Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Downsizing your home?

With the current foreclosure and unemployment rates in the U.S., downsizing can make a lot of sense. If you are able to do a short sale on your home and come out ahead or at least in the black, it’s a great outcome.

Downsizing to a smaller home can mean lower utility bills and an overall reduction in living expenses. If you choose to downsize, select a neighborhood that has an lower overall cost of living but is still close to your work or potential place of employment. You’ll save on fuel for your car when commuting and reduce the amount of stress that can accompany this type of transition. A smaller home will also mean savings in terms of time and money on maintenance for your home such as landscaping and housekeeping.

You’ll also want to consider other areas of your overhead that can be reduced to support downsizing. Rather than paying for a home cable entertainment package for example, select a home-delivery film membership such as Netflix. You can visit friends or family for the Super Bowl instead of hosting, which will save money from expenses on entertaining.

When its time to move, you’ll want to hire a mover that can provide cost-effective moving services with superior value. Starving Students has very competitive rates, and you only pay for the time that you actually use. We have low hourly minimums and then we pro-rate time in 15 minute increments thereafter. Ask us about your origin location-specific benefits when you contact us.

The timing of your move is another consideration. Often with a short-sale, you don’t have a lot of lead time to prepare for movers or to make reservations weeks in advance. Starving Students operates with 33 locations in 10 states, and we do thousands of moves every year. We have the resources to schedule your move last minute if need be.

Here are some money saving tips:

  • If you are able to affect your move date, try and move on weekdays or on non-peak weekends for possibly lower moving rates.
  • Order your packing supplies in advance at discount pricing and with FREE shipping. Make sure your boxes and furniture are protected for transit and ready to be loaded on the truck for a more efficient, cost and time-effective move.
  • Ask your Starving Students moving specialist about “Valuation Protection” for your valuable items.
  • Read our Moving Advice to help you get ready for the move day.

Starving Students wishes you a healthy and properous 2011!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting Your Rental Deposit Back

If you are a renter, then chances are you would like to get back your deposit that you put down on your rental property when you move out. Here are some tips on how to better ensure the return of your security deposit.

Clean-up Time
The best thing that you can do is give yourself a day to clean up the rental that you are leaving. Often moving can run into the evening. If you give yourself a day of flexible time before you absolutely have to vacate the premises, you can go back for any items left behind, but more importantly, you'll have time to clean up and document.

Leaving Your Rental
To ensure the return of your deposit, you'll want to leave your rental in a condition equal to or better than you found it. A good first step is to plug any holes in the wall from nails or screw anchors. Get yourself some spackle and a spackle knife. Even if you aren't super handy, this is a really easy process. Gather a bit of spackle on your spackle knife, than smooth over the spackle so that its flush with the wall and the hole is filled. Tip: move the knife in different directions over the hole. Note: If your walls are white, than you'll want to use white spackle for an easy job (some spackle turns pink when it dries). If you can see the spackle ridges or if its not smooth, then you'll want to do a bit of sanding so that its smooth and unnoticeable. To sand, you'll need to wait for the spackle to dry.

Spackle can be a real life saver. If you are a bit crafty, you can use it to fill in holes that are larger than those left by a nail. For example, I managed to accidentally puncture an MDF door. These doors are hollow on the inside so there's not much support. This door had molding, it wasn't just a smooth door. This of course made the project a bit more complicated. In the end, I managed to reconstruct the shape and the door looked just fine. You might have your own cosmetic surgery to perform on your rental, in which case give spackle a try.

To Paint Or Not To Paint
Most leases require that if you do paint the walls a color, you must paint them back white for the next tenant. Once you've spackled the walls, this would be a good next step. Note that most rental managers actually use an off-white because it doesn't show age or dirt as easily. If you don't need to paint, you might want to do a quick brush of paint over any marks or nicks on the wall. Most landlords paint walls before the next tenant moves in, but it isn't a bad idea to a little touching up. Make sure that your new paint is the same finish as the existing paint. If you use gloss paint on matte walls, this will be very apparent. And you'll want to use just a little paint, taking care to brush out the edges for better blending. Fresh paint will have a different tone that paint that's been on the walls for a couple of years.

Last-Minute Repairs
If there's anything broken that you can easily fix, go ahead and do so. Generally, you'll be charged an inflated price if your landlord makes repairs and passes the bill on to you. For example, I once had some wrapping paper catch on fire during the holidays (note: most home fires occur December - January), which burned the carpet in my rental. I cut out the burnt patch and put a replacement patch of similar carpet in. Not that easy to match, but it saved me the trouble of explaining what happened and the landlord attempting to make me replace the entire carpet.

Clean Sweep
Leave a broom and dust pan and a sponge behind in your rental when you move out so you can use it when you return for the final clean up. A quick clean of debris will be your last step before finalizing your departure. Pick up any dirt on the floors and do a quick sponge-over drawers or cabinets. You don't have to deep clean, but a quick once-over will give the whole place the appearance of having been cleaned, which makes you look good. And you might just find a few stray items that you left behind.

Schedule A Walk-Through
Schedule a walk-through with your landlord. This is a very important step to verifying that your landlord is satisfied with the condition of the rental, but also, its an opportunity to document that your rental was left in good condition before you moved out. I've heard horror stories of building supers damaging rental properties to make money on the repairs. If this happens to you, you'll be stuck with the bill. Don't take any chances - bring your camera and photograph the space (with a time stamp if possible) before you vacate. Then, if you do end up going to court or if there some questions about the state of the rental property, you'll have proof to back you up. You may even want to get a signed document from your landlord verifying that the rental property was left in good condition and that you will receive the deposit.

When Will I Get The Deposit Back?
Ask your landlord when you can expect the deposit to be returned to you. This will help you to plan and budget. Additionally, knowing that your deposit didn't arrive on time, will give you the heads-up to contact the landlord.

Stay tuned for more moving tips from Starving Students. "We put our heart into ever move."


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Work Relocation? Tips On Moving For A New Job

In this economy, it may be wise to look outside your neighborhood for jobs. Perhaps, in the town's hit hardest by this economic recession, you may even need to look in other states. While economists say that the recession has officially come to a close, unfortunately, the percentage of companies willing to pay for relocation is at a temporary downturn. Here are some tips for moving up in the world with slim employer assistance or on your own dime.

Kristyn Schiavone reports with Tribune Media Services' Los Angeles Times feature that you might have to source your own bank account to pay for your work relocation if you are accepting a new position. A June 2010 report from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that only 20 percent of companies provided assistance in covering costs to visit a new location prior to moving. Compare these figures to a year prior with 36 percent of companies providing a helping hand in checking out your new digs before relocating.

If you are finding that the job market in your town is less than stellar, you might want to pick up and move to a town with better prospects. Its tough to secure a job prior to relocation. Generally companies want to know that you are "here to stay". In a town like Los Angeles, a lot of people move and find out two months down the line that its not for them. Employers like to see that you are already established in your new town before they take a chance on you. If you are going this route, start applying for jobs say a week before you move. Ask a friend or family member who lives in your destination city if you can use their address on your job applications. This way, potential employers see you as a current resident and feel more confident about exploring you as an option. When employers start calling you, you can arrange for an interview the following week when you are in town. This could save you thousands in airline costs. Trying to book a flight at a moment’s notice is a costly affair.

If you have a family in tow, that may not be an option – you’ll want to try and secure employment prior to moving. You’ll need to arrange schools for your kids and give them a sense of stability. Start sending out resumes immediately so that you don’t miss out on employment opportunities.

Generally speaking, if a company is seriously considering you for a position, they should contribute to the transportation costs if you are flying to interview with them. Of course, the corporate contribution will vary according to your career stature and the travel distance involved. If for example, you make it through the initial phone interview, and the potential employer wants you to come out for an interview in person, you can ask "Shall I book my travel through your company?" This will give you a heads up on where you stand in relation to travel expenses. That said, keep in mind that you don’t want to discuss benefits or pay in an interview. You don’t want to bring up relocation costs before the employer has extended an invitation for an in-person interview or presented a job offer.

Now, let's say that you get the job (hooray!). What about moving expenses? The recent trend for relocation benefits seems to be allocating a fixed amount or maybe what is referred to as signing bonus. You may have to pay out of pocket and be reimbursed later with a cap on spending.

If you know what the budget is for your moving expenses, your Starving Students moving specialist can help you to evaluate your options. For a long distance move, we use weight to calculate or evaluate possible costs. Generally, there are minimums, so it would be best to check in with us and get an idea of the weight for your potential belongings before you unnecessarily liquidate everything you own. But generally, its a good idea to minimize to save money. We all find items that we could do without when it comes time to pack up. Our Moving Checklist recommends that you have a sale two weeks before your move date to prepare.

Are you paying for your work relocation out-of-pocket? Generally, your least expensive option would be to book a long distance move with us. Depending on the actual moving distance, we can give you a great price. You'll receive an itemized inventory of your goods prior to departure and we can help you pack or unpack or reassemble furniture as needed.

Another option is to put your less necessary or bulky items in one of our portable storage containers. We'll deliver it and load it for you and then hold it in our climate controlled warehouse. If you're concerned about trying to sell your house, this would be a good option. Put the bulk of your belongings in storage, take the essentials with you. With the status quo of the real estate market, you would benefit from renting out your home, and then when you find a long-term residence in your new town, we can simply ship the entire container to you and unload the contents at your new residence. This way, you have money coming in from your tenants and your new job, the cost of storage is low so that's not a real concern, and then just maybe rent a furnished apartment until you find your new home. This could save a lot on travel costs too since you won't be going back and forth to supervise moving arrangements.

On a positive note, this decline in relocation benefits could simply be an indicator that the local job market is improving. And according to economist Harm Bandholz, since December 2009, the recovery has stimulated nearly 800,000 jobs. So keep your chin up and remember to contact Starving Students when you’re ready to relocate for your new job. We Put Our Heart Into Every Move – Since 1973™.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Do yourself a Favor and Leave the Packing to the Pros

Moving into a new home can be an exciting time, but it can also be stressful and exhausting. If you have a lot to move or are relocating to a far distance, hiring professional movers might make the most sense in those types of situations. Although a moving service will cost money, it might be worth putting out an extra few dollars than stressing yourself out and putting extra emotional and physical strain on your body.

Some advantages to hiring an affordable moving company include no truck rental costs. The rental fee is included in the moving price, and you do not have to worry about maneuvering an extra-large vehicle to your new residence. Another advantage of hiring professional movers is the elimination of the packing stage. Moving companies will not only fill the truck, transport its contents, and empty the truck, but they will also pack your belongings for you. They save you time and back pain. In addition to the physical packing stage, moving companies provide you with all the boxes and packing supplies you’ll need in a variety of sizes, so you won’t have to go searching for them yourself.

Moving yourself could mean making several trips back and forth from your old home to your new one and when you have a family on top of it your stress levels can go through the roof. Don’t let you or your family fall into a moving, anxiety causing disaster. When it’s time to move, look into your local moving companies and make sure that their prices match up with their services. For more information about hiring professional movers check out the Starving Students website.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Preparations For Moving Out Of State

People, all over the world, move to different locations every day. Relocating is common especially with certain people’s jobs. Employment is a large reason as to why people pack up their lives and head out the door – going where the money is, is crucial in surviving. There are those that may move just down the street or around the corner. There are those that move to a neighboring state. But there are also those that move thousands of miles away. Moving that far from everything you know is one of the most drastic changes you can make in your life, and it can be amazing! That is not an easy transition to adjust to, but there are certain preparations you can take in order to organize your prosperous new life.
First, you want to make it a point to take a trip to the new state you are going to be living in. This is when you should find a place to live (whether it is an apartment or house) or at least get a feel for the market. If you are buying a house, make sure you close on the house you are buying before your move in date and the closing of the home you are selling should be done within a day or two of your move. If you need to buy some time, we can provide temporary storage to you. We'll bring it to your door, load it, and take it back to our warehouse for safe keeping. Or we can park it in your drive way and you can load additional items over time. You’ll then want to make plane reservations, call pharmacies to transfer over any medication you may need, plan to have your car shipped with Starving Students (unless you are driving) and fill out a change of address form at the post office.
Also, you want to remember to not ship any valuables to your new home. Carry everything that is worth something, with you such as jewelry or keepsakes. Notify credit card companies, doctors, bankers and any company that you may have a loan through, that you are moving and if you have any children, make sure that you have checked out the schools in the area and they are enrolled in their class before your move. Lastly, make sure everything that needs to be charged is charged (such as cell phones) and everything that needs to be packed is packed.
If you are flying, download movies to watch on the plane. This can save you some money, and you might need it with the expenses that come with moving across country.
When you arrive at your location, be sure to take breaks from unpacking and organizing. Get out and meet people in your new neighborhood. They may have advice about favorite restaurants or where to go hiking.
Do everything you can to make your move as easy and stress-free as possible and you and your family should have an exciting and adventurous out of state move.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Relocating? Dealing With It In A Positive Way

Moving can be a difficult process for a family, especially if there are young children involved and you’ve lived at your current residence for quite some time. You want your moving process to be as easy and stress-free as you can possibly make it. Therefore, it is a beneficial option to consider hiring a mover to help you with your new transition from one home to the next. There will be many mixed emotions from your child, such as anger, excitement and sadness, but there are certain things you can do that can help make your move more tolerable for everyone.

Before this move takes place, make sure to get information about the new home you and your family are moving to. Show this to your children and share information about your new home, town and state with them. It can also be a good idea to do fun projects with your children that offers up more information about this new place. This could include making a map or drawing pictures of your new house. When it is possible, take your children to see their new town, house and neighborhood. This will ease their way into the new environment and show them that moving isn’t as bad as they think. Also, visiting neighbors, enrolling them in extracurricular activities and listening to their feelings, whether they are good or bad, is crucial in this intense transition.

Moving to a new home is a lot of work and takes a lot of preparation for a family. Getting in contact with a moving company is always a great idea, as it takes a little bit of the stress off of you. They will work with your budget, help you pack and unpack, and try to make your move as smooth as possible. Take the move slow and do whatever you have to do to make those around you feel comfortable with the relocation. It should, overall, be an exciting experience, so don’t let it scare you.
And have a going away party at a friend's house. It always nice to have one more celebratory good bye and the kids will appreciate it more than you know! Let your friends know that they can come visit as soon as you're settled in.