Friday, April 7, 2006

Choosing who is going to move your home is an important decision. This is not the time to be shy. Make sure you fully understand the services each moving company offers and the rate at which the services can be provided.

Below is a list of questions the experts at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® suggest asking moving companies to make sure they fit your needs.


Is the moving company licensed?

Does the company charge by the piece or by the hour?

Does the company have a minimum charge? How does the company charge after the minimum is met — in 15-minute increments or every half hour?

Does the company have any extra charges for larger items or extra flights of stairs? (This is not unusual.)

Does the company charge for the travel time from their office to your location?

Does the company charge extra for moves in the evenings or on the weekends?

What payment options do does the company offer? (Many moving companies require a deposit.)

Does the company have full-time employees or does the company use temps and day labor? (Be cautious of companies that use temps or day labor because they may not be properly insured.)

Does the company carry Worker’s Compensation for their employees?

What kind of training have the movers and drivers completed?

Are items insured during the move? (Even if a mover is bonded and insured, it doesn’t mean that your items are covered during the move.)

What kind of cancellation policy does the company offer? (You should always be able to cancel or postpone until a few days before your move.)

Does the company offer free estimates? (Getting an estimate for all moves is recommended.)

Does the company offer suggestions on how to make the move easier? (Movers who care about customer service and making your move a positive experience will do all they can to help you.)

Does the company have a contact number for the day of the move should any challenges arise?


5 Powerful Property Buying Strategies

In a perfect world, it would be easy to always be objective and make rational decisions based on sound information. In reality, emotions and timing often have a big effect. Sometimes the best you can do is to set the stage so that you minimize the subjective influences.

Give yourself power and control. Don’t find yourself in the position of “having” to buy and doing so in haste.

1. Work out the finances first. Paying cash? Getting a mortgage? Find out what you can afford and check out all your various options.

Meet with whatever experts you need to in order to have all your facts - a lender, your tax advisor, etc. Knowing exactly what you want to spend and can spend will eliminate time spent looking at properties you can’t have.

Not only that, when you find the right property you can make a “clean” offer without a financing contingency. Sellers are more likely to respond favorably to clean offers.

2. Unless you really want to own two properties, sell first. Then buy. First of all, the property you want will probably not take a contingency offer. So unless you are prepared to own both (and you have to plan for a worst case scenario) you are wasting your time with the offer.

Second, if you are emotionally attached to what you want to buy you won’t be as objective on selling your home. You may take less than it’s worth so that you don’t lose the other home. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you understand the financial implications.

3. Use a realtor who knows the market. That may sound too simple in this age of the internet, when buyers have access to the same data the agent has. The difference is the ability to interpret that data.

Full-time realtors do more than show homes and write contracts. They study market trends and observe area fluctuations. You are thinking about your needs now. But your agent is thinking about both now and in the future when you are ready to sell again and looking for your future resale opportunities.

In addition, the internet is an increasingly non-objective source of information. Many websites do not display all the properties that are for sale in a given area because of contractual conflicts. And most new communities are not listed at all in any search vehicle. A professional realtor should be able to show you all the homes that fit your needs.

4. Wait till your toes curl. In other words, don’t get pressured into making a decision. When you find the right home you will know it (your toes will curl or the little hairs on the back of your neck will stand up).

That doesn’t mean look at 200 homes before you make a decision. Sometimes it’s the first home you see. But don’t let an agent, a seller, or a spouse, push you into something you don’t feel good about.

5. You can’t have it all. Decide what is most important in your next home and put it into perspective. If it’s location, or price, or view, or square footage, or school districts, or amenities, or whatever.

Remember that some things can be changed. Floors, kitchens, landscaping, etc. are all changeable. So if they are not perfect, they can be. But location, view, amenities, etc. are there forever.

No matter what your budget, the good fairy of real estate did not go - poof! There it is. It simply doesn’t happen.

Everyone has to make compromises. So decide what truly matters to you and put that at the top of your list. Give in on what doesn’t matter as much.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll get the home you desire.

By Crissie Cudd

Pricing your home

Pricing your home is an art not a science. Achieving the optimal prices is the result of both objective research into similar properties and instinct in determining how much a buyer will be willing to pay for your home. The right price will attract showings, which will generate offers.

The unfortunate fact is that price is the number one factor that most homebuyers use to determine which homes they want to view. It’s also important to remember that although, you and your Realtor, set the asking price, the selling price is determined by the buyer.

The Correct Price Will:

* Result in a quicker sale, with less inconvenience to the seller
* Expose the property to more buyers
* Increase Realtor response
* Generate more ad calls
* Prevent your listing from getting stale

Typically homes that sell more quickly, sell closer to or sometimes over asking price.

Some Common Reasons for Overpricing

* Over improved property
* Original purchase price too high
* Desire “negotiating room”

Overpricing Pitfalls Most of the activity on your home will occur in the first few weeks. Pricing a home properly creates immediate urgency in the minds of buyers and agents. There is a pool of buyers who have seen most available homes in their price range and are now only waiting for new listings or price reductions. A buyer that has been waiting, may fail to see your home if it is priced too high. Sometimes, a price reduction may be too late, as interest by both buyers and Realtors, may have waned.

Buyers and their agents are very aware of the length of time on the market, the most common question continues to be: “How long has it been on the market?” Often buyers are reluctant to make an offer on a home that has been on the market for “awhile” thinking that there is something wrong with the home. Unfortunately, overpriced listings frequently help you to sell your neighbor’s reasonably priced home, making it appear that their home is priced very well.

The Role of a Real estate Agent in Pricing Provide you with a comparative market analysis, which is a comparison of recent homes with similar amenities that are available, in escrow and sold. There is no “exact price”; your home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay. The market determines value; together you and your agent determine asking price.

Realtors have no control over the market, only the marketing plan. The seller determines the asking price. Never select an agent based on price.

By Phyllis Harb