service moving company in the past 12 months. You can see the complete van line rankings at this link. The van lines were scored across five factors: shipping estimate process; packing services; loading and unloading; transportation of belongings; and insurance/valuation coverage.
J.D. Power says overall satisfaction with movers averages 804 on a 1,000-point scale in 2009, which is up 16 points from 2008. Satisfaction was up from 2008 in all five factors. Also, the admount of customers who report lost or damaged items has decreased to less than a third in 2009, compared with nearly one-half in 2008.
“In the current economy, consumers may be tempted to pack and transport their belongings themselves; however using a full-service moving company to orchestrate and execute a move can be a smart economic decision and provide them with valuable peace of mind,” said Michael Drago, director of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
“Whether a move is completed independently or through a professional full-service moving company, there is a risk that items will be lost or damaged. Moving companies have reduced their lost and damaged items rates, but if any does occur, the customer is typically protected or insured to some extent through the moving company, which can help mitigate a problematic move.”
Mayflower Transit showed much improvement from 2008 to rank highest in 2009 with a 831 score. Allied Van Lines came in second with a score of 812.
The survey found that moving estimates are a key consideration for people picking a moving company. The survey found that shipping estimate satisfaction is nearly equal among customers whose estimates are done in-person and online, averaging 807 and 805. Shipping satisfaction among customers who get an initial quote over the phone averages 12 to 14 points lower than that of customers who get their estimates online or in-person.
“Savvy customers recognize that the initial quote process provides more than just a price point to use in differentiating among the moving companies under consideration,” said Drago. “The process offers insight into what it will be like to work with each company, as well as how accommodating, comprehensive and proactive they are. The price that is quoted is important, but the process is equally as revealing.”
Other findings from the survey:
For customers who have loss or damage to their belongings, only 50% filed a claim. For those who suffered damage but didn’t file a claim, 60 percent said the items damaged or lost were not valuable enough to be worth filing a claim.
There is a 59-day window between the day when a customer decides they are moving and the day their possessions are loaded into a moving van on moving day.
Fewer people are asking for packing services. The percentage of customers that had their movers pack their belongings decreased by 10 percentage points from 2008 to 44% in
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.
A recent report about moving holds some important glimmers of light for the moving industry.
The Boston Fed study found that housing prices have become a key determinant in whether people move – if people can not get the price for their home that they think it’s worth, they won’t sell and move. That’s a shift: before, if you needed to move, whether for retirement or a job, selling your current home wasn’t a roadblock.
Now that housing prices have fallen so much, that type of activity has stalled, and migration patterns have hit generational lows.
So where exactly is the good news in this?
The biggest hindrance to someone selling their home, or putting their home on the market, is the perception that they’re losing. The home that 4 years ago was worth $300,000 is now worth only $250,000. They sell now, and they’ve lost, even if they only paid $200,000 for it.
It’s a skewed way of looking at things.
Granted, there are many folks who are underwater on their mortgage, effectively shackling them in place unless they can either produce the cash to pay off the difference between the mortgage and the selling price, or convince their lender to do a short sale.
However, many people bought well before the housing boom. They’re not underwater. They have equity. They can move.
But the housing industry and government have beaten into our heads that your home is an investment. Expect a solid return year after year. Tap into your home to fund your retirement.
People are slowing catching a whiff of the the new reality.
That reality: Depending on where you live, that nice nest egg with a front porch is now 10%-50% less than what you thought it was.
That sucks, and you’re probably angry. But will that stop you from living where you want to live?
The longer the housing drag continues, this ‘I-shoulda-sold-in-2006 remorse’ will be less of a factor in peoples’ relocation decision. The regret over your ‘loss’ will lessen. You’ll feel better about selling.
The bursting of the housing bubble has been a painful process so far, and it’s still got a ways to go. But the sooner we get there, the sooner houses will be sold — and the sooner moving companies will see some daylight.
Now this is nothing new — there have long been reports of employees and business owners writing fake reviews, either praising their own businesses or dising their competitors’.
What IS surprising is that the major review sites haven’t really figured out a way to ensure the integrity of reader-written reviews.
Even Amazon.com, which seems to read my mind every time I visit by displaying products I’m likely to buy, hasn’t figured it out, even though there’s a lot of sketchy stuff in their reviews, like people reviewing several similiar products from the same company, as in the case cited by the Journal.
Many people are now using reviews to choose moving companies, which I generally applaud.
However, you need to make them just one part of your entire search for a moving company, not the sole factor. And you need to be wary if there’s an oversupply of positive reviews — there’s just no way to satisfy every customer.
We’re collecting moving reviews from our customers now, and hope to start publishing them on Relocation.com in the near future. We enjoy a bit of an advantage from other review sites because we can near-conclusively determine if the consumer used the moving company they’re reviewing. So be sure to check back later to see our moving company reviews!
Yep, residents of the independent-minded Canadian Province of Quebec are celebrating Moving Day today — I know, ‘celebration’ and ‘moving day’ normally not two words you’d find hanging out in the same sentence.
So, what is this moving day, anyways, and why is it something that might drive Canadian moving companies a bit out of their mind?
Summoning my vast research skills, and my ability to do a search on Wikipedia, I’ve learned that on July 1, everybody in Quebec moves — to be exact, everyone moves to the house on their right, slowly working their way around the block.
Actually, it’s less interesting in that. Fact is, many leases come up on July 1, so many people move at this time – moving companies work around the clock, and moving rates mysteriously triple.
But it’s not all fun and games and profits for Quebec movers.
First, many landlords in Quebec force renters to have their own refrigerator. This makes sense because most Canadians use their frig to store the moose they shoot during Moose Hunting Day on June 1. Landlords also don’t provide a stove. Either way, moving a frig and stove is a pain.
To make matters worse, many Quebeconians use exterior metal staircases to access upper-floor apartments. These are also curved and narrow. Just try carrying a refrigerator with a moose down one of them.
But back to the historical antecedents of Moving Day.
It goes back to the 19th century, when the government, concerned that ‘semi-feudal landlords’ of the time would kick out tenant farmers in the snowy weather, decreed that no such forced moving would take place until May 1.
The tradition stuck, so all sorts of leases and kickings-out would occur on May 1 — this was later changed to July 1 to better accomodate students on summer break.
So if a Quebecian is a friend, impress them with your knowledge of history and Canada by wishing them a Happy Moving Day!
The ‘binding estimate’ sounds so final, so iron-clad – it’s guaranteed to be exactly what you pay for your move, right?
Not necessarily — and it could majorly mess up your moving day.
There are two kinds of moving estimates: a non-binding estimate, which is an ‘estimate’ in the true sense of the word: you might pay more, you might pay less. These are more common for local moves, where you pay by the hour according to the number of laborers you use.
The other estimate is ‘binding.’ It’s binding on both you and the moving company. A popular binding estimate is the ‘guaranteed not to exceed’ estimate – you won’t pay more than the estimated moving costs, but if your moving costs end up being less than the estimate, you pay the lesser amount.
You often see these offered up as a guaranteed estimate, or a flat-rate estimate.
However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Here’s what can happen:
The estimator from a moving company comes to your home, sees what you need to have moved, and gives you an estimate.
On moving day – surprise! - the guys loading your truck say you have more stuff than is included on the estimate. Your binding estimate is kaput, and you will have to pay more.
How’d that happen?
1. You added more stuff to your move after you got you estimate.
2. Your moving estimator made an honest mistake, and didn’t include everything to be moved.
3. Your moving estimator purposefully underestimated your move in order to win your business. (And is now letting the driver handle the dirty work…)
Either way, you have to come to an agreement with the moving company about what you will pay. And it’s moving day. And you’re stressed, and now probably a little angry.
So you thought you were getting a binding estimate – but now you’re in a bind.
How to avoid this predicament:
* When you get a binding estimate, scrutinize the Table of Measurements that the estimator uses to give you moving quotes. This is a sheet your estimator uses to tally up the items you need to have moved. Insist on seeing this, and make sure it’s accurate. If it’s not, you’re going to have a problem on moving day.
* Beware the low bid. Even if it’s binding, your moving company can still insist on more money on moving day if it says the estimate was incorrect.
* Make sure that you won’t be adding additional items to your load before moving day. This will nullify your binding estimate.
* Get your estimate in writing.
On moving day, the binding estimate is included as an attachment to the bill of lading, which is a document you will be signing that turns over your goods to the moving company. Make sure it’s there.