Ahhhh summertime. The weather is hot and the living is easy, that is if you don’t have to move! Moving is a stressful process that has way too many moving parts. But, if you get organized and follow the checklist below, your move should have less headaches.
Decide how you are going to get all of your stuff from your current residence to your new one: are you going to hire a moving company or do it yourself? If you decide to hire a professional moving company, shop around to find the one that is going to be the most cost-effective for your trip. You can always hire a go-between company such as Consumers Relocation that will assign you to your very own agent who will find you the best rates from companies that they have a lasting relationship with. If you plan to do the move yourself, be sure you find some friends and family members that can help you out on moving day.
Determine the items that are going to be coming with you on your move and donate/sell unwanted items to make your load smaller.
- Organize and Transfer all of your important documents such as your kids school documents, medical, dental, vision, and veterinary.
- Inventory all of the items that will be coming with you and determine if your current furniture will fit in your new place.
Get plenty of boxes and moving materials such as packing tape, permanent markers (to write on the boxes), etc.
Change your address with the post office. Disconnect your current utilities/cable/phone/internet services and have them re-connected or set up at the new place prior to your move.
- Make travel arrangements for your pets (if applicable).
Notify your friends and family that you will be moving and give them your new address.
- Begin packing the items you won’t be using prior to your move.
Plan your meals for the time before your move accordingly.
Refill prescriptions and be sure you have enough until you can get more in your new location.
- Pack all valuables and essentials needed on hand during the move – these items should be in the car with you.
Drain all water hoses and empty and defrost your fridge and freezer 24 hours before you go.
- Check the house to make sure that you have everything on moving day. If you are hiring a professional moving company, be sure you go over the inventory list before and after you arrive at your new destination.
Hopefully this moving checklist will help anyone relocating this summer. If you are going to be relocating to a new city entirely, it might be wise to get a fully furnished rental in the new neighborhood for a couple months before your move to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Or, if you are having problems selling your current house and need to move to the new location right away, you could always hire a property manager that can manage your property on your behalf and get you some additional income until the property can be sold.
With the official start date of summer right around the corner, it is a great time to take actions that will greatly reduce your electricity and gas bills before it gets too hot outside. Below are some tips that can be done around your house to reduce the amount of wattage being used.
- Make sure you have a programmable thermostat and set it for 72-75 degrees when you are home and higher or off when you are gone and use ceiling fans to help cool down your house.
- Most utility companies have a special switch they can install that will limit the use of your A/C during peak hours of the day – contact your local service provider to find out if they offer anything like this. Xcel Energy does and offers $40 off your September or October bill if you enroll in the program – it’s free and they can even install it if you aren’t home in most cases.
Use only the warm or cold water settings whenever you do laundry and always rinse using cold water. Line dry your clothes whenever you can. When you need to use the dryer, run full loads and use the moisture-sensor setting and always clean the lint trap after each load.
Turn off and unplug all electronics, chargers, appliances, lights, etc. when not in use as some electronics/appliances use energy even when not in use.
Be sure your fridge and freezer settings are not too cold. The fuller a fridge and freezer, the lower the energy costs.
There are many more things that can be done to help conserve our resources but we hope that you found the above tips helpful in making your home a more environmentally friendly place.
Happy saving everyone! 🙂
A recent article posted at NBCNews.com Business uses Zillow’s Break Even Horizon to determine the top 10 cities where renting is more economically sound than buying and how long it takes on average to break even if purchasing a home. This figure is calculated based on the net cost of purchasing a home vs. renting the same house. Here are the top 10 cities renting costs less than buying:
New York City, NY. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 5 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,016; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 19.4%
Renting an apartment in the city would save more money than purchasing a home unless you were going to be living in NYC for more than 5 years. The average home price is $462,500. A 20% down payment is going to be $93,000 for a home this much and with the current rate of 3.277% and a 30 year fixed mortgage, you are looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $2,145 which is higher than the current rental index.
Seattle, WA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 4.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,850; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.7%
Waterfront property in Seattle averages about $392,200 as of December 2012.
Boston, MA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,299; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 11.3%
Based on 25 new single family homes for sale in Boston, MA, the average home costs $727,200. A 20% down payment is $145,000 with a 3.277% interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment would be $3,334. Renting in Boston on average would be a monthly savings of $1,035.
Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA tied for 4th for the amount of years it would take to break even if purchasing a home.
Washington, D.C. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,439; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 7%
There has been an increase in new home development in the D.C. area. As of December last year, the average home cost $402,400 which is up by 10%.
San Francisco, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $3,281; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 12%
San Fran has seen an 18% increase in home sale prices year after year! Currently, the average home costs $770,600. A 20% down payment of $154,000 with the current interest rate of 3.277% would be a $3,529 monthly payment. By renting, you would save on average of $248 a month.
Portland, OR. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,423; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index:
Portland has the most bike commuters in the U.S. Last year, 21.49% of homes sold were sold at a loss, but the average value of homes has risen 8.8% ($257,400).
San Diego, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.4 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,116; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.9%
The average San Diego home value is up 11% making the average home $404,100.
Los Angeles, CA and San Jose, CA tied for 7th place based upon the number of years it would take to break even after purchasing a home in either location.
Los Angeles, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,311; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.3%
Los Angeles has a very high unemployment rate and the home rates dropped about 35% which actually makes L.A. more affordable for home owners. The average home costs $399,800 which was up by 9.7% as of December 2012. If you put down a 20% payment of $80,000 with the 3.277 interest rate with a fixed 30 year mortgage, your monthly payment is going to be $1,863.
San Jose, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,513; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.5%
San Jose, CA has a lot more people interested in purchasing homes since the average annual income is $92,500. San Jose has a very high employment rate with over 6,000 technology companies. The average home in San Jose is $544,600 so if you put down 20% ($109,000) + 3.277% + 30 years = $2,514 monthly mortgage payment which is $1 higher per month than the current rental index!
Denver, CO. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.8 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,468; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 9.3%
As of December 2012, Denver’s average home value was up by 14.1% with the average home costing $233,700.
Austin, TX. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,516; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 6.2%
At the end of last year, Austin had an overall home value increase of 4.7% = $209,900.
Nashville, TN. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,190; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 3.8%
The average home cost is now $140,000, which is up by 6%.
Most of the cities listed above experienced an overall increase last year in their median home values which is great news overall for the market!
Last week, we covered rental agreements and security deposits. This week, we will be discussing a unit maintenance that may arise while you are leasing a property. As a renter, you must take responsibility for any unit damages that were the fault of yourself, anyone staying in the property, your guests, family members, and/or pets. If you company is the lease holder, you will still be fiscally responsible for any damages you may cause during your stay.
- The lease agreement that you or your company signs will outline in detail what the landlord’s responsibility would be in terms of any maintenance issues. If any damage can be deemed a defect in the unit not caused by tenant negligence or fault, then the landlord would be required to fix these issues. Some of the items that might be the landlord’s responsibility might include: Faulty wiring; Structural damage; leaking plumbing; mold; rust, etc.
- If ever there are any issues that the tenant feels are the landlord’s responsibility, the landlord needs to be notified immediately.
- The landlord also needs to be notified ASAP if there are any major maintenance issues such as a burst pipe; broken furnace/heater; backed up sewage, etc.
- It is best to submit any requests to the landlord by phone and in writing.
Again, be sure you know the real-estate laws regarding any maintenance issues in the state you are residing in and be sure that you go over this section in the lease in detail with your landlord.
Stick around for our final post next week regarding a renter’s rights and responsibilities regarding the departure process.
Last week, we covered doing a detailed inspection before you sign any agreement. This week, we will be covering some of the different aspects of real-estate laws in regards to rental agreements and security deposits. Each state’s laws vary regarding leasing agreements and security deposits. Be sure to do research prior to signing anything on the specific state’s real-estate laws. Below are some helpful hints and tips to make you an informed renter:
- Know what type of agreement you are signing beforehand. Is it set for a fixed departure date? Are you able to extend your departure date if you haven’t submitted notice?
- Find out what other fees are associated to the rental. Is there a non-refundable cleaning fee? If you have a pet, are you going to be charged an additional pet fee? Do you have to pay for a rental credit check?
- Ask when rent is due and find out if you have a grace period before any late fees are assessed.
- If a security deposit is required (which most of time it is) find out if it is refundable after you depart. If so, how many days do they have to refund this back to you? This varies by state. In most states, security deposits cannot be non-refundable, but other non-refundable fees can be charged as long as they are separate from the security deposit.
- Be aware that furnished rentals are generally a higher price for rent, deposits, and fees.
Doing your own research beforehand will make you the most informed renter. Some state laws are geared to be more in the tenant’s favor, like California, while others like Colorado lean towards the property owner’s favor.
Join us next week when we discuss maintenance issues.