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  • 29/08/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    What’s driving current mortgage rates?

    Average mortgage rates actually inched down yesterday, though only by the smallest measurable amount. Indeed, the fall was so tiny that many lenders didn’t bother adjusting their rate sheets. Still, our prediction was a little off. We said they’d probably be unchanged or “only slightly higher.”

     

    What happened to cause the fall, which halted the strong upward momentum apparent at the end of last week? CNBC suggests the U.S.-China trade talks may be to blame. It says investors are beginning to think the final deal “may not be as strong as the Trump administration was expecting.”

     

    The data below the rate table are mostly indicative of mortgage rates holding steady or being somewhat higher in the short-term.

     

    Local Movings


    Financial data affecting today’s mortgage rates


    First thing this morning, markets looked set to deliver unchanged or moderately higher mortgage rates today. By approaching 10:00 a.m. (ET), the data, compared with this time yesterday, were:

    • Major stock indexes were all lower soon after opening, though only a little (slightlybad for mortgage rates)
    • Gold prices inched down, standing at $1,284 an ounce compared to yesterday’s $1,285. As recently as last Wednesday, they were up at $1,327. (bad for mortgage rates. In general, it’s better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower)
    • Oil prices held steady yet again at $57 a barrel (neutral for mortgage rates because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation)
    • The yield on ten-year Treasuries edged down to 2.73 percent from yesterday morning’s 2.75 percent. Although that sounds good, it’s actually bad for borrowersbecause that change reflects yesterday’s fall and the yield was heading upward first thing. Mortgage rates tend to follow Treasuries
    • CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index inched down to 66 from 69 out of a possible 100. So it remains firmly in  “greed” territory. Still, today’s move is slightly better for borrowers. “Greedy” investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while “fearful” investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones


    Unless something big intervenes during the day, it looks likely mortgage rates will be the same or a bit higher this evening.

    Rate lock recommendation

    We saw three consecutive days of rises at the end of last week. But yesterday’s tiny fall suggests they might have been a blip rather than the start of a trend. So we might still be in a period when markets are drifting without much direction.

    As importantly, don’t forget there’s plenty of potential for bad news in today’s headlines that could send those rates back down. In particular, any escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan could see a significant fall in mortgage rates.  And, as we saw yesterday, those US-China trade talks remain a source of concern. CNBC was reporting earlier this morning that this is still the case: “Market players are focused on U.S.-China trade developments with mixed messages on the progress of talks between Washington and Beijing over the last few days.” It went on to mention continuing concerns, raised in a New York Times article yesterday,  that the deal might “do little to address key structural issues.”

    Still, we’re holding our nerve for now and continuing to suggest that you lock if you’re less than 30 days from closing. However, you might think that too conservative, and we wouldn’t blame you if you gambled on more falls during that time.

     

    What’s going on this morning?

    Both this morning’s releases of economic data were published at 10:00 a.m. (ET), making them too close to our deadline for us to assess market reactions. They were both better than expected, with new homes sales significantly so.

    So, if you’re still floating, do remain vigilant. Continue to watch key markets and news cycles closely. In particular, look out for stories that might affect the performance of the American economy. As a very general rule, good news tends to push mortgage rates up, while bad drags them down.

     

    When to lock anyway

    You may wish to lock your loan anyway if you are buying a home and have a higher debt-to-income ratio than most. Indeed, you should be more inclined to lock because any rises in rates could kill your mortgage approval. If you’re refinancing, that’s less critical and you may be able to gamble and float.

    If your closing is weeks or months away, the decision to lock or float becomes complicated. Obviously, if you know rates are rising, you want to lock in as soon as possible. However, the longer your lock, the higher your upfront costs. On the flip side, if a higher rate would wipe out your mortgage approval, you’ll probably want to lock in even if it costs more.

    If you’re still floating, stay in close contact with your lender, and keep an eye on markets. I recommend:

    • LOCK if closing in 7 days
    • LOCK if closing in 15 days
    • LOCK if closing in 30 days
    • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
    • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

    This week

    There are fewer items on this week’s economic calendar than last. However, employment data, out on Friday, are always capable of moving markets. Other outcomes are more likely to fuel or slow existing market momentum (if any builds) than generate much of their own. However, any report can be disruptive if it contains sufficiently shocking results — whether good or bad.

    This morning’s economic data were better than expected. 

    Markets tend to price in economists’ consensus forecasts (we use those reported by MarketWatch) in advance of the publication of reports. So it’s usually the difference between the actual reported numbers and the forecast that has the greatest effect. That means even an extreme difference between actuals for the previous reporting period and this one can have little immediate impact, providing that difference is expected and has been factored in ahead.

    • Monday: December construction spending (actual -0.6 percent; forecast +0.3 percent)
    • Tuesday: December new home sales  were much better than expected (actual 621,000 units; forecast 576.000 units) and February’s ISM non-manufacturing index for business activity was also better (actual 59.7 percent; forecast 57.4 percent) from the Institute for Supply Management
    • Wednesday: December’s trade balance (forecast -$57.8 billion). ADP employment figures can also be important as a predictor of how Friday’s official payroll figures will turn out
    • Thursday: weekly jobless claims (224,000 forecast), productivity for Q4 2018 (forecast +1.7 percent)
    • Friday: official employment data for February, including nonfarm payrolls (forecast +180,000) and average hourly earnings (forecast +0.3 percent). Plus January housing starts (forecast: 1.222 million annualized)


    MarketWatch’s economic calendar remains slightly chaotic in the wake of the recent government shutdown. Some numbers published this week are for earlier periods than would normally be the case, and others are still being delayed.

    What causes rates to rise and fall?

    Mortgage interest rates depend a great deal on the expectations of investors. Good economic news tends to be bad for interest rates because an active economy raises concerns about inflation. Inflation causes fixed-income investments like bonds to lose value, and that causes their yields (another way of saying interest rates) to increase.

    For example, suppose that two years ago, you bought a $1,000 bond paying 5 percent interest ($50) each year. (This is called its “coupon rate” or “par rate” because you paid $1,000 for a $1,000 bond, and because its interest rate equals the rate stated on the bond — in this case, 5 percent).

    • Your interest rate: $50 annual interest / $1,000 = 5.0%

    When rates fall


    That’s a pretty good rate today, so lots of investors want to buy it from you. You can sell your $1,000 bond for $1,200. The buyer gets the same $50 a year in interest that you were getting. It’s still 5 percent of the $1,000 coupon. However, because he paid more for the bond, his return is lower.

    • Your buyer’s interest rate: $50 annual interest / $1,200 = 4.2%

    The buyer gets an interest rate, or yield, of only 4.2 percent. And that’s why, when demand for bonds increases and bond prices go up, interest rates go down.

    When rates rise

    However, when the economy heats up, the potential for inflation makes bonds less appealing. With fewer people wanting to buy bonds, their prices decrease, and then interest rates go up.

    Imagine that you have your $1,000 bond, but you can’t sell it for $1,000 because unemployment has dropped and stock prices are soaring. You end up getting $700. The buyer gets the same $50 a year in interest, but the yield looks like this:

    • $50 annual interest / $700 = 7.1%

    The buyer’s interest rate is now slightly more than seven percent. Interest rates and yields are not mysterious. You calculate them with simple math.

    .
     

     

    https://localmovings.com/2019/03/06/888/

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  • 28/08/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    10 MOTHER’S DAY TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD

    Mother’s day is celebrated on different days across the world, but is generally observed between April and May in the nothern hemisphere. The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia.

    Celebrations of Mothers and Motherhood !!!!!

    10 Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World
    Get ideas for Mother’s Day and how to celebrate moms by reading about these other cultures and their Mother’s Day traditions.

    Happy Mother’s Day. Feliz Dia de las Madres. Furaha Ya Mama Siku. It doesn’t matter how you say it, the sentiment is the same: Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. We love you. Thank you. You are the center of our family and for that, we are grateful.
     
    Mothers are celebrated in many countries on different dates and in different ways. While Mother’s Day traditions and customs vary, everyone knows how important it is to honor moms for everything they do all year long.
     
    Wondering what to do this Mother’s Day? Christine Gross-Loh, author of “Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us ,” and Mei-Ling Hopgood, author of “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm ,” suggest finding inspiration from the many ways families honor mothers around the world.
     
    Here are fun Mother’s Day traditions in 10 other countries.
     
    1) United Kingdom
     
    In the UK, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and is called Mothering Sunday. During medieval times, poor families often sent their children off to work as domestic servants or apprentices to rich families. Their rare day off was traditionally granted during the Lenten season, so they could worship the Virgin Mary and visit their home, “mother church” and their families. The children would often pick flowers to give to their mothers and bake special cakes called Mothering Cakes or Simnel Cakes (the holiday even used to be known as Refreshment Sunday because the strict Lent fasting rules were put aside for the holiday). Today, Mother’s Day in the UK is celebrated in the same way as it is in America, with flowers, cards, gifts and family meals.
     
    2) Brazil
     
    “In Brazil, Mother’s Day is one of the most commercial holidays celebrated, second only to Christmas,” says Gross-Loh.
     
    Brazil commemorates this special day on the second Sunday in May with special children’s performances and church gatherings, which often culminate in large, multi-generational barbecues, she adds.
     
    3) Germany
     
    Muttertag takes place on the second Sunday in May (unless it falls on Pentecost, in which case it occurs on the first Sunday of the month). In Germany, the giving of Mother’s Day cards is extremely popular. During WWII, Mother’s Day traditions took on political significance as the day to acknowledge women for producing children for the Vaterland, or Fatherland. Medals were awarded in gold, silver or bronze, based upon how many children were in the household. After the war, it assumed a softer feel, with the giving of gifts, cards and flowers, as well as festive meals earmarking the day.
     
    4) Japan
     
    The American-born Gross-Loh spent five years raising her own children in Japan, where Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May and is symbolized by beautiful carnations — which represent the gentle strength of mothers who are revered in Japanese culture.
     
    “Children draw pictures of their mothers in school and sometimes enter them in art contests,” says Gross-Loh. “Like most other countries, Mother’s Day is a day of pampering for moms — kids help take over the household chores, have a special family meal, like sushi or eggs, and give their mothers red carnations or roses and cards.”
     
    5) Australia
     
    Another country which relies heavily on the giving of carnations and other flowers is Australia, where Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Chrysanthemums are also a very popular floral choice, because mothers there are called Mum. Aunts and grandmothers are also acknowledged with gifts.
     
    “In Australia, lots of service events are held around the holiday, with many organizations holding events to help raise money for women’s causes,” says Gross-Loh.
     
    6) Peru
     
    “The concept of a commercialized Mother’s Day is a Western evolution, but many cultures world wide do things to celebrate their mothers in small and large ways from rituals to special treatments at special times, including pregnancy or childbirth,” says Hopgood.
     
    Peru is no exception to this rule, where Mother’s Day is celebrated the second Sunday of May with gifts, chocolates and joyous family meals. In Peru, children often give their moms handmade items, which are reciprocated with gifts from them, in turn.
     
    Peru’s indigenous Andean population, however, also celebrates the gifts of Mother Earth, or Pachamama, in early August, says Hopgood. Pachamama is an ancient mythological goddess beloved by many indigenous Andean populations. Mythology cites Pachamama as the cause of earthquakes and bringer of fertility. Her special worship day is called Martes de Challa.
     
    7) France
     
    Fete des Meres takes place in late May or early June, based upon Pentecost. It didn’t become an official day of celebration until 1950, but was originally declared a holiday by Napoleon. On this day, like usually in the United States, moms relax, relying on their children to cater to their needs and do the chores. Gifts are given and sometimes short, original poems are recited. A large, celebratory meal ends this relaxing, enjoyable day.
     
    8) Ethiopia
     
    Mother’s Day is celebrated at the end of the fall rainy season, as part of the three-day Antrosht festival, dedicated to moms. When the weather clears up and the skies empty of rain, family members come home to celebrate with a large feast. Daughters traditionally bring vegetables, butter, spices and cheese, while the sons bring meat of various types, including lamb or bull. These will be included in a traditional hash recipe. Singing and dancing is shared by all family members.
     
    9) Serbia
     
    Another country which needs three days to fully acknowledge their mothers and the spirit of family is Serbia, where Mother’s Day takes place in December and is part of a series of holidays including Children’s Day and Father’s Day. All three holidays take place on consecutive Sundays and require lots of rope!
     
    On Children’s Day, children are tied up and must agree to behave before they are unbound. On Mother’s Day, it is the mom’s turn to be tied up, where she will remain until she supplies yummy treats and small gifts to her children. Finally it is father’s turn. The dads are tied up with rope until they give their families Christmas gifts. At that point, everybody feasts.
     
    10) India
     
    In culturally diverse India, a westernized version of Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, when Indians reflect upon the importance of mothers in their lives and the sacrifices they have made.
     
    However, Hindus in India celebrate the goddess Durga, or Divine Mother, during a 10-day festival called Durga Puja in October. Durga Puja celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is earmarked by gifts given to friends and family, as well as feasts and celebrations.
     
    The celebrations may vary, but the emotion and love that ties families together is the same the world over. Mother’s Day, no matter how or when it is celebrated, simply serves as a reminder of all moms do for their families every single day and the honor they deserve because of it.
     
    ~Corey Whelan is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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  • 28/08/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    THINGS TO DO BEFORE PROFESSIONAL PACKERS ARRIVE

    10 Things To Do Before Professional Packers Arrive

     

    By Anthony Bale, a knowledgeable moving industry professional and expert writer at The Moving Blog.

     

    So, it’s finally happening – you’ve done an extensive research on various top-rated moving companies and you’ve chosen a full-service mover that happened to give you the best offer in terms of price and conditions. And if you’ve opted for the extra service of having your home packed up by professionals, you may be now wondering what tasks you are supposed to complete before those moving experts arrive at your home.

     

    Are you expected to do anything at all before your packing crew makes an appearance on the scheduled day and time? And if yes, how to prepare for professional packers in such a way as to make Pack day and Move day easier for everybody, especially for yourself and your family?

     

    It’s important to remember that although the process of moving from one home to another is brimming with move-related tasks of all sort, it’s the packing job that matters the most as it is, without a doubt, the most time-consuming and laborious task you’ll need to take care of in order to have a fairly successful house move.

     

    So, if using professional packers is the right decision for the sake of your prized possessions, and for your own sake too, then preparing for professional movers the right way should be your number one priority.

     

    Here are the top 10 things to do before packers come to pack up your things.

     

    1. Purge your home of useless items

     

    It won’t make much sense to pay for having items packed professionally and then transported safely to your new home only to never use them again. Since the total weight of your shipment will determine, to large extent, the price you’ll need to pay in the end, you must get rid of all things that you won’t ever need again before professional packers come knocking on your door. The majority of experts agree that if a person has not used an item for over a year, then that person should seriously consider parting with that item as its uselessness is becoming more and more obvious with time.

     

    Don’t waste money and time if you can help it – go through your things and set aside the stuff you shouldn’t bother moving to your new place. Decide on the spot what you will do with each item – sell the ones that still have any market value, give away some of them to family members and close friends, donate still usable things to various charitable organizations, or throw away for recycling the worthless stuff.

     

    Learn more: Clutter unwanted: Get rid of stuff when moving

     

    2. Dispose of anything packers won’t pack

     

    Just don’t tell your packing crew you have more than 50 types of house flowers waiting to be packed up.
    Another way to prepare for professional packers is to part with any items that your packing crew won’t agree to pack for you. That’s right – even though you’re paying for the professional packing services you’re about to receive, there are a number of hazardous items that moving companies are not allowed to pack up and transport for safety reasons. It’s the law, so there’s no point in trying to persuade your packers to make an exception. And you shouldn’t either as such non-allowable goods could really endanger the safety of the entire relocation operation.

     

    There are three major categories of household items your team of professional packers will refuse to deal with:

     

    Hazardous items such as corrosive, explosive and flammable materials, including weapons and ammunition, chemicals, oils, cleaning fluids, paint, etc.
    Perishables such as frozen, refrigerated or fresh foods. Don’t forget to use up your food supply prior to the arrival of your packing team.
    Plants – due to their extreme fragility, the transportation of your leafy friends is your sole responsibility. Consider gifting your plants to friends or donating them to local hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc.


    3. Inventory all your possessions

     

    Now that you’re left only with the personal belongings you will be moving to your new house or apartment, it’s time to create an itemized checklist that will detail everything that is quite ready to be packed up by the pros. A household inventory will prove to be a great idea for two main reasons: 1) you will have a detailed list of all the items in your shipment and will check the delivered items against it in search of missing or damaged things, and 2) you will be able to file an insurance claim with your insurer, if any, or file a damage claim with your mover if you do find any of your delivered goods damaged or missing.

     

    You can create a home inventory list by either using the traditional pen-and-paper method (mark down the type, quantity and current condition of each item, and leave and extra column for comments), or taking advantage of modern technology to complete your house inventory checklist in no time (MoveAdvisor – the free mobile app that will help you organize your move – will inventory your entire home in minutes).

     

    4. Establish a No-Pack Zone

     

    What to do before movers come to pack? One of your priority tasks is to select one room where you will place all the things that will be traveling with you to your new home. Clearly, that room will be a no-pack zone for your professional packers – make sure you let them know that you intend to pack and move those items yourself before they begin work.

     

    Just to be safe, write DO NOT PACK on a piece of paper and attach it to that room’s door. If you can’t afford to spare an entire room for whatever you’re planning to take with you, at least cordon off one section of a room, and again – make sure it’s easily identifiable as a no-pack zone.

     

    The usual things that people choose to pack and move by themselves include mostly essential items /see below/: important documents, electronic devices, valuables of all kind, medicines and so on.

     

    Packing advice: How to label moving boxes like a pro packer

     

    5. Prepare those essentials boxes

     

    No two essentials boxes are the same.
    Preparing for professional packers include packing up a few essentials boxes out from the things you’ve already placed in the no-pack area. The smart idea behind organizing such essentials boxes is that the moment your furniture pieces and your household items are packed up by the movers and loaded into the moving vehicle, you will cease to have access to them until you are reunited with them once more at your new home. And until that moment in time, you will still need a number of important or even life-saving things to have at arm’s length.

     

    What should you pack in your survival kits? Anything that you think you will need to survive a day or two without your stuff. Here are some common sense suggestions: prescription medicine, non-perishable food, bottled water, plastic kitchen utensils, towels, bed sheets, spare clothes for each family member, toiletries, favorite book or games, essential tools.

     

    Also, include valuables such as jewelry pieces, family heirlooms, important documents, expensive electronics, and so on.

     

    Great advice: Your own packing timeline for moving

     

    6. Call a family safety briefing

     

    An excellent way to prepare for professional movers and packers is to ensure the safety of all family members, including any pets you may have under the roof. Hold a family meeting to talk about what to expect when the packers arrive and what major role each member will have during that hectic and dangerous phase of moving out. Soon enough, you will need to welcome complete strangers in your home for a packing job that can last not only hours, but entire days. And then, all of a sudden, safety becomes a major concern.

     

    The moving process will turn out to be an unwelcoming and stressful disruption for everybody in your family, and the arrival of professional packers is just the beginning. So, make sure everyone is pretty safe to avoid making your move traumatic as well. Keep your kids and pets 100% safe, preferably in a room as far away from the packing action as possible. Arrange for trusted persons to stay with your loved ones while your hired packers do their job.

     

    7. Prepare household appliances to be packed

     

    While inventorying your entire apartment or house, you should have also included your household appliances in the inventory checklist. And if you did, then you must have made an informed decision to let professional movers pack up and move those large electric appliances all the way to your new residence. And considering their formidable dimensions and considerable weight, such decision also means increased moving costs as well.

     

    Unplug any large appliances you intend to have packed – refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, electric or gas cookers, and empty them. If you find the necessary time, you can also choose to clean them prior to their packing and moving. If not, you will have to do all that after the move – something that may be the better option altogether.

     

    Either way, your appliances should be ready to be wrapped up and protected before the professional packers for moving show up at your door, so get down to work.

     

    8. Pre-pack small items

     

    Before your movers come to pack, pre-pack some special items of yours to sleep better that night.
    How to prepare for professional movers and packers? It’s a great idea to take care of the small stuff that you can easily pack up yourself. Although you’re paying professionals to pack up your household goods for you, sometimes it’s much better if you choose to pre-pack some small items the way you want it. So, take a look around your home and see what items may actually benefit by being pre-packed so that even more time is saved in the end.

     

    This tactical move can be especially useful when packing collector’s items – things you generally insist on handling yourself due to their high value – both sentimental and monetary. You may not be a professional packer yourself, but you should know best how to pack up your precious collection of small fridge magnets for increased peace of mind.

     

    Good to know: 9 packing mistakes you must never make

     

    9. Take tons of photos

     

    Should you hire professional packers? If you can afford to do it, there are many great reasons to hire professional packers: they bring high-quality packing materials, they bring they experience and resourcefulness, they pack things fast while also taking all the safety measures you can think of, and they are also properly insured – meaning that they will accept the liability for any damages when they pack your boxes.

     

    Nevertheless, being extra cautious won’t hurt – on the contrary, it can help you resolve an issue in your favor after the move. Take out your trusted digital camera and take plenty of photos of your household items before packers come to pack. Concentrate your photographic skills on valuables and antiques, and make sure you produce numerous close-up shots as well.

     

    In case any disputes arise between you and the moving company that has serviced you, those photos can serve as proof of your items’ condition before the professional packing has started.

     

    Read also: Common moving day mistakes to avoid

     

    10. Be a thoughtful host

     

    Once the packing crew arrives at your home, things will change with lightning speed – quality packing boxes of various sizes will be delivered, including the necessary protective blankets, bubble wrap and other padding materials, and your hired men will get down to work. Depending on the size of your home and the quantity and nature of items for packing inside it, the entire packing marathon can last from several hours to a couple of days. /How to find the best movers near me?/

     

    What to do when movers arrive? To show your packers and movers that you’re a good host, here are a few important pointers to consider:

     

    Show the professional packers around and tell them exactly what is expected of them.
    Offer your hired workers bottled water and some snacks, and show them where the bathroom is.
    Do you tip professional packers? If you’re happy with their work, there isn’t a single reason why you shouldn’t. The standard tip is around $20 per person for an 8-hour job of packing, but it’s up to you decide if they deserve more, less, or none.
    Let professional packers do their job but keep the communication channel and be ready to answer any questions they may have regarding the packing process.

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  • 28/08/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    LOCAL MOVINGS CHECK LIST!!

    By Tomy Allen

    MOVING CHECKLIST


    ASSESS WHAT YOU NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU – THEN
    EAT, DONATE, RECYCLE, OR THROW THE REST OUT!


    • Perishable foods and leftovers
    • Toxic materials (batteries, paints, cleaners, propane, flammables, bleach, batteries, mercury)
    • Old electronics
    • Old books, cds/DVD’s, magazines and newspapers
    • Metals and wood from previous home repairs or building projects
    • Decorations that may not have a place in your new home
    • Return borrowed things and collect things you’ve loaned
    • Cash for payment/tips/miscellaneous

     

    FOR HELP WITH DONATING YOUR GOODS, CHECK OUT
    DONATION TOWN (http://www.donationtown.org/about-us/)
    WILL YOUR LARGER ITEMS FIT THROUGH STAIRS
    AND DOORWAYS IN YOUR NEW HOME?


    • Couch
    • Large chairs/barcaloungers
    • One-piece bookshelves, bed frames, and tables
    • Framed art
    • Fridge
    • Washer/dryer

     

    PREP IF MOVING YOURSELF


    • Pick up boxes and supplies (tape, bubble wrap, etc).
    • Get prices from truck/van companies and secure an affordable rental for the day of moving.
    • Ask friends or family to help pack and move your belongings.
    • Sketch out the floor plan of your new home to determine placement of furnishings.
    • Write out directions for items requiring special attention (chandeliers, collectibles, delicate plants, etc.).
    • Place all important documents in one binder (new and old leases, floor plans, maps to your new home, etc.).
    • Have copies of keys ready for any friends helping out, in case they get to your new home ahead of you.
    • Take an inventory of boxes and items that will be going with you.
    • Be sure to have water and at least one meal ready to serve for friends and family helping you.
     


    MOVING CHECKLIST
    PREP IF USING MOVERS


    • Get general pricing information from at least three moving companies.
    • Get an on-site written estimate from the moving company you choose.
    • Decide if you or the movers will be doing the packing.
    • Sketch out the floor plan of your new home to determine placement of furnishings.
    • Write out directions for items requiring special attention (chandeliers, collectibles, delicate plants, etc.).
    Confirm all other arrangements (scheduling, number of movers, etc.) in writing or an email.
    • Leave a representative at your old home to answer questions for the movers.
    • Have copies of keys ready for the movers, in case they get to your new home ahead of you.
    • Take an inventory of boxes and items that will be going with the movers.
    • Be sure to have water and at least one meal ready for the movers.
    • Keep bathrooms in both locations stocked with enough toilet paper and soap for the day.

     

    LABEL IT AND YOU WON’T LOSE IT.


    Use markers and colored stickers to label each box according to:
    • Weight (heavy, medium, light)
    • Color (each corresponds to a specific room)
    • Fragility (not at all, somewhat, very)
    • Need To Use (immediately, no rush, storage)
    Initial all changes to all copies of all documents
    Leave tape marks on the floor where furniture feet are to be placed


    CHANGE OF ADDRESS


    Use markers and colored stickers to label each box according to:
    • Employer H.R. dept.
    • Postal service
    • Banks, checking and savings
    • Credit cards
    • Insurance companies
    • Doctor
    • Dentist
    • Hospital
    • Pharmacy
    • Utility companies
    • Voter registration
    • Veterinarian
    • Schools
    • Loans
    • Travel/auto club
    • Creditors
    • Telephone company
    • Newspapers
    • Trash company
    • Cable company
     

    MOVING CHECKLIST
    REPAIRS NECESSARY TO GET YOUR DEPOSIT
    BACK OR NOT SELL YOUR HOUSE AT A LOSS


    • Fill tack or nail holes with caulk and paint them.
    • Clean out fireplace and gutters if applicable.
    • Clean and wash all surfaces including countertops, sinks, toilets and tubs.
    • Sweep up all dust and any mess created during the moving process.
    • Vacuum any permanent rugs, especially if you have pets.
    • Taken out any trash or pet waste and deoderize those areas thoroughly.
    • Reinstall any carbon monoxide or fire alarms you may have disabled by accident.
    • Paint over any nicks and scratches on walls.
    • Buff or sand away any severe grooves or scratches on wooden floors and surfaces, then re-glaze or
    repaint those areas.
    • Make sure your front/back yard is neat and trimmed and that any cuttings are composted, mulched, or
    disposed of by town services.


    HAVE YOU DEALT WITH ALL SPECIAL
    CIRCUMSTANCES YET?


    • Take the day off work.
    • Cancel any medical or social appointments.
    • Find someone to watch or boarded your pets.
    • Triple bag any fish in thick plastic and drained your aquarium.
    • Place temperature-sensitive plants in a new home or packed them up accordingly.
    • Make arrangements to pick up your children or have them picked up if necessary.
    • Arranged to move your TV antenna or dish.
    • Have draperies cleaned.
    • Double check your attic and basement.
    • Drain the fuel from lawnmowers and other power equipment.
    • Firmly secure all tools in their boxes.
    GENERAL MOVING DAY TIPS
    • Arrive at your new home as early as possible to make sure utilities and services are connected.
    • Check traffic and weather reports and share the information with your friends or movers.
    • Make sure your friend or the mover driving has your exact address and keep his cell number on hand.
    • If moving yourself, help out as much as possible but don’t shy away from directing the action either.
    • If using movers, during unloading you should stay out of the way unless they specifically ask for your
    assistance.
    • Make one last tour of your home to confirm you or your utility company have shut off all switches and
    services:
    • Water
    • Electricity
    • Heat & air (furnaces, boilers, & AC)
    • Cable & Internet
    • Phone

     

    MOVING CHECKLIST


    • Thank your friends for all their hard work and promise to help them next time they move.
    • Or thank and pay the movers their stated fee. Include at least a $20 tip per mover, or more if your new
    home is four floors or more.
    • Before unpacking, double check your inventory list and see if all the boxes and items made it into your
    new home.
    • If not, ask your friends or the movers to check the truck or your old home.
    • If the item(s) still can not be found, retrace your friends’ steps or call the movers’ main
    office to file a complaint.
    • Unpack at your leisure and enjoy your first night in your new home. Congratulations!
    • Before you move, switch to Vonage with the option to keep your existing phone number. Then you can
    take your number with you wherever you go. There are no hassles in updating everyone with a new a
    number and your home phone service starts as soon as you can connect to high speed Internet.

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  • 15/05/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    First-Time Home Buyer Grants in Texas

    When buying and financing a home, many Americans have good credit and strong income but have not managed to stash enough away to cover the many upfront costs of homeownership. Down payment and closing costs are two of the major barriers to homeownership. The good news is there are a handful of ways that these costs can be covered in Texas without solely relying on what already exists in your savings account. In Texas, you may be able to get a boost through a first-time homebuyer grant program.

    What is a first-time homebuyer grant?

    Grants come in different forms — as outright gifts, zero-interest loans, forgivable loans or deferred payment loans. This assistance provides money to help with a down payment and closing costs. Forgivable loans typically don’t have to be repaid — as long as the borrower continues to own and live in the home for a certain period of time, such as five years. Deferred payment loans usually don’t have to be repaid until the borrower moves, sells the home, refinances or pays off the mortgage.

    Each grant program has its own terms, conditions, and eligibility requirements, but in general, you must:

    • Be a first-time homebuyer, as defined by the program.
    • Take a home buyer education course.
    • Satisfy income requirements.
    • Satisfy purchase price requirements. In many programs, the price must be less than 95% of an area’s median home purchase price.
    • Purchase in the approved location.

    Besides browsing the grants we’ve listed below, you may want to check out the affordable home loan programs offered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, or TDHCA. In addition to low-interest rates and tax credits, some of these loan programs also include a grant component.


    First-time home buyer grants in West Texas

    1. First Time Home Buyers Program (Abilene)

    The city’s Office for Neighborhood Services program offers up to $5,000 for down payment and closing costs. The property must be within Abilene city limits, and only residents who have lived in Abilene for the past six months or worked in the city for two years are eligible. Applicants must complete 10 hours of community service along with a home buyer training course.

    2. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Midland)

    Offered through the Midland Community Development Office, the program provides up to $15,000 to help buy a home in Midland. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 of their own money toward the purchase.

    3. Homebuyer Program (Odessa)

    The Odessa Community Development Department’s program offers up to $10,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance for existing homes and up to $24,000 for newly constructed homes. The assistance is offered as a zero-interest, deferred payment loan. The property must be in the city of Odessa, but applicants don’t have to be a current Odessa resident to apply. Applicants must contribute 1% of the sales price toward the purchase.

    4. Homebuyer’s Assistance Program (San Angelo)

    Up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance is available through the San Angelo Community & Housing Support Division. The amount can’t exceed 15% of the property’s value. Applicants must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase and occupy the home for at least five years to avoid repaying the loan. The property must be within the San Angelo city limits.

    Grant programs in North Texas

    5. Arlington Homebuyers’ Assistance Program (Arlington)

    Offered through the city of Arlington, this program provides down payment and closing cost help of up to $20,000 for properties within the city. The loan has no interest; borrowers have to pay it back only if they sell, do a cash-out refinance or lease the home within five years of purchase. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 toward the purchase to qualify.

    6. Dallas Homebuyer Assistance Program (Dallas)

    The city’s Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Department offers assistance for down payment and closing costs. Up to $40,000 in assistance is available, but the amount awarded is based on need. Funds are provided in the form of a deferred loan that may have to be repaid if the borrower sells, leases or transfers the property within a certain time period. Other eligibility criteria may apply.

    7. Homebuyers Assistance Program (Denton)

    This program provides first-time home buyers with up to $14,900 for down payment and closing costs. Funds are provided as a zero-interest loan that is gradually forgiven over five years. No repayment is required unless a buyer moves, sells, transfers the title, gets a home equity loan or does a cash-out mortgage refinance during that period. Applicants must live or work in Denton to be eligible and contribute 1.75% of the sale price toward the purchase. The property must be within the city limits. Condos and townhomes are eligible. Homes built before 1970 are not eligible, unless they have undergone major renovation.

    8. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Fort Worth)

    The city’s program offers up to $14,999 as a deferred loan to help first-time home buyers purchase a home in Fort Worth. Up to $3,000 of that amount can be used for closing costs. The loan is forgiven after five years unless buyers sell, move out or lease the home, or refinance the mortgage without the lender’s consent. Applicants must contribute $1,000 or 2% of the purchase price, whichever is less.

    9. Down Payment Assistance Program (Frisco)

    This program helps low- and moderate-income employees of the city of Frisco and the Frisco Independent School District buy a first home. The program provides up to $10,000 in a forgivable loan for down payment and closing costs. In addition to other eligibility requirements, at least one adult in the family must work full-time for the city or school district for at least six months. The loan is forgiven in installments over a certain period, depending on the amount of assistance. The property must be within the Frisco city limits, and the buyer must contribute at least 1% of the purchase price.

    10. City of McKinney Homebuyer Assistance Program (McKinney)

    This program offers first-time home buyers up to $10,000 to help with a down payment and closing costs. The loan is 0% interest and forgivable after five years. Borrowers have to repay the loan only if they sell,  pay off or refinance the mortgage in that period. The property must be within the McKinney city limits.

    11. Down Payment Assistance Program (Mesquite)

    If a buyer contributes at least 1.75% of the sales price toward the purchase of a home, the city’s program will provide matching funds — up to $5,000 — for half of the down payment. The assistance is through a zero-interest, forgivable loan. If the program’s match is less than $5,000, then the additional funds can be used to help pay closing costs, depending on the buyer’s income. The property must be within the Mesquite city limits.

    12. First-Time Homebuyers Assistance and Educational Program (Plano)

    Administered through the city’s Community Services Division, the program offers a zero-interest, forgivable loan of up to $10,000 for a down payment and closing costs. Borrowers don’t have to repay the loan as long as they own and occupy the home for five years. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 toward the down payment. Of that amount, up to $500 may be gifts from others, such as contributions from relatives. The property must be within the Plano city limits.

    13. First-Time Homebuyers Program (Wichita Falls)

    The city offers up to $7,500 for down payment and closing costs to buy a home in Wichita Falls. The property cannot be in the 100-year flood plain. The assistance is in the form of a zero-interest loan that’s forgiven after five years, as long as borrowers continue to own and occupy the home. Applicants must also have adequate cash reserves.

    14. Homebuyers’ Assistance Program (Tarrant County)

    The Development Corporation of Tarrant County offers a zero-interest loan of up to $10,000 for a down payment and closing costs that is forgiven after five years if borrowers continue to own and live in the home. Only properties from the agency’s inventory are eligible. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 toward the home purchase and have adequate cash reserves.

    Grant programs in Central Texas

    15. Down Payment Assistance Program (Austin)

    The Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development department offers up to $14,999 as a no-interest, forgivable loan to help make a down payment. The property must be within Austin city limits. The loan is forgiven as long as the buyer doesn’t sell, refinance, get a home equity loan, or lease the property in the five years after buying the house. Applicants must contribute $1,000 toward the purchase.

    16. Down Payment Assistance Program (Bryan)

    Available through the city’s Community Development Services Department, this program offers no-interest loans up to $7,500 for a down payment and closing costs. The home must be within the city limits and not built before 1978. The loan is forgiven after five years, as long as the borrower owns and lives in the home. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 of their own money toward the purchase.

    17. First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program (Killeen)

    Offered through the city, this program provides first-time homebuyers with up to $7,500 for the down payment and closing costs to buy a home in Killeen. Assistance is provided as a zero-interest, forgivable loan that doesn’t have to be repaid as long as borrowers own and occupy the home for five years. Applicants must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase.

    18. First-Time Homebuyer Program (San Marcos)

    This program offers up to $7,000 as a zero-interest, forgivable loan. The proceeds can fund up to half of the down payment; any remaining money can be used for closing costs. Borrowers must contribute at least $800 of their own money toward the purchase, and the property must be within the San Marcos city limits. The loan is gradually forgiven each year and does not have to be repaid after five years if the buyer continues to own and occupy the home.

    19. Homebuyer Residence Incentive Program (San Marcos)

    Sponsored by the city of San Marcos, this program offers $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to city employees, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District employees and Texas State University professors. The help is in the form of a zero-interest loan, which is forgiven after five years as long as the borrower continues to own and occupy the home. The property must be within the San Marcos city limits, but there are no income restrictions.

    20. City Employee Loan Assistance (Waco)

    The city’s program offers up to $25,000 as a no-interest, forgivable loan to help city employees buy a home in Waco. The loan is forgiven incrementally over 10 years, as long as the borrower continues to own the home and work for the city. Employees must have worked for the city of Waco for at least 12 months to be eligible.

    Grant programs in East Texas

    21. Down Payment Assistance Program (Beaumont)

    Up to $14,999 is offered through the Beaumont Community Development Department to help first-time home buyers with a down payment and closing costs. Assistance comes in the form of a zero-interest, forgivable loan. Borrowers must repay a prorated portion of the loan if they sell, refinance or move within five years of buying the home. The property must be within Beaumont city limits, and applicants must contribute at least $2,000 toward the purchase.

    22. Homebuyers Assistance Program (Texarkana)

    Offered by the city, this program provides up to $10,000 toward down payment and closing costs as a forgivable loan. The property must be within Texarkana city limits.

    23. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Tyler)

    The city of Tyler offers help for down payment and closing costs in the form of a zero-interest, forgivable loan. Up to $7,500 is available to put toward an existing home, while those buying a newly constructed home can get up to $14,999. The loan is forgiven after five years as long as borrowers continue to own and occupy the home during that time. Up to $25,000 in assistance is available for HUD Initiative Homes. That loan is forgivable after 10 years. All properties must be within Tyler city limits.

    Grant programs in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast

    24. First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Program (Baytown)

    The city of Baytown offers up to $4,500 as a forgivable loan for down payment and closing costs to purchase a home within the city limits. The loan is forgiven after five years. A prorated portion of the loan must be repaid if borrowers move, sell the property or transfer the title in the first five years after purchasing.

    25. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Galveston)

    Offered by the city, the program provides up to $14,500 as a no-interest, forgivable loan for a down payment and closing costs. The loan does not have to be repaid as long as borrowers keep the home as their primary residence for five years. The property must be within Galveston city limits.

    26. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Houston)

    The city’s program offers up to $30,000 for a down payment and closing costs as a deferred, forgivable loan. Borrowers don’t have to repay the loan if they own and occupy the property for five years. Applicants must contribute at least $350 toward the purchase, and the property must be within Houston city limits or be serviced by the city and subject to city property taxes.

    27. First Time Homebuyer’s Program (Texas City)

    This program helps eligible families buy a home by providing up to $7,500 for a down payment and closing costs. An applicant must be a resident of Texas City for the preceding 12 months to be eligible.

    28. First-Time Homebuyer Program (Brazoria County)

    The county’s Housing and Urban Development Department offers $1,000 to $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to buyers in unincorporated Brazoria County and participating cities. The money is provided as a deferred payment loan that is forgiven after five years if borrowers continue to live in the home and don’t withdraw equity through a cash-out refinance.

    29. Harris County Downpayment Assistance Program (Harris County)

    This county program offers up to $23,800 toward a down payment on a home in unincorporated Harris County. Assistance amounts of up to $14,999 are forgiven after five years if the buyer continues to own and occupy the home; loans of $15,000 or more are forgiven after 10 years. The home must be built after 1978, and the buyer must contribute at least $350 or half of the down payment.

    Grant programs in South Texas

    30. Home Closing Cost Program (Corpus Christi)

    This program offers up to $10,000 as a zero-interest deferred loan. Borrowers repay a prorated share of the loan if they sell the home in the first five years; otherwise the loan is completely forgiven.

    31. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Corpus Christi)

    Up to $10,000 in down payment assistance is offered as a deferred loan that is forgiven after five years, as long as borrowers don’t move or sell the home. The property must be within Corpus Christi city limits. Applicants can purchase only a newly constructed home from one of the city’s participating builders.

    32. Down Payment Assistance Program (Laredo)

    Offered through the city’s Community Development Department, this program provides up to $14,999 as a zero-interest loan. The loan is forgiven if borrowers own and occupy the home for at least five years. To be eligible, applicants must live in Laredo city for at least six months before applying.

    33. Homeownership Incentive Program (San Antonio)

    This program offers up to $12,000 as a zero-interest loan to help with a down payment and closing costs. Seventy-five percent of the loan is forgiven over a 10-year period if the borrower doesn’t sell the home or move out during that time. The remainder is due when the home is sold or the mortgage is refinanced. The entire loan amount is forgivable after 10 years for teachers, police officers, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. The property must be within San Antonio city limits, and applicants must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase.

    34. Home Ownership Program for Employees (HOPE) (San Antonio)

    This forgivable, zero-interest loan for full-time city of San Antonio employees offers up to $10,000 to help with a down payment and closing costs. The property must be in one of two areas targeted for revitalization or reinvestment. The buyer must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase. The loan is forgiven after five years, as long as the applicant remains employed by the city.

    35. First Responders Homebuyer Assistance Program (San Antonio)

    This program provides down payment and closing cost assistance of up to $15,000 to San Antonio police and fire employees buying a home in specific parts of the city. The buyer must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase. The loan is gradually forgiven over five years, as long as the borrower remains employed by the city during that time.

    36. Mortgage Assistance Program (Victoria)

    The city of Victoria offers grants of up to $2,500 to help with closing costs and up to 50% of the down payment to buy a home in the city. Only existing homes are eligible, and applicants must demonstrate that they can’t buy the home without the program’s assistance.

    Your next step

    If you think you might qualify for one of the Texas first-time homebuyer grants listed above, visit the website of the organization that administers the program. There you’ll find details about eligibility requirements, the program’s terms and conditions, as well as whom to contact for more information. Be sure to ask for a list of mortgage lenders that work with the grant program if you’d like to apply.

    Thanks for sharing-https://www.nerdwallet.com/

    In need of moving service in Houston, TX? Book Here Now!

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  • 04/05/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Pet Friendly Senior Housing and Senior Living in Houston, TX

    Pets are much more than just companions. They’re furry friends who add structure and silliness to their owners’ days—and can even improve mental health. Naturally, owners want to build their homes in the most welcoming community for their adopted animals. Unfortunately, many apartments or senior communities have strict no-pet rules or impose limits on the weight, breed, or number of pets. Many hotels and motels also have strict no-pet policies or require exorbitant fees, making traveling with pets inconvenient.

    Learn More About Senior Housing & Living Pet-Friendly Options in Houston, TX 

     At Localmovings.com, we do everything we can to accommodate the moving needs of seniors in Texas. 

    BOOK MOVERS NOW!​​​​

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  • 01/05/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 2 Comments
    Do Seniors Care About Location When Choosing Assisted Living?

    What’s the most important factor in a business? Location, location, location. We’ve all heard it, but how much does it play a role when choosing the right assisted living facility for you or a loved one? As important as location is, it remains just one factor to consider, although it usually has an impact on other considerations, such as price. Below are some reasons seniors might choose to live somewhere other than their top choice city

    By Still Water Senior Living

    1) There’s no adequate assisted living facility in their hometown.

    Like most of us, seniors generally want to stay in their communities, whenever possible. It’s where all their friends are and often they’ve spent years putting down roots in that neighborhood. But if it’s a small, rural town, there might not be an assisted living facility nearby, or if there is one, it’s less likely to have all the amenities they need. In that case, they might be better off moving to a nearby city with a better-equipped assisted living facility.

    2) Proximity to medical facilities.

    Assisted living facilities and nursing homes can provide significant medical care to their residents, but they have their limitations. While doctors may visit their patients in assisted living facilities, most facilities don’t have a doctor in the building 24/7, and as we age, we’re more likely to need professional medical treatment. Those with chronic conditions are especially likely to need to stay close to a medical facility, which means even an affordable assisted living facility in their home town might not be the right choice if it’s too far from the nearest hospital.

    3) Proximity to loved ones.

    Assisted living facilities can provide seniors with everything they need on a day-to-day basis, but nothing can replace the care and attention of close friends and family. Even if the senior’s children or grandchildren can’t take care of them in their home full time, just having them nearby to be available for visits and check-ins can mean a lot. Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges seniors face, but that can be abated by having someone nearby who cares for them and is readily available.

    While some seniors might want to stay close to home, others are just as likely to want to move away, depending on the circumstances. If they live in the Midwest, for example, they might want to relocate to a warmer climate. Enough seniors choose to do this that seeing all their friends move south might create an incentive for them to follow. That way they’ll have a ready-made community when they get down there, and as a bonus, warmer climates have been known to help ease chronic conditions like arthritis, in which case their doctor might even recommend the relocation.

    At Localmovings.com, we do everything we can to accommodate the moving needs of seniors in Texas. 

    CONTACT US TODAY for more information

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  • 29/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    How to Get a First Time Home Buyer Payment and Closing Cost Assistance?

    Home Loans with Down Payment Assistance and Closing Cost Assistance

    Two budget-friendly mortgage options include down payment assistance and closing cost assistance

    My First Texas Home (MFTH)

    • Available to eligible home buyers from all professions
    • For eligible first time home buyers and veterans
    • Down payment assistance and closing cost assistance up to 5% of the mortgage loan
    • Combine with the Department’s Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Program for maximum benefits! The Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate offers a dollar-for-dollar reduction on a homebuyer’s federal tax liability.
    • To learn more, visit our My First Texas Home page or contact a participating lender near you.

    My Choice Texas Home (MCTH)

    • Available to eligible home buyers from all professions
    • For any qualifying home buyer
    • Down payment assistance and closing cost assistance up to 5% of the mortgage loan

    To learn more, visit our My Choice Texas Home page or contact a participating lender near you.

    Help for Texans
    • If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please visit our Help for Texans page.

    Click Here For More Information

    Need Movers? Book Here Now!

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  • 25/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    How can I Finance My Move?

    While moving may have a big price tag, it’s often necessary to fulfill work or family obligations or to attend school. If you’re planning a move and don’t have the cash to pay for it, here are a few of your other options for financing your relocation.

     Using a credit card can be a good way to fund a move. Before considering this payment method, you need to find a mover that will let you pay with plastic, as you absolutely do not want to take a cash advance. Credit card cash advances often charge much higher interest rates, in addition to extra fees.

    Different Ways to Finance a Move

    It costs a lot of money to move. There are a ton of expenses. Between the movers, packing materials, security deposits, down payments, utilities, travel expenses and any number of other unexpected costs, it can really add up fast.

    Finding a way to pay for all of that can be hard. Thankfully, you have options. No matter what your situation is, we’ve got you covered. 

    Let’s look at the best ways to fund your move:

    1. Credit Cards – 0% Interest for up 18 month

     

    This might sound like a terrible idea—you’ve probably been told a million times to never carry a balance on your credit cards. And it’s true, they typically have very high interest rates, not to mention the fees and penalties you might face.

    What you might not know, though, is that there are a lot of card issuers that try to attract new customers by offering a promotional 0% APR period. With these  0% cards, you’ll pay zero interest on the balance you carry for a set amount of time.

    As long as you make the minimum monthly card payment, you won’t be charged any fees either. In other words, it’s a free loan.

    There’s gotta be a catch, right? Well, not so much a catch as limitations. But there are also distinct advantages to using the right credit card to finance you move instead of a personal loan.

    2. You Can Save a Lot of Money

     

    Let’s start with the good stuff. Obviously, with a 0% APR credit card you won’t pay any interest for a period of time. Pay off the balance before the end of that period, and your financing is free. That’s it.

    With a personal loan, on the other hand, you’ll start accruing interest immediately. And a big chunk of your loan payments will go toward the interest, not the loan amount.

    With an interest-free card, you can pay off the balance that much faster because every single penny you pay during that introductory period will go toward the principle.

    3. Credit Cards Are Flexible

     

    What about those payments? You’ll have a lot more flexibility with a credit card. If an unexpected expense comes up one month and you can’t put as much money toward paying off the balance, no problem.

    You aren’t locked into a set payment like you are with a personal loan. All you have to do is cover the minimum card payment, which is typically quite low, and you won’t be hit with fees or interest. Easy.

    Also, with a loan, you’ll receive lump-sum payment upfront. If you need more cash down the line, your only option is to try to get another loan. That might not be possible.

    But with a credit card, you can always add another purchase. Flexibility is the key here.

    4. The Limitations of Financing With a Card

     

    Now we need to discuss the limitations to using a card to finance your move. Frankly, it won’t be the best option for everyone.

    First, you have to qualify for a 0% APR card. You don’t have to have excellent credit, but it still has to be pretty good. If it isn’t, you may not qualify.

    The other thing you have to keep in mind if you’re considering using a card to finance your move is that the promotional 0% APR period typically won’t be as long as the payment period you’ll get with a standard loan.

    Interest-free credit cards usually offer 0% APR for about a year to 18 months. You may find one that goes up to 21 months, but that’s not the norm.

    If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off the card in that amount of time, you might be better off with a loan. After the intro period, you’ll be hit with standard credit card interest rates, which can be quite high and are almost certainly higher than what you’ll get with a personal loan.

    Come up with a plan for how quickly you can pay off the balance. If you’ll only be a few months over the intro period, you might still be better off with a card. Don’t forget that 18 months of interest-free financing can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

    5. Unsecured Loans

     

    If you have decent credit and you need longer to pay off the cost of the move, a secured loan might be the way to go. You can easily get loans with repayment periods of 60 months. I’ve even seen places offering up to 144 months!

    Granted, the longer you take to pay off the loan, the more interest you’re going to pay. And that interest starts on day one.

    Another advantage to a loan is that you can, at least in theory, get more money than with a credit card. A credit card will typically have a lower credit limit than a loan, though both depend on your creditworthiness, which includes your credit score.

    The nice thing about a secured loan is that you don’t have to put up any collateral. You do, however, have to convince the lender that you’re worthy of the loan. You’ll have to go through an application process, which can sometimes be quite involved. It’s typically easier to get a credit card.

    If you go this route, you’ll want to shop around for the best interest rate and terms. Talk to your bank and don’t forget that there are many reputable online lenders now, too. SoFi, Earnest and LightStream come to mind.

    6. Secured Loans

     

    If your credit is in the dog house and there’s no way you can convince a bank to give you an unsecured loan, a secured loan might be your only option. While there’s nothing wrong with a secured loan, you will have to put something up as collateral of equal value to the loan amount, like a car or savings account.

    In some cases, you will even get better terms and rates with a secured loan than an unsecured loan. It may be worth investigating both options.

    7. To Sum Up

     

    A 0% credit card is the right choice to finance your move if:

    1. You have decent credit and can qualify for a card

    2. You can pay off the balance in a year or two

    An unsecured loan might be a better option if:

    1. You’ll need more than two years to pay off your debt

    2. You need to borrow more than the credit limit on your credit card

    A secured loan will work if:

    1. You don’t have great credit and can’t qualify for a card or a secured loan

    2. You have collateral of some value, like a car

    Bottom Line

    Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country, it can cost a bundle. Not all of us have the kind of cash you need to cover the big price tag that often comes with a move.

    If you can, paying for the move with a credit card that offers an introductory 0% APR period can save you a lot money because it’s essentially a free loan. Those cards will give you up to 21 months to pay off the balance without incurring any additional interest or fees. If you need longer, a secured or unsecured personal loan might be the answer.

    Thanks David Cohen for sharing!!

    He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. David is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.
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  • 19/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Renting Can Be Smarter Than Owning a Home For Seniors.
    Is it better for a senior to rent or buy?
     
    If you are nearing retirement, look to spend 30% to 40% less on rent than what you spent on your last mortgage payment. … The shorter your time frame, the more likely you should rentBuying may be the better option for those planning to stay in the same home for 10 years or more.
     
    3 Reasons Why Renting Can Be Smarter Than Owning a Home in Retirement
     
    BY CARLA FRIED 
     
    If you’re nearing retirement, it’s likely that renting is a distant memory. But if your retirement plan includes making a move, renting might be a sweeter financial and lifestyle fit. Among households with someone at least 65 years old, 8 in 10 are homeowners, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Yet retirement sometimes calls for flexibility, whether that’s the ability to downsize in your current location, relocate to be closer to the kids and grandkids, or chase better weather and/or a lower cost of living in another state. And these moves become harder if they necessitate putting your home on the market.
     
    Use Your Gains to Stretch Your Retirement Savings
     

    While homeownership is the dominant housing choice, more seniors are renting today. An analysis of government data by RENTcafe reports that the percentage of renters at least 60 years old increased more than 40% in the 10 years through 2017. That exceeded the 31% growth rate for homeowners of the same age. And some big cities saw more than double the average renter gain: renters ages 60+ rose more than 80% over the decade in Austin, Phoenix, Fort Worth, and Jacksonville.

    If the cost of renting is lower than your annual housing costs, that’s obviously a financial win. (Factor a 3% annual rent increase into your calculations.) Moreover, if you have a boatload of equity in the home, selling today and renting means you could pile your gains from the sale into your pot of retirement savings. The profit from the sale can make it easier to delay starting Social Security until age 70 to lock in the highest possible benefit.

    The first $250,000 in capital gains from the sale of a home you have lived in for at least two of the past five years is tax free. (The capital gains exclusion is $500,000 for married couples filing a joint tax return). Even better, your  cost-basis can be increased by the value of capital improvements you made to the house.

    "When someone wants to retire and is on the edge of not being able to have the lifestyle they want or fears running out of money in their 90’s, I recommend they consider renting," says Maria Erickson, a certified financial planner in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    Erickson says selling sooner rather than later may be smart, given we’re long into an economic recovery that has lifted real estate markets in most parts of the country. "In a recession, your home value can go down, and selling becomes harder."

    Don’t Underestimate the Cost of Home Ownership

    If you’re thinking about selling your home and buying another, make sure you’re realistic about the costs involved. Plan to own without a mortgage? Great, but remember you’ve still got property tax, maintenance and insurance to contend with.

    "When people come to me with a budget, the number one missing item is home maintenance," says John Crumrine, a certified financial planner based in Shallote, N.C. He says clients lose track of how much they spend on this because it’s not a fixed monthly outlay. He advises budgeting 1% to 2% of your home’s value for annual maintenance costs, and adjusting it for inflation.

    Moreover, you may find that home projects and chores that are DIY today—garden and lawn maintenance, swapping the storm windows in and out, gutter cleaning etc. – may become difficult down the line. Hiring help for those chores will add to your ownership expense.

    Carefully consider the rising cost of property tax if you live in an area where property values tend to increase at a strong pace. You should also review your 2018 federal tax bill. That was the first year the $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) deductions –which includes your property tax tab – was in play. If the limited SALT deduction caused your bill to rise, and you are concerned about that cost in retirement, selling and renting may improve your after-tax cash flow.

    Homeowner’s insurance can also become a rising cost. Erickson says in Florida, climate change and the potential impact on homeowner’s and flood insurance is increasingly on the radar of her retiree clients.

    Another red flag for those considering a new home purchase in retirement is if you will need a sizable mortgage. Crumrine says if you have plenty of guaranteed income –Social Security, a pension, perhaps an annuity—he doesn’t have a problem with retirees carrying a mortgage. But that presumes you make a down payment of at least 20% to 30%. A reality of retirement is that you may find yourself needing to move unexpectedly at some point due to changing health. "A down payment of 5% or 10% is a red flag," he says.

    If you have to sell soon after buying, or during a period when home values are down, there’s a chance the sale price will not cover repaying the mortgage balance and the typical 5% to 6% sales commission to your real estate agent. "The worst situation is if you have to sell sooner than expected and need to bring money to the closing." There’s less of a chance of that happening if you put at least 20% down.

    And if you’ve been mortgage free for a few years, you might not be aware of new developments: chances are that if you take out a new loan, you won’t be able to claim the mortgage interest deduction. That’s because new tax law that went into effect on 2018 returns raises the standard deduction to $24,400 in 2019 for married couples filing a joint tax return ($12,200 for single filers). Unless your mortgage interest and other deductible expenses such as charitable donations are more than those limits, it won’t make sense to itemize.

    Appreciate the Beauty of a Low-Maintenance Lifestyle

    "There is a beauty to living in a rental and sending the landlord a text when something needs to be replaced or repaired, says Beth Agnello, a financial planner in the Winston-Salem, N.C. area. "The older we get the better that fits in. My advice is that you don’t want to have this huge commitment to a home unless you’ve decided it really rings your bell."

    That can be especially true for single homeowners who don’t have a partner to share the work it takes to maintain a home. (Married couples should give careful thought to how the surviving spouse will fare as a solo homeowner.)

    Renting allows you to test-drive your retirement life. Agnello says clients put a lot of time and effort into saving for retirement, but haven’t really planned what the day-to-day of living in retirement will look and feel like. Even if you’re thinking of downsizing in the same area, renting gives you time to get acquainted with your retirement self. "This is a wonderful time to have flexibility. And flexibility means cash. Cash gives us the flexibility to change our minds," says Agnello.

    You can also test drive a new area. Whether you’re heading to your dream retirement location, or making a big switch from city to country or vice versa, don’t overcommit at first, Crumrine says. "I see people who retire, buy a house on the beach and then a year later realize they would rather be at the next beach up the coast. But they are locked in."

    Thanks  CARLA FRIED for sharing!

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  • 14/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Should I Buy a Condo or a House? Which Is Better to Buy?

    A condo is usually less expensive than a free-standing house. Normally condos are smaller in square footage, and maintenance is typically cheaper because you’re only responsible for the interior of your home, the property tax is also cheaper because you are paying for the inside square footage literally. You don’t have to worry about, general insurance in most cases, landscaping, the roof or the exterior walls. The condo’s HOA covers those expenses.

     

    Aspiring homeowners might gravitate to condominiums over houses when they offer less upkeep, look more modern, and seem to be more affordable. However, the economics of houses may work out better, especially when it comes to selling down the road. Condos also demand certain accommodations when it comes to everyday life.

    Defining a Condo


    Condos are private residential units within multiunit buildings, projects, or communities. Residences often share walls similar to apartment units, but they also can be semidetached, like townhouses, or even fully detached. The residences frequently share common areas, facilities, and amenities, both external (yards, swimming pools) and internal (laundry rooms, garages).

    Some condos are part of buildings or communities constructed specifically for that purpose, while others might be converted from rental apartments or be the result of renovations to previously constructed industrial or commercial space.

    Condominium associations play a significant role in the lives of most condo owners. An association, run by a board of directors, maintains the common areas, services, and amenities, and is comparable to a neighborhood homeowners association (HOA). Condo owners pay regular monthly or quarterly fees to their associations.

    Laws governing what condo associations can charge and what they can allow or disallow vary from state to state, but they all must abide by federal housing regulations such as the Fair Housing Act or the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Review the laws of the state where you live to be sure what might be different where you live.1

    Comparing Condo and House Prices

     

    A fair cost comparison considers the amount of a condo’s association fees upfront and adds that sum to the total cost of the house or condo. For example, an association fee of $250 monthly is comparable to an additional $50,000 on a 30-year mortgage with a 4.5% interest rate. That extra $50,000, with those terms, would add $253.34 to a mortgage payment.

    Such fees are important to calculate when establishing your budget for a new home. In this example, if you can afford the payments on a $300,000 mortgage, you need to reduce your budget by $50,000 to afford the monthly association dues.

    Much depends on the amenities the condo association covers, however. If your fee pays for vital services such as water and trash collection, or for amenities like an on-site health club, you might be saving money in areas that would be separate monthly expenses were you to buy a house.

    Pros of Buying Condos

    Several lifestyle-related advantages come with owning a condo.

    • State-of-the-art features: If you have your heart set on granite counters, stainless appliances, and an open floor plan, newer condos often boast such amenities.
    • Luxurious facilities, features, and grounds: Spas, clubhouses, barbecue areas, tennis courts, jogging trails, and recreation rooms are among the amenities condos offer residents.
    • Security: In addition to having neighbors close by, complexes often are gated or staffed with guards.
    • Concierge services: Many condo complexes have doormen and desk people, along with custodial staff.
    • Less maintenance and upkeep: No mowing lawns, raking leaves or replacing broken windows. You are generally responsible only for your interior.
     Cons of Buying Condos

    The downsides to condos are things often characteristic of apartment life or communal living.

    • Too close to your neighbors: Sounds and smells can travel through adjoining walls.
    • Rising condo fees: If the building is older, it could require more reserves to pay for roofing, plumbing, and exterior maintenance, which tends to mean higher fees and sometimes special assessments.
    • The Big Brother aspect: Conforming to association rules is not for everyone. For example, rules might restrict the number and types of pets you can have or where you can smoke.
    • Less spacious: The interiors of upscale condos certainly can be comparable to many homes, but outdoor space typically is limited because of the density of the community. You likely won’t have room for a private garden or a private driveway where you can wash your car.

     Selling a Condo

    Look to the future and the entire condo community when considering the marketability of your unit when you wish to move on. Your unit will never be worth more than an identical unit, plus upgrades. If another owner sells at a cheap price, that might affect your market value.

    Some condos will not qualify for FHA loans if the entire community has not successfully completed a Department of Housing and Urban Development review and approval process. Individual units can be approved in unapproved complexes if they meet certain conditions. Be sure to check the status of the community where you are buying or selling. 2

    , usually, because the occupancy percentage of owners vs. tenants exceeds 50%. As a result, a purchaser would need to pay cash or obtain a conventional loan or mortgage. This restriction could affect the number of available buyers when it comes time for you to sell.

     Thanks for sharing – https://www.thebalance.com/condos-vs-houses-what-is-the-difference-4156419

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  • 09/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Renting? Get Renter’s Insurance, You’ll Be Glad You Did!

    If you’re one of the millions of people renting across the country, then it’s important that you have adequate insurance. The good news is that there are insurance policies available that are specifically designed for renters. 

     

    If you rent an apartment or home, you should know that your landlord’s insurance does not cover your safety and personal belongings. This insurance is meant to only cover the physical structure of the building. For your belongings, you’ll need to take out your own renters insurance policy.

    Renters insurance, which is sometimes a requirement set by a building or landlord, is an important protection that can cover your possessions, protect you from personal liability, and cover additional living expenses incurred from displacement of your home while repairs or rebuilding are being done after an insured loss occurs. Generally viewed as affordable protection, renters insurance is something that should be strongly considered by all renters. To find a policy that meets your needs, check out the best renters insurance companies below.

    5 Best Renters Insurance Companies

    Thank you for sharing~ https://lendedu.com/blog/best-renters-insurance/

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  • 02/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 6 Comments
    MOVING DURING CORONAVIRUS: TIPS FOR A SAFER MOVE DURING A PANDEMIC

    Moving during coronavirus: ‘It’s really stressful to buy a home in general. This just felt surreal.’

     

    Moving isn’t an easy task during the best of times. But when you add a global crisis like the coronavirus, it’s bound to cause more challenges. For some, the answer may be to delay moving plans. But what if you can’t, or prefer not to, put off moving to a new home?

    To assist consumers with relocations during the coronavirus outbreak, the moving industry is taking steps to maintain health and safety operations, according to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).

    We’ve also put together some proactive steps, drawing from guidance from AMSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and PODS’ over 20 years’ experience providing moving and storage services to consumers, businesses and organizations during good times, as well as times of crisis.

    These tips are designed to help you reduce the risks and stress if you’re moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:  

    1. PLACE YOUR HIGHEST PRIORITY ON THE HEALTH AND SAFETY FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    While moving is important, be sure you’re aware of all the facts and risks. Be willing to change your plans if that’s what it takes to keep you and your family healthy and safe. Here’s what AMSA advises:

    • If you are in a high-risk group (over 60 or have pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions or compromised immunity), then postpone your move if at all possible until after the health authorities announce the pandemic is over.
    • If you or someone in your household may have contracted coronavirus, or are self-isolating after being exposed, call your moving company and explain the situation. In many cases, movers will work with you.

    2. LOOK FOR MOVING SERVICES THAT MINIMIZE HUMAN CONTACT.

    Normally, that would sound odd, but health experts are advising that social distancing is one of the most effective ways to avoid catching or spreading the virus. Moving containers allow you to take total control of your own move, avoiding any physical interaction with others. For example, it’s standard procedure for PODS drivers to use customer instructions provided via their online portal or phone when delivering their containers. You don’t even need to be present for delivery or pick-up, and you provide your own lock and key.

    If you’re working with a traditional moving service, make arrangements by phone or online, and ask what sanitation practices their movers are following to reduce risks.    

    3. CONSIDER BUILT-IN STORAGE AS A BACKUP PLAN IF THINGS CHANGE.

    Even with routine moves, move-in and move-out dates frequently shift. You may want to consider using a portable container that offers built-in storage options – either on your property or at a secure storage center – to keep your belongings safe and out of the way in case of a postponed closing or other delay. If that’s not possible, ask your movers if they provide storage. If they do, ask about costs and access to your belongings during storage.

    4. ASK ABOUT YOUR MOVER’S POLICIES FOR SCHEDULE CHANGES, CANCELLATIONS, AND REFUNDS DURING THE PANDEMIC.

    This is a fluid time when many different things could happen to cause a delay or cancellation, so you want to have maximum flexibility. Find out:

    • How easy – or hard – is it to change your moving dates?
    • What type of deposit is required?
    • If you need to cancel your move, will you get a full refund?

    You want to feel confident that if a change or cancellation occurs, you can get your money back. For example, PODS makes schedule changes easy, and provides a full refund when you cancel up to 24 hours before your first container delivery.

    @houseblisscleaning via Instagram

    5. USE EXTRA SANITATION PRECAUTIONS DURING YOUR MOVE.

    Whatever type of moving service you choose, here are some additional health and safety tips:

    • Avoid using recycled boxes from other sources. Since the coronavirus can live on surfaces like cardboard, this isn’t the time to economize on boxes. You can use boxes you have on hand, as well as purchase new boxes from several sources, including Amazon, home improvement and office supply stores, and PODSBoxes.com, which offers free delivery.
    • Wipe down items and boxes before moving. Use disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces of furniture, boxes, and other items before loading. This will help reduce the risk of carrying germs to your new home.
    • Provide your moving crew with hand-washing supplies and sanitizer. Whether you’ve got professional movers or family and friends helping you, make sure everyone has access to a sink, soap and water, and paper towels to use often throughout the move. If possible, provide hand sanitizer and disposable gloves as well.

    As you’re following these safety measures, check out our moving checklist to help stay focused and on track as you navigate your move during these challenging times. If you have a college student in the family who needs a last-minute moving or storage solution due to campus closings related to the coronavirus, you may also be interested in these tips for students

    Thanks https://www.pods.com/ for sharing!

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  • 01/04/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Has The Coronavirus Impacted Your Wallet? This is How To Get Lower Payments For Your Student Loans.

    If you have a student loan, here’s what happens when the Fed lowers rates.

     

    f you borrowed money to attend college, you most likely won’t feel any impact from the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut.

    That’s because most of the 45 million Americans with student loan debt have fixed interest rates, meaning the amount they pay is locked in for the life of their loan. Even then, the majority of borrowers have federal student loans, and Congress determines those interest rates, not the U.S. central bank.

    Some borrowers, however, may want to start paying attention. If you have a student loan with a variable interest rate, you could soon start to see a slight relief in your payments.

    Here’s everything you need to know about the Fed’s emergency decision to cut interest rates to near zero and what it means for your student loan debt.

    If you have a federal student loan

    When people say the Fed raises or lowers interest rates, they’re mainly referring to how the U.S. central bank decides to adjust its main monetary policy tool: the federal funds rate, or the interest rate charged to banks for overnight lending.

    While the federal funds rate isn’t the exact interest rate you’re charged for taking out credit, it serves as a benchmark for the rates you have to pay on other loans, such as credit cards and auto loans. Essentially, if the Fed hikes or cuts the fed funds rate, interest rates on those loans respond in kind.

    But not federal student loans. Lawmakers meet annually to determine interest rates for loans taken out during each subsequent school year. In other words, policymakers met this spring to determine how much it’ll cost to take out a student loan between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.

    However, anyone seeking federal student loans for the 2020-2021 calendar year could pay much less in interest.

    "Every July 1, that’s when they make an adjustment for the next school year," says Joe Messinger, CFP, co-founder and director of college planning at Capstone Wealth Partners. It’s looking at education loans as an academic year. As people go back to school in the fall, they’re going to have the rate that was just set."

    But even though the Fed doesn’t have direct control over student loan interest rates, you might start to see them behave in a similar manner. That’s because Congress ties interest rates to external market forces, mainly to the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield. The same factors influencing those returns are also dictating Fed officials’ decision-making.

    Investors, for example, are worried about a broad-based slowdown from trade tensions and slowing global growth. Fed officials are as well, according to their post-meeting statement from their July 30-31 gathering.

    "The Fed’s actions can indeed influence longer-term rates," says Dave Mooney, CEO of Alliant Credit Union. "People tend to focus most on the federal funds target rate, but Fed monetary actions can certainly impact longer rates as well, to the extent that the Fed either influences those rates, or is influenced by what’s going on."

    Federal student loans you’ve already taken out won’t see any impact. Most likely, the ones for this school year won’t as well, since they’ve already been set. But if you’ll need to borrow more for the upcoming school year, the new loan you take out might have a lower interest rate.

    But even those federal loans have been on a downward shift. Congress in May 2019 lowered interest rates on federal student loans for the first time in three years, reflecting how Treasury yields declined this year.

    "The benefit is lumpy in the sense that, you’re not going to get the benefit of lower rates for the money you’ve already borrowed for the year, but you will when you borrow next year," says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst. "Your rates might be lower, particularly if the Fed continues to cut rates."

    If you have a variable-rate student loan

    But that won’t be the case if you have student loans with variable rates, which are sensitive to interest-rate fluctuations. In other words, when the Fed raises or lowers borrowing costs, your interest rates will likely respond in tandem.

    Most students with variable rates come from private, non-federal sources. That means the lender that offered the loan determines the interest rate. Rates are often based on your credit history, and they also frequently use a benchmark interest rate based on Libor — or the London Interbank Offered Rate. That rate is pegged to the federal funds rate, so it typically responds in tandem to any Fed adjustments. Some loans could be tied to the prime rate, which is also tied to the fed funds rate.

    Even if you have a federal student loan, you might not be entirely off the hook. Before 2006, the U.S. Department of Education offered student loans with variable rates.

    It’s important to note whether you’re one of these borrowers, as an interest rate adjustment could potentially alter how much you’re paying each month. But even with a Fed rate cut, the same is true: You likely won’t be able to tell a big difference in your payments.

    What you should do if your student loan rate is variable

    If you have a private, variable-rate student loan, it could potentially be a while before you see any relief in your payments. Long-term loans such as mortgages respond quicker to federal funds rate decreases, but it’s typically in a lender’s interest to lag those moves for as long as possible, Mooney says.

    "There will probably be an effort on the part of lenders to hold rates where they are as long as possible and move them down as slowly as possible," Mooney says. "There’s going to be a certain pressure to keep loan yields as high as possible. Lenders are going to be trying to maintain margins. However, the other eye will be on a competitive market place and what’s needed to remain competitive."

    Concerns over the rapidly spreading coronavirus led the Fed to slash rates to near-zero.

    If you have a student loan with a variable interest rate, that may act in your favor, meaning lenders will be all but forced to lower interest rates. But sometimes it’s not wise to take on the extra risk by taking out a variable student loan.

    "With a variable-rate loan, you’re probably going to get a lower initial rate, but you’re more exposed to interest rate risk moving forward," Mooney says.

    It’s also important to read the fine print on the terms of your loan, if you do indeed have a variable rate. That includes seeing if your lender has a cap on how high or low interest rates can go.

    "When we’re in a low interest rate environment, make sure you look at the cap," Messinger says. "What is the cap, and how high could this interest rate go? If your loan payment increases, it’s probably (because there’s) been an interest-rate change."

    With rates falling, it could also be a good time to refinance. If you shop around for the best rate and discover that you could be saving money by shaving off a percentage point or two from your interest payment, you could save a substantial amount of money that adds back into your discretionary spending.

    "If you can go get a better rate, it’s always in your best interest to at least consider that," Messinger says.

    Bottom line

    Most student loan borrowers aren’t going to feel an impact from the Fed’s interest rate cut simply because the majority of Americans don’t have variable-rate loans.

    But even if your interest payment for your federal student loan may be pricier than what private loans eventually end up becoming, it doesn’t mean that you made the wrong choice. The U.S. Department of Education offers many "bells and whistles" that other lenders do not, and they’re often worth paying a few extra dollars for, McBride says.

    "Most students aren’t and shouldn’t be going into the private student loan market, until they have maxed out their federal loans," he says. "Federal student loans offer deferment, forbearance, income-based repayment, and even in some circumstances, debt forgiveness. There are a lot of favorable provisions on federal loans that no other form of borrowing that you will ever do carries."

    And while student loan debt can be overwhelming, favorable terms and historically low interest rates make paying them off less of a priority than saving for retirement, McBride says.

    "Time is your greatest ally in retirement savings," McBride says. "You’re better off shoveling money into your 401(k) in your 20s, rather than spending your 20s trying to get all of those (student) debts paid off and being 30 before you’ve started to save for retirement. By then, you’ve missed the most important years."

    Thank you https://www.bankrate.com/ for Sharing!

    https://www.bankrate.com/loans/student-loans/how-fed-rate-cut-impacts-student-loans/

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  • 20/03/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Should I Buy a Home During a Pandemic? Should I Sell?

    If you are buying, selling or looking for a home, you are not alone in having questions right now. Or in being a little shaken up.

    The coronavirus is scary. But those willing to enter the housing market have the benefit of low rates — and the wisdom of those who bought during the last crisis.

    Credit…Tim Gruber for The New York Times

    By Ron Lieber

    Your down payment fund was safely in cash. You’d planned, perhaps for years, for the 2020 home-buying season. Then, just as the perfect home hit the market, the coronavirus turned the world on its head.

    Should you go through with the purchase?

    Whatever it is that is happening now hasn’t hit the housing market yet, but it probably will. Stocks have fallen, entire industries are putting themselves on pause and all manner of small businesses are taking hits.

    There is so much we don’t know about what the next few months will bring, including whether it will even be over in the next few months. But the economic impact of the virus will be far-reaching, affecting everything from employment rates, to buyers’ and agents’ willingness to attend open houses, to whether sellers pull listings. Many people will have less money, and they may have less access to it as well. Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest home-loan lender, said Thursday that it had no current plans to change underwriting — which leaves open the possibility that it and others might in the future.

    All that may make it seem like an odd moment to consider buying a house. But there will be many people who are confident about their job security — or moving for job offers that haven’t evaporated. There will be others making room for new family members or looking to be closer to older ones who may need care.

    Everyone needs someplace to live, and here is another thing that will probably not change: In many parts of the country (and plenty of urban neighborhoods dominated by single-family homes), the housing stock for sale will be more attractive to many than what is for rent.

    Much of the inventory has to come from people who are moving up or on and will themselves need to have the courage to buy themselves a new place

    As of last month, Elaine Cicora and her husband’s year looked something like this: Sell their Macedonia, Ohio, home later this spring; buy a newly built one not far away and move in August; withdraw money from retirement accounts in an orderly fashion if and when they need to; and fly to Austin this month to march their eldest daughter down the aisle.

    Now, they’re putting their house on the market even sooner, in the hopes that they can catch buyers before they have second thoughts; querying their builder about disrupted supply chains while considering what to do about the next deposit that is due on that place; considering whether they ought to just call a halt to both buying and selling; eyeing the markets with growing concern; and close to canceling their Texas plans.

    "If it was only one or two of these things — stocks, out-of-state wedding, two house transactions — I wouldn’t be losing my mind," she said.

    Many real estate shoppers were trying to weigh multiple moving pieces back in late 2008, too. That crisis was different — the S&P 500 would ultimately lose half its value from its peak, and home prices cratered, too.

    That’s not the case this time (so far, at least). And what has happened since 2008 should provide us some comfort right now.

    That December, I talked to three couples who had taken the plunge and suggested that five to 10 years later, we would probably look back on that period as an incredible buying opportunity.

    How do those couples see things now? Two are glad they made the leap when things were looking very grim, and the third did not comment — but their Los Angeles neighborhood has seen home values double or more during those dozen years.

    Jaime and Michael Proman bought a house in Minneapolis in 2008, having moved from a 450-square-foot studio apartment in New York City. He grew up in the Twin Cities, and they said at the time that it felt like they were making a permanent move.

    Minnesota is still home, though they didn’t stay in the house they bought. When they and their expanding family traded up in 2013, their house had actually fallen in value. Had they waited a bit longer to move, they would have broken even thanks to rising real estate values there — but their new, bigger house would have cost that much more as well.

    They said this week that they had zero regrets about the 2008 purchase now that they are in what is likely their forever house, just over the city limits. Their first home was a learning experience, Mr. Proman said. For example, they had focused on their own needs and not thought much about any eventual sale or the needs of their potential future buyers. All the stairs, they found, gave pause to older home shoppers.

    Many people who are considering buying now may be swayed by other benefits of homeownership: control and certainty. You get a stable monthly housing payment — and rock-bottom interest rates might mean you never even have to refinance — plus the comfort of knowing the place is yours as long as you make that payment.

    That certainty has proved crucial for another Minneapolis couple, Lacey Mamak and Alison Nowak. They scraped together a 3 percent down payment in 2008 (in part through a local assistance program) to buy an 800-square-foot house, and there they have stayed. They now have about $50,000 in equity and a mortgage payment of around $1,100.

    Back then, Mx. Mamak was in a part-time position but is now an academic librarian on the tenure track. Ms. Nowak is an adjunct instructor who also does design and communications work. Rents in the area have risen so much that they believe they would have been priced out of town by now — or forced into different lines of work — if they had not bought.

    Upon reflection this week, they were intensely dialed into the emotional resonance of home-ownership. First, there was gratitude for the fact that their fixed costs enable them to do work they love. Then, there was empathy for people who need or want to move and are scared — this time for their health as much as their finances — and thus find themselves at the crossroads that the two of them were at 12 years ago.

    "People tend to think of buying a house as a signifier of being an adult, and that if you can’t afford it, you’re somehow not an adult," Mx. Mamak said. "But there are so many other factors and forces now, and it has nothing to do with your personal worth or how grown-up you are."

    Thank you Ron Lieber for sharing!

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  • 17/03/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    How to file for unemployment in Texas if your job is affected by Coronavirus.

    If the COVID-19 outbreak has changed your employment situation, here’s how you can file to receive benefits in the meantime.

    How to apply for benefits If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19)

    CORONAVIRUS

     

    How to file for unemployment in Texas if your job is affected by coronavirus

    If the COVID-19 outbreak has changed your employment situation, here’s how you can file to receive benefits in the meantime.

     

    Author: Doug Delony

    With the stock market reaching a three-year low and multiple industries several impacted by the COVID-19 precautions and closures, many are concerned about their jobs and the economy.

    The Associated Press reports the White House is proposing a multi-billion dollar emergency stimulus to address the economic cost of the new coronavirus. It reportedly will aim to provide relief for small businesses and the airline industry and include a massive tax cut for wage-earners.

    The Texas Workforce Commission’s website now has a section on its website dedicated to the COVID-19 response:

    ‘If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Central Time Mondays through Fridays.

    TWC may experience an increase in call volumes and hold times on our Tele-Center phone lines. You are encouraged to use our online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS ), to handle your claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also encourage you to sign up for Electronic Correspondence so you can receive your TWC communications online as soon as possible.

    TWC will investigate why you lost your job and mail a decision explaining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits.

    Under normal circumstances, TWC requires the following to file for unemployment:

    • Last employer’s business name and address
    • First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
    • Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked this week (including Sunday)
    • Information related to your normal wage
    • Alien Registration Number (if not a U.S. citizen or national

    Thank you KHU11 for sharing!

    Local MovingS

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  • 11/03/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Record Number of Borrowers Can Now Save on a Mortgage Refinance as Rates Drop From Coronavirus Fears

    Mortgage rates have dropped 15 basis points to 3.56 percent, therefore Record number of borrowers can now save on a mortgage refinance as rates drop from coronavirus fears.

    KEY POINTS

    • The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a record low of 3.29%, Freddie Mac reported this week. That’s down from the previous low of 3.31% in November 2012, in the wake of the financial crisis.
    • Nearly 13 million borrowers can now save money by refinancing their home loans and lowering their current rates by at least 75 basis points, according to Black Knight, a mortgage data and analytics company.
    • That is a record number of potential refinance candidates. It is also an increase of 1.7 million eligible borrowers in just the last week and a 60% jump year to date.

    A record number of homeowners can refinance—Here’s how much you could save

    The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a record low of 3.29%, Freddie Mac reported this week.

    That’s down from the previous low of 3.31% in November 2012, in the wake of the financial crisis. Fears of the coronavirus hitting financial markets have pushed bond yields down, yields which mortgage rates general track.

    That drop means that now nearly 13 million borrowers can save money by refinancing their home loans and lowering their current rates by at least 75 basis points, according to Black Knight, a mortgage data and analytics company.

    That is the highest number of potential refinance candidates on record. It is also an increase of 1.7 million eligible borrowers in just the last week and a 60% jump year to date.

    The average borrower can save about $277 per month on a 30-year fixed loan. If all those borrowers did it, that would be a collective $3.5 billion a month in payments.

    The 75 basis points measure is just an average and can move in either direction for savings, depending on the borrower’s individual situation. Factors include the size of the loan’s outstanding balance, the lender’s upfront refinance fees, the amount of time the borrower plans to stay in the home and whether or not the borrower might be consolidating other high-interest rate debt through the refinance.

     If rates dropped just 4 basis points more from here, another 1.7 million borrowers would fall into that pool of potential savings.

    While most borrowers are doing straight refinances to lower rates, some are doing cash-out refinances. Homeowners today have a record amount of tappable equity in their homes, that is, equity above the 20% threshold of equity lenders will require to remain in the home. About 45 million borrowers have tappable equity, representing $6.2 trillion collectively at the end of last year.

    Phones are ringing off the hook at lenders like Quicken, which had a couple of record volume days this week, according to the company’s CEO. While mortgage rates now hover around record lows, they are seeing some pushback to go much lower. That is because lenders are so overwhelmed by the volume, they are simply too busy to lower rates. The spread between mortgage rates and the 10-year Treasury is therefore widening. 

    ~By Diana Olick

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  • tips-for-finding-furniture-for-your-home
    26/02/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    How to Get the Best Furniture and Other Items Deals on Facebook Marketplace!

    Hey, guys here you have the tips on how to get that precious leather sofa for 80% off the real price, from your home, aha! Yeah, that’s right, how to get that steal- The Real Deal!

    By Alisa Bovino- Alisa Bovino Blog

    Facebook Marketplace.

    Our home is nowhere near fully furnished, and Facebook Marketplace has been my go-to for finding used and new quality furniture for our home. 

    I use the word quality not in a pretentious way, but I think it’s important to know that if you’re patient enough, you can find some amazing, high-end pieces to furnish your home with via MP. You don’t have to settle for Ikea just because you’re on a budget (nothing wrong with Ikea, but more on that later). 

    I often hear "ugh. You’re so lucky you found that! I never find anything good on marketplace," and then probe a little more and realize that they aren’t using MP the way they should be. 

    So that’s what sparked today’s post. I felt the need to raise awareness on how to shop MP because I truly believe it can be a treasure trove…if you’re using it properly.

    Here are my top tips when browsing the world’s biggest and best virtual garage sale. 

    01. Patience and persistence

    By persistence, I’m not saying be a pain in the ass when you’re asking someone if you can buy their item. I mean be persistent with your search. But I guess if you want to let someone know you’re *very* serious about buying their item, you can send two messages. But no more than 2 at a time before they reply…it’s like dating.

    My greatest tip is to refresh marketplace every ~2-3 hours.

    It sounds time consuming, but all I do is hit refresh and see what’s popped up. It’s like refreshing Instagram.  

    I have noticed that the FB algorithm recognizes the items I search for more than once, so if I’ve been looking for a green velvet chair and hit refresh, results for green velvet chairs will show up (as long as people describe it properly and not just post it with the word "chair," because then it’s nearly impossible to find). 

    Sometimes, I hit refresh and a hot item for an amazing price pops up, and I’ve been lucky enough to grab it. Like this Milo Baughman burl table I snagged in Greenwich CT the other night:

    Bonus tip: People are usually going through their stuff on Saturdays and Sundays and I notice new items are popping up every few minutes when I’m refreshing often on the weekends.

    02. Negotiate 

    Unless it’s a hot item that’s priced lower than it should be, I always ask if they can do better on the price (in a very polite way). This doesn’t mean low-ball sellers, but if I do my research and find that a similar item is going for a bit cheaper, then I (again, politely) ask if they can do better with the price. 

    On the contrary, if I find something I really want and it’s already reasonably priced, I’ll offer the seller a little more than what they’re asking so they know I’m serious. If I have time, I’ll also tell them I can pick up ASAP and pay cash.

    Remember…always be kind and personable 

    03. Check if a seller has other items for sale

    If you’re interested in an item, click on the sellers name in the actual item post, and a list of other items they have for sale will show up.

    I usually scroll through to see if they  have anything else I’m interested in and a few times I’ve negotiated picking up 2+ items from them at one time. And even if I see a high-end item I’m not interested in, I still may click on their name to see what else they are selling that could interest me. 

    04. Search in a large and small radius

    The marketplace algorithm is one I have yet to figure out, because sometimes I’ll search  "vintage velvet chairs" within a 60 mile radius and I don’t see many options, and then I’ll narrow the search to within 20 miles and so many more come up. I haven’t quite figured out why that is yet, but just wanted to say that you should be searching near and far (as far as you’d be willing to drive). 

    If I’m searching for a larger item like a chair, I ask myself what’s the farthest I’d be willing to travel  (usually ~60 miles). If it’s a smaller item like a lamp, I probably wouldn’t drive farther than ~25 miles. 

    Another thing I do when I’m driving to pick up something that’s 30+ minutes away is search for other items in that area to see if there’s anything worth picking up while I’m there. This is tricky as schedules need to align while you’re picking up the original item you drove there for. 

    Like the other night, I drove 1 hour to Greenwich, CT and for the two days prior to driving there, I kept searching Greenwich to see if there was anything else worth picking up while I was there picking up the Milo table.

    I found one thing, but that person wasn’t available during the time I would be there. It was worth a shot!

    05. Keywords are key

    Most people don’t know how to properly describe the item they are selling, which means you need to get creative with your search terms. Think of all the ways to describe something you’re looking for and use those words to search every 2-3 hours.

    Countless times I’ve searched "burl chest" and 5-10 items show up, but then I’ll search "vintage wood chest" and 30+ burl pieces show up. 

    I keep a running list of keywords of items I’m searching for and use that list to quickly search every few hours. The list is very long, but here are some examples:

    • Antique mahogany chest
    • Modern velvet chairs
    • Linen chairs
    • Brass lamps
    • Vintage oil painting
    • English roll arm (insert chair or sofa)
    • Natural area rugs
    • Brass chandelier

    I sometimes use variations of those keywords and include like brand names, colors, textures and styles (i.e. modern green dining chairs, CB2 chairs or velvet chairs). Using various and broader keywords means more sorting but there could very well be a diamond in the rough. It’s happened to me multiple times!

    06. Know what quality looks like

    We all know about the modern brands; West Elm, Anthropologie, CB2, etc., but there are great furniture brands that have been around for a long time which some people may have never heard of. 

    Sellers sometimes don’t realize what brand of furniture they are selling, but in time you will be able to spot a brand based on the style and characteristics of that item, and the seller may just not know what brand it is. You also should have an eye for what’s quality and what’s cheap looking for obvious reasons. 

    These are a few of the brands I frequently see when scrolling MP, and I consider to be high-end (aka they make quality furniture):

    • Ethan Allen (I see this brand the most)
    • Century Furniture
    • Milo Baughman
    • MCM
    • Mitchell Gold
    • Knoll 
    • Bernhardt
    • Henredon
    • Stanley 

    Look – if I wanted a new Ikea chair, I would just go to Ikea because it’s cheap to begin with, so I probably wouldn’t buy an Ikea chair off MP. Instead, I’d rather buy a quality piece of furniture for a great price that will stand the test of time. Nom’sayin’? 

    07.  Furnishing your home won’t happen overnight

    If you haven’t already noticed, browsing and buying items from MP takes time. I don’t expect to be able to furnish our home within the next few months…let alone within the next year. 

    There will be times when I’m way too busy to hit refresh every few hours and there will be times where I get lucky and find a few things in one week. This isn’t Wayfair…you’re relying on someone else to post what you’re looking for. But when they do, you better jump all over it.

    Just remember…patience and persistence.

    08. Be safe. Stalk people.

    This is more of a stranger-danger tip, but part of the reason I love marketplace over craigslist is because you can stalk the seller. If the seller is a female, has photos of her kids, and has real comments from real people on her page and we are jiving via messenger, I don’t feel the need to bring my husband with me. However, if not everything checks out but I’m *pretty* sure it’s fine, I’ll bring him. 

    Have you ever used FB marketplace before? I’d love to hear about your finds. And if you haven’t, I hope this was helpful! 

    Looking for MOVING SERVICES  LOL-  Check out localmovings.com

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  • 10/02/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Are you Student & Getting Married? What You Need to Know About Your Student Debt

    ~By Donna Rosato

    Student Loans and Marriage: What You Should Know Before Tying the Knot.

     

    Talking about your student loans isn’t likely to be top of mind if you’re planning a wedding. But if you or your spouse-to-be have college debt, it’s an important conversation to have before you walk down the aisle.

    Marriage can trigger changes to your student loan payments and affect your eligibility for some valuable tax breaks, says Betsy Mayotte, president of the Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a nonprofit that provides free one-on-one counseling for student loan borrowers.

    Having sizable student debt can also have an impact on your financial goals for the future, another reason it’s important to have a frank conversation.

    "You might be caught off guard if you don’t know your spouse has a lot of debt and you don’t discuss how you’ll budget for the payments," says Mayotte.

    Of course, getting married can help you better manage student loan payments, too. If your household income is higher as a couple, you might be able to pay off your loans faster. 

    "The name of the game is paying the least amount over time," says Mayotte. "If your payment goes up, that may be a good thing, assuming it’s affordable."

    Here are the three main things to know about how getting married could affect your student loans.  

    Your Payments May Go Up—or Down

    If you have federal student loans and are in an income-based repayment plan, which adjusts your payment based on how much you earn, your monthly bill may change depending on how much you and your spouse earn and the way you file your taxes.

    If you are married and file your taxes jointly–which the vast majority of couples do–your payment will be based on your combined adjusted gross income (AGI). So if getting married means you’ll have a higher AGI, your student loan payments are likely to go up.

    But income isn’t the only factor used to calculate your payment. If your spouse also has student loans and you file your taxes together, you may both see your monthly payments drop to account for the additional debt, even if you make more money together.

    Depending on which income-based repayment plan you are in (there are four types), you could take your spouse’s income out of the equation by filing separate federal income tax returns. If you are in the Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Income-Based Repayment (IBR), or Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan and you file your taxes separately from your spouse, payment is based only on your individual income.

    There’s one exception: For married borrowers in the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) program, payments are based on the couple’s combined adjusted gross income and total loan debt, whether or not you file your taxes jointly.  

    You Could Lose Valuable Tax Breaks

    Even if filing separately gives you a lower payment, it might not be worth it. If you choose to file your taxes individually, you’ll miss out on a host of tax credits and deductions that joint filers receive. They include the earned income tax credit, the American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit for higher education expenses, the student loan interest deduction, the adoption tax credit, and the child and dependent care tax credit.

    If you are married and filing separately, you will also have less flexibility when it comes to tax strategies. You must both claim the standard deduction or must both itemize your deductions. A married person can’t use the standard deduction if his or her spouse is itemizing.

    There’s no one right answer to whether to file separately or jointly when you’re married. You have to balance the benefits of the tax breaks you get by filing together with your ability to handle a potentially higher student loan payment.

    Start by figuring out how your monthly payments could change. Use the Department of Education’s student loan repayment estimator to calculate your payments under different income scenarios. And talk with a professional tax planner to see what tax breaks you might be giving up.  

    It May Be Harder to Reach Financial Goals

    Starting life together in debt can strain your relationship and prevent you from reaching longer-term financial goals. Americans have a record $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans, and many say that they are struggling with their finances because of it.

    Consumer Reports nationally representative survey found that 44 percent of people who took out loans to pay for college had to cut back on day-to-day living expenses to pay their loans. Thirty seven percent delayed saving for retirement, 28 percent delayed buying a house, and 12 percent even delayed marriage.

    Before you run into problems, have a money talk with your partner. Once you know where you stand, you can look for ways to ease up any potential financial pressure. If you or your spouse are not already in an income-based repayment plan, enrolling in one may make your payments more affordable as a couple.

    If you can step up payments on your combined income, make sure you request that the loan servicer allocate the additional money to your highest-rate loans. Use this sample letter from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to instruct the loan servicer on what to do with the extra payment.

    If you do run into trouble paying your student loans after you’re married, be aware that one spouse isn’t legally responsible for the student debt of the other unless he or she co-signed for it. You don’t need a co-signer on federal student loans, so this would only apply to private loans your spouse co-signed. However, in some states, loans you take out after you get married are considered jointly owned community property, and creditors could go after you if your spouse stops paying.  

    Thank you for sharing https://www.consumerreports.org

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  • 28/01/2020 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    How to claim your pets on your tax return

    In some specific cases, your dogs and cats can fetch you tax breaks on pet-related expenses.

    Get your paws on some more tax write-offs.

    While the IRS won’t let you claim your fur babies as dependents — they’re generally considered a "personal expense" — pets can still fetch you some extra tax breaks in some very specific cases, particularly if you have a service animal or you’re fostering a pet from an IRS-approved nonprofit.

    Click Here! Ways to claim your pet on your tax return!

     

    Thank you https://www.marketwatch.com/ for sharing!

     

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  • 04/09/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    How to Choose an Energy Supplier When You Move- Local MovingS

    Make sure you do your homework on how to choose a new energy supplier when you move before you get stuck with an expensive tariff when you move to a new home.

    If you live in one of the 15 states where energy is deregulated, you may be able to save upwards of 20% on your monthly electricity bill by switching energy providers.

    The idea of switching energy providers can be potentially confusing if not downright intimidating. This guide makes it easy to get you up to speed. It will walk you through all the different variables you’ll want to consider when comparing different providers.

    When selecting an energy provider (also called service provider, or simply "supplier") there are three different factors you’ll want to look at: the supplier’s reputation, the rate, and the length of the plan.

    Supplier Reputation

    There are hundreds of energy suppliers out there, and it can be overwhelming to select a one for the first time. That’s especially true since some energy providers engage in deceptive marketing tactics, offering super-low "teaser" rates that go up after a few months or by hiding significant fees or charges. Because energy deregulation is so new, shady operators have the opportunity to take advantage of consumer confusion.

    Luckily for you, Choose Energy does all the vetting for you. We sift through each plan offered by each energy provider and only offer you ones without hidden teaser rates. We also make sure to clearly identify any additional charges or fees so that there won’t be any surprises later on down the line. Other Choose Energy users also provide ratings and reviews for different suppliers so you can see how responsive they are to their customers.

    Rates

    The second factor to consider in selecting an energy provider is whether you want a variable of a fixed rate.

    With a fixed rate, you’ll pay the same price for each kilowatt-hour throughout the length of your plan. This is typically a better plan if you use the majority of your energy during "peak" (daytime) hours. With this kind of plan, you’ll have more stable bills, making it easier to predict your energy costs. Moreover, because the rate is locked in, you’ll be protected against any upswings in energy costs.

    With a variable-rate plan, your rate per kilowatt-hour will change monthly according to the market price. While you could pay more for electricity if energy prices go up, you could also end up saving more if they go down. You can also save more with a variable rate plan if you use less energy during peak hours. Typically, large commercial customers who use a lot of energy opt for the variable-rate plan because it allows them to schedule their greatest energy use for the times of day when energy is the cheapest.

    Plan Length

    The final differentiating factor in selecting an energy provider is the plan length. It can be intimidating trying to select a six-, 12-, or 24-month plan. Whether you choose a short- or long-term plan depends entirely on your appetite for risk.

    Each time you sign up for a fixed-rate energy plan, you agree to pay the current market price for the length of the agreement. So, if prices have gone down, you can potentially save a lot of money over your previous plan and you’d likely want to get a longer-term plan. If prices have gone up, however, you’ll be paying significantly more for energy.

    One thing to keep in mind, though, is that rates for shorter-term plans are slightly higher than rates for longer-term ones.

    Thank you for sharing~https://www.chooseenergy.com/blog/energy-101/your-guide-to-choosing-an-energy-supplier/

     

     

     

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  • 28/08/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    What to Ask when Renting an Apartment

    What to Ask when Renting an Apartment?

     There are plenty of smart questions to ask before renting an apartment, and a good landlord or management company should be happy to answer everyone.

    Questions to ask before signing a lease:

    • What’s included in my rent?

    You can’t budget if you don’t have all the numbers. Here are things that may or may not be included:

    • Utilities: Ask which ones, too—electric, water, Wi-Fi?
    • Lawn care, snow removal, and other property maintenance
    • Access to amenities like a gym or pool
    • Parking
    • How do I pay rent?

    Going old school with a mailed paper check might be the least expensive option, but some places allow you to pay rent online. If that sounds like a great option to you, but your landlord doesn’t offer it, you could help change that policy. Trulia allows you to invite your landlord to offer online payments through Trulia’s online rent payments hub

    • What are your late payment policies?

    Of all the questions to ask when renting an apartment among the most important is how your landlord handles late payments. Find out if there are late fees and when they come into play. Rent is often due on the first of the month, but there may be a clause in the contract offering a grace period of a few days before a late fees kick in.

    • Is renter’s insurance required?

    Some places will require that you have renter’s insurance. And it’s not a bad idea. The policy will cover your belongings in case of fire, theft, natural disaster, and if, for example, your friend trips over your rug and twists an ankle. You can find policies as low as $150 a year for $30,000 of property coverage and $100,000 of liability coverage.

    • What’s your pet policy?

    Pets may be allowed, but sometimes certain pets are not; for example, there might be a breed restriction on dogs. There also might be a weight or size restriction. And, don’t forget to ask about any fees connected with your pet, for use of an indoor pet play area, for instance, or an additional amount on your security deposit or rent.

    • What’s the guest policy?

    Guests are typically allowed, but landlords like to define guests. Otherwise, the line between a long-term guest and a roommate can get blurry. Your lease may state that guests can stay no longer than two weeks. Find out first before you agree to let your old college roommate crash for the summer.

    • What are the sublet rules?

    If you’re the one headed out for the summer and think you’d like some help with the rent, find out if you’re allowed to participate with a vacation-rental company or sublet your space. If it’s not allowed and you violate your lease agreement, you might be asked to pack up and leave.

    • What are the lease terms?

    When does your lease begin and end? And how does it end? Read the lease carefully. Some leases renew automatically unless you give your landlord notice that you’re leaving.

    • How often is the rent raised?

    This information may not be in the lease itself. If you’re thinking of staying in this apartment for a long time, you’ll want to know if you should expect a rate hike each year. It could affect how much rent you can afford over time. Ask the landlord when you will be notified of a rent increase—usually, it’s 30 to 60 days—so you’ll have to time prepare.

    It’s also possible to negotiate rent hikes in advance. You can ask to sign a longer lease, for example, to avoid a rise in rent.

    • How far in advance do I have to give notice before moving?

    If you sign a one-year lease and you want to move out when it’s over, 30-day’s notice is generally an acceptable amount of time. Often if, after a year, you want to stay, your landlord might be amenable to a month-to-month lease agreement, but the amount of notice needed before leaving might change.

    • What’s the penalty for breaking my lease?

    Things happen that could make you need to move out early. But there can be serious consequences if you break a lease—like a ding on your credit score, which can hurt you when you go to buy a house. Find out if there are ways to avoid this, like if you’re able to help find a renter to replace you quickly.

    • Can I make changes to the apartment?

    Lots of places are fine with you painting, for example, but it’s not likely they’ll let you take down walls. Some landlords might ask you to put the apartment back to the way you found it before you move out. And, sometimes you can get a break on rent if you offer to do upgrades or repairs.

    • Any building updates heading our way soon?

    You want to know in advance if you’re going to be facing a lot of construction noise, debris, or trucks in and out. But there’s an upside too: upgrades might add new amenities.

    • How do maintenance requests work?

    You want to know who to call at 3 am if you’re standing ankle-deep in water coming from your upstairs neighbor’s bathtub. You want to have access to help 24/7. But also find out the process for more mundane issues, like requesting service for a loud air conditioner.

    • What’s the smoking policy?

    Smoking isn’t among your inherent renter’s rights, so if you’re a smoker, understand that your landlord can ban smoking cigarettes in your apartment building. Same goes for marijuana even in states where recreational smoking is legal. Find out if there is an option for smoking apartments or at least areas where it’s permitted.

     

    Questions to ask when renting an apartment—for the neighbors:

    • What’s the noise situation? Odors?

    Your landlord is required to disclose the bad stuff like whether there are bed bugs, but they may not be forthcoming about the neighbor in 3A who’s in a rock band or the chef in 5G who burns his experiments. A neighbor can give you the real scoop.

    • How is it dealing with management?

    Are they responsive? Do they show up to the apartment unannounced? It’s actually against landlord tenant law for your landlord to fail to give notice before they come over, even if it’s for an emergency repair. But this rule is one that tends to be bent from time to time, so it’s helpful to ask.

    • Are the residents generally friendly?

    When you were doing your apartment search you probably noticed if people said hello in the elevator or if there were notices up for community gatherings, but find out if those impressions last. It’s nice to know your neighbors for social reasons and also for practical ones—anything from borrowing sugar to watering plants.

    Now that you know all the questions to ask when renting an apartment, it’s time to start thinking hard about that rent. Too high? Here’s how to negotiate your rent.

     

    Thank you trulia.com!

     

    Oh by the way…..

     

    Local Moves Starting at $110 Per Hour: 3 Movers with Truck!

     

    Free fuel, 20 miles, plastic, disassembling, and assembling are Included In Every Move! 

     

    Book NOW!

     

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  • 26/08/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    How to get an apartment with bad credit. It is possible.
    Poor credit history could make you wonder how to get an apartment with bad credit?
     
     
    Thank you for sharing – Trulia.com

     

    Snagging your first apartment is exciting, but if you have poor credit (or even no credit!), it can be a challenge. Still, you can be an attractive rental candidate for your ideal one-bedroom. Here’s how to get an apartment with bad credit and tip the apartment-search scale in your favor. 

     

    How to get an apartment with bad credit

    1. Show off your stellar rental history.

    Rental history is important to landlords. If you have had a great relationship with a former landlord, or landlords, provide them as references for your potential new one.

    If you have never rented an apartment, you can still lean into strong references. Provide character references from reliable sources such as a teacher or employer can help demonstrate that you are reliable and dependable. This can make the question of how to get an apartment with bad credit beside the point.

    You can also start to build a rental history by paying rent to your parents, friends, or by renting out a room in someone’s house, and then asking these people to serve as references. You can also ask that you get receipts for your payments as proof to show that you pay rent regularly and on time. That way, you have a positive payment history to counter a bad credit history.

    2. Showcase a high salary to overshadow your bad credit.

    If you make a really good income, your landlord may not care so much about poor credit score. An income that could really impress a landlord would be at least 40 times the monthly rent. So if rent is $1,200 a month, a landlord may overlook a poor credit score if you can prove an income of $48,000 a year.

    Of course, if your landlord is making a decision based mostly on income, they’ll want to see proof. Offer to provide pay stubs for the past year to make your income easy to verify. And consider showcasing your income on Trulia’s Rental Resume. It lets renters highlight their qualifications, like move-in time frame, occupation, income, and more.

    3. Have and continue to build your savings.

    Poor credit may make a landlord doubt your financial reliability, but strong savings can help change their mind. Show your potential landlord your bank statements, proving you have reserves available. It’s a good idea to have both a checking and a savings account, and you should ideally have several months’ worth of rent saved up. If a landlord sees that you have money set aside, they may feel more confident in your ability to pay rent each month.

    4. Be honest (and communicate well) about your bad credit.

    Be upfront with potential landlords. Write a letter of explanation detailing why your credit score is not very good. Include how you now have good budgeting habits and about your plans to be a responsible tenant.

    Landlords are free to waive their own requirements—as long as they treat all applicants the same way. This method works best when you’re dealing with individual landlords as opposed to a big management company that might not have the ability to be as flexible.

    5. Offer to set up automatic payments.

    Here’s a secret: Landlords love receiving rent on autopay. Offer to allow your landlord’s bank to deduct rent from your bank account through an automated clearinghouse (ACH) or an online rent payment system. If they don’t currently offer online payments, you can invite them to do so usingTrulia’s online rent payments hub. That helps ensure your landlord will be paid—and on time.

    You’ll need to demonstrate you’ll have enough cash in your bank account to cover those automatic payments. If you’ve had trouble paying your bills, for example, earning you a bad credit score, potential landlords may not trust that you’ll keep enough in your account. However, if you can show a steady income bolstered by a hefty savings account, and you sign up for ACH payments, you just might have figured out how to get an apartment with bad credit.

    6. Agree to pay more upfront.

    You typically need to pay first month’s rent plus a security deposit when you rent an apartment. That means you can make your application stand out by offering to pay not just one month and security, but two—or even three—months’ rent, plus security in advance. Cash offers are always attractive. Just make sure you then start paying your rent on time when it becomes due.

    7. Use a co-signer.

    If nothing else works, call in some backup to help you rent with bad credit: a co-signer. If you can get someone with good credit to co-sign for you, the landlord might agree to rent you that apartment. Note that if you don’t pay your rent, the landlord will ask your co-signer to do so, so make sure you ask someone you trust, who also trusts you. A parent or other close family member is often a good choice, if it’s possible.

    You’ve figured out how to get an apartment with bad credit, so now you have some planning to do. Here are questions to ask when renting an apartment to make sure you’ve found the best place for you.

    https://www.trulia.com/guides/questions-to-ask-when-viewing-an-apartment/

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  • 26/08/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Back-to School Guide is here, Texas- Local MovingS

    Traffic tips, weather, pictures and much more to get you started on your first day back.

    Read Here the Back-to-School Guide- Local MovingS

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  • 04/08/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Packing and Moving Supplies Needed for Any Move

    Not having enough moving supplies or using them incorrectly can result in damaged goods.

    Packing supplies HERE

    • Bubble wrap
    • Packing paper
    • Moving boxes: Small for heavy items and books. Medium for general Kitchen items, and Large for really light items like linens, pillows..etc 
    • Moving blankets or furniture pads
    • Padded wrapping paper: for breakables: glass, pottery, art..etc
    • Stretch plastic wrap: to protect furniture
    • Heavy-duty packaging tape
    • Permanent markers
    • Trash bags
    • Ziploc bags: to store small screws, brackets, batteries, or other little items
    • Mattress bags-covers
    • Furniture covers: sofa and chairs

    Best protective cushioning

    Moving day supplies:

    • Moving truck: Make sure to choose the right size of truck to avoid extra trips and loads.
    • Box cutters
    • Hand trucks for heavy items
    • Tools to disassemble and reassemble furniture
    • Cleaning supplies and paper towels
    • Bungee cords

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  • Local Movings
    19/07/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Moving with Pets?

    Moving can stress everyone, including our four-legged best friends.

    1. Get the Right Identification.

    "Be certain that any required license tags are secured properly and the contact information is current," advised Will Featherstone, founder, and owner of Featherstone & Co. of Keller Williams Excellence, a real estate team located in Baltimore, MD.

    If your pet’s ID tags are out of date, be sure to update them with a current phone number and your new address. You’ll likely need a new rabies tag if you move to a new county or city. It is also wise to keep a copy of their health certificate handy in case you need to unexpectedly board them or they need to go to the vet.

    Make sure you have a recent picture of your dog with you as well.

    "If your pet is lost during the move, a photograph will make it much easier to search effectively," said Featherstone.

    If you’re prepping for an international move, check that your pet has all the vaccines and documentation needed for the next country.

    2. Prep Records and Medications.

    For moves that will require switching veterinarians, get a copy of the pet’s health certificate and vaccine history, suggested Meister-Yetter.

    Also consider a final check-up with your current vet.

    If your animal needs a prescription, "make sure the supply of current medications will last until a veterinarian in your new location can be found to provide refills," Featherstone said.

    3. Visit the Next Home Ahead of Time

    Moving somewhere close to your current home?

    "Take your pets to the new place that you will be moving into and spend time with them there," suggested Rachel Sentes, CEO of gal-friday publicity, who has moved several times with pets.

    "They should get to know the place a little and have your smells there so it’s not completely a surprise for them," Sentes said.

    If your new house is a long distance away this might not be an option. Just be prepared to give your pet time to adjust to the new surroundings by making sure you remember to pack his or her favorite toy.

    4. Make Trip Arrangements.

    If your pet will be traveling on an airline or internationally research airline pet policies and practices, suggests Kyla Sentes, founder of Dog Hair INCluded.

    "They are not all created equal even if their stated policies are the same," Kyla Sentes said.

    Ask about boarding practices for pet owners.

    "Most airlines are good about you waiting with your pet until the last minute possible to board," explained Kyla Sentes. "Be super nice and friendly with those transporting your dog – the more they see your relationship with your pet, the more willing they are to make you feel at ease."

    5. Moving Over Land.

    Moving companies will not handle transportation of your animal companion. However, there are pet transportation companies that can transport your pets to your new location for a fee. Pet travel services can be particularly helpful if you have a large number of pets to move, which can be a challenge if you are moving a long-distance away.

    The best option is to transport your pets yourself if you are making a cross country road trip to your new home.

    6. Settle Them In For Moving Day.

    Before movers arrive, consider placing your pet in an area of the home, such as the bathroom, and shutting the door.

    A plug-in pheromone for a dog or cat can help calm nerves.

    "Don’t forget food, water, and litter box if applicable," added Meister-Yetter.

    Better yet, have a friend, relative or neighbor keep your pet at their place until the movers leave.

    7. Take Precautions on the Trip.

    If you’ll need to stay overnight in a place, use sites such as Pet-Friendly-Hotels and PetsWelcome.com to find hotels that accept pets.

    Also keep routines as close as possible, noted Rachel Sentes.

    "When I moved my two dogs on a 13-hour car ride, we stopped to walk them as per our usual schedule," she said.

    Be sure to keep your pets well fed and hydrated while on the road, and plan to stop for bathroom breaks. Provide a crate or carrier for your pet to give them a place to rest and to keep them constrained during the course of the trip.

    8. Adjust Slowly.

    "Try to get one room in the new home set up beforehand with familiar things: furniture, blankets, clothing – anything with your scent on it is preferable," stated Meister-Yetter. "When you arrive with your pets, quarantine them in the room you set up beforehand, again using food, water, and a plug-in pheromone."

    It may take a few days for your animals to start eating and acting normally.

    "Let them adjust in their own time, but make yourself available for extra cuddles and love," advised Meister-Yetter.

    By-Sparefoot.com

    https://www.sparefoot.com/self-storage/blog/14729-how-to-move-with-pets/

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  • 04/07/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    The Budget for your Move- Moving Cost Calculation: Important Factors

    Trying to estimate the budget/ cost for your move? Having a good idea about the distance to move (point A to B), the number of items you have, moving supplies required, labor and transportation costs can enable you to estimate the cost of your move. Big Factors to consider, the size of your home, your moving company, and the distance you’re moving. There are other things too that impact your final moving budget like costs of packing supplies, your moving date, and moving insurance will all impact the final price.

    Cargo COSTS-Industry minimum standards

    Transportation costs take up the major portion of your moving cost no matter if you are moving a short distance or long distance. Generally, short distance moving companies charge a minimum rate for each hour, which means that they will still charge you for the whole hour, even if it takes only three-quarters of an hour to move. Long distance movers usually charge by the pound to have different rates for different distances. If you want to have an estimate, you can find the cargo costs by collecting quotes from at least 3 moving companies.

    The DISTANCE of the MOVE A-B

    The driving time from point A to B It directly influences the moving cost as the further away it is, the longer it takes to cover the distance and consequently the higher the cost. You can do a Google map search to find the distance. It will not only show you the accurate distance but also mention the time it takes you to drive from one place to another.

    The ITEMS TO BE MOVED

    The number and weight of things you are moving is an important factor when estimating the cost of your move. Especially, if you are moving to another city, it is all the more important because interstate moving companies typically use a formula that takes into account the pound of weight as well as the cubic feet they will occupy. So, the more you have to move, the higher the cost of moving is. To minimize this cost, you can consider stuffing as many things in as little space as you can.

    MOVING SUPPLIES

    Cost of packing and moving supplies highly impacts the total moving expenses. Moving supplies including packing boxes, tapes, labels, bubble wraps, and markers can make a significant impact on your moving costs. You should create a list of all the things you will need along with their tentative costs. Even free moving supplies, such as boxes and wrapping paper, can still add to your moving cost because they increase the weight and volume of your things.

     MOVING date and time

    Moving time also impacts your moving budget as moving companies charge a hefty amount if you choose to move on weekends and/or month end. A mid-week and/or mid-month move costs you much less than that. Moving companies never compromise or give discounts on weekends as weekends are the busiest business days for them. So moving on weekends may increase your final moving cost. It is always advisable to plan your move during mid-month and mid-week to save money. During peak seasons like the end of a school session or end of the financial year too, moving companies do not entertain you. And if you have to move on weekends, month end or during peak moving season then it is recommended to book your moving company much prior than the scheduled time.

    OTHER FACTORS

    The other factors that might impact your moving cost these factors may include- how many floors up, how close is the truck from the loading/ unloading points, will you want to protect all your items prior to loading (plastic and padding-wrapping? toll charges, warehouse costs etc. If you want to hire extra labor for loading and unloading and other tasks like disassembling and reassembling of your furniture then this cost will also impact your final moving price.

    How soon do you need to move

    Another major factor that impacts the moving cost is freight time, means the time taken to deliver the goods. If you want your products to be delivered in one day then the moving company you hired will need to deploy more crew and have to choose fast transportation means so will charge accordingly.

    Cost estimation is an integral part of the moving process, however, it is advisable to interview your moving company and ask all the above questions, and compare at the very least 3 Moving companies’ estimates for a final decision, especially when you are moving on a budget. By knowing the primary factors affecting it, you get a fair idea of how much money you will need to move easily.

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  • 25/06/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Local MovingS – How Your Move Can be Cost-Efficient and Stressless.

    ~By Alexander Harris

    Local Movings – How Your Move Can be Cost-Efficient and Stressless.

    Moving is one of the most stressful life events that you can experience. While it is fun and exciting to start a new chapter in your life, actually planning a move is a major headache. From finding a reliable moving company to packing up all of your worldly possessions, the moving process is not easy.

    Not only that, there is still a lot of unknowns in the moving process. Will you like your new community? Will your loved ones have a hard time adjusting to their new surroundings? If you are considering a move and only thinking about the positive aspects, you might want to consider the impact that moving stress will actually have on your family. Then you will want to develop strategies for coping with the ordeal to have as stress-free of a move as possible.

    Why Is Moving Stressful?
    Moving is stressful because you are uprooting the life and routines you are used to, and transitioning to a new home that you haven’t developed any attachments to. In addition, your family members might have conflicted feelings, which you also have to manage. Furthermore hiring professional movers, juggling finances, and packing your belongings are all mentally taxing tasks that can’t be avoided.

    Even if you are moving away from a bad situation, the uncertainty surrounding what your life a new place will be like can cause anxiety and stress.

    Top stressors related to moving:

    Real estate woes
    Last minute surprises
    Family disagreements
    Financial issues
    Dealing with lost items
    Adjusting to your new community
    These are just a few of the stressful things that can arise when relocating to a new home. While it is normal to feel stressed during a move, here are several strategies to keep your freak-outs to a minimum.

    1. Give Your Self Enough Time.

    One of the worst things you can do is wait until the last minute to plan your move. Of course, you dread packing boxes, calling movers and sorting through your stuff. But putting it off won’t do you any favors.

    Lopez said about six weeks before you move you should decide which moving service you will use so you can reserve it on time. You should also start the process of purging old items to lighten your load.

    Four weeks out you should be finding moving boxes, notifying utilities and filling out a change of address forms, Lopez says.

    "Finally, three weeks out from your moving day is when the real heavy-duty stuff starts happening: reserving a truck, booking a moving crew, and getting packing!" Lopez said.

    2. Ask For Help

    Moving by yourself is never fun, even if you don’t have a lot of stuff. The same goes for packing up your stuff. To make your move less stressful, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends or family to help out. And if you have your own family, make sure all members of the household pitch in to do their part.

    If you don’t want to impose on friends but are determined not to hire a professional moving company, Lopez says to try searching for moving labor by the hour to help with the heavy stuff.

    "It’ll make your move considerably less stressful, and tends to cost hundreds, sometimes thousands less than hiring a full-blown moving company with a one-size-fits-all quote," Lopez says.

    3. Get Enough Sleep.

    Chances are you laying awake at night worrying about what life will be like in your new home. Or maybe you are staying up late because you waited until the last minute to pack. Either way, it is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep during the moving process.

    "Sleep impacts your stress hormones and when you don’t get enough sleep, you actually increase the amount of stress in your body. It also impacts your cognitive ability, which can lead to an increased risk of injury during the move," says Lori Miranda, co-founder of the health coaching app Wellbody.

    Miranda adds that lack of sleep has been known to reduce alertness and decrease reaction times. Even a moderate amount of sleep deprivation has been shown to inflict the same level of impairment as two drinks of alcohol.

    Miranda says if you are feeling stressed out about your move, try writing down all the things you are worried about on a piece of paper.

    "This gives a name to your anxieties and has been shown to help lessen their impact. This also helps with sleep, because often it is stress or anxiety that disrupts our sleep patterns," Miranda says.

    4. Maintain Old Routines.

    There are few things in life that are more disruptive than moving. And if you are moving to a new city, or even a new state, you’ll have to figure out new places to eat, shop, and just hang out.

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a point to maintain some consistency in your daily life, even while you are in the midst of your transition.

    If you always end your night with a warm cup of tea and a book, make sure to have those items on hand during your move. Do you always go to the gym or for a run? Be sure to make time to get some reps in, even if it is a few push-ups in the bathroom. Keeping up with some of your most important routines will go a long way towards helping you cope during the big move.

    5. Meet New Neighbors.

    Settling into a new house in a new neighborhood can take some getting used to. There might be a sneaking feeling inside that you don’t quite belong. This can cause a whole lot of undue stress as you unpack your belongings and start setting up your home.

    Taking a moment to meet your neighbors can help dispel some of that stress and discomfort. Not knowing anybody in a new city can be intimidating, but once you break the ice you will start to feel a great sense of belonging. If knocking on your neighbor’s front door isn’t your style, head into town for a craft night or get a drink at the local watering hole and meet some locals that way.

    6. Focus on the Positive.

    No matter what you are going through, or how difficult your move is, just remember the reasons you are moving. It might be that you are moving to make a life change, start a new career, start a new family, or just because you weren’t satisfied with your old place.

    Whatever the reason, moving is filled with new beginnings and the opportunity to start fresh. Once you are all moved in you will be able to start enjoying your new life!

    `Courtesy by Alexander Harris

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  • 24/06/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Tips for Moving In the Rain

    Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day.

    Your move has been planned for weeks or even months, and a heavy rain on the moving day can be catastrophic.

    Use these strategies to keep belongings dry and relocate safely to the new destination.

    1. Grab Garbage Bags. Plastic trash bags haare great to put over a stack of clothes on hangers. Poke a hole in the top of the bags for the hooks.
    Paper items and books can be placed in plastic bags and then packed in a container. Smaller goods can also be protected from the rain inside a bag.

    1. Wrap Everything You Can. "Since moving blankets are not waterproof, you should consider plastic covers like shrink wrapping," advises Lauren Haynes, a home organizing expert at Star Domestic Cleaners.
    Shrink wrapping larger pieces such as furniture, wood shelves and mattresses will keep them dry and clean.

    Seal boxes with heavy-duty tape and then wrap them to keep moisture out.

    1. Shorten Distances. "Move all of your boxes into one room such as the living room or even the garage," suggests Trudeau. "This cuts back on the need to traipse through the house all wet."
    Also if you can, back the moving truck as close to the house or apartment building as possible.

    1. Head For Cover. 
    Look for ways to set up a temporary cover over where you will be walking, suggests Marcion Albert, who used to help his father flip homes. "Whether that’s using a popup tent between the home door and the truck, or simply hanging a tarp over the path, you may be able to offset a lot of the rain."
    2. Use Makeshift Mats. 
    To help prevent slipping, lay sheets of cardboard in the entryway and also along the path between the door and the truck.
    Place old sheets, rugs or carpets on floors of the home where helpers will be walking.

    1. Prioritize Items. "If you cannot wait for a break in the rain, try to start with plastic tubs or other plastic items first," notes Trudeau. "Hopefully by the time you need to move fragile items or items without boxes the rain will lessen."
    After wrapping appliances and electronic equipment, wait until the rain stops to transport them or make sure they are well covered and away from water during the shift.

    1. Set Up an Assembly Line. 
    If you have family members and friends helping, select some to stay inside the home, others to remain in the truck, and several to make the trek between the house and the truck. This will minimize the amount of dirt and mud that will need to be cleaned up later.
    2. Dry As You Go. 
    If you packed all of your towels, take several out and place them in the moving truck. After loading a box or piece of furniture, wipe it off to help remove excess moisture.
    3. Remove Items Upon Arrival. 
    "Unpack quickly," advises Albert. "If the box has been compromised, the sooner the items can be removed the better."
    Then look through the stack of boxes. Get rid of the ones you won’t need again, as keeping wet cardboard could lead to mold or mildew.

    "If you plan to reuse the box, leave it on a porch or patio to fully dry before putting it up.

     Thank you- Rachel Hartman https://www.sparefoot.com/

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  • 08/03/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Keep your hands off borrowing from your 401(k)!

    By Joyce Walsack

    Ask most financial advisors about borrowing from your 401(k), and their response will be brief and blunt: "Don’t do it."

    Those three words sum up the prevailing sentiment on the subject. Still, the dire warnings don’t scare everyone from tapping into their nest egg.

    According to Forbes, roughly 40 percent of individuals with a 401(k) borrow against their plans at some point. If you’re considering taking out a loan against your plan, know the basics first.

    Editor’s note: Looking for an employee retirement plan for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

    Are you eligible for a loan?

    That answer depends on your employer’s plan. Employers are not required to allow loans against retirement savings. Some plans don’t while some allow multiple loans. Most, though, have a minimum amount you are allowed to draw from your 401(k). Check with your plan administrator or read your summary plan description to know if a minimum applies, and, if so, what that amount is.

    How much money are we talking about?

    Minimum loan amounts vary, but the maximum is $50,000, or 50 percent of your vested balance, whichever is less. Vesting rules vary also, so check with your plan’s administrator.

    What is the cost?

    Opportunity costs aside (we’ll get there in a minute), the interest rates on 401(k) loans can be very attractive compared to other borrowing options – just 1 percent over the prime rate in many cases. [Interested in setting up retirement options for your employees? Check out the best employee retirement plans of 2019.]

    How long before I have to repay?

    Typically one to five years, unless the loan is for the purchase of a primary residence. A repayment schedule will be part of the loan agreement. For details, check your plan.

    Why do experts advise against a 401(k) loan?

    Because they believe in the value of saving for retirement, and they don’t want you to fall off track. Here are the biggest reasons for keeping your hands off that nest egg:

    • Your earning potential takes a big hit. Missed growth opportunities is the primary and most obvious reason to avoid borrowing from your 401(k). Recent market volatility aside, over time, your managed investments will grow. The more dollars you have working for you, the more you can make. Pulling money out reduces your earning potential. The closer you are to retirement, the harder it is to catch up.
       
    • For the duration of your loan, you can’t contribute to your 401(k). According to Charisse Mackenzie, a financial advisor and president of Saturn Wealth, most people who borrow from their 401(k) stop contributing to their plan while the loan is outstanding. In fact, many plans rule out contributions for the duration of the loan. Since your employer can’t match what you don’t contribute, that free money you’d be getting in matching funds dries up too. That’s a double whammy that you may come to regret in the future.
       
    • When you do have to repay the loan, your take-home pay is reduced. Eventually, you have to repay yourself. Most loan terms range from one to five years, and payments come from payroll deductions using after-tax dollars. This decreases your take-home pay to less than what it was before you needed the cash.
       
    • You’re locked into your job during the duration of the loan. Changing or losing your job means you’ll have to repay the debt. While it’s true the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 gave job-changers more time to come up with the funds, it didn’t remove the requirement to repay the loan. Regardless of your plan’s wording, you have until the deadline for filing your income taxes to get that money into an IRA. If you miss the deadline, the outstanding loan amount will be considered a distribution, and you’re liable not only for the taxes but you’ll pay a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty (assuming you’re under 59 1/2). This is called default, and according to Forbes, it happens to 10 percent of people who take out 401(k) loans.

    Is it worth it?

    Real emergencies happen, and, sometimes, dipping into your retirement savings is the least of all possible evils. Charisse Mackenzie points out three reasons a 401(k) loan might be your best option.

    The low-interest rate could be better than anything else available. There’s typically a quick turnaround time to obtaining a loan, and, in an emergency, that can be key. Finally, and this could be the big one, there’s no credit check. Since borrowing from oneself is not a loan in the traditional sense, it is not reported to credit bureaus.

    In the end, the decision is yours. Weigh your needs, check your other options, and make sure you understand the terms of your plan. If you take out a loan, have a plan to repay your future self as quickly as possible and get back in the savings game.

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  • 06/03/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Frustrated military families with the moving process and Privatization!

    By: Karen Jowers 

    Officials must get the process right so that the household goods program doesn’t "end up where we are with the housing situation," said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

    Don’t make the same mistakes with privatizing the management of household goodsmoves that DoD did with privatized military housing. And listen to military families, senators cautioned the commander of U.S. Transportation Command.

    Officials must get the process right so that the household goods program doesn’t "end up where we are with the housing situation," said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., during a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was referring to situations such as mold and mice in some privatized military housing, resulting partly from what some have said have been inadequate oversight and accountability on the part of DoD and the services.

    "I really want to make sure we get this right, in terms of accountability, predictability and customer satisfaction," Tillis said.

    In the wake of problems such as damaged household goods and delayed moves, a number of frustrated military families have called on TRANSCOM to hold moving companies accountable for problems. TRANSCOM officials are in the early stages of developing a plan to contract out the core function of managing military moves to a private company, with a current timeline of having the transition completed by the beginning of peak summer season in 2021.

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. asked TRANSCOM commander Gen. Steve Lyons for a commitment to make the needs of military families their priority in their effort, citing concerns raised by Army wife Megan Harless, member of an advisory panel convened by TRANSCOM. Harless stated the advisory panel has not been asked to weigh in on the idea of privatizing the household goods process, and expressed concern that TRANSCOM hasn’t fully researched the idea, and isn’t considering some other options that could help military families in the short term.

    "This is all about improving curbside service for military families. That’s our North Star. That is the only reason for this effort," said Lyons, who said he has received more letters on the issue of household goods than any other TRANSCOM issue in the six months he has been commander.

    "I agree with the criticisms of the program. We need to take action to remedy the program as it exists today," he said, adding that DoD has been studying the issue since 1996

    Lyons said the TRANSCOM effort is not "privatization," since military moves are already conducted by private industry today. Rather, it’s putting the overall management of the household goods process in the hands of a private company.

    He said he’s told service officials to "hold me accountable. Allow me to develop an acquisition tool to hold industry accountable," rather than the current system "of very little centralized responsibility, even inside the government."

    Lyons said there has been some concern about the proposal within the moving industry, but others in the industry are supportive. "Some see an opportunity to enter the market. We want to grow the market," he said.

    Military moves have suffered with ever-growing shortages of truck drivers, and fewer workers to do the jobs such as packing and loading, for a variety of reasons including an improving economy that opened up jobs elsewhere. It’s especially difficult during the peak summer moving season, when military moves are competing with those in the private sector for the available trucks and workers.

    Below the level of the move manager, Lyons said, DoD will still need the same or greater number of movers. "We just need the level of quality and accountability in the system," Lyons said.

    Lyons said moving industry associations have been drafting legislative language that would delay the proposed change for two years.

    "That would be a gut punch to military families," he said.

    Read More
  • 04/03/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Small Business Tax Returns in 2019. Here’s What You Should Know.
     
    Mark these deadlines

    As a small business owner, it can feel like tax deadlines constantly sneak up. Quarterly estimated taxes? Sending 1099s to contractors? Income tax day? It can be all too easy for busy business owners to overlook the tax calendar, missing a due date and facing a penalty.

    "We’re here to help! Bookmark this post and resolve to never find yourself blindsided by a small business tax calendar deadline."

    Note: This post assumes that you are a sole-proprietor or small LLC with no employees. If you do have employees, just note you’ll also need to deal with payroll tax and sending out W-2s to your employees. Also, tax obligations can vary from business to business. Always be sure to check with a reputable tax pro if you are unsure what taxes apply to your industry and business.

    January 2019

    Jan. 15, 2019: Your quarterly estimated tax deadline for Q4 2018 is due on this date. Not sure what to do? Read our guide to quarterly estimated taxes.

    Jan. 31, 2019: Today your form 1099-MISC is due to the IRS. Find out how to prepare a 1099-MISC form to send to contractors.

    February 2019

    Feb. 15, 2019: Today is the last day to get form 1099-MISC to your contractors. We cover how to provide form 1099-MISC to your contractors here.

    March 2019

    March 15, 2019: If your business is set up as an S-corporation or a partnership, your corporate income tax return is due today. Yes, that’s a full month before the deadline for personal income tax returns and returns for businesses that are set up as sole-proprietorships or LLCs!

    If your business is a partnership the IRS requires you to file form 1065.

    If your business is an S-corp, the IRS requires that you file form 1120-S.

    Fittingly, this is also the final day for businesses set up as partnerships or S-corps to request a six-month tax extension. Find out more about requesting a tax filing extension here.

    Pro tip: Keep in mind that an extension allows you extra time to file, but does not extend the time you have to actually pay your income tax.

    Photo: IRS Form 7004

    April 2019

    April 15, 2019: Aka "Income Tax Day." If your business is a sole-proprietorship or LLC, your income taxes are due today. File your Form 10401040-A or 1040-EZ today, and pay any additional taxes you might owe that you didn’t pay in quarterly estimated taxes.

    If your business is set up as a C-corporation your income tax is also due today. The IRS requires that you file Form 1120.

    Q1 2019 quarterly estimated taxes are also due on April 15.

    And last but not least, today is also the final day to request a six-month tax extension on your time to file your income tax return.

    June 2019

    June 17, 2019: Today is the deadline to pay Q2 2019 quarterly estimated taxes.

    September 2019

    Sept. 16, 2019: Today is the deadline to pay Q3 2019 quarterly estimated taxes.

    This is also the income tax filing deadline for partnerships and S-corps that requested a six-month income tax filing extension.

    October 2019

    Oct. 15, 2019: This is the last day for everyone who files business sales tax as an individual (sole proprietorships, LLCs, etc.) and C-corps that requested a six-month tax filing extension to file income tax.

    January 2020

    Jan. 15, 2020: Today is the deadline to pay Q4 2019 quarterly estimated taxes.

    What about the state and local tax calendar?

    Most businesses are required to pay income tax not just to the federal government, but to the state, too. Depending on your location, some businesses are even required to remit taxes to local areas such as cities and counties. How and when to pay taxes generally falls along the same tax calendar as federal taxes, but can vary by state. That’s why we recommend contacting your state’s taxing authority for more info. You can generally find this by searching "your state" + "Department of Revenue."

    The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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  • 03/03/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Moving In Texas? The lowest price may not be the best deal.

    By law, Texas movers must be licensed with the TxDMV. If you hire one that isn’t, you risk losing your belongings.If you plan to hire a mover within Texas, Local Movings has some valuable information for you. Whether you are moving across town or across the state, we want you to know that the lowest price may not be the best deal when choosing a mover All household goods movers operating within Texas are required to obtain a certificate of motor carrier registration and have proof of insurance on file with TX DOT. This includes major van lines, as well as local movers with pick-up trucks and trailers.  There are many moving companies out there, so choose your mover carefully. Shop around to find the best prices and services. While TX DOT cannot recommend movers, they can verify if your mover is properly registered and give you information about the mover’s complaint history.

    Best Moving Company in Houston 

    Local Movings provides you with a written proposal, which is required by law. This may be either a binding proposal, which states the price of the move, or a not-to-exceed proposal, which states the maximum hourly or flat price of the move, but allows the mover to charge less than the  maximum, For any mover to give you an accurate estimate, you must be clear about the items you want moved and advise them of any special conditions, such as stairs, long carries or elevators that are involved in the move. Local Moving’s proposal also indicate what forms of payment are  accepted, such as personal checks or credit card.

    All movings companies must provide you with a moving services contract. This contract could be in the form  of a bill of lading, a work ticket, or other receipt. This contract should contain all of the information about your move including your name, mover’s name, and amount of mover’s liability for loss or damage of your goods. You should verify pick-up and delivery dates are correct on  the contract. Carefully read and make sure all documents offered by the mover are filled out completely before you sign them. A descriptive inventory can be done, usually at an extra cost that lists all the items being moved and their condition. The inventory will be done at loading  and unloading to inspect the condition of the goods.

    All movers registered with TX DOT have a standard liability of 60 cents per pound per article. This means the moving company is only required to reimburse you $30 for a 50-pound television. You must ask your local mover about a higher level of liability (valuation), which will usually require an  additional fee. It is important to note that a higher level of liability is not the same as purchasing transit insurance. You should ask your mover if they can sell you a transit insurance, which helps cover loss or damage to your goods,however, the best option would be to  purchase this type of policy from an insurance company.

    Local Movings is registered with TX DOT’S Motor Carrier Division, which handles all inquiries regarding household goods movers. 

    Local Movings recommends that consumers check with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to make sure that the moving companies they are considering have their license. You may view motor carrier registration and information from our Website http://www.dot.state.tx.us/apps/mccs/mccs_search.asp

    Are you ready to book the best movers in TX

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  • 26/02/2019 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Tax filing season is here!

    Many taxpayers are anxiously awaiting this year’s tax refund that they hope to use to pay down debt, pad their savings or make a big purchase.

    Historically, almost three-quarters of Americans receive a refund, which has averaged just under $3,000, a big sum for many families.

    This year, the Internal Revenue Service expects most refunds to be issued in less than 21 days, as long as the return doesn’t require further review. Some USA TODAY readers have reported getting their refunds in as fast as one week.

    Here’s how to find out the status of your refund if you’re still waiting for it.

    Track it

    If you haven’t received your tax refund, you can track its progress using the "Where’s My Refund?" app online or the free IRS mobile app IRS2Go. Information on your tax refund typically will be available within 24 hours after you filed an electronic return or four weeks after mailing a paper return. The app updates once a day – usually overnight.

    Tax stress: Some Americans face a costly surprise this tax season: tiny refunds or bigger bills

    To check your refund status, you will need provide your Social Security number, filing status and exact refund amount. The tool will show one of three statuses: Return Received, Refund Approved and Refund Sent. If you don’t have internet access, you can call 800-829-1954 for an audio version of "Where’s My Refund?"

    Tax refunds for EITC and ACTC filers

    The "Where’s My Refund" tool will also be updated this week for the majority of early filers who claimed either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Before that, those filers may receive a projected date or message saying the IRS was still processing their return.

    Tech tips: 10 tech tips for Google, Instagram and Facebook to get your digital life in order

    Taxpayers who claimed the EITC or ACTC will see their tax refunds in their bank accounts or debit cards starting Feb. 27, if they chose direct deposit. That’s because, by law, the IRS couldn’t begin issuing those refunds before Feb. 15 to give the agency more time to detect possible fraud.

    Is my tax refund lost?

    It’s time to call the IRS about your tax refund if it has been more than 21 days since you e-filed, more than six weeks since you mailed your return, or the "Where’s My Refund?" tool directs you to contact the agency.

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  • 06/12/2018 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Determining the Time Your Move Will Take

    We would like to look into a crystal ball and find out exactly how long our move will take? This is true, every time you move, there are several factors that determine the total time it takes to complete your move. How long would it take? 

    These moving factors can help you come up with a pretty  idea of the time  needed for your move. Keep the following in mind.

    Time frame

    While the actual amount of time it takes to move can vary greatly from move to move, most professional movers provide these general timelines based on the size of a home or apartment:

    • Studio or one-bedroom home moves take about 2 to 3 hours.
    • Two-bedroom home moves take about 3 to 5 hours.
    • Three to four-bedroom homes moves take up to 7 to 9 hours.
    • Five or more bedroom home moves can take 8 to 10 hours.

    Keep in mind that these figures are general timeframes that most moving companies use in order to estimate the amount of manpower and time required for a move so that they can make reasonably accurate  quotes. The time frame for your moving situation might be more or less than these general timelines. We at LocalMovings.com recommend to add 2 hours or remove 2 hours to our general estimates for 3 bedrooms + moves.

    Moving considerations

    There are other factors involved in a move, however, that may speed up or slow down the moving process. Here are a few other moving considerations besides the residense size to keep in mind. The time of your move will be affected by factors such as:

    • The number of boxes you have 
    • The amount of furniture you own and how big each piece is
    • How much assembly/disassembly is required
    • Moving truck accessibility (how far your movers have to walk in order to load and unload the truck)
    • Weather conditions: hot, cold, rainy or muddy?
    • Any loose, unpacked items to move
    • The number of fragile items you move (artwork, electronics, collections, etc.)
    • The flights of stairs you’ll have to navigate, and/or your access to a moving elevator
    • The size of your elevator
    • The number of long hallways or walkways to travel over
    • The number of movers helping you move
    • The distance between your old apartment and your new one — and traffic or weather conditions on roads in between
    • How close we are able to park the truck to your location.
    • How many flights of stairs in each location.
    • Long hallways/long carry out to
    • How much furniture will wrap & unwrapped 
    • Size of the truck.
    • How many odds and ends (unpacked items).
    • Size of the elevator and will you be the only one using the elevator on that day?
    • How far your locations are from the carriers warehouse and between homes.
    • Additional pickups and stops.
    • How well prepared you are with where your items go within the home and whether items will fit.
    • Traffic, time during the day & the day of the week.

    All of these factors come into play when you think about how to determine the time your move can take.

    The bottom line: it’s best not to try to rush a move. Always plan for things to take a bit longer than you imagined they would.

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  • 04/09/2018 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Moving Tips For Downsizing- Seniors

    By Self Storage:

    Moving Tips, Tricks and Secrets!

    Moving is a big job, but when you’re a senior and you’re moving from the home you’ve raised your family in to something smaller, you have some specific considerations you have to make. You can take measures to reduce the stress of the days ahead. Here’s a guide to help you through the process as you get ready to downsize and prep for your move.

    1. Knowing When It’s Time to Downsize

    Life happens quickly. One day you’re in the midst of raising your kids, tripping over one another in a house that barely seems big enough, and the next your kids are grown and you’re left with a large house that’s more work than it seems to be worth. Most homeowners do not buy their homes with the intent of downsizing, but as they enter their senior years, the realities of owning a large home begin to catch up with them. Knowing when it’s time to downsize is not always easy, but these tips and guidelines should help a little. Here are some signs that it’s time to consider downsizing:

    • Need to Stretch the Budget – Your retirement savings are only going to go so far. If you need to stretch them, then it’s time to consider downsizing to stretch your housing budget.
    • House Upkeep Becomes Overwhelming – If the task of cleaning and maintaining your home is overwhelming, and you don’t have the budget to hire outside help to do the job, then it’s time to consider downsizing.
    • Vacant Rooms – If you have multiple rooms in your home that you never use, then you don’t need them. They are costing you money to heat and maintain, and downsizing will fix this problem.
    • You Need a Different Layout – As we age, getting up and down stairs gets harder and harder. If you have a multi-story home, you may need to downsize to a single-story home or apartment to ensure you can navigate your home successfully.

    If you’re noticing any of these are true about you, then downsizing is going to be the right choice.

    2. Sorting Belongings

    Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, then it’s time to sort through your stuff. Moving to a smaller place means you can’t take everything with you, no matter how attached you are to your things.

    To sort, you will need to sort your things into four basic categories: Keep, Store, Sell/Give, and Trash. Start with one area of your home at a time, even if it’s just one closet or one dresser, and go through each item, deciding which fits into which category.

    If you’re having trouble figuring out what to toss, look for these key signs that something is best thrown out or given away:

    • You never took it out of the box
    • It doesn’t fit your style or needs
    • You think "I might need this someday"
    • It’s old or out of date
    • You won’t use or read it again
    • It’s an unfinished project
    • It hasn’t been touched in more than a year and holds no sentimental value
    • Furniture that won’t fit in your new space

    Next, know which items should be stored. Some items you don’t need for day-to-day living, but need to keep for a variety of reasons. Items that are best stored include:

    • Paperwork and documents
    • Items with sentimental value
    • Seasonal items you don’t have room to store at your new home

    Finally, decide what you should keep. Make sure you don’t overlook:

    • Sentimental items that you want to see regularly
    • Items with high value that you wish to keep close
    • Clothing items important for special occasions

    Keep in mind that the more you get rid of before your move, the easier time you will have fitting everything into your new space.

    3. Packing to Move

    Now comes the job of packing. This is not an easy task, so make sure you give yourself enough time to do the job well.

    It’s important to remember that packing is a physically demanding job. You are not as young as you once were, so give yourself enough time to handle the task without physical stress or injury. Here are some tips that will help make the job a little safer:

    • Tackle Small Jobs – Break the task of packing your home into smaller jobs, which are much more manageable. Remember, you took many years to accumulate your belongings, so don’t expect to be able to pack them in a week. Set aside an hour or two every day to work at the task until it’s complete.
    • Be Aware po Box Weight – Even if you have help on moving day, you might need to move boxes around your new home as you unpack, so keep the weight of the boxes in mind as you pack. Mix heavy items with light ones to keep the weight of each individual box reasonable. In general, make sure no boxes weigh more than 50 pounds.
    • Ask for Help – This is probably not a job you can handle on your own. Ask for help. If help is not available, consider setting aside some funds to hire movers.
    • Handle Fragile Items with Care – Be sure to wrap fragile items carefully, and add more layers than you think are necessary to ensure they come out of the process unscathed.
    • Use Plastic Tubs – For items you will be storing for the long-term, use plastic tubsinstead of cardboard to ensure that they are protected and safe.
    • Pack a "Open First" Box – Unpacking is just as stressful as packing, so make your job a little easier by keeping one or two "open first" boxes with the essentials you will need for your first days in your new space. Items like bedding, linens and toiletries will be enough to get you through the first few days so you do not have to stress yourself to unpack quickly. Put this box in the truck last.
    • Label Well – Labeling your items so that you know exactly what is in every box will help you unpack more quickly and effectively once you’re settled in your new space.

    4. Hiring Movers or DIY Move?

    After you have started downsizing your belongings and packing, you’re going to need to make one of the most important decisions in this process – are you going to handle the move yourself, or hire someone else to do it for you. Before weighing the pros and cons, ask yourself a couple of questions:

    • What is your health like? Can you handle taking on much of the tasks and come out healthy?
    • How much family help is nearby? Does your family have time to help?
    • How close is your timeline? Do you have the luxury of time?
    • How far are you moving?

    If you think you could handle the move on your own, then you need to weigh the pros and cons of this decision. The main benefits of doing the move yourself are:

    • Spending less money
    • Ensuring your fragile items are handled well
    • Moving on your own timeline, with the ability to move a little at a time

    The drawbacks are as follows:

    • More physically stressful
    • Greater demand for help from friends and family
    • Expensive if you are moving cross-country

    If you choose to hire movers, you enjoy several benefits, including:

    • Limited stress in packing
    • More efficient and safe moving practices
    • Better protection of large items with experienced movers
    • Faster move
    • Cheaper for long distance moves
    • No need to rely on friends and family

    In general, if you are moving 500 miles or more, a professional crew may be the cheapest option, and will almost certainly be the least stressful option. However, there are some drawbacks to moving companies to consider, which include:

    • Having strangers pack and handle your stuff
    • More expensive for local moves

    So what’s the bottom line? The answer to this question will depend on many factors, but if your health is compromised, you are moving a long distance or you don’t have friends or family nearby who can help, then you’re probably going to want to  hire a professional. Otherwise, you can save some money by doing it yourself.

    5. Keeping Moving Day Safe

    After all of your planning, packing and preparation, when moving day finally arrives, you’re going to want to take some measures to ensure everyone and everything is safe. This is a big job, so a little forward planning is not going to be a bad idea.

    First, you are going to want to make sure you are not injured during the move. To avoid a serious back strain or even more serious injury, make sure you:

    • Get sufficient help. You can’t handle your move alone.
    • Don’t pack any boxes that weigh more than 50 pounds.
    • Use proper lifting techniques.
    • Leave the heavy lifting to someone younger, or use a dolly.
    • Keep a clear path into and out of your home.
    • Keep your pets away from your home on moving day.

    In addition, make sure you take care of your nutritional needs. It’s easy to skip meals and drink breaks in the hustle and bustle of moving. Make sure you do not get dehydrated, and provide plenty of food for yourself and your team of movers to ensure everyone has the energy they need to do the job well.

    Next, make sure you take measures to avoid damage to your belongings. Make sure you stack boxes carefully, with heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes on the top. Label the boxes so the top and bottom are clearly seen, and make sure you load the truck so that the heavy times are distributed near the front. This will protect the balance of the truck while driving to your new home. Finally, make sure anything that might shift during transit is tied down and secured properly. You don’t want to arrive at your new home with damaged belongings!

    6. Prepare for the Emotional Side of Moving

    For some, moving involves a new adventure, and as such is an exciting time, but this is not the case for everyone. Some people find the transition to be a challenge, especially if they are giving up living in a place that they made family memories. The home where children were raised and grandchildren were welcomed can be hard to leave.

    To prepare for the emotions of moving, make sure you first embrace them. It’s normal to feel a bit sad when making this type of transition! Don’t fear these emotions, as they are a healthy part of settling in to your new normal.

    That said, sometimes the sadness can turn into something more. Be aware of the fact that some seniors will struggle with a condition called Relocation Stress Syndrome after making a major move. This is defined as a "physiologic and/or psycho-social disturbance as a result of a transfer from one environment to another." Signs of this syndromeinclude:

    • Depression
    • Sadness
    • Despair
    • Confusion
    • Apprehension
    • Anxiety
    • Sleep problems
    • Withdrawal
    • Isolation

    If you are noticing these signs in yourself, or if your senior loved one is experiencing them, be prepared to get medical or psychological help to ease the transition a bit.

    7. Getting Settled in Your New Home

    Once you’ve moved, take some time to get settled in your new space. Here are some tips to help you settle in more quickly.

    • Meet the Neighbors – Establishing social connections early will help you feel at home in your new space.
    • Get to Know the Community – Whether the social events of your assisted living community or the stores and social opportunities around your town, take some time to get to know the community where you have settled.
    • Unpack Logically – Start with the items you need right away, then unpack a little at a time until you’re fully settled in your new home.
    • Schedule a Party – Invite your family or friends over for a little housewarming. You may need to limit the guest list to ensure everyone will fit, but don’t be afraid to show off your new space.
    • Establish Routines – Routines go far in making you feel at home, so move towards routines as quickly as possible. Bring the routines you loved from your old home, if possible, to your new one.
    • Change Your Address – Missing bills because you never received them is stressful. Change the address on all of your utilities, medical bills, insurance companies and credit or bank statements as soon as possible to ensure you are getting all of your mail. File a Change of Address form with the post office as well.

    8. Extra Belongings: Store, Bequeath or Sell?

    As you sort through your belongings, you will find that you have a number of items that are still in good shape, but you simply don’t need. In these instances, you will need to decide whether you are going store those items, sell them or bequeath them to your beneficiaries now. Making this choice is not always easy. Here are some guidelines that can help.

    First, decide which items you want to hang on to for a while. This is a highly personal decision, and will depend on how much storage space you have, or whether or not you choose to purchase a storage unit. If items hold specific sentimental value, are items you need on occasion and still think you will need or want to bequeath but aren’t ready to do so now, then you need to store those items. Keep in mind that the more you store, the more you will have to spend for storage.

    Next, decide if there are any items you want to go ahead and pass along to the next generation. This can be a very rewarding way to part with your items. You will be able to see the next generation enjoy your items, but you won’t have to store them. Some items that it makes sense to bequeath now include:

    • Heirloom furniture you won’t have room to use
    • Special dishes or sets of china
    • Decor that might have a sentimental value
    • Antique and vintage items

    Finally, decide what items you can sell. Often, antique and vintage items can bring a significant price. Make sure you’re getting a fair deal, though. Have items appraised by an antiques dealer before selling them to protect yourself.

    9. Tips for Family

    If your elderly loved one is planning a move, here are some ways you can help with the transition:

    • Plan more time than you think for the move. Older people take longer to make decisions, pack and settle in, so give enough time.
    • Know when your help is wanted, and be ready to step in. Provide space when it’s needed as well.
    • Be prepared for frustration on the part of your parent, especially if the move involves a move to assisted living.
    • Encourage your loved one to make friends as soon as possible after they move, which will help them get settled more quickly.
    • Watch for signs of emotional distress. Even a move that was your loved one’s decision can create trauma and stress as the time progresses.
    • Have compassion for your loved one and the changes they are facing.
    • Set the time schedule, and keep everyone on task.
    • Help with the preparation of checklists that will help everyone stay on task.

     

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  • 11/03/2018 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 2 Comments
    How to Move Your Grandfather Clock

    How to Pack my Grandfather Clock for Moving.

    Follow these easy steps and you are on your way to moving your Grandfather clock.
    Always start with the weights down about 3 – 4 days of the move.
    You will need gloves, scissors, newspaper, painters tape, packing tape, a large blanket and about 40 minutes.

    1. Open the side access window (if any) and move them to a safe place where you may not step on one and break it.

    2. If the clock has cable holding the weights, insert 3 – 2″ square Styrofoam blocks that came with the clock above each pulley between the cables. If you do not have a Styrofoam block, make a tight square of newspaper about 2″ inches in diameter and hold the block or newspaper square above the pulley as you wind the weights one at a time until they stop with the paper or Styrofoam block jammed above the pulleys. This procedure prevents the cable from tangling when the weights are removed. You need to keep tension on the cables.

    3. For clocks with chains, raise the weights so the clock is about half wound (middle of the clock). Use a piece of thin wire or twist ties to string the chains together just where the chains protrude below the movement and tie the wire together; this action will secure the chains so they do not come off their sprockets. These need to be tight or the chain will come off the sprocket.

    4. Remove the weights while wearing gloves and look at the bottom to see if they are marked "Left – Center – Right" . If not, mark them so they can be replaced to the same position on the clock for installation later. For clocks with chains, secure the chains by bunching them from bottom to top and wrapping them in newspaper and place a rubber band around the package so that they do not move around and possibly damage the finish. Package up the weights carefully as not to dent the brass casings.

    5. Remove the pendulum by holding it from the middle and slightly moving it up. It should un-hook from the pendulum leader easily. DO NOT FORCE IT. The pendulum guide needs to be so that it may not move around during moving and it should never be under a lot of tension in any direction. You may take one or two full width pages of newspaper and gather the loose paper around the pendulum guide. Use just enough so it remains loose, but unable to freely move around.

    6. Reinstall the access panels and lock them in or tape them from the inside (glass to wood) so the windows will not come out and break during moving. Close and lock the door(s).

    7) Wrap the clock to protect the furniture.  A queen size comforter should completely surround the clock. If not try any large blanket. Wrap the blanket around the clock and tape the blanket closed. Wrap the tape twice near the top of the clock all the way around, once near the middle and one near the base.
    8. The clock can now be carefully moved to it’s new location. If the clock is a newer clock, you may move it on it’s back if you have followed the instructions above to the letter. Older clocks may need only to be moved in an upright position because of the weight of the movement and the way the movement may be fastened to the case.

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  • 17/11/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Dining Rooms- Be Creative Be cute Be Yourself

    From Holiday to Everyday: The Year-Round Dining Room

    Formal dining rooms are perfect during the busy holiday season. But what about the rest of the year? If you’re unsure what to do with your unused space between celebrations, consider going with a multi-purpose update. Here are a few upgrades that will help your dining room shine during homework marathons and Thanksgiving dinners alike.

    Houston Professional Movers

    Super-Size Your Kitchen
    A popular choice for many homeowners is an expanded kitchen. Given the fact that the kitchen is increasingly becoming the hub of activity in most homes, it makes sense to remodel this space to accommodate today’s changing lifestyles. Whether it’s adding an island, creating an eat-in kitchen or building your dream kitchen sacrificing your dining room to get a more functional kitchen is worth it.

    P.S. Don’t knock down walls yourself. Leave any structural changes to the pros.

    Great Movers in Houston Texas

    Want more ideas or need contractors?

    https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/marketing/from-holiday-to-everyday-the-year-round-dining-room/?
    m=homesense&entry_point_id=32929273&comm_auth_dt=201711170721&comm_auth_id=respcons&entityID=27091292&comm_auth_hash=860961635991a6a20a3323c84a5ad566&rmid=11-17-2017_Holiday_Dining_Room_HOLDOUT&rrid=aWQ9MjcwOTEyOTI=

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  • 27/08/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Hurricane Harvey: Help your family prepare for this natural disaster

    Help your family prepare for a natural disaster.

    Hurricanes

    How to prepare:

    • Learn your community’s evacuation routes and nearest evacuation shelters.
    • Make plans for special assistance for the elderly, disabled, and pets.
    • Learn about emergency plans for your children’s school or daycare center.
    • Meet with household members and discuss how to respond to a pending disaster.
    • Discuss what to do about power outages or personal injury.
    • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
    • Post emergency numbers near telephones.
    • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster. 
    • Pick two meeting places: A place near home and a place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
    • Take a basic first aid or CPR class.
    • Make an inventory of the items you own; take photos and include serial numbers if possible. Keep this inventory, along with any other important documents such as family records and insurance policies, in a water- and fire-proof container.
    • Carefully review your insurance policy so you are familiar with the coverage you have.
    • Prepare a smaller version of your disaster supplies emergency kit for your car.
    • Make sure your car is in good working condition and has a full tank of gas.
    • Obtain materials, such as plastic and plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
    • Trim trees and shrubs, cutting weak branches and trees that could fall on or bump against your home.
    • Secure items that might blow away or be torn loose, such as garbage cans, signs, and patio furniture.
    • Check prescription medications and make sure you have at least a 10- to 14-day supply.
    • Clear your windshield and windows on the inside and outside to ensure you have clear visibility.
    • Be sure all of your tires are properly inflated and vehicle lights work properly.

    How to stay safe in the home:

    • Listen to your radio for the latest emergency procedures or evacuations; observe road closure signs.
    • Remain indoors until officials announce an "all clear."
    • Stay away from doors and windows. Designate a "safe room" in the house or on the property that is windowless and is centrally located.
    • Store mattresses or seat cushions in the "safe room" for added protection from flying debris.
    • Shut off water, gas, and electricity if instructed to do so.
    • If your home begins to flood, move to a second floor or attic. If necessary, use an axe to cut a hole in the roof for an emergency exit.

    How to stay safe on the road:

    • Turn on windshield wipers and headlights (not just daytime running lights), as soon as rain begins to fall.
    • If windows begin to fog, turn on the car’s defroster, preferably the heat.
    • Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility.
    • Slow down. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. Rain decreases visibility and increases braking distances.
    • Increase following distances. Normal dry pavement following distance (three to four seconds) should be increased to eight seconds or more when driving on slippery surfaces.
    • Driving in other vehicle’s tracks can improve traction and help you avoid hydroplaning.
    • Drivers of four-wheel-drive vehicles must remember they are not immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces.
    • Be wary of high wind conditions and give extra room for larger trucks.
    • Watch out for debris or downed wires. If you’re in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed power line, the best rule is to stay there until help arrives. If there is an imminent danger, such as fire, stand on the door frame or edge of the vehicle and jump clear with both feet at the same time.
    • Do not cross standing water on the road. As little as 6 inches of water can make you lose control of your car; 2 feet of water will carry away most cars.
    • Try to avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood.
    • If you are forced to stop in traffic due to poor visibility, turn on emergency flashers.

    How to recover:

    • Don’t touch loose or dangling wires.
    • If your home is flooded, don’t turn on lights or appliances until an electrician inspects your property.
    • Store any undamaged property in a protected place so it will not be stolen.
    • Don’t drink tap water until given an "all clear" by officials.
    • Notify your relatives of your safety and whereabouts.
    • If your home and/or car are damaged, take pictures of the damage for insurance claims and contact your service agent.
    • If power lines are on your vehicle, do not attempt to remove them nor touch the vehicle. Contact the local power company for assistance.
    • If the vehicle has been flooded, contact a qualified automotive technician before attempting to start it. Have the technician inspect all mechanical components including the engine, transmission, steering system, axles, and fuel system for water contamination. Also have the technician drain floodwater from contaminated systems and flush with clean water or a solvent, as appropriate. All contaminated fluids, such as oil, transmission fluid, and engine coolant, should be drained and replaced.
    • Only make necessary repairs to protect your home from further damage. These may include:
      • Covering broken windows and holes
      • Removing soaked carpet
      • Drying flooded areas
      • Unplugging electronics and appliances
    • Be present when the adjuster inspects your damaged property.
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  • 02/06/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Moving in Bad Weather?

    It’s moving day. Everything is packed, the movers are parked outside, and despite your prayers for sunshine the weather forecast is coming true—a storm is brewing, prompting worries of soaked boxes and ruined furniture.

    http://www.moving.com/tips/dont-gloomy-moving-bad-weather/

    Rain or shine – we hope you’re prepared for whatever your moving day throws at you. Here are a few pieces of advice for moving in the midst of heat, rain, snow and every other awful weather condition. Best of luck and stay dry!

    Preparation
    From spontaneous summer rain showers to unexpected winter storms, there’s only so much you can predict when it comes to your local forecast. This means your number one job is to prepare for whatever the day may bring. If you’re moving during the summertime, this means taking the heat and humidity into consideration. If you’re moving during the late fall or winter, you and your family should plan for a blustery, cold day. It’s always a good idea to discuss a back-up date with the moving company, just in case the weather conditions make it impossible to move.

    Also, don’t forget to call your utilities provider to arrange a date and time to set up electricity, as well as heat and air conditioning in your new home. If you can get the heat and air conditioning up-and-running a day or two before the move-in date, you’ll save yourself from headaches (and cold feet and hands!) later on.

    Here are a few other items you’ll need to properly prepare for the move:

    Moving on a summer day? Make sure to lather yourself in plenty of sunscreen. Also, wear a hat to protect your head and face from the sun.
    Bottled water for hot days; coffee for cold days
    Rain jacket and ponchos for yourself and the movers
    Extra umbrellas on-hand
    Winter hats and gloves
    Rain boots, extra socks and sneakers
    Hand warmers
    Extra towels on-hand
    Durable, waterproof trash bags
    Plastic bins
    Plastic wrap
    Waterproof tarps
    Shovels for snow
    Salt for sidewalks, driveways and doorstep
    SEE ALSO: Moving this Winter? How to Prepare for a Cold Weather Relocation

    Protecting your belongings
    Protecting your belongings from water damage should be one of your biggest priorities when packing. After all, arriving at your new house with ruined electronics will inevitably ruin your day as well. To protect your items, we recommend:

    Placing small electronics, cords and cables in sealed, waterproof plastic bags before packing them in boxes.
    Having your moving company professionally wrap and pack your larger electronics, such as toaster ovens, TVs and more.
    Packing as much as possible (especially paper items) in plastic, waterproof bins. Water can easily seep in through cardboard boxes, ruining whatever books, photos or pillows happen to be inside.
    Wrapping wooden furniture, appliances, artwork and mirrors in heavy plastic wrap, heavy towels or blankets.
    Shrink wrapping your items, such as clothing, before packing them. Not only will this protect your belongings from water damage, but it will also help to save space.
    Remember: one advantage to hiring a qualified moving company is that your movers have the skills and tools to keep your precious belongings dry and safe during a move. To find a professional mover near you, check Moving.com’s network of licensed and insured moving companies.

    Transportation
    Planning for your transportation is especially important to those moving during the winter months. You’ll want to make sure your car is in tip-top condition, and properly prepared for whatever journey lies ahead. If you’re driving a large moving truck, yourself, you’ll need to consider the best route to take in case of deteriorating road conditions. Here are a few pieces of advice for hitting the road on moving day:

    Service your car ahead of time. Avoid having your car overheat or break down in bad weather by servicing it ahead of time. If there’s a chance you’ll be driving on icy roads that day, check to make sure the car’s tires are in great shape and prepared for snowy conditions.
    Plan a route for best case scenario weather and a route for worst case scenario weather. While taking back roads may be a smart way to save time on a typical moving day, they will only slow you down in treacherous driving conditions. Tip: stick to main roads and highways, which are typically cleared of snow and ice first.
    Bring a snow shovel, snowblower and salt for sidewalks, if moving during the winter.
    Protecting your new house
    Finally, after you’ve properly packed and prepared your items for the move, you should think about how to protect your new house. Whether it’s rain, snow, ice, or sleet, you’ll want to try your hardest to keep your new home water damage-free. With movers walking in and out the front door, you could end up with mud or snowy slush trudged throughout your new home. Here are a few tips for keeping your new digs clean and tidy, despite a bad weather day.

    First and foremost, protect your entryway floors. The last thing you want to clean up on moving day is snow, salt or mud tracked through your home. I recommend placing towels and large blankets in the doorways, and on the doorsteps, entryway and hallway. Make sure you and the movers have a designated spot to wipe off shoes and boots before entering the house.
    Those with wood floors should be especially careful to protect them from water damage, as this can cause floors to warp, swell and crack. I recommend bringing a waterproof tarp to cover hardwood floors in your home’s entry space.
    If your new house is piled high with soaking wet cardboard boxes, you should unpack them as quickly as possible to avoid water damage. Recycle all cardboard boxes immediately after the move, since they’re no longer salvageable.
    The last thing you want happening on moving day is either you or your movers slipping and falling at the new house. If it’s snowing, icing or raining, you’ll want to make sure the driveway, sidewalks, and front doorsteps are all clear and safe to walk on.

     

     

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  • 22/05/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 1 Comment
    Documents You will need to be pre-approved for a mortgage

    Get Pre-qualified for a Mortgage

    Mortgage Pre-Approval Checklist

    Whether you’ve completed the prequalification process with U.S. Bank or not you can apply for pre-approval at any time. The first step is to complete a full mortgage loan application, including the following information.

    This is a partial list; your mortgage loan originator can tell you about any additional requirements.

    Residential History

    Your residential address for the past two years
    Landlord names and addresses for the last two years, if you rented during that time
    Employment & Income History

    Paycheck stubs from the last 30 days showing your year-to-date earnings
    W-2 or I-9 tax forms (issued by your employer) for the past two years
    Personal Assets

    Bank account statements from the two most recent months for all checking and savings accounts
    Other asset statements from the past two months for any CDs, IRAs, stocks, bonds or other securities you intend to use for your down payment
    Current real estate holdings, including property address, current market value, mortgage lender’s name and address, loan account number, balance and monthly payment
    Personal Debt

    A list of any new monthly debts not listed on your credit report (auto loans, student loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, etc.), including creditor name, address, account number, minimum monthly payment amount and outstanding balance on each account
    Additional documents may be required at your mortgage closing. Your real estate agent and mortgage loan originator will let you know which documents will be needed when you close on your new home and they’ll work closely with you at each step of the mortgage process.

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  • 26/03/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Packing Books In 7 Simple Steps

    Packing Books In 7 Simple Steps

    Most of the people who are getting ready to move out of their homes don’t always stick a High Priority label to the job of packing books. Such an obvious underestimation may be the direct result of 1) people having too many things on their minds to worry about packing and moving their books, 2) people thinking that packing books for a move is the easiest move-related task in their calendars, and 3) people owning too few books to really be intimidated by the book packing job ahead of them.

     

    While it’s true that to pack books when moving house is relatively easier than to pack kitchen plates and glasses for a move, you still need to know the basic book packing principles and safety rules to prevent any damage to your favorite reads and prolong the shelf life.

     

    Moving house is a notoriously chaotic period in life when even seemingly simple tasks can go terribly wrong. The next 10 simple steps will show you the best way to pack books for moving.

     

    Step 1. Optimize your book collection

     

    Books cannot be broken easily like kitchen plates or glass vases, so what’s all the fuss about packing and moving books? Well, when packed together in a box, books become super heavy and that weight alone can cause a number of problems for you on moving day.

     

    A single book page is almost weightless, one book is not really heavy, get 5 books together and things are starting to feel differently. Cram 10 books in one tight place and you’ll understand why moving books could prove to be harder than you expected. And since the final moving price will be based primarily on the move distance and the total shipment weight, you should seriously consider lowering that overall weight any way you can.

     

    Do you really need to take all the books you own? First and foremost, go through your book collection one by one and select only the copies you must have with you at all costs – prized collections, favorite books and gifts from dear friends will surely make it to your new home.

     

    Step 2. Sort and group your books

     

    Sorting your books is a step you should not skip.
    Time can kill the value of books – either literally or figuratively speaking, or maybe even both. You may find out that some of your books have been seriously damaged with time, especially if they have not been properly stored. Other copies may have lost the original worth they had when you first bought them. Either way, it’s time to sort out your books into two large piles: TAKE and LEAVE BEHIND.

     

    Below, we’ll give you great tips for packing books when moving house (the TAKE pile) but let’s first say a few words about what you should do with the LEAVE BEHIND stack.

     

    Gift to friends or donate to charities any books you won’t ever need again but are still worthy of being read by other people. Where to donate used books? Check whether local libraries, hospitals, schools, nursing homes or charity shops will be willing to take the books you’re not taking with you.
    Consider recycling any paper copies that are too worn out, damaged or worthless to be enjoyed by anyone but your local recycling center.
    Don’t forget to group the books you’re moving by size so that they can fit nicely into the boxes.

     

    Step 3. Get proper supplies for packing

     

    Even though packing books for a move may not the toughest job in your packing calendar, you’re still going to need the right packing materials to keep harmful damage away from your favorite reads. To finish your task quickly and to avoid time-wasting interruptions, get your hands on:

     

    Book boxes. These cardboard boxes are not any special type of moving containers – rather, they just happen to meet 3 major requirements: 1) they are strong because they are made of thick cardboard, 2) they are small boxes with usual dimensions of 20" x 11" x 11" (medium-sized boxes should also do fine), and 3) they are perfectly clean, dry and free of any signs of pre-existing damage.
    Packing paper. You’ll need clean and soft packing paper in order to pack valuable books, as well as to use as effective separators between rows of books already arranged in boxes.
    Newspapers. Newsprint is the ideal filling material – abundant and free of charge.
    Packing tape. Get at least 2 rolls of high-quality packing tape as it will be used for additional reinforcement for book boxes as well.
    A marker pen. Label your packed boxes properly to make things easier for you upon arrival in your new home. /How to label your moving boxes like a pro/


    Step 4. Prepare book boxes for increased efficiency

     

    Before you can begin placing the already sorted and grouped books into cardboard boxes of the right size, let’s list the steps you need to take to make sure the moving containers are 100% ready for use. The main things to consider when preparing the cardboard boxes you’ll use to transport your books are:

     

    Take a closer look at the boxes you plan to use for transporting your books – inspect each book box carefully and make sure none of them is damp or has holes, tears or other signs of excessive wear. Remember that books are too heavy to be moved in largely unreliable packing boxes.
    Apply an extra layer of packing tape to the bottom of each book box to ensure that no moving container will break under the considerable weight. Also, use tape to reinforce all side seams of the cardboard boxes too.
    Place a couple of clean sheets of packing paper on the bottom of each container to serve as an initial insulating layer.


    Step 5. Learn how to pack books for moving

     

    The next easy steps will teach you how to pack books in moving boxes so that you won’t have any accidents during the move itself. Ultimately, you will want to open up the boxes after arriving in your new house or apartment and find the books exactly the way you have packed them.

     

    Packing books is always more fun when a dear friend is willing to give you a hand, or a paw.
    First of all, valuable books should be wrapped individually in soft packing paper. If you happen to own a few books of great sentimental value, you must keep them with you during the entire move.

     

    The good news is that you can choose among 3 different ways to arrange your books in the boxes: upright, flat and spine down.
    Upright. Arrange the books standing upright so that their open parts are facing the box sides. This is the way you would usually see books neatly arranged on bookshelves. Do not pack books with their open sides facing the inside of the book box.
    Flat. This is a very safe way of packing books in moving boxes – you just stack them along the box sides. Don’t forget to place the heavier copies first and then arrange the lighter ones on top of them.
    Spines down. This is the least recommended way to pack books in a box but if you decide to use it for some reason, always arrange the books with their spines facing the bottom of the moving container. Don’t do it the other way round as you risk damaging the bindings of your books forever.
    Select the book packing method that seems the quickest and easiest for you, and then stick to it until the end.
    Avoid arranging books too tightly one next to the other as that could cause you to damage a copy while you’re trying to take it out upon arrival.
    The moment you finish packing one row, place a couple of sheets over the books and start a second row of books if the box allows it. The main idea is to always try and keep the pages of different books from touching in a direct way.
    When you’re done packing books for shipping, fill any large gaps inside the box with crumpled pieces of newspaper to ensure no printed works move inside the container during the trip.
    Place one final sheet of clean packing paper on the very top, then close the lids of the book box and tape it securely.
    Use your black marker to label the boxes you’ve already packed – write BOOKS and the destination room.


    Step 6. Pack books in a suitcase

     

    Using strong cardboard boxes to pack books for moving is the classic approach that won’t go out of fashion anytime soon – it’s the book packing method that people automatically think of whenever they are forced to transport their book collections to a new address. However, packing books in moving boxes has two major disadvantages: 1) the cardboard containers are still susceptible to damage and 2) the book-filled boxes need to be either carried around in hands or wheeled out by being stacked on a moving dolly which will additionally make things more laborious and time-consuming.

     

    What if you could use a much stronger and bigger moving container equipped with its own wheels? Actually, you can. If you own a travel suitcase with wheels at the bottom, then take full advantage of it by filling it with the heaviest books you can find in your TAKE pile. To pack books in a suitcase is pretty easy and quite straightforward – you don’t even have to label it once you’re ready.

     

    Step 7. Follow the safety rules

     

    Packing books is not overly complicated but you still need to follow some basic packing and safety rules.
    Knowing how to pack books when moving house is all about keeping the main safety tips in mind. Remember that books can still be ruined if you fail to follow some basic rules for packing books for a move:

     

    Keep the weight of a single book-filled box under 40 pounds. Again, books are heavier than you think.
    Use small to medium sized boxes for packing books properly.
    Always double-tape the seams of book boxes as a precaution, even if those containers are brand new.
    Always place the heaviest books on the bottom of a cardboard box.
    Use extra care when packing valuable books /antique books or rare books/ – it’s best if you wrap them up in soft packing paper and transport them yourself in a special prized-collection-of-first-editions box.
    Despite these great tips for packing books for moving, if you still have doubts that you will manage to pack and move your books on your own, then have professional packers and movers take care of your book collection for you.

     

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  • 23/02/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    The 10 best tips to prepare for the 2017 tax season

    It’s hard to believe the 2017 tax season is nearly here, and you’ll be getting the information you need to settle up your 2016 tax return with Uncle Sam. Take advantage of the tax benefits available to you throughout the year.

     

    First, think about getting organized. It’s important to have one place — a large envelope or a file folder — where you can accumulate tax information as it arrives. When it is finally time to fill out the tax return, a lot of information is required and every detail counts in making it a smooth process.

    ​​

    Read on for 10 savvy tips for tax-filing season.

    1. Maximize retirement plan contributions

    If your employer offers a 401(k) or other type of deferred pension plan, make every effort to contribute the maximum amount allowable — especially if your employer matches your contribution. Otherwise you are leaving money on the table that could benefit you in your retirement. Think of the employer match as an immediate 100 percent return on your money. Even if there is no match, all of the funds are tax-deferred and grow tax-free.

    If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, then consider making a contribution to a traditional individual retirement account or a Roth IRA. The former potentially offers a tax deduction for the year the contribution is made, but both offer tax-deferred gains.

     

    2. Adjust your withholding
    Check your year-to-date withholding and consider changing the taxes withheld if you are expecting a large refund.

    This is especially important if you are claiming the earned income tax credit, or EITC, or the additional child tax credit. Why? The IRS is now required by law to hold all refunds on those returns until Feb. 15. The new law was put into place to allow the agency additional time to detect and prevent tax fraud.

    IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement: "It’s a personal choice if you want to have extra money withheld to get a bigger tax refund, but you have options available if you prefer to have a smaller refund next year and more take-home money now." You will need to complete Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to adjust the amount of taxes withheld and submit it to your employer.

     

    3. Protect your identity

    Speaking of tax fraud, if you received an Identity Protection PIN, or IP PIN, in the past, then you must provide this number on your tax return not only this year but on all future tax returns. An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that helps prevent fraudulent returns from being filed under your Social Security number. Remember, the IP PIN is your friend in getting the IRS to accept your tax return. However, this is no ordinary IP PIN, as it changes every year. You read that correctly: every year! If you do not receive the notification in the mail, you will need to go to the IRS website to retrieve it.

    RATE SEARCH: In the market for a credit card? Find and apply for credit cards from Bankrate.com’s partners today!

     

    4. Get what’s yours

    According to the IRS, one out of every five workers fails to claim the very valuable earned income tax credit. If you worked and earned less than $53,505 in 2016 (the limit will be $53,930 in 2017), then use the EITC Assistant tool to determine if you qualify for the credit. You must file a return in order to receive the credit. Don’t miss out on this!

     

    5. Declutter and reap a tax break

    If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to simplify and declutter your life, now is the time to get going. You can make money by donating all of those things you no longer need or want in your life. There are many charitable organizations that accept items other than cash such as clothing, books, electronics and other household items. The deduction is limited to the item’s fair market value, and the items must be in good condition or better to be deductible. If the value of the noncash items is more than $500, then you must file Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and fill it in with some details. But it is well worth the effort.

     

    6. Cash in on scholarly tax breaks

    If you, your spouse or dependents had higher education costs in 2016, there may be some tax savings for you. In fact there are multiple benefits available. The only difficult part is figuring out which one works best in your situation.

    Basically there are three different benefits: the American opportunity credit, the lifetime learning credit and the tuition and fees deduction. There are various requirements that may limit the benefit, but the IRS once again offers a useful tool: the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to help you find your way through the maze. You should receive Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from your school with the information required by the IRS to complete Form 8863, Education Credits.

     

    7. Get health coverage in order

    Make sure you know what you need to report to the IRS on your health insurance. The shared responsibility provision requires that you and your family have minimum essential coverage or qualify for a health coverage exemption. Otherwise, you must make an individual shared responsibility payment for all months that you didn’t have coverage or an exemption.

    Most taxpayers just need to do one thing: Check the box that indicates you had health care coverage for all of 2016. If that is not the case or you received advance payments of the premium tax credit on the marketplace, then you may need to fill out Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, and Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, to complete your tax return. For more information, visit the IRS page on the Affordable Care Act.

     

    8. Know the rules about foreign accounts
    Have a foreign bank account? Was the balance in the account(s) greater than $10,000 total? If the answer is yes to both, then you need to file what’s commonly referred to as an "FBAR," a foreign bank account reporting form. The new name is FinCEN Report 114, FinCEN being an acronym for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. As the name has the word "crime" in it, that should light a fire under your seat to make sure you’re in compliance as the penalties are very high for failing to report.

    The requirements don’t stop there. If you maintain very high balances in your foreign accounts, you’ll have to file IRS Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets.

    Also, if you meet certain thresholds of ownership in any foreign corporations or partnerships, or if you are the beneficiary of a foreign trust, you should be aware of the complex reporting requirements in those instances. Just a few of the pertinent forms are: Form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations; Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts, Form 8621, Information Return by a Shareholder of a Passive Foreign Investment Company or Qualified Electing Fund. All are available at the IRS website.

     

    9. Be generous without tax repercussions

    Every so many years, the IRS changes the annual exclusion for gifts that you can give without having to file a gift tax return. If you gave more than $14,000 in cash, property or gifts to anyone, you must report the gift on Form 709. If you are married, you can give a combined $28,000 and remain under the radar.

    Note that this applies to the person giving the gift; if you are receiving a gift, congratulations — you don’t have to do anything. That is, unless you receive a gift from a non-U.S. person. If you happen to receive such a gift that is greater than $100,000, you will have to report this on the IRS Form 3520.

     

    10. Be smart when you file

    When filing your return, the quickest and easiest way to receive your refund is to electronically file your return and use direct deposit. If you owe money, use IRS direct pay from your checking or savings account. And whatever else you do, please make sure you keep a copy of your filed tax return. Believe me, it saves so much trouble in so many ways in the event you do happen to need it.

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  • 09/01/2017 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Flat Rate Movers vs. Hourly Movers

    As if choosing a moving company is not already stressful enough, you also have to decide whether a flat or hourly rate is better for you. One is not necessarily better than the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and are more suited to specific moves and circumstances. Therefore, just because a friend went through a move that charged by the hour does not mean that option is right for you. You should get comfortable with both terms and evaluate your needs to make your decision.

     

    Hourly Rate
    The majority of professional movers you will encounter charge by the hour, especially with local moves. Prices typically vary from one state to the next, and the time of the month, week, and day can affect the price. Billing generally begins upon arrival to your home and ends when the move is complete. Hourly rate typically includes drive time, so keep this in mind when you schedule your move during morning rush hour traffic.

     

    Flat Rate
    A flat rate almost always requires an in-home evaluation of your belongings. The individual surveys your belongings to figure out an estimated weight and value of the items being moved. The distance of the mover and layout of the environment where the move takes place plays roles as well. An estimator then offers a "price point" guaranteeing that the move will not exceed that amount.

     

    save-money-on-your-move

     

    Hourly Rates Pros and Cons
    Most moves are done with an hourly rate. As long as you are honest about any heavy furniture pieces you have, and if you have stairs or if they will have to park far from the door, then it is easy to get a pretty close estimate over the phone or online. This is generally the option you want to choose for local movers.

     

    The concern comes with elements that can delay the move, thereby raising the price. A rollover accident on the highway that forces the movers to sit in traffic for an hour is going to cost you. If you are moving into an apartment where they have to park down a long alley or far away in a parking lot, you have to be prepared for the move to take longer, and you will likely be charged a long-carry fee.

     

    Flat Rate Pros and Cons
    Although it is a bit of an inconvenience to deal with someone coming into your home to figure out an estimate, this is really your best option for a long distance move. They may need to factor lodging and fuel into the equation, but you do not want an hourly rate when you are moving across the country because there are so many things that could affect the time it takes to get there.

     

    This can also be the best option if you know the movers will need to haul your belongings a long distance on either end or deal with stairs or service elevators. On the downside, if you have a lot of heavy items, this will significantly increase your rate due to the increased weight.

     

    Both hourly and flat rates might seem like a fixed price but they are still moving estimates that can change on the day of your move. Unpakt offers Guaranteed Prices which means prices are fixed and transparent based on each mover’s rates. You can see exactly how much it will cost to add or remove an item or service.

     

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  • 19/12/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    LOCAL MOVINGS: Affordable In-house Movers and Moving Helpers

    LOCAL MOVINGS: MOVING FURNITURE & BOXES WITHIN THE EXISTING HOME OR OFFICE

    $120 Flat Rate Move: 2 MOVERS /2 HOURS

    Texas low cost 2 movers

    2 hours, 2 Movers + packing/ unpacking + wrapping + unwrapping+ Di-assembling/Assembling+ loading/ unloading.

    RENOVATIONS AND LOCAL MOVINGS

    Having new flooring or carpet installed? Is the home being painted? Home improvement companies typically do not move furniture, that means that someone will have to clear out the rooms being renovated. People often hire our movers to have the items moved to another room, garage or portable storage container (POD) outside while work is being done to the home. When the work is complete, our movers will put everything back where it belongs.

    NEW FURNITURE AND LOCAL MOVINGS

    If you’ve purchased new furniture you probably need to get rid of the old stuff. Donation pick-up services usually require the items to be on the ground level or outside of the home. Not all furniture delivery services will bring the items into your home either. There are many occasions where they must leave the furniture on the ground floor or outside of the home. We can take over from there, placing the new furniture into the correct rooms.

    REARRANGING & ORGANIZING AND LOCAL MOVINGS

    Want to move a sofa from the living room to the family room? Or swap bedroom suites between two bedrooms? Whatever the scenario, our movers are ready to help move furniture around your home.

    HOME STAGING AND LOCAL MOVINGS

    If you’re preparing to sell your home you may decide to stage it. If so, you will probably need furniture and boxes moved to different places within the home, garage or POD.

    EVICTION CLEAN OUT AND LOCAL MOVINGS

    You’ve been granted the ability to evict your tenant and now everything needs to be moved out of the home. Whether to a dumpster or the curb, our movers can help.

    SINGLE ITEM MOVEMENT AND LOCAL MOVINGS

    You’ve got a massive armoire that you want to get rid of but it’s on the 2nd floor and too heavy to move by yourself. We’re here to help.

    We are the moving company for major oil and gas corporations in Houston, TX! Local movings works with 100+ Real Estate brokers in Texas, believe me that is huge!
    Thank you again!
    713-428-1085

     

     

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  • 25/06/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Smart Tips To Make Moving A FUN MOVE

    BY JANE SCEARCE

    https://localmovings.com/low-cost-moves/

    1. Be thrifty, find free moving boxes

    Save a little cash and acquire all the boxes you need for free. Best places: the ‘free’ section on Craigslist, grocery and clothing stores, and warehouse style stores.

     

    2. Purge your stuff

    Now that you’re sorting through all your things, it’s a perfect time to see what can be donated or chucked altogether! Make an effort to pare down your possessions so your move will be a little easier and your new home will be a bit less cluttered.

     

    3. Create a schedule so you don’t get overwhelmed

    Plan ahead! Don’t forget to defrost, towel dry, and clean your refrigerator 24-48 hours before moving day. Otherwise, it’ll be pretty stinky and leaky!

     

    4. Take pictures of your electronics before you unplug

    Before you disconnect them to be boxed up, take a picture on your phone or camera of the cords on the back of your television and other electronics so that you can remember where they all go! This will save you a ton of time when you set it up again.

     

    5. Put hanging clothes in garbage bags

    Keep your clothes on the hanger, but wrapped up. When you get to your new abode, simply take off the garbage bags. Don’t forget to label so you know whose stuff is whose!

     

    6. Pack a first-night box

    Most people don’t think to do this, and end up rummaging through several boxes on moving day to get their pajamas or the coffee maker. Pack yourself a "first night" box with all your toiletries, some clothes, and anything you’ll need the following morning such as dishes and silverware or your hair-dryer. You can even buy this cute IKEA box if you’re tired of seeing your own handwriting:

     

    7. Safely pack your plates

    Since they’re already plate-shaped, foam disposable plates are awesome for packing your real plates. Put them in between each plate in your stack before you pack it all up. Plus, you can totally class up the cheap comfort food you’ll want to get after you’ve finally unpacked your last box some day. Here’s an example from TheFrugalGirls.com:

     

    8. Plastic Wrap Your Drawers — With Everything Inside

    Use plastic wrap to keep dressers drawers shut when the moving truck jostles them about, or for trays of items that would be just fine staying in the trays as long as they didn’t fall out. Plus, you can leave its contents in there, since the drawers no longer have a risk of sliding open!

     

    9. Use Wine Cases For Your Glassware

    There’s bound to be a local bar, winery, or even some grocery stores that have empty wine cases you can snag. Keeps your glasses organized and it’s easy to stuff some newspaper and such in each compartment so there’s some padding to protect them.

     

    10. Don’t Mix Items From Different Rooms

    Keep items from one room in boxes separate from the others, it’ll save you a lot of sanity when you finally unpack.

     

    11. Make A Packing Supplies Basket

    Save yourself from losing packing supplies or running around your house/apartment because you left the scissors in one room and the tape in the other. Get a box or a basket for supplies that you can carry with you from room to room, that way you’ll have all of it with you as you switch tasks and don’t have to spend time retrieving supplies you left in another room.

     

    12. How To Pack Jewelry

    Use egg cartons to easily transport your jewelry. Tape them shut so nothing falls out! Also, use toilet paper rolls for packing necklaces or loose bracelets. Just put one end through the roll and fasten the clasp.

     

    13. Keep Screws & Bolts Organized

    If you have to dismantle any furniture for your move, don’t forget to keep all the loose screws and bolts organized! Put them in plastic baggies and label them so you know which piece of furniture they’r for and don’t lose any.

     

    14. Cut holes in sides of boxes for easy lifting

    Use a box-cutter to cut triangle-shaped holes on either side of your heavier boxes to give you makeshift handles for easier lifting!

     

    15. Use Storage Bins For Seasonal Items

    If you don’t already store your seasonal/holiday items in plastic bins, now’s the time. That way, once you’re moved in, you can simply transfer the plastic bins to your closet or basement without having to unpack their contents.

     

    16. Use Soft Items For Padding

    You don’t need as much packaging material as you think! All sorts of soft items around your home can be used to safely and efficiently pack other items. Towels, socks, sheets, and other soft or cushy things make great and free packing material. Environmentally friendly, too!

     

    17. Color-code Your Labels

    Black and white labels are hard to distinguish when you want to start unpacking at a non-glacial pace. Use colorful labels instead — you can handwrite them, or simply print some out — and devise a color-coding system for your boxes to easily keep track of what is where.

     

    18. Use a Rubber Band to Keep Your Front Door Unlocked

    When actually moving your boxes into your truck or van, you’ll be going in and out of the house a lot. Wrap a rubber band around one doorknob and stretch it around your door to wrap the other end on the opposite knob. This will keep your door from accidentally getting shut and locking you out in case someone forgets to keep it unlocked!

     

    19. Keep ALL your liquids separate

    Cleaning supplies, dish-washing supplies, whatever it is, if it’s liquid put it in a separate plastic bin. If it falls or spills during the move and you’ve left it in another box, it’ll soak everything. Ew.

     

    20. Pack With a Guide

    Look up visual guides for packing your moving vehicle, like this one. Advice may differ if you have a van or a truck.

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  • 07/06/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Victims of floods in Texas Need to call FEMA ASAP for Assistance

    By Localmovings.com

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  • 04/06/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Texas federal flood assistance

    HOUSTON – The storms that hit many Houston area homeowners caused major damage. Now flood victims in hardest-hit areas simply want to talk to a Federal Emergency Management Agency official about how to properly ask for federal flood assistance.

    At 7 p.m. Monday, FEMA officials will answer questions and concerns at a town hall meeting hosted by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood.  It will be open to all victims of the recent flooding.

    Shelly Autin lives in Meyerland, one of the hardest-hit communities. She plans on attending the town hall meeting.  

    "I want to really know what they’re going to do because we have obviously have never been through this and so we want to know what we need to do and what they’re going to provide," Autin said.

    For the past week Autin along with other residents have been throwing most of their furniture to the curb.  Everything is so damaged by flood waters it has to get thrown out.

    "Our entire home was flooded with about 18 inches of water," Autin said.

    Dr. Pinky Ronen of Meyerland is another victim affected by the historic flooding.

    Every room of his home underwent thousands of dollars of destruction: an all-white, leather sectional ruined, a $12,000 antique cabinet wrecked and his newly re-modeled kitchen is a total loss.

    "We’ve sort of have been in denial. With the water rising on early Tuesday, we just only (watched) the level climb higher and higher, and the water outside was higher than inside, so we knew there was much more coming", Ronen said.

    The flood waters woke Ronen at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday as they tore through his five bedroom, 4,000-square-foot home. Many irreplaceable items were destroyed.

    Now like hundreds of other flood victims, Ronen is looking for help and information from FEMA officials.

    But how do you go about getting it?

    Step One: Call FEMA and register for disaster relief at 1-800-621-3362. Or register online atwww.DisasterAssistance.gov. You will need your Social Security numbers of all family members residing in house, insurance information, tax return with total household annual income and description of your losses. If you want disaster funds transferred directly to your bank account, you’ll need the routing number and account number.

    Step Two: Ask for a FEMA Disaster Inspection. A FEMA inspector should be dispatched to your home within a week, according to FEMA.

    Step Three: Wait. FEMA says if your inspection shows you have uninsured, eligible, damage then they can issue you a relief check in as little as two to five days after your inspection has been completed.

    Be sure to document your damage using a digital camera or cell phone. Clean our your home and place all debris between the sidewalk and street for collection.

    More information from the city of Houston is available at www.houstontx.gov/emergency.

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  • 160604_redcross_jas
    04/06/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Local Red Cross volunteer helps with Texas floods
      • By Nathan Ellgren FOX 26 KNPN

    She is one of 23,000 volunteers who has been deployed to the state to help with flood relief efforts over the last 12 months. She was set to arrive with an emergency response vehicle in Texas this morning.

    "I was in Houston last year and there’s been disasters and flooding there for quite a while," said Shoba Brown, a volunteer for the American Red Cross for almost 11 years. "They’ve probably exhausted all of their volunteers, and there’s always a need for more. I mean, you’ve got to give volunteers a break."

    The most recent statistics from the American Red Cross say the natural disasters still happening in Texas have impacted more than 1 million people and about 388,000 households.

    "Last year when I was down there, again there were areas of Houston that were underwater, and people are displaced invariably," Brown said. "It’s affecting people who can’t afford anything else and the one’s who live right alongside the rivers. They go right back, but that’s where their homes are and they don’t have a choice."

    The level 6 operation — which is the second highest Red Cross operation level — already has a projected cost of between $6 million and $12 million. Volunteers throughout Texas are delivering bulk supplies, and operating two fixed kitchens that are currently serving 6,000 meals per day.

    "We help them with getting back on their feet. Taking care of their immediate needs and that’s what we’re there for," Brown said. "I know that once we take care of the feeding and providing the bulk, the cleaning supplies, we’re going to go into case management and that could continue for a while."

    Brown anticipates staying in Texas for two weeks, and she has become a seasoned veteran from the adventures she’s taken as a Red Cross volunteer.

    "I’ve been all the way up to New York, New Hampshire, California, I’ve been to Texas a few times," Brown said. "I’ve been to Minnesota, North Dakota. You name it and I’ve traveled with Red Cross following a disaster."

    This week’s storms are the latest in a string of torrential rains since May 2015 that have put swaths of the state under water. Nearly the entire eastern half of Texas, including Fort Hood, was under flash flood warnings or watches Friday.

    "When we go into an a disaster area, we also provide financial help, and Red Cross goes into fundraising mode," Brown said. "It’s other people who help us help those in need, and if we don’t pay attention to what’s happening in Texas, how do we let people know there is a need?"

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Thursday, and urged people in flooded areas of the state to heed warnings when they’re told to evacuate and to not drive through high water or around barricades.

    The governor also said the accident at Fort Hood demonstrates that even trained soldiers can be swept away. Five soldiers were killed Thursday when their truck overturned in a flooded creek. Four others were found dead Friday.

    Brown said the Northwest Missouri region has seen disaster before, and now it’s time to spread the word about Texas needing the nation’s help.

    "Joplin happened five years ago. There were people from all over the United States coming and there was money pouring in from everywhere," Brown said. "People just knew minute-by-minute what was going on, and so we need to do the same thing for Texas so people are aware of it."

    Donations to American Red Cross fundraising efforts can be made online at www.redcross.org/donate/donation.

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  • 02/06/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Moving Frauds in Texas

    How to Spot Moving Frauds & Extortion Scam Schemes

     

    By localmovings.com 

    Protecting yourself when moving is very important. Many people assume that as they are given a quote it will contain the price for their move and this price won’t change dramatically after the move is over; or assume, that when a broker says it is a moving company, not a broker, this really is so; or that when they give their household belongings to a mover, the stuff will return on the agreed date… All logical assumptions that ought to be really correct but they aren’t. Find out the most popular and often used by scammers moving frauds and moving company extortion schemes here below. Take precautions before you have moved.

    Moving Company Fraud and Extortion Schemes

    • Most of the moving frauds happen over the internet. As people get a few quotes they choose the company to hire by the price. And many people, since they have no idea of the real prices in the relocation industry, choose the lowest quote which is very risky – sometimes scammers operate in this way.
    • Afterwards extra costs appear and it happens so that people have to pay even more than if they had hired a legitimate company. This and other types of extortion scenario when moving are all about getting some money from a potential customer without doing any work back.
    • Moving company extortion schemes may also involve request for a deposit in cash (a mover who requires to be paid only in cash should make you alert). Afterwards the delivery doesn’t come in time and the delivery person explains it with a mistake. As you keep arranging the date and time of delivery more excuses come up and finally you cannot reach the alleged "moving company" neither by phone or by e-mail – they are simply gone.
    • The moving company extortion schemes then continue with holding the person’s belongings until extra money have been paid. Sometimes unfortunately people don’t even get their belongings back or the removal company return only the empty boxes. Movers used extortion against customer may also bring back damaged items due to unsafe handling of the household items given to them. If the location of the items in hostage is found usually only some of the household goods have been left behind while those that are more expensive have gone missing. Or the movers just say that their warehouse got on fire and then they disappear. Very important to investigate which violations are broken and how moving companies are being regulated. Read this valuable information and protect yourself from any mover’s extortion.

       

      Movers use different extortion schemes from suddenly applying extra costs to not returning the household things they’ve taken from you.

    • Movers used extortion against customers are also likely to violate more regulations like they may have no license or hire underage labor, the labor may not get paid or may be hurt during work. Look for signals like a company that doesn’t have a website or an office. Adam Shaivitz, Public Information Officer at Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, gives other tips to be careful.

    Moving Broker Scams

    Moving broker scams are also another case. What happens is that people choose to trust an attractive website and contact the broker. In one of the cases they get a promise that after paying a deposit a moving company will come on a particular day and as that day arrives no one comes and the broker cannot be reached in any way. They are just away with the deposit. In another case people choose a moving broker because of the low quote. On a moving day a truck does arrive but after the person’s belongings have been loaded on the truck the estimate comes out to be much higher. The personal belongings are held hostage until the higher estimate is being paid. A common mistake that people make is that they consider the broker to be a moving company. The rogue broker offers a full move and gives a very low estimate – people think they’ve just found themselves a good deal and pay a deposit thinking that they have hired a moving company. But what happens is that as the broker finds a moving company, the mover wants to be paid too and asks for a much higher price than the first quoted. At the same time the moving company has also taken the household items and won’t return them until it is being paid. This extortion scenario when moving may make you feel helpless but there are a few things you could still do – see what they are at the end of this article.

    If for some reason you have become a victim of a moving scam there is a way out – filing a complaint. See how to do it in this article.

    Normally Who are Victims?

    It can be anyone – many people think that it won’t happen to them but even very intelligent people can be misguided. That is why avoiding unlicensed moving companies is important for a safe relocation. Most of the people relocating are not moving regularly like the military for example and thus can be easily misguided on the prices and procedures of the moving. Don’t think that you are automatically insured against moving frauds or moving broker scam. In order to avoid being involved with moving company extortion schemes you need to stay alert and pay attention to any sign of something not going right. Finding a trustworthy moving company should not be difficult once you know what to look for and what to expect.

    This  Moving Tips Should help You Identifying the Bad Moving Companies!

    Now having these details on the most common moving frauds and moving company extortions you will know what movers used extortion against customers do and you will know how to be more careful.

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  • 27/05/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Moving Made Easy!

    33+ Helpful Moving Tips Everyone Should Know

    Prev Slide     Next Slide

    Moving from one house to another can be stressful and exciting all at the same time. Staying organized, making lists, and planning ahead make the whole process a lot easier, but so does having a few handy packing tips and tricks up your sleeve!

    Because my family is planning a big move in the near future, I’ve spent the last week looking for ways to make the whole moving process more enjoyable. I’m really not one to obsess over the little things, but I do want to get our belongings from one place to the other in one piece. We’ve just purchased a few new furniture items and I don’t want to risk any damage. These are the ones that were most helpful to me! I’ve also included a checklist of non-packing essentials that should be planned in advanced. Hope they help

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  • 24/05/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Commercial moving in Texas! COMMERCIAL MOVING

    COMMERCIAL MOVING

     

    We work with you to create a Low Cost with a FlatRate Plan for your commercial move. This will include:

    • An inventory of all items to be relocated included in your flat rate
    • Special building conditions and requirements
    • Date and time of your relocation: To be a Low Cost and Efficient Move
    • Special instructions for setting up the new Office/ Relocation in Texas
    • A guaranteed Low Cost Local Move with a Flat Rate that won’t change

    Using the Move Plan, we will work with you to create a strategy for the move, including:

    • Tagging and color-coding workstations so they can be reassembled in an orderly fashion at the new location
    • Prioritizing items for the move; staging
    • Studying floor plans and building requirements for the old location and relocation
    • Working with your schedule so the low cost move happens at a convenient time for your business

    Your employees don’t have to lift a finger. Our low cost movers do it all:

    • Protecting floors and walls: Low Cost Move in Action!
    • Wrapping furniture
    • Boxing files, electronics, and personal items
    • Keeping books and files in order and ready for reassembly in the same way at the new location

    Responsibility–We avoid delays by having standby precautions at the ready. When you hire us, you can breathe easy because we take responsibility for making your low cost move a happy one. We can handle many situations with:

    • Extra movers
    • Extra trucks
    • Upon request carpenters
    • Outstanding customer service
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  • 22/05/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Tips for an easy move!

    Moving boxes and other moving stuff isolated on white background

    Moving can be a dreaded ordeal. You set your move-in date, get excited about your new home, and then fear begins to set in thinking of the myriad belongings you’ll have to take with you. From furniture to electronics to all the little junk drawers — things pile up and can making moving seem overwhelming. One of the best ways to overcome the anxiety of moving is to start early. With some preparedness and these clever packing tips, you’ll realize moving isn’t so scary after all.

     

    Here are some of our favorite clever packing tips to make your move a little easier:

    Go to local stores and ask for any extra boxes.

    You’d be surprised at how expensive packing boxes can be! Most retailers get shipments of their products every day of the week and then break down and recycle all their empty boxes. If you catch them at the right time, you might be able to get a handful of great packing boxes for free! Try grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores.

    Plastic-wrap your liquids.

    You don’t want your cleaning supplies, cooking oils, or toiletries to spill as you’re moving them. Just take off the bottle’s lid, place a piece of plastic wrap underneath, and then replace the lid, wrapping the plastic all the way around to create a seal.

    Use towels, T-shirts, and blankets to wrap fragile belongings.

    Instead of buying bubble wrap or special packing boxes, multitask by packing some of your clothing or towels around glasses, vases, and picture frames. Your fragile items will be protected, plus some of your clothes will already be packed! 

    Move an entire closet of clothes all together.

    If you have a closet full of hanging clothes, try just wrapping a garbage bag or a few large bands around the body of the clothing and then tie the tops of the hangers together. This way, you can pick up whole chunks of clothing at once and hang them right back up in your new closet. This method will also help you avoid the dreaded, tangled mess of packing clothes hangers.

    Move dressers without unpacking the drawers.

    Before you carry your large dresser down the stairs and into a moving truck, take out all the drawers and set them aside. This will make the dresser a little lighter for carrying. Then, before you move anything else into the truck, replace the drawers in the dresser and move it all at once. When you get to your new home, move it the same way and your dresser will be intact! 

    Use empty egg cartons to pack small items and jewelry.

    Each compartment of the egg carton will help you keep your nails and screws separate and keep necklaces from getting tied together.

    Label your boxes.

    Either with color-coded label stickers or simply with a sharpie, make your life easier by knowing what’s in each box. You can label them per room so you and your moving helpers know where to set each box down upon arrival, or you can make a short list of the important items in each box to make them easier to unpack efficiently. 

     

    Whether you’re moving across the country or just a few blocks away, moving can be stressful. We hope these packing tips help make your move a little easier.  

    Do you have any tips to add to our list? Please comment below with your clever packing tips.

     

    Here are some additional moving resources that we know you’ll find helpful:

    The Very First Step to Preparing Your Home for the Market 

    Who to Notify When You’re Moving by Bill Gassett

    Take the Stress Out of Moving by Deborah Rhodes

    Things to Leave Behind When Moving by Anita Clark  

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  • 21/05/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Craigslist Mover Scams & other Scams

    3 new Craigslist scams spreading now

     

    By Kim Komando

      

     

    If you use Craigslist, you know you have to be careful. Three new scams are hitting the buy-and-sell website. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t become the next victim.

    1. Hiring movers

    You call around to different moving companies and find one is more outrageously priced than the next – not to mention those fuel charges! Naturally, you turn to Craigslist for a bargain.

    Watch out! Scammers are using these ads to find just the right family to rip off all of their stuff.

    That’s what happened to a family in Douglas County, Georgia. The family planned to follow the movers – a team that consisted of two men and a U-Haul – to their new home. But once they got to the freeway, things took a terrible turn. The moving truck took off with all their belongings inside.

    Hours later, after arriving at their new house, there was no sign of the movers. The family called the police, who found the U-Haul abandoned and empty. The thieves had managed to steal the family’s entire belongings in a stolen truck.

    Two days after the theft, a box that belonged to the family was found on the side of the road. It had very important documents inside, but the iPads and phones packed in it were gone. The family’s losses were estimated to be $75,000.

    2. Rental or home listings

    After John Darr of New Albany, Ind., listed his home for sale, he began noticing suspicious activity. People were coming to his house and walking all around the property. Some were even coming right up to his front porch and peering through the windows.

    Darr later learned that scammers had posted his home as a rental property on Craigslist, describing it as a cozy three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for only $600 per month. All the applicants had to do was send in their personal information, along with a security deposit.

    But Darr’s home was not for rent. He wasn’t fully aware of what had happened until he received a strange message on Facebook.

    "The message asked … was I selling the house or was I renting the house? Because she had some concerns that somebody was running a scam with my name," Darr explained.

    The Craigslist post made several false claims. One said the property owners were leaving the country for three or four years on a mission trip. The scammer offered false contact information and said he would correspond with interested applicants. Through this correspondence, the scammer was able to obtain personal information from his victims and even arrange for money transfers.

    So here are some red flags. If you’re unable to meet with the owner or some type of property manager at a rental property, and if no one can meet you for a tour of the home, that’s one. Another is an extravagant story that explains why the owner will be away. And you should never be asked to wire money to your new landlord, especially before you’ve had the chance to tour the property.

    If you find a property that you believe is listed as part of a scam, report it to law enforcement.

    3. Scalping

    Recently, The New York Post shared the story of Danielle Posner, who’d used Craigslist to buy tickets to see the Broadway show Hamilton. She’d been excited to see it for months, but when she got to the door, security turned her away. She’d paid $350 for counterfeit tickets.

    Scammers have learned how to create convincing replicas of tickets to popular events. These replicas can be hard to spot, especially because they include matching logos and watermarks.

    Another way scammers trick you is by buying real tickets, selling them on Craigslist and then canceling them. This, too, is something you probably won’t realize has happened until you’re denied access to the event.

    In this particular scam, the tickets typically are listed far below market value. Scammers do that to make you think you’re getting an amazing deal, but they’re really just stealing your money.

    The best way to avoid scalping scams on Craigslist is to buy your tickets directly from the venue or from a reputable site like Ticketmaster.com, which specializes in ticket sales and has better fraud prevention for customers.

    Finally, use common sense. If the person selling the item you’re interested in can’t meet with you or won’t let you inspect the item before you purchase, that’s a red flag. You should also be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for an item or make a deposit with a wire transfer or something like an iTunes gift card. Click here for more signs of common Craigslist scams.

     

     

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  • 19/05/2016 - LocalMovings LocalMovings 0 Comments
    Be careful FAKE movers in Houston and surrounding areas in Texas

    ~Houston Chronicle

    The ads from the moving companies on Craigslist were enticing. A flat rate. No hidden fees.

    But the first sign that the promotions might not be as advertised was when the movers pressured consumers to sign contracts with "very small print."

    Dozens of people in cities around the state report being victimized by scam artists based in Houston who posed as a legitimate moving company through Craigslist posts.

     

    The customers looking for an inexpensive move say they’ve been ripped off or robbed by the fake movers, who wore professional uniforms, rented large moving vans and required signed contracts riddled with hidden fees, such as $90 per item wrapped in plastic.

    Two of the principal suspects involved in what investigators call "hostage moves" are now in custody in Harris County after an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Houston Police Department connected them to the crimes from March to September of last year. The Better Business Bureau of Houston said this group of con artists has been active for years.

    Elusive group

    Anthony Fanelli, 37, and Andy Trinidad Bueno, 33, have been charged with securing execution of document by deception, according to court records from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

    The group has been elusive, as they frequently changed the name of the business used and adopted fake identities, said BBB spokeswoman Monica Russo, who participated in an undercover operation in October and saw the suspects in action.

    Court records show the suspects stole property or money from at least 20 victims around the state.

    Investigators said Fanelli would pose as the owner of a legitimate moving company that promised a flat rate moving fee for $39.99 an hour and would then present the customer with an inflated bill that some reported reached more than $1,500. Investigators believe the scheme also took place in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.

    The victims said the moving crew would arrive in a rented van at the residence. Bueno, posing as the foreman of the crew, would typically present a contract for moving services and pressure them to sign quickly, court records show. After they signed the agreement, Fanelli would fill in blank portions of the contract and prepare an invoice with extra fees and surcharges, including charges for plastic wrap, walking up stairs and gas, according to records.

    Inflated invoices

    Once the household’s goods were loaded and locked into the truck, Bueno would typically present the inflated invoice. Fanelli would pose as the owner of the company over the phone if people called to complain and would negotiate the price or trade household items in exchange for the fee, the complaint states.

    Several victims reported that the men not only attempted to charge higher rates, but also drove off with the trucks that contained all their possessions when they refused to pay.

    During one incident, Houston resident Jindu Okwuwa refused to pay the inflated charge and the suspects left with the van, containing the man’s belongings. He told investigators that the value was estimated at $20,000.

    Many victims identified Fanelli and Bueno from photo lineups, and investigators searched Craigs- list records to tie the men to the incidents, according to court records. Bueno has previously been convicted of assault of a family member, and Fanelli has been convicted of forgery, records show.

    Russo advised consumers to check a moving company’s registration with the state, to get quotes in advance in writing and contact police if movers try to hold property hostage.

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Hostage-moves-scam-dozens-of-consumers-across-3445889.php#photo-2754731

     

     

     

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  • 25/03/2016 - localmovingscom 0 Comments
    Texas Moving Blog

    Low Cost moving in Texas is the way to go for small budget movings. JUST MOVE THE BIG ITEMS!

    By Bankrate.com

    Many consider moving to be one of life’s most stressful and least fun events, especially the actual process of getting all your stuff from point A to point B. Once you’ve made the big decision to pull up stakes and then figure out all those important details such as where you’ll work, where you’ll live and where the kids will go to school, choosing a mover may just be an afterthought.

    But don’t skimp on this last detail. Why? While the right moving company can make for a smooth move, choosing the wrong mover can make your relocation a nightmare.

    Cliff O’Neill found this out the hard way when he moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Columbus, Ohio. The Washington-area moving crew he hired needed help unloading the truck in Ohio, so without O’Neill’s knowledge they hired a panhandler off the street to do the job.

    "I was aghast — this guy now knew where I lived and all the contents of my home," says O’Neill, who added that the panhandler later rang his doorbell asking for money. "I quickly got an alarm system."

    How can you make sure that this — or worse — won’t happen to you during your move? Here are some tips.

    Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/6-steps-choosing-right-movers.aspx#ixzz48D27kZk7 

    (713) 428-1085

    Call localmovings.com NOW 7134281085

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